Oct 21, 2011

Time to Make the Costumes!

Halloween is just around the corner and I'm finally getting in gear with buying and making this year's costumes.  The kids helped us to pick Toy Story as a family costume theme.... and we're all really excited about it.  Daddy is going to be Woody, I'm going to be Jessie, Andy is a green Army Man, Mary is Bo Peep and little Angela will be a Sheep :)  After debating it back and forth in my head, I decided to purchase the kids costumes and make John's and mine.  This week I picked up the fabric and made patterns for Woody's vest, Jessie's shirt/cuffs and Jessie's cow print chaps and will be finishing everything up this weekend (I hope!!)  I will post pictures once everything is completed.

So I've been strolling down Memory Lane of Halloweens Past and wanted to share, hope you enjoy!

Andy's first Halloween, he was 10 months old and the cutest little Tigger around <3

This is Mary's first Halloween.  Andy was 20 months old and Mary was 4 month old.  They looked adorable in person dressed up like Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  They really enjoyed being dressed up, contrary to what expressions were captured in most of the pictures I took ;)

This was the first year I attempted to make both of their costumes and I was so thrilled to do it!  Andy was a Scarecrow and Mary was a Pumpkin.  Loved how sweet they looked and the costumes were a hit :)


Moving on, the following Halloween I purchased Andy's Magician costume and made Mary's little white Bunny costume.  I was really excited about the idea when I came up with it :)  John and I decided somewhat last minute to dress up as well... and if you look closely, you'll see my baby bump I was almost 5 months pregnant with Angela <3
Now we're up to last year's costumes.  I had no say Andy and Mary's costume choices so they are not related to each other in any way.  Andy is a Garbage Man, John and I made the entire costume and it came out awesome!! Mary was Cinderella and baby Angie, 6 months old, was a Flower Fairy... a costume that I thoroughly enjoyed making for her <3  These pictures were taken at a Halloween Party a few days before Halloween.

Notice on Halloween night, Angela's costume has changed... we lost her headband and I didn't have time to make a new one, so she too dressed up like Minnie on her first Halloween :)

Wishing you and your family a super fun and safe Halloween this year!!

***Update 10/13/13: So I haven't blogged in quite some time but hope to get back to it soon.  As Halloween is just around the corner, I did want to take a minute to update this particular post because the costumes came out really cute.  We were dressed as characters from Toy Story a couple of years ago now (2011).  Our costumes included Woody, Jesse, Army Soldier, Little Bo Peep and her Sheep :)  Of these, I made the costumes for me and my hubby and ran out of time so had to purchase the rest.

Last year (2012) we chose Wizard of Oz for our theme.. and this was definitely a labor of love and I was sure to start early enough so I didn't have to purchase any last minute costumes.  I handmade all three of these costumes... from scratch!! So far, it was my biggest undertaking as far as patterning and construction.  All sewing was done by hand and I really had to get creative with some of the materials used to make it work.  Since then, I have learned how to use a sewing machine... a skill that would have made my life a lot easier while making these beauties below, but at least now I will have it for the future.  I am extremely proud of how my little Tin Man, Dorothy & Glenda the Good Witch costumes came out... but even more happy that the kids absolutely LOVED them!! :)

This year I will be making some of the costumes based on what my kiddos what to be dressed as and will update this post once again :)

Thanks for taking a look and I hope you and your family have a Happy Halloween!

Oct 17, 2011

Mary's Dress-Up Clothes & Accessories Storage

Mary LOVES to play dress-up, in fact the princess clothes and accessories come out daily.  Keeping this stuff organized and easily accessible for her has become somewhat of a challenge.  At first, I kept all of her dress-up items in a basket/chest, but as the collection grew it became a big mess that was always overflowing onto her bedroom floor.  When my youngest munchkin recently outgrew her changing table, I decided to use that to help get Mary's room organized.  At first I loved it... but found that everything, although placed on a shelf, still looked very messy.

Then, while browsing Pinterest, I came across a dresser that was turned into a hanging closet for princess dresses.  At that moment, I decided to remove the shelves and add a solid metal rod to hang her dresses and voila!  The shoes are neatly kept in the top drawer and her headbands, necklaces, bracelets, boas, scarfs etc. all have their own place on top, either in the basket or in the mini-storage drawers.  Her purses and some other random items are kept in a chest and her tutus stay below in a basket.  It looks so much cleaner and she is now learning how to take better care of her favorite things!

Oct 12, 2011

Andy's train table is now a Lego table!

My son Andy is 5 and he has always loved all things that move, so he was thrilled to receive a train table when he was 2 yrs old.  The thing is, he never really got into playing with trains.  The table quickly turned into a parking lot for his cars which served a good purpose for a while, but over the past year it's been collecting stickers and not "working" in his room.  I had been thinking about giving it away, when I came across a Lego playroom on Pinterest.  This room had Lego building plates stuck to an entire wall... how awesome is that?!?!!  Since Andy has recently become very interested in building with Lego blocks, it gave me the idea for a great use of his train table... I would convert it into a Lego table, I just knew Andy would go nuts for it.

Here is the original train table.

I flipped the boards over so he would still have the train table to play with if he chose to.

I first used double-sided craft tape, just wanted keep the option open for removing the building plates if need be.  Wasn't the best idea, the plates lifted when the kids pulled apart their creations.  Then I used hot glue, also not a good choice because it lifted, too!  Finally, I used an all purpose craft Tacky Glue which did the trick beautifully!!  :)  This table took 6 Lego building plates to cover.

So far, so good... it's only been completed for a couple of weeks and all three of my little one's have logged quite a few hours of play in Andy's room.  I love to have an activity like Lego's that work so many skills like fine motor, creativity, thinking three-dimensionally and of course team work to name a few...  but most of all an opportunity for my kiddos to all play together and have fun.... oh yeah- there is one more bonus for mommy... a little down time to get some stuff done around here!! :)

Sep 5, 2011

Take 2 - Paper Dresses (Coffee Filter/Colored Tissue Paper)

Coffee Filter Wedding Dress for Ariel

So after 3 days of playing with Ariel and Prince Eric, Mary noticed that the tissue wedding dress we created for Ariel was not quite holding up.  As happy as I was to make it so quickly and pleased that it came out surprisingly beautiful... it was not very durable.  My sister, Jen, mentioned that I could try to use a coffee filter next time because it may last longer.  Great idea, coffee filter paper is very durable!  If I could make this work, Mary could get really creative in designing different dresses for all her dolls.  She could color on the filters, "tie-dye" them with water colors, or embellish with stick-on beads, stickers, glitter, etc.  Here's how our first try came out....

I wasn't too thrilled with a short dress, but Mary liked it (and really that's what matters!) so I'm including the pictures...

The long wedding dress came out so nice :)

This dress is very durable and it's kind of hard to see in the pictures, but it has scalloped layers at the bottom thanks to the shape of the coffee filters... quite fancy and Mary LOVES it!!!

Colored Tissue Paper Dress for Belle

OK, so now I was curious to see how a colored tissue paper dress would look.  My sweet little assistant Mary volunteered Belle to be our model.  We chose red tissue paper and quickly got to work.  The final touch was some sparkly white ribbon we wrapped around her waist... too cute!  This is a really fun activity that takes virtually no time at all to put together, and the varieties are endless.  Mary loved it and I hope you and your little girl will give it a try!!

Sep 1, 2011

Tissue Wedding Dress for Ariel

Mary started PreK-4 last week and has been feeling shy about going into class.  This doesn't come as a surprise to us after how hard the transition into preschool was last year.  Today was an especially difficult day and it was tearing at my heart convincing her go when she so sadly begged to stay home with me and her little sister Angela.  Mary really misses her best friend who moved away this summer, and told me she wished I was 4 so I could go to school with her and be her best friend... so sad!!  :(   After a phone call to Daddy and my promise to have something special for her after school today, she agreed to try to have a fun day.

Mary loves the Disney princesses and the princes just as much, so I got her Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid to complement her Ariel doll.  She was THRILLED and couldn't wait to get him home so he and Ariel can have a wedding.  OK, here's where the problem began... both of her Ariel dolls only came with the shell bikini top and mermaid tail that slides on and off-  but no dress.  She was so bummed because how could Ariel possibly marry Prince Eric in that?!?!!

I told her not to worry that I would take care of it.  So I had to get creative.  How could I make a wedding dress quickly and easily?  Then it came to me - tissues... I could make it with some tissues and tape :)  And that's exactly what I did... and it took just minutes!!  She is so happy with the dress and was so excited to finally give Ariel and Prince Eric the wedding they deserved... and I think we may have to make this an ongoing craft.  Why not, we always have tissues in the house and we can create all kinds of new dresses :)

PS - I love it with the purple top, however little Miss Mary says that the wedding dress should be ALL white!!  :)

Aug 17, 2011

DIY - Princess Dry Erase Board Wall

My 4 yr old daughter, Mary, loves to draw especially where she shouldn’t (like on herself, furniture or the walls) so she was a perfect candidate for a DIY dry erase board for her wall.  I figured this would give her the same feeling of adventure, but without breaking the rules.  The first attempt, my interpretation of a princess crown, I thought to be adorable and perfect for her.  It wasn’t long before I realized that it was too small and the temptation to draw outside of the “lines” was a little too great.... 

... and so I come up with a plan B.  I decided to create more space for her to develop her artistic sensibilities but still wanted it to be fit for a princess.  I came up with the design below, and so far so good.   :)

I first measured out the size using a yard stick and pencil.  Once I was comfortable with the proportions, I used blue painters tape to frame out the space to be painted with the Dry Erase Paint (purchased from Home Depot for about $22.00).

I followed the instructions on the box... prepped wall and painted, no sweat.  This was evolving into the coolest DIY Princess Dry Erase Board EVER!!!

Mary and I had a special outing to JoAnn Fabric to pick out the fabric that would frame her new art space.  Come to find out she has expensive taste, picking out a fabric that cost $12.99 per yard, and for this project we needed 6 yards.  I guided her to the more affordable fabric and we were able to match the “feel” of her original pick with a lovely satin piece, costing only $3.99 per yard.  I try to always use coupons when I go the the craft store, so I was able to save 40% on this cut.  I also purchased some gold/white rope cord to tie up the sides and the golden garland that looks like upside down triangles which I used at the top of the project.  The final item we needed to buy was the no-sew tape.

I love to craft, so the other supplies used I had on hand... a dowel cut to size (used as the rod to hold the drapes) and 4 small screw-in hooks with circle ends (2 at the top to hold the dowel and 2 at the sides to thread the rope through which would pull back the drapes).  I used matching ribbon and hot glue to wrap the dowel so the wood was not exposed, however it was really unnecessary because you cannot see the dowel at all on the finished product.

Next, I needed to create the loop at the top ends of the fabric so it would hang like drapes.  I placed the no-sew tape a few inches from the top of the fabric, then folded the top edge down to create the opening and ironed.  This took me about 10 minutes to do both pieces.  Once the loop was created, I slid the two pieces of fabric right onto the dowel and was ready to hang.  So EASY!! :)  I thought about finishing the remaining 3 edges of the fabric, but was working around a nap schedule and didn’t really have the time.  After hanging, the edges of the drapes were not exposed so I was cool with leaving them unfinished.  However if you have the time, it will just make the quality that much better!

Next, I used the rope to pull back the drapes.  Then I tied knots at both ends of each rope, about 2-3 inches up. Right below each knot, I wrapped a clear mini-elastic band and unraveled the rope to create the tasseled look.  It took just minutes to do but really helped to make it look royal.

I used jewelry string to weave through and hang the embellishment at the top.

I originally planned to make a princess crown using cardboard and glitter to put at the top, but Mary loves it just as it is, so we’ll re-visit that later.  The only other addition I am still considering is creating DIY sconces to hang on either side.  Maybe, with an oval mirror or frame and attach a cup to hold flowers or colored beads or something?  By the way, this would also make a great back-drop for pictures or a little play!  :)