basset hound halloween costume hack

basset hound costumeThe dictator demanded a basset hound costume this year.  She has a thing for dogs. We have a basset hound.  We are basset hound people.  So the costume request was not a surprise. The surprise was that no one makes a basset hound costume. As much as I enjoy a good DIY, making Halloween costumes always strikes me as time consuming and more expensive than buying one. What’s the point of a good DIY if it’s cheaper to buy it?

 Much googling (with no luck) and an epiphany that Halloween is in 8 DAYS! (crap), I accepted the fact that I would be making one.  And so I am posting this hack for the other basset hound people in the world, who maybe also have a 6 year old for whom no other breed will do.


  • Simplicity pattern #2855
  • 2 yards white plush felt
  • 2 yards brown plush felt
  • 1 yard black plush felt
  • lining fabric for hood and ears (less than 1 yard)
  • thread
  • zipper (14″ for size xs and 18″ for other sizes)
  • 1 pkg. of 1″ single fold bias tape
  • 1 pkg. of 1/2″ wide elastic
  • 2 large snaps
  • polyfill for tail
  • heat n’ bond (optional)

For most of this pattern hack, you follow the instructions given in the pattern.  But first, you have to turn the front, back, leg and tail pieces into basset hound colors.

Cut out all the pieces you need for the pattern and iron them.  Disregard pieces 2, 21 and 22. You won’t need them.

This is the color breakdown for the pieces you will be cutting:

  • white, brown and black: pieces 1 and 4
  • brown and white: pieces 3, 5 and 15
  • all white: pieces 2, 10 and 19
  • all brown: pieces 6, 7, 11 and 12

basset hound costume


Line up front and back pieces (#1 & 4) and pin together.  Mark lines on the pattern where you want the color changes on the fur to be.  Make sure the lines match up with each other on the front and back, so they will match up when sewn together.  Mark each piece with a pattern number, letter and color (ex: piece 1A-black).  Cut on the lines you made. I marked a notation each place I cut onto the pattern piece: “add 1/2″ here”, so I knew to cut an extra 1/2″ of material past the pattern piece, and to make my seam 1/2″ wide there (not shown).  That way, the pattern piece ended up the same size.

basset hound costume

Pin 3 and 5 together (sleeve front and back).  Mark into 2 pieces: brown and white. Mark the same way as above and cut.

Mark piece 15 (tail) into brown and white and and label and cut as above.

Now sew the pieces you have cut from the pattern pieces back together. Continue to follow pattern directions until you get to the ears.

basset hound costume

 I made a quick pattern on paper for the ears (here’s the PDF). Cut 2 pieces for the ears using the brown felt, and 2 pieces using the same fabric you used for the lining. Pin felt and lining right sides together. Sew a 3/8″ seam, leaving the top open.  Trim the seam close to the stitching, then turn the ear right side out and press flat with a warm iron.

  Hand stitch the top of the ears closed, then stitch onto hood. I stitched  the ear sticking up, lining side out, so they would flop over themselves a bit instead of lying flat.

basset hound costume

To make the paws, follow heat n bond instructions to adhere to a small piece of black felt (or skip and sew the paw pads on). Cut out 4 circles and 1 oblong shape for each paw, put them in postion on the gloves and iron (or sew) into place.

basset hound costume

basset hound costume


If you liked this post, maybe you’d like to see what else I get up to.  You can follow me on bloglovin’, facebook, or see my latest pin obsessions on pinterest.

If you like my pictures, you can see what else I shoot that doesn’t end up on the blog on instagram.

on death and coconut

coconut cream pie

  My dad died 17 days ago. He had been sick but I wasn’t expecting it. That also happened to be my daughter’s 6th birthday, and the day before my own. It’s been a fuck of a couple of weeks.

 The dust has settled a bit. We waded through the wake and the funeral. It oddly reminded me of my wedding, where everything seemed too bright and dizzy and I had trouble remembering the details afterward. Too much to process in too short a time frame.

  And since then, life has gone on. I hosted a birthday party for said 6 year old with 50 people in attendance 2 days after the funeral. I played hooky in the city and bought a cookbook. I’ve done laundry, but ignored the cleaning. I’ve brunched. I’ve cleaned out his apartment. I’ve napped a lot. I’ve felt alternately fine and then wept in large retching gasps with no warning it’s coming. This is grief for me.

I’ve had the banal epiphanies I usually associate with hallucinogens. That having complicated feelings about someone is not the same as having no feelings at all. That this puts me one giant step closer to my own death (which it really doesn’t). That I need to be a better mother, wife, friend. That most of things I spend a lot of time caring about don’t actually matter at all.

 We did not have an easy relationship.  He was not the kind of man that most people close to him would say that about. There were huge incidents and hurts of the type that scar instead of heal. He was without remorse. But he was also incredibly charismatic. He filled a room with the force of his personality. He could be incredibly generous (like secretly paying my cousin’s college tuition on the condition she not tell anyone). And he endured hardships that most people claim they’d rather die than undergo. I struggled to find balance with him.

 More than anything, he loved to eat. Most of the memories he shared about his childhood involved food. There was his grandmother’s homemade fudge, his first job selling spudnuts door to door, the hot dog stand in California we returned to each visit  we took to the west coast see his family. The black eyed peas and the coconut cream pie his mother made. My own mother tried over the course of my childhood to duplicate the pie.  It was never quite up to the standard of his memory.

 20 years later, I made him my own version. I don’t know how it compared to his long dead mother’s, who hadn’t baked him a pie in 50 years. But he oohed and aahed and made yummy noises and ate most of it by himself. With that pie, he did everything right.

 I never made it again. No one else liked coconut except him. It was too time consuming. Anytime I thought of baking him another pie, old battles and resentments would surface and the pie pan would go back on the shelf. Someday I would make him another, when we had smoothed over the bumps. There was time. But of course, there wasn’t.

 So I made one last pie. I don ‘t think he knows. I don’t even really believe he still exists in some form, except maybe as energy. He was a believer, though. He thought there were great things waiting for him on the other side. I envy that kind of faith. And for all our sakes, I hope he’s right. And I hope the smell of toasted coconut and sugar finds him somewhere, healthy, with a smile on his face and a huge appetite.

RIP dad.

dad’s coconut cream pie

ingredients for crust:

from the Back in the Day cookbook
  • 2 c. unbleached flour
  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 c. ice water, plus up to 3 more tbl.
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into bits
  • 1 stick (8 tbl.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits

 Whisk flours, sugar and salt together in a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the vinegar and 1/3 c. ice water.  Place flour mixture into a food processor.  Sprinkle butter and shortening over the top.  Pulse 5-10 times until butter is size of small peas.  Return flour mixture to bowl and pour egg mixture on top.  Use a fork to carefully mix together, adding more water, 1 tbl. at a time, if dough seems too dry.  Do not overwork the dough.

Form dough into a ball and cut into 2 pieces.  Flatten each piece into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill the the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

  When dough is chilled,  generously sprinkle your countertop with flour,then roll out dough to fit a standard size pie pan.  Carefully place into the pan, and trim edges to 1″ past the edge of the pan.  Tuck edges under and crimp the edges.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap, and place back in the fridge for at least 1 hour until fully chilled.

  When ready, preheat the oven to 400°. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork, then line with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until dough appears set and dry, and is no longer shiny.  Remove foil and pie weights and bake another 5-10 minutes until the crust turns a light golden brown.  Remove crust from oven and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.

ingredients for coconut cream filling:

from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook
  • 1 & 1/4 c. sweetened dried coconut
  • 1 & 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tbl. cornstarch
  • 2 tbl. unsalted butter
  • 2 c. heavy cream (for topping)
  • 1/4 c. confectioner’s sugar (for topping)

 Preheat oven to 325°. Pour coconut onto a metal baking sheet and spread out evenly.  Toast in the oven, stirring frequently, 5-10 minutes until it becomes fragrant and turns a light brown.  Remove from oven and place onto a clean, cool baking sheet and allow to cool.

  While coconut is cooling, pour milk into a medium saucepan. Slice vanilla bean down the middle length-wise (not all the way through), scrape the insides into the milk and put the scraped pod into the milk as well.  Warm over medium heat, until bubbles just begin to break the surface of the milk.  Remove pan from heat, and remove the vanilla pod and discard.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together.  While whisking constantly, slowly pour milk mixture into bowl. Whisk until combined, then pour mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until it thickens and begins to boil, 3-5 minutes. Continue to cook for 1 more minute, whisking constantly.  Remove from heat, and pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.  Whisk in butter until melted. Whisk in 1 c. of the toasted coconut, reserving the other 1/4 c. Cover surface of coconut cream with plastic wrap and let cool about 20 minutes.  After it has cooled to warm, pour cream into cooled pie crust, smooth out and cover surface with plastic wrap.  Chill in the refrigerator at least 5 hours or overnight.

  When pie has chilled, make whipped cream topping by combining the heavy cream and the confectioner’s sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment and set the mixer to medium, whisk until soft peaks form. Remove from bowl, spread over the coconut cream filling, and sprinkle the top with the remaining coconut.

coconut cream pie

You see some images I shot in his apartment on instagram.

If you liked this post, maybe you’d like to see what else I get up to.  You can follow me on bloglovin’, facebook, or see my latest pin obsessions on pinterest.

If you like my pictures, you can see what else I shoot that doesn’t end up on the blog on instagram.

DIY: faux marble table



  • black spray paint
  • gold spray paint
  • marble contact paper
  • painter’s tape
  • craft knife

(The pictures start with the black areas already painted because I accidentally erased the earlier ones from my camera. I am a dork).

After giving the tables a  good scrubbing to get the city grime off, I taped off the gold areas and spray painted the rest two coats of matte black.  Then I reversed the taped off parts to spray the brass areas.

faux marble table  I first tried to restore the brass.  But it is plated, and had gotten scratched and rubbed off in some areas.  It was never going to look nice.  Still, I hesitated.  The dull gold color was either going to look fabulous or awful, and once it was done it was going to be too late.  I gotten pretty twisted up about it, then reminded myself this is only furniture and it was free, and just went for it.  Luckily, I think it looks awesome. Right? fauxmarbletable3  After the painting was done, all that was left to do was cover the tops with the marble paper.  These also needed a good scrubbing, and still had stains and paint splatters all over them (I really wish I had a picture to show you). I used a spackle knife to smooth to paper from the middle out as I unpeeled the backing.  I still  had a few small bubbles.  I popped those with a pin and pressed the air out.  I overlapped the 2 pieces by 1/4″ to join them together. faux marble table

Here’s a close up of the two pieces joined together.  You can see the seam when you look for it, but I think a marble pattern always looks a little random, so it doesn’t bother me. If you want to cover a whole surface in one piece, you can find larger width marble paper here.fauxmarbletable5 The finished table! My new nightstands from abandoned furniture for less than $20.fauxmarbletable6

If you liked this post, maybe you’d like to see what else I get up to.  You can follow me on bloglovin’, facebook, or see my latest pin obsessions on pinterest.

If you like my pictures, you can see what else I shoot that doesn’t end up on the blog on instagram.

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