Oct 09

No-Sew Animal Costumes

by Hannah Holt »


An old pair of sweats, a little fabric paint, a cheap mask… One awesome costume!

What you’ll need:

  • Sweatshirt and pants
  • Fabric paint ($3-$5)
  • A paint brush
  • Cardboard
  • A mask or face paint (optional)

Step1: If the sweats aren’t solid in color, turn them inside out and remove the tags. Like so…

Step 2: Look up pictures of the desired animal print. It’s a good idea to make a practice sketch before painting.

Step 3: Insert cardboard between the layers of fabric in the sweats. (I used an old cereal box.)

Step 4: Paint the design on the fabric. If the sweats are new, they should be washed and dried (without fabric softener) before painting.

Step 5: Because I was painting light on dark, I painted a second coat after two hours. When finished painting, dry on a flat surface for 24 hours.

Left: One coat, Right: Two coats

Step 6: After the sweats have dried, iron over the pattern (inside and out) on low heat. This helps the paint bond with the fabric.

Other considerations:

-I found our giraffe mask at our local zoo, but a quick google search showed a variety of animal masks available for $5 and under. You could also make one out of a paper plate.

-One bottle of fabric paint (4 oz) is enough to complete one coat of the above pattern on an extra small (four-year-old) sized sweatsuit. A less paint intensive pattern will require less paint. Larger sized sweats might require more paint.

Other costume ideas:

Dec 07

Authentic Dialog

by Hannah Holt »

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My son Michael* recently turned five. For the past year, I’ve been recording some of our conversations. Here’s sampling of dialog from when he was four years and three months old:

Michael: I had a busy day.

Josh (my husband): Why was it busy?

Michael: I did some very busy things.

Josh: What did you do?

Michael: I lifted some snow.

Me: What did you do after that?

Michael: I cut a piece of paper with scissors.

Me: And what happened next?

Michael: I went to time-out.

Me: Oh, did you play with scissors without asking first?

Josh: That’s exactly what happened.

Me: So what did you do after time-out?

Michael: I got a chance.

Me: You mean you got a second chance?

Michael: Yeah, then I gave Daddy a hug.


On another day, apparently out of the blue…

Michael: How many weeks until we die?

Me: Well, most people live until they are about eighty, and you are only four… So lots and lots and lots of weeks.

Michael: Did we die already?

Me: No… we are still alive, and I love being with you right here on earth.

Michael: I love you too Mom.


During a game of hide-and-go-seek, I heard the boys have this conversation…

Michael (to Grant* my two-year-old): I found you.

Grant: Da.

Michael: Where’s Mommy? Did she disappear?

Grant: (no response)

Michael: Yes, she did disappear! (walking around the house) Mommy, where are you?

Grant: Mommy.

Michael: Oh my gosh! She disappeared. (opening the fridge) She’s not in there (closing the fridge). Hmmmm. (opening the fridge again) Grant, do you want a sandwich?

Grant: Ya!

Michael: Which one do you want?

Grant: Da.

Michael: Just one. Mmmm. This is a good snack.

Grant: Da.

At this point, they had stopped looking for me, so I took the opportunity to sneak up behind them.

Me: What are you doing?

Michael and Grant: AAAAAAh!

Michael (offering me his sandwich): Here mom, I made a snack for you.


Here’s a conversation Josh recorded after I attempted to use Michael as messenger…

Hannah: We only have enough dough for one pizza. Go ask Daddy if he wants an all Hawaiian pizza or a half Hawaiian and half cheese pizza.

Michael: OK!

Michael (now in the office, mostly staring into the corner of the ceiling while talking): Uh, mom…dad [He calls Josh mom a lot on accident]. Do you want a whole pizza… or… or a small or large pizza… or… a large pizza… or half… a cheese sandwhich…. or a small pizza or…. a cheese sandwhich pizza?

Josh: Tell Mommy half and half.

Michael: OK!

Hannah (walking into the office, about 30 seconds later): Just to make sure, do you want a half Hawaiian, half cheese pizza?

Josh: Yes.

(L to R: Grant and Michael)

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Sep 15

It’s a Digital World

by Hannah Holt »

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My last post summarized the illustration process using traditional methods.

However, digitally created illustrations are becoming common. The latest addition to the bookshelf, The Sun Came Out, is a digital collage. Here’s a behind the scenes look at “illustrating” that book.

1) My digital template.

I created a digital template that was proportional to (although larger than) the final size for my book. Above is my basic digital double spread template (reduced of course). The pink and blue colors represent individual pages. This layout made it easier to create balanced double spreads, while keeping track of the gutter or page crease.

2) Planning the story layout and pacing.

Because this story is about change and the progression of time, I had to stage my photo shoots carefully. However, I couldn’t plan the pictures exactly because the outcomes depended on on weather, growth, etc. Still, I planned the themes and pacing on paper.

3) The raw digital photos.

I took 200 or so digital photos over nine months to provide the content for this book. Here is one unaltered photo I took:

4) Cut, copy, paste, and manipulate

I used a photo editing software to create the final illustrations. Within each illustration are many layers. A double page spread might required 10 or more different photos. Below is a more simple illustration (it required the blending of only two photos):

5) Divide the double page spreads into individual pages.

Then I resized the individual pages for the final book, imported them into the flash program Josh created, uploaded the book to my website, and “ta da!” The Sun Came Out.

Of course it also helped that I had two cute and willing models:

Oct 25

Foot Ghosts

by Hannah Holt »


What you’ll need:

  • white paper
  • black crayons
  • scissors

Step 1: Use the crayon to trace your foot.

Step 2: Draw a face on the heal of the traced foot.

Step 3: Cut out the ghost.

Nov 15

Nine Easy Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

by Hannah Holt »


Click on the picture (or description below) for instructions.

  1. Painted Plymouth Rocks
  2. Hand Turkeys
  3. Pilgrim Hats
  4. Pine-cone Turkeys
  5. Pilgrim Puppets
  6. Clothespin Turkeys
  7. Paper-leaf Napkin Rings
  8. Tepee Lantern Centerpieces
  9. Bubble-wrap Indian Corn