Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Costumes! Brave's Merida (and Baby Bear) Costume using free patterns

 I have to admit, when I learned there was a new Disney movie featuring a Scottish princess with red curly hair, I started a not-so-subtle campaign for this year's Halloween costume.  Even before we saw Brave, I'd started planting seeds.  And after we saw it (even though it was pretty scary for a three year old!), Hannah and I sealed the deal: she would be Merida for Halloween.  It was actually Hannah's idea that Lydia be a bear, just like Merida's little brothers.  That sounded cute as could be, so I searched to the ends of Pinterest, and this is what I found.

So here, for you, are several free online patterns and tutorials needed to create a Merida costume, complete with a red hair garland, and a coordinating little sis/(bro) bear.

I started off with the dress, using the pattern found here ('s Magistrate Dress pattern), via, here.  I added some gold trim, including an inset of gathered gold fabric at the neckline.

Next came outerwear.  Not only does Merida wear a cape in the movie, but I distinctly remember last year, pinning Hannah's butterfly wings to the back of her winter coat because it was so cold.  Although practical, it was not as lovely as I intended when I sewed the costume.  So this year, I wised up and made something warm for her to wear.  I used the free Red Riding Hood Cape pattern found here, at  There are instructions for lining the hood, but I lined the entire fleece cape with flannel, both for added warmth and to add a little color.

Finally, what would a Merida costume be without red hair, and lots of it?  I looked at tutorials for full wigs, and even found one that explained how to curl the yarn by heating it in the oven.  I finally decided to make a red version of's Rapunzel hair recipe, found  here.  Hannah said, "This isn't like Merida's's not big enough."  However, she can put it on and off by herself, which I think will be handy when this becomes part of the dress-up box after Halloween.

And because Grandma's are cool like this, Hannah's Grandma got her the official Merida bow and arrows from the Disney Store.  Very cool.  Hannah spent a good fifteen minutes trying to string the bow before she gave up and started throwing them across the yard.

For Lydia's bear costume, I decided to keep it simple - mostly because I wasn't sure whether she would wear it or not.  She wasn't going to until she saw Hannah had a cape too, and then she was ready to go!  The cape is made from the same pattern at, although I printed the pattern at 75% to make it toddler-sized.  Hers is also fleece, lined with matching flannel. 

The ears are from another pattern at, and are a part of their Halloween Bear Hat, found here.  I cut slits in the top of the hood, and stitched the ears in before I added the lining. 

So here they are...Princess Merida and her bear sis.

 Ready for some serious archery.

And doing a happy little Halloween dance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hannah's Birthday...A Beautiful Mess

Hannah turned 4 recently.  It was the birthday that just kept ways good and bad!  After all, when it comes to celebrating birthdays, the more parties the merrier, right?  But there comes a point, when the first party has been canceled because of the stomach flu, and two cakes have been baked, and the edible favors have all been gobbled by someone (I couldn't possibly have eaten a whole pan of chocolate-covered Rice Krispy treats, could I?), when it's just time to have the party already.

So for your entertainment, here are all the lovely details of (both) of Hannah's birthdays.

My mom came for the week of Hannah's birthday, and she and Hannah made the super cute crayon cake that you see above.  She found something called sugar paper and edible markers, and she and Hannah actually drew the picture on the top of the cake! 

I suppose this is a good time to mention that Hannah wanted a "painting party."  I tried to sway her toward Mermaids and Pirates, but she thought of this wonderful theme on her own, and it stuck.  So we did all things painting.  My little arts and crafts apprentice was in seventh heaven!

Hannah, my mom, and I did a test run of all the art projects before the party.  This was one of the finger paintings.  We made this by applying vinyl letters on a canvas, and after the paint dried, peeling them off.  (And yes, that's the second batch of Rice Krispy treats.)

Here are all the kids, finger painting their hearts out.  Each kid's canvas had their name on it.  I made little paint aprons for each guest from old jeans, following this pattern.

These are ice cube paintings.  Almost as fun as actually doing the painting was hanging the papers out of the clothesline to dry!

 And our final art project was bubble painting.  This was really fun, and the photos don't do justice to how cool they looked.  (If you do this, it took a lot more food coloring the bubbles than I expected!)

Here's the cake (reprise).  And after the candles were blown out, all the kids - so excited about the cake - just couldn't keep their hands away.  Check out Hannah: she's like, "Get your hands off my birthday cake!!"

 And last but not least, what's a painting party without paint invitations?  I printed these on paint chips, and couldn't be happier with how they came out.

The best part?  Every morning for about a week after her birthday, Hannah woke up and said, "I'm FOUR!!!"
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