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Another Monster Project. Because I Just Don’t Have Anything Better To Do With My Free Time.

Well I’ve finally started one of my mega-projects.  Remember how I said that I want to turn the blank side of J’s Art Activity Center into a felt board?  Well, I decided it was time to actually DO it!

So my end goal is to make all of the characters/props from all of the princess stories out of felt so she can reenact it.  Ya know, no big deal.

I decided to start with Cinderella.

First I made a list:  Cinderella in her rags, Cinderella in her pink dress, Cinderella in her blue dress, glass slippers, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, Lucifer, Bruno, 2 birds, Gus, Jaq, the Fairy Godmother, a pumpkin, the coach, the Grand Duke and the Prince.  Pssshhh, simple!!!!

I knew my Silhouette was going to play a giant part in this project.  I opened up the program and got to work.  I’m not going to lie…making all of the templates took FOREVER.   And of course I can’t figure out how to upload a Silhouette Studio document on here on the off chance you already own one and are planning on doing something like this.  Figures.  If you do want my Studio document leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send it to you that way!

I used Continually Creative’s princess template to start. I opened up Cinderella, saved her to my computer and opened the downloaded file in the Silhouette program.  I’ve made felt people before for J’s Quiet Books so I already had a felt person (you can find the template for the person I used on Serving Pink Lemonade’s blog here).  I resized the body template to what seemed like a good size for a felt board.  I moved the Cinderella template on top of it and sized it so it fit well.  Then I used the trace feature and ungrouped the tracing so I had the separate pieces of her dress and hair.

I went to Google Images to search for all of the other characters, and then repeated those steps for everyone else.

I spent days and days and days and days and days of nap times (seriously, I’m not exaggerating) recreating everyone in my Silhouette program.  Then the easy part:  cutting and gluing.  If you don’t own a Silhouette (which you really should.  Seriously, go buy one immediately!) this part will take you a lot longer since you’ll have to cut it all out by hand.

In Silhouette Studio I took each separate piece of each individual outfit and grouped them next to one another.  I colored each shape so I would know what felt color each piece needed, which saved time during the cutting phase.  Here’s a screenshot of my computer to give you an idea as to what I’m talking about…silhouette-screen-shot-cinderella-castAfter I colored and arranged all of the pieces I used the print and cut feature.  If you’re unfamiliar with this feature it’s simple:  you load the paper into your printer where it prints out your creation, then you lay it on your cutting mat, load it into the Silhouette and the machine cuts out everything for you!  It cut out all of those teeny tiny pieces for me!  Amazing!!

Next I filled an entire 8×11 inch page on the Silhouette program with blank people.  silhouette-screen-shot-felt-peopleI picked up some skin tone felt from Michaels (since that’s apparently the one color I don’t have!).  In order to cut felt with the Silhouette a bit of prep work is required.  You need to purchase some Heat n Bond.  I bought 5 yards prepackaged from Walmart since I’m constantly cutting felt and it was the most cost-effective way I found at the time.  When I first started out I just purchased the 1.5 yard package from Michaels and used a 40% off coupon to lower the price.

Cut your Heat n Bond to the correct size and iron it to the “wrong” side of the felt (obviously there isn’t a right or wrong side of felt.  Basically just pick a side).heat-n-bond-ironed-onto-feltThere are instructions included, but really that’s all there is to it.  Then stick the felt onto the cutting mat with the Heat n Bond against the sticky side.  Load it into the machine.  Set your blade to 10, your speed to 3 and thickness to 33.  I usually check the ‘double cut’ box as well.felt-peopleJust like you should have special scissors that are only used for cutting fabric, the same goes for a special Silhouette blade.  They do sell fabric blades, but they’re the exact same thing as a normal blade, just in a blue casing so it’s easy to tell it apart from your others.  I simply took an extra blade I hadn’t opened yet, wrapped masking tape around it and drew a big ‘F’ on it.

There is a downside to using the Silhouette to cut felt.  Because you have to use the Heat n Bond in order to send it through the machine, the side that had the Heat n Bond leaves a shiny “thing” on it.  I don’t know how to describe it.  Oh–it’d be like if you put clear Scotch tape on the felt.  It’s not sticky and it doesn’t peel off or do anything–but felt won’t stick to felt anymore.

See the difference between Drizzela’s front versus her back?  Her face and arms are shiny from the Heat n Bond on the front, and on the back you can see it on her hair.
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In order to get around this situation I made sure to glue the clothing pieces on the wrong side of the felt–the side the Heat n Bond was ironed onto.  That way the body will stick to the felt board without any issues at all.

I peeled the clothing pieces off of the cutting mat, focusing on one character/object at a time.  They were tiny pieces and I didn’t want to lose any of them.  And then since nothing had to be precise, I simply held the template onto the felt with one hand and cut it out with the other.  I arranged the pieces onto the body and hot glued everything on.

I used this template for the Prince and Grand Duke, changing what was needed to customize their outfits.  felt-cinderella-characters-prince-grand-dukeI used my Cinderella template for Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia and pink Cinderella.felt-cinderella-characters-pink-blue-anastasia-tremaine-drizellaFor rags Cinderella I used the templates I had saved for Anna and Elsa (which were next on my list), which can be found here.  felt-cinderella-characters-ragsFor the Fairy Godmother, Jaq, Gus and Lucifer I used the stock images from Disney and recreated them as best as I could.  It’s been about a month since I’ve made the characters and somehow Jaq has been lost.felt-cinderella-characters-gus-lucifer-fairy-godmotherThe birds, dog and pumpkin images were all preloaded onto my Silhouette.  For the coach I just cut out two pumpkins (one orange and one white) and then added a window, wheels and a twirly thing to turn it into a coach.  Apparently the coach and Bruno are hanging out with Jaq in no man’s land as well.  If you want to see Jaq and Bruno just check out the photo of the entire cast below.  Fortunately I was smart enough to take a picture immediately after I finished making them–before they could get lost or ruined.  felt-cinderella-characters-pumpkin-birds

Ta-da!  4 naptimes later I had the complete cast of Cinderella!
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It’s a Party! A Big Dog Party!

So C turned one last week 🙁  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about it…but as all mothers can relate, it’s bittersweet!  Especially since I look at him now and he just looks older.  He’s not this itty bitty baby anymore…he’s turning into a true toddler.  He just looks so big!  And that’s saying a lot since he’s in the 5th percentile for height and isn’t even on the charts for weight, haha!

Hubby is currently stationed in Virginia, so we’re about 5 hours from my hometown in Pennsylvania.  Since it’s rare for us to be so close I figured I would have C’s 1st birthday party up there so they could join in the celebration.  Since we were in Kansas when J turned 1 and none of our family members could make it out, I decided to take advantage of it and throw the exact same birthday party for C as I did for J:  dogs!

I used the same Etsy seller, PlanB Designs, for C’s invitation:Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-InvitationThe food was served in dog bowls I picked up from the Dollar Tree for J’s party 4 years ago.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-1To drink I whipped up Belle of the Kitchen‘s absolutely delicious Watermelon Lemonade (which was a huge hit!  I doubled the recipe and all of it was gone by the time the party was over!).  To eat we had Puppy Chow (just the recipe off of the back of the cereal box.  No reason to mess with perfection 😉 ),Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-2raw carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers and broccoli with Vegetable Dill DipDog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-3and strawberries, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe with Fruit Dip (easiest recipe ever:  just two ingredients!).  I used a dog bone cookie cutter to cut the watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to match the theme!

We also served hot dogs with all of the fixin’s.

Having experience with decorating cupcakes that didn’t go so well in the past, I wanted to stick with something simple.  I found this cute pin for dog cupcakes and did my best to replicate it.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-1I didn’t want to decorate them all the same, so I found a second pin that I liked, this one.  This replication didn’t turn out nearly as well.  Sigh.  Serves me right for trying to make things more complicated than necessary. Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-2Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-3But these cupcakes still turned out loads better than the ones I decorated for J’s Farm Birthday Party when she turned 2.J-Farm-Birthday-Theme-CupcakesI still shudder every time I look at that picture.  They looked so easy!!

Since I learned that C really wasn’t into cake at his Cake Smash photo shoot I kept this cake simple.  I used a box cake mix and canned frosting.  I still made it in the 6 inch cake pan I have, but I used a giant dog bone cookie cutter so it was about half the size of the last cake.  I threw some frosting on top, outlined the bone with a store bought tube of icing, stuck the candle in, and voila, fini!

Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cake-1Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cake-2Try to ignore the frosting that’s everywhere on the plate.  Not only am I not a master cake decorate (obviously), but I’m also an insanely messy cook/baker.

I kept the decorations pretty simple.  I bought tablecloths, silverware and plates from the Dollar Tree in dark blue, bright blue and teal to match the invitation colors.  I also picked up a bag of balloons from there and blew up just the matching colors.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-2I used my amazing Silhouette to cut large dog bones out of dark blue, bright blue, teal and lime green cardstock to match my colors.  I also had it cut out all of the letters for “Happy Birthday Carter” and “One” out of the same cardstock colors.  I peeled the letters off, glued a letter onto a dog bone, punched two holes in the top and weaved balloon string through the holes to make the two banners.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-4There was a random balloon-animal-type balloon in the bag, so my sister had the brilliant idea to blow it up and form it into the letter C!  Loved it!Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-5

The party was held in my father’s garage.  Super long story, but basically the garage is bigger than the house they live in.  And even though there’s a ton of space inside, at the end of the day it’s still a garage, which means it’s not exactly ideal for pictures.  To help remedy that we hung up an extra tablecloth on the bay door and laid down an orange blanket I happened to find that matched his birthday outfit perfectly!  We figured he could do his cake smash and open presents there.  That way the pictures wouldn’t look as bad.

Final touch:  helium birthday balloons from Party City tied to some Kongs as a centerpiece.  Even though I paid the extra 15 cents for helium for 18-36 hours, the teal balloon only made it about 10 hours before it bit it.  I paid $1.35 plus tax for that one balloon…I was going to display it dammit!Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-3The centerpieces for J’s dog party were much nicer.  I picked up dog toys and rawhides from the Dollar Tree, but I just didn’t care enough this time around to go into that much detail.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-1

I also cut out a “1” from posterboard and taped a bunch of pictures from C’s first year.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere good to hang it, so I ended up just leaving it laying on one of the tables.  Whoops.

Party time!

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And the cake smash went MUCH better this time.  Figures, the little sh*t!

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The only bad part?  C got his first fat lip 🙁

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Other than that, the party was a success!  Woof woof!

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One?! Already?!

Well, we hit the big age mark with C on April 10th.  He turned 1.  Bye bye cute little blob of a baby…hello toddlerhood!  He took his first steps a couple of days before his birthday but hasn’t moved much beyond that.  Yet.  I know how this works…once he starts going there’s no stopping him!  Honestly I’m anxious for him to walk on his own (yes, I know.  I’m going to regret that statement back once he can actually do it.  Big time).  The kid isn’t satisified sitting…he has to be moving.  And since he can’t do it on his own yet, that means he needs Hubby or I to hold his little hands, hunch over him and walk all over the house.  All.  Day.  Long.  So the freedom will be so nice when he can move around all by himself!  So I’m definitely looking forward to walking, with one big caveat:  at home.  Once we leave the house to go absolutely anywhere–the store, a friend’s house, the pool, walking the dog–I know I’m going to miss the days of complete control.  That and it will official mean he’s no longer my itty bitty baby but now a real live boy 🙁

I did a cake smash photo session for J when she turned 1 and I wanted to do the same thing with C.  We hired a local photographer to take our Christmas photos and I absolutely loved her.  This one is my favorite from that session and is what we sent out as our Christmas card this year.

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We chose a date (one week before his birthday) and time for the photo shoot and I started to gather everything I needed (okay, wanted).  First:  a birthday outfit.  Although I love both of my children to death, one of the things I miss the most about having a baby girl is dressing her.  J had on the cutest little outfit for her first birthday:  a customized birthday shirt from Etsy, a tutu, and the cutest personalized bloomers ever (also from Etsy.  Man I love that site!).  She looked freaking adorable!!

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C was a much bigger problem.  I spent forever on Google Images searching for things like “birthday outfit 1 year old boy”.  I knew I wanted a bowtie but nothing I found seemed cute enough.  And then I stumbled on this image:

It was perfect.  I had to have it.  I bought a dark grey vest from Target.com and a pair of dark jeans from a local consignment shop.  I picked up two squares of orange and white fabric from Joann’s.  Finally I contacted a local seamstress and asked her to embroider a 1 and a paw print (his bday theme was “dog”) onto the vest and to make a bow tie and tie out of the fabric for me.  He already had a white onesie to wear underneath, the bowler hat from his Christmas photo shoot and a pair of black and white sneakers to complete the look.

Here’s the finished product.  I couldn’t be more pleased!!!!

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Next step:  the cake.  My friend Ashlyn has this AMAZING food blog, Belle of the Kitchen.  I mean seriously amazing.  Her daughter turned 1 a few months back and the cake she made for her was so cute that it stuck with me all this time.  You can’t tell me that isn’t the cutest cake you’ve ever seen?!  Click on the photo to go to her blog and get all of the details!  And while you’re there check out all of her absolutely scrumptious recipes!

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Belle of the Kitchen 1st Birthday Smash Cake

Of course C isn’t a girl so I didn’t think pink frosting would be the best choice.  And the roses seemed a bit girlie as well.  But I really liked her cake so I used her recipe for the cake and frosting.  Fortunately it made enough for a 6 inch cake, 12 cupcakes and 2 cakes in a jar (something special for J to have too) because it was delicious!!  Especially the frosting.  It is a must-try.  Like right now.  Seriously, stop reading and go make yourself a cake.  Or at least a batch of frosting.

I wanted to use Belle of the Kitchen’s basic decorating ideas so I searched around for a less-girly finished product.  I found this one and decided it was perfect.  Like Belle of the Kitchen, Director Jewels also kept going on and on about how easy it is to decorate a cake yourself, so I decided to give it a shot.  My attempts in the past have not been so pretty…like these farm cupcakes.  And I didn’t even have to actually decorate them!  They should’ve been super simple!

J-Farm-Birthday-Theme-CupcakesBut it actually did turn out to be relatively simple.  I made the cake, let it cool, then tossed it in the freezer for about 30 minutes (I read somewhere that makes cakes easier to decorate.  I figured I could use all the help I could get!).

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While I was waiting I whipped up the icing and frosted the extra cupcakes.  Then I pulled the cake out of the freezer and coated it in white.

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I actually didn’t end up having enough icing for the cupcakes and the cake, so if I were to do it all over again I would skip this step.  It was unnecessary and was just a waste of frosting (although I’m sure C appreciated it 😉 ).  Then I took about a third of the frosting out, squirted some blue gel food coloring in and mixed it until it was a shade I liked.  I have a cake decorating tool so I decided to use that, figuring it would be easier than messing around with decorator bags.  Definitely not the case.  That sucker was a giant pain in the ass and wasted a bunch of frosting.  Stupid POS.

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Just look at how much frosting is left in there!  What a giant waste!

But anyway, I put the frosting in the tube, screwed on a decorating thinger (I’m assuming those things have an actual name but I don’t have the slightest idea what it is.) and placed random blue dots all over the cake.  Easy peasy!  I repeated the steps, making both green and yellow.  By the time I was halfway through with my second color I knew the frosting was going to be cutting it close to decorate the entire thing.  Fortunately I had only done the top, afraid something like this might happen.  Mental note:  decorate the cupcakes that are just meant for the family to eat at their leisure last, not first!

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Around the sides I opted to go for the ombre look.

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C’s birthday is right around Easter (at least it was this year and last year…Easter is such a strange holiday since it’s date varies greatly every year!) and although it definitely wasn’t planned, I love how it turned out spring/Easter colors!

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So we were all set for the photo shoot, which I was super excited about.  C LOVES food.  This kid can chow down like I’ve never seen before.  I figured with his love of food combined with his love of getting messy/dirty he was going to demolish the cake in seconds.  I thought we’d get some adorable happy photos of him in some cute outfits, make him naked and watch him destroy the cake.

As usual with kids, nothing ever goes as planned.  He spent about half of the 40 min shoot crying, so most of his pictures turned out like this:

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Fortunately he’s the cutest crier ever, so at least those ones have an adorable-in-a-particular-way element.  And our photographer is absolutely awesome, so even though he spent a good portion crying, she managed to get some great shots in.  After, of course, 50 million verses of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Here Comes the Bumblebee”, taking a 10 minute break to walk around the parking lot and look at trucks and finding a life-saver stuffed bear in the trunk of my car.

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Seriously, I’m in love with his outfit!!

And then the cake smash wasn’t much better.  He really didn’t care about the cake at all and made a minimal mess.

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It was nothing like J’s 1st cake where not only she ate the entire thing, but she did it in under 5 minutes.  Twice (at her photoshoot and again at her birthday party).

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And although the photo below makes it look like he ate a lot, that’s not the case.  J, Hubby and I were all snacking on it during the 10 minutes C picked at it.  At least it didn’t go completely to waste!

C-1st-birthday-cake-smash-1Oh well!  We got some cute (crying) pictures out of the deal, I learned that I’m somewhat capable of decorating a cake, and I knew I would only need a small cake for his birthday party next week!  So at least there’s that I suppose…

 

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There’s just so much to do today!

When J was about two and a half I thought it would be cool to make her some kind of board where we could talk about today’s upcoming activities and events.  She was obsessed with knowing exactly what we were going to do (and still is!) and I thought if she had something visual it would make it easier for her to understand.  Since she was at the age where she could actually participate in activities and she was an only child at this point, our days were jam packed with stuff.  We had ice skating lessons, swim lessons, music class, art class, gymnastics, playgroup…no wonder the poor kid couldn’t keep it straight!

I started looking online for some ideas.  I knew for sure I wanted to include an “activity” space–a list of things that we were going to do that day.  And since some stuff was just J and I, some was J and Hubby and some was all 3 of us I wanted a place for who was going to be doing the activity.  I also wanted a space for the day of the week.  Preschools use this type of thing all the time, but I didn’t want to go into specific details, like the month and date.  I did like the idea of including the weather though.

I wanted to include one more thing.  I decided to go with emotions–how was J feeling?  I thought it would be a good introduction to understanding emotions.  She never really comprehended that one, which I’m not surprised.  She liked to just put random things up there…really whatever picture she liked the best that particular morning.  But that’s okay, it was still an introduction!  And the rest of the magnet board was a HUGE hit.

I knew I wanted to use magnets.  After talking it over with Hubby we decided the best thing to do was get a large picture frame and then add a piece of galvanized metal behind the glass to make the magnets stick.  I found an 16×20 inch frame in the clearance section in Michaels for 5 bucks…perfect!  Hubby picked up a sheet of metal from Lowes.  If I remember correctly he had to cut it to size?  Sorry…we made this board about a year and a half ago and I really can’t remember!

I wanted to jazz the metal up a bit since you’d be able to see it.  First I divided it up into the different sections:  the day of the week, emotions, the weather and the activities.  I painted each rectangle a different color with acrylic paint.  Then I painted over the entire thing with some glitter paint, knowing that J would love that it was sparkly.  Since the categories were going to be static I glued them in place right onto the metal.  I figured I would cross the bridge of changing out J’s name for future children when I got there a few years down the road.  Then Hubby slid the metal into the frame, closed it up and gave it back to me.  He loves projects where he’s involved just a teeny tiny bit like this 😉

I had recently acquired my brand new Silhouette Cameo and I put it to good use with this project.  First I worked on the days of the week.  I simply typed all of the words onto my Silhouette program, put white cardstock in the machine and let it do its magic.  I cut rectangles out of different colored cardstock and then glued the letters down.  Easy.

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The weather was next.  I checked out some of the pictures that came preloaded with my machine and picked out anything weather-related.  Whatever I didn’t already have I found by doing a Google Images search, saving it to my desktop and then opening up in the Silhouette program.  I have windy, raining, thunderstorms, sunny, partly cloudy and snowing.  I typed up the weather words (I also have “warm” somewhere too…that one appears to be missing right now…) and used the super awesome “print and cut” feature on the Silhouette.  It prints the document from your regular printer and then you feed it into the Silhouette and it knows where to cut.  LOVE IT!!!!

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Emotions were next.  I decided what ones I wanted and then found corresponding pictures of J showing the specific emotion.  In order from left to right:  angry, happy, excited, hungry, surprised, sad, scared and tired.  Sorry the quality on them isn’t so great.  They got wet somehow and since we no longer use the board I haven’t bothered to replace them yet.  And I just realized that one on the bottom right is actually supposed to go in the “activity” category–it’s “going to a restaurant”.  Whoops.

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I opened each photo into my Silhouette program, scaled them all to the same size, printed them off and cut around them.  Done!

I picked out my favorite pictures to use for the “who” category:  one of J and I, one of all 3 of us and one of Jeff and J.  I repeated the same process I used for the emotion pictures.

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Then the activities.  This one took me awhile since we had so many things going on!  The pictures were either found on my Silhouette program, my personal photos, or saved from a Google Images search..  Here’s the activity listing:  ice skating, going for a bike ride, swim lessons, going for a long car ride (2+ hours), going to the gym, visit to the library, art class, sled riding, shopping, park, taking the dogs in the car somewhere…
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…playgroup, doctor’s appointment, going to Pappy’s house, the babysitter is coming over, going to the post office, gymnastics and going to an indoor playground.

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There we go!  All of my pieces were complete.  The next step was to make them sturdy.  I had cut all of the pieces out of cardstock (well my machine did 😉 ) but I figured they wouldn’t last long with little toddler hands grabbing at them constantly.  I decided to laminate them.  I knew there were going to be a lot of projects like this in my future so I hopped on Amazon and purchased this cute little laminator for $30.  That was a year and a half ago and it still works awesome.  No complaints at all!  I shoved each piece into the provided pouches, laminated them and cut them out around the edges.

Next they needed magnets.  Since the glass was pretty thick on the picture frame I needed some heavier magnets.  I purchased these ones off of Amazon.  I just hot glued them onto the back of each laminated piece.  That, however, didn’t work so well.  A few months after making the board all of the magnets started to fall off.  So I used some trusty E6000 to adhere them.  And that actually didn’t work so well either…better than the hot glue but a bunch of the magnets have still fallen off.  Since we’re not currently using the board I haven’t tried anything else yet.  If anyone finds a solution that actually works let me know!  I’m going to have to revamp it when C gets old enough to appreciate it.

E6000The board was working great and I loved it.  I discovered that the closet organizer in her room was made from metal so we stuck all of the pieces on the lower shelves so she could reach them.  Every morning after J woke up we’d discuss what we were doing and she’d find the corresponding magnets.  As it became necessary to add more and more “things to do” it was really cramped.  So I headed back to Lowes and picked up two more skinny pieces of galvanized metal and Hubby screwed them onto each side of one of her dressers.  Perfect!

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It is a wonderful tool for a 2-3 year old!  We used it just about every single day for a year or so.  She’s a bit old for it now, but the beauty of it is all I have to do is print out some new pieces, replace J’s name with C’s and voila, it’s good to go for the next child!
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A Princess Also Needs a Wardrobe to Store Her Numerous Ball Gowns. Obviously.

A long time ago (as in 3 years) I found this cute pin for a DIY Dress Up Closet for little girls.  I pinned it for future reference, although at that point J was definitely not into dressing up.  Not even a little bit.  I figured I’d keep it just in case, and it’s a good thing.  The entire 2 weeks she was off from school for winter break she didn’t put on “real” clothes one time.  Only dress-up dresses and PJs.  Nothing else.

I think she started getting into it around age 2 1/2-3.  Although for the longest time she just wanted to wear her old Halloween costumes, which I found absolutely adorable.  She had cute original ones–a pig, a skunk and an elephant.  It was especially adorable because it wasn’t just her dressing up…all of her favorite stuffed animals needed to as well.  And then we would play Halloween.  In August.

J Dressing Up

And then she requested to be Cinderella for Halloween the year she was 3 and it all started to go down hill.  At least it was a slow decline, I suppose.  She liked to combine outfits and be Firefighter Cinderella or Witch Cinderella.

J Firefighter Cinderella

And then Grandma got her some of those plastic dress-up shoes for Christmas.  She slipped those high heels on and immediately started running all over the house in them.  Absolutely no problems at all walking in them.  And then I knew for sure we were going to be in trouble.

I decided a dress-up closet would be useful to store her birthday tutus, her couple of pairs of dress-up shoes, her Cinderella dress, her Halloween costumes from the last 3 years and her firefighter getup.  Although I really love Growing a Jeweled Rose’s changing-table-turned-dress-up-closet, we just weren’t ready to get rid of our changing table yet.  So I searched around and decided that a simple wardrobe would do perfectly, something like this.

I hit Value Village (Canadian thrift store…hands down best thing about being stationed there!) and found an old bookshelf/cabinet thing.  Since we made this project about a year and a half ago, long before starting a blog entered my mind, I once again have zero before pictures.  Or pictures of the process.  Although at least with this one it’s completely self-explanatory.  We actually did very little to change it so it should be pretty easy to tell what it looked like before.

I pulled all of the shelves out and got rid of them.  The “closet” was just white laminate so I wanted to do something to make it look nicer without spending hours on it.  I found this really cute yellow one and loved the looks of it.  Obviously I wasn’t going to redo it or use wallpaper or anything crazy like that.  Instead I simply bought a sample of bright yellow paint from Lowes (I LOVE how they offer those samples.  It’s so much better than buying an entire pint of paint that I will never use all of).  I painted the entire inside yellow and then drew large circles on each side and painted them.  Hubby bought a dowel rod from Lowes and screwed it inside.  I added some Dollar Tree hooks onto each side to hang stuff on, and voila, c’est fini!

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As with all of my DIY projects there are a few things I don’t like about it.

1.  I just painted right over the laminate, which isn’t holding up too well.  The outside is just fine, but the inside is chipping where the hangers and shoes are scraping.  Since her closet is bursting full you can’t really see it, but it does bother me.

2. Hubby hung the dowel rod about half an inch too high.  I have to angle the hanger in just right in order to get it to fit (hence why the paint is scraping off even faster than it should at the top).  And since have a difficult time hanging the clothes up, it’s impossible for J to do it.  Now let’s be honest–even if she could manage to hang her clothes up they’d still probably be strewn all about her room, but at least I can tell myself they’re never actually in the closet because she can’t hang them up herself.

3. I wish it had a drawer or shelves or something on the bottom like a lot of the DIY dress up closets you see on Pinterest.  Her dresses are so long that on the rare occasion when they’re actually hung up, you can’t see any of the shoes on the bottom.  Which means that J throws them all out and leaves them all over her floor until she finds the particular pair she’s looking for.  I was thinking about putting them in bins underneath there, but really that doesn’t solve the problem much.  However, looking at a lot of these dress-up closest I don’t understand how the child is able to reach their clothes!  I might have to hang up her stuff constantly but at least she can get it down by herself!  Definitely don’t want to fix one problem and end up with an even bigger one…

This one has definitely done its job for the first two years.  But now her hobby is a full-blown obsession.  We own Merida, Belle, Cinderella (#2…she outgrew the first one), Snow White, Aurora, a Snow White cape, Rapunzel and the generic princess dress from Melissa & Doug.  Plus a bunch of random dress/baton leotards I picked up at a yard sale for a buck each.  She’s begging for an Anna, Elsa and Ariel dress too.

J Belle

The minute she gets home from school and finishes lunch she changes into a princess dress and remains that way until it’s time for dinner.  Then she’ll take it off just long enough to eat, then right back into until bath time.  On the days when we have errands to run or somewhere to go, 9 times out of 10 I’ll let her wear her princess dress out.  I figure it makes her happy, so why not?  Now if she’s still begging to wear her Belle dress grocery shopping when she’s 15 we’ll have a conversation then 😉

On top of the dozen or so dresses she owns, she has a ton of tiaras, wands, shoes, dress-up accessories, tutus and fairy wings.  She recently got her ears pierced so at least I was able to throw all of her clip-on earrings away.

So something a bit more organized might be in order in the near future.  I’m very casually looking out for another dresser or bookshelf or something that I can redo.  I don’t want to spend more than $10 since we have a perfectly fine one that’s doing its job well enough.  And I have a feeling that the bigger it is, the bigger the dress-up collection will be…