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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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 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


Step three: DIY Hooded Towels.

I found these amazingly adorable hooded towels on Pinterest a year or two ago by Crazy Little Projects.  I fell in love with them immediately.  Not only are they super cheap and super cute, but, most importantly, they’re super easy.  I made J a duck towel for the bath and a shark towel for the beach about two years ago.  Last year for Nolan’s 1st birthday I made him either the dog or shark…I can’t remember now.  I want to say dog.

Since poor C is still using baby towels and J’s duck is looking a bit forlorn, I figured I’d make them each a towel for Christmas.  Although there are a ton of choices, it was super easy to decide on one for each:  Elmo for C and a Princess one for J.

I picked up my supplies:  a red bath towel and matching hand towel for Elmo from Target and a purple bath towel, matching hand towel and yellow hand towel for the Princess crown from Walmart.  There isn’t a particular reason I bought them at two different stores…just turned out Walmart didn’t have an appropriate shade of red for Elmo.  See, chalk it up to yet another reason why Target kicks Walmart’s butt!

Check out the Princess hooded towel tutorial on Crazy Little Projects’ blog for the clear and easy to understand directions.  I’m just going to give a quick synopsis and I’m sure it’ll be confusing since I can’t explain anything, haha.

Since the crown is a separate piece this one was a tad bit more “difficult” than the other towels I’ve made previously.  Which means not at all.  I started by cutting the yellow hand towel in half so the width was about 8.5 I cut a crown shape from one of the halves.  Crazy Little Projects has a template if you want to use it.  I just eyeballed it.  I made the crown go the entire width of the towel (there were 4 spikes) and the tip of each spike was about halfway up the length of the towel. I laid the first one on top of the rest of the hand towel and cut out a carbon copy.  I matched them and sewed them together, leaving the finished edge of the towel open as instructed.  I flipped it right side out so the stitching was jewels were next.  I scrounged up some sparkly purple scraps from a long ago project which worked perfectly.  Now Crazy Little Projects does it the smart way and has you use Heat n Bond on the back of the jewels and then attaches them using an appliqué stitch.  I didn’t bother.  Instead I cut out four diamonds and sewed them directly onto the crown with a zigzag stitch.  I’m sure it won’t last nearly as long but if there’s one thing you’ve learned about me by now it’s that I am time for the part I’ve done before:  making the hood.  I cut the purple hand towel in half the fat way and put half of it aside for a future project.  I folded the finished edge about 4 inches up and stitched it folded the hand towel in half (so the folded part was on the outside) and zigzagged it on the back to form a flipped it right side out and then pinned the crown on.  I took Crazy Little Projects advice and took the hood into the bathroom so I could adjust the crown as needed.  Don’t I look nice 😉 diy-princess-hooded-towel-8I sewed the crown onto the hand towel along the bottom edge. Crazy Little Projects advises tucking the open edge of the crown in before sewing it down to hide the raw edges.  Since with mine the end of the crown is already a finished edge I didn’t bother folding it in.  It would’ve looked nicer, yes, but honestly I don’t think my machine could’ve gotten through all of those layers.  I recently broke a needle and was on my last one so I didn’t want to risk breaking this one and having to wait until I could make it to Joann’s to purchase replacements before finishing the towel.  It looks it just needs to be attached to the towel!  First, Crazy Little Projects recommends folding the bath towel in 3-4 inches on each short side and sewing it down, which I did. diy-princess-hooded-towel-6Then you find the center of the towel by folding it in half and form a pleat that’s about an inch wide. diy-princess-hooded-towel-5Sew across it. diy-princess-hooded-towel-4Then take the hood, match the hood seam with the center of the pleat and pin together.  Make sure you match the right sides of the towel together.  Although as you’ll see in a minute for Elmo, it’s really not a big deal if you’re not paying attention and mess that part the two towels together and voila, finished! diy-princess-hooded-towel-2 diy-princess-hooded-towel-1diy-hooded-princess-towel-21diy-hooded-princess-towel-20

The Elmo towel was even more straightforward than the last one and very similar to the towels I’ve already made.  Once again, refer to Crazy Little Projects Elmo tutorial for the complete (and better!) instructions. Especially since for some reason my camera did not like this shade of red and the photos are difficult to see.

So same thing.  Cut the hand towel in half the fat way, fold the finished edge up about 3 inches and sew it, fold the towel in half (with the finished edge on the inside) and zigzag down the back to form a hood. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-6 diy-elmo-hooded-towel-4Next cut out your face pieces.  I used regular fabric for the eyes and mouth and an orange towel for the nose (since that’s what I happened to have on hand).  I just eyeballed the pieces and am actually surprised at how well they turned out!  Usually circles are extremely difficult for me. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-9Once again Crazy Little Projects recommends ironing Heat n Bond to the back the pieces and sewing them on with an appliqué stitch.  And once again I ignored this advice and just zigzagged them on as is.  I’m sure they’ll be fine… diy-elmo-hooded-towel-8There was one step on here that I’ve never seen in her other tutorials before, including the princess one.  She instructs you to sew a line across the top of the triangle and then cut it where the seam is.  Not sure why, but not one to question experts I did as told. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-3Then I did the same things as above to the bath towel.  Folded each side in about 4 inches, sewed it together.  Folded it in half to find the middle, formed a pleat and sewed it down. diy-elmo-hooded-towel-7Matched the seam of the hood to the middle of the pleat in the bath towel and attached them together. And that’s it!diy-elmo-hooded-towel-1diy-hooded-elmo-towel-10Like I said I wasn’t paying attention to make sure the right sides were together with the Elmo towel so it turns out that the seams I sewed on each side of the bath towel are facing out, not in.  I actually made this exact same mistake on Nolan’s towel.  Fortunately unless you’re looking super closely you’d never even notice the mistake.  And even if it was an obvious mistake it’s not like a 20 month old is going to care.  He’s just going to be excited to see Elmo!  I can’t wait to give them their towels Christmas morning!


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.


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!!

1st-birthday-outfit-girl-2 1st-birthday-outfit-girl-2









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 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!!!!


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!

Belle of the Kitchen 1st Birthday Smash Cake

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!).


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.


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.

frosting-decorator-1 frosting-decorator-2

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!


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

C-1st-birthday-smash-cake-3 C-1st-birthday-smash-cake-4 C-1st-birthday-smash-cake-5

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!


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:


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.

C-1st-Birthday-Photo-Shoot-3 C-1st-Birthday-Photo-Shoot

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.


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).


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…