Today’s featured item came from a custom order request from a repeat customer who had already ordered a green crocodile mask and tail set. This time the little boy wanted an albino alligator! Apparently there is a famous one at the zoo near their home, and it had endeared itself to this little boy very much. I love getting custom order requests because so often folks can come up with awesome ideas or color combinations that I might not think of myself. It always provides fresh inspiration and leads to new creative outlets. So I set to work thinking of this costume and how it would turn out…At first I was a little discouraged from the project because, well, how fun could it be to make an ALBINO alligator. It’s all white, right? Most of my costumes are full of over-reaching color and this one had me a little stumped at first. But once I started pulling out my various shades of white, I started to see something very peaceful and unique emerging. She wanted it made out of pure wool felt. I LOVE working with wool felt and started offering it as an option in The Tree House Kid late last year after I had several customers request it. I can make it out of Ecofelt as well, but this one in particular was built from pure wool felt. I like for my animal costumes to carry some realistic features, so the first thing I do when I design an animal costume is look the animal up on Wikipedia or in my animal field guides. I use a compilation of pictures to draw a sketch of the face, then a more refined version that can be reduced down to simple mask features. I start with the eyes and build the mask around the eyes, which is ironic because it is the eyes that are empty in a mask, but also what MAKES it a mask. I was really happy with the way this set turned out. They liked it enough to get one for their son and a friend as well! So out there somewhere, there are two little albino alligator buddies probably visiting this rare and precious animal in its habitat, hopefully learning more about the animal through the experience and of course, through their play. Peace to each and every one of you on this evening.