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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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

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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 inches.diy-princess-hooded-towel-14Then 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 hidden.diy-princess-hooded-towel-15The 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 L-A-Z-Y.diy-princess-hooded-towel-12diy-princess-hooded-towel-13Now 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 down.diy-princess-hooded-towel-11I folded the hand towel in half (so the folded part was on the outside) and zigzagged it on the back to form a hood.diy-princess-hooded-towel-9diy-princess-hooded-towel-10I 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 fine.diy-princess-hooded-towel-7Then 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 up.diy-princess-hooded-towel-3Sew 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!

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Step two: DIY advent calendar and felt tree all in one. Because I like to combine things to make life easier.

Two Christmases ago I made an Advent Calendar (is that supposed to be capitalized?  I don’t think it is.) for J.  I made one out of mason jar lids shaped into a tree, similar to this one.  I hated it.  And that goes to show just how much I really disliked it, since J reminds me every time I say the word hate, “You’re not supposed to use that word.”.  I told her there are certain times when it is okay to use it, but you have to really mean it.  And in that case I do.  The lids fell out allllll the time.

But anyway, I went to hang it up this year when we got out the rest of our decorations but it was nowhere to be found.  I asked Hubby about it and he reminded me that I threw it away last Christmas.  Good for me…if I hadn’t have bit the bullet and just thrown it away then I would just continue to use it every year for convenience purposes.  So although I was a little peeved at myself for doing it, overall I was thrilled it was actually gone.

But that meant I needed a new calendar.  I searched and searched and searched and just couldn’t find anything that I liked.  I was seeing those felt Christmas trees all over the place that people recommend for toddlers so they don’t tear apart your real tree (ha, $20 says that never ever ever works.  How is that the same to a 2 year old?!) and I wondered if I could somehow combine the two.  I decided to give it a shot

I have a ton of felt from a fabric store closing awhile back so I cut a tree out of dark green and a trunk from dark brown. diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-1I hot glued the trunk to the bottom of the tree and hung it on the wall using push pins.diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-2Not only do I have yards and yards of felt but I also have a bunch of bags of felt scraps, along with a ton of sheets of felt.  bags-of-felt-scrapsSo I got to work cutting out circle “ornaments”–one from each color.  On one side I used a permanent marker to write the day’s Christmas activity.  Then, because my activities change each year I had to figure out a way to make the numbers different.  I didn’t want to have to cut out new felt ornaments every single year…I’m lazy!  So I decided to hot glue a piece of velcro on the other side of the ornament.  I could cut numbers out of felt, put velcro on the other side and BAM, easily change the number corresponding with each activity every year.

Except that after I wrote out all of the activities and glued on all of the velcro I decided I did not like that idea.  The velcro was getting stuck on the felt and tearing it apart.  Plus making numbers was going to be a pain in the butt.  I was going to have to use my Silhouette to cut them all out and then glue them on to square pieces of felt that had velcro on the back.  And you couldn’t read any of my activities–the Sharpies bled right into the felt.  Plus my handwriting is atrocious.  So I threw out the 12 ornaments and went back to the drawing board.

And then I had an epiphany:  presents!  There are presents under the tree!  I could make 3 big presents and put four small boxes on each one.  (I only do 12 days of activities, not the whole month of December like some people.  I don’t see how they have time to do something every day when their kids are in school!!!  I had a hard time picking short/easy activities for the one week that J’s still in school during the countdown!).  And that way if I decide in the future that I want to expand on the number of days all I need to do is make more big presents.  Love it!!!

So I got to work.  I picked out three colors of felt from my collection:  red, pink and gold.  I cut a large square out of each (which were only slightly crooked.  Go me!).  Then I picked 3 coordinating colors from my felt bags for the pockets:  yellow, pink and green.  I cut four small boxes of each color (which were slightly more crooked than the presents.  Whoops.).  diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-4I went to my ribbon stash Box of Ribbonand picked out three matching ribbons:  yellow, pink and red.  I cut three pieces of each:  one to go horizontal, one vertical and one for the bow.  I hot glued the first two down, made a bow for the top and then glued that on. diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-5Then I sewed all of the boxes on.  I could’ve used hot glue but I just don’t think it works as well.  Plus those glue strings that get everywhere drive me insane.diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-6Man this project was flying it was so easy!  My last step was to get out my puffy paint stash and write the numbers on the boxes. DIY Felt Tree and Present Advent Calendar 7Now I meant to order them the other way (so 12 was in the upper left corner and then numbers would decrease) but I messed up on number one and didn’t care enough to do anything about it.  Still makes sense this way.  I set those aside to dry.

In the meantime J and I got to work on some more decorations for the tree.  I cut some garland out of the colors she wanted diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-3Which, by the way, it’s only been four days since we’ve made this tree and that crap falls off all the time.  It’s driving me insane.  I’m hoping now that there are some ornaments on there it’ll stay better.  If not it’s going in the garbage (pushed waaaaaaay down so J will never ever see it.).

I cut out some more ornaments and she decorated them with markers, glitter and felt pieces that I glued on for her.  I think they turned out cute! I had her pick out 12 to go in the boxes (to hang each day she “opens” a box) and then she hung the rest on the tree.diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-9After the puffy paint dried I tucked the scraps of paper with the day’s activity and an ornament in each box.  Here are the twelve activities I chose this year:

  • Write and mail a letter to Santa
  • Open 1 present (that one’s for Christmas Eve)
  • See the Nutcracker Ballet
  • Make cards for your teachers and bus driver
  • Make an ornament for the tree
  • Make a Christmas craft
  • Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Pick 10 toys to donate
  • Make and decorate sugar cookies
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Visit Santa

diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-10Then I used a few more pushpins to hang the finished presents on the wall under the tree, and voila!  A new advent calendar that I adore!  Fingers crossed I feel the same way about this calendar in 15 days!diy-felt-tree-and-present-advent-calendar-8C has shown zero interest in “decorating” the tree (which I’m not surprised about in the least) but J is enjoying it.  Until he finally does spot it and tears it all down and she throws a giant fit.  Good times.

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The Flying Monkey. Best Costume Ever.

After J decided on Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz for Halloween, I knew C had to fit in the theme as well.  Last year J was Snow White, so myself, C, Hubby and our dog Jack were all Dwarfs.  I’m going to continue the family theme until the kids are old enough to express their own opinion for what they want to be–it’s so much fun!  This year, though, I decided to check myself, Hubby and Roman out of the family costume and just force C.

You can read about J’s Glinda dress here and here.

I  knew immediately that I wanted to make him a Flying Monkey.  Although it would go better if J was the Wicked Witch of the West instead, I didn’t care.  I checked Pinterest and Google for some DIY Flying Monkey costume ideas and found the perfect tutorial on ehow.com.  I made just a few changes…namely using grey felt instead of brown.  The monkeys are grey in the movie!!!  And the example child is even dressed in grey sweatpants under his costume, so why would the tail and wings be BROWN?!  I found that quite odd.

I spent $0 on this costume!  See, this is why it pays to stock up on felt when a fabric store is going out of business.  I have about a yard each of grey, blue, red and white felt just laying around, waiting to be used.

As instructed, I started with the wings.  J has about 6 sets of fairy wings in her dress up closet so I just picked the shabbiest looking pair and cut the bottom half off. I laid out my yard of grey felt and (very sloppily) cut around the wings, leaving about an inch border.diy-flying-monkey-costume-8Then I went about cutting out a billion feathers. I think this is how many I put on one of the wings.diy-flying-monkey-costume-11I placed them on the wings to make sure I cut enough before gluing anything down. diy-flying-monkey-costume-10I also decided to use the straps that came with the wings originally to attach them to the costume instead of hot gluing them to the vest.  Seemed much easier and more comfortable.  I cut the strap off of the half of the wings I wasn’t using, slid it to the middle and knotted it in place.  Then I folded the grey felt wing outline all around the edge of the wings, hot gluing it as I went.  I glued the feathers on one by one, making sure to cover all of the wings.  Finally I glued the strap down just to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere.diy-flying-monkey-costume-9

Easy peasy!

I moved onto the vest next.  I took one of C’s shirts, folded it in half, folded some dark blue felt in half, placed the fold on top of the fold and cut around it (minus the sleeves)–no need for a template.  I repeated to make a front piece.  I did make a template for the zigzag design because I think that would’ve gone horribly wrong otherwise, haha.  I  drew half of it on a piece of random construction paper, folded some red felt in half, placed the straight edge on the fold and cut around it.  Then I placed the red piece right on the white piece and cut around it, leaving about 1/2 inch border on the white.diy-flying-monkey-costume-7I went back to the following the tutorial.  I pinned the front and back pieces of the vest together at the shoulders and sides and sewed them together.  And then instead of hot gluing the red and white zig zag pieces together, I actually sewed them.  I’m not really sure why…just didn’t feel like wasting the glue I guess?diy-flying-monkey-costume-6And then I attached the zig zag design to the front of the vest, this time using glue.  Don’t ask my reasons, okay?!  I then cut the front in half, as instructed.  Once I did that though, I discovered the downside to having sewn it–it wasn’t connected where I cut, haha.diy-flying-monkey-costume-5I remedied that by glueing the red to the white along the two lines.  Ta-da, vest is finished!diy-flying-monkey-costume-4Tail was next.  I folded the grey felt in half and cut a tail shape out free handed.  It was 13 inches, about the length of C’s butt to the floor.diy-flying-monkey-costume-3I sewed it together around the edges, leaving just the end open, and then pulled it through so the seams were hidden.diy-flying-monkey-costume-1No, you’re not going crazy, that’s a different tail.  After I sewed the original one together I got stuck trying to flip it–I hadn’t made it wide enough and had a rough time pulling it through.  Surprise surprise.  Instead of fighting with it I decided just to cut a second one out.  This one is longer and fatter than the original.

After I pulled the tail through I snuck into J’s room and stole some of her fluff (I mentioned before that she’s obsessed with a bag of polyfil I bought awhile back.  She calls it her “fluff” and sleeps with it at night.  I either have to sneak some when she’s not looking or endure a ten minute long cry fest after asking her permission to have some.  I took the easy way out this time).  I shoved it inside, pushing it all the way to the bottom, until it was nice and full.diy-flying-monkey-costume-2

I flipped the vest over to the back, found the approximate halfway point and sewed the open end of the tail to the underside of the back of the vest (so you can’t see the end of the tail).  Bam, finished!  Seriously, this costume FLEW!  Hahaha, and that was totally not intention right there.diy-flying-monkey-costume-12

Last but not least:  the hat.  The piece de resistance!  I had a container of sour cream that’s been sitting in the fridge for about a month too long, so I dumped the remainder out and washed it.  I varied the tutorial instructions in one way–I used my hole punch to put holes in each side of the container and then tied my cord through the holes before doing any gluing.diy-flying-monkey-costume-15

Then I followed the tutorial instructions–traced the bottom of the container on some blue felt, measured the circumference and width, added an inch and cut the correct size rectangle out of blue felt.  I notched the top, although I don’t think I made my triangles big enough because my felt didn’t go on straight around the container.  Oh well.  I made half a zig zag shape on a folded piece of construction paper that was about 6 inches long.  I cut it out, folded the red felt in half, lined the fold of the template with the fold of the felt and cut it out.  I repeated the same steps for the white, once again leaving about 1/4 inch border around it.diy-flying-monkey-costume-14

I glued the blue felt around the sour cream container, covering it as best (and straight) as I could.  Good enough.  I glued the red onto the white, then the white onto the blue and voila!  The whole thing was finished!diy-flying-monkey-costume-16diy-flying-monkey-costume-13

Turned out I didn’t make the cord quite long enough to go around his fat little head.  He was not cooperating when I was trying it on him to measure so I must’ve made it a bit too short.  Luckily Hubby came up with a great idea that worked like a charm–even better than going under the chin I think.  Instead we put the cord around the back of his head.  It actually makes it a little bit harder for him to get off…at least for now.  Until he gets the hang of it, that is.

C hates the whole costume, hahahahaha.  Which I think makes it even better.  He doesn’t even like wearing the vest, which I can’t figure out for the life of me why that matters.  I think he’s the cutest flying monkey ever though!diy-flying-monkey-costume-19diy-flying-monkey-costume-18diy-flying-monkey-costume-19diy-glinda-dress-and-flying-monkey-costume-3diy-flying-monkey-costume-17j-and-c-diy-wizard-of-oz-costumes

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The Glinda Dress: Part Two

So as you found out here, J decided on Glinda the Good Witch for Halloween and I decided to make her costume myself.  Hey, why not?!  Check out Part One to see how I made the hoop skirt, crown and wand for the costume.

I relied very heavily on Make It & Love It‘s Glinda dress tutorial.  That’s the only reason I decided to tackle this project myself instead of buying one–because she had such a clear and easy to follow tutorial on exactly what to do.  It looked like a piece of cake!  And surprisingly enough (for me) it actually wasn’t too bad.  It was time consuming but I made sure to take my time for once.  And I didn’t majorly mess it up until the very end, which is huge for me.  Just goes to show how awesome and amazing Make It & Love It is!!!  All the credit goes to her.

So, materials.  This is what I used.

  • Pink fabric.  I bought plain pink costume fabric from Walmart.  I was waiting for it to go on sale at Joann’s but then just happened to spy an amazing deal at Walmart–only $2/yard!!!!  I didn’t have my list with me at the time and couldn’t remember if Make It & Love It said 3 or 5 yards so I purchased 5.  Turned out 3 was the correct answer…whoops.  I can’t complain with that price though!  One thing I do wish, however, is that I would’ve just spent more money and purchased something that was already sparkly.  That would have saved hours of sewing.  I think it turned out absolutely awesome the way it is, but I do wish I would’ve just paid the extra money for the sparkles already built in.
  • Pink sparkly tulle.  This is something else I waited for 3 weeks to buy to see if Joann’s would put it on sale.  They did not.  I was running out of time–we were headed to Jamaica for a week and the costume needed to be finished before we left.  I checked out Michaels and found this tulle in their sewing section.  Using a 40% off coupon that dropped the price down to $4 and some change for 2 yards…sold!  I bought two packages at two separate times so I could use the coupon both times.  I will say this–it sheds like there’s no tomorrow.  I’ve never sewn with glitter tulle before so I have no idea if that’s all brands, but just a heads up!
  • 12 inch pink zipper.  I could’ve gone with something shorter, like a 9 in, but oh well.  I bought it from Joann’s with a 40% off coupon.
  • Pink thread.
  • Rhinestones.  I just used the same ones as the wand and crown; these

I spent $22 on this portion of the costume.  Technically it should’ve only been $18 since I bought too much pink costume fabric.  But let’s face it, with how obsessed J is with dressing up I’m sure I can find a use for the leftovers sometime…

So!  I started off by tracing one of J’s shirts to make the bodice template.  I cut out 4 pieces in the costume fabric and cut two of those pieces in half for the back.   I cut out two bodice pieces out of the tulle and split one of those in half.  Then I sewed the three tulle pieces onto three of the costume fabric pieces.  I left one front and two back pieces without tulle–that’s the bodice lining.diy-glinda-dress-1diy-glinda-dress-3diy-glinda-dress-2This is why I wish I would’ve just spent the extra money on sparkly fabric.  First I had to cut the separate pieces.  And then pin them together.  And then sew the tulle to the lining.  Times 3.  And then trim the edges.  And then zigzag around all three pieces to finish the edges so they won’t fray or scratch J.  Doing just that took me one nap time itself.

I connected the front and back bodice pieces together, sewing just along the neckline like Make It & Love It instructs.

Next I cut out my sleeves.  I had absolutely no idea what size to make them.  I took a long sleeve shirt of J’s and measured how long the sleeve was to get an idea.  I should’ve made them 1-2 inches longer and 1-2 inches wider.  They ended up fitting her…perfectly.  Fortunately she’s a skinny kid and I don’t see her arms getting any fatter in the next few months so the costume should still fit her for quite awhile.

My sleeves were . I cut out two upper sleeves and two lower sleeves each in the costume fabric and the tulle.  And then I sewed the tulle onto each costume fabric piece in the same way as above–see what I’m talking about with it being time consuming?? Another nap time spent just sewing four pieces…diy-glinda-dress-4Then I worked on the puffy tulle part.  I understood the first part of Make It & Love It’s instructions no problem–I cut out the pieces and basted and gathered along the bottom line.diy-glinda-dress-5I would just like to point out that something else that I can’t do is gather.  So I always have to use the cheater’s way–I put my tension and stitch length both as high as they will go and then lightly pull on the top thread while I sew.  This creates the gather for me.  In my defense I tried it the regular way for the sleeves four times but just could not get it to work.  So I used the cheaters method instead.  And honestly I don’t notice a difference!
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I attached the sleeves to the bodice.diy-glinda-dress-7And then this is the part that Make It & Love It lost me.  I still don’t understand what exactly I was supposed to do with the tulle and sewing down the middle.  I ended up pushing about two inches of tulle towards the neckline and leaving the rest of it on the side of the sleeve.  And then I sewed down the middle, pretty much on top of where the sleeve and bodice connect.  I thought that was what Make It & Love It meant, but later I realized my sleeves look different than hers.  Mine turned out just fine though so I’m good with it!

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All of the tulle pushed to the sleeve side before sewing some down on the side of the neckline.

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Line sewn down on top of where the sleeve and bodice connect. There’s about two inches of tulle on the left side of the line, towards the neckline. The rest is on the shoulder.

The only part that turned out strange is that my tulle isn’t connected under the arm pit.  Now I could connect it by hand sewing it shut but I definitely don’t care that much.  It’s not going to fray and the rest of it sticks up so much that you don’t even notice it’s not connected.  And it’s on the bottom, pretty much in her armpit.  Yep, definitely not doing any hand sewing.diy-glinda-dress-21diy-glinda-dress-24I gathered my sleeve pieces (using my trusted cheating method) and attached them together.diy-glinda-dress-10diy-glinda-dress-9diy-glinda-dress-11

Then I pinned everything and sewed the sleeve closed.diy-glinda-dress-12Where I discovered a giant overlook on my part…I didn’t include the lining when I sewed the sleeves on!!  Whoops.diy-glinda-dress-14

The problem was super simple to fix.  I just ripped out the seam I had just sewn, from the wrist to the bottom of the bodice, attached the lining around the sleeve, trimmed and zigzagged it and then repined and resewed the sleeve and sides.  I’ve definitely made bigger mistakes before (and will make a giant one here in just a few steps…).  At least I realized it before I sewed both sides so I was able to hurry up and sew the lining in on the opposite side before sewing the armhole and side closed.

And I had a bodice!  diy-glinda-dress-15diy-glinda-dress-13Well, mostly.  It still needed a zipper.diy-glinda-dress-16I know this is going to shock you, but something else I never really got the hang of was sewing in a zipper.  I just don’t see the point of sewing it closed, adding the zipper and then ripping the seam open.  Just seems like extra work.  I always just fold the raw edge in about 1/4 of an inch, pin it to the top of the zipper and sew straight down.  I repeat for the other side.  I dunno, my method seems to work.

I’d just like to take a moment to point out that I’m dead serious when I say that I can’t cut in a straight line to save my life.  There is absolutely no reason why the right side of my bodice should be 4 inches shorter than the left side.  Absolutely none.  And yet it is.  Fortunately my zipper was exactly the correct size for that side.

Now I have a bodice!  I tried it on J and was pleasantly surprised.  I was a bit worried about the sleeves being wide enough to fit her arms, but they’re perfect.  I realized when she was wearing it that I never finished the sleeve edges.  Since they were already about 1/2 an inch too short as it was I didn’t want to fold them in to hide the raw edges.  I simply zigzagged them instead.diy-glinda-dress-26And now the skirt.  I did the tulle first, as instructed.  Instead of measuring the hoop skirt I simply had J put the bodice top and hoop skirt on and then wrapped the tulle around her.  I folded the tulle in half so the open edges were at the bottom of the hoop.  The length seemed perfect–covered all of the hoop skirt and only hung down past it a little–so I didn’t have to do any cutting.  What I did was cut off the uneven edges from where I had cut the bodice and sleeve pieces out of the tulle previously and then used all of that leftover stuff, plus my unopened 2 yard package.  It was about 3 yards total.  I sewed the two pieces of folded up tulle together along the sides, making one giant skirt.  I sewed it up one way and down another since I overlapped them about an inch and I wanted to make sure it was all connected.diy-glinda-dress-20Then I (cheat) gathered all along the top folded edge of the tulle.  I pinned it to the bodice, making sure to pull the bodice up through the tulle skirt, right side facing me.  It was a perfect gathering–exactly the right size.  I sewed the tulle to the bodice, trimmed as close to the seam as possible to get rid of some of the bulk, and zigzagged the whole way around to finish the seam.  I had J try it on to make sure everything was A-Ok.  And it was!!!!!

I was so close to being finished that I could taste it.  Which is probably why I made this last mistake.

I “measured” the costume fabric the same way that I did the tulle–merely wrapped it around J’s waist while she was wearing the bodice, the tulle and the hoop skirt.  Since I had 8 billion yards of fabric I actually had to cut my rectangle out this time.  I sewed the two ends together and clipped and zigzagged my seam.  I gathered the top.  I pinned the costume fabric skirt inside the waistline right on top of the tulle, connecting it to the bodice.  I sewed it all, then clipped and zigzagged the extra waist bulk.  All excited, I called J over so she could try her finished costume on!!!!!

Except it wasn’t.  The costume fabric skirt wasn’t big enough to fit over the hoop.  I almost started crying.  Dejected, I had her take it off and then I went to town ripping seams.  Then I had her put everything back on and I wrapped the costume fabric around her again, snipping the rectangle edges very carefully.  She removed everything while I sewed the new rectangle together, clipped the seam, zigzagged it, gathered the top, pinned the skirt to the bodice, sewed it, trimmed the edges and zigzagged.  I called J over again to put it back on.

And it still didn’t go over the f*cking hoop.  It was bigger, I’ll give myself that, but still not big enough.  That’s what I said some choice words and decided to stop for the day.  I was done.

The next day while J was at school and C was sleeping I decided to try again.  I ripped the costume lining out of the skirt and then cut it open where I had sewn the two pieces together.  I cut about an inch off of the side to get rid of the bulky seam.  I took the other costume fabric skirt, the first one, and cut it open along the two seams.  Then I cut a piece about a foot wide from the first skirt and pinned it to the second skirt.  I knew it was too much fabric but at this point I wasn’t taking any risks.  I sewed the three pieces together to form one really gigantic skirt, finished the three seams by clipping and zigzagging, gathered it at the top and pinned it to the dress.  Of course since this one was ridiculously wide the skirt was too wide for the bodice.  I didn’t care–I just gathered some more as I sewed them together.  See, this is where the cheating method comes in handy!!!  This time I didn’t finish the seam–I wanted to wait for J to come home from school so I could make sure it was big enough.

And it was.  Plenty of room to spare.  So I trimmed the seam and zigzagged it closed.  diy-glinda-dress-17diy-glinda-dress-18

I went through the whole dress looking for any holes or gaps and made sure to sew anything I found shut.  I trimmed everything.  And then I was done sewing.  Just in time too…I think someone would’ve been murdered (or something…like a giant poofy sparkly piece of clothing…) if I had to do any more.diy-glinda-dress-25

J strategically placed rhinestones on the bodice and I hot glued them on.  After looking at a picture of Glinda she decided she wanted some on the skirt itself and I said, sure, why not! diy-glinda-dress-22

And that’s it.  It was finished.  And with two weeks to spare before Halloween.diy-glinda-dress-28j-diy-glinda-dressTune in next week to see C’s fantastic and amazing and ridiculously simple almost-no-sew Flying Monkey costume!  Here’s a bit of a sneak peek.  It really shows C’s admiration and love for it.diy-glinda-and-flying-monkey-costumes-1

UPDATE:  See how long the tulle is in the pictures above?  Fortunately we went to a few Halloween events around town before trick or treating and I realized that the tulle is waaaaay too long.  Poor J kept on tripping on it and falling flat on her stomach.  How she didn’t rip the dress is still beyond me!  So I went ahead and folded the tulle under the costume fabric so they were the same length and then sewed it all around.  diy-glinda-dress-29diy-glinda-dress-30We’ll see if that solves the tripping problem…

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The costume to end all costumes: Glinda the Good Witch. Part One.

In mid-September J and I started talking about Halloween and what she might want to dress up as.  Obviously her immediate response was “Elsa!!”.  I’ll let her do the princess thing, sure, but let’s try to be at least a little creative for Halloween!  I got out of it by telling her that she can be Elsa if she wants to, but really Halloween is a great reason to get a NEW costume and not just wear something she wears all the time anyway.  She was thrilled with that concept and I was happy to not have one of a million Elsas on the street.

Since she already owns most of the Disney Princess dresses this was a problem for her.  The only ones she doesn’t have are the princesses she doesn’t really like anyway (Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine are it I think…).  She loves to play this “Good Witch” game at home.  Simple concept:  she puts on an old witch’s hat, grabs the broom and “rings” the doorbell by saying “ding dong!”  I then have to answer the door, act all surprised when it’s the “good witch” and invite her in.  And then she pretends she’s the good witch and joins C and I with whatever we’re doing.  Ridiculously simple and yet it manages to get on my nerves after the billionth time we play it.  But it’s one of her favorite pretend games so that got me thinking…what if she was a good witch?  And the only good witch that came to mind was Glinda.  Who was PERFECT.  Long poofy dress that covers her feet and is super sparkly, plus she has a crown and a wand.  Could she be any more up J’s alley??

The only problem was that J hadn’t seen the Wizard of Oz yet.  Which wasn’t really an issue at all.  I simply googled Glinda, showed her the pictures and she immediately fell in love.  I mentioned to a friend the following week what J’s costume was going to be but that we hadn’t watched the movie yet.  J went over for a playdate and the friend was “kind enough” to show her the movie.  Which actually made me really upset.  One–she’s at a playdate.  I don’t want her sitting around watching TV…that defeats the purpose.  She should be playing.  And two–I wanted to show her the movie!  I may despise that movie, but it’s still a rite of passage to see it for the first time and I was absurdly upset over the fact that she watched it without me.  Plus J is really sensitive when she watches new movies so I always watch things with her for the first time.  She asks a million questions and needs to know about the “bad parts” in detail before they happen, while they’re happening and while they’re over.  So that didn’t sit well with me at all.

But I digress.  Majorly.

So after we deceided on Glinda I searched for a DIY version.  And I found not only the perfect tutorial but the most amazing blog ever.  If you haven’t seen Make It & Love It you have to check her out.  Like right now.  I’ll wait.  She is so amazing.  I’ve done a couple of projects off of her website since making the Glinda dress and I love them all.

So the Glinda dress.  Last year Make It & Love It’s daughter decided to be Glinda and so she tackled the giant project and put up a clear and easy to follow tutorial on her website, which you can find here.  I’ll show you what I did but you’ll need to refer to her for the specifics if you decide to do one yourself.

I’m going to break this down into several posts since there was a lot of work that went into it.  And just the introduction on how we decided on the dress was really long, haha, so I can only imagine what this post would look like if I did it all in one.

In this post I’ll explain how I made the hoop skirt, the crown and the wand.  In Part Two, next week, I’ll go into detail about the dress.  And then Part Three will be C’s costume, which is…wait for it…a Flying Monkey.  Which honestly I love even more than the Glinda dress.

So, the hoop skirt.  This isn’t something I would normally even think about J having, let alone tackling it myself.  But Make It & Love It has a fantastic tutorial, of course, and it really does add a lot to the Glinda dress.  I think it ended up being just as important as the crown or wand.  Plus J loves wearing it under other dress up dresses.  Every pretend princess needs a hoop skirt!

So this is what I picked up:

  • 3 yards of white muslin.  That’s the fabric I use for my quiet books and I love it–cheap, light, easy to sew.  It just so happened to be on sale at Joann’s while I was there (for the first time for this project…) so I only paid 99 cents/yard.  I didn’t actually need 3 yards, but I always like to buy extra.  Especially since I have plenty of use for this in the future.
  • 2 spools of grosgrain ribbon.  Go to Walmart for this!  I got 2 spools of 7/8 inch ribbon, each with 3 yards, for $2 a piece.  Bargain!!
  • 1/4″ plastic Pex Pipe tubing.  I bought this one from Lowes.  I made it super simple by just adding this item and the next one (the rods) for store pickup at Lowes.  No need to ask an employee or wonder around for 5 hours or anything!  I bought 5 and ended up using 4.
  • 1/4″ threaded rods.  Here’s the one I ordered from Lowes.  It was cheaper to purchase a 24″ one and then cut it into pieces than buy smaller pieces, so that’s the route I went.  I ordered 1 and then asked Hubby to cut it into 8 pieces for me.
  • 3/4″ elastic.  I used a 40% off coupon at Joann’s, but realized when I bought the ribbon that it’s actually cheaper at Walmart.  Something to keep in mind for next time!

I spent $22 total on the materials for the hoop skirt.  Just in case you were wondering.

To give you an idea of my daughter’s size, she has a 22 inch waist and her length from her waist to the floor is 20 inches.

The first measurement was simple:  I cut a 22 x 91 inch rectangle out of white muslin.  I followed the tutorial and sewed the short ends together to make one giant skirt.  I ironed the seams open.

Figuring out the ribbon was a lot more difficult.  Here’s a photo of my trial and error sheet.  I think it took me about 5 tries before I found measurements that made sense.  diy-hoop-skirt-6I sewed the first line of ribbon the whole way across the skirt two inches from the bottom.  I used the selvaged edge just like Make It & Love It so I didn’t have to worry about hemming along there.  That saved me a bunch of time.  When pinning the ribbon down I made sure to follow along with the tape measure and check that I was still the same distance every time I placed a pin to help keep it in line.

I added the next line of ribbon 4 inches above the bottom one.  Turned out that I still don’t know how to sew in a straight line, hahaha, so even though I was really careful about pinning it straight, that didn’t translate quite as well as I had hoped while sewing.  The lines are all a little bit off but surprisingly not too bad.  I made sure to continue to follow along with the tape measure for each pin.

And then I realized after I sewed the first two lines on that they still weren’t spaced out correctly.  I did some on-the-fly math and figured out where to space the last two ribbons.  Here’s a photo of exactly where my ribbon ended up going in case that helps you.  Math just isn’t my strong suit.diy-hoop-skirt-1

I sewed on my last two lines of ribbon.  For each set I left about 2-3 inches of overlap along each opening just like Make It & Love It recommends.  I also stayed as close to each edge as possible.

Since I was running out of room at the top I made the top hem for the elastic as small as possible.  To keep the raw edges at bay I folded it in a tiny bit and then folded it over again, this time about 3/4 inch, to form the casing.  I found that it really helps to iron the fold down first and then pin–helps it stay so much better when sewing.  I threaded the elastic through, tried it around J’s waist to make sure it was a good size, sewed the two elastic ends together and then stitched the opening closed.

Then the pipe.  I followed Make It & Love It’s instructions for the bottom one:  threaded my piping into the bottom ribbon until I ran out, added a threaded rod, connected a second piece of piping and then fed it through until I reached the end of ribbon.  I cut off the excess pipe, added another threaded rod and connected the two end pieces.  This is the part that was a bitch to do–I actually had to have Hubby do it for me.  I just couldn’t connect the two pieces together and shove them inside!  Not enough brute strength I guess…

I did the second row.  And this is where I went wrong, although I didn’t realize it quite yet.  Because I’m a complete and total moron I was thinking that each hoop would automatically revert to a smaller size.  So when I threaded my second hoop in I did the exact same thing as I did the first time around…so it was exactly the same size.  And this where the problem was compounded even more–I had absolutely no idea that this wrong.  So I did the third hoop the same way.  And then when I was threading the fourth hoop and saw that it looked funky I knew something was amiss….

Fortunately the one thing I did do correctly was to not connect the third tier together.  I had to keep asking for Hubby’s help and he was doing something else, so I figured I’d just wait until I was completely finished and then ask him to push the remaining two together.  I decided to try it on J before pushing the top one through.  That was my saving grace.

I wish I had a picture of how ridiculous it looked.  Unfortunately I was on the verge of tears and taking a photo of my complete and utter failure was the furthest thing on my mind.  It was one giant square.  And about 8 times too big around J’s waist.  I almost lost it.

After some thinking I came to the realization that I was supposed to trim the tubes.  DUH.  And then I was irritated because I didn’t understand why Make It & Love It didn’t say that in her post.  After rereading it I realized she does say it and, in fact, gives the measurements she used for each tier on her daughter.  My bad.

I fixed it as best I could.  It was impossible to dig out the second tier since I had already connected the two tubes.  Well I’m sure it’s not impossible but I decided to focus on the other two rows first and see if I had to fight with it.  I chopped off about 6 inches from the third row and tried that.  It wasn’t enough, so I chopped off another 6 inches.  And then I threaded the top tier through.  I only used one of the 5′ sections of pipe, even though it didn’t go the whole way around.  I was afraid that if I connected another piece it wouldn’t fit around J’s waist.

As you can see in this photo, about 1/3 of the top row doesn’t have a pipe.  But I already had to cinch the waist a ton to make it fit with that much tubing in it and there’s no way I could pull it any tighter.  In fact, it’s still a bit too large around the waist and falls down a bit.  So it was just going to stay that way.diy-hoop-skirt-4diy-hoop-skirt-3The second row needs to be trimmed more so I can trim the third row even more and then finish off the pipe in the top row.  However, getting to the piping in the second row was going to be a giant pain in the tuchus so I decided to wait until the Glinda dress was finished and then I would see how it looked under that.  It really irritated me that it didn’t turn out well.
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Oh and I should mention that I didn’t end up closing the ribbon pieces.  Although I determined that once the Glinda dress was on only I could tell that something was off (since I knew to look for it) so I wasn’t going to mess with any of the tiers but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to worry about closing the ribbon.  That piping isn’t going anywhere…trust me.  And it’s on the inside so I’m really not concerned with fraying.  Like I said, I don’t know why I sew.  I really don’t have the patience for it.

So let’s switch over and talk about something that I did like:  the crown and wand!  Of course the star shape turned out a bit funky and they’re both shedding glitter like there’s no tomorrow (I wish I would’ve done them differently), but at least they fit.

I did mine very differently from Make It & Love It (you can find her tutorial here, in the same post as the rest of the Glinda dress).  This is what I used:

  • Grey felt.  I have a ton of felt on hand.  When we lived in Canada a local fabric store was going out of business and I went insane, buying yards of felt at a deeply discounted price.  So I decided to use felt for both the crown and wand instead of foam like Make It & Love It.
  • Heat n Bond.  I use this for quiet books all of the time so I took some and ironed it onto the back of the crown to give it some heft.
  • Dowel rod.  I picked one up at Joann’s that was about shoulder height on my daughter.  It was only 79 cents, but then I discovered a week later they were only 29 cents at Walmart!  Man!!!
  • Hot glue & gun.
  • Rhinestones.  J picked out this tub from Michael’s.  There are A TON of rhinestones in there.  Her costume is finished and we didn’t even end up using a quarter of them.
  • Spray paint.  For the dowel rod.
  • Glitter paint.  For the dowel rod and, originally, for the crown.
  • Grey Acrylic Paint.  For the crown and wand to help the glitter stick.
  • Glitter.  My original thinking was to have J just paint over the felt with some acrylic grey glitter paint I have leftover from another project, but I didn’t have much left and that stuff is expensive, plus it wasn’t turning out as glittery as I had hoped.  So I found a huge container of large white iridescent glitter at Walmart for a couple of bucks.  I figured she could paint it grey and then sprinkle the glitter on top.  FYI I do not recommend this method!  We made the crown and wand over a month ago and I’m still finding glitter all over the craft area.  And they’re both still shedding like mad.  So don’t do it!!!!  The acrylic glitter paint would’ve been a much better option even if it wouldn’t have turned out as nicely…
  • Poly-fil.  Just a tiny bit to fill the star.  I always have some on hand.  J calls it her “fluff” and sleeps with it at night.  And then has a huge meltdown anytime I need to use it.  I don’t understand my child…

$9 total spent on the materials for the crown and wand.  Since I already had just about everything already the majority of that was on the rhinestones.

Crown first.  I started off by taking my grey felt and wrapping it around J’s head to get the right size.  I cut it with about an inch overlap to make sure there was room to close it.  And then I cut it at the top so it was about a foot and a half high.  Next I freehanded a tree shape onto a spare piece of card stock like Make It & Love It.  diy-glinda-crown-2

I placed it on top of the felt and traced four of them.  Here’s the cutout on the felt since I didn’t take a picture of the crown itself… diy-glinda-crown-4Then I had J paint the felt with some acrylic glitter paint.  It just wasn’t glittery enough for either of us, plus it turned out kind of patchy (since I was letting her do it) so we switched over to regular grey acrylic paint and while she painted I sprinkled some white glitter on top and pressed it down to make it stick better. diy-glinda-crown-3The following day after it was all dried I tried it on her.  Still fit perfectly (which is impressive for me…I always cut things too small!) but the top points weren’t staying up.  I have a ton of Heat n Bond so I snipped it to the right shape(ish) and ironed it on the back, hoping that would make it stiff enough. diy-glinda-crown-1It’s not perfect but the points stay up a lot better now.  I had J paint it grey so it would (somewhat) match the rest of the crown.  It’s on the inside so it’s not very noticeable.

Finally we glued the jewels on!  I let her go to town, placing them wherever she wanted and then using my hot glue gun to attach them.
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Finished!

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The wand was really simple.  First I had Hubby spray paint the dowel rod with what I thought was grey, but was actually gold.  It had been sitting in the garage for awhile so either it had the wrong lid on (which indicated that it was grey) or it sat so long that it turned from grey to brown.  Not sure, but either way it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.  After it was dry I just had J paint it with the grey glitter paint and I decided it was close enough. diy-glitter-wand-1For the star I cut a template out of card stock, folded the grey felt in half, traced the star onto it and cut it out. diy-glitter-wand-6I had J paint it with grey paint and sprinkle more of the same glitter we used on the crown all over both sides. diy-glitter-wand-4The following day, after it was dry, I matched the right sides together and sewed it closed, leaving one of the sides open to stuff it and put the dowel rod inside. diy-glitter-wand-3I flipped it right side out, stuffed it with a handful of Poly-fil and added a few jingle bells that we had laying around so it would make some noise.  diy-glitter-wand-2We added more jewels, obviously. diy-glitter-wand-7Finally I shoved the dowel rod inside and used my hot glue gun to close the star up.  Finished! diy-glitter-wand-8j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-1j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-2So there’s the hoop skirt, crown and wand.  Check out next week’s post for the actual Glinda dress…and all my trials and tribulations making it.  Seriously, I don’t have the patience for sewing…

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DIY Toddler Busy Board

C turned 1 back in April and one of his presents was a DIY Toddler Busy Board.  As you can see, this post is just a teeny tiny bit overdue.  That’s just how I like to roll.

I found this pin on Pintest that I pinned (let’s see how many times I can use the word “pin” in a sentence) 2 years ago, knowing that I wanted to do it for a future child.  C already has a ton of toys due to being the second child and a spoiled rotten grandchild, so we decided to keep his birthday low key.  This board was the only thing he got from us.

Once his birthday got closer I started to do some mad research on Busy Boards, looking at ideas for things to put on it and ways to paint it.  Then I started searching the Dollar Tree, Walmart and thrift shops for the items.  We ended up with a decent spread, and plenty of room to add more if we find some stuff.

Unfortunately I can’t tell you anything at all about how Hubby built the box itself.  I do know that it has sides and a back, so it’s like a giant box.  That way he could screw everything in but we wouldn’t have to worry about C playing with all of the nails and stuff poking out the other side.  Plus the door knob I had would actually turn and the side part moves, which I think is pretty cool.diy-toddler-busy-board-sidediy-toddler-busy-board-2 diy-toddler-busy-board-backIf you have any questions let me know and I can relay them to him and he can answer them!

So this is everything he attached on there:

a wheel from an office chairdiy-toddler-busy-board-wheela switch from a lamp (he just cut off the cord on either end)diy-toddler-busy-board-switch

a door knobdiy-toddler-busy-board-door-knob

an old school telephone corddiy-toddler-busy-board-cord

a door that opens and closes with a sliding lock on itdiy-toddler-busy-board-lock-door diy-toddler-busy-board-door-open

a light switchdiy-toddler-busy-board-light-switch

and door stoppers.diy-toddler-busy-board-door-stoppers

After I painted it he also glued on a combination lockdiy-toddler-busy-board-lock

and a mirrordiy-toddler-busy-board-mirror

After he did his part (which took entirely too long.  I had to nag him for weeks to just do it!) I took over.  Although I found tons of ideas, the way Millionayres painted hers was by far my favorite.  I had a bunch of leftover red and white paint from previous projects so I used those colors instead.  Painting it this way was very time consuming and the lines turned out a bit wonky, but overall I love it.

First I used painters tape all around the front, about an inch from the edge.  diy-toddler-busy-board-3I painted all of the sides and that first inch red.  Then I taped around all of the “things” since I’m like the worst painter in the world.diy-toddler-busy-board-6

I peeled off the edge.  Not too bad…for me!diy-toddler-busy-board-4Then I taped the diagonal lines.  I spaced them out so they were the same width as the tape just to make it easy in my head.  I painted all of the empty spaces (and quite a bit of the painters tape 😉 ) white.  diy-toddler-busy-board-5I peeled off that tape and then covered up all of the white lines.  I just reused the same tape since it was still sticky and about the right length. diy-toddler-busy-board

I painted the remaining space red, and voila it was finished!

diy-toddler-busy-board-7

Just in time for C’s birthday, too.  If I remember correctly we had a day to spare.  Perfect.  And he loves it.  It doesn’t keep his attention for long, but really what does??  It’s funny because at first the door stoppers and telephone cord were his favorites, but now that he’s a bit older he loves flipping the light switch and opening and closing the door.  When Hubby built the door he left an empty space in there, so C loves to shove things inside and shut it, then open it to retrieve the object.  Over and over.  He hasn’t shown any interest in any of the other items yet, but I know he will.  All in all, a success!

diy-toddler-busy-board-playingdiy-toddler-busy-board-playing-2