Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lego Birthday Party

For Aedan's 6th birthday, he wanted a Lego party. Originally, I was going to have 5-6 of his friends over to build Legos and keep it super casual. Our condo isn't huge, so we thought this could get a little crazy. So, once again, we took the party to a local park. His birthday is in November so I always get a little nervous about the weather, but it turned out to be a beautiful day.

Even though Aedan primarily loves Star Wars and Ninjago Legos right now, I decided to just keep the theme focused on the primary Lego colors: blue, red, green and yellow. It was also very difficult to find plates and other decorations to match Star Wars Legos. There were a lot of City Lego party stuff but we haven't gotten into those. I also wanted to keep it affordable since we weren't supposed to have a big party. I bought green table clothes, blue cookie napkins, red large napkins and yellow plates.

I found this printable Lego banner for free that said "Happy Birthday". I printed it on card stock and taped string to the back to keep it together. I also had my son pick different lego figures to put around the party.


Aedan isn't a big fan of cake and requested cookies for his birthday dessert. I made three types of cookies to make it a little more special: chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip and outrageous chocolate. My husband built a lego radar tower for the candles to go with the racing theme. Aedan thought this was super cool and picked out a storm trooper to stand on the tower and also hold a candle.


If possible, I like to incorporate the favor into the party. This was fun and easy for legos. We ended up with 16 kids attending the party, so I bought lego pieces to build race cars. I purchased two of these Lego wheel kids and one box of 200 or so Legos to use for adding the car walls. For the bags, I downloaded a free Lego font to make the labels. I also used the font for other signs at the party. Since the Legos can easy roll off the table, I had these yellow plates for each kid to dump their Legos out and build. We drew a different Lego face on each plate and the kids loved picking which face they wanted.

Most kids were 5-6 years old and this project was a little difficult for them. I made sure there were enough pieces for each set to make a car. It was a little tricky for the kids to figure out and the adults had to help most of the kids. They still had a fun time but this might be better for older kids.

*I also did the a Lego sign that read "6" that is hanging from the tree but didn't take a close up. You'll see it on the tree in the background.


Guess How Many Legos

This was an easy game to put together. I used a glass jar that I already had and made a similar label to the ones I used for the bags. I filled it up and put papers and a pencil for the kids to fill out their guess. The Lego structure to the right has an opening at the top where they dropped their guesses. I was surprised that two kids came within 10 Legos of the correct number!

Lego Car Races

Now for the highlight of the party! We took a large plastic table to make our race track. My husband took this task seriously and got very creative with the tape. The edge even has a 1-2" barrier so the cars wouldn't roll off. We put one leg up and folded the other under to keep it put.

After the kids built their Lego race cars, they paired off to race them down the track. This was definitely a hit. It created some healthy competition, a little frustration but mostly a lot of fun. They were yelling and cheering and so excited for their turn. There were some big crashes and the kids had to rebuild their cars but it was pretty easy to grab the pieces.

Lego Scavenger Hunt

I brought a container full of Duplo Legos with a picnic blanket for all the toddler guests to have something fun to do. For the scavenger hunt, I took 100 Duplo Legos and hid them around the trees, just like an Easter egg hunt. The kids loved it. They went racing around to find the Legos and the kid with the most won a prize.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Princess Leia DIY Costume

Princess Leia is definitely one of my favorite princesses. I made this costume last year but still wanted to post it, even though I didn't snap that many pictures. For the fabric, I found a white suit material that turned out to be extremely durable. She went rolling in grass right after finishing it and to my amazement, not a mark. It's really worn in now but there aren't any stains on it. I'm not sure what the exact blend was, but I'll be on the lookout for the same fabric and will post it if I find it again.

I used Burda pattern 9541 and sketched my own pattern for the belt.

The dress was pretty simple and I followed the pattern exactly. This definitely was one of my earlier pieces and the edges were a little rough. Of course, she never noticed or cared. She has spent hours and hours in the dress.

Here is the back latch:

For the belt, the below pattern is the basic design that I used. I cut this shape in the white fabric, not on the fold. There was 2 long pieces of white fabric, each one about 24" long by 4" wide at the edges. The point will be wider.

I purchased some silver fabric to look like metal. I cut 4 pieces of silver fabric with the dimensions of 4" by 3". For the other two pieces that included the point, I used the center of the pattern and traced the same height but 4 1/2" wide.

On the 2 shorter sides of all 6 pieces, I ironed 1/2" under. Then, I pinned the silver pieces onto each long white piece, but didn't sew them on. I put the right sides together of the whole belt and sewed the 2 long edges with 1/2" seam.

I turned the belt inside out which was a little tricky. Then I sewed the shorter sides of each silver pieces close to the edge and going through both top and bottom silver pieces. Sewing it after the long edges are sewn will ensure that it doesn't puff out. So, I actually sewed through two pieces of silver material and two pieces of white. The belt should then lay flat.

I finished the two open edges by ironing them over 1/2" and sewing the fabric down. I would do a much nicer job of this now, but it got the job done. To hold the belt together, I added iron-on velcro. Finished, the belt was 23" long.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Rapunzel (Tangled) DIY Sewing Tutorial

For my daughter's 3rd birthday, she was in love with Tangled so we decided to throw her a Tangled birthday party. To go with the party, I made her a Rapunzel dress for her birthday present. It is definitely the best costume I've made so far. She absolutely loved it.

I used Simplicity pattern 2065.

Rapunzel Sewing Pattern

This pattern is perfect, but I like to keep the costumes looking similar to the original, so the light pink and purple weren't going to work. Plus, I figure those light colors will be quickly stained with how my kids play in their costumes. I went to downtown LA fabric district to get the supplies. I spent around $30 on everything. I choose a plum brocade for the underskirt and a matching lilac brocade for the bodice.

It was tricky finding a matching plum satin to use for the overskirt and sleeves. The one I used wasn't the easiest material to sew, but I made it work. It was a lighter weight than some others that I saw. This dress was fairly heavy once finished so I'm happy this fabric wasn't too heavy. I followed the pattern as directed.

I took these photos after the dress was complete, but the grommets didn't hold. I had to hand sew over the grommets to hold them in place. I haven't used grommets that often so I'm not sure if there is a better quality I could have purchased, but the ones I sewed were very strong.

I loved this light pink against the plum purple. I started with the middle ribbon and went outward. I didn't pin it that much at first and that was a mistake. It worked out better when I used a lot of pins. I remember in sewing class, my teacher really emphasized pinning. I sort of blew this off and lightly pinned on most projects. After many annoying mistakes, I've realized pinning is key. I now take the time to pin and it makes a huge difference in cleaner stitches.

I love this danty, cotton trim. I actually purchased this for $0.25 a yard in downtown LA! I attached it by hand since it needed extra attention and sleeve is delicate too.

These sleeves are beautiful and the material isn't scratchy. I think this dress could look amazing with the sheer sleeve and be a little more play friendly.

Here is the skirt liner attached to the mesh:

I was going to embroider the fabric but ended up buying iron-on pieces for the overskirt. They didn't stay on the satin material really well so a few pieces I had to stitch down. I found these at Joanne's and definitely a pricey addition. But, they looked great.

I found the trim in Joanne's $1 trim bin and got 2 packages.

The hair took a while to cut all that yarn! But it looked fantastic and was very sturdy. She loved having the yarn wig. We also had a purchased wig but she wouldn't wear it and it got "Tangled" really fast! This Rapunzel dress was definitely a hit.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rapunzel Tangled Birthday Party

For my daughter's 3rd birthday, we threw a Rapunzel Tangled birthday party. I made her a Rapunzel dress for her birthday present and so she could wear it to the party. I will link to the tutorial once I post it.


I loved the idea of a cake tower but didn't want to put too much time into an actual cake. When I saw the donut cake idea on Disney's Spoonful website, it was the perfect fit. Aurora loved her donut cake. Some of the kids even ate the donuts! I made cupcakes for everyone in matching colors. I also included the figurines from the movie that I purchased at the Disney store.


The party was at the park, so decorations needed to be easy and wind resistant. I found the purple and yellow striped fabric in downtown LA for $5. This made a great tablecloth. I used frying pans to hold the cooked hot dogs.

I found yellow lanterns at Party City to hang from the trees. I used the Rapunzel Kingdom Sun Banners from Paging Supermom. These are free downloads that you print, cut out and string up.

The Flynn Rider wanted dead or alive posters were a must! We put them around the trees near our tables.


Get Tangled:

The Get Tangled game was a blast! I measured out even lengths of streamers so each child would have to unroll the same amount. Whoever finished wrapping their partner first won the game. We partnered the kids with one younger child (3-4) with one older child (5-7) and started with the little kids being tangled first. This way they could watch how the big kids wrapped them up. They absolutely loved this. Even when one set finished, they kept going until their partner was fully wrapped up.

Pascal Bean Bag Toss:

For the Pascal bean bag toss and the Snuggly Duckling ring toss, I used bean bag toss games. Two games came in the set and I covered both to match the theme. For the Pascal game, I used poster board and card stock to make it look like Pascal. The kids had 4 bean bag tosses to try to make it in.

Snuggly Duckling Ring Toss

For the ring toss, I covered the bean bag toss game with blue poster board to look like water. I got 5 rubber duckies and attached them. I already had rings, so we used these to try to make the rings around the duck. If I were to redo this game, I would put something under each duck to make it taller. It was really hard to get the rings to stay around the duck and they ofter bounced off. The kids had a great time trying!


As a family that loves art, I was excited about having watercolors as the favor. I bought the Rosa watercolors for $1 a set. The Crayola were $2-3 each which was a little too much for my budget and these looked just as good. I made a template in Word and designed this printout on cardstock. With glitter glue, I painted over the words "Rapunzel Paints" to add a little sparkle.

To go with the watercolors, I printed free Rapunzel downloads at the Disney website. I rolled them up and held them together with a strand of Rapunzel's hair (yellow yarn). I also found braided hair clips in many colors from the party section at Target and clipped those on. I told the kids when they arrived that they could go pick out their color and wear them if they wanted. Some of the kids opened their watercolors and started painting at the party!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mavis Dracula DIY Costume, Hotel Transylvania

My 3 year old wanted to be Mavis Dracula for Halloween this year. I thought this was a great idea for a costume and easier than the Belle costume I made last year. I made the matching Martha Dracula costume for myself to do the mom and me set.

Here's the photo from the movie:

For the dress, Aurora had a Carter's dress that she wears with legging that was almost an exact replica of the design. I used a black suit material that was very soft but durable. I only needed 1 yard for her dress. I folded the fabric in half and folded the dress. I then traced the dress and went back to add 1/2" around the outline. I cut a circle piece to match the collar that was 3" wide to add a collar and make it look more authentic.

The dress was just two pieces sewn together and the collar added on top. This was such an easy costume to put together. I bought the tights on Amazon for $4.50 plus $2.95 for shipping. I ordered the black and red to match the costume.

The red high top converse were definitely the most expensive part of the costume, but adorable and she will be able to wear them with a lot of clothes. I got these for $27 at Kid's Footlocker.

I also bought an $8 black wig with sparkly pieces. She wouldn't wear it, but maybe when she's a little older.

Although I normally wouldn't be inclined to put make-up on her, the black make-up with this costume is a must. I got black nail polish, eye liner and lipstick. She's too young for the cute vampire fangs but I think this would be an adorable addition for kids who will put them on. We had a melt down with the lipstick and she took it all off, but she still looked adorable!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Martha Dracula DIY Costume, Hotel Transylvania

My daughter decided to be Mavis Dracula from Hotel Transylvania and begged me to be Mavis's mom, Martha. This definitely seemed like a fun costume and I figured my time to do mom and me costumes is limited.

Here is what I was working with:

Fortunately, I had two patterns that work out nicely for this costume.  For the main part of the dress, I used dress B on McCall's 5499 pattern, with no belt. I used a 14" zipper down the back instead of the lace up back. The pattern flares at the bottom, so I had to modify the size when cutting the pattern. The neckline was a v-neck, so I made a change to this. I also needed to figure out how to add that trail at the end. Lots of fun modifications!

The arms on this pattern don't have the long, droopy look of Martha, so I used the arms from Simplicity 4940, dress A.

I bought a black suiting material that I also used for Mavis. Starting with the McCalls pattern, I used dress B. This dress has a lot of material in the skirt and the Martha skirt needs to be more fitted. Instead of wasting fabric to tailor the dress, I folded the pattern pieces to narrow the skirt. You can see below how the pattern is folded under. Don't forget to add the extra pattern pieces to make the skirt the correct length. I forgot to do this and had to improvise!

To add a train, I added 12" of length to the back pieces. I drew the white lines above to show how I sketched this onto the fabric.  On the side back pieces, I measured out 12" on one side of the side back piece to match up with the back pieces and made a curved line toward the other side, which would then match up with the front side pieces. When placed together, the side back and back pieces should make a semi-circle to create the train.

The v-neck was much easier to add then I expected. I placed my ruler on the fabric when folded in half, like the picture above. I cut off this piece of fabric and the neckline flowed nicely from the shoulder on down. I used bias tape to easily keep the v-neckline looking sharp. I used this tutorial to use bias tape on a v-neckline.

I sewed the rest of the dress like on the pattern, except I added a zipper instead of the lace up back. It fit great.

For the choker, I cut a piece of fabric 2.5" by 14", which should be more than enough extra material to do the velcro. I placed right sides together and sewed along raw edge. Using a safety pin, I turned it inside out. I ironed it flat and sewed along both long sides close to edge to keep it flat. For the short sides, I sewed them under so the raw edge is facing the neck.

I found this beautiful button at Joanne's for a few dollars. Instead of going for a sparkly jewel, I liked the antique look of this one.

I sewed the button on the center of the choker and added the velcro. The velcro was iron-on so it stayed pretty strong.

This was a very comfortable costume. Most people didn't know who I was but Aurora loved our mom and me, Mavis and Martha Dracula costumes, so that's all that mattered!