A Jolly Halloween Holiday with Mary Poppins

crocheted scarf in progress

I hate Halloween. Every year I do my best to ignore it. However, I love contests. And every year my work hosts a Halloween costume contest. Dilemmas, dilemmas. Apparently I love contests more than I hate Halloween.

This year I wasn’t feeling it. I had won first place for the last two years. In fact, last year even I won the now-discontinued cubicle decorating contest, too. My plan was to just skip it all and rest on my laurels. But then I saw this scene (which I’ve seen a million times) and noticed something new:


I. Love. That. Scarf.

How had I never noticed it before, Disney fan and knitter that I am? I decided to go as Mary Poppins this year … but only if I had her scarf! No scarf, no costume.

My yarn stash is getting a little crazy as it is, and I’ve told myself no new yarn until I use up some up of what I’ve got. So, I fudged the colors of her scarf so I pull from the stash (and maybe earn the privilege to go yarn shopping again!). Mary Poppins’s scarf is more of a coral pink than a blush pink, and the orange stripes are more red orange. So my colors were “practically perfect.” (And yes, I’ve been overusing that phrase lately. It’ll probably show up a few times in this post. Hopefully it will wear off once Halloween is over.) It’s a simple crochet mesh pattern. The mohair was getting in the way of seeing the holes though. This is why I don’t work with mohair much! I only had eight stitch markers at my desk (markers I borrowed at that) to keep track of my spaces, so I had to improvise with safety pins and bobby pins. You can see them in the photo at the top. I thought it was rather genius, if I do say so myself! A DIY Stitch Marker hack necessitated by Halloween!

crocheted scarf in progress, detail of stripe pattern

My progress as of 4:30 p.m. on October 29 … no more time to procrastinate! Spit spot, as Mary Poppins says!

Of course, I didn’t finish the scarf. Really, what was I thinking being able to finish a whole scarf in two days? But by that time I had invested too much time to ditch the costume idea. And I had done too much research on Mary Poppins’s wardrobe.

It’s an easy costume for anyone who needs last minute ideas (for the future … it’s noon on Halloween, so probably too late for this year). Ended up winning 3rd place. (You can see the winners on C&T’s Instagram.) Not too shabby. Plus, I got about half the office singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (Spelled that right on the first try, according to spellcheck! Ha!)—that was better than any prize! They should have never doubted that I know all the words!

Mary Poppins costume

Sorry, the cell phone photo is a little blurry. Still, you get the idea. Fun fact: With my glasses off in this photo, I couldn’t see a thing!

  • Hat: Take almost any brimmed hat, push in the top so that it’s more flat, then cover the whole thing in fabric. The fabric’s optional—I just thought it looked better that way. Mary’s actual hat is straw and has black trim that doesn’t show well in screenshots. Mine had red trim because it’s what I had. And yellow flowers (because that’s what I had). One of my coworkers used to be a costume designer, and she said it’s all about the silhouette. Good to know for future costumes!
  • Blazer: In the movie, Mary Poppins wears a black overcoat while flying, and she replaces it with a navy blazer when  that she takes off and replaces with a navy blazer. The blazer and skirt have a silver stripe, but I skipped that. I wasn’t going to sweat the small details for an office Halloween contest. My blazer is an old tweet coat I bought in high school. I’m just happy it fit!
  • Skirt: Any dress skirt will do, really. Mine is an old black skirt that I use for job interviews.  I think I even wore it to my C&T Publishing interview. Everything comes full circle.
  • Shirt: A white shirt with a Mandarin collar would suffice. I couldn’t find one, though. Instead, I got a white shell at Target and attached lace around it with a running stitch. The bow tie is ribbon that I also stitched onto the shirt. The shirt was a bit of a splurge, but I know I’ll wear it again.
  • Accessories: For shoes, use black boots or black flats with black stockings. Add white gloves (because Mary Poppins is nothing if not proper), an old-fashioned black umbrella, and a “carpet bag” (i.e. a tote of some kind if you can’t find the real thing). Luckily, my mom had all those things for me to borrow.
  • Hair: Mary Poppins has a pretty simple bun, with the front portion of her hair parted in the center and swept back into the bun. If you’re obsessed with detail like I am, there are some decent shots of the back of her head during the scene where she’s convincing Mr. Banks to take the children to work with him. My hair would not cooperate with me though, even after the 24 bobby pins, 2 Spin clips, 1 pony tail holder, and 1 comb. In my epic battle with my hair throughout the morning, I thought to myself “Julie Andrews always looks so perfect in the film … I bet it’s a stupid wig!” And I was right! Go figure. Practically perfect, indeed!
  • Makeup: Mary’s got pretty but simple makeup. Rosy cheeks (blush), highlighted by not colorful eye (black eyeliner, neutral eye shadow), and a relatively bold lip. I saw a lot of Mary Poppins Halloween costumes with a bright red lip. I think that’s a mistake. In the movie, it’s more of an orange red. Red red just doesn’t translate as well (at least, I don’t think it does).

Happy Halloween, everyone (even if I don’t like it)! And Happy All Saints Day! It’s raining here, so this feels appropriate:

Oh, It’s a jolly holiday with Mary
Mary makes your heart so light
When the day is gray and ordinary
Mary makes the sun shine bright


Weekly Wrap-up: Skunked

The quilt auction is over. My quilt went for …

… *drum roll, please* …

… $470! That’s more than the auction coordinator thought I’d get! She was actually quite shocked.

That said, I don’t know if I’ll do another auction quilt next year. I’m glad it went for so much, but I got caught up in the auction fervor and part of me was hoping for more. I’ll think about it. Thanks to all of you who left such encouraging comments! It means a lot to hear such nice things about my designs.

After that weekend of auction dinner dances and running carnival games at the church fall festival, I took the day off to relax and catch up on other projects. Then at 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning, Penny made a new best friend.

Skunk image by birdphotos.com (taken from Wikipedia)

Skunk image by birdphotos.com (taken from Wikipedia)

It’s amazing how your dog getting skunked changes your schedule! I think I’ve tried every home skunk remedy on the Internet, and she STILL STINKS. *Sigh.* I haven’t had much time for anything because she’s had almost a dozen baths in 6 days.

So, in no particular order, here are some random observations from this stinky week:

  • The following skunk remedies do not work: tomato juice, vinegar, and de-skunking enzymatic shampoos. The following skunk remedies sort of work: feminine hygiene products and this brand of dog ear cleaner solution. The following works, but you can’t get it near their eyes, making it a little useless in my case: the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda/dish soap solution found all over Google. Of course, one website said the best deskunking method is to not let your dog near skunks. … Wow. I never would have thought to keep Penny away from the skunks.
  • The following things were favorite things that had to be thrown out because they were too skunked to save: purple ballet flats, Disneyland 50th anniversary t-shirt, and Penny’s polka dot collar. RIP, favorite stuff.
  • I’m starting to think Penny was sprayed by some sort of mutant Super Skunk. I have been watching too many superhero TV shows.
  • The last time I had a day off, Penny got Cherry Eye and had to be rushed to the vet. I’m starting to think I shouldn’t take days off from work.
  • Carnivals are fun and all … if you’re not in charge. Then they’re exhausting. Also, kids don’t want to play water balloon toss. They want to have water balloon fights. I should have seen this coming.
  • I can’t decide if I want to enter the Halloween costume contest at work. If I do, I’ll probably go as Mary Poppins because it’s the only idea I’ve got that’s doable.
  • My first craft show of the season is in 13 days. When did THAT happen?
  • I scheduled a freelance editing project for the week before said craft fair. When did THAT happen?
  • My Square credit card reader came in the mail Friday. I can now take credit card payments at craft fairs. Pure. Awesome.
  • Cost Plus World Market has their Christmas bakeware shop up and running, and I want Halloween to just go away so I can go all Martha Stewart and start decorating Christmas cookies RIGHT NOW.
  • Mmm … cookies.

Hopefully regular crafty blogs will resume later this week. Unless Penny makes any more friends.