Meet Gertrude! She may be as tough and pokey as a gargoyle, but she loves to cuddle.
The little ballerina princess shivered as she stared up the sidewalk to Uncle Pete’s house. Tombstones rose up through the dense fog, and bones littered the ground. She nudged a giant rib with her toe, clutched her goodie bag and ribboned wand tightly, and stepped forward.
Cold mist coiled around her legs as the dark shapes of skeletal trees reached over her head. She squeaked when she saw the flitting wings of a bat, and the glittering eyes that watched her from the branches. Knowing Uncle Pete, they probably weren’t bats at all, but some of the creatures he cared for. She didn’t think those eyes were much better. Beady and staring, with leathery wings and the faint glint of needle teeth in their thin beaks. She turned to look back at her parents waiting at the roadside. She couldn’t see them very well in the shadows, but she heard their voices, warm and reassuring. She took a deep breath, swallowed hard, and crept past the watchers rustling in the naked branches above.
Low moans and groans warbled from behind the scattered bones between a tombstone and a few snarling gargoyles, their grimacing teeth frozen in stone. She stared at each grotesque face as she passed them. A thin, snarling face with curled horns and bat like wings, next a scaly, lizard of a creature with a curled smile and sly eyes, then a squat, broad face with stubby horns and thick legs…
The gray face blinked, and the little princess jumped. The squat gargoyle moved and opened its large, beaked mouth with a wide moan, moving towards the little girl on thick, shuffling legs. She squealed and tried to run back to the road, but the scaly, spiked creature blocked the way back. She abandoned her bag and wand in the mist and ran up the sidewalk, tripping over the steps and onto the covered porch to the front door.
“Uncle Pete, Uncle Pete!” She screamed, the shuffling and groaning of the creature followed behind her. She turned to look, and in the flickering candlelight of Jack-o-lanterns the heavy creature loomed with spikes that struck against the moonlight like daggers, the eyes glowed orange beneath heavy brows gray as living stone.
The door opened, golden light poured out onto the porch.
“Happy Hallow- Oh, hello Lilly!” Uncle Pete’s arms swallowed her in an embrace as he swept her up onto his hip. Her feet dangled, and the creature waddled closer like an enchanted stone table come to life to nuzzle her ballet slippers. It gurgled, its thick, spiked tail waving gently from side to side. Lilly’s parents entered the pool of light with her dropped wand and bag, careful of the squat dinosaur’s thick spikes that framed its wide body.
“Did Gertrude scare you?” They asked.
“Uh-uh,” said Lilly. “Can she go trick-or-treat?”
Gertrude isn’t too sure about all the creepy going’s on this time of year. Spooky fog and noises in the night make her feel a bit uneasy, but Pete and I have assured her it’s all in good fun! I hope you had a safe and fun Halloween night!
I hope you had a great Halloween yesterday! I spent the majority of October making my kids costumes. They all wanted to be dinosaurs this year, and of course I wasn’t satisfied just buying a few dinosaur costumes and had to do it the hard way lol. 😀 I have a little bit of experience with sewing, but it was back when I was a teenager, so I basically had to relearn how to use the sewing machine. Thank goodness for Youtube!
I started planning and figuring out how I would make the costumes way back in September, but didn’t really have anything finalized until I started gathering materials and understanding what I had to work with. Of course, there are always a few lumps to smooth out along the way. But overall I’m pretty pleased with the results and I’m happy I made them, even though I was working on them every spare moment up until the morning of Halloween (which is why I only had a doodle for Friday’s post, and this post is late).
For someone with experience sewing and making costumes, these little costumes surely would be fast and easy. If you know what you’re doing they really would only take a few hours of work for each of them. It only took me as long as it did because I was relearning how to sew as I went along.
The first costume I started with was the little Pterosaur. Even though technically this should have been the fastest one (definitely no more than two hours for someone who knows what they’re doing), it took me the longest. I kept making mistakes with the sewing machine, like having the tension all wrong so that the thread kept getting tangled or broken. I thought I could use the velcro I had on hand instead of going out and buying a sew-on velcro specifically for the project. Boy did that turn out to be a mistake!
Never use sticky velcro for a sewing project! I knew enough not to try to sew it on with the machine, but even with a thimble and frequent use of coconut oil to keep the needle from sticking, that awful velcro broke a couple of needles and was generally a bear to work with.
Another mistake I made with the first costume was not sewing the velcro onto the wings before sewing the wings themselves. Why? It’s much easier and makes the final project look much nicer and more “professional” lol. The ends of the wings have a bit of wire sewn in place to help keep their shape.
The next costume I made was the little raptor. Sammosaurus says it’s a Utahraptor. 🙂 I was much more efficient with this one. I’d figured out the sewing machine, and all I had to work with was felt, so no need to turn things right-side-out, or any of the ironing involved in the cotton fabrics. The feathers where fun to cut out, but it definitely takes some time lol. The new challenge with this one was the tail.
I found a great free pattern for dinosaur tails here (psst, that’s a link), which was a great help! I accidentally sewed the straps so that they were stuck inside the tail, but it wasn’t anything a seam ripper couldn’t fix. What’s a seam ripper? It’s a handy little tool with a tiny tiny blade on the end so that you can pick out a thread and cut it on even the tightest and best sewn projects. Which is good, because I actually did a very good job sewing those straps on!
All in all I think an experienced sewer can whip this costume out with a good day’s work. 🙂 It took almost a week for me, since the time I had to work on it was all spread out and sporadic.
I finished the last costume in three days, so quite an improvement from the others! I was far more efficient in how I cut the pieces, pressed the fabric, sewed on the velcro with the machine, and basically took full advantage of the experience I gained with the other two costumes. The only small hiccup on this one was on the tail. The sail kept flopping off to one side, but that was easily fixed. I stitched the “spines” along the tail fin, and this was enough to keep the stuffing from creeping too high, while allowing the stuffing to support the base of the tail. Voila, floppiness gone.
The back sail only flops because it’s a little too big for Joey. I made the costumes with room to grow, and I didn’t think about how high on his back the tail would go. It should fit better next year. It actually has a little T of wire on the each end, so it stands up on its own if you set it down. 🙂
I hope you enjoy the pictures! The kids had a blast with their costumes, and it was great fun to make them. 😀 I’ll post more progress on the short story collection next month. 🙂
Coming Nov. 1st…
This huggable critter loves to climb! 🙂 He’ll be on the critter page, share your guess in the comments! 🙂