Thursday, February 16, 2012

{Rainy Day Craft Box for Kids}

I'm fortunate to have a craft room with more than enough space in it for me (it doubles as a spare room, which is rarely used for company). It hasn't always been that way, but the last 3-4 years I've had that luxury and I love it! One thing that I still feel could be better organized though are the craft items for my daughter. Supplies, materials, and items that I wouldn't use for my own crafting but are better suited for hers.
When she was little, I had very little space for that type of thing. I don't have a photo, but I used a door shoe organizer. It was perfect to keep things handy for her, and no one knew about it. ;) Once I got a room of my own, I sorted her craft items into small totes that would fit onto my shelves. I labeled each of them, because they are filled with miscellaneous supplies. 
We go to them when needed, and otherwise they are neatly stored out of the way.
Lately though I realized that things were getting a bit messy in this area.
Apparently this age group (7-8 yr olds) receive little craft kits for every birthday or holiday. It seems to be the norm, and what ends up happening is we stuff them in with our craft supplies and they get forgotten.
 These are just a few of the little kits she has, that we inevitably NEVER get to because they just haven't been very visible or accessible.
We sorted them out, found an unused plastic container, (a file box we already had), and made a label for it.
  The file box actually works really well because it fits nicely on a shelf in her closet. On those days when she isn't sure what to do next, she can easily SEE it now and has the choice to pick one of her craft kits to fill her time.
Super simple way to keep these kits at the ready. (And hopefully get them finished!)
Anything to keep kid stuff organized and easier for them to get to independently is always a good thing!
Take care,

Friday, February 10, 2012

{DIY 18" Doll Sleeping Bag}

So now that we have TWO American Girl dolls, they will be having sleepovers. :) We have one beautiful handmade doll bed that you can see a little bit of here.  My father-in-law creates beautiful wooden furniture, so we are fortunate to have a bed, table and chairs, and school desk for FREE. (That's the only way we would have those things, believe me. Yikes on the prices!) So, it's actually wide enough that both dolls can sleep side-by-side, but when they are camping out they really need a sleeping bag. ;)
Again, price the "real" thing ain't happenin'. My OWN sleeping bag cost only a little more than that. So I grabbed some purple fleece from the clearance remnant rack at Joann's and got started.
I measured it just by laying the doll down and guessing. I think it turned out pretty well. I sewed together 2 pieces of purple for both the front and back side, sliding a thin piece of cotton batting between each of the two pieces. This makes it feel more like a sleeping bag, and it's SO SOFT I want to sleep in it! This doll is camping in luxury!
I sewed scrap ribbon inside of the top piece to use as the roll-up tie. I also sewed velcro along the side, but not the full length of the sleeping bag.
I made a little pillow that you can tuck inside before you roll it up. I kind-of wish I had just made the back piece longer, but it's fine this way, too. Live and learn!
I used scrap felt to make the butterfly on the front, and stitched a swirl design freehand to look like the butterfly 'flutter'. It's hard to see that part in this picture.
It rolls up nicely and tucks away so it doesn't take up space (and it's easy for her to carry of course).
This cost me about $6 total. The purple remnant I bought was MUCH more than I needed, but it was cheap and I figured I would use it for another project later on. The 'real thing' is in the $30's, without S&H, so I'm counting it as a score.
And look....she must like it because she's sleeping so peacefully!
I have so much fun making things for my kiddo to play with, and even more so when it's soooo much cheaper than buying the same thing! I'm rewarded with gratefulness from a sweet girl, and that's really the best part.
Email me if you have any questions about it!
Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, February 4, 2012

{Sweet Valentine Treats: Little Nugget 'Purses'}

I made these sweet little treat 'purses' for the staff at my preschool. I love how they turned out!
Although they really are more for chocolate nuggets, I just wanted to use Kisses.
I followed the tutorial (mostly) over at Chic 'n Scratch. She has a great site with TONS of free video tutorials. Whenever I'm drawing a blank in the creativity department I head over there for a little inspiration (and great directions, ha!). 
I embossed these with my Cuttlebug, stamped the heart on the front, and punched the circles. The ribbon is from one of those sets on the $1 Spot at Target. I think I might actually have had that ribbon for 3 years. It was time for it to GO finally! It worked great because those rolls are too small to do much with anyway.
I ended up adding 3 Hershey Kisses, although only 2 are shown in this pic. I used just a little Tombow Snail to hold them in place, but not make them permanent or hard to pull off. I don't want to have to "work" to get my chocolate! :)
These whip up really quickly and are fun to make. I love to mass produce!
I'll be placing these on a red platter in the workroom at my school, so each teacher can grab a 'purse' and go!
I have some super cute felt foods to share with you next time. Until then, have a great week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

{DIY American Girl Tutu}

Have you priced ballet sets for American Girl? Yikes! We have tons of clothes for our American Girl dolls, and only a few are 'original' AG purchases. The rest are homemade, or purchased from other handmade sellers who are more proficient than I. :) I do like to get free patterns from Liberty Jane, and we've made 4-5 pieces using them. I am not so great at sewing clothes, however, so I look for other sources pretty frequently. We have a favorite Ebay store that I highly recommend for American Girl doll clothes. Email me if you would like the info and I'm happy to share!
Sp in lieu of a purchased ballet set, and since her lessons are, in fact, FREE...we improvised and made our own ballet tutu.
Today's project is what I like to call "on-the-fly"...meaning I had a random thought to make it, then sat down and fifteen minutes later it was done. Not a lot of thought, which can sometimes be the projects that are the most fun.

SUPER easy to make for the 18" doll in your life.
Here's what you need:
scrap tulle
ponytail band,in pink or a neutral color

I started by measuring the doll from the waist down to where I wanted the tutu to fall on her legs. My tulle strips were cut (and not precisely) to about 5" long. I had lots leftover from my Fancy Bird Nest, so I just started cutting on that. It takes lots of strips, so just keep cutting. :) 
After you cut your strips, you are basically just going to start tying knots on the ponytail band, all the way around. I thought it was easiest to tie the knots on while the ponytail band was actually around the doll's waist. Slide a strip through...
...and tie it in a tight knot.
Slide each knot very close to each other, and the tutu will be fuller. 
Just keep doing this all the way around, knotting, tightening, and sliding the knots close together. It's that simple!
I left lots of extra at the top of the tutu to start with, so that I could cut it to size and not worry about mistakes. Once I got 4-5 strips knotted, I went back and trimmed the top pieces sticking up to about where I wanted them to stick up above the waist.
See how much extra I gave myself? Once you have it all trimmed, it looks like this:
So easy, and you now have a tutu for cheap! :)
We could have purchased the whole ballet outfit for $40-$50, and I know it would have been lovely and quality. (I've been happy with ALL of our American Girl purchases.) kiddo doesn't play ballet with her dolls every day, and for that price, I would want her to. It doesn't seem right to MAKE her play ballet everyday (wink), so we went with a modified ballet outfit for only a dollar or two and I don't care what she does with it. (Last time I saw this it was stuffed in a dresser drawer.)  :) That's the beauty of kid-projects on-the-cheap, no?
Make one of these for the doll in your life...or show your daughters how and enjoy a project together. Afterward you can meet up at the 'studio' for a lesson and some ice cream afterward. :)
Have a great day,