Image

Happy New Year

On New Years Eve I got to thinking.  At first I started to get depressed and angry.  And then I started broadening my thinking.  Instead of focusing on the one main event, I remembered all of the little things.  The things that made the year good, not bad.  What made me happy.  All of the billion of little things that I don’t want to forget.

Like our move to Fort Leavenworth.  I’m not going to think about the complete shitshow that move was, but focus instead on the end result.  Not only was a move exactly what the doctor ordered after everything, I absolutely adore this house.  Hands down my favorite house out of the last 10 years.  High ceilings, a one story floorpan, hardwood floors, big open rooms; it’s to die for.

Huh. There was a time when we had a clean, organized house. Who would’ve thunk it?

Even a ghost to add a little bit of character!  Not to mention the community our building has established.  13 kids, ranging in age from 2-9 crammed into our postage stamp backyard; it’s perfection.  And the icing on the cake?  Not only do I get along with all of the adults, but none of the kids are annoying!

Or that there was a huge VW scandal and now I get to sell my car back for a profit after driving it for 2 and a half years!  I thought I was going to be saddled with the worst car on the face of the earth until Jordan turned 16 and got to destroy it the rest of the way (by doing things like accidentally putting gas in it, like her mother), but instead we’re saying goodbye and good riddance and replacing it with a Wrangler.  Now that’s happiness.

Actually my annual Florida trip with my best girls and without kids–now that’s happiness.  It never ceases to amaze me how it doesn’t matter how much time has passed since we’ve last seen one another–it never feels like more than a week.Our annual beach trip with my favorite non-blood-related family, which was made all the better this year by my brother’s sober appearance.  The kids got to spend some quality time with their uncle and fell in love with him.  It’s been six months and yet C still runs around the house randomly yelling “Uncle Buuuuuuuccck!!!!”There are all kinds of good memories with Jeff, but since he refuses to be photographed, they’re a lot more difficult to remember.  Seriously, it’s like pulling teeth to get him to take 3 family shots during the kids’ annual school photo shoot.  This is his “I’m going to f*cking kill you Amanda if you make me take one more picture” face.And yet, he still manages to have brilliant ideas.  Like asking our photographer to impose a butterfly in our family photos to represent Zoe.  It’s on Carter’s back in the top picture.

Then there’s Jordan.  First her second half of Kindergarten (at the end of which she received the “Rule Follower Queen” award from her teacher) and now 1st grade.  FIRST GRADE!!!!  She is a girlie girl through and through.  Princesses, dressing up, absolutely no sports, wants to get married but not have kids or work, loves anything sparkly, hasn’t put on a pair of jeans or sweatpants in over 2 years.  And she definitely has the crafty gene.  That kid adores making stuff.  Sometimes the ideas she comes up with blow me away. She’s my little clone (“Whatever floats your boat chick pea!”)–minus the girlie girl stuff.  I have no idea where she got that from.

Jordan can be accurately summed up with this exchange:

“So tomorrow you have to pull out all the stuff we don’t want the packers to take. You can pick 3 dress up dresses, 5 Barbies and a few other toys. Then you need to pick 10 dresses, 10 pjs, 10 pairs of underwear.”
“Okay!”
“Oh and 3 pairs of shoes.”
“What?!?! NO NOT THREE!!!! I need TEN–one pair for each outfit!!”

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of her and see how old she is.  And then she opens her mouth and not just an attitude, but an ATT-I-TUDE, comes flying out.  Along with a perfect replica of my death stare.  Then I flash forward 10 years down the road when the two of us are going to be at each other like cats and dogs and try to treasure the fact that she actually likes me now.

Only Jordan dresses like this to go fishing.  Or, just yesterday when we pulled out the science experiment kit she got for Christmas she asked me, “I want to dress up like a scientist while we do it…wait, what do they wear?”  She put on her tan spring jacket, made herself a pair of glasses out of pipe cleaners and was ready to go.She’s showing random glimpses of unselfishness this year, thankfully.  Every time we passed an Angel Tree in December she insisted on picking an angel and buying a present for a little girl (always a girl, never a boy) in need.  She’s made countless cards, pictures and treats for our neighbors.  No worries though, she’s still herself.  Like when she bought “me” a witch for my birthday. She lost her first tooth this year, a day before her 6th birthday.We visited her best friends and my Irish twin in Californiaand followed it up with a fantastic day at Disneyland,during which time Jordan became obsessed with the Les Miserables soundtrack.

The magic brush.  That discovery just might be my favorite part of 2016. 

And then there’s Carter.  He is every bit of a boy’s boy as Jordan is a girlie girl.  Like when he was in the bathtub at the hotel last week and wanted me to help him “put this cup on my penis.  No, I want this cup on my penis.  Help me put this cup on my penis!!!!!!That kid is obsessed with trucks and trains.  Like a serious obsession.  He will sit down and play with trucks all by himself for hours.  Literally hours.  One of my favorite memories was right around his second birthday when we went to Barnes and Noble just so he could play with their train set.  After 45 minutes, and not a single sound out of him, I told him it was time to go.  This was his reaction.  As obsessed as he is though, he hates it when they’re on.  We took him to Touch a Truck for his second birthday.  He was in absolute heaven for the first ten minutes…until “horn friendly” hour started.  Then he wanted out of there and now.And as much as Jordan is my little clone, Carter is Jordan’s.   He copies everything she does, from repeating everything she says, inflections and all, to wanting to skip the same songs she does, to putting on makeup.Except he’s a giant shithead to boot.  Like when we’re all playing in the backyard and he gets bored.  He steps onto the road and just waits.  He waits and waits and waits, until we make eye contact, waits until I open up my mouth to yell at him, and then he makes a run for it, his little legs taking him as fast as they can go down the street.  When he gets into those moods there is absolutely no way to get the kid to listen to you.  Like when he rides the vacuum,  and eats sandor shaving cream.The more you tell that kid to stop, the more he does it.  I honestly don’t know which one of the two are going to give me more hell when they’re teenagers.

He’s also a bottomless pit.  This kid eats as much as Jordan and I combined.  And it always tastes better when it comes off of someone else’s plate.  Like when he threw a fit the other morning because Jeff only gave him one bite of his breakfast sandwich.  “I wanted three bites!  I wanted THREEEEEEEE BITEEEESSSSSS!!!”  Or the time when he refused to eat the chicken I cooked for dinner, instead climbing down off of his chair and running away.  When he came back 5 minutes later he had an entire mouthful of dog food.

Regardless what he’s eating (and nine times out of ten it’s not something that’s made for human consumption), he makes a mess out of it every time.

Then there’s how Carter used to squint at me whenever I said, “Look at me!” “Look at me!”. And called Jeff “Deedee”, blocks “dada”, tires “babas”, balloons “beebees” and sewer lids “blllbbllll”.

Then there was the time he burnt his arm on a lightbulb in a chicken coop.  Still has the scar to prove it! Or how C just didn’t “get” trick-or-treating.  Thankfully we hit the safe trick or treating event downtown the day before Halloween, where we quickly discovered that C wanted his candy and he wanted it NOW.  10 businesses (and 10 temper tantrums later) we were done.  Needless to say, C did not go trick or treating Halloween night.That Jordan and Carter have learned how to play with each other over the last year.  Don’t get me wrong, there are A LOT of fights, but in the last month or two they’ve really discovered how much fun they can have together.  Not only am I able to actually get stuff done now, but things like this happen. And, of course, he’s thankful for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

And then there’s this guy.  Who does nothing but this all day every day.  And whom Jordan still hates.

This moment right here.  This was the morning after we came back from the hospital and we were all together again.  Not complete, not right, but it still felt good. So I can’t say that I’m glad 2016 is over.  The kids are growing up so fast.  I look at Carter and remember how much fun Jordan was at that age and think that it won’t be too much longer until he’s running around, 6 years old.  And by that point I’ll want to murder Jordan even more than I do now.  I know that 2017 will bring tons of memories, all just as good (if not better) than these ones, but I’m not in any rush for the days to go by.  I’m treasuring each moment that passes.  Well, as much as I can with a 6 year old filled with attitude and a 2 year old shithead.  Never a dull moment, that’s for sure…

Image

Okay so Felt Mats are Just as Addicting as Quiet Books…

After making a road felt mat for C for his 2nd birthday I wondered if I could make a princess version for J.  In case you’ve forgotten (oh, if only I could forget…) she is completely obsessed with the Disney Princesses.  She has a bunch of these pop up board games that came with tiny princess figurines to play.  I think we played the games about a dozen times before she completely abandoned them and now just carries the princesses around with her everywhere.  Between those and her sets of felt people, I thought it would be fun to make a princess mat for her to play on!

I started off like I do with all projects:  Pinterest.  Unsurprisingly these aren’t nearly as popular as the car mats are.  I found three possible inspirations.  First, a Tangled one on My Decoupaged Life.  Although I loved it, I didn’t want to focus on just one princess story.  In retrospect I do kind of wish I would’ve got this route instead–made a small felt mat for each princess.  I just might do that down the road…

The second one I found was a little bit different.  Instead of focusing on the outside, All the Joy made the inside of the castle.  I stored this idea away for the future.

The one I relied on the most for ideas was A Girl and a Glue Gun.  I decided to make a mat that included something from each princess story.

One mistake I made was to make this project while J was home sick from school for a week.  I got a lot of input from her, which was both good and bad.  Like she wouldn’t let me include anything for Mulan, Pocohantas or Merida, even though that had been my original plan.  She’s only had the mat for a couple of weeks and she’s already complaining that they don’t have a home.  I knew I shouldn’t take advice from a 5 year old!

When making all of the buildings I referred to Google images for pictures of what they looked like in the movies and then did my best to replicate them.  I did a better job on some…  The animals especially turned out rather interesting…

I started off with a piece of dark green felt for the background.  I added a square of white for Elsa’s kingdom and dark brown for the woods.  Together those two were the same length as the dark green.  I cut a strip of light blue for the sky that was the same width as the dark green/white.  Last, I cut some dark blue for Ariel’s ocean.  I cut the top so it resembled waves.

I also wish I would’ve made it bigger.  I didn’t realize just how much larger C’s mat was until I had already cut the background felt for J’s mat and it was too late to make it bigger without having to scrap the pieces I had.  It didn’t need to be much bigger, but a little bit would’ve been nicer.

But here’s the final product, warts and all!

J requested the North Mountain first…no surprises there.  I made an Ice Castle for Elsa.  I used blue and white puffy paint to embellish it a bit and glued just one side of the door down so it “opens”.  I cut out a sleigh and Sven, a bunch of white triangles to represent mountains or snow mounds or something.  The light blue is a path for the princesses to walk on (J requested markings on the part leading up to the castle for stairs).  Marshmallow is guarding the castle and Oaken’s Trading Post is in the bottom corner.  diy-princess-felt-mat-north-mountainNext we worked on the woods.  I made a stream that leads to the ocean.  There’s a bridge that crosses over it.  The woods are supposed to represent Pocahontas, Merida, Snow White and Aurora all at once.  J requested a bench, an owl, squirrels and the three fairies from Aurora (just in case you were wondering what the hell those shapes were, hahaha).  The orangish/brownish felt is the path.diy-princess-felt-mat-woodsThe ocean scene was up next.  This one turned out to be waaaaay to spacious.  I should’ve made Ariel’s castle a lot bigger, but I didn’t realize how small it was until I had already glued it together and I didn’t feel like starting from scratch.  But this section has Ariel’s underwater palace, Eric’s ship, sunken treasure (I just needed something to throw in there!), Sebastian, Flounder (not sure where he is…), Ursula and her lair.  I also made Flotsam and Jetsam but by the time I was ready to glue the underwater scene down I had lost them.  I think they ended up getting swept up with all of the other felt scraps.  I haven’t gotten around to making another one set of them yet.  diy-princess-felt-mat-ocean

And then the rest of mat all crammed together.  Aurora’s cottage and spinning wheel.  A bookstore and fountain from Beauty and the Beast.  The Snuggly Duckling, tower and cave from Tangled.  The Wishing Well from Snow White (J had me add a blue sapphire ring at the bottom.  There’s a short story about Cinderella we read once where she lost her ring in the well and the mice had to retrieve it).  A pumpkin and carriage from Cinderella.  Tiana’s Palace (which I had to fight J tooth and nail so I could add it).   The magic carpet from Aladdin.  And, most importantly, Cinderella’s castle.

diy-princess-felt-mat-kingdom

I also added a back to the mat.  Since I used a bunch of different felts to make the different backgrounds I figured it would help to make it roll up easier.  Although really this mat isn’t large enough to roll.

I finished the edges of the front and back with some ribbon.

Voila, finished!  J uses it all of the time, just like I thought she would.  I really am considering making a different mat for each story.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll start that right now…

j-quiet-book-cover-4
Image

The Original Quiet Book, Part Four. Hooray!

Okay, this is it!!!  My last three quiet book pages I made for J’s original quiet book (check out parts one, two and three if you haven’t already), the cover and some general musings about the whole process.

Mailbox page is up next.  quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-2 quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-3 quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-4This one is a two-parter.  The left page has a pocket to hold a few markers/pens and a pocket for a small notebook.  The opposite page is the mailbox.  These pages are everywhere so you really shouldn’t have a hard time finding one you like.  I modeled the pocket page off of this post and the mailbox from this one.

do not like these pages.  The pen and notebook both fall out of the pocket all of the time.  And the mailbox is junk.  Which is due to my novice quiet book making status and sewing skills, not to Imagine Our Life’s instructions in the slightest!  As you can tell from the picture below, my button and ribbon combination did not work well.  J was never able to loop the ribbon behind the button, which I’m not sure if that’s due to the button being too small or the ribbon too thick or what.  Either way the ribbon is falling off now.quiet-book-original-mailbox-page-1Technically the rest of the page works but I just don’t like how it looks in general.  I made a similar page for Nolan’s quiet book, which I think turned out much better.  You can read about it here.mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-2 mailbox-quiet-book-page-2I need to ask Amanda how everything is holding up, and if it’s good then make a carbon copy of that page for C.  And in J’s new quiet book just include a place for a small notebook and pack of crayons to be stored somewhere.  You’re never too old to color!

The next set of pages are two that I added a bit down the road.  When she was 3 she was absolutely obsessed with playing doctor for about 6 months.  And I mean totally obsessed.  The moment Hubby walked in the door until bedtime that’s all she wanted to play with him.  She has a My Life doll we named Wendy and poor Wendy was constantly in fires and needed to be fixed up.  It’s been two years since she’s asked Hubby to play it with him and I think he’s still burnt out on it.  But I thought a Doctor’s Kit would be a great addition to the book.
quiet-book-original-doctors-kit-page-2 quiet-book-original-doctors-kit-page-1Ugh, this is another one that makes me cringe when I look at it.  I couldn’t find anything online that I liked and apparently this is what happens when I design a page myself.  On the left page I figured out a way to attach the stethscope.  I took four rectangles of fabric about the same size, added velcro to each end and sewed half of each one directly onto the page.  And then you simply slip the stethoscope piece into the flap and fold the other end over and secure the velcro.  It works really well.  The thermometer doesn’t actually go there (all of the loops are for the stethoscope) but J must’ve popped it over there at some point.

The opposite page is just three pockets to hold doctors supplies.  The only thing that I found in there now is some gauze, but it used to hold a thermometer, a medicine dropper, a reflex hammer, an eye-checker-thing (obviously that’s it’s official name), gauze, two of those huge bandage things that you can use as a cast/wrap your ankle/sling/etc, and some bandaids.  Oh and a few surgical masks.  All of the stuff I either bought from the Dollar Tree or was duplicates of what she had in her doctor’s kit at home.  And let me tell you:  bandaids are a brilliant idea for keeping toddlers occupied either at home or in the car.  J would spend hours putting bandaids on herself, her stuffed animals and us.  Of course she was a good kid and all we had to do was tell her one time that bandaids don’t belong anywhere else except those three places and she remembered (and followed) that forever.  Other kids may not be so good…

Although this page is perfectly functional I hate the fabric that I used.  I tried and tried to find some doctor’s-type fabric but to no avail.  I had a bunch of this crappy yellow stretch knit and figured it’d work fine, which it does…it’s just not appealing.  And this is another example when it was a waste to use up two pages.  One would have been sufficient.

I made a similar page for Nolan’s quiet book, which turned out much better.  Minus the fact that I majorly messed up the pocket so all of the stuff is going to fall out, hahaha.  If C gets into the doctor thing I’ll make a page like that for him instead.  You can see how I made it here.quiet-book-doctors-kit-page-6Last but not least, the rainbow and name page! quiet-book-rainbow-and-name-page-2 quiet-book-rainbow-and-name-page-2 quiet-book-rainbow-and-name-page-1This one is okay.  I got the idea for the name here.  I saw a few sites where I could’ve used velcro instead, but that seemed too easy and there was a ton of velcro throughout the rest of the book, so I wanted something else.  I think the buttons were too hard for J though, because she only ever laid the letters on top.  And although I liked the idea of felt rainbow and thought it looked really neat, she only put it together once or twice.  Either because she didn’t care or it was too difficult for her.  Obviously she knows how to write her name now so this page can go into the garbage.  I’ll probably make one for C down the road but find a different way to attach the letters.  Maybe snaps?  Nolan will get a page like this first so I’ll experiment on him 😉

So that’s it for the pages.  Let’s talk cover now.  I researched the crap out of how to make a quiet book cover.  It’s been so long since I’ve made it that I really can’t remember much about it…except that I cried and seam ripped a lot.  One thing I know for sure is that I did not like the ribbon for handles.  It isn’t sturdy enough.  Otherwise the cover is okay.  I put a ton of pockets on there, which is good since a lot of my pages wouldn’t actually hold the pieces so I needed some extra storage, haha.  j-quiet-book-cover-4 j-quiet-book-cover-5 j'-quiet-book-cover-1j-quiet-book-cover-3 j-quiet-book-cover-2This one and this one are two of the four blogs that I have saved that the links still work that I used as a reference…I have no idea what I took from where.  However, you can read all about how I made Nolan’s quiet book cover here.  That should help tremendously if making your own.

General thoughts:

  1. Hate the ribbon as a handle for the cover
  2. The pages are too big.  I think I went with 12×12?  So once they were finished about 11×11.  Although great when spread out on the floor, it’s just not practical in the car.  Way too big.
  3. Felt, iron-on Heat n Bond and muslin are not friends.  As you probably noticed while looking at my pages, a bunch of the felt letters fell off.  Which is fine…in retrospect the pages didn’t need titles anyway.  Now ironing fabric on with Heat n Bond works great.
  4. Close/secure all pockets.  It doesn’t matter what’s being stored in it or how big it is, it’s going to fall out.
  5. 3/8″ grommets are way too big for the pages.  I couldn’t find anything smaller until I finally bought my Crop-a-Dile, which uses eyelets instead.  Game changer.
  6. Making quiet books is extremely addictive.  Going through and writing these posts have made me itching to make some more pages.  We currently have three books:  J’s Original Quiet Book, the ABC Quiet Book and a mini Baby Quiet Book (that C never played with even though I tried my hardest to get him to.  Bastard.)

I think that’s it!  Hope you learned lots of what-not-to-do things and got some ideas on pages that might work for your little one!  Check back to see future posts about the ABC and Baby books!

quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-2
Image

The Original Quiet Book, Part Three

Almost finished with J’s original quiet book, I promise!  Just this post and then one more.  You can check out parts one and two for more ideas!

Super easy one:  bead counting.quiet-book-counting-pageI got the idea from here.  I have a huge thing of beads so this was a great way to use them up.  I also added her name since I have a bunch of letter beads as well.  I don’t think she ever really played with it, but I can’t remember for sure.  Either way she’s been past that one for quite awhile now.  It’ll go into C’s book for sure.

Money page next.  Another one of my favorites!! quiet-book-money-page-3 quiet-book-money-page-2 quiet-book-money-page-1Once again it’s easy to tell that I used this blog for my inspiration, haha.  I really didn’t have any creativity when making this first book!  Although I did add something completely different that I didn’t see anywhere else:  the money sorting pockets at the bottom.  The downside to those, however, is that the money doesn’t actually stay in there.  Yet another time when I should’ve used velcro or snaps or something.  Fortunately it can be stored in the pig instead.  I also should have reinforced the slot where the money goes in.  Like by making it an actual buttonhole!

This is another one that J never really played with and once again I’m not sure why.  I think that I’ll just move it over into a new quiet book for her though.  She’ll start understanding money a lot more in the next couple of years and this would be a great learning tool!  I just need to see if I can hot glue some velcro to the money pockets.

This one makes me shudder every time I look at it.  Great idea in theory but the end result just didn’t turn out well.  A Walk the Dog page.

dog-quiet-book-page

quiet-book-original-dog-page-1I used this post for the idea but made my dog a bit differently, opting for his whole body instead of just his head.  I picked up the leash and collar from the dollar store.  I sewed the collar down so it could still open and close but couldn’t be taken off the whole way.  I trimmed the leash waaaaay down, made a loop for the handle and added velcro to attach it to the page.

This is another one that I don’t think J ever used.  It’s also going in the garbage just because I can’t stand the way it turned out.  I made one for Nolan’s quiet book, modeled to look like their dog Stetson.  I think it turned out much better and would make something similar to go into C’s book.  You can read all about how I made that page here.

quiet-book-dog-page-nolan

Next up:  Goodnight House!  Another one that I really like.  quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-2 quiet-book-page-goodnight-house-1Finally, a completely original idea!  I thought it would be really cute to have a page where she could put everyone in the family “to bed”.  I printed off our heads and attached them to cardstock bodies.  I printed off something similar to our pjs and pasted them on top.  Then I laminated the whole thing.  This is before I got my super cool laminator and was just using those sheets you can buy and just stick together yourself.  Hence why they look a bit funny.  I then glued them onto popsicle sticks.

I cut out 6 rectangles in different fabrics for our beds, folded the raw edges in, sewed the top down and then attached them to the house.  For the house I sewed on a white fabric square and red fabric triangle (obviously my measuring skills were a bit off since the roof is smaller than the house LOL!).  I added a moon and done!  Unfortunately the popsicle sticks never stayed in very well.  The pockets need to be deeper and wider (in order to fit our fat heads).  Either that or they need to be stored in a separate pocket somewhere.  I could probably add a zipper to one of the sides of the house for storage.  I don’t actually have to redo this page yet (since we’ll have three kids but only two dogs so the number of beds is good.  One of us will just have to sleep in the dog print blanket 😉 ), but I do need to update/fix the people.  Poor C doesn’t have a head since he wasn’t even born when I made this page, haha!

Okay, check out Part Four next week for the final installment!

quiet-book-seasons-page-2
Image

The Original Quiet Book, Part Two

Don’t judge me on the quality of these pages.  I made this book for J about 3 years ago and although my quiet book sewing skills may not be extraordinary and amazing now, they’re definitely a lot better than when I started out.  I love the idea behind most of these pages…just not the application, haha.  You can check out some of the other pages in Part One.

The Seasons page.  This one is actually one of my favorites.  J never really got into it, although I don’t know if it’s just because she was too young or there were too many pieces or what.  But I absolutely love this page.  quiet-book-seasons-page-3 quiet-book-seasons-page-4quiet-book-seasons-page-5quiet-book-seasons-page-2 quiet-book-seasons-page-1This post and this post were my main inspirations for this page.  I made the grass into a pocket but didn’t put anything across it to keep the stuff in, so I ended up shoving it all into the pocket on the back cover, which has velcro on it.  Fortunately I managed not to lose any pieces!  (The “spring” and “summer” labels were just never finished in general, haha).j-quiet-book-cover-2Remember in Nolan’s ladybug quiet book page I said I had a bunch of snaps leftover from a previous project?  The project that made me cry several times because I kept on hand sewing the snaps on incorrectly?  Well this is the one.  I used 4 different sizes of snaps.  For the first size I made a snow cloud, a rain cloud and a regular cloud.  The second size were a sun and a moon.  The third size were the things that went onto the tree:  spring flowers, summer leaves, fall leaves and snow.  And the last size was the name of the season.  That way she couldn’t snap the leaves in the sky or anything like that.  Maybe that’s part of what made it so confusing for her?  Although I really do think she never played with it just because there were so many pieces it made it hard to do in the car.  And she just didn’t understand/care enough about the idea behind it.  Either way I’m keeping this one for a future book just because of all of the effort that went into it!

The next one never ever got played with.  It’s going straight into the trash.  It’s a combined hair and face page.quiet-book-make-a-face-pageI was going for something like this.  I don’t know what happened, but mine just didn’t turn out very nicely.  I don’t know if it’s because the head’s too small or the hair too long or if the face pieces I made were just creepy looking.  Regardless, J never played with this page, either with the hair or the Make a Face pieces.  I think it’s hilarious that even though she never played with it, almost all of the pieces are missing.  How did that even happen?? Definitely the garbage for this one!

Dress-up closet.quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-2 quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-4quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-1quiet-book-getting-dressed-page-3It’s easy to tell that I used this blog and this blog for inspiration here!  I wanted to put two people on there instead of just one, so I used Serving Pink Lemonade’s template for the size instead.  I also used this blog to make a few princess dresses.

I remember when I was making this page that I cut out two tan people, but when I went to sew them on I could only find one.  By that point I was out of skin tone felt, so I cut one out of dark brown instead.  And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I sewed both of them down I found the missing person.  So I just shoved it in the closet with the rest of the clothes so she had a third person to dress.  Looking at the picture I can tell that some of the clothing is missing.  There used to be a full firefighter outfit (she was obsessed with firefighters for the longest time), along with a couple of princess dresses and some shoes.

That’s another one that I’ll just get rid of.  She has another dress-up page in the ABC quiet book that’s just one big person and she plays with that one a lot more.  Of course that’s probably because it’s filed under the letter Q for Queen, so it’s only princess dresses and witch outfits, haha.  But the fabric I used on the closet wasn’t a good one and it’s fraying like crazy so you can only unzip it about 3/4 of the way now.  Now she did play with this one quite a bit, but I don’t see C being too into it in the future.  He’s more of a truck and train guy.

Next up:  laundry day!  This is another one of my favorite pages.  Even if there are only 3 socks left, and none of them match hahahaha!quiet-book-laundry-page-3 quiet-book-laundry-page-2I had two websites listed for inspiration, but only one of the links still works, this one.  This is the one that I followed the directions to make the washer, but not the clothesline.  I really liked the idea I saw somewhere else of making a clothesline with mini clothespins for the socks to hang up on, so that’s what I did.  J played with this one a decent amount.  And fortunately it’s one that I don’t really have to do anything to in order to keep it…minus cutting out some more socks haha!

Another easy page:  match the colors.quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-original quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-originalHere’s my inspiration post.  This is another one that I had two websites listed, but only one link currently works.  I liked the idea of doing balloons and shapes, so I decided to combine them.  This page ended up being a bit confusing for J because some of the ribbons didn’t quite match up with the felt colors.  Like the best I could do for light brown was that blue ribbon with a dark brown stripe (in the bottom photo it’s the one with the red heart on it).  I think it  confused her since some of the shades were different.  Hmmm, maybe my child isn’t the smartest on the block… Just kidding!

I made a similar page for Nolan and I think that one turned out much better.  quiet-book-match-the-colors-balloon-page-finished-2That’s it for now.  Check out Part Three next week!

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-15
Image

You can’t have princesses without some villains!

So awhile back J and I made all 13 Disney princesses from her footprint (you can read all about them here).  disney-princess-footprint-craft-finishedShe immediately asked if we could also make all of the villains and princes from each story, but I vetoed her.  It took like 10 seconds of her time for this project, while I had to paint all of the hair and embellishments.  And since I majorly procrastinated doing that this project actually took a few weeks to complete.

Fast forward a few months and we were predicted to get several inches of snow in southern VA.  I remember when 4 inches fell down here last winter school shut down for a week and a half so I wanted to be prepared just in case.  I figured making the villains was an easy project that would make her happy and kill some time.  I picked up a piece of poster board and we were ready!  And thank goodness I did.  We ended up getting about a foot of snow and school was out for 6 days.  Projects were a necessity.

Last time I pretty much copied the princesses from a tutorial but this one was a bit more unique so I made them all up.  I googled each villain before painting her foot so I knew exactly what they were wearing.  I painted her foot, keeping the right side for all of the villains wearing black (which was about half) and the other side for any other colors. diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-17It turned out that I was out of red, which at the time I didn’t think was such a big deal.  I had no idea how many villains wear red!  I ended up just using a glitter paint that was sort of red and sort of pink and called it a day.  They don’t need to be perfect.

I pushed her foot down on the posterboard for each villain.  diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-18Let’s see if I can remember who’s who.  Starting at the top left it goes:  Ursula, Evil Queen, Lady Tremaine, Mother Gothel, Maleficent, Hans, Gaston, mess-up, mess-up, the bad guy from Tiana whose name I still don’t know (she doesn’t like that movie so I’ve only seen it once, haha), Shan Yu, Governor Ratcliffe, Jafar and Mordu.

The following day we embellished them.  I did the hair and crowns while she added anything that was needed onto the clothing.  Last time I didn’t let her help (not really sure why…) but this time she begged me to.  She did a great job! diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-19Then I cut around them with speciality scissors and used a hole punch for holes in the tops and bottoms of each person.  She divided them into 3 piles of 4, put them in the order she wanted them and picked out ribbon for each strand.  I weaved the ribbon through the hole, connecting the four villains together.  Here they are individually.

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-2

Jafar

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-3

Shan Yu

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-4

Gaston

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-5

Mother Gothel

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-6

Ursula

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-7

Govenor Ratcliffe. Who, in retrospect, should’ve been a lot fatter.

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-9

Evil Queen

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-10

Lady Tremaine

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-11

Hans. Those are supposed to be sideburns but didn’t turn out so well, haha.

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-12

Mordu

diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-1

Malificent

I cut another piece and made a loop to hang them up and voila, finished! diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-16 diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-14 diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-13We hung them up in between the princesses in her room.diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-15She hasn’t asked about the princes yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.  Next time there’s a snowstorm we’ll work on those guys 😉

quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-3
Image

The Original Quiet Book, Part One

Okay so I’m about to slam you with posts about quiet book pages.  I’m actually writing a lot of these posts in advance and then scheduling them to publish automatically over the next few months.  I’m 8 months pregnant with our third child and am assuming that once he or she (we’re not finding out the sex this time and I love it!!) pops out, this blog is going to be the least of my concerns.  So I figured I’d stock up on a bunch of quick and easy quiet book posts and give myself some breathing room.  Especially since I’m also not currently involved in any projects and one of my goals for the last two years has been to revamp our quiet books.  I’m hoping this will be the motivation I need!

I can’t even remember now how I stumbled on quiet books.  I made J’s first one about 3 years ago and immediately became addicted.  You can tell that this was my first attempt and that I was just getting back into sewing after taking a 10+ year hiatus.  Not that my more recent pages (like Nolan’s quiet book) are amazing and awesome, but you can definitely see the difference in quality.  Hence why I want to revamp this one.

Fortunately I created a Word document that lists all of my pages, the inspiration pages I used to create each one and the materials I needed.  That’s going to make blogging about a project I did over 3 years ago ten times easier!  And I’ll be able to give credit to others where it’s due…I was wondering how that was going to work.

So this is the order the pages are in the Quiet Book.  First is a pirate treasure chest page.  quiet-book-pirate-page-3 quiet-book-pirate-page-2 quiet-book-pirate-page-1As you can tell, this one needs a lot of love.  I had seen a ton of lock and key quiet book pages when doing my research and I thought the idea of a pirate’s chest was neat.  I could put “treasures” like necklaces, gold coins and, for longer car rides, lollipops/other treats.  This and this example were my primary inspiration for my final product.  I didn’t want to “waste” two pages so I combined it all into one by nixing the treasure map.  I used this tutorial to make the pirate patch, which belongs in the chest.  I winged making the sword, which as you can see didn’t go too well.  The handle is super flimsy and I didn’t make the pattern pieces big enough to flip them so the raw edges were inside.  And I had some issues getting it to stick on the page.  There used to be a lock and key, but the red X I made wasn’t exactly great and the key wouldn’t actually stay inside.  And eventually the ribbon completely broke off so I had to remove the lock as well since the chest was now impossible to open.  J never really got into the pirate thing, so minus checking for candy every time she used her book (which 9 times out of 10 I forgot to put some in…) she never used this page.  I may or may not revamp this one for C…I haven’t decided yet.

Next is 5 Little Monkeys, which is actually one of my favorite pages.  J really enjoyed this one as well.  Definitely a keeper!quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-4 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-3 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-2 quiet-book-5-little-monkeys-page-1This one is actually still in pretty good shape.  One of the monkeys is lost and the number 2 pillow is missing its number, but other than that it’s good!  When I made the finger puppets originally they were too small, so I had to make another set down the road.  And of course those ones were too big.  I really despise making finger puppets.  That’s one of those things I’d just rather pay for!

I used this tutorial for the telephone.  I thought it would’ve been cool to find an old school telephone cord, but I couldn’t find one anywhere so I just stuck with ribbon instead. I used my Silhouette to cut numbers out of felt for the pad.

I really loved Imagine Our Life’s 5 Little Monkeys page but there was absolutely no way I could do anything that elaborate, so I dumbed it down for my skill level.  I loved the idea of having the monkeys tuck into the bed and that they each have their own spot.  I used my trusty Silhouette to cut out the numbers for the monkeys and pillows.  And then the damn things wouldn’t stay in the bed, so I ended up hot gluing velcro inside the bedspread to hold them in place.  For the monkeys I followed these instructions, just adding bellies and tails.  I even matched the googly eyes with the numbers!

Next up:  counting petals.  quiet-book-flower-page-2 quiet-book-flower-page-1I followed Serving Pink Lemonade‘s directions and used her template to make this page.  Except I have 10 instead of 8, so I must’ve resized it since my pages are bigger.

This one is a very straight forward page that, amazingly enough, is still intact.  Although I think it’s funny that the number 2 is missing, which is the same number from the 5 Little Monkeys page!  I did go back and draw the outline of the petals onto the flower since J was too young at that point to know which order they went in.  Looking back on it now, it really doesn’t matter if they were right or not.  I should’ve left it alone and she could order them however she wanted until she was old enough to look at the numbers and figure it out herself.  I don’t think J ever used it all that much, but since it’s still in working order I’ll keep this one as well.

Tie Your Shoes page.  quiet-book-tie-your-shoes-page-2 quiet-book-tie-your-shoes-page-1I relied on this tutorial for my instructions and template.  Totally not her fault mine turned out so crappy, haha…my sewing skills were just majorly lacking.

This one definitely needs to be thrown out and completely redone.  I like the background fabric that I used, but that’s about it.  The grommets are huge (this was early in my quiet book addiction so those are the only size I had.  And I hadn’t even heard of the magic Crop-a-Dile, which was going to make my addiction sooooo much easier!).  J was definitely way too young for this page.  I’m thinking about starting a brand new book for her with much smaller pages, and if I do this would be one of them.  Now that she’s 5 shoe tying is going to be an important skill.  Or I could just make one of those shoe tying boards.  Although then again, the kid refuses to wear sneakers and if this trend continues she won’t “need” to learn how to do it until she’s like 15.  Seriously, whose child is she?!

Okay, last one for today.  The fishing pages.quiet-book-fishing-page-2 quiet-book-fishing-page-1The link I used for my inspiration is now broken, so that blog must not be around anymore.  But I cut fish out of felt (they’re so realistic looking aren’t they 😉 ) and hot glued paper clips onto the back.  Then I made a fishing rod from a small dowel rod, tied (and hot glued) a piece of yarn around it.  I cut two worm shapes out of felt, put a magnet inside and hot glued it together and then onto the end of the string.  I made a pocket for the fishing rod, but as you can see since the rod is missing, it didn’t work all that well.

I know, these two pages are totally redundant.  I thought it would be a neat idea to have her “catch” the fish in the ocean and then put them in the goldfish bowl.  What a waste of space.  I mean she did use this page a decent amount, but not enough to justify taking up two pages.  I do like the idea of it and this would definitely be a page I would redo in the future for C.  Except I would make only the ocean scene.  And I would either make the sand on the bottom a pocket to store the fish and rod, or do what I ended up doing and making a special pocket on the cover just for the fish (the bottom one with the fish on it.  Obviously). j-quiet-book-cover-1So that’s it for today!  Check back next week for more pages in Part Two!

diy-thankful-tree-2014
Image

Thankful Tree

What better time for a post about a Thanksgiving project than in February?  Between Nolan’s quiet book pages and all of my Christmas projects apparently I missed blogging about this! Which is a shame since it’s one of my favorite traditions J and I started.  I’m just happy I realized I overlooked it.

So towards the end of October 2014 I decided I wanted to find a way for J to talk about the things she’s thankful for.  Do any of your friends on Facebook do the “thankful post” every day in November?  It was really popular a few years back, but now almost no one does it.  I still do and it’s my favorite time of year.  Of course I think the generic ones that are thankful for “family” and “friends” and “health” are all boring, so I find fun ways to express my gratefulness for life–things like hot dogs to keep my St Bernard in check when he sees kids/dogs/cats/squirrels while on walks or Google for answering my questions like “why will my 4 month old not sleep more than 30 minutes at a time?!”  I always do a serious one on the last day of the month, but I think it’s fun to come up with creative ideas.  Especially because that’s what makes life so great–all of those small things that you never really think about.  I really and truly am grateful for hot dogs and their amazing power over my Saint.

So I wanted to find a way to do something similar with J.  I finally settled on an idea I had seen floating around online:  a Thankful Tree.  Except I wanted to do it completely differently. We would draw a giant tree, paint it and hang it on the wall.  J could pick 30 neat looking leaves from outside.  Each day she would tell me something she was thankful for, I would write it on the leaf and then hang it on the tree on the wall.  I LOVED it!  Here’s a picture from our first Thanksgiving doing this, so an almost complete tree.  diy-thankful-tree-1I used clothespins to attach the leaves onto the tree (which I completely forgot I did!  I used tape last year, which did not stick.  I’ll have to try to remember to go back to clothespins this year).  One thing I did not like was using real leaves.  Neat idea, but not practical…what happens to leaves after they fall off the tree…um, they turn brown and crackly.  Duh.

Once November was over I had J make a turkey book.  I wanted it to look like this, but J put her own spin on it which I’m more than fine with–in fact I prefer it!  She’s going through a phase right now where everything has to look exactly the same as the craft that I show her and it bugs me.  Use your creativity to make it your own girl!  I cut out pieces of different colored construction paper for the book and held it together with pipe cleaners (J’s idea.  I’ve added staples to it since then).  Then I wrote one thing she said she was thankful for on each page, that way I can look back on it years from now and laugh that she was thankful for things like “balloons” and “breakfast”.  That’s my girl! diy-thankful-tree-5 This year we made another thankful tree.  I mixed the paint a bit better so it turned out more brown and less purple, hooray!  diy-thankful-tree-2diy-thankful-tree-3I wrote “Jordan is thankful for…” in block letters down the tree and let her color them in.  And then instead of using real leaves I cut out 30 leaves with my Silhouette in 5 different shapes and 4 different colors of cardstock–red, yellow, orange and brown.

Then for our family activity we all painted them to give them a little extra “something”.  diy-thankful-tree-1diy-thankful-tree-4Since C has a tendency to eat paint I tried out another homemade paint recipe, this time this one from Learning 4 Kids.  Look at those colors!  And the consistency was pretty cool.  J, of course, refused to use her fingers and insisted on using a paintbrush instead.  She loathes being dirty.homemade-paintThis one was a lot more successful than the one we tried out at Halloween for pumpkin decorating–he had a taste or two and then must not have enjoyed it because he actually stopped eating and instead painted himself, us and a little bit of the leaves.  Keeper!!!!!C-paintingWe set the leaves out to dry and then once November rolled around I asked J what she was thankful each day.  I used colored Sharpies to write them down and then she taped them to the tree/wall with Scotch tape.  Which, like I said earlier, did not work.  At least half of them were on the floor by the end of the month. diy-thankful-tree-2015I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t keep up with asking her after Thanksgiving, so she was about a week short on thankful things.  I definitely need to get better at that next year.  I was going to have her make another turkey book but when looking at the one from the previous year I saw how much space there was on each page, so I figured I’ll just keep adding to that instead!  I’ll write every year in a different colored marker and then make a key on the back front cover.  Brilliant!  diy-thankful-tree-6These were my favorites from 2015:  “tray lunch” and “everything in the world…except Roman” [our dog].  Oh J.

This is seriously one of my favorite traditions.  I can’t wait until C is old enough to start and we have twice as many leaves on the tree.  I just think it’s a great lesson to teach kids–doesn’t matter how big or small, but find one thing every single day to be thankful about.  Because life is precious and we need to appreciate every single thing that we have.

diy-desk-6
Image

Step Seven: A Brand New Desk

I had a really difficult time figuring out what to get J for Christmas this year.  Last year with did a kitchen theme:  Hubby made a DIY kitchen and I painted it (you can see it here) and then went crazy buying food, pots, pans, etc.  At the time she wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it, but she’s gotten a ton of use out of it the last year.  Although I do admit that she would’ve gotten even more use out of it if she’d received it the year before instead.  But that’s okay…she uses it and that’s all that matters!

But this year I was at a complete loss.  She has a bike and a scooter.  She was obsessed with Barbies last year, but hasn’t played with them much the past few months.  I’m really strict on TV so there wasn’t even a question about giving her something like that for her room.  She rarely plays with her LeapPad.  Even dress up clothes have been on a decline since she started school.  For all of November I fretted about what to do.  Although I could just give her a bunch of random small things, that’s not how I like to do Christmas.  I’d rather do one big present and get small presents that tie back to the big present, with maybe a random extra thing or two.

I finally decided on a desk.  Arts and crafts are really the only thing that she’s consistently been doing since starting school.  And although we have our Art Activity Center and she has a craft table and a whole bunch of craft supplies downstairs, C is also starting to really get into it.  And by that I mean eating markers, crayons, chalk, paint…basically anything he can get his hands on.  As a result her stuff is ruined.  So I figured we could get her a desk to go in her room that can be used for arts and crafts now and then homework in the future.  I could get her a whole bunch of new supplies which would be kept in her room, away from wandering hands (and mouth).  I knew it wasn’t something she was going to be really excited about upon receiving, but, like the kitchen, she would love it in the long run.

After discussing it with Hubby, we decided he would make it.  Then J and I could paint it together during Christmas break.  I searched and searched on Pinterest, finally deciding this one was the one I liked the best.  No drawers, which I think only leads to clutter.  Not too big, not too small.  The one thing I didn’t like about it was the storage on each side.  Although great for holding books (so it’ll work well in the future), the art supply problem was going to be a bit harder to solve.  So Hubby designed one himself instead.  The left side is just the two legs holding it up and the right side has a small bookcase attached underneath with three shelves.  Which will be great for holding anything and everything!

We headed to the DC Ikea to get a chair for the desk.  While there I picked up two packs of these storage containers for her art supplies.  I also ended up getting two bigger ones from Dollar Tree.  Over the next month I bought her new markers (regular, skinny and stamping), paints and paint brushes, puffy paints, crayons (regular, metallic and glitter), glue, wasabi tape (which I found a terrific deal here on Amazon!), glitter pens, construction paper, a sketch book, a Melissa and Doug scratch pad (which was her favorite), a giant coloring book and a 12 pack of craft scissors.  I actually ended up getting a bunch of the supplies from IKEA…seriously, I love that place.

I made labels for each of the containers but they didn’t stay on very well for some reason…  diy-desk-14That’s alright, I already know there’s no way she’s going to put everything back where it’s supposed to go anyway.  And then my OCD will kick in and once a week I’ll have to go in and re-sort everything.

In the meantime Hubby got to work on the desk.  She saw it at each stage, but never really seemed to be interested in it.  No surprise there.  He finished it right before Christmas, which was perfect timing.  We stuck a bow on it and left it in the garage for her to find the next day. diy-desk-11Unsurprisingly she didn’t really understand what it was for.  At least this time we expected this reaction (unlike with the kitchen) and were well prepared for it.  I just told her that once we painted it and got it up in her room she’d get it.  She loved all of the new art supplies at least!

The next day we started painting.  First, the primer. diy-desk-12Needless to say this step didn’t really entertain her much.  She did stick with it for quite awhile before abandoning me to finish it and go in the house to play.  I can’t blame the kid…I find painting therapeutic, but even I get sick of it by the end.

Then we discussed what exactly we were going to do with it.  I figured we’d paint the majority of it one color and then do something different to the top.  I had pinned a few ideas I thought she might like:  this one, this one and this one.  She wasn’t too enthusiastic about any of them, however.  She suggested circles, which somehow led to us talking about a huge rainbow.  Then she said she could add clouds and a sun and rain, and I suggested we do a big scene:  she could make a house with the family in front and do whatever she wanted in the sky.  She loved that idea!  And so did I!  Then every year or two we can just swipe a new layer of paint on the top and she can make a whole new mural.  That kid is absolutely brilliant.

We headed to Walmart to pick out a color for the rest of the desk.  Originally she wanted to do one of the metallic colors that Disney makes.  Turned out that they can’t do those at the Walmart we were at (um, so then why do you have a giant display promoting the colors then??) so she had to pick something else.  I was braced for a fit, but she actually didn’t seem to care.  She must not have been completely sold on it then…that’s the only explanation I can come up with!  Instead she choose “Sully’s Fur”, which was a light teal.  I thought it was an excellent choice.

Originally I was only going to buy a sample size of whatever color she decided on since that would be plenty to paint her desk.  But since she’s getting a brand new room (C will take over all of her furniture) when we move to Kansas in 6 months I figured I’d get a pint instead so we can paint her dresser, bed and (fingers crossed on this one…) new dress-up closet to match.  I’m so smart.

After priming I got to work taping everything off.  I decided we’d do all of the desk teal except the top and the 3 sides of the bookshelves.  We left the top with just the white primer and I painted each of the shelves (minus the bottom) white.  diy-desk-9diy-desk-7diy-desk-8She helped some with the first coat of teal.  Then I did the second coat of teal and both coats of white all on my own.

Then we were ready for our mural!  I started off by tearing off a sheet of our roll paper the size of the desk and had her draw exactly what she wanted it to look like.  That way there wouldn’t be any issues later.  She decided she wanted to go with a snow scene.  I drew a wavy line on the bottom and we painted that white and then the sky blue. diy-desk-1I have a ton of glitter acrylic paint so I asked if she wanted to make it sparkly.  The answer was obviously “YES!!!!!!!!!!“.  We used sparkly blue for the sky and sparkly silver on the snow.  I do have to admit it looked really cool, especially on the snow.diy-desk-10 diy-desk-3Then I held up her drawing while she copied it onto the desk with a pencil.    diy-desk-5Then she stood there and told me what color paint she wanted everything while I did the actual painting.  I could tell she was disappointed that she couldn’t paint it herself, but I knew if she did it was going to turn out disastrous.  I tried to explain to her that it’s really hard to paint something like this, but she didn’t really understand.  Until I let her decorate the dresses and make the crowns herself.  She wasn’t happy with the way a lot of them turned out and had me go back and fix them.  After that I think she understood.

Our work in progress!diy-desk-4And the final product!  How could I not love it…snowy, sunny, rainy, rainbow all at once with us in fancy clothing, crowns and wands while Santa drops off presents.  Does that scream 5 year old imagination or what?!
diy-desk-6Hubby sprayed it down with the same acrylic sealer we used on the Stepping Stones.  After we let it dry for a looong time (seriously that stuff is potent!) he carried it up to her room.  “She” (aka I) organized all of the art supplies on there, and that’s it!  diy-desk-13My friend Amanda got her some paint-your-own Elsa and Anna ceramic figurines for Christmas so that was her very first project on the desk. It’s been in her room for about a week now and she’s gotten plenty of use out of it, so I’m very happy with our decision to do a desk.  Might not be the most glamorous gift, but it’s definitely going to be used.

Image

Step four: a new Cinderella dress. Obviously.

J has a Cinderella dress.  There was a woman selling 7 dressup dresses for $7 on one of the local yard sale FB sites (seriously, best invention ever!  I LOVE stalking those pages!) about 2 years ago which was when J was just starting to get into her dress up phase in a big way.  The Cinderella dress was a homemade one and its condition was already “gently” used (not that I’m complaining.  It was a dollar).  She absolutely adored that dress and wore it allllllllllll the time.  Although I’ve patched it up several times, it’s now beyond fixing.  There are holes all over the actual dress and it’s filthy.  That’s okay…I got my money’s worth…several times over!js-original-cinderella-dressWhen the latest Cinderella movie came out J and I went to see it.  It was her first experience in the movie theater and she absolutely adored the movie.  Even if she did come out of thinking that “courageous” meant “pretty”.  She adored the blue dress, like I’m sure every other girl out there, and said she wanted one.  So I decided I was going to make her one for Christmas.

First step:  research.  I pinned 3 DIY dresses from Pinterest that seemed to fit the bill:  this one, this one and this one.

I made a list of supplies:

*4 yards of blue tulle—sparkly would be a bonus
*3 yards of purple tulle
*blue zipper 7 in
*blue thread
*1 1/2 yards blue shiny fabric

Then I hit the stores.  I was trying to do this for as cheap as possible.  I ended up getting my tulle from Walmart for 97 cents/yard, the thread, zipper and costume satin from Joann’s on three separate occasions so I could use a 40% off coupon each time.  I also found some blue sparkly tulle at Joann’s.  I only bought half a yard of it…it was nearly $3 a yard and I figured I could just do one layer on the skirt to give it the necessary sparkles since I couldn’t find sparkly tulle for cheap anywhere.

Finally I got to work.  I read through all three tutorials to decide exactly how I wanted to make the dress.  I used Made for Mermaids the most.  I referred to Kiki & Company for the butterflies.  And I didn’t end up using the third one at all.

As usual, refer to the original blog for specific directions.  Read mine to know what not to do 😉

I started off by printing her awesome free pattern and cutting out my bodice pieces. diy-cinderella-dress-1I sewed them together as instructed:  each side piece to the front center; one for the lining and one for the front.  diy-cinderella-dress-2Then I added one back piece to each side.diy-cinderella-dress-3The straps were next.  I folded them in half and sewed the long edges, leaving the short ends open.  
diy-cinderella-dress-4I trimmed and flipped right side out. diy-cinderella-dress-5Then I put the straps in between the lining and front piece and sewed the two bodice pieces together all along the top.diy-cinderella-dress-6diy-cinderella-dress-7And then I realized my first mistake:  one of the straps was twisted.  diy-cinderella-dress-8So I had to rip the seam out and resew it, making sure that I pinned it the correct way this time.  After I flipped the bodice right side out I saw that my front piece and lining didn’t exactly match up along the straps.  Mistake number two!diy-cinderella-dress-9diy-cinderella-dress-10This one was very easily fixed, however.  I just folded the outer piece in to hide the raw edge and then sewed it down like that.  diy-cinderella-dress-11Then I went through and top stitched the entire bodice as instructed, so you couldn’t even tell my mistake there.  Score one for me!

Now for the tulle on the bodice.  I read through Made for Mermaids’ instructions about 10 times and then switched over to Kiki & Company but still didn’t understand exactly what I was supposed to do.  So I made it up.

One change I already knew I wanted to make was that I wanted to take Kiki & Company’s idea and use both the blue and purple tulle in the top.  That was a simple adjustment.

I cut a 20×54 inch rectangle each of the light blue and purple and folded them in half.  I only used one layer of the sparkly blue, so it was only about 26 inches.  diy-cinderella-dress-12Then I layered them so sparkly blue was on the inside and purple on the outside.diy-cinderella-dress-13I sewed along the long bottom edge. diy-cinderella-dress-14And then found the halfway point in both the bodice and the tulle and attached them together. diy-cinderella-dress-15I went back and forth about 15 times just to make sure it was going to stay put!  Then I squeezed the ends together as small as I could and sewed them down on each side.
diy-cinderella-dress-16The result is very unfinished.  But it’s tulle so it’s not going to fray.  It’s fine.  I’m serious, I’m such a dunce when it comes to reading simple instructions!  I’m sure everyone else understood exactly what Made for Mermaids was talking about, but not me.  I still don’t get it.  Of course part of my problem was that my tulle wasn’t as long as it should be–it should’ve extended past the bodice.  And then the ends would’ve been tucked inside the bodice.  But it’s fine.

Time to finish up the bodice.  I sewed each side closed.diy-cinderella-dress-17Then added the zipper.  I don’t like using velcro on dress-up dresses.  Although J needs help getting the zippered dresses on and off, I find that velcro loses its stickiness after awhile and then my life just becomes “Mama, fix my dress” 800,000 times a day.  It happened to both her Merida and Snow White dresses and I vowed no more velcro. So I installed my zipper using my cheating method found in my Glinda tutorial.  diy-cinderella-dress-18See how the tulle doesn’t reach the zipper?  So much for cutting it long enough and making sure that I found the halfway mark, hahahaha!  Good thing J will never notice.

And there we go, bodice is finished!

Time for the skirt.  I cut two pieces, 24 in by the width of my fabric.  Which I want to say was 54 inches, but can’t remember for sure now.  I followed Made for Mermaids’ instructions and cut the front piece at a diagonal so the front bodice would be pointed.

diy-cinderella-dress-19I sewed the two long ends together, flipped it right side out and gathered the top.  I also use a cheating method for gathering, which again you can read about in my Glinda tutorial.  I had to gather it about 3 times until it was small enough to fit the bodice.  And even then I think it ended up being a shade too large.diy-cinderella-dress-22Then I had J try it on.  I needed to make sure that I wasn’t going to make the same mistake with the Glinda dress and have it be too long.  The poor kid tripped about 68 times on Halloween night in that costume.  I’ve hemmed it since then, but still not enough because she has to hold it up when she walks.  I waited until she got home from school and had her close her eyes since it was a surprise.diy-cinderella-dress-20And thank goodness I had her try it on!  Look how long it is!!!!  Obviously my 5 year old isn’t nearly as tall as Made for Mermaids’ is.  I went ahead and trimmed about 3 inches off of the bottom, then folded the bottom edge under twice (taking off about another inch) and hemmed it.  diy-cinderella-dress-23Time for the tulle.  This was ALL wrong, so don’t do this.  First I took the sparkly blue piece since it was the smallest.  I put it around my waist to make sure it would be wide enough for J, which it was.  Then I took the light blue, folded it so it was about the size of the sparkly one and then kept on folding it over and over and over again until I was out.  I repeated with the purple.diy-cinderella-dress-24

I sewed them together along both short edges.  
diy-cinderella-dress-25This part took forever.  I had to readjust the tulle about 68 times, folding and refolding.  Which is why I was even more pissed than I normally would have been that this all ended up being a colossal waste of time.  It took me an entire nap time to do this part, and it all ended up being in vain.  I discovered my mistake when I went to put the tulle inside of the skirt and it wouldn’t fit.  Because the bottom part of the skirt is about 10 times wider than the gathered top…DUH!!!!!!!!!  I can’t even describe to you how upset I was at my stupidity.  Or how difficult it is to seam rip tulle.  Which was my next step.

Then I started again.  This time I laid out my tulle, put the dress lining on top and figured out how wide it had to be to completely cover the bottom.DIY Cinderella Dress 26The bad part was that I didn’t have enough sparkly blue to go around the entire thing.  On the plus side, the sparkly tulle was on the inside of the top sash, which meant that it was going to be on the inside of the skirt as well.  And between all the layers of tulle and the lining you really couldn’t tell unless you looked very closely that only half of the dress was sparkly.  I decided just to make sure the sparkly half went in the front.

I folded it all over and over and over again until it was lined up nice and neatly.  And the right width this time.
diy-cinderella-dress-27I had to sew it together in three spots to ensure the blue sparkly wasn’t going anywhere:  once on each end and then the two remaining pieces together to form the skirt.
diy-cinderella-dress-28diy-cinderella-dress-29diy-cinderella-dress-30Then I gathered it.  Obviously I did a stellar job of lining the different colors up.  diy-cinderella-dress-31

I’m serious, I have a newfound hatred for tulle after making this dress.  I despise it.  With a passion.

Then I tucked the bodice inside of the skirt tulle (right sides together) and the tulle inside the lining.  I pinned that sucker about 68 times and then sewed it all down.  This is me, which means it took me about 6 attempts before I finally deemed it good enough.  I did an awful job of making sure all three were lined up well enough and there were a bunch of pockets where there were holes or the bodice lining poked out or you could see the seam where I sewed the tulle pieces together.  And then it was not in a straight line going all around.  The first time I completely ripped all of the seams out and started from scratch.  The other 5 times I just ripped the trouble areas.  Finally I decided it was straight enough.  I trimmed the inside edges close to the seam and then zigzagged the entire way around to finish it.diy-cinderella-dress-32And then the dress was basically finished! diy-cinderella-dress-33diy-cinderella-dress-34See the line on the tulle on the left side of the bottom picture?  That was one of my trouble areas.  It’s because I didn’t line the tulle up well enough when I sewed it together originally and that part dipped down farther than the rest of it.  I fixed it as best as I could, but I couldn’t put it up any higher without the skirt being a lot shorter on the bottom.  Plus side?  It’s on the back.  And not very noticeable.

Another thing that I just couldn’t get to work was the point in the front.  I cut my skirt lining and tulle to a point as instructed, but it never emerged.  I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t gather the skirt enough?  Whatever, I don’t care.  She’ll never know the difference.

The top tulle sash bothered me a bit.  Since I didn’t sew it on properly you could see the line where I sewed the tulle together on the bottom.  diy-cinderella-dress-35Although I’m sure I could have hand stitched it closed (HA!  YEAH RIGHT!!!!) I opted for an easy out:  hot glue.  I tucked the ends under so I liked it and then put a few drops of hot glue on each side to hold it in place. diy-cinderella-dress-36Much better.

Finally, the butterflies.  I found a butterfly outline preloaded onto my Silhouette program so I made it what seemed to be a good size to go in the tulle.  I pasted 14 of the same size on there and then made one a lot bigger for the front of the sash.  I used the machine to cut them out of grey cardstock.  Then I followed Kiki & Company’s instructions and Modge Podged them several times.  I put a layer on the front, sprinkled some white glitter on them, waited until they dried, added another layer of Modge Podge, waited until they dried, did another layer, waited until they dried and then flipped them over and did one layer of Modge Podge on the back. diy-cinderella-dress-21Can you tell from looking at that photo that I’m not one of those moms with a severe glitter phobia?!  A little bit of that glitter is from the butterflies, but most of it is permanently lodged on the table from many, many, many past crafts.

I hot glued the big butterfly on the front.  diy-cinderella-dress-37I was planning on doing all of them, but I decided it would be best to wait until the dress was on J and then place them on.  I put them in a baggie and set them off to the side (hmmm, speaking of which…where did I put that bag??) for Christmas morning.  I am so excited for her to open this present.  I think she’s really going to love it!!!!!  It may not look nearly as nice or professional as my inspiration pins, but I don’t care.  I worked hard on it and although there are a few parts that I don’t like, all in all I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  Win! diy-cinderella-dress-39 diy-cinderella-dress-38