Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Hostess with No Voice

So, I had a vocal chord polyp removed on Thursday and am on voice rest for the next week. I had a similar surgery 15 years ago on both vocal chords with voice rest for THREE weeks after, so this time should be easier. Unfortunately, my voice rest coincides withLydia's big princess birthday party!

I LOVE planning and hosting parties, so the idea of being the host and not being able to talk SUCKS! Technology will be on my side this time and I can text messages to anyone, including a person I am standing next to. However, sometimes that's inconvenient too. I decided to type up a few messages that would be especially helpful at the party.

I used a circle punch to cut them out.

Then I glued them to a larger thicker background piece of punched out paper. These pieces were then strung on a necklace and could be selected and shown as needed.

I realize its silly, but its not like I can tell a joke or anything right now!

Finally, A Finished Playhouse!

Last summer, after winning our episode of TLC's Craft Wars by building a schoolhouse themed playhouse, PJ and I wanted to build one for our kids. (No we did NOT get to keep the playhouse that we built on the show!)

We ended up building one playhouse for EACH of our kids, as divergent ideas resulted in both a traditional house and one shaped like a barn.

In preparation for Lydia's birthday party, and about a year after it was started, we are ready to call the play area FINISHED! I am SO proud of all that PJ did for our kids. Here's a little tour. First the outside and inside of Lydia's playhouse.

It looks small from the front, but extends off the back,

I love that PJ turned an old stump into a teeter totter!

There is a sandbox and room for 4 to swing.

There is a kiddy pool and then the barn, which has a drive in ramp for Lydia's electric toy car. The barn also has a little loft space with a ladder in the silo.

And finally, there is a kiddy version of a trapeze bar hanging from a tree limb. It is all SO super cute and such an amazing gift that PJ has created for this family. Happy birthdays Lydia and Joshua!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thrifted Romper turned into Frog Prince Perfection!

Lydia has a special birthday outfit to wear to her princess themed party, but what about baby brother? I had this romper with a frog on it, so I decided to embellish it a little to fit the party theme.

The first thing I did was trace the existing design onto a piece of paper. I held it up to a light so I could see the design through the paper. The biggest challenge were the small flies embroidered around the frog. I strategically positioned my embellishments to hide these details.

I double checked that my pattern fit before investing too much time or effort.

Next I ironed some Heat-n-bond to some scrap t-shirt fabric and cut it to shape.

I added a few more princely details, sewed down the edges and added some paint pen outlines and jewels. I predict that Joshua will be smothered in kisses in this outfit!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

No Talking Until Next Thursday!

I had surgery today. Nothing serious, just a quick trip to laser off a polyp on a vocal chord. Not sure how it got there, but now its gone. The good news is I feel WAY better than I thought I might feel. (I tend to get REALLY nauseated after anesthesia, which is REALLY awful after throat surgery) So far so good! So, why I work on DIYing some new vocal chord tissue, here are a couple of projects from this week.

In addition to completing ALL the major "to do" items on my list (did I mention surgery was TWO DAYS before the big princess party), I found time to make a Cinderella dress for Lydia's American Girl doll!

The fun part, for me at least, was that I made it all from up-cycled clothing! The blue shiny fabric came from a night shirt I found at a thrift store for $2. The main reason I bought it, besides the price, was that patch of lace. It was a pocket on the nightshirt.

The hem of the nightshirt curved up at the side seams, so I used that feature as a design detail on the front center of the skirt.

I needed an underskirt, so I used one of Lydia's petti-coats. I just gathered it even tighter, which made the whole dress even more full.

In other news, the party provided a great reason to finish a few projects around the house, like FINALLY arranging some pictures in our dining room.

I saw a grouping of pictures that I liked on Pinterest and followed that pattern. The best thing was I made paper templates for each frame so I could move them around easily until I found a pattern I liked. Then it was SO EASY to mark the position for the picture hanger on the template and put the nail right through the template and into the correct spot on the wall.

Finally, I got this old window for $3 and the BEST PART was the openings are each 8x10! I turned 6 pictures into black and whites and sent them to Walgreens for one hour developing. The pictures cost way more than the frame, but it is so awesome, I don't care! Besides, I can't talk for a week so my husband won't hear the total cost from me!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sewing a Birthday Skirt

So far, I have made a special outfit for each of Lydia's birthdays. I mentioned in an earlier post the fabric that I ordered to make a skirt.

I was trying to decide what colors of fabric to coordinate with the border print when I saw this skirt at a flea market.

I liked the pink polka dots a lot, but there was one problem....,

Can you see the big horizontal run in the fabric?

Luckily, the inside of the skirt is also pink polka dots, just in a reverse pattern.

The only problem was the seam, but I just cut it out and sewed it again so that the seam was on the new inside. I added the border at the bottom edge... Oh and I whipped up a little appliqué shirt design to match the skirt, and the birthday outfit is ready for the birthday princess!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

No Sew Stitched Sign

This was SO EASY and it turned out SO CUTE! I decided late last night that Lydia's playhouse NEEDED a cross stitched sign. I, of course, do not have the time or patience for cross stitch! Here's what I did instead.

I found an old framed artwork that I didn't need and I piped the art out of the frame. I glued some gingham fabric to the back of the artwork panel so the designs wouldn't show through.

Using a fabric pen, I made diagonal marks on the gingham fabric. This, literally, took 5 minutes!

A few minutes later, I had an adorable accent to my daughter's adorable playhouse!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thrift Store Skirt Make Over

I bought this skirt a LONG time ago with intentions of making it into a little top or dress for Lydia. (Like I said, long ago) I realized today that it actually is her size and she could just wear it as is, but what's the fun in that!

I decided to cut off the ruffle and see what happened.

I kind of liked that the lining now hangs past the skirt and gives a double layer look.

I had some turquoise bias tape left over from the gauze baby blankets I made last summer, so I added that to the edge of the skirt. It still needed something......

I have a new stash of gingham in a few pastel colors so I made a small apron from the orange. I had this idea that an apron should have a pocket to be really functional, so I added one of those, too!

Finally, why not add some crazy pom-pom fringe? I got a spool of it at a flea market and it has a ton wrapped around it. What else am I going to do with it?

Lydia has already figured out that her princess doll fit in the pocket perfectly!

Speaking of princesses, the apron reminds Lydia of Cinderella, BEFORE the ball. Here she is, princess dolls in pocket, apron attached, pretending to clean the playhouse before someone locks her in the tower! Play cloths as inspiration for play! Not a bad way to spend a day.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Projected Paintings

On my last day of school before summer break I was finished with my teacher duties by 11am. I could have left, but there was a party planned around 5 and with my hour long commute, I didn't want to go home in between. So, I used the time, and the projector in my room, to get some painting done.

Remember this image that I digitally colored in photoshop? I wanted something painted on the wall behind the food table for the princess party soI used this image. I projected it onto the paper and in a few minutes I had this painting.

Next I wanted a long painting decoration that could serve as a photo backdrop. I didn't want a picture of Cinderella because I am hoping we will have a teenage friend dress up and make an appearance. Instead, I painted the castle and the carriage.

At that point I was getting tired, but I still had a few hours until the party. I owed a friend a pet portrait similar to the one I made of my dog last year. I had a really good digital image to work from, so I started this project with the projector as well.

At some point, when I needed to see all the details the projector wasn't helping anymore so I finished the painting on my own. Three paintings in one day, not a bad start to my summer break!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Crafting a Fairy Tale Timepiece

I found this black plastic clock at our church flea market for close to nothing! I got so excited about turning it into Cinderella's clock (hands pointed almost to midnight) that I forgot to take a "before" picture.

At this point I had already started painting the black plastic swirls gold. I was planning on just painting the trim around the clock and leaving the face alone. There was a brand name written on the clock face and I was hoping to cover it up with some black permanent marker. You can still see it, and the overall look of the dark background still seemed too modern to me.

A quick search of Google images found a lot of vintage clock faces that I could easily size as an image in Word and print on white paper. Here I have removed the clock hands and glued the new paper clock face to the clock. It's such a big improvement, I could have stopped here. But I wanted the feeling of an old fairy tale and this clock looked too new and clean!

I used my favorite antiquing trick, quickly brushing on a watery layer of brown paint and wiping it off from the high places, to instantly add age. The hands have been added and they will stay, frozen in time, making it eternally a few moments before Cinderella's magical evening has to end.