Valkyrie Costume

Friday, September 26th, 2014

In Norse mythology, a valkyrie  is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle, the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans or horses. (read more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Valkyrie)

The Ride of the Valkyries  is the popular term for the beginning of Act III of Die Walküre, the second of the four operas by Richard Wagner that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen. You have probably heard it many times on TV or in the movies. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd even covered Ride of the Valkyries… listen on YouTube… now tell me,  you were singing “Kill The Wabbit, Kill The Wabbit, Kill The Wabbit ….” weren’t you!
(read more at wikipedia.org/wiki/Ride_of_the_Valkyries)


My Idea Board:


The Met in HD presented the Die Walküre in summer 2011. After watching that performance at Walk Festival Hall I was inspired for my next costume. The skirt from the Gray Lady costume I made the prior year would work perfectly and I spent the summer/fall going through my closets, jewelry boxes, craft supplies, and shopped yard sales and second hand stores for things that I could re-purpose for the costume. When the Jackson Hole Community Band passed out new music for the 2011 Halloween Concert it included Ride of the Valkyrie, perfect! The flute section all dressed as Valkyries with me.

Accessories are the most important part of any costume, I started with the Gray Lady Skirt, a tank top from my wardrobe, I made some shoulder armor and a head dress, and the rest is just accessories.


IMG_1806IMG_1907 I found some wrist cuffs in a discount jewelry store that fit the costume. I used a belt to hike up the skirt and make it look more like a riding dress. Under the skirt is black boots and a pair of black denim colored leggins.

The metallic shirt was one I had in my closet for several years, dangerously close to being out of fashion, it Valkryie Topworked perfectly for the armor top. I used a black lace turtle neck from the Gray Lady costume, wrapped it with a belt from a second hand store and added several pieces of jewelry from my vintage collection. The choker is made from a vintage silver mesh choker and a broken vintage belt buckle. The silver colored purse is something I found in a clearance bin, I knew it would work with the costume but I can’t remember where I found it.


placematIMG_1904To make the shoulder armor I used a single round metallic silver color round place mat I found in a clearance bin for under .50¢.

I cut it in half, and cut each half into pieces.  Using a hole punch I punched 2 holes in the ends of each piece. Using ribbon I looped through all the holes and connected the op with silver color vintage looking buttons from my many jars of buttons. Safety pins attached the shoulder armor securely to the sleeves of the tank top.




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The headdress required a little research, and was the most time consuming part of the costume. I spent many mornings Googling photos to come up with a conceptual idea that would not be too complicated, or expensive, I had to make 5 of them. Then went shopping.

Supplies:

  • Silver gadgets from my crafting box (purchased at a garage sale)
  • Belts from second hand store
  • White feathers (from craft store)
  • Black feathers, I found a set of black angel wings at a Halloween store that was cheaper than buying a large bag of feathers.
  • Some silver dove Christmas ornaments from the dollar store
  • Glue
  • Leather hole punch
  • Faux leather cord, another yard sale find.
  • Large silver Beads

I started this project by plucking the black feathers from the angel wing and pulling the wings off the Christmas doves, laying it out on a tray. I didn’t get struck by lightning so next I took the belts to rehearsal and fitted them to the everyone heads marking them with a pen. I cut the belts down to size and punched holes where needed. I used the leather cord to hand stitch the belt into a headband, adding a few beads to the end to give it a finished look.

IMG_2299I have no idea what the silver thing’s original purpose was, they were in a lot of jewelry or crafting materials I picked up a few years prior at a garage sale. They had a 1960’s look and the wide end was hollow.  One side had an adjustable knob on it, all it needed to attach to the headdress was a hole in the leather, the other side had embellishments that I removed.

I arranged the feathers into the silver thing and used hot glue to keep them in place and glued a dove wing over the top. Once the glue dried I hot glued buttons over the rough ends of the dove wing to give it a finished look. See all the headdresses here.

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I wore this costume for the 2011 and 2013 Halloween Concerts. The 2014 Halloween concert is Saturday October 25th 3PM at Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village. I’m busy working on a new costume for this year, subscribe to my blog to get a notification when I post the results.

Holly Balogh, Myself, O'Anne
Img_1923_1Img_1924_1Norma, Holly Balogh, Student, Myself, Student Nancy, O'Anne, Sammy



Lil’ Bastard

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

I used to think raccoons were cute… Until the little bastard moved into my backyard.

In Fall 2012 we lost our 14 y/o lab. When she was alive we did not have stray animals, wildlife, or people in wander into our back yard. Last summer, at O’Dark-thirty, a neighborhood cat was at our back screen growling and hissing at Tigger, who was growing and hissing back. That was just the beginning. Tigger is our 15 year old cat, since he came to our home as a kitten he has been an indoor and fenced in backyard only cat. One evening last June, around dusk, he ran in the house so fast he bumped the screen, he hopped up on the sofa, his tail fluffed up like a raccoon, looked around the room with wide eyes, ran over to me, stuck one paw in my lap, and softly said one “meow” like it was a question. That is strange behavior, even for Tigger. I got up and looked into the back yard and didn’t see anything. I closed the door for the evening,remembering the time a magpie chased him up a tree, I thought it was probably a big scary bird.  In hindsight I think one single soft meow must be cat for “WTF”.

Every summer I decorate my back deck with potted flowers and other decorations so it is a nice relaxing place to have an after work cocktail and inviting for friends. I usually have a bird feeder for Tigger’s entertainment, this year I added a larger one, which the birds were eating quickly. I’d wake up in the morning ant the feeder would be half empty with feed scattered everywhere. A few nights after Tigger’s odd behavior my husband said the birds were making a lot of noise eating the seed at 2am. 2am??? Still, I didn’t connect the dots.

A week or so later we had a big lightning storm blowing in, about 11pm I turned on the back deck light to see if it was raining yet, I saw something under our patio table moving, it turned its head to me and the unmistakable face of a raccoon was looking back at me! Holy cow! Raccoons?! This is a first for my part of town. Cute little bugger in a destructive sort of way. Thinking about it, we have an empty dog house, a bowl of water, bird feeders, and potted vegetables in our back yard. Everything a homeless raccoon family needs to set up house.

The next day I went directly to the Game and Fish to borrow a trap. They only had one size  but it looked plenty big for a raccoon. It was heavy with a seemingly foolproof trap door with solid walls. Several people visiting the office at the time had opinions on bait, cat food, leftovers, and marshmallows were all recommended. That night I set the trap, bated it with cat food and bird seed hoping to catch a raccoon, not a neighborhood cat. The next morning I looked out the back door, like a child looking to see if the Easter Bunny came, but the trap was untouched. This went on for a couple weeks, he didn’t even come back for the seed from the feeders. I think I must have scared him (or her). Our neighbor said their dogs killed a small one and they have seen the big one. Another neighbor said they trapped one also. By now I had switched the bait to PB&Js and marshmallows, and just when I start thinking the raccoons were are all gone I woke to see a closed door on the trap. YAY! I went outside to proudly look at my catch only to see an empty trap with no bait.



I named it ‘Lil Bastard’ …

Apparently I was NOT a Wyoming Mountain Man Trapper in my previous life. The trap I borrowed from game and fish was too small (failed to trap lil bastard) so I dropped $80 on a coon-trap from the local ranch store. This one was a large cage with a trap door. I put it in the grass and baited it with a PB&J. The next morning the trap had not been snapped but the PB&J was gone. Lil Bastard reached through the bars and pulled it out that way, my bird feeders were also emptied. The next night I used marshmallows and made sure they were in the middle of the cage, in the morning the bait was gone and the trap still didn’t snap. I have only succeeded in keeping Lil Bastard well fed with PB&Js, marshmallows, humming bird food, and bird seed. I even provided Lil Bastard with a drink of water. Lil Bastard probably walks away from my yard, tummy full, sayin’ “Suc-kaaa!!!”

I looked at the failed trap and decided that putting the trap in the grass was the reason the trap was not snapping. It looked tike the weight of the animal was pressing the trap into the ground and blocking the mechanism that releases the trap door. So that night I put the trap on the sidewalk leading to my back deck, which happened to be under our bedroom window and the guestroom window where my mom and her dogs were sleeping. Just after 4 am the trap snapped and we had one very pissed off raccoon, what a racket! Lil Bastard woke the entire family trying to escape from his cage. After a while it was clear he wasn’t going to give up on escaping so my husband went outside to move the cage to the other side of the house. I looked out the window and watched him pick up the cage, Lil Bastard lunged and growled at him, feisty little bugger.

The next morning I went to examine the fruits of my hard work. I felt a little bad for Lil Bastard, he looked frightened and tired from fighting the cage. That morning my husband took him for a ride to the forest, near a creek and away from people, and let him go. I caught Lil’ Bastard’s cousin several weeks later. Since then we have not seen any more evidence of raccoons. Hopefully that will be the last of them.


The Gray Lady (Ghost) Costume

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

 I found this costume @ http://www.grandinroad.com/jump.jsp?item=41812&maincatcode=null&subcatcode=null&itemID=29233&itemType=PRODUCT&path=1%2C2%2C2759%2C2760%2C4019&iProductID=29233 but did not want a purchased costumeHalloween is one of my favorite holidays so when the Jackson Hole Community Band planned their 1st Annual Halloween Concert in 2010 I started planning my costume right away. (Photos Here)

I found this costume at grandinroad.com but did not want a purchased costume, I prefer to make my own.


DSC_0699DSC_0697I found this dress at Deseret Industries in Idaho Falls (a second hand store) for $15. The skirt fabric was perfect, and it had some weight so it would flow nicely. It was a little small around the waist, and the waist line was too high, but with some imagination it would work perfectly.


I cut the top off to drop the waist line, I’ll fold the extra fabric over to make the new waistband. I had to remove the zipper so i used some hook and eyes i had in my sewing stash. They looked a little funny but when the costume was dyed it gave it an out of the grave vintage look.

I used 2 packs of black Rit Dye powder ($4.78 + tax) to dye the dress, what a mess!! [note to self: never buy the powder again]. I dissolved the dye in hot water before I put it in the washer but I still got some dark splotches on the satin. They are near the bottom but it was OK (it’s just a costume) I’m not sure if I suck at dying fabric or if the satin had food stains that did not come out when I washed it.

Drip dry in my basement laundry room . I dyed the scraps in case i need them to build the new waistband.

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The color is very close to the color in the costume I’m trying to copy.


For the veil I used a crocheted table top i got at a yard sale (or a friend did) for probably under a buck. 1/2 bottle of black liquid Rit dye, veil under $3.

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What makes any costume are the details and accessories. I used the flowers and ribbon I cut off the dress for embellishments.

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I spent about $25 on items that will only be for the costume and $60 on clothing and accessories that are real cloths I can wear all year. It came out nicer than the original costume AND I got a few more things for my wardrobe.

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I wore this costume for the 2010 Halloween Concert and the 2012 concert. The 2014 Halloween concert is Saturday October 25th 3PM at Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village.

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