Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mum's the Word

Homecoming has come and gone around here, but I thought I'd post the pictures of the mum I did for Billy's date in case you ever have to make one and need some ideas.  If you are unfamiliar with what mum's are, here is an explanation based on my experience.  

It is tradition around these parts (Central and South Texas) for high school girls to wear a mum on Homecoming game day.  The mum is given to the young lady by her Homecoming date or boyfriend.  It is pinned to the chest in the same way you wear a corsage.  I believe it is okay for parents to give their daughter's a mum these days, as well, but I am no expert on the exact etiquette.  Anyway, they come in sizes varying from about a foot long to three feet long.  They are basically an artificial mum flower that is backed with a thin piece of cardboard and adorned with lots of ribbon in the school colors.  They are made to reflect and represent the boy who gave the mum, as well as the girl receiving it.  Mums are worn with pride and often kept as a keepsake for many years.  (Until one day when your parents call and say they're throwing out all of your old stuff from high school and you yell "NOOOOO" and speed over to their house so you can look at your mum's one last time before they go to the burn barrel...I'm not talking about me, of course...I've just heard of this happening ;).  They can also be an indicator of status or popularity depending on the size of the mum and how elaborate the adornment.  In other words...they're a big deal around here!  There are mums for boys to wear now, too.  These are worn on the arm and are much smaller than the girls'.  Mum's can be custom ordered at flower shops or craft shops, or they can be made in varying degrees at home.  

I didn't start completely from scratch.  I was able to purchase a base mum from our local craft store.   They sell all the ribbon, bells, ornaments, stickers, etc. there, and will even do custom orders if you give them enough advance notice.  Since we do not DO advance notice in our family and I have the "it needs to be unique and original" thing that I have, I bought all of the "add-ons" and designed and created it myself.  All you need is some scissors, a glue gun and glue sticks, and some really thick skin- You WILL burn your fingers, and your work will NOT be appreciated by your teenage boy child!  

I basically took the base and added more color and texture with ribbons in several colors, widths, lengths, and prints.  This is done by cutting ribbon in slightly varying lengths and gluing them under the cardboard form the flower sits on.  Be very careful that you do not glue the entire thing down before you have a chance to add all of your ribbon.  I also found it helpful to use a stapler when positioning one ribbon on top of the other so they are held in place while you are gluing them onto the base.  

I personalized the mum by adding stickers with Billy's name, his date's name, and their jersey numbers from the sports they play- football for him and basketball for her.  I wanted to make it cute and girly for her, while still keeping with the spirit of the event which is centered around football.  

I used many different widths of ribbon and even made some little bows to embellish the ornaments I tied on.  I made a loop out of yellow and white polka dot ribbon to hang some little antlers.  We are the Tivy Fighting Antlers in case you are wondering.  I added a little glue inside the loop to keep the antlers from sliding out of place.

I added another bow-laden helmet ornament, numbers to the little blue jersey, some gold and blue star garland to the flower, a few bells for some noise, and some basketball ornaments since his date plays basketball.  And there you have first mum! The last two pics are the before and after shots.  I do have some left over ribbon that I will save for next year.  If I'm lucky, I'll only have to do this about a dozen more times!  Just this a tradition that takes place everywhere or are we Texans the only ones who wear these big gaudy things?


  1. Hey Lisa!! I have absolutely no idea what this is, but its amazing!! And you are the sweetest and most fabulous mom there is! I grew up in the Mid West and am not familiar with what a "mum" is! I love the different traditions that come with regions though!

  2. Hey, Monica! Thanks. I guess I should put up an explanation of what a mum is and describe the tradition. It's funny, I never even considered the possibility of it not being part of every kid's homecoming tradition until I was about to publish my post. Hope you are well and I love hearing from you! Lisa

  3. Okay, Monica...I've got the explanation up now!