November 1, 2006
I've long said that Martha Stewart's oeuvre is like the Catholic Church: Try to adhere to all the rules it lays forth and you'll drive yourself mad faster than you can say herbs (pronouncing the H). Now, you know I love me some Martha. I pick up her magazine almost every month (but have never subscribed for some reason--you mean I could have been saving 33% off the newsstand price all this time?!); I subscribe to her Everyday Food publication and have added a few of its recipes to my quick-weekday-dinner repertoire; I even occasionally used to watch her TV show in its previous version (the new one makes me feel inexplicably itchy and irritable). Martha, or, rather, her staff of talented minions, comes up with some pretty amazing ideas. But one can only do so much. One can bake the cake, but roll it into the shape of a log, frost it with faux birch bark effect and adorn it with handcrafted meringue mushrooms? Bitch, please.
So, OK, I made my little boy's first Halloween costume (a fuzzy black spider). And, I admit, I took some inspriation from Martha (using stuffed men's socks for the legs). But from there, I added my own twists. I took a black turtleneck onesie obtained from the Big Evil Baby Superstore and cut an oval of felt to cover the back. I then sewed the stuffed-sock legs (two pair) to the felt (the only sewing step in this project) and covered the other side with a spiraled marabou-feather boa using a hot-glue gun (in retrospect, I should have used simple black fun fur, but I wanted to use what I already had on hand and in the end I liked the creepy effect of the feathers). I hot-glued the whole spider-back-thing to the back of the onesie, paired it with black leggings and socks, and, voila, Instant Itsy Bitsy Spider. For good measure (and to use up the last feather boa), I covered one of Harper's cotton beanies in feathers, too.
Allright, so I didn't make it that much simpler than Martha's version. But I made it my own. To my delight, Harper didn't even seem to mind wearing it (though he wasn't in love with the hat). He wore the costume through two parties last weekend (most of the other babies had had enough of their costumes by ten minutes after arrival) and donned it for a Halloween visit to his dad's office at Six Apart, where he earned an honorable mention in the costume contest but was disqualified from winning on a minor technicality.
Someone asked me why I didn't add red black-widow markings to the costume's belly to drive the point home. Well, I'll leave that kind of over-the-top craftery to the crazies at MSO! Besides, my kid doesn't need a venomous bite. He kills with cute.