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The Original Quiet Book, Part Four. Hooray!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General thoughts:

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

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

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The Original Quiet Book, Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round…

For my final quiet book page for Nolan’s Christmas present I decided to go with a Wheels on the Bus idea.  I have a Busy Bag that I made for J about 3 years ago and I wanted to go with a similar idea for Nolan, except in his quiet book.  All I did for the Busy Bag is cut out a bus from cardboard, design a bus in my Silhouette, print it off and glue it on and then glued strips of velcro on the windows.  Then I cut out pictures of family and friends and glued velcro on the backs.  Voila, now she could have friends and family members ride the bus!toddler-bus-busy-bag-She absolutely loved it.  So much so that it’s now falling apart.  A lot of the family members are missing, some of the velcro has peeled off of the backs of the pictures that we do have left and the bus itself is starting to come apart.  C is just about old enough to start playing with it himself so I’m going to update it here soon.  You can read more about the Busy Bag Bus here!

I googled and Pinterested (is that a word?  If it’s not already I’m sure it won’t be much longer until it is!) Wheels on the Bus quiet book pages but never really found anything that I liked.  The closest I found was this page to at least help me design the bus.  And although I thought the finger puppet idea was cute, Nolan already had farm animal finger puppets in his Barn page so I felt that would be redundant.  Plus I really liked the idea of using photographs of friends and family.

I started by making the bus in my Silhouette program.  quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-11I used the machine to cut my pieces out quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-6I had a brilliant idea for storing the pictures when not in use.  I would make a road on the bottom of the page for the bus to drive on and then sew a yellow zipper in the middle as the “line”!  Two birds, one stone:  a pocket and it adds detail to the page!  I bought a 9 inch zipper from Joann’s and got to work on the background. I sewed some blue fabric that I always use for the sky in quiet book pages (I’m finally starting to get a little low!) on the top two thirds of the page.  Then I cut out a rectangle of grey denim for the road.  I made it a bit longer than my page and cut it so it covered about the bottom third.  Then I cut a (not-very-straight) line across the middle for the zipper to go into.  If you look closely you can see that I didn’t cut it into two separate pieces–there was no need since my road was bigger than my page.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-4I slipped the zipper in the opening and sewed it on by folding the raw edges of each side in about 1/4 inch on top of the zipper and stitching it down as close to the zipper as possible. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-5As you can see it’s not straight at all (my M.O.) so I remedied that as much as I could when I sewed it onto the background.  To sew it on I folded the top edge about 1/4 inch down to hide the raw edge.  I didn’t bother doing that for the sides or bottom since they would be hidden when I sewed the pages together.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-12Then I sewed all of the pieces onto my bus:  the black lines, the bumper, the stop sign and the lights. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-9I placed it where I wanted it to go on the page, but didn’t sew it down yet; first I needed the velcro.  I cut a strip of the soft side of yellow velcro the size of each of my bus windows and sewed them on. quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-8I laid my bus on top to make sure the spacing was right and sewed it down.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-7See that giant hole?  After the machine cut my bus out I couldn’t figure out why there was so much wasted space in between the driver’s window and the rest of the bus.  So I cut it out so more people could fit on the bus at the same time.  And then after I did that I realized why there was so much space there–for the doors!!!  Whoops!  I did a quick fix by sewing the scrap of yellow I cut off back onto the bus, and then the doors on top of that to hide it a bit (making sure to only sew the far side of each door down so they “open” and “close”.  I added another piece of yellow velcro there so someone could be “getting on the bus”.quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-10Originally I wanted the wheels to be able to spin, but that already happens on Nolan’s Fork Lift page so I decided I didn’t care that much for this one.  I found two matching white buttons and placed one in the “center” of each tire and then quickly hand sewed those through the tires and onto the page itself.  They wiggle back and forth, but don’t actually spin the whole way around, which is good enough for me.  And Nolan I’m sure.  As you can see I didn’t do a great job of making sure the buttons were centered.  It drives me crazy looking at it!!!  
quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-1Then I had Amanda email me pictures of friends and family.  I made them all the same size (about 1.5 x 1 inches), printed them off, laminated them, glued squares of scratchy yellow velcro on the back and voila!  Finished with Nolan’s Christmas present! quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-3quiet-book-wheels-on-the-bus-page-2

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Step five: DIY Fort Kit for my brothers

I have two younger brothers, currently 7 and 9.  Technically they’re not related to me but it’s a long story and for all intents and purposes, they are.  I absolutely hate buying them presents for Christmas because it’s impossible to find something.  First, they’re ridiculously spoiled.  The amount of crap they have is astounding.  Second, they destroy everything.  Third, they don’t do anything except play video games anyway.  Nothing irritates me more than spending money on something that isn’t going to get used.  Last year I came up with a brilliant (and super cheap) idea:  DIY Marshmallow Guns.  I have no idea what tutorial I used but I don’t think it matters…they’re all pretty simple.  We spent less than $5 on both of them and although I doubt they were used at all after Christmas morning, I’m totally fine with it for that price!

I scoured Pinterest and the internet for another DIY idea for this year.  I never realized how difficult it is to find stuff like that for boys that age!  Everything just seemed dumb.  Finally I stumbled on DIY Fort Kits.  I was on the fence about whether or not it would be used, but I never found a better idea so a Fort Kit it is!

I checked out just about all of the tutorials on the general Pinterest search above.  I followed Pie Birds‘ tutorial the closest, but pulled ideas from other random ones that I added to it.

I made my list:

**2 twin flat sheets
**rope
**flash light
**clamps
**glow sticks
**clothes pins
**suction cups
**grosgrain ribbon for the ties 140 in

Everything was super simple to find except the sheets.  I bought all of it minus the ribbon and sheets from the Dollar Tree…best store ever!  I took it all of the original packaging and put it in some plain ziplock bags.  diy-fort-kit-8I picked the ribbon up from either Hobby Lobby or Joann’s…I can’t remember for sure now.  It was just two rolls of plain white grosgrain ribbon.  Which I don’t know why I had 140 inches put down…I didn’t even end up using all of one roll!  Darn, could’ve saved myself $3…

I looked everywhere for cheap sheets.  Walmart, Target, Ross, Marshalls, Goodwill and 3 local thrift shops.  They were all so expensive!!  I mean come on Goodwill, who pays $5 for a used single twin sheet?!  I finally struck gold at Big Lots and found a set of sheets on clearance for $7.  And not just any sheets…CAMO!  Perfect!!

Although flat sheets work so much better I decided that the fitted sheet would do.  Especially since I’m not even sure if they’re going to actually use this kit beyond the first day.  At first I was going to trim all around it, getting rid of the fitted part then folding the raw edges in and hemming it.  I decided that was entirely too much work.  Especially since I don’t understand why the fitted sheet won’t work, especially if you pull it tight.

First I cut the ribbon.  I cut 6 pieces that were approximately 12 inches long.  I folded them in half and then pinned them onto the fitted sheet.diy-fort-kit-2I sewed them on.  I used a straight stitch back and forth across the top (at the end of the sheet) about 6 times to make sure it would hold.  Then I zigzagged the other 3 sides to help keep the ribbon from fraying. diy-fort-kit-3I put one on each “corner” and one in the middle of each of the long sides.diy-fort-kit-1Done.  In my search I found two ways to attach the ribbon:  either in a loop, like I used above, or with two open ends so they can be tied.  I had no idea which way would work better so I decided to make one sheet with loops and the other with ties.  So for the flat sheet I cut 8 pieces of ribbon, this time about 20 inches each.  I folded each piece into a V shape and pinned it on.  I sewed them the same way as above:  a straight stitch a whole bunch of times along the edge of the sheet and then a zigzag for the other three sides.  diy-fort-kit-5I sewed one onto each corner and then one in the middle of each of the 4 sides.diy-fort-kit-4I had also seen a tip somewhere along the way that if you fold the corners in and sew them down it makes an opening for the rope to slide through.  I decided to do that as well.  Why not?diy-fort-kit-6Since this was a complete sheet set it also included a pillow.  I debated for a few minutes and then decided I mine as well use that too.  I cut it open on three sides so it was as big as possible, folded the edges in and sewed them closed. Then I cut four more pieces of ribbon, looped them like I did for the fitted sheet, placed them in the middle of each of the four sides and then folded the corners in like I did on the flat sheet for the rope to slide through.diy-fort-kit-7Sheets were done!  Now I just needed a bag.  Fortunately I’ve made a ton of those peek-a-boo storage bags for kids toys a couple years back so I already knew exactly how to make one (someday I’ll do a post on those.  Maybe).  It was even easier to make this bag though since it didn’t need a window.  I went through my fabric file and picked out a camo print.  I unfolded it and set all of my supplies on it to see how big I needed to make it. I made sure to cut it plenty big.  Of course I have no idea what the dimensions are.diy-fort-kit-9Then I took all of the stuff off, folded it in half (right sides together) and sewed the side and bottom edges.  It looked like a gigantic pillowcase.diy-fort-kit-13The downside to using this fabric was it turned out it was a jersey knit.  Which meant it folded up on me.  A lot.  And I was entirely too lazy to pull out my iron to make life easier.  See, this is why everything I sew turns out half-assed!  I mean it would’ve taken me 2 minutes to pull out my iron, plug it in, wait for it to get hot and then use it.  Lazy, lazy, lazy.

Next I made a casing for the rope at the top.  This is where the jersey knit really irritated me.  Normally I would fold the top edge down about a 1/4 inch and then fold it again to make sure that all of the raw edges are hidden, but that was impossible this time.  So I just folded it down once and then zigzagged it instead.  diy-fort-kit-14I left an opening about an inch wide about halfway on the front for the drawstring.  diy-fort-kit-15Then I picked out some string.  When a fabric store near me in Canada was going out of business I made sure to stock up on drawstring in a major way since I was making a ton of those peek a boo bags.  Which meant that I had a bunch of options.  I went with beige.  I attached a safety pin onto the end to make threading easier and then pulled it through the bag.  Normally I would attach the other end to the bag to make sure it didn’t get lost along the way, but I made the string so long that there wasn’t any fear of that.  I have absolutely no idea how long I cut the string.  Maybe about twice the width of the bag?  I just know it ended up being barely enough.  diy-fort-kit-17diy-fort-kit-16And that was it!  The bag was finished! diy-fort-kit-18Turned out that for once in my life I drastically overmeasured!  Once it’s all in there and closed the bag is only about half full.  Which I’m perfectly fine with.  Always better too large than too small!

I made a tag in my Silhouette program, printed it on regular printer paper and then laminated it using my awesome laminator.  I punched a hole in it and attached it onto the bag.  There we go, a Christmas present for two boys for less than $15 that’s original.  It may or may not get used, but whatever!  And I love this idea so much that I think as J and C get older we’ll be giving it to their friends as birthday gifts!  Another win! diy-fort-kit-19

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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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Brush your teeth and hair!

For my “fake” nephew’s two year birthday I made 4 new quiet book pages for the Quiet Book I gave him last year for Christmas.  While at the beach with their family over the summer I learned there’s nothing more Nolan hates than getting his teeth brushed.  I figured that might be a fun quiet book page for him…and who knows, maybe it’ll make the ordeal slightly less awful for his parents every night!  Long shot, I know, but still worth a try!

Imagine Our Life has a kick-ass tooth brushing page.  No surprise there since all of her pages are A-MAZ-ING.  I decided that I didn’t want to go to that much effort for Nolan’s page.  Simple is what I’m going for!  I did use her idea to stuff the toothpaste tube with a crinkly wrapper so it would make some noise though.  Great touch that took little effort–that’s what I like, haha.

Tangible Pursuits quiet book page was more along my lines.  Simple and to the point!  I liked how she added a comb in too–it gives the page a little bit more to do.  I decided to design mine differently so I wouldn’t waste two pages on this simple design–a pocket to keep the toothbrush, comb and toothpaste in.

I made a template in my Silhouette Studio program.  quiet-book-toothbrush-page-templateI used my machine to cut out the face in tan felt (I can’t cut a circle in a straight line to save my life!), but I ended up hand cutting the rest of the felt face pieces.  First I sewed the black pupils inside the eyes, and then the eyes onto the face.  I sewed the red mouth down, followed by all of the teeth.  I just sewed a “straight” line across the top of the top row of teeth and the bottom of the bottom row so they can move and wiggle.  Just in case you couldn’t tell, I did not pin the teeth down before sewing.  Poor kid really needs to see a dentist.  SOON.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-7Finally I sewed the head onto the page.  I put him down near the bottom, leaving plenty of room for the pocket.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-8I had three colors of yarn:  red, yellow and green.  I decided to make him a ginger since they get such a bad rap.  I played around with the yarn, figuring out how long I wanted his hair to be and then looped the yarn over and over and over again until I had enough to go across the top of his head.  Then I placed it on the page and sewed across his head one way and then back the other way.  quiet-book-toothbrush-page-6The toothpaste was next.  I found some scraps of fabric–yellow for the tube and blue for the toothpaste.  I simply cut two toothpaste-tube shapes out of the yellow and sewed them together, leaving the top open.  I flipped it inside out so the seams were hidden and ironed on the white fabric letters spelling TOOTHPASTE I had used my Silhouette to cut for me.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-3I lost the A, S and T somewhere between my Cameo and sewing station (those suckers are TINY!) so I just hand cut some out.  Would’ve never noticed if I hadn’t pointed them out, huh?  Seriously, how people are able to cut things by hand is beyond me.  Those letters look horrendous and they were my fifth try!

I found some leftover cellophane in my quiet book craft box that I was saving for an occasion just like this and stuffed it inside the tube.  Next I cut out 4 scraps of blue in a wiggly shape to represent the toothpaste.  I folded them in half, shoved them inside and sewed the tube shut.  Voila, toothpaste!quiet-book-toothbrush-page-2The pocket was next.  I cut a large rectangle out of red polka dot fabric, folded the edges in and ironed them so they were straight, sewed the top down, pinned it on my page and then sewed the other three sides down.  I cut a skinny rectangle that was slightly longer than my pocket for the top flap.  I did the same thing–ironed the folded edges down, sewed three of the four, pinned it on the page and then sewed the last one on.quiet-book-toothbrush-page-4J has a beauty salon kit that has about 3 brushes and 6 combs in it, so I just snagged one from there.  I picked up a toddler toothbrush at the grocery store for $1 (it’s not pictured below because I didn’t have it at that point.  I literally picked it up from the grocery store, came home, added it to the page, wrapped the pages, stuck them in a large envelope and headed to the post office.  I procrastinated that one so much that I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to include a note that told Amanda she had to buy a toothbrush to add to it, haha).  quiet-book-toothbrush-page-1quiet-book-toothbrush-page-5I like the simplicity of the page.  I do wish that the pocket and head had been sewn on a little straighter.  And I didn’t bother to put velcro on the pocket, thinking it would be big enough to hold everything, no problem.  It does indeed hold it all–barely.  So I’m sure that stuff will be falling out in regular intervals.  Whoops…

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Check your quiet book mailbox!

I needed four new pages for Nolan’s Quiet Book for his birthday.  Two of the pages I decided to do were some of J’s favorites:  the mail and coloring pages.  One side is a mailbox that opens and closes and the flag goes up and down and the opposite page has a notebook and pens/pencils/crayons/markers to draw some “mail” to put in it.  This is still a huge hit two years later.  I noticed when we saw Nolan a couple of months ago that he enjoys coloring so I figured he was ready for these two pages.

There are a lot of things I don’t like about the page I have for J.  First, I used a button and ribbon loop to keep the mailbox shut.  It’s never worked well to begin with (she had a hard time sliding the ribbon under the button) and now it’s falling off completely.  Second, the pockets I made to hold the drawing stuff don’t actually hold it.  It’s constantly falling off.  And, least important, the flag looks funny.

This all meant that although I’ve made these two pages before that I had to go back to the drawing board to find better solutions.  I found a super simple solution for the closed mailbox issue on this blog:  velcro!  I also really liked how The Montoya Family added that zipper in the grass to put stuff inside!  I contemplated doing the same on my page and then either nixing the opposing page that holds supplies or making some felt envelopes like some other pages I had seen.  In the end I decided that it wouldn’t be big enough to hold all of the supplies and I just didn’t care enough to make envelopes, haha.  It just seemed like a bridge too far.

To help solve the pocket problem I decided to make three distinct pockets and make sure they were all large enough.  The first would hold a small spiral notebook; the second a pencil; the third crayons.  While browsing endless “mail box quiet book pages” on Google Images and Pinterest I stumbled across this pin and loved the crayon holder.  Sold!

The flag issue was the easiest to fix.  At the time I didn’t have my amazing and awesome Crop-a-Dile eyelet tool so I used a button instead.  Which works, it’s just not ideal.  And that flag was made out of fabric for some reason, while this time I planned on using felt.

Now that all of my problems were solved it was time to get cracking!  First, the mailbox template.  This was easy since I still had the template from my previous mailbox page saved.mailbox-quiet-book-page-templateI made the mailbox, the door and the flag all a bit bigger and then sized Holtzapple (their last name) so it fit along the bottom.  I learned with J’s original quiet book that felt does not iron well onto felt, so I made the mailbox and the letters out of fabric instead.  Light blue for the mailbox and white for the letters.  For the door I used a dark blue felt and then red felt for the flag.  I ironed sewable Heat n Bond onto the back of all of my fabrics/felts and used my Silhouette to cut it all out for me.  You can find more details on how to cut felts and fabrics on my Cinderella Felt People post.

Then I got to work.

First I lined up the letters on the bottom of the mailbox and ironed them on.  Since there was Heat n Bond on the other side of the mailbox I had to be careful to iron just the bottom part and I made sure to pull it up off of the page immediately after lifting the iron, before it adhered itself on there.mailbox-quiet-book-page-11Then I added the flag.  I placed the flag where I wanted it and then used my Crop a Dile (more information on how amazing it is here) to add the grommet.  So much nicer!mailbox-quiet-book-page-10Next I figured out where the mailbox was going to go so I could sew on the velcro.  I put the soft side on the page and the rough side on the mailbox door.mailbox-quiet-book-page-8mailbox-quiet-book-page-7I also added a ribbon loop on the top.  Really it doesn’t serve a purpose, just looks nice.

Then I sewed the door down, just along the very bottom.mailbox-quiet-book-page-9I lined the mailbox up with the door and pinned it in place.  Then I sewed all around it, starting in the upper right corner and ending where the E is.  Otherwise there’s nowhere for the mail to go!
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Whew, finished with that part!  Although I noticed after I finished sewing it on that somehow the mailbox and door didn’t quite line up.  Still not sure how that happened… 

Then I added some grass and a mailbox post to embellish the page a bit.  I did it on my original mailbox page and I think it adds a lot to it.

First the grass.  I just used some green and white checked fabric that I had on hand.mailbox-quiet-book-page-5Then I cut out a rectangle from some brown fabric and sewed it on.mailbox-quiet-book-page-3Bam!  DONE!  Now for the supplies page.

I cut 3 rectangles out from some bright orange and yellow fabric.  I just eyeballed the dimensions.  Since I can’t cut in a straight line to save my life, plus to keep the edges from fraying, I always fold in all four sides and iron them down to make them as straight as possible when making pockets.  I sewed each rectangle along the top edge (where the opening would be for each pocket).mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-3I pinned the rectangles down on the page and then sewed along the three remaining sides.mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-4For the crayon roll I sewed a line about 3/4 of an inch from the edge from the top to the bottom.mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-5

I repeated this process 7 more times.  I did one line at a time.  Originally I placed two pins where I needed to sew, hoping that would help me keep the lines straight.  It didn’t seem to be working, so I started using one pin instead.  So I would sew a line, pull out my tape measure, mark 3/4″ with a pin and then sew from top to bottom on the pocket as straight as I could.  Then repeat.  Although they definitely could’ve turned out nicer, I was pretty impressed with myself.  mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-6I dug out a notebook, a pencil and 8 (used) crayons and then the supplies page was also finished!mailbox-supplies-quiet-book-page-1These two pages also took me less than a 2 hour nap time to sew from start to finish.  I’m starting to get the hang of these things again!mailbox-quiet-book-page-2 mailbox-quiet-book-page-1
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I did make one huge mistake after I sewed the pages together and put the eyelets for the binder rings in.  See how there are two sets of eyelets in the mailbox pictures?  Well after I punched the one set I realized that I put them in on the wrong side.  I punched the holes for the mailbox supply page first and if I left it that way then they would no longer be opposite one another.  Which defeats the purpose.  So I punched three more holes on the other side of the mailbox page and then tucked a note into the pages explaining which set of holes she should use.  So close to being perfect!!!!  Oh that and I don’t think the pocket I made for the notebook is going to work very well.  That sucker is going to fall out.  A lot.  Not my book though, so not my problem, HAHA!

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Just what you’ve been waiting for…more quiet book pages!

So Nolan’s 2nd birthday was sometime in September.  I’m a horrible Aunt for not even knowing the date!  I’ll use the excuse that I’m a “fake” aunt to make myself feel better.  I had given him a Quiet Book last year for Christmas with the intention of making pages for him every year for his birthday and Christmas.  I have absolutely no idea if he uses his quiet book or not, but I know he has enough toys and clothing (according to his mother at least) and it’s what I planned on doing, so that’s what he’s getting, like it or not!

I browsed both my own and Amanda’s Pinterest boards dedicated solely to quiet books for ideas.  I settled on a mailbox page, a paper/pencil/crayon page to go across from it, a brush teeth/comb hair page (when we saw him a few months ago he hated having his teeth brush so I was hoping it may help!) and a color matching page.

I’ll walk through the color matching page on this post.  You can find the details for the others in the links above 🙂

I found my inspiration pin on Amanda’s board.  It led to a dead-end link that was just a bunch of pictures of different quiet book ideas.  I googled and searched Pinterest for more ideas for a color match, but liked the gum ball idea the best.  Originally I was going to use buttons like the original pin but I didn’t have any large ones and didn’t feel like hitting the store.  As much fun as Joann’s/Michaels/Dollar Tree is with a 1.5 year old, I like to pass as often as I can.  Plus I figured they’re technically a choking hazard anyway, so I’d just stick with felt ones.

This was one of the simplest pages I’ve ever made.  I started off by searching for a drawing of a gum ball machine on Google Images.  I saved it to my computer, opened it in Silhouette Studio and used that to make a template for the page.gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-templateI used my Silhouette to cut the coordinating colors of felt for each piece.  All except the round circle where the gum balls would go–for that I used just regular white fabric.  Just remember that you need to iron Heat n Bond on the back of any fabrics/felts first before using your machine to cut!  The red package is for materials that you don’t need to sew later, and the purple for ones that a needle will be going through.  As I learned making this page, this is a very important distinction.

For felt I set my machine to a speed of 3, thickness 33 and blade to 10.  I usually double cut.  You can see more details on how to use a Silhouette Cameo to cut felt on my Cinderella Felt People post.

In the case of the red felt I used I had to send it through about 4 times and it still never cut it well.  It was a glitter felt that was super thick.  Lesson learned.

Once I had my pieces I got to sewing.  I started with the machine “pieces”.  First I sewed the change collector onto the grey box.  Then the grey box and the gum ball dispenser onto the red felt.  Since the pieces were so small putting a pin in didn’t seemed like more of a pain than it was worth so I figured I didn’t need it.  Wrong again.gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-3Next I cut out my gum balls by hand.  I already had yellow, green, white, blue and red velcro in my sewing stash, so those were the colors I stuck with for the gum balls.  I sewed the rough side of the velcro (male??) to the balls and then soft side (female?  I could definitely have that backwards.  That’s just what intuition is telling me 😉 ) onto the white round part.  gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-1This is where I made another mistake.  Since the fabric had Heat n Bond on one side since I used the Silhouette to cut it, I thought it would be a great idea to leave that side up…then it would look more like the gum balls were “inside” the machine–the shiny stuff could be glass!  I must’ve used the red (non-sewable) Heat n Bond and not realized it though because that was a b*tch to sew through.  See how it’s all wrinkled?  And my needle got really gummy.  I had to keep pulling it out of the machine and cleaning it off.  Yet another lesson learned–don’t mistake the two different kinds of Heat n Bond!gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-2

It was all easy after that.  I sewed the red piece with the “parts” down first, followed by the white gum ball bowl.  I added the black bottom piece and the little black top part.  Then the little red “hat”.  The biggest pain was having to switch my thread back and forth a bunch of time.  I hate threading the sewing machine for some reason.gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-4Finally I added a long strip of white velcro for the gum balls to rest on when they weren’t in the machine.  gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-5Voila, finished!  This page didn’t even take me an entire two hour nap time to complete.  Although it does irritate me how wonky the machine turned out…gumball-color-matching-quiet-book-page-6

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DISNEY!!!!!!

So my baby girl turned 5 on the 14th of September.  Awhile back I started thinking about what we were going to do for it.  She has a ton of toys and she’s relatively spoiled by grandparents and family so I knew there’d be a ton more on the way.  Her absolute favorite thing in the world is the Disney Princesses.  One of my best friends lives in Orlando (she works at Sea World) and I make an annual trip to see her every year, sans kids.  Best time ever.  I went down with my other best friend in April and while there decided that was what I was going to do for J’s birthday–Disney.  And it would be a girls trip:  just her and I.

Once I let some more time pass to think about it all (which was actually pretty difficult since we had the busiest summer ever and it felt like I was planning ten tons of other things!) and ran it by Hubby, it was the end of July before I decided for sure.  I decided on the weekend (fly down sometime around the 11th and return around the 14th, based off of prices) then called for a spot in the highly coveted Bibbidity Bobbity Boutique (can I just say how much I despise that name?!?!).  I got an appointment for Monday the 14th (her birthday!!) at 1130 am at the Downtown Disney location.  You can read more about our experience there in my next post, here.

The flight was next.  I was able to find us super cheap plane tickets through Allegiant, flying both of us down there and back for less than $200.  I’ve flown with them a couple of times before and enjoy their airline.  They may nickel and dime you for everything, but when you don’t need luggage, seat selection or priority boarding it’s a fantastic deal.  We flew down Friday the 11th and returned Monday the 14th.  The only thing I was hesitant about was school.  Her first day of school was that Tuesday and then I would have to pull her out early on Friday, miss Monday and go in late on Tuesday.  Whatever, it’s kindergarten.  This is DISNEY.  For CHEAP!

My Orlando connection, Noelle, used to work for Disney.  I was hoping that she would be able to scrounge up a ticket or two for free since Disney is EX-PEN-SIVE.  She tried her hardest, but was unable to find us anything.  We were able to stay at her place though, so that made a huge difference in price at least.  Both for lodging and food.

I figured out a general itinerary for us:  Magic Kingdom Saturday, Sea World Sunday, and Downtown Disney/fly home Monday.  Perfect.  I used the phenomenal My Disney Experience app to book our three Fast Pass+s for Cinderella/Rapunzel, Ariel and Belle.  My priority was to get in to see the Princesses…rides be damned.  We can do those anywhere!  For autographs I vacillated between getting a photo frame from Michaels and having everyone sign it (like this) or bringing a book so each Princess can sign her story.  In the end I opted for the book–mainly because I didn’t feel like running to the store, haha.  It worked out well because Auntie Amanda sent J the Disney Storybook Collection for her birthday so I gave it to her as an early birthday present.disney-storybook-collection

All of the princess signed their story, which I love.disney-princess-book-autographs

Well, except for Merida…Brave wasn’t in there!!  Which I didn’t discover until we were standing in line for her.  I was shocked!  So she signed the inside cover instead.

I also researched the best places to sit for the parades and screenshoted any other relevant information.  Kenny the Pirate was the most amazingly helpful website ever!  I spent hours browsing all of his tips and advice beforehand!

I decided to do a little something extra for the character greetings.  I wanted J to color a picture for each princess to give them to keep.  Twofold:  just a little something “special” to make her stand out a bit more and (more importantly) it would kill time during the flight.  I used my Silhouette program to print off cards for each character.  I did Cinderella, Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle, Tiana, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa and Tinker Bell.  I didn’t think we were going to see Aurora or Snow White, but I made one for them as well, just in case.  I put two on a page, downloaded a picture of each princess and wrote their name.  I printed them off and cut each page in half, and voila!  Cheap idea!  And worked very well for keeping J occupied.  And the princesses loved the fact that they got something!diy-princess-cards

diy-princess-cards-2The trip was a surprise for J.  She knew that we were going somewhere, just her and I, but had no idea where.  Or how we were getting there.  Once we were on our way to the airport I told her we were flying, which she was super excited about.  She’s been on a plane once, when she was about 15 months old, but obviously doesn’t remember.  She’s been begging to go on an airplane forever, so this was a real treat for her.

Once we were sitting at the shuttle stop I told her where we were going.J 5th Birthday Trip

We were ready!

The flight, however, didn’t go so smoothly.  We had a scheduled takeoff of 455 pm.  After posting delays in half hour increments, we finally got on the plane at 730.  And sat on it until 815 when it was determined they needed to do more mechanical repairs.  At 10 pm they announced that we were ready to fly.  At 1030 we were still sitting on the plane on the tarmac when they made the announcement that we would no longer arrive in Orlando before the pilots were required to go off duty.  The flight would be rescheduled for 2 pm tomorrow.  After another two hours waiting in line for a hotel voucher, getting on a shuttle and checking into the hotel, we finally collapsed into bed at 1245.

J was a trooper.  There was no complaining, no whining, no nothing.  She was frustrated, but an absolute angel.  
J 5th Birthday Surprise 3We got to the airport the next day ready for our 2 pm takeoff.  We were loaded on, heard all of the schpeels, and headed to the runway.  We were first in line to take off…and then we stopped.  Apparently there was some “tornadic weather activity” in Florida and the pilot was unsure if we would be able to takeoff or if we would have to go back to the airport for another delay.  5 minutes later we got the go-ahead and we were in the air!  J 5th Birthday Surprise 4Since it was the same crew from the previous night, I bet no one was more relieved than the pilots and flight attendants.  They knew there was going to be a massive revolt if we had to turn around.  The crowd was…let’s say…antsy…

Since we arrived nearly 24 hours later than anticipated, plans had to be changed.  The Magic Kingdom was switched to Sunday.  Thank God it wasn’t high season so I didn’t have any problems switching our Fast Pass selections.  Although the Boutique was supposed to be a surprise, I gave J the choice of either going there or to Sea World.  I was 95% sure that she would pick the hair salon, and I hated to ruin the surprise, but I wanted it to be her decision.  And I was right, the salon won out.

We arrived at MK at 830 Sunday morning.  I was hoping to be there for the Welcome Show and rope drop.  And we would have been, except they opened the park 15 minutes early that day!  We did manage to catch the last 20 seconds of the Welcome Show at least.

We made a beeline for Anna and Elsa.  That was a good call on our part…the wait ended up only being about 45 minutes!  And it would’ve been a bit shorter except I got lost trying to find them, hahaha.  My sense of direction is non-existant.

She was completely star struck when she met Elsa.  And I’m not going to lie, I had tears in my eyes I was so excited and happy for her.  J and ElsaShe calmed down by the time we saw Anna and asked her if Sven was still trying to steal Olaf’s nose, which I thought was adorable.  (He’s behaving, just in case you were wondering.)J and AnnaWe had a slight mishap while standing in line.  J had developed blisters on both of her feet, even though I picked out a pair of sandals she wears all the time and never gets blisters from.  She was so miserable that she said she didn’t want to meet anyone else.  We had a bit of a disagreement then, our first one so far on the trip (which is amazing for us), and I told her either she has to suck it up or we’re going back to Auntie Noelle’s house.  After meeting the sisters we hiked it down to First Aid and got some bandaids, then over to the stroller rental.  I was planning on renting a stroller regardless, I just didn’t want to waste precious time getting it at the beginning as the Anna/Elsa line got longer and longer by the second.  Those two things solved the problems and not another word was said about the blisters the rest of the day.  Minus me rubbing it in her face later that she would’ve missed all this if we had skipped it like she wanted to.  A grown-up face rubbing, of course 😉

Since we were in the vicinity, we swung in to see Tinker Bell next.  She loved how sparkly Tinker Bell was!  J asked how Wendy was doing.  Since Tink spends most of her time in Pixie Hollow and Wendy is usually in Mermaid Lagoon, they don’t see each other very often.J and TinkerBellWe also saw Ariel.  For some reason J started asking the princesses to sign the picture she made, the one that was for them to keep, which confused them.  Understandably.  I had to keep interjecting to confirm that the picture was indeed for them.  J and ArielWe also saw Cinderella and Rapunzel.  Rapunzel is telling J her favorite part of the story, which I can’t remember what it was for the life of me! J and Cinderella J and RapunzelAnd Merida, who is my favorite Disney princess, so I had to jump in this picture.  She cracked J up, telling her that she was going to eat 500 cupcakes in celebration of J’s birthday.J and MeridaTiana and Prince Naveen were together.  She adored him.  I have no idea what he was saying to her, but she was in stitches the entire time.  She couldn’t remember what was so funny, but for the next few days all she could talk about was how silly he was.J and TianaWe did the Enchanted Tales with Belle and loved that too!  It’s a shame she doesn’t sign autographs, but luckily I knew that ahead of time.  I also knew that the only way J would get to interact with her was if she volunteered to be part of the show (thanks Kenny!).  I forced her into it and I’m glad I did!  She was at least able to give her the picture she made.J and BelleWe stood in line two times at the same spot, once to see the Fairy Godmother and once for the Tremaine family.  J and Fairy GodmotherThe Tremaine family was amazing.  They interacted with each guest for about 10 minutes and were hysterical the entire time.  Drizella made fun of Anastasia because she didn’t have a picture in the Cinderella story, so Anastasia made sure to add that she’s “so pretty” when she signed her name.  J happened to have the Evil Queen from Snow White with her, so she showed her to them.  They were thrilled that J likes “mean people”.
J and TremainesWe met all of the Princesses who were available for autographs except Jasmine.  J opted to go on Big Thunder Mountain instead of standing in Jasmine’s line, which I think was a good idea.

We watched the Fantasy Parade at 3 and the Electrical Parade at 8, both of which were phenomenal.  We also watched the fireworks show, which completely blew me out of the water.  And to think we would’ve missed both the Electrical Parade and the fireworks if we had done MK on Saturday like I originally planned since there was an event in the park and it closed at 7 that night.  See, things happen for a reason!  That and waking up Monday morning all I could do was thank my lucky stars we didn’t have anything going on for a few more hours that morning and that it was very low key.  How on earth people get up and do that all over again for days in a row is beyond me.  And with more children.  And when it’s a helluva lot hotter (we really lucked out weather-wise.  It rained for about 2 hours, but otherwise stayed cloudy and wasn’t too humid or hot).  They’re insane.

All in all I was very impressed with Disney.  I’m not a big Disney person…I can take it or leave it.  And when I go to an amusement park I want to go on roller coasters, not the spinning tea cups or fantasy rides.  But we had a phenomenal day together.  J was so well behaved.  The park was clean.  The cast members were all above and beyond friendly.  J had a button on that said it was her birthday and I was blown away by how many people wished her happy birthday!  Not just the characters and their “helpers”, but anyone we passed!  It was well worth the money we spent on it.  And I would do it all over again.

Maybe.J 5th Birthday Trip 5

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What Time is it Mr. Fox?

I saw this awesome idea a few years back and immediately fell in love.  I pinned it for future use in my house.picture-frame-clockOnce we moved into our house in Ottawa I incorporated it into our decor.  And by that I mean I bought the picture frames, found coordinating pictures, bought the clock hands…and then handed it all to Hubby with a copy of the inspiration and said, “I want this.  Thanks!”

Needless to say, he was not pleased.  Just in case you’re forgotten, Hubby despises putting holes in the wall.  And the first go-round with this picture clock was a disaster.  It took him try after try after try to get the frames in place.  So he put in about 100 more holes than necessary.  But I didn’t let all of his griping bother me…I absolutely love it.  I insisted that we do it again when we moved to Virginia and will continue to force him to put it up for all of eternity.

I purchased the frames from Ikea.  I bought 4 2-packs of white and 2 2-packs of black.  They’re super cheap frames (only a plastic insert in the front, not glass, and a cardboard backing) but have held up very well.  I picked up a set of clock hands from Michaels, but once they were on the wall they were really small and looked absolutely ridiculous.  So the clock went without hands for a few weeks while this set I ordered from Amazon finally arrived (and then sat on the dining room table for awhile before Hubby finally got around to hanging it up).

The most difficult part (for me, not Hubby, haha) was figuring out the “theme” I wanted to go with.  I finally settled on things in our lives that related to that number.  So:

1 child

2 dogs

3 people in our family

4 Army units Hubby has been in

5 places we’ve lived

6 years of marriage

7 years it took me to get my diploma

8 vehicles owned between the two of us (total, not at once, haha!)

9 cumulative years we worked at Giant (the grocery store where we met)

10 years we’ve been together

11 years old was how long our first dog was when he passed away

12 years Hubby has been in the Army

Now do you see why it took me weeks to come up with this list?!  I’m sure you can tell the ones that were the most difficult (8/9/11).  Once I finally had the list finished I picked out photos to represent each number, put them in the frames and gave it all to Hubby.

So here’s what it looked like in our Canada home.diy-photo-clockEven though we were there for 2 years I left all of the pictures the same.  There was no way I was going to rearrange stuff and think of new numbers!

When we moved to Virginia and had to start it from scratch anyway, we I decided to go a different way:  pictures of the kids at months 1-12.  C has the odd numbers and J has the evens (although that’s only for the first 6 months since I still haven’t gotten around to updating it since C turned 1.  Whoops.).diy-photo-clock-2Hubby also decided to move it in closer.  He didn’t want to spend hours getting it to look right like he did last time, so he pushed it all in and was able to throw the entire thing up in 5 minutes.  diy-photo-clock-3The last change I made this time around was to add vinyl numbers onto each frame.  I just used my super handy Silhouette to cut the numbers out for me and then stuck them right onto the plastic.

I’m not a decor person and I think it really gives our home a special something.  We get compliments on it all of the time!  I’m sure Hubby would disagree, but I absolutely love it.