Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween Fun!

Better late than never!

The post, that is.  All of this was done in plenty of time.  Well, the costume was finished the night before Halloween, but everything ELSE was done in good time!

First, the 6 year old's that I babysit made ghosts with me.
I brought over all the ingredients that we needed and we got to work on one rainy afternoon.

We started by making the forms that our ghost bodies would be made on.  We could have used just about anything, but I chose to wad up some foil so we could make the size and shape we wanted.

We tested to make sure that our ghosts would fit in our jars.

Then we covered the "bodies" with cellophane for easy ghost removal later.

Then I watered down some white glue a little and we soaked our pre-cut cheesecloth in the mixture and draped them over our forms.
And waited a WHOLE day for them to dry.

Then we carefully peeled the ghosts off the cellophane, hot-glued some eyes and a mouth on them and 'caught' our ghosts in a jar!
 A very successful craft, in my mind, that worked perfectly with a six-year-old attention span.
One thing I would do differently is that I would use a "whiter" glue.  Mine has a bit of a tan tint to it and I have noticed that the ghosts are darkening.  It still works though, it gives them an aged look.

 I also made Monster Snack Bags!  I just LOVE how these turned out. I found the tutorial here and followed it very carefully. I gave five of the six away.  The last one is in my own drawer.

This is how they turned out!  Aren't they adorable!  I am constantly amazed by people's creativity.  And by the way people share tutorials so freely online!  Hopefully one day I will manage to create something on my own (instead of following someone else's instructions) and make a tutorial myself and kind of pay it forward.

And last, but not least....
This year's Halloween costume.

Last year when I made and posted the Rapunzel costume I had said that  if my daughters want to post their faces online that  was their choice, but I wasn't going to.  That is why she is blurred.  
My daughter plans to alternate Rapunzel with Morgana for a while so I am off the hook for creating costumes for her for a few years!
I am unfamiliar with the TV show Merlin, but my sixteen year old loves it. She wanted to be the character Morgana this year for Halloween.  This costume cost about $25 to make and was a little easier than the Rapunzel costume last year.  Clearly, I learned a few things.  My work is far from perfect, but for a costume, it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself!  And she was happy with it, which is the most important!

The Olaf at the top of this post was not made by me, but by my daughters.  Mostly my 20 year old.  "Some pumpkins are worth melting for" she says.  I thought he turned out really well and wanted to include him in my Halloween post!

Thanks for looking!!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Making of "Super Bear"!

Several years ago, I made a toy/blanket for my little cousin's son.  I made it, gave it to him, and quite honestly didn't think much about it after that.  I am a parent.  I know how stuffed animals seem to multiply overnight.  I am also guilty of getting rid of some without the kids even noticing.  I kind of figured that the bear I made had served it's purpose and vanished.  This did not bother me at all, I know how it is.  In fact, I had completely forgotten about it.  
So, you can imagine my surprise and shock when my cousin asked me if there was any way I could make a second Super Bear, this time for her daughter because she is always trying to take her brother's and he wasn't giving it up!

Super bear?

What is a super bear?  I don't remember making a bear, super or other wise?  Remember, several years had passed....   My cousin managed to refresh my memory and explained that her son calls it his Super Bear.  

You mean he still has that?

Yes!  He plays with it all the time.  He sleeps with it.  He loves it!

You have no idea how happy this made me!

How can one say no to that???  So I got to work.  I found a bear to sacrifice for the project at the thrift store and ran it through the washing machine. It has to wash well or it is useless for this project in my opinion.  The bear washed great, so I went to my fabric stash to pick out suitable fleece and I found a pretty burgundy and some light pink.  Perfect for a little girl!!

I cut the fleece into squares.  I didn't measure this  I just folded one corner up until it looked like a good size.  I made both pieces the same size.

Then came the hard part.  Cutting the bear in half.  That first cut can be difficult.  Mentally, not physically.  Sacrificing a bear like this is not for the faint of heart. You want to cut it a bit lower than it's armpits to give you some material to sew into the blanket.  Remove the stuffing from the part that will be sewn up in the blanket to avoid excess bulk.
I also gave him a bit of a haircut around his eyes, the fur was blocking his sight.  I also wasn't a fan of the scratchy bow, so I removed that too.

Then cut one corner off the fleece about the width of the bear.

Then sew around, right sides together, from the edge of the corner you just cut, alllllllllll the way around to the other corner edge you just cut.  You will have an opening where you cut that corner off.  Trim, if you need to, and turn the blanket right-side-out.
Next you are going to fold the raw edges under and place your bear in the hole and pin him in place.

Then you topstitch all the way around the blanket, neatening up the edges and sewing the bear in place all at the same time.  Make sure you take those pins out!

That's it.  Super Bear is now finished!  Now all that is left is to give him to you little cousin (or some other lucky child).

Thanks for looking!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Stencilled 4-wheeling shirt or "Did I Just Run Over My Shirt?"

Here are my ingredients.  I actually used white paint in the same brand as my medium for the logo part of the shirt.  My little tube of white in this box ran out a long time ago.
This fabric medium is fantastic stuff. It only costs about two dollars.  You just mix one part of the medium with two parts any acrylic paint.  This makes t-shirt painting much more economical than purchasing separate fabric paints.  If you have a bunch of acrylics, you can mix your own colours and the possibilities are pretty much endless!  The box of paint tubes pictured was purchased at a dollar store.  Years ago.  And I have only run out of the white.  Well, the brown is almost empty now too.

Once I decided what I wanted on the shirt, I created a stencil on the computer and printed it out.  Then I taped my printout to a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) and carefully cut out my letters with an exacto knife.  I was careful to save the middles of the letters (a,e,e,g) to iron on to the shirt.

Then I carefully placed it on the shirt and ironed it down.  Be super careful with this step!  I have a lovely shirt with an off-centre (maybe a little crooked too) design on it because I wasn't diligent enough when placing it.
I also made an interesting discovery during this step.  Normally, to save ink, I just print the outline of the letters.  With this one, I got the word "Jeep" off the internet in the correct font and it was solid so I made my other letters solid to make sure that they looked right.  The ink melts or something and gets all over the iron when you are lining up your little "middles" and using the printout for reference.  So, lesson learned.  Always use outlines for letters from now on.
I still need a new ironing board cover.  One day.

Once I was satisfied that I had a well placed logo, I slid the shirt over a wax paper covered piece of cardboard.  I keep this between two pieces of furniture and keep re-using it.  Much easier than looking for a big piece of cardboard whenever I want to do a shirt.  Then I painted it with white.

I hung it up to dry.

Once it was dry, I peeled my stencil off, being sure to pick out those little pieces inside the letters.

Now for the tire tracks.
I wanted to use the tread from our own tires to make it even more personal.  It wasn't until after I was completely finished that I realized that I made it look like my husband had been run over by his own Jeep!
This was a pain to do.  I have seen other shirts where the person painted the tire with fabric paint and literally ran over the shirt.  I didn't want that look though because I wanted nice, crisp, defined tracks, not a big smear.
After a few attempts, I got a usable stencil.  I watered down some paint (I thought I grabbed black, but it turned out to be dark blue.)  and I used a sponge brush to paint a section of the tire, then I pressed a piece of freezer paper on the tire (the non shiny side of the paper).  I got a messy, smudgy tire track.  I let that dry, then took a Sharpie to it and outlined each tread and the interior cut-out in each tread.

Then I had to cut the stencil out.  I checked the clock, give or take about three minutes, this took me an hour-and-a-half.  All those blue zig-zags are thin, thin strips of freezer paper.  It was about now that I realized that this stencil isn't long enough.  I took a deep breath and hoped that I could remove the stencil, reposition it and iron it down a second time.  I had no idea if it would actually work.

It worked!  As you can see, I have part of the stencilling done and the paper is now on the bottom half.  Picking those tiny, thin zig-zags was a bit of a challenge, but I managed it and didn't tear a single one!

So now my husband has a Jeep shirt with a muddy tire track from his own Jeep.
It is a navy shirt.  Why is it so bright blue in this picture????

Thanks for looking!

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Sherlock inspired "Study In Pink" earrings

Have you ever seen something in a store or online and thought "I could make that myself"?  I do that all the time.
So does my daughter.
Except she doesn't think "I could make that", she thinks "Mom could make that".  I am flattered by her seemingly unwavering belief that I can make anything.  But time and time again, I accept the challenge.  And time and time again, she is right!  She has several items that prove it too.
So when she described some earrings that she saw, she asked "Could you make me some?"
They look like pills.  If you have seen the first episode of season one of Sherlock (Where Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead) these hopefully will look very familiar.
I had no idea where to start.  How do you make pills?  The capsule type.  So I went to Dollarama to scout supplies.  It was Christmas time when I went and I spied some of those capsules (!!!) that have little sponge shapes in them and you put them in water and the shapes "grow".  I hope you know what I am talking about because I didn't think to take a photo of the package.  I scooped them up and brought them home.
I wasn't sure that I could pop the capsules apart while keeping them intact but it was very easy.  These little capsules are sturdier than I had expected. 
Here are all ten emptied out and the sponge crumbs have been wiped out with a dry Q-Tip. 

Now, what to fill them with.  I looked at little pink and white beads, but they didn't look right with the holes in them.  I have some tiny clear/white glass balls that would be perfect but I forget where I got them and couldn't find any pink ones.  So, I did what any sane person would do.  I looked in my pantry and found the perfect solution.

I used sprinkles.

It took a while to separate the white and pink ones out, but I did it!

Filling the capsules was easier than I expected.   I only needed four, but I filled all of them to be sure I had spares in case I broke any.

Since the capsules I used are meant to be dissolved in water, the next step was to seal them.  I strung a piece of thread (in a colour I could easily see for removal later)  through them, then I hung them up in a cardboard box and forgot to take any photos.  I broke two during this process.  Good thing I made spares. When they were dangling in the box, I sprayed them with about four coats of clear acrylic spray, letting them dry between coats.  You couldn't wear them in the pool or the shower, but they should be a bit water resistant.

Once they were completely dry, I removed the threads and slid a head pin through the holes that I made while threading them and made a loop at the top of the pin.  I put a tiny drop of clear nail polish at the bottom where the pin went in for extra security.  Then I rooted through my jewellery supplies and found some thin chain (always keep odd/ugly/single earrings, you never know when parts may be handy!) and hung my pills from the chains and attached them to an ear wire.

Pretty nice, I think. Most importantly, my daughter thinks so too.   And all I had to buy special for this project was the package of capsules for $1.15!  Everything else was already in the house, and we still have lots of sprinkles for ice cream and cupcakes!

I like to think that Benedict Cumberbatch would approve of these.
Thanks for looking!
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Made it Myself: Tablet Cover

My tablet rarely leaves the house, but I wanted protection for the odd time it does.  I didn't want a sleeve or pouch.  And I wanted to be able to prop my device up.   I knew that much. But I didn't know just what I wanted.
Then I found a perfect solution!  It was in a tutorial I found here, at Chica and Jo, while doing a Google search for  DIY tablet cover.  The instruction are super easy to follow.  I had to adjust the measurements a bit to suit my tablet.   The instructions call for chipboard, but I don't even know what that is. They suggested the inside of an old binder, but ours were all made out of corrugated cardboard.  That is no good!  I ended up using a piece of picture matting that I managed to acquire for fifty cents.  I used hair bands for the elastic.  I cut up a wide one for the corner pieces and used a thin one to hold everything shut.  I got both of those in a bunch for  a dollar, and I still have four or five thin ones left.  Everything else I already had on hand!  So not only was this easy to make, it only cost me $1.50 + tax!  it doesn't get much better than that!
I will let the pictures show you the awesomeness of this cover:
Here we are all closed up.  This is the front.

Still all closed up. This is the back.  Yes, I ironed first, but then I let it sit for a week....  don't do that.  Trust me.

Here it is all opened up.

And opened up with everything neatly tucked up in the elastic.

As you saw in the first photo, you can also prop your tablet up to watch videos.  I don't know what took me so long to make this!  I am glad that I made it though.

Thanks for looking!
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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tiny cookie change purse

I don't know about where you live, but here in Toronto we need to deposit a quarter into the handles of shopping carts in order to unlock and use the carts.  I am often scrounging around my purse, hoping I have a quarter.  I kept a few in the truck we used to have as it had a handy slot for coins in the centre console.  Unfortunately for me, our current vehicle has no such spot.  I needed something to keep my "shopping cart quarters" in. 
Also, unfortunately for me, this vehicle is my husbands "baby" and I have been told in no uncertain terms that I am not allowed to put anything "cute or girly" besides me ;)  in this vehicle.  What a dilemma. 
I had seen these!
Click the photo to go to the tutorial

Cute, right?  I had to have one! And it was perfect for my quarters!  And, if that wasn't enough, I had everything I needed except the covered button thingies.  After some careful thought, I found a way around my problem.

Black.  Just like Hubby's Jeep.  How could he complain?

They start out with these covered button thingies.  I had trouble finding big enough ones.  I finally found some in a tiny little fabric store.  They were just like these ones.

After muddling my way through the instructions (the part about preparing the zipper was a little confusing for me)  I finished my little cookie quarter holder!  I found a way to make it a bit cute and girly too.  First I spied some pink satin in my scraps and was going to use that, but then I laid eyes on the red.  They looked so good together, I couldn't not use it!

I made my loop bigger than the tutorial intentionally.  It is wider because I was using what I had on hand, but I purposely made it big enough to hang on to.  I don't want to be fumbling around in the cold to access my quarters.

Don't tell him I said this, but I think I got away with putting something cute in the Jeep!

Thanks for looking!

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rapunzel dress for my princess

She wanted to be Rapunzel, from Disney's Tangled for Halloween.  If you haven't watched Tangled, you should!
Did I happen to mention that my little princess, who wanted to dress as Rapunzel, is fifteen years old?  And she wanted to look like Rapunzel, not a trampy version.  (You have NO idea how much that pleases me!)

They don't seem to make nice costumes for anyone over ten years old, and even then they are pretty crappy quality -or super-expensive.  So I decided that I would try to make one for her.
The only experience I have making a dress is when I made my own Sally Ragdoll costume two Halloweens ago.  I didn't know what I was doing then either.  After looking at pictures online, I picked up what I thought was the best fabrics and embellishments for the job.  This costume cost more than Sally did, I think it totalled about $33, which is still a bit expensive to me, but better quality (and length!) than the store bought ones.

I looked online for tutorials from others who have made a Rapunzel dress.  I took elements from several different places and did my own thing. That is why I am not crediting any specific source for any sort of tutorial.  I didn't follow any!

So, here is the dress mostly finished.  I made the top a double layer since the fabric I chose was quite thin.  She wore it to an event at this stage of completion.  She was helping out at her old elementary school for an activity/family night the school was hosting and the theme was fairy tales.  I made one sleeve a smidge too small and it tore up the seam.  Twice.  I just re-made it the first time, the second time I made it a little bit bigger and it held.  The dress itself is done here, it just needs some painted embellishing on the skirt done now.
We still need detail on the front panel.
 I think the most difficult part of the whole dress was getting all of those eyelets installed.  I smashed my poor thumb in the process.

This is what I was going for:
(if I did it right, the picture itself links to the Disney site I found it on)

I agonized over how I was going to post the finished dress.  I feel that if my kids are going to have their photo on the internet, THEY should be the ones to put it there.  So, using my fabulous photo manipulation skills, I pasted Rapunzel's face over my daughter's.  Not bad, if I do say so myself!!  (hahahahahahahahahahaha!)   I even made her a Pascal (Rapunzel's chameleon sidekick) to go with her costume.  You see him at the top of this post, and on the top of her head here.

She is even posing like the picture above.  :)

At one point in the movie, Rapunzel braids her hair up and puts flower in it, so that is what we did with our Rapunzel.

She has already worn this dress three times, two of those times, it was totally finished.  I would say it is a success.

Thanks for looking!

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