Monday, April 14, 2014

Disney Frozen Birthday Party

With the Frozen frenzy going on, it was inevitable that my daughter wanted a Frozen birthday party. We like to throw a big party every other year and this year was her small family get together year, but we ended up inviting a few friends of hers to join in. I needed to keep the cost down so we kept it as simple and cost efficient as possible.


We threw her party at a nearby park and got some basic decorations to add to the theme. Everything was sold out but we managed to find a few decorations anyway. We already had the figurines to put on the cake. I added the plastic crystals that goes in vases to add the illusion of ice around the table.


I made a simple, round chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. To make it a little more "Frozen", I added white sparkling sugar sprinkles and the characters from the movie.

Party Favors

I wanted simple and affordable party favors. I found this snowman box kit from JoAnn's that was half off. My kids love making stuff, especially with foam, so it was perfect.

I then downloaded a photo of Olaf from the movie and added "Do you want to build a snowman?" to the photo. On the bottom, I wrote, "Thanks for coming to my party. Love, Aurora".

I also handed out plastic Frozen rings and sparkly blue Queen Elsa headbands that I found in the JoAnn's $1 bin. The girls loved these!


We only played one game. It was a "dry" snowball fight. Take white paper towels. Roll into balls and fold together with a rubber band. Ours weren't that round, but you can make them more ball shaped. Divide the group into two halves, with a line between them. Place half the snowballs on each side and give them 2-5 minutes to get as many snowballs on the other side of the line. Count up to see who had less snowballs on their side.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

DIY Fabric Advent Calendar

I have wanted to make an advent calendar for several years and loved the look of the $70 Pottery Barn ones.  I found this advent calendar template at a sewing store years ago and attempted to start it every year. I never managed to get to it before Christmas, so this year I decided to tackle it once the holiday chaos was over.

I'm not sure how much I paid, but I recently put "advent calendar" into the search on and found some of these similar fabric panels for $5-$10. You start by cutting out the main panel.

Cut out all of the squares.

Iron over top seam on all the pockets and stitch. Make box pleats in between each pocket on strips. Press side seams over in between each pocket, bringing together on central dotted line. I used a gold thread, which wasn't easy to work with, but looked great on on the fabric.

Press over seam allowance at sides and at bottom of each pocket to enclose box pleat. Tack and hold in place.

Pin pocket strips and single pockets to calendar (matching to numbered squares). Top stitch side and bottom edges.

Stitch in between each pocket using dotted line as guide.

All pockets sewn on:

Another picture of the calendar with pockets:

Now it's time to back the calendar with fabric. I first wanted to use a beautiful red velvet but it was the biggest pain to keep still when attaching to the calendar. After several attempts and ripped seams, I decided to use a more durable, easier to sew, duck canvas. I was a little disappointed because I love velvet, but I'll keep it for another project. I'm not sure what is the proper way to back a calendar and I don't think I picked the easiest route, but it got the job done.

Line up and pin the fabric at the top and right edge of the fabric with right side of the calendar facing down.

I wanted a 1 1/2" border around the right and left edge and planned to give the top and bottom a little more width.

Sew the right side. Measure 3 1/2"

Turn right side out, press making sure there is an even amount of fabric on each side. Top stitch along both edges to keep it in place.

Measure the bottom edge and cut a piece of fabric 1" longer than the width by 4 or 5", depending on how thick you want the bottom edge. Press 1/2" on each shorter side of the fabric to match the width of the calendar. Place right sides together and sew.

Press in 1/2" along the bottom edge and fold the fabric upward to cover up raw edges. Press the bottom edge and pin.

Sew 1/4"  from top edge of the bottom panel and again at the bottom. Sew the right and left edges of the bottom panel to keep them closed.

Repeat most of these steps for the top, except leave the right and left sides open to fit the rob. I used a Levolor decorative cafe rod, adjustable 22" - 40" in length, 7/16" thick.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Child Apron Tutorial

Child apron tutorial

I looked at a lot of different apron ideas before settling on this one. I picked this apron because I wanted it to be sturdy and cover a lot of space while doing art, cooking and science projects. I really liked that the child could loosen the head piece to fit it over their head and then pull it tight. Most aprons were loose on top, which isn't good for keeping clean, or you need a D ring or some other fastener to tighten it, which I really didn't want to mess with.

The Pattern

I used this Instructables tutorial for making a chef's apron. To the left is a picture of my measurements.

I was making these for kids ranging in ages from 3 years to 9 years, so I made them a little long so they weren't too short for the older kids. They seemed a good length for the younger ones too.

I drew my pattern on freezer paper, mostly because I had a huge roll of it that I wasn't using. It worked perfectly and was translucent enough to trace the casing. You can also use parchment paper or tissue paper.

I estimated a yard per apron and had left overs. I went shopping on Black Friday and Joanne's had amazing deals before noon. I purchased duck canvas and cotton twill at Jo Ann's for $4.11/yard! I bought a lot of different things that day and the savings were pretty amazing, and there weren't the crowds like at other Black Friday sales. These fabrics are really sturdy for the type of wear I was expecting to put them through.

After tracing the main body of the apron, draw a line 2" from the arm hole to make the casing.

Time to Cut & Sew

Take the pattern and trace it onto your fabric with the long side resting against the fold. You should end up with one large piece of fabric for the main part of the apron and 2 casing pieces.

Once the pieces are cut, you can embroider the child's name or an image to make it more personal. If you don't have an embroidery machine, iron-on's are a fun alternative.

Take the casing pieces and press down the long side 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. This ironing is a very important step that will make sewing much easier later.

Pin the casing to the edge of the main piece of fabric with right sides together. Sew both pieces.

Fold and press the top of the apron 3/8 - 1/2 over twice and then sew. Repeat this with the two sides. Make sure casing is open when you do this.

Fold the casing towards the back of the apron so wrong sides are together. Press. Pin and sew close to the edge of the long edge of the casing. The strips need to fit through the open space so the opening needs to be wide enough to let it fit.

This is the back side of the apron once sewn:

Hem the bottom, same as the top and sides.

Making Bias Tape

To make the strip, cut a strip of fabric 2" wide by 70" long or two strips of fabric 2" wide by 35" long. These could be made even longer if you want extra long strips. If using two strips, you need to start by sewing them together. Place the two strips at a 90 degree angle to each other. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner as shown below.

Sew along the diagonal line. Trim the corner off of the fabric. My photo below shows a very close trim. After some practice, I learned that this should not be so close. You should leave at least 1/4" of fabric from sewing line.

Press the crease, with the raw edges open.

Now time to make bias tape. For these apron strips, I was making them 1/2" wide. I purchased this bias tape maker for $7 on Amazon. I bought a 1/2" bias tape maker at first and then realized it was too small. I then purchased the 1" bias tape maker. 2" of fabric enter the device and fold it into bias tape 1" wide. Then you fold it in half and iron it flat, leaving you with a 1/2" strip. If you use a bias tape make, use the 1" size. You can also do this old school by folding the strip in half, ironing and then folding the two long edges in the the center crease and ironing again. It's way more work but will have the same result.

As the fabric goes through the bias tape maker, iron the fabric.

Fold in half again and iron flat. Fold the ends in and pin. Sew the ends and along the length of the bias tape.

Now that the strip is sewn, attach a safety pin and thread it through the casing pieces to make a neck loop. Tie knots at the end of the strips so they don't get pulled through the casing easily. The little ones love to pull the strips right out and leave you rethreading again and again. I learned this the hard way!

Enjoy countless hours of fun activities in these aprons!