Tag Archives: Halloween

I just want to be who I’m not

Standard

Sometimes, you just know. So when I saw Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd last year, with Her Royal Highness Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, I knew: this would be my Halloween costume.

My inspiration. Costume-wise, obviously.

Why yes, whilst everyone is still wishing each other a Happy New Year and desperately trying to hold on to resolutions they know they will not keep (case in point: my resolution to start writing again), I will write about a costume I made almost three months ago. What of it?

True to my increasing obsession with lowering my carbon footprint, I decided to haunt some thrift shops for the right clothes. The only problem with this plan was the fact that I did not know of any thrift shops here in Lund. A Facebook status and some helpful Swedish friends later, however, I had an address. And an e-mail from my dad, offering financial support since apparently I was short on cash if I needed to resort to… thát… . There’s a thin line between sweet concern and annoying mingling, and I’m still not sure on which side said e-mail belongs, but I have learned one thing: make sure you give enough information or people will draw unexpected conclusions.

A purple skirt, green t-shirt, and some textile dye later, my kitchen looked more or less like this:

You're not supposed to do this in food pans. It is not supposed to boil over, either.

 I have since made copious amounts of soup in that pot and I am still alive, so I’m guessing it wasn’t that bad after all, although I do think next time I try to dye something I will try to use the washing machine… .

It took me a massive amount of time to sow everything by hand (not aided in the slightest by my too-late realization that, while your wrist might fit when the end of the sleeve has a circumference of 14 cm, there is no way your fist will) and some help from above when I found a friend willing to lend me his corset (and no, I’m not mistaking pronouns here) to make everything come together. And even though my sleeve still ripped at the seem within half an hour and the likeness to the original is debatable, I still looked smashing, if I may say so myself.

I kind of got into the whole girly skirts/dresses thing after that, so although I was briefly tempted to cross-dress when the next costume party was announced (“Hollywood”), I decided to keep it classy, stylish and feminine. My high school prom dress was slightly taken in (which I’m only mentioning because it sounds nice, but in all honesty the thing was already baggy back when), and an hour and a half of YouTube tutorials and many frustrations later, this is how I turned out…

Guess who? (click for a hint)

Dress-up party, you say?

Standard

I’ve discovered something about myself, lately. I love doing crafts. Or rather: I would love to love doing crafts.

Let me explain.

See, I have this tendency to get jealous of certain types of people. That type of people that gets up at 5 or 6 am to work out before work, for example. I would love to be one of those people. That would be so cool, to be able to say “Oh, yeah, got up at 5, did 40 laps in the swimming pool, still had some time before work so I went for a short jog. Like, only an hour or so.”

Alas, while I have been able to keep up a three-times-a-week running schedule for the past month or so (and am pretty proud of that monumental achievement), I am not a morning person, let alone a morning athlete.

Or religious people. I get jealous of religious people. You know, the zen type, that has this quiet conviction that they have found their own ‘right path’. The type that puts the whole “love thy neighbor” into practice in this sickeningly good kind of way that it makes you feel bad for even existing. It seems so easy, to just have this book full of rules and you follow it and then you’re happy.

Only, I’m a scientist. (yes, I feel religion and science are largely mutually exclusive. but let’s keep that discussion for another time.)

And then, there’s those crafty people. Whenever I see people doing crafts -and it could be anything really, from making their own Christmas cards to making their own clothes- I can’t help but stare. Because it looks so cool. It looks so cool to be able to do that, to take something and just… make it into something else.

No need to clarify: I suck at it. I mean – I got the techniques: I can sow, I can knit, I can follow complicated origami protocols all you want. But let’s be honest here, that’s not being crafty. That’s not what I’m jealous of. What makes me look at all those crafty projects with sad, longing eyes, is the creativity. They take a flower pot and some paint and they make the perfect addition for their garden. I can copy-paste the process, but I can assure you it won’t look as good in MY garden (although that might be related to the fact I don’t actually have a garden. this, however, is besides the point).

But now, I’ve found something. A crafty thing in which I actually manage to be creative.

Dress-up parties.

Dress-up parties?

Glad you ask!

It started last year with Halloween, when I and some friends went to a Halloween party. It was only the second time I actually celebrated Halloween and deciding on a costume was a downright nightmare, but I finally settled on Pippi Longstocking. For those who missed the post back then, this is how it looked like:


I later heard I won the prize for best costume, but unfortunately never got it since I left early due to public transport dependency… .

Then, for an I-cannot-for-the-life-of-me-remember-which reason, our dearest and nearest friend Kim decided to give a “Pink Party”. While most people went pink wigs, pink dresses, pink nails, and even pink eye lashes (which, especially on the guys, was particularly interesting to view), I thought of P!nk, the singer, and with a fine black marker scribbled fake tattoos all over my body. It looked more or less like such:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left the full costume (P!nk wears something vaguely similar in the Family Portrait video) spiced up with a boa, headband and sunglasses for my unforgettable karaoke rendition of Katy Perry‘s “I kissed a girl”, on the right the only picture I have of 2 of my ‘tattoos’, my pink polished fingernails, and the lipstick I won for “Most original interpretation of the theme”. ‘T is my first lipstick, ever, I might add, so it was a very good prize.

The Pink Party was such a success that it was followed last week by a “Disco is not dead” housecooling party (or whatever the antonym for housewarming party is). The idea started with a cut-off pair of jeans, got fueled by a Google Image search and finally fired by the trash talk between all attendees of the party about their planned costumes and acts. So after 10 hours of searching, measuring, and sewing (by hand! I have missed Ts sewing machine terribly…), I arrived 1,5 hours late to the party looking like this:

And although you can see the boys made for some stiff (and colorful) competition, I received another costume prize (a gold wig. first ever, too. how they knew this, I’ll never figure it out).

I really feel like I’m on a roll here, so obviously, you can all guess what is on my mind these days…

… and for that matter, what will I?

Apologies

Standard

I owe you all an apology – despite my promise last Friday, the Smörgåsbord and Quote didn’t go up this weekend as planned… the reason is simple : moi.

I have a nasty habit of forgetfulness, and it happens that I leave my laptop charger at the lab. It happens that I leave my lab entrance card at the lab. It doesn’t happen too often that both occur at the same time but last weekend, they did. With no card, I couldn’t get into the lab myself to get the charger, and with no battery, I couldn’t mail my colleagues to ask if I could borrow theirs (I don’t have their mobile numbers. I’m not thát social. Yet.). Result: an internet-less weekend. Which was all the less convenient since I needed to make arrangements with T who was arriving on Sunday.

So I will try and finish the posts and get them up THIS weekend, and as a consolation I give you some pictures from my Halloween costume! I am still confused as to the fact that Halloween costumes apparently do not necessarily have to be scary, but I gladly took advantage and dressed up as Pippi Långstrump – two H&M t-shirts, a pair of stripy stockings (H&M), some felt, flowers, scissors, needle and thread, and you are the coolest Swedish chick ever!

I know the pictures aren’t of the highest quality, but this is my dad’s camera which I recently bought from him and I still need some practice with the settings and all that … . In addition these were taken AFTER the party when I got back home, so I wasn’t really prepared to put much effort to it ;).
Other costumes spotted at the party were: a guy with a pencil driven through his body, a (very!) pregnant spider, a lego-block, spring, a belly-dancer (I could totally do that one!), and my personal favorite: Edward Scissorhands. I looooove Tim Burton.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

I’m an adult. When did that happen?

Standard

Yeah, I confess, I’ve been watching Grey’s Anatomy today.

I had an idea for a post in my head, it was really brilliant – something to do with The Rocky Horror Glee Show (watching Glee too, yes, I think you can feel where this is headed) and some very deep and life-shocking questions like: how come in Prude America cheerleaders’ skirts are that short? and do they really wear those

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

uniforms in class and like all.the.time? do people actually get Slushee’d (or however it’s supposed to be written)? what is a Slushee anyway? and is your “status” in high school really defined by whether you’re in chess club or physic’s club? I’m not even sure I know what’s the thing with these clubs, I mean, what does a “chastity club” do? and does anybody know how I could find out where there’s a Rocky Horror being played somewhere here in Sweden? ‘Cause I got the feeling I’m missing out on something here.
 
You know… the really Big Questions.

Instead I’ve been home all day. Hey, if authorities refuse to call what I do “work” and insist on naming it “personal development”, then I can decide that my “personal development” requires me to stay home all day and watch Grey’s Anatomy in bed. And eat chocolate. And ginger bread.

The season 1 cast of Grey's Anatomy

Meredith makes me think too much. (Image via Wikipedia)

And then dear old Meredith throws you one of her deep, sensible one-liners in your face on responsibility and growing up. It got me thinking. Which, in my case, is most often not a good thing: the line between thinking and worrying is very thin in my head.

We face many challenges in our lives. Primary school. High school. First love. Escaping our overly anxious parents. You’re 16 now, you can handle it. Friendships. Exams. College. Juggling extracurricular activities. First relationships. More exams. Internships. Living on your own. First jobs. First everything.

But you handle it. You handle it and you pull through, because you’re not on your own. You got friends, you got people surrounding you who go through the same stuff, the same problems, the same ups and the same downs, people you can relate to. You talk to each other, learn from each other and pull each other through, because you’re friends and that’s not only what friends are for, that’s what friends do. They pull you through.

So here I am. And I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to get a personnummer, or how to sort out my health insurance. I don’t know how to open a bank account, where to go to complain about my paycheck not being correct, or how to change my mortgage plan.
Meanwhile my friends are struggling with organizing their marriage, building a house, breastfeeding the baby, following up on the contractors, trying to survive the sleepless nights.

And there is so little left. So little to relate, to talk about. They can’t help me, I can’t help them. We’re in different places.
They envy me, they tell me, because I’m the adventurous one, the smart one, the one who’s enjoying life to the fullest before settling down. But really, it’s me who envies them. It’s me who, quite literally, ran away from the newly built houses, the weddings, and the babies, from the friends, because they have what I can’t. As it turns out, that may not have been quite the right response.

But I’m an adult. Supposedly. And thus I have to take responsibility for the choices I make. Which, in this case, means I’ll have to sit through a year of personal development in Sweden. And figure out how to get health insurance all by myself. I guess it could be worse, but I’m pretty sure it could be better.

 
 
Meanwhile, in an attempt to make the best of it, I managed to get invited to a Halloween party! And I have NO idea what I’m supposed to wear – I don’t have any old clothes or shoes or helmets or even cardboard here, so DIY options are pretty limited. I guess I could always wear my labcoat and go as a scientist, but then again, there’s not too much dressing up in that, is there? ;) (look o look, a smiley! I can still SMILE!) (well, at least digitally… ;) ). Any ideas?
On a completely unrelated note T is coming to visit for two whole weeks on Sunday. I am not yet sure what I will do – I don’t really have the time to pre-write that many posts and my archive is pretty thin as yet, so chances are it will be a bit quiet around here until mid-november. I am still preparing a Smörgåsbord and a quote for this weekend though, so I’ll keep you posted on what I’ve decided to do!

Saturday “Halloween” Smörgåsbord

Standard

In Belgium, we don’t have the strong Halloween tradition as they do in the US – sure, the shops and marketeers have jumped on the money-wagon: pumpkins, black spiders and fake cobwebs decorate black-and-orange colored displays, and some student club or school may organize the occasional Halloween party, but that’s about as far as it goes. I remember last year or so, we had trick-or-treaters at our door, and we were like: “Eh, what exactly are we supposed to do now?” They were lucky we even had candy in the house.
So while the whole trick-or-treat’ing isn’t exactly my type of… eh… candy, I see no reason not to enjoy the Halloween treats I see popping up everywhere! (all pictures have been shamelessly copy-pasted from the original websites)

Of course, I’m a scientist, so I’ve got a weak spot for geeky stuff, but I really love these candy blood slides. Basically it’s just sugar so they won’t taste like much, but you have to admit they look truly awesome!
Recipe can be found at forkable (via TYWKIWDBI).
 
Those who like it REALLY scary do not have to resort to fake candy blood, though… how about a real, non-candy spider? ThinkGeek sells oven-baked Tarantula’s for a mere $24.99. Apparently, these are much healthier than the “normal fried tarantulas you can get all over”. Ehm… yeah… . From their website: “Every Oven-Baked Tarantula is baked in its native Cambodia, and collected from monitored sources (to protect the tarantula’s natural population). Each one is baked, crunchy, and just a little hairy – but ready to eat right out of the package. Just don’t forget to remove the fangs first. Then, enjoy your yummy Cambodian delicacy – your very own Oven-Baked Tarantula.“. Insect lovers can also delight on Giant Toasted Leafcutter Ants, but I think I’ll just stick to the Giant Bleeding Heart Gummy Candy. (via Geekologie)

These witch’s hats are made with Nutella, so how on earth could they possibly not be delicious?? I haven’t tried to make them myself (yet), but the recipe seems easy enough so that even I should be able to handle it… .
Recipe at Virginia Hughes.
 
 
My favourite, however, (though you probably know them already because if I remember well they got Freshly Pressed some time ago) are these Yummy Mummy Cookies from Hershey’s (who, apparently, have a whole range of Halloween recipes… I need to check those out). Chocolate cookies coated in white chocolate, that beats even Nutella! They seem a bit more complicated (read: labour-intensive) to make than the Witch’s Hats, though, so I might need to get my sister to help me with them, but I’m betting they’re worth it. (via No empty chairs)
 

On a more serious note, much of the chocolate that will be given out on Halloween will not be child-friendly. I am not referring to any obesity-related matters, but to the (still widespread) occurence of child slavery in the cocoa industry. And it would be rather unfitting to make the children ringing your door happy with something other children suffered so heavily for, wouldn’t you agree? So please consider to Fair Trade your Halloween and pass out chocolate that makes ALL children happy!