Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DIY Peter Pan Costume

This DIY Peter Pan costume was a combination of storybook inspiration, trial & error and quick impromptu alterations due to dropping temperatures!


I originally set out to make a fleece bodice in the shape you see here covered in layers of felt leaves. After completing the leaf layers on the front, I realized that it was just too bulky for my lil' 2.5 year old. With already having too much time and care invested into the front, I transformed my bodice into a jacket by turning the front into the back and opening up what-once-was-to-be the back of my bodice. I split it right in the middle then worked off the side points to guide the opening of the jacket, leaving the sleeves. Buttons and a felt piece of fabric were used to keep the jacket from sliding off his shoulders. The jacket is a bit of a cross between a jacket and a bolero in style. The leaves are made of felt and a netting/sequined fabric and were all hand cut from a template I found online. I just googled "leaf templates" till I found one that had the shape and proportions I had in mind. Then I hand-sewn each leaf. Yes. Each leaf. Worth it? Yeppers, I think so.  To make the process a bit less daunting, I wanted to work with fabrics that didn't need finishing and would also highlight the details in the leaves which is why the felt and this net-like fabric worked perfectly. I love the touch of gold...reminds me of pixie dust! I wanted a real tonal color palette that truly highlighted the spectrum of fall. Mission accomplished

The pants were just a regular play pant I got on sale for $1.50 at Babies R' Us. I tapered the pant to fit more like a legging. Super easy and saved me from making a pant from scratch.

Since, my original bodice concept didn't work out I needed to added a bodice underneath my new jacket. I worked off a shirt that fit my son for a rough pattern, added rounded short sleeves and cut the bottom of the bodice in the likeness of a men's dress shirt. This was made out of extra blizzard fleece I got from JO-Anns (same as jacket shell) I really like working with the fleece because you don't have to finish the edges, and it's also warm for our chilly Wisconsin Halloweens. Double perk!

Luckily, I found a great tutorial on a fellow bloggers site. You can check out the tutorial HERE. Thanks to her, I had a quick and perfect Peter Pan hat. I added a real hawks feather we found at my son's photoshoot last month. It was a fun photo prop then, and I think adds interest to the costume now in lieu of using the traditional red feather. (Charming....and free!)

The shoe covers are made out of felt. I took the shoes I wanted my son to wear with the costume and
literally played with the fabric till I got the look I wanted. There is one machine seam up the back of the fabric and the rest of the folds were just hand sewn. I added a fun button for detail as they just felt too plain. I originally tried to avoid putting the bottom elastic on but inevitably had to add it as the covers kept turning around and becoming quite hazardous for a troll-oping two year old. 

The sword was a fun accessory that I couldn't resist adding. Got this beautiful item from a great little Etsy shop called, Friendly Fairies. I purchased their Woodsman's Prize Toy Sword for $15. They do have a "peter pan" sword, but I liked the colors and tone of the Woodsman's.

In summation, the story of Peter Pan has been near and dear to my heart my whole life and particularly special to me and my Grandma. It is a joy to see my own son decked out in true Pan fashion. Hope I made you proud Grandma!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Vintage 50's Car Garage Party

For my son's recent second birthday, I went all out with a 50's auto garage theme. Think... Vintage tool boxes. Mechanic's tags. Tire cake. Vintage license plates. Tools. Every boy's little dream, right?!

This concept evolved out of my son's obsession over cars and trucks for the better part of his existence. So, I knew I had to incorporate this fondness into the theme this year. You can find lots of vintage car and truck theme parties, but I surprisingly couldn't find much with the more dominant garage theme. After this party was complete, I realized that I have a very distinct style when it comes to events and my home decor...I use very modern prints and graphics and juxtapose them with very rustic and vintage items. So none-the-less this party ended up true to form!

Guests were invited to the party by receiving a wooden veneer box which contained a vintage automobile key. I ordered a set on Etsy that had an eclectic collection of Ford, GM and Nissan keys. I made a key chain to attach to each one just out of cardstock/scrapbooking paper.  The key and key chain were nestled on a bed of shredded newspaper inside the wooden box.

Kiddos were instructed upon arrival to find their mechanic's name tag before they were sent off to build a hot rod. I made these tags using felt, embroidery thread and hot gluing a pin to the back. 

The kids decorated cardboard box cars with wheels, headlights, stickers, license plates and steering wheels. Their custom hot rods served as the new ride they were "picking up" from the Garage as mentioned on the initial invite key chain.

This party actually ended up being a very "green" or eco-friendly event. I got the boxes for the "cars" from the produce section at my local grocer (for free). And all the other boxes used as small tables for the kids were leftover from received Amazon orders. Some were wrapped in newspaper and others wrapped in brown painters paper. I also made most of my decorations out of old newspaper.

I was able to find a blank Wisconsin license plate image online. I changed the date on the plate in Photoshop to say March '13 (the month and year of his party).

The kids had a wall of vintage license plates to use as a photo backdrop. They took pics in their cars wearing the photo props seen below! I also added scarfs for the little girls and just draped them around the mirror!

I got the above cateye glasses from HERE. They were super cute and affordable. The boys' sunglasses I already had, and I believe were from Target last summer.

Party goer Calvin aka "Cool Dude" strikes a pose in his hot rod!

The snack menu was a cross between diner and southern flare consisting of BBQ Pork sliders, coleslaw, french fries served in wax paper cones, natural applesauce and raisins for the kiddos. (Raisins & applesauce are my son's favorites!) The runner you see here I literally made from newspaper, trimmed in black duct tape and lined on the bottom with white computer paper, so it wouldn't bleed on my white table linen!

I used a great tutorial on how make these wax paper fry cones HERE.

Drinks were served at the Fuel station. A selection of local bottled beer & soda for the adults and Apple & Eve's Fruitable boxed juices for the youngsters! If you haven't tried these juices, get them! It's a sneaky and tasty way to get veggies into your toddler's diet!


My son's tire cake with cake topper banner that read, "Vroom." The cake is just made from yellow boxed cake iced in chocolate icing and covered in black fondant. The bottom tire is 3 layers and the top tire has 2. I made the banner using wooden kitchen skewers, stamped letters on fabric and weaved yarn. Super easy! The number "2" was  a cheap buy from Michael's.

And, this is my son's cake topper banner in flames!!!.....Mama didn't realize lighting candles right underneath it would send the yarn and fabric banner ablaze mid "happy birthday" singing! Quite a comical and memorable moment! This photo totally cracks me up as it captures my innocent son vigorously trying to help mommy blow the flames out and me with a super worried and dumbfounded look on my face! Luckily, I grabbed the skewers in time and ran them to the sink! Whew! Disaster averted!

I made my headband out of scrap fabric. It was my modern take on Rosie the Riveter! 

In addition to the kids taking home their hot rods, each person took home a bag of tool shaped sugar cookies so they could "work" on their cars at home. Favor tags read, "Thanks for Vrooming by." The favors were displayed in a vintage tool box I got from a thrift store originally as a room decoration for my son. You can buy the cookie cutters I used HERE.

Real wrenches were sporadically incorporated into the design. They worked great to ground floor bouquets of balloons!

Looking for the perfect Mom & Dad gift for this party? How 'bout a real retro ride for your little one?! My son received this Retro Tricycle by Radio Flyer. Here's a tip when buying a tricycle- there is a 12" radio flyer one that is really cute. It has a bell and streamers, but after reading the reviews on it, it was just too big for a two year old even though the starting age is 2. So, learn from our research and buy the 10" one I linked to above and add this adorable bell. This 10" tricycle was the perfect size for our two year old, though he doesn't quite get the concept of peddling just yet!

The day ended with a big smile on my son's face. Mom and Dad had a pretty good time too. Nothing like hitting the 2 mile marker in style!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

No Candy Easter Egg Stuffers

Okay, so I can't pretend I'm one of those super moms that completely omits sugar from their child's diet. It would be pretty hypocritical when I'm a sugar fiend myself. Saying, "NO" as I shove my face with chocolate seems a bit cruel, doesn't it? Especially, depriving them of those Cadbury Mini-Eggs. Those are quite hard to resist!

Though I don't omit sugary goodness completely, I do realize my son is only 2 years old, and I keep it to a small treat here and there. He really doesn't need a basket full of candy in addition to every Easter Egg overflowing. For this, I set out to find creative egg stuffers that would be just as exciting as receiving candy! Below you'll find some great items to fill those eggs and save your kid a cavity or two. What other non-sugary ideas can you come up with to fill those eggs?

1. Finger Puppets

I did a set of finger puppets in my son's Easter eggs last year when he was just 1 years old. He loved opening the eggs to discover which new "animal," in his case, it was going to be. I plan on putting more in his eggs this year! So many options!
These colorful finger puppets (found above) would be fun to discover during an Easter egg hunt. These are sold by MiracleInspiration on Etsy and run $18.50 + $6 shipping.

How cute are these Spring inspired finger puppets from Floral Blossom on Etsy? Please, note that this purchase is only for the pattern, so you'll have to whip up these cuties in time so they make it into those Easter eggs. This pattern is only $5!

These Fairy Finger puppets are too stinkin' cute for a little girl. Now, I do have to warn you that the product description does say they are 5" big. So they might not exactly stuff into a standard Easter egg, but they were too cute not to include...and they would still be perfect for the basket! You can purchase these on Amazon: HERE They are selling for $17.98 + $7.99 shipping.

Love this set made by Manhattan Toys too! They have it for $24 on their website. This is the "A Day at the Castle Set." Can buy it HERE

2. Stamps

This Melissa & Doug Farm Animal stamp set comes with small stamps that should easily fit into an Easter Egg. Also great to have the ink pad for a matching basket treat. You can find this on Amazon HERE for $6.99.

This is the girly-girl version of the stamp set above. You can find it on Amazon: HERE for $7.81

3. Stickers

Hit the dollar store and grab a couple of sheets of stickers, cut them into groups of 3 or four stickers and pop 'em in those eggs!

4. Hair Pins & Earrings

How adorable and original are these Pinwheel Bobby pins from Sweet Honeybunch on Etsy? These little guys are $12.50 + $3 shipping.

Just perfect for Spring and those Easter Eggs! Love the colors and floral design of these stud earrings from Paige and Penelope on Etsy. They sell lots of fun Spring-inspired earrings and accessories in their shop! This set of earrings is $13.50 + $2 shipping.

5. Imagination-Provoking Figurines

There are lots of options here from Dinosaurs to GI Joes. The trick is making sure they'll fit in the eggs! Michael's sells lots of these in all shapes and forms. Bring an egg in and see what works! 
Just found these Dinosaurs at Amazon for $3.95. The product details say they're 2 in which seems like they might work in an egg....wonder if that includes the tail? Hmmm.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bring Outdoor Lighting Inside: Sconces Under $40

We are wrapping up our half bath makeover where we used outdoor sconces to flank the mirror. As I was trying to track down the lights we bought (which are no longer available by-the-way), I was inspired to do a quick post with a collection of reasonably priced sconce options. Indoor sconces are actually quite pricey, and on top of that, you need two! We preferred the more rustic look of the outdoor sconces for this particular project, and lucky for us, ours were only  $20 each! All of the below lanterns are from Home Depot, and these images are product shots from their website: These lights would truly be beautiful in bathrooms, living rooms, kids' rooms and hallways! I hope these spark some design inspiration for your next project!


Progress Lighting Roman Coach Collection 

On Sale $34.02 (till 7/4/13) Reg. $68.04


Newport Coastal Marina 


I think this one would be beautiful spray painted out in a bright color like yellow or emerald green!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Painting Stripes

I enjoy painting. Love the instant results. 
But, the thought of painting stripes terrified me!

Usually, closets are pretty boring spaces. Rarely organized. And well, just an afterthought of design. My son's closet is the source of pretty much every toy in his room so the doors rarely shut. With this in mind, I set out to turn the neglected closet into the design star of the room. This post is just for advice on painting stripes, but I'll soon have one up of the entire interior closet makeover. You know, once I finish all the details that satisfy my self-diagnosed O.C.D!

The magic trick, at least for me, for those flawless stripes required four key ingredients:

1. Frog Painter's Tape 
2. A 4 ft Level 
3. Two People
4. Getting the Tape Off Fast!

As with most of my projects, I am the "dreamer" and my husband is the "doer."  I marked out the first couple of lines with a pencil measuring down the appropriate lengths from the ceiling all the way around using a ruler. I next attempted to connect my measured out lines by using the ruler as a straight edge till we realized the stripes were totally at an angle! Scratch that idea. My appalled husband now has to step in and take over as I am completely frustrated and darn impatient the stripes aren't painted on the wall already!

First, let me mention that the closet is painted entirely in the light color stripe-white. So, all we will be sketching out and painting are the dark gray stripes. Be sure once you have painted the entire closet with your lighter stripe color to give it about a week to dry before taping out and painting the darker stripes. You do this because the paint is still "soft" and putting the painters tape on soft paint will most likely result in a chunk of that beautiful paint being taken off.

Drawing Lines

The biggest pain-in-the-bum side of this project is getting those lines sketched on the wall. About half-way through, we learned better. GET A LEVEL!!!!!! We measured the appropriate length marks down from the ceiling just at the middle of the closet this time. From there we took the 4ft level and drew out the line using it's perfectly straight edge. This is where the two people really come in handy. It is hard to keep the level, well level, and draw a perfect line. One holds the level. One draws the line. Clearly the level is not the entire length of the stripe you need, but it's a lot better than the 12" ruler I first opted to use, and you know at all times your line is level and not skewing down like my first ones. Just a little FYI in case you were wondering, my stripes in this project are 12" wide.


Once all the lines are sketched, you next apply the Frog Painter's Tape. I personally find this brand a lot more reliable when it comes to the paint not bleeding through. You are going to place the body of the tape on the interior of the "white stripes" in this case. You want the pencil line to fall in the area of the stripe you are painting, so be sure to be cognoscente of that when placing the tape. You will need to press the tape down extra firmly. I even ran my fingernail  across the edge that the new paint would be touching for an extra seal.


Now that your tape is on nice and tight, it's time to paint! I'd recommend two people for this part also for fast progress. Work one stripe at a time and complete it, removing tape and all, before moving on. Our stripes in this project wrapped around the sides of the closet, so there were corners and edges. Take a brush and paint the corners if any and the ending edges of the stripe. When I say ending edges, I don't mean the edges along the tape. I mean where it ends on the left and right if you are doing horizontal strips. Next, use a roller to paint the rest of the stripe. You want to put the paint on as light as possible in order to lessen the chance of the extra paint bleeding through the tape. You will be doing a second coat....but without the tape so attempt to get a good coverage on the taped edges but without being too heavy handed. Once the stripe has one full coat, take the tape off immediately for this stripe before moving on. Continue this process till your feature wall is complete. The next, day take your roller and carefully apply a second coat staying away from the edges. This second coat is to just polish that speckled look you sometimes get with just a first coat. Your stripes' edges should be crisp enough from the first coat and shouldn't require needing to paint too close to them.

This process might not be the "easiest" or "best" method out there. But, I can vouch that it worked for us! Stripes just might be appearing elsewhere in our home as my fear of painting them has now subsided, and I love the look!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

DIY Chalkboard Closet Doors

Transform boring, ugly doors into Graffiti fun for your kids! My son's room is still under transformation, but I felt the need to get this DIY project posted ASAP so you can get on transforming your own doors! My son has basically a wall of closet doors in his new room. They were the hollow core, faux wood grain, bi-fold doors with no handles might I add! So, ugly and impractical.

My chalk drawing here is really symbolic of the design aesthetic I am going for in his room-- essentially a city-themed toddler room with lots of creative-provoking features. I loved the concept of having a "graffiti wall" so these doors were destined to become chalkboards. The catch with these, though, was the textured wood grain surface. We have been resurfacing walls throughout our entire house, so the first solution that came to mind was to use drywall compound and resurface them. As I didn't really have an alternative, I just went for it. I had nothing to loose but a set of terrible doors. Luckily, they turned out really, really well.

I began by cleaning the surfaces with Comet. Next, I lightly sanded them. I mean lightly. Just enough to buff the surface. For a joint compound, we use the Sheetrock brand Lightweight All Purpose Joint Compound picked up at our local Home Depot. I applied this very thinly. Have the notion of less is more so really make sure to scrap off the extra and get as smooth of finish as possible. Once the first layer was dry, I again lightly sanded and applied another thin coat. I want to note here that the doors actually had a cool look to them just with one skim coat. You'll see in the pic to the right that it almost gave it a whitewashed look still showing the wood grain. The one on the right has 1 skim coat. The left has none.

That look would have really worked in his old nursery! I believe it only took 2 coats to get a completely smooth surface on my doors, but use your judgement. If you still have grooves or divots; do another coat. You don't want your chalk skipping these dips and giving you a shaky line. After the last coat give the surface just a quick light sanding, and you're ready to prime! You need to then seal the compound with a drywall primer. One coat should do it. Once again just a light sand and you're ready for painting. I personally used the Rust-oleum brand black finish chalkboard paint 30 fl oz. from Home Depot. I didn't even use a whole can with this big surface. I applied two coats using a microfiber roller, and they were good to go!  Be sure to talk with a representative in the paint department to make sure you get the right roller. You want the one that is going to give you the smoothest finish. No orange peel texture. And, be sure to splurge and get the better roller here. It makes a difference!

 My original concept with the handles was to use galvanized steel pipes and run them vertically. But, what I thought was a creative, inexpensive hardware solution turned out to be over $50. Needless to say, that didn't fly. I ended up using galvanized steel garage door handles instead. They actually turned out really cool and still have the industrial feel I wanted. I did replace the screws that came with the kit with the ones you see above for aesthetic reasons but we actually had too as well because the original screws weren't long enough to go through the door completely and adhere them with a nut on the back. These handles were about $5 each, again from Home Depot.