Thursday, September 17, 2015

I Wish I Could Do This


What fun!
We got to try it out at the local Monarch Festival.  Pretty!  So this will go in the girls' room.  I need to find a frame and I'd like to scour the Goodwill for one instead of ordering from Amazon.  Amazon is more evil by the day.

In other news:  I planted one milkweed plant this summer, so hopefully it will come by next summer and attract some friends.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Playhouse Makeover

In 2013 my mom sent me a link to a plastic playhouse revamp that used some specialty plastic spray paint.  It seemed like the best idea, so I scoured Craigslist and scored a LittleTykes playhouse.  I didn't want to set it up and then have to take it down a week later in order to spray paint it, so it sat in the garage for a bit.  It was also around this time that I found out I was pregnant and figured that spray painting was not the best activity for a little first trimester alien, so the playhouse was set up and the renovation was put on hold.

Someone was happy just to have a playhouse:

And so the playhouse sat in that spot for two solid years, but it has gotten a lot of use.
Summer 2014
Summer 2015
And so the time came for me to fix this thing up.  When we first put it down, the grass was all lush underneath and it was quite pleasant to hang out in there.  The next summer, the grass had dried up and weeds had started to grow in it.  This summer, the weeds went even more bonkers, I had to rid it of a tiny wasp nest, and the grass had disappeared and left a dirt floor, which often turned muddy after rain.

My mom was up in July for a week and I thought we would get to it then, but the only thing we did was choose spray paint.  The goal was to make this little playhouse into a mini replica of the main house:

I thought I would have to buy cans and cans of cream in order to brighten up the walls of the playhouse, but in the end, it was more economical to just scrub down the walls and be glad that the sun had bleached them from their original puke yellow.  That just left a door, the roof, and the shutters and the final result is fabulous!
Yay!  Look at that!  A perfect match!  I used one can of orange and three cans of gray for the four sets of shutters and the roof.  Not bad.  I hope to return the extra cans.
To solve the weed problem, I put down a layer of that weed prevention fabric.  That wasn't going to hold up to kiddo foot traffic, so, while looking at the rubber pavers, I found this under paver 2x3 sheet.  Two of those fit perfectly for the base.  No more weeds, no more mud!  It makes it a bit warmer in there -- the dirt floor really cooled it down.  
 I hope to add a line of edgers from the iron gate to the corner of the house and then from the other corner of the house to the garage.  I'm going to put some plants on the right and then a layer of mulch on the left so that they can get behind the back of the playhouse.  The edgers I plan to use are these, which I have used around the rest of my backyard flower garden:
This may not happen until next year, though.  

And what did the girls think?  

I'd say that they are pretty happy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Ice Age Cometh

I missed my nephew's birthday.  It happens.  It's not like I wasn't thinking of it, I just didn't make what I was thinking of in time for the actual birthday.  I had Wednesday off, which was like the day after his birthday, and in the afternoon I got started on his present.   It's ready to go out in the mail today.  

I was inspired by three different dinosaur playmats (this one, this one, and this one).  I thought the zip up one was too complex, but liked some elements of it (like the fabric land/water areas).  I liked the water features and the tar pit of the second playmat, but was not keen on all of the glue.  I like to sew things down when I can and the glue would not hold up to hard playin'.  I really like the shape of the third playmat, but, after consulting my mother, we decided not to do the drawstring option.  They have a playroom and can leave it out all the time.

My dinosaurs are not to scale, I think.  They are a bit too large, but I needed some props.  I never thought to measure the diameter of the mat.  I can tell you that it took about four yards of bias tape to finish it off.

To start off, I just folded a piece of light green corduroy into eighths and then cut a rounded edge, kind of like the beginning of a snowflake cutting.  That left me with a big circle to embellish.  I used lots of different felt (wool and blends) and some corduroy, as well, from a scrap bag that I purchased at the Textile Center's yard sale. 

This creature met his untimely death in the tar pit.  I just layered two pieces of felt, sewed them onto the corduroy and then cut a slit in the top piece of corduroy:
Another hazard on the mat is the encroaching patch of ice.  It's white felt with some little silver snowflake embellishments and then I added some stuffing before sewing up the edge with bias tape.
The volcano is not attached.  Little dinosaurs can fall down it, but they will not be lost forever.  I went back and forth on what to do with the volcano and in the end I just got lazy and didn't want to venture back upstairs to sew it down.  If it gets lost, it gets lost, and they can make a volcano out of a toilet paper tube or something.
 The trees are made with felt and pipe cleaners and they don't stay up very well.
If they get thirsty, there's this nice pool to drink from and those gray things are not turds.  They represent some rocky terrain, though they look more like big steamy piles of dino dung.
I stuffed them with polyfill to give them some depth.

Next up, we have the cave.  It's also kind of floppity (like the trees), but it does the job. The interior is made with felt and the outside was made with some corduroy scraps.  
This green stuff was supposed to be a savannah, but it looks kind of weird.  It was the only patch of it that I put down, but probably could have added it throughout the mat for some added vegetation.
So, there you have it.  It was pretty easy to make.  Everything was freeform; I didn't use a pattern at all and just kind of cut out these organic shapes to represent the bodies of water and landforms.  I had it out this weekend and Zelda didn't seem at all interested in it, so I'm not sure if she's ready for something like this.  She doesn't really play with dinosaurs yet or any of her other animal figurines, so I'm not sure if we need one for our house yet.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Felt Crown

I made the mistake the other day of telling Miss Z that I once had a crown.  It's true.  I was Homecoming Queen for the dinkiest little homecoming event in high school.  The King and I rode around the gravel track on the back of a flatbed truck.  I think there were some pumpkins and bales of hay or stalks of corn.  

I told her that I still had that crown and that she could have it to play dressup.  And then she demanded to have it right away and told me to "Go in your room and get it."  The room is my craft room, which she has come to believe holds all the secrets to the universe.  When I tell her that I don't know where her sparkly barrettes are, she tells me to go in my room and look for them.  When something breaks, she tells me to go to my room and fix it.  And, in this case, the crown was supposed to be packed away in storage boxes located in the closet of my craft room.  I tore those boxes apart, but could  not find it at all.  Sad.  I really was going to throw it into her dress up clothes bin (does not yet exist).

So I needed to produce a crown.  I told her that I could make her one and she requested that it be blue and purple and pink, but not light pink, dark pink.  Thirty to forty minutes (and a day) later I produced a felt crown:

She was the happiest little thing!  I had all the supplies on hand, to include those little sew on sparklies.  I don't know if you can tell, but the blue ones are butterflies.  The diamond is from an Ann Taylor maternity dress. I got from a consignment store.  There were a bunch of them on the dress, but I didn't want a fancy dress -- I wanted a basic black dress for work, so I snipped them off and have been saving them ever since.  

The crown is loosely based on the tutorial from a site called Juicy Bits.  I didn't use her template and just sort of made one up as I cut.  I also didn't cover the elastic in the back with any fabric.

Anyway, she wants to be a rainbow for Halloween, so I feel inspired to work on that.  I also want her to have some dress up clothes, so that's also on my list of things to work on.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Summer Hiatus

I haven't done anything crafty all summer.  My craft room is a mess and I haven't been able to get in to clean it in ages.  I took a week off from work  at the end of July and cleaned the garage and the rest of the house, but never made it into my craft room.  So sad.  I finally ventured in a week or so ago to finish up some bibs that I had cut out in April (!), because babies were either born or about to be born.

That's pretty pathetic, isn't it?  Three months off and I just have bibs to show for it.  Oh, well.  
 I'm getting a nephew (any day now!) and my friend had a baby boy in July, so I made about eleven of them to split.  
Nothing that you haven't seen before.  See, what'd I tell you:  pathetic. 

 I used up all my aircraft fabric and I think there's still a little bit of the school bus fabric left, which is good, because I really like it.  I also managed to get two bibs out of some Pixar Cars fabric that my mother-in-law sent me to use in the I Spy Quilts.  I had to cut it against the grain in order to eke out two bibs, but I did it, so now the cars go up the kid instead of across the kid.

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit more craft inclined and actually produced a little something today in 30 minutes for my eldest.  I'll post again on Thursday (the battery in the camera should be charged by then, so that I can download the pictures).