Two words designed to instill fear into the toughest mother: School and Play. Inevitably this is going to lead to the single most terrifying word in a mother's language. COSTUME!
My son came home a few weeks ago with the joyous news that his school is putting on a production of Jack in the Beanstalk, and that he has a starring role. A starring role as an... eagle. Now, I know I've lost a few brain cells over the years, but for the life of me I don't remember an eagle playing a starring role in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack - check. Mother of Jack - check. A cow - check. Some beans - absolutely. A cranky giant - yep. An eagle - WTF?
Let me just state for the record that as far as arts and crafts go, I am about as useful as a chocolate teapot. I am all for it, in principle. I can dream up the loveliest of arty and crafty goodness however I am genetically incapable of transforming my ideas into tangible objects. I have an entire cupboard full of half-knitted scarves, quarter-made necklaces, oil paints hardened into stone, beads, wires, strings, ribbons, glues, buttons and so forth. I even (laughingly) dabbled in scrapbooking to the tune of about $300 with sweet FA to show for it.
Anyway. I was stuck with the task of creatively transforming my 10 year old son into an eagle. Oh, I had some doozies of ideas. Huge feathered wings, spanning 6 feet or more, detailed ankle whatsits with talons glued on, a tail that a peacock would be proud of and so much more.
PPPFFFFFFTTTTT. When whining and moaning on FB and Twitter to more crafty friends yielded no help other than detailed instructions of what their talented hands could put together I did what any mother could be expected to do under the circumstances. I blanked it from my mind entirely.
Dear son reminded me ever so gently on Monday that this Friday is the dress rehearsal, and that the Big Performance is next Tuesday night. Right. Time to get my arse in gear. Fortunately, I was informed, one of the pre-primary teachers has some wings lying about that will do the trick, so all we needed to come up with was clothing (yet to be comed-up-with) and some sort of head gear.
This being Thursday, it appeared I was going to have to take action Today, and Not A Moment Later. My first thought was to use a baseball cap, bend the visor into a beak-like shape and stick feathers over the rest of it. Let's just say the bending-of-the-visor-into-a-beak-like-shape part of that had me totally stumped, so it was back to the drawing board.
A brief forraging session in the garage unearthed a detachable hood from one of the kids' old winter coats, one which tied up under the chin. This looked promising! Surely I could fashion a beak out of something and then use strips of felt as feathers. YES! This would work.
Off to Spotlight I went, returning armed with hot glue gun, felt and more felt. Plus 2 huge googly eyes that I just thought were funny.
You think it would be easier to fashion a beak out of stiffened felt. Sensibly I tried a few practice ones out of paper. Not working. Finally we got there on the beak, and glued it onto the hood. It looked great! I was ecstatic! I'm not kidding here, I was dancing with glee around the house!
I suppose at this point I should say a big thank you to the water carafe and football who generously offered to model the headpiece during it's creation, and didn't complain once, not even when hot glue went all over the footie. What good little helpers!
From this point on it was fairly easy. I cut long triangle-shaped strips of different coloured felt, and glued them around in rows. The crowning glory of googly eyes went on and... it was complete. It sat there on its football just staring at me. I called my son over to look and there was, well, silence. He looked at me, I looked back. We both looked at the result of my efforts. I'm not sure which one of us collapsed in a hysterical puddle on the floor first, but within moments we were both there. Literally Unable To Speak.
Once he caught his breath, he agreed to try it on. I must say, I was impressed. It was less scary than it had been on the football. He agreed to let me photograph him in it, on the proviso that I didn't get his face or any other identifying features in the shot. I agreed.
Naturally I had to try it on as well (as you do) and, having no qualms about my scary mug being exposed to all and sundry on the WWW, demanded that M play photographer this time.
Well, that was fun, and here's the result:
God help us all if any of my children take up acting. I'm going to have to marry a seamstress!
*Update* I went to the school and grabbed the wings so M could try on the whole costume, and thought I'd share: