Five Go Plaices! Just So Fishtival Preparations

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Did you sea what I did there? (I can’t help it, it’s codtagious!) It’s only one sleep to go until we head to Just So Festival for it’s 10th birthday celebrations and we are beyond excited!

Who will be victorious in this year’s Tribal Tournament? Will the fish retain their 2018 title? Or will it be team bee that buzz their way to victory? Or will the dark horses (or y’know, stags) sneak up and surprise us all? Festival families, pick from owls, foxes, frogs, stags, lions, bees or fish, and bring your tribal allegiance to Just So.

Just So Much Effort?

Not familiar with Just So? Then you may wonder why everyone (including yours truly) is going through some effort to get togged up with fox ears, owl feathers, fish scales and lion manes. Read my Just So Preview and familiarise yourself with what awaits us.

Undoubtedly the Tribal Tournament is what makes Just So Festival unique – a brilliantly eccentric competition that runs throughout the weekend which brings out everyone’s animal instincts.

There will be a giant scoreboard enabling members of opposing tribes to take part in bonkers games and unexpected shenanigans in order to earn the golden pebbles which go towards their tribe’s overall score. On Sunday, the Tribal Parade will see a host of animal revellers marching behind their tribal leaders before the announcement of the 2019 Tribal Tournament winners!

Feeling fishy!

Stanley was the one who decided our tribe, a few were dismissed straight away but we deliberated over foxes, fish and bee’s for a little while…it was a tough choice! It was while we were admiring the koi carp at a local garden centre that Stanley announced ‘I really want to be a fish Mummy’ and James agreed. Hoorah! Now, being the only girl in a house full of boys I was secretly championing team fish from the start and may have let out a little squeal of delight at his decision and all the glittery possibilities!

Team Fish!

Not one to shy away from the opportunity to force get the [grumpy] Yorkshireman I’m married to into a bit of fancy dress – I have been quietly working away at turning our family of five into a shimmering shoal of fish!

I knew I wanted a fish scales effect, shimmery, glittery fabrics, fish motifs, glitter and sequins but I also wanted something that we could ALL wear (not an easy task when ages range from 9 months to 40 years old), was reasonably comfortable and suitable for the boys. Stan’s one rule being that he didn’t want to look like a mermaid!

So, if you need a bit of fishy finspiration then look no further:

My idea was to appliqué scales onto a t-shirt base, thinking that a t-shirt is pretty universal and is fairly suitable for the unpredictable British weather being as it can easily be layered under/over, unlike a full costume.

I have been able to source some fish scale printed ones from good old eBay, so I quickly kitted 4 of us out and dug out a plain white t-shirt for Eli.

My best eBay buy has to be my fish inspired pumps though, they are just amazing – so much glitter! At £3 they were an absolute bargain! If fish had feet then they’d wear these, right? Sadly, it’s been raining heavily all day and I think it will be wellies for us tomorrow but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Sunday.

A successful trip to Hobbycraft provided a stash of glittery fat quarters, stick on jewels, and holographic craft foam.

My next step was to make the ‘scales’ up. I used a empty cardboard tube to draw around and cut out circles using pinking shears to prevent fraying. I’m not going to lie, to draw and cut out enough circles took a week and was tedious to say the least but I was just doing it in the evenings for an hour or so and kept chipping away at them. A quick rummage in a local charity shop and I was the proud owner of a 50p sequined shrug that also got the fish scale treatment for that added sparkle.

I built up the layers of circles using fabric glue to keep them in place until I had a large ‘patch of scales’. These patches were then hand sewn onto the t-shirts in order to attach them securely. Once all the t-shirts were scaled up, I glued on some mirrored fish decorations and added some stick on jewels.

Throughout this process I was fending off little hands, keeping scissors out of reach and providing snacks every 10 minutes or so…the joys, eh?

Just Keep Sewing, Just Keep Sewing!

Next stop was headwear…I had already decided that I wanted a festival crown, so again to the charity shops where I picked up a 70’s style shell ‘ornament’ and broke it down into it’s individual shell pieces. I repurposed an old headband and used a hot glue gun to stick on the shells plus bits I’d gathered such as jewels, flat backed pearls and some fish tank ‘weed’ from the pet shop.

For the rest of my shoal, I had picked up some craft foam visors on my Hobby craft trolley dash for £1.50 each. They were fully adjustable and soft so suitable for Eli but would also fit Ben too. Again, I layered fabric fish scales gluing them into place until the whole surface was covered. A few stick on jewels and they were nearly complete.

Ok so the next components are a bit random to say the least. Googling ‘fish things’ – as you do, I came across these cat toys. They were just the right size, and handily they came in a pack of five meaning that the boys could choose which fish they wanted to be.

They have added a great 3d element to our costumes, but let’s just hope team Lion don’t get wind of the cat nip! I have hand sewn them onto the T-shirts and hot glued them onto the headwear.

Fin-ishing Touches

We’re not just stopping at clothing oh no, we are going full on fish! Any bit of flesh that’s showing will be getting a scaly makeover too. Our faces will be painted with blues, greens and silvers in a scale pattern and I have more eco glitter than you can shake a stick at. We also have irresdescant fish scale body transfers which should really catch the light and last a bit longer than the makeup.

I wanted something fun for the boys so my next little project serves a dual purpose really. We have clear (biodegrable) ponchos to pop on if there’s just a bit of rain so that our outfits are still on show but I also wanted a wet weather option that would add to our theme. Step up jellyfish umbrellas!

This was something I’d seen on Pinterest as a Halloween costume idea and thought I’d give it a go. Just So comes alive at dusk so I’m told so I’m hoping these will add to the magic, we can use them as a tribal prop regardless of weather.

I used coloured bin bags straight off the roll and cut them into strips of varying thickness. Plus a few lengths of glitter ribbon for a bit of sparkle. These were then glued into place along the inside edge of the umbrella to create dangling tenticles.

Here’s the clever part; by weaving a string of coloured battery powered fairylights into the spokes the jellyfish will luminess with a gentle glow as the sun sets.

How amazing will the boys look holding onto these?

Follow me on Instagram to see us in all our #teamfish glory over the Just So weekend.

Disclosure: We have been invited to attend Just So Festival by Wild Rumpus as part of their press team. This is in exchange for a review of the event and coverage/promotion across my social media channels.

All images are my own unless otherwise credited.

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