Thursday, January 8, 2015

Barbie Sized Creations

Twas a very merry Barbie Christmas over here. My four year old enjoys playing with Barbie sized princesses and also Barbie. She received a Barbie camper, a Barbie sized house and a few new dolls. The house came furnished, but with only one bed. I could see this might be an issue. Also, sadly lacking any blankets.

My first creation was to cut some fleece as blankets. This took no time at all.  I cut fleece in a rectangle and a couple larger rectangles to be folded as sleeping bags or just larger blankets. 

I looked at Barbie beds other people had made and that is still on our list to do. Maybe even some bunks for the smaller Chelsea sized dolls. I did find these little cots.

I thought it was really quite ingenious. On a trip to JoAnns, I found a 10 pack of 12" 1/4" dowel for the frames and Popsicle sticks for the ends. Dipping into my fabric stash, I quickly put together the fabric parts of four cots and small matching pillows. It was nearly dinner time and I figured it would be easier to enlist my husband's help for the woodworking.

Together we spent about two hours, much long than I expected, finding the right bolts and nuts, drilling holes for aforementioned bolts, and drilling pilot holes. As we assembled the first cot with wood glue, it appeared quite wobbly. We decided to just add the Popsicle sticks to the ends of each dowel first and made sure it could lay flat.  After the glue dried, we inserted the bolts to complete the cots. 

I still think the cots are very cute and nice that they fold flat. But I think it's a bigger project than it seems and one wrong step or leaning breaks the Popsicle sticks. We have had two cots need repair already from misplaced body parts. Fortunately, they can be glued. New rule for the cots is that they can only be in or on the house, not on the floor.

 After receiving money for Christmas, my daughter bought herself a Ken doll. Apparently, Ken likes to take baths in the Barbie house and would really like a bathrobe. Sewing for Barbie and Ken is not really pleasant, but I also accept that these tiny things do not need to be perfect or have perfectly finished seams.

For the robe, I decided to forgo proper sleeve construction and simply traced around Ken's open armed body for a pattern.  There was a back piece and two front pieces.  After hemming up the sleeves, I sewed them up and considered being done.  But then I found some lycra binding intended for fleece (that matched!) and bound the whole robe.  Finally I sewed more binding together to make a tie and attached it along the whole back part of robe for security.  Due to it being out of thin fleece, it worked very well.

The Barbie camper included a swimming pool, yet no one had their swimsuits on.  I made a couple swim suits which didn't work very well.  The best one is a one piece I cut around a doll out of a four way stretch material.  No edges are finished and it is easy to get on and off.  Ken got a multipurpose gym shorts/swim suit by tracing his pants as a pattern.  That worked well.

Some of the smaller girls needed new dresses.  The lack of footwear for flatfooted Skipper and Stacy is disappointing for us too.  The dressing, undressing and hair styling is what my daughter enjoys.  It's hard to have many choices if they don't exist.  But two new dresses I could make.  The Skipper and Barbie dresses are very easy to make.  I had made Barbie dresses a few years ago and followed the same method.

 Finally, every evening the dolls need to sleep.  The house sometimes is a hotel and there's only so much space.  It's very sweet how my daughter gets them all into bed with their shoes under the beds or cots and tucks them in. Because of the camper idea too, I made sleeping bags.  I followed the basic instructions from here with my own dimensions.  My first bag was out of two layers of flannel and was rather bulkly.  Then I used one layer of flannel and one layer of quilting cotton.  I liked these the most.  I did tuck in some batting as a pillow, but the pillow got negative reviews from one daughter.  Finally I made two mini bags for the Chelsea sized dolls out of two layers of quilting cotton with no pillow.  They are all pretty cute and roll up nicely.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mini Knitting Themed Wreath Ornament

I was inspired to make this little wreath ornament by seeing a larger wreath on an idea sheet made up with balls of yarn.

I found a small plastic ring I had used for baby doll carriers about 2" and wound yard around it with a few dabs of glue.

Then I took small beads and glued and wound embroidery floss around them to look like little balls of yarn.

Purchased small wooden beads went well with the cut toothpicks.  The bead hole was a little small so I needed to use a pencil sharpener to shave off a bit.

I added bells to make it more festive.

After making a few of these, I tried to just make a mini ball of yarn with the toothpick knitting needles which was cute too.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Money Trees

As kids get older, they seem to either want to shop for themselves or be saving for bigger ticket items.  Instead of going the gift card route, I sought out creative ways to gift cash.  I found some money trees and loved the idea!  Who hasn't been seeking a money tree their whole life.

I made some as part of the group gifts for the preschool teachers and also some for the big kids in my life.

First I painted the pots and used floral foam inside the pots.  Polka dots were made with a pencil eraser.

For the round one, I started off with a wooden skewer and a floral foam sphere.  Using folded 5's I took floral wire and wrapped it around the center.  Before inserting it into the foam, I opened up the folded money to make it look more flower-like.  Because I wasn't filling the whole sphere with money, I took some netted ribbon and also folded this and attached with wire.  I took some red berries and attached them too.

For the stick tree, folded money is attached to the wooden skewer with floral wire.  I purchased a bouquet of sparkly stars for the top.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Teacher Gifts

Teacher gifts this year included class gifts for the preschool teachers.  I collected money and had enough for a nice Vera Bradley purse and money tree for one teacher and another money tree along with handmade luggage tag and a key fab for the other teacher.

For my other daughter's elementary school teacher, we purchased some supplies off her list and I made her a new lanyard with ID holder and a key fab.

Of course chocolate was included with all the gifts!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weighted Blanket

My four year old tends to like to sit squished up against us.  It's not exactly just sitting with someone; she likes to sit pushing up against a person and often weaves her legs in mine.  I wondered if a weighted blanket would benefit her at all.

As I was considering pattern for a weighted blanket, I found a pattern called the Road Trip Quilt and tutorial which I modified for size.

I used 4" strips and cut them at 2.5",  4", 7".

A four inch border was added to increase the size a bit.  

After seeing what other people do for DIY weighted blankets, I decided to add a thin batting to both the top and the bottom layers.  This helps soften the blanket and not feel all the plastic beads as much.

Many people noted challenges filling the blanket up.  I wonder if many people making these kinds of blankets are not sewers.  I felt pretty confident about sewing up the channels and adding the plastic pellets.  There was only one or two times that I even needed to move the pellets aside.

First I sewed channels down along my pattern.  This ended up being spaced 3.5" apart.  I then added a scant 1/4 cup of plastic pellets to each column and then pinned the channel closed to help keep the pellets in place for sewing.  I marked and sewed each section closed at 5".  For the final section seam, I sewed it once regularly and once with a zig zag seam.

I liked this tutorial for making a weighted sensory blanket.

The weight ended up being 3 pounds for this smaller lap blanket.  I could have put more pellets into each section, but I think it's ok this way too.

Here is the back.  I had some extra flannel backed satin from the Genie Halloween costume.  It's easier to see the sections here.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Spy Bean Bags

Another birthday party and another opportunity to make a gift. I considered a tote bag or a superhero cape, but I wanted to make something new.

I started thinking about bean bags, which I have made in the past, but with a twist. I liked the idea of making small bean bags with an I Spy window. After goggling I Spy bean bags, I was surprised to find many people making them.

My idea was to make a set of bean bags that would be fun to play I spy with, but also to play with as bean bags. 

I started out with a larger bag (6") and window (4") and ended up remaking them smaller. 

I used a 4.5" back, 2.5" window, and 1.75" strips to frame the window 

These bags went together quickly. I used my Teflon foot to glide easily along the plastic.

For the contents, I found different objects around my house and also from JoAnns.  For each bag, I collected ten different items. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

New hair accessories

A Frozen inspired headband was one item I planned to make. I found a great sparkly blue and a organdy greenish ribbon. I layered them for the best color. Then I took the organdy, folded in half and stiched loosely in order to gather it together. To form the flower, I started making a center and wrapped the ribbon around in a circle. Afterwards, I glued on a felt circle to the back, added glue to the layers and a gem in the center. Previously purchased snowflakes completed the headband. Each embellishment was hot glued on. Hopefully they will stay.

To match a new to us dress, I took some of the Genie's satin fabric and gathered it with a running stitch. Wrapping around worked well.  It was thicker than the ribbon. Again, I glued a felt circle to the back and added glue in between the layers. This can be used as a clip or clipped to a stiff headband.
After making some Halloween hair bows, I purchased more embellishments.  One was a fairy. We chose some purple ribbon and created a flower. It was even thicker and stiffer than the fabric.  It think to will hold its shape well. 

Finally I dipped into the snowman pack and made a quick bow with snowman. I add velvet to the alligator clip so help it stay in my daughter's hair.  I started making these hair bows for my older daughter when she grew out her bangs. They stayed in perfectly. It's interesting how they stay better in some hair than others.