Monday, December 14, 2009

The Diamond Castle - Recycled Handmade Doll House

Blue Princess Castle

Here is my daughter JJ's new dollhouse/castle that I made out of boxes from the recycle, it's "the diamond castle" from her favorite new movie, Barbie's The Diamond Castle.
She loves it. There are 2 little white dogs in the movie so I found 2 little dogs in the dollar bin at Micheals. She is so into this movie it's entertaining to watch her watch it. We are borrowing it from the library right now, but I'm thinking we may have to get a copy to own.

This didn't take very long to make, I used a foam brush and poster paint to color the outside of the cardboard and did 2 or 3 coats so the pictures and words on the boxes wouldn't show through. Used scrapbook paper for the walls and floors, gems and a cheap sparkly snowflake ornament that was also in the $1 bin at Micheals. I used my little handy glue gun to stick it all together and it's held up great. My daughter isn't the most gentle child and this has been tossed around a bit but still looks exactly like it did the day I made it.  She also pretends it's Cinderella's Castle and puts her mini disney princesses inside.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Toddler Purse Tutorial

I just finished whipping up this cute toddler purse for my Niece, it's one of her Christmas gifts. I made it up and figured it out as I went along and although it has a flaw or two, I'm pretty happy with the results. I took pictures and notes along the way so I could remember what I did since I'll be making another one for my daughter as well. You'll notice my sewing machine in one of the pics, it's a new brother LS2000, my hubby got it for me on black friday at Walmart for $50. For $50 I say it works pretty good. Although I would eventually like a nicer machine that had more variety of stitches a little sturdier.

There will be more to come on this as I'm planning on making a matching wallet with soft fabric money and cards, maybe a check book.

I was doing some online Christmas browsing and saw a toddler purse with all soft fabric accessories on One Step Ahead's website and another version Here. I didn't like the first purse at all! Plus, now that I have a sewing machine, I'm eager to try out lots of new things!

2 coordinating fabrics (about equal to 2 fat quarter panels.) I used flannel "Happy Dots" from JoAnns
sewing machine

Draw out your toddler purse pattern on a piece of paper. This is the shape I used with the measurements indicated on the picture. Iron your fabric, then Fold and place the 6 inch side along the fold. Pin in place and cut.

Using the pattern as described in step 1, cut out 4 pieces, 2 of each fabric. Cut out 2 2.5 inch by 14 inch strips of fabric for the straps.

Take cutouts for straps, fold in half lengthwise with right sides facing each other and press with iron. Sew 1/4 inch seam along open edge, leaving the ends open. Press the seams open.

Flip your straps right-side-out and iron flat.

Open purse pieces and iron out any creases. Then take the pieces of matching fabric and place with right sides facing each other. Line up all the edges and pin the bottom and sides in place.

Sew 1/4 inch seam around sides and bottom of toddler purse. Repeat with the liner fabric.

Press seams open creating a point at the bottom corners of purse.

Measure about 1/2 inch in and mark with a pencil. Sew a seam along the line. I went over the seam 3 times.

Clip off the remaining fabric.


Turn the lining right side out. Place the lining inside the outer layer of the purse with right sides facing each other. Line up all top raw edges.

Pin the strap with the end lining up with the top edges of the purse, with the seam side facing the liner. (MAKE SURE THE STRAP IS IN-BETWEEN THE 2 LAYERS) Pin in place. Then, making sure the strap isn't twisted, secure it to the other side of the purse. repeat for 2nd strap.

Sew across all top raw edges, starting by securing all the straps first. ( I triple stitched to make sure it was secure)

Sew along remaining edges, feeling for the straps along the way to make sure you don't sew over them. Leave a small opening of a couple inches when you sew the top edges.

Using the small opening, flip the toddler purse right-side-out. Reach inside and push out all the corners and straps. Then push the liner inside the bag.

Fold in edges along the opening and stitch closed.

Stitch a seam around top edges of bag.

Here is the second purse. I checked the time and it took an 1.5 hours from ironing out my fabric to snapping a few pics of the finished project. If I had planned out faster way to turn the straps right side out, I could have saved myself probably 10 minutes.

Also, on the second purse, I made 2 changes:
1. Shortened the straps...cut them to 11 inches long
2. When sewing the tops together, I left the opening in the middle of one of the long edges. On the first purse, I left the side open (where it looks like a 'V') and after I stitched it shut, the straps looked a little off on that side. The second one didn't have that problem since I changed the spot where I left the opening for flipping the purse right side out.

Now I just need to make some play things to go inside! That will have to wait until tomarrow, I hear a nice relaxing bath calling my name!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Boutique Style Tutu

Easy Boutique Tutu
This was a super easy and fun project that I came across on called How to Make a Boutique Style Tutu. I was looking for something to make for a birthday gift for a 2 year old girl. I made this tutu while watching a movie with my husband one evening and thought it was so fun and easy I have since made more! I wish I had put more flowers on it, but I used what I had. These are SO cute!
You can find the tulle ribbon in the wedding section at your local craft/sewing supply store. I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics.  You could whip up a bunch of these as tutu party favors to your daughter's guests at her next sleepover party or birthday party.  If the girl's are old enough, it could be a party activity, I think girls 8 and up could make these easy tutus.

Pottery Barn Wreath - knock off

I found a fun and simple project to add to my Christmas decor (which was next to nill!) I came across this easy tutorial on Rachel Berry's Blog.
This wreath is a Pottery Barn Knock Off. The original Pottery Barn Wreath is about $80 and I made mine for a little over $10!
Here is the finished product! My husband was also please when he pointed out that it was Cougar colors! We can celebrate Christmas and our Alumni status at the same time! My picture doesn't really do it justice, but I have nowhere to hang it outside our apartment that gets good lighting since our front door is in a covered hallway. I also realized after the fact that I bought too big of a wreath, it would have been more like the pottery barn had I gotten the size smaller that was less bushy. Either way, I'm still enjoying it very much...and the price even more! This took me maybe 1-2 hours, but I was listening to music and taking my time.
See Rachel Berry's Tutorial Here!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Land of Nod Knock Off Game

Tossing Game
Land of Nod Version

Monster Toss Version (as seen in Parenting Mag)

$3 version of Monster Toss

I was reading my new issue of Parenting magazine that featured this popular toy called The Monster Toss. I thought it looked fun...but not for $35. So, I made my own for $3. JJ woke up from her nap today just as I finished coloring it and when she came out of her room and saw the silly monsters she just started jumping and laughing and pointing. She watched me cut out the first mouth hole and got even MORE excited. Daddy came home just in time to see the finished product and he and JJ played the Monster Toss pretty much the entire evening until bedtime (minus 1 hour when we went to the gym). JJ wowed us with her victory dance moves every time she finished getting all the objects in the monsters...

You could easily adapt this with any 3 characters for different themes. After making this, I came across the George of the Jungle Toss as a top seller at Land of Nod for $34.00

You can make this too! If you would like to see How to Make a Monster Toss click HERE.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Father's Day Poems and Gifts

This is a poem I whipped up for my dad's Father's Day Card from my daughter. I made him a photo card on Walmart's website featuring pics of him and my daughter from their last visit.

I love you so much Papa
You are so much fun
You ride a big cool bike
And play till the day's done

You take me in the pool
So we can splash around
You help me pick nice flowers
That we find growing in the ground

I miss you all the time
And say goodnight to you each night
And I can't wait until next time
When you can hug me tight.

_______________________________________________For her other Grandpa, we made another card with a photo and added a poem that would be special between them...

You smack your lips
one, two, three
That's how I know
That you love me

I smack my lips
four, five, six
just so you know
It's you I miss

We both smack our lips
seven, eight, nine,
It's our secret code
Let's do it one more time!

Happy Father's Day Grandpa!

For my husband this Father's Day, I put together a gift that I think will being tears to his eyes! With the help of Window's Movie Maker and Darius Rucker, I've made him a DVD he will cherish forever! If you are looking for ideas on the perfect Father's Day Gift that is FREE or very inexpensive, this is the way to go!
How to Make Dad Cry on Father's Day

UPDATE: It did make him cry! He said it was the best gift he had ever received...and a double gift because it was free (he hates when I spend money on him....or anything for that matter lol)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Abstract Art

This is an acrylic abstract painting from a school project a few years ago. It's not SUPER abstract as you can tell what it is, but abstract art doesn't have distinct least that I'm aware of. If you take an image and abstract it from it's original form, then it's abstract...that was this assignment. I think this was from a perfume must have been...those are always sensual. Here is how you can get ideas for your next abstract painting.

View my online art gallery HERE. All the paintings and drawings are mainly student work from college.

Butterfly Watercolor

This is a watercolor butterfly painting I made for my friend this last Christmas. Who says you can't give an awesome gift on a budget? I found a butterfly photograph online, I think it might have been corbis to use as a reference and bought a matted frame at Micheals. Not only was this gift affordable, but it was from the heart and I knew she was going to love it. You don't have to be a great artist, just find an image you like as a reference...or if you are totally new to art, even trace the drawing if you want to focus on practicing you painting skills. In my college drawing class, we would often trace an image to get that part out of the way so we could focus on shading and other techniques. Give it a try! If you use watercolor and need to preserve light areas in your painting, learn how to mask a painting HERE.

To see more of my artwork, visit my online art gallery HERE.

Keepsake Gift for Grandma - handprint

Handprint Photo Gift
I made this keepsake for my mom's birthday. This is a really simple craft that you can pull together in no time, but it is so sweet and will be cherished for years! Click here for instructions!

Make Your Own Wedding Bouquet

It's amazing how much money you can save on your wedding when you do the flowers yourself. To stay within my budget, I ordered roses from the Costco website, which turned out to be some of the most stunning roses I've ever seen! We made a party out of it, all the girls in the wedding came to my mom's house and we all made our own rose bouquets for the wedding, with my mom's help. (She taught us how to do it, the woman who seems to know how to do everything!) and if you wondering from the pic above, yes, I was almost 7 months pregnant at the wedding! Our wedding was 2 months before our 6 year anniversary...I guess that's what happens when you wait that long to tie the knot!

Lady Bug Cupcake Tower

This was for my daughter's first birthday. I made the cupcake tower in less then 5 minutes. Made chocolate and vanilla cupcakes as normal and decorated them with Martha Stewart's Meringue Buttercream Frosting, seperated into different bowls with different colors of food coloring. For the ladybug smash cake on top, I used a cereal bowl to bake some of the vanilla cake batter in. I crossed my fingers and it worked out great creating the body of the lady bug. For the head, I cut a chocolate cupcake in half and just stuck it against the frosted body, then added the eyes with frosting. Black licorice was used for the legs and anntenea. This was SO much fun and has really sparked my interest in cake decorating! For full instructions on making this cupcake tower, click HERE.

Decorated Wood Name Letters

This was a fun project I did for my 1 year old girls' room. Unfortunately, living in an apartment, there is a limited amount of decorating you can do. That's why I loved this craft because it was simple, fun and made her room so much cuter. I think it would look even better if the wall behind was painted a different color like yellow or green. I had ithis project almost finished during one nap session! I started out with basic wooden craft letters that I picked up from Jo Anns. Don't forget to sign up for emails and print off coupons to take whenever you go there, you never know what idea you might come up with while you are there!
For instructions on how I decorated these letters, click here.

UPDATE: See this project featured in our segment on Dallas Evening News, which was picked up by more than 100 other stations!

View more news videos at: