DIY: Baby & Toddler Halloween Animal Hood


I decided a while back that I wanted to dress Gwen as a wolf for Halloween, so when we went to my mom’s at Thanksgiving I asked her to help me make a pattern for a wolf costume like the bear and rabbit ones she made for us as kids. I’d actually hoped she’d just make the whole thing for me buuuuuuuut no luck, I have to do it myself. After a week and a half of procrastination I finally got around to starting it last night, and in my typical fashion I decided to redo the pattern. Instead of a one piece hooded suit I decided to make the hood a separate piece (so that if I don’t have time to finish the whole suit I can still just put the hood on Gwen with some grey sweats & a quick tail and still have a lil wolf puppy).

You’re probably thinking WOW TANIE HALLOWEEN IS IN A WEEK AND A HALF THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO START SEWING COSTUMES but this hood is super simple and if you have basic skills with a sewing machine you can whip it up in about ten minutes. If you don’t have basic sewing machine skills or maybe you have a weird fear of your sewing machine (cough*me*cough) it’ll take a couple of hours to sew by hand while watching Gilmore Girls (YOU KNOW YOU’RE WATCHING IT, WE’RE ALL WATCHING IT). Faux fur is very forgiving so if your hood turns out a little wonky it’ll still look great. I didn’t bother taking pictures of the sewing process because I had no idea if it was going to turn out or not, but I’ve tried to make the instructions as simple and clear as possible. If you need help please feel free to contact me.

The pattern is for the hood & ears only but I’ve included some quick sketches of different types of tails. The hood is a simple 3-piece pattern (two of the pieces need assembly, see below) with two 2-piece ears. The pattern is sized for Gwen, who is a larger-than-average two year old. For smaller children scale the pattern down in size, for larger children scale up. If your child has a very large head you might need to cut a larger face opening; it fits Gwen perfectly but the face hole is too small her lil friend who is about the same age/size but has a bigger head I guess, or maybe just a bigger face.

Supplies & equipment:

• printer & printer paper
• approx. 1/2 meter of faux fur (enough to make the hood and a tail of your own design)
• scissors
• fabric pen
• sewing machine OR needle & thread

Fur colour suggestions:
• wolf: any shade of grey/black/white
• bear/polar bear: brown/white
• tiger: orange & black stripes
• fox: orange & white for the tip of the tail
• cat: literally any colour
• lion: longer brown fur for the hood, shorter tan fur for the ears
• skunk: black for the head sides & ears, white for the head gusset

1. Download and print out the pattern. Cut out the 2 halves of the head gusset and 2 halves of the head side pieces and tape together at the dotted lines. Cut out the ear of your choosing.

2. Trace the pattern pieces onto the back of the faux fur, remembering to check the direction of the nap. You want it to run top-to-bottom on the head sides, front-to-back on the head gusset (top of the head) and bottom-to-top on the ears. If you make a tail the nap should run top-to-tail tip. You need one head gusset, two head sides (1 left and 1 right) and four ears (2 left and 2 right). Cut out all the pieces, including a slit in the top of each head side where the ears will go. When cutting faux fur you want to slide the scissors under the fur and cut just the backing otherwise you will be breathing in faux fur wisps forever.
PLEASE NOTE: the lines on this pattern are SEWING LINES not cutting lines. Please leave a 1cm seam allowance around the traced lines.

3. Pin together 1 left and 1 right ear piece, right (fur) sides together, matching the letters (A:A, B:B). Sew around the top of the ear from A to B, leaving the bottom open. Repeat with the second ear, then turn both ears right side out.

4. Pin one of the ears into the slit in one of the head sides, matching the letters (A:A, B:B). Insert the ear into the head side slit, right sides together, with the cut edge of the slit matching up with the open bottom of the ear. Sew across the slit and the bottom of the ear from A to B; repeat with the second ear and second head side.

5. Right sides facing, pin together the head gusset and sides, matching the letters (C:C x2, D:D x2, E:E, F:F). Sew each side of the head to the gusset from C to D, then sew the front of the sides together from E to F, leaving the face opening (between letters C and E) open.

6. Fold the edges of the face opening back 1cm and hem. Fold the bottom edge of the hood back 1cm and hem (optional; I didn’t bother hemming the bottom of Gwen’s hood and it’s fine). Turn the hood right side out and use a soft brush to gently loosen any fur that is caught in the seams.

October 20th

Not too matchy but a little matchy.

Socks & Boots

Saturday was the last West End Farmer’s Market of the year but all we got was breakfast from Pig on the Street before heading out to run errands. Taylor needed a new pair of boots as his not-even-that-old Doc Martens were literally disintegrating off his feet. I have to say the quality of Docs is atrocious now. I used to have a pair when I was like 18 or 19 that I got secondhand in great condition that I wore for years before giving away to a friend, still in decent shape.

I was on a search for some boot socks for Gwen. Her rainboots are a little big and tend to slip off too easily when worn with just her regular socks so I needed something thicker. I wanted the classic wool socks look (because I am an ass) and I was able to find exactly what I wanted at Roots. I also got her an A M A Z I N G hat? hood? cowl? that I will debut at a later date.

I took A LOT of pictures of the lagoon.
When I was going through my pictures I was like “why did I take this there’s nothing here-oh!”
Cute but scary and also sad because it’s obvious people have been feeding them.
This tree had ferns growing up almost every branch.
Blue sky to the south…
… grey sky to the north.

The Kuffle Kerfuffle

Sunday was sort-of sunny so I really wanted to go down to the park for what might be one of the last non-rainy days of the year (although it’s been pretty dry all year so who knows). On the way we stopped at Breka for muffins and kuffles. The kuffles were for Gwen and she was a big fan; every time we took her out of the stroller we had to brush massive quantities of kuffle crumbs off all of us.

I had hoped to actually walk in the woods with Gwen but she is a toddler with her own mind and she had different ideas, like pushing the stroller into the trees and running full-tilt in the opposite direction to where we were going. After a while we bribed her with another kuffle to get back in the stroller because otherwise we’d probably still be there.

October 17th

I meant to post earlier in the week but I’ve just been busy busy busy, no time to blog… but apparently plenty of time to waste an entire afternoon tweaking my layout? I wanted something a bit darker for fall but still suuuuuuuper simple. Sometimes I think I should like, get a REAL layout that I pay someone money to make and it’s really professional looking and functional but then I remember I just blog for funsies so nah. You can see the new look below (or click through from whatever reader you use)
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idk if you know this but I’m IN LOVE with that pic of me holding Kichou in the woods, I made it my new profile pic on every one of my social media platforms.

Anyway, fall. I guess it arrived over the weekend we were away, because last week I distinctly remember complaining that I couldn’t wear my flannels and scarves and boots and cool new coat because I’d end up sweating my face off and this week… it’s cold. Cold and rainy and just really autumnal. The punchline is I still can’t wear my new coat because I’ve had to wear my rain jacket almost every day this week. My raincoat is not cool, it is however very functional and practical so it wins out most days.

Now that I’ve discussed my blog and the weather I guess it’s time to move onto the gross part of this week, which is all about dog butts. On Monday night Georgie had a bottom problem and needed a bath, and as I was washing the area I noticed she had what was obviously an abscessed anal gland. In case you don’t know, anal glands are the thing they don’t tell you about dogs because they are SO GROSS no one would ever have a dog if they knew. Anyway they are just these lil glands that secrete whatever it is that dogs like to smell on each other’s butts, and sometimes they can become blocked and infected and it’s just the worst.

I won’t gross you out too much with what happened during that bath but the next day I had to take her to the vet to get the abscess LANCED AND DRAINED which is about as lovely as it sounds, and pay $300 for the pleasure. Everyone keeps saying “wow that is highway robbery!” but I would definitely not cut open a swollen pus sac on a dog’s ass and wash all the pus out for $300 so I feel like it was a great bargain. Now Georgie has to wear a cone all week and I have to give her medication and wash her butt with special antiseptic dog butt wash twice a day. GREAT. Her meds need to be taken with food but the cone makes her so miserable she won’t eat with it on unless I literally hand feed her, like put kibbles into her mouth one at a time, which is tedious. The cone just makes her really needy in general, she is following me around and clambering into my lap much more that usual. Overall, it sucks for everyone involved and I think we’ll all be much happier when it’s over.


October 14th

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Over the long weekend we took a trip to the Island to see my family for Thanksgiving. We hadn’t been there in a long time; I think Taylor had only been to my childhood home once and that was just for an afternoon, Sym not many more times and Gwen not at all. It’s kind of been a combination of things keeping us away: our schedules, the expense ($120 each way for the stupid ferry I COULD NOT believe it! PLUS we had to rent a car), and also a bunch of weird family stuff I’m not even going to get into. I actually always SAY I want to go but when it comes down to planning & paying for it I’m like ughhhhhhh, but this time I was like NOPE WE’RE GOING. Actually thank you to all the people who bought banners during September/the beginning of October because I put every penny towards the cost of this trip!

We went over on Saturday morning and came back Monday morning which gave us a lot of time to hang around on my mom’s nine couches, explore the property with the dogs, look through a dozen family photo albums and even take a walk down the train tracks to the beach. On that last one I learned that if you don’t spend your childhood walking along train tracks and over train bridges it is apparently terrifying as an adult; Taylor was completely paralyzed on the trestle over Bonnell Creek, which is only about 30 feet long and maybe 20 feet high (the trestle not the creek, the creek is actually completely dry right now) and I had to take the dogs across and then go back for him and Gwen.

Originally we planned this trip not because it was Thanksgiving but because it was a long weekend (Taylor’s work schedule makes regular weekend trips kind of impossible), but my mom invited tons relatives over for dinner on Sunday. It was weird because only my younger brother and sister were there so I was the oldest out of our sibling group, but a bunch of my nieces and nephews came, as well as my nephew’s daughter (it’s weird to think that I’m someone’s great aunt, haha). All told there were 20 people for dinner, many I hadn’t seen in years and years and some I hadn’t met at all (there are no pictures of dinner though as we were all too busy stuffing our faces). Sym had a good time hanging out with some of her cousins who are around the same age as her and even Gwen made friends with her cousin-once-removed Sydney, who is almost three years old and so tiny that they are around the same height even though Gwen is a year younger.

Here are a million pictures, no apologies.
Gwen loved being out on the deck on the ferry over; on the way back it was too windy for her.
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My mom made a pie using apples from the trees in the front yard.
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Explaining how I once slipped and fell while climbing down from the roof of the fort and had to hang from that tree for what felt like one thousand years until I was able to pull myself up.
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I found a skull in the woods.
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The swing in the bottom garden, unused and covered in lichen.
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Taylor said the bleak grey rocky beach at Nanoose Bay reminded him of The Road.
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October 10th

It’s starting to look like fall outside but every time I go out in my boots and coat I end up sweating my face off.
She only ate the fries, then deconstructed the sliders and used the buns and patties to make a tower.
Sym needed to print out some old pictures for a project at school and I can’t get over this one. Her sweet little face! This was just a few weeks after her second birthday, so a little older than Gwen is now.
A custom drippy banner for Halloween.
Literally the first time I successfully caramelized onions in my entire life.
Waking up daddy.

Happy Friday-before-the-long-weekend-we-all-need-and-deserve! At least I need it; this week has been interminable for some reason. We are going over to the Island to spend Thanksgiving with my mom & some of my family for the first time ever so today I need to clean the house and pack everything so we can catch the ferry at 8:30 tomorrow morning. (Aside: Taylor just used voice commands to turn off the Xbox, and I CAN’T WAIT until Gwen starts talking and learns how to turn it on and off all the time. I mailed all the paperwork back to the speech therapists but we don’t have an appointment for her to see one yet, although she is scheduled for a hearing test on December 1st. Also on December 1st I’m supposed to go off my thyroid medication to see if my thyroid is functioning normally on it’s own so that’s gonna be a fun month! Phew this was quite the aside.)


Tiny Acorns
Yesterday after school drop-off (now that the strike is over I’ve been looking after a kindergartener before & after school) Gwen and I went for coffee & took a walk on the Seawall with a woman I know from preschool drop-offs. Making friends when you are old and grizzled is hard and I’m happy to have made a new one who is local and a mom and idk, likes tiny stuff and crafts and coffee and dogs and the Seawall and living downtown but also imagining moving to the country. At one point on the walk Gwen became very fussy in her stroller so I let her out so she could bobble around in her little green boots and red coat. While we were standing there my new friend realized the trees we were under were some kinda ornamental oak trees and the ground was covered (COVERED) in teeny-tiny little acorns. We both love tiny things and Gwen loves picking up stuff off the ground so we all crouched down and started stuffing our pockets with little acorns & acorn caps. I’m sure we looked deranged to all the people walking by but who cares? Tiny acorns! Now I have a cup full of them and Im not exactly sure what to use them for. An autumnal display, I guess. A miniature pumpkin and some twigs with wild rose hips and a scattering of little acorns would be perfect.

The Tale of Elke
During my many years of doing childcare I’ve known lots of kids with a lovey toy they NEED to have in order to fall asleep, both at bedtime and at naptime. Usually it’s one of those toys that like a small blanket with a teddy bear head on one corner, and it needs to go back and forth between home and daycare or WOE BETIDE. I can’t even tell you how many times I had a parent knocking on my door at 8pm because they forgot the lovey here, or they’ve had to run home in the morning after dropping off their kid to fetch it because there is NO WAY a nap will be happening without that special sleepy-time friend.

When I was pregnant with Gwen I discussed this lovey situation very seriously with Taylor and we decided that whichever toy it was, we’d buy two. Not that Gwen would be going to daycare somewhere else but in the event of the lovey being misplaced or even just needing to be washed we’d have a backup. We chose one of those toys with the animal head on one corner, except instead of a bear it’s a deer. We named it Elke and Gwen took to it immediately.

Having two Elkes worked perfectly; if ever we couldn’t find one we’d have the other ready to tag in, and I was able to wash whichever one was dirty as needed (which was often because baby Gwen liked to chew on Elke’s nose, or just hold its nose to her nose, even when she had a cold). Then a few months ago, everything went to Hell. One morning Gwen woke up and brought Elke out to the living room with her. When it was naptime I couldn’t find Elke so I grabbed the spare and when she woke up from nap she brought that Elke out to the living room and we had a double-Elke situation. Taylor found the first Elke in the dining room and went to put it in the wash, but I told him it wasn’t dirty so instead he put it…

Somewhere. And we haven’t seen it since! Neither of us can remember where he put it, all we know is it’s somewhere in the house where Gwen couldn’t see it or reach it, and we’ve looked all those places! Every shelf, every cupboard, every drawer, every place has been searched. We’ve emptied boxes and bags and peered under beds with a flashlight. We’ve dug through closets full of clothes, craft supplies and camera equipment. No one can find this damn thing! This morning Taylor was putting Gwen’s bedclothes on to wash and he decided to pop the only remaining Elke in as well since it was supremely gross, and Gwen stood in front of the washing machine and cried and cried. We spent another couple hours searching all the places we’ve already searched and still had no luck.

My apartment isn’t that big, and there are a finite number of places what Gwen can’t get into. So. Where’s Elke?


October 6th

Somebody’s been playing with my camera….
Gwen chose her own outfit for brunch on Sunday: sweater (she got a lot of compliments on it) and jeggings, Old Navy; Hunter boots, thrifted by Katie
Still on that soup roll, this is roasted red pepper & black bean.

WOW do I ever have a case of the Mondays. So far this morning I’ve:

• dropped a ceramic tea filter lid on the floor and broke it in half
• gotten in a fight with Sym about something dumb
• set one of the snaps on a pair of boots backwards, boots I’d been working on all weekend
• gotten in a fight with Taylor about something dumb
• forgot my coffee when I went down to the school
• stepped on a slug

And that was all before 9:30, I mean COME ON, universe! Whaaaaaaaat evennnnnnnnnnn giiiiiiiiives. UPDATE: further Monday-ish events:

• Gwen has developed a gross cold with a runny nose and sneezing
• when I went to check the mail I ran right into a giant spiderweb some stupid spider spun across my stairs

Luckily I was able to salvage the boot by mangling the socket of the mis-set snap with a pair of pliers until I was able to snip it off the cap (the cap is the part of the snap that shows on the outside of the boot, the socket attaches to the back of the snap and is the part that the stud snaps into- the stud is attached to the post which is the part that shows on the inside of the boot. It’s all very technical). These boots are a new pair for Gwen; she’s pretty much outgrown the brown ones I made for her in the spring and I had an idea for how to improve the pattern that I needed to test out. I made the sole and the vamp a little narrower to get a better fit on the foot, and other than a small snafu at the start of construction when I forgot to adjust the size of the cut-out in the front of the shaft where the vamp attaches (more technical terms!) it went well and in the end they turned out great.

This week I’m going to be working on the shoes & boots for kickstarter rewards, and once they are all done I’ll be adding them to the shop for sale, which is really exciting. I’ve already put up the snap pouches, you can find them here in the Little Mountain section.
And don’t forget you can still get free shipping on all orders $20 and over with the code SHIPFREE, valid until Friday.

October 1st

The four tiny white dots on the far side of the lagoon are swans.
Apple pie with gold glitter.

Today I went down to Second Beach. At the playground there were three adults, two women and one man, playing on the swings. The man gave one of the women an under-duck and she screamed with laughter.

Gwen sang little songs to herself.

A new mother with a tiny infant in a purple stroller stopped to talk babies with me. The way she described her daughter’s wonder at all the things in the world expressed her own wonder at this little being she’d created.

Crows and seagulls pick mussels off the rocks and drop them onto the Seawall to break the shells open. Acorns and horse chestnuts are falling out of the trees onto the sidewalks so the cracking noises followed me all the way up the hill towards home.

September 29th

How thoughtful of the weather to be bright and sunny all weekend and only rainy during the week.
Baby’s first pannekoek.
red coat, Old Navy; jeggings, Carter’s; checkered shoes, Vans
True story: the other week I was walking the dog and there were these things all over the ground and I literally said out loud, “What the heck is this, acorns????” I was standing under an oak tree.
She was trying to carry more acorns than her hands would hold so I showed her how to put them in her pockets. When we got back to the house they were stuffed with acorns, wood chips and bottle caps.
I DID IT, I MADE A SECOND SOUP. This is potato with bacon & green onion.
“Hello” sweatshirt, Zara; leggings, Old Navy; dishwashing gloves (worn as boots), CasaBella

A few things…

During the extra-long summer vacation one of Sym’s daily chores was to tidy up the living/dining room/kitchen and vacuum every afternoon. Now that she’s back at school she generally doesn’t get it done until the evening, and IT SUCKS. The house is so messy and I’m well out of the habit of tidying up.

On the weekend I had the brilliant idea of making an apple pie today, so I bought all the ingredients I needed and then last night I was up all night with mild food poisoning. I feel fine now, but I’m super tired and the last thing I feel like doing is peeling a dozen apples.

Last weekend I ordered Gwen some new fall clothes, mostly new leggings and socks to replace the ones from last winter that she’s outgrown, as well as a new puffy winter coat that was on sale. I also got the red coat she’s wearing in a lot of the pics above and we are both in love with it. It has a major storybook vibe, and if she wasn’t already being a wolf for Halloween she might have to be Little Red Riding Hood.

On the weekend I started working on the leather snap pouches for kickstarter rewards and so I used my new shears and snap setter for the first time and o m g I’m in heaven! They are AMAZING and I was able to make some good progress! I have two pouches finished and the rest are all cut & have the snaps set and just need to be sewed (because that’s the easy part? ok Tanie). I’m hoping to get them all finished and ready to send out this week and then I will just have the shoe & boot rewards left.

September 25th

Sad Ghost typewriter.
I DID IT, I MADE SOUP. Now I just need to do it one more time. This is a carrot soup, or kind of a smoked carrot soup, with the smoky flavour imparted by the fact that I may have scorched it a little, oops.
A few of Gwen’s friends: Hazel Village Gwendolyn Raccoon, Jellycat Bashful Bunny, Bijoukitty bear, H&M sleepy bunny, Roving Ovine rag doll.

Over the past few weeks I’ve ordered SO MANY things online (stuff for Little Mountain and new fall clothes for Gwen & me), it’s all starting to arrive and I think I’m going to be at the post office a lot in the next week. Yesterday I got an email that I would have a package to pick up today, and before I went to go get it just now I checked the mail and I had a small package in the mailbox PLUS a notification slip that I’ll have another package to pick up tomorrow. I usually have a couple banners ready to ship each time I go in so I am staying well ahead on my etsy orders. Since I reopened the shop I’ve had quite a few; I’m trying to save up enough my sales to pay for at least the ferry portion of our Thanksgiving weekend and I’m only $50 short right now. If you’ve been wanting to place an order you can get free shipping on orders $20+ with the code SHIPFREE, and two of my most-frequently-sold-out colours, pink and fuchsia, are finally back in stock!

I really don’t like the new etsy layout though. Now when I go to the front page it’s not the front page, it’s the feed of all the things people I follow have favourited. I liked going to the main page and seeing treasuries and stuff! I found some pretty great stuff that way. I actually just went and looked at the front page while not logged in and it’s totally different. Also I don’t like that they switched the shop feed tab (of all the people who’d liked my items) from being with the favourites feed & interaction tabs to the dashboard. lol if you don’t spend a lot of time on etsy this probably won’t make a lot of sense but idk, it just used to be better and now it feels sloppy and all over the place.

ANYWAY. I’m just waiting on one item, my custom leather stamp, and I’ll be able to start making the leather goods for kickstarter rewards, so if you back me at the leather/suede snap pouch, shoes, or boots level, keep watch for an email from me.

September 22nd

I mentioned these cinnamon roll baked mini donuts at the end of my last post and they were delicious and really easy to make and we ate all of them in one fell swoop. I have these mini donut pans.
C’mon, dadda!
I’ve been in a real rut with my hair recently, it’s a very annoying length on me right now and I’d been hoping that by now it’d be long enough to get bangs but it’s not so it’s always in my face. Plus it’s grown out unevenly and I feel like I should get it trimmed to even it out BUT I know I’d probably lose like, four months’ worth of growth so maybe I’ll just suck it up? It’s almost hat season anyway.
First-day-of-school breakfast special: Nutella pancakes with raspberry compote.

Of course after I write this it was sunny and hotter’n heck all weekend long. Today it’s rainy again, and Gwen’s little friend doesn’t have boots yet so I think it’s going to be mostly an inside day.

Today is also the first day of school, FINALLY. Or sort of. It’s considered “day 0,” the day that would normally be the day after labour Day, where the kids just get attendance taken so the school knows for sure how many students they have (this wasn’t a thing when I was a kid but I grew up in the country and there wasn’t as much moving around or options for different schools as there are here. Of course, with the strike that’s been going on for the last three months the teachers never had a chance to prepare their classrooms so the students are just going to the gym to get marked in, with different times set aside for different grades. Sym is moving up to the school this year and her grade is the last group, so she doesn’t have to be there until 1:30.

I never had a problem before with sending Sym off to school, I mean I was the one to walk her there and pick her up every day until she was old enough to do it herself, so this is the first time I won’t be taking her to the first day at a new school. It’s kind of killing me not to, like I really want to go and help her and make sure she doesn’t get scared or lost but she’s starting high school, how embarrassing would it be for me to tag along??? It seems crazy though, she’s only 12, what is she doing in high school? SHE’S JUST A BABY.

Last night I made her text a friend who lives nearby to make plans to walk down together, and the high school she’s going to is really small- less than 500 students in grades 8-12. This is even smaller than my old high school, and it kind of makes me feel better, like it’s a little school with not that many students, that’s less scary, right? I hope so.

OH AND JUST A QUICK REMINDER: from now until October 10th get free shipping on all orders over $20 from the shop with the code SHIPFREE. I’m trying to earn enough money to pay for at least part of our Thanksgiving weekend trip, and the frigging ferry to get to Vancouver Island & my mom’s house costs $120 EACH WAY, plus we have to rent a car. YIKES.