Projects on My Plate

  • Veda's Birthday Party
  • Sienna's Birthday Party
  • Sienna's Pencil Skirt
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Wardrobe re-do
  • Floral Skirt for Mommy
  • Breck's Bedding
  • Sienna and Veda's Bedding
  • Apron

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I hope you all had a great Halloween. As you've probably noticed, I never posted the tutorials for the girls' princess dresses. I really expected to have them done sooner, so I could post the tutorials in time for Halloween. I grossly overestimated my free time with 3 kids!

But, I will write them up and post it next year. My goal is to have costumes done by the first week in October next year, so you'll have FIVE costumes to learn how to make next year! Yahoo!

Also, we're switching internet providers right now, hence no formatting in this post, as I am posting from my phone. My posting will probably be slower for a week or so, and less than beautiful in appearance.

I hope you had an awesome Halloween, can't wait for Thanksgiving now!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Feed Me Friday: Worm Burgers

Oh this grossed me out so bad when I saw it! Isn't it funny how during Halloween, we seek to eat stuff that makes us want to vomit looking at it??? I guess it's all part of being festive!

These, like the other posts, are ridiculously simple.

Worm Burgers:

You'll need:

hamburger buns
BBQ sauce
any other condiments you prefer (we didn't use anything special)

The concept behind this, is that you cut each hot dog in half, length wise. then you cut those halves in half again length wise.

Boil them for a few minutes, they will curl on their own. Drain water.

Cover them in BBQ sauce, and serve on hamburger buns. So easy.

You'll need 3-4 "worms" per hamburger bun set, so with each hot dog producing 4 worms, you can plan accordingly how much you need.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Breck the Dinosaur

Well, I'm ashamed to say I don't have a tutorial for this costume. The reason?? I honestly didn't know what I was doing the entire time. Making animal costumes is just something that's foreign to me, and without a pattern, I'm at a loss. I was lucky that it did turn out, but I just don't have a tutorial, and if you copied everything I did, you would be running around like a chicken with it's head cut off like I was while making this.

However, I will say, that if you want to make this exact costume, I can give you some tips.

First of all, get a pattern for pajama pants and a hooded jacket/anorak.

Once you've cut all your pieces out, you need to apply the knee pads and the tummy patch with an applique stitch. I just eyeballed how big I wanted mine.

For the spikes:

Next, cut out about 12 squares of fabric that are about 4"x4". Cut them each in half diagonally so you have 2 triangles for each square.

Cut pieces of felt (1 for each set of 2 triangles) in the exact shape of the triangles you just cut, just about 1/8 inch shorter per side.

Sew each triangle together, then turn inside out. insert felt triangle, and sew along edges of the triangle. Bottom of triangle does not need to be sewn. Do this for all 12 triangles.

Attach triangles along the center hood seam, the back seam (you may need to cut a line down the back to make your own seam), and down the tail.

Sew all the other pieces together, according to the instructions, leaving the bum seam of the pants open and unsewn for a tail.

Use similar concept for the bill of the hood as the spikes, just using a bill of a hat as your guide to the shape. when sewing the fabric together, add little white felt triangles on the edges of the inside, and sew the curved side of the bill together. when turned inside out, it will reveal teeth. Then put the felt inside the bill, and sew along the curved side again. Attach to the hood.

I just added googly eyes for the eyes with hot glue, velcro for closures, and white felt claws.

For the Tail:

Cut out tail shape. (I know real specific, huh?) But that's all I did, I just decided what shape I wanted the tail, cut out 2 of the shape, sewed the spikes (triangles) in the top seam, and sewed the rest together. When I turned it inside out, I stuffed it with poly-fill, and I sewed the end up.

I then placed it into the unsewn hem of the pants (the bum seam) and sewed it up.

Then, you just finish up your pants, put elastic in, or a tie, depending on your pattern and preference, and you're pretty much done!

Sorry these directions weren't more specific, with pictures and instructions, but like I probably wouldn't have wanted to follow my exact lead with this costume. Just make it easy and get the pattern, and then you can copy my embellishments!

Luckily, Breck was thrilled with it, and he can now live out his life-long goal of becoming a dinosaur!! Rawrrrr!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sneak Peak on 2011 Halloween Costumes

Not finished yet, but progress is being made.

Here's some sneak peaks at what I have in store for this year:
Three-year-old girl rite-of-passage

Crazy Boy's dream come true

And one not-even-begun-costume for our littlest princess ;)

Must keep going...must keep going...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Change of Pace - Just For Today

This post has nothing to do with projects or crafts...I just have some things on my mind that I've been thinking about.

I've been thinking a lot lately on how we treat one another. Especially how we treat one another online. With so many bloggers out there now, it seems as though the world of critics has vastly expanded. I mean, I get it, you put yourself out on the Internet, you make yourself vulnerable to criticism whether you ask for it or not, but does that give everyone else the go ahead to say what they please?

I used to think that celebrities were ok to criticize. I figured they knew what they were getting into when they got into the business they did, and that they were somehow immune to people making fun of them...or even that they were not real people. Well, the fact is, is that they are real people, a truth that their mothers can solemnly attest to. Is it alright for us to make fun of these people we've never met, know nothing about, and have no idea what they are individually struggling with? What does it accomplish to critique their clothing, their hair, etc.? Maybe it's just our own insecurity that we don't have the money and freedom to choose so many different kinds of fashions.

I don't care if I was the most successful actress out there, grossing the most per movie than anyone else. It would still hurt my feelings to see people dissect every outfit I wore, every sentence I uttered, every hair on my head. Especially if I had never met that person, and that person was just an everyday blogger/columnist who didn't know the first thing about me or my life. I would wonder, "what have I ever done to that person??"

Really, that's a great question, what have they ever done to us? You don't like a movie they were in?? Don't watch it! You don't like an outfit they chose?? No one's forcing you to think that it's cool! You don't agree with their political stance?? Don't listen to them, and turn the channel when they come on TV. It's simple.

Now, with the world-wide blogging craze, this need to critique everyone and everything has just spread like wild-fire! I have read several blogs that have talked about extremely rude comments left in their comment boxes. I have read blogs that criticize other bloggers. Some of them are just so mean-spirited, from showing off "Lame Ideas", stealing bloggers' pictures to showcase how lame an idea is, to calling people fat in their comment boxes, or even wannabes (do people still use that word, or am I just lame?). Even entire websites are now set up for the sole purpose of making fun of people, such as Awkward Family Photos, and People of Wal-mart.

I was really sent over the edge this last week when I saw a pin on Pinterest. It was one of those "funny" motivational posters, whose picture was a mother with her daughter. The caption was "Reincarnation". Underneath that, it said, "Welcome back Chris Farley, you've been missed." The poster suggested that the little baby girl in the picture was a replica of Chris Farley.

What upset me, was that this was actually some one's family photo. Some mother just wanted to get a picture with her daughter, someone who she cares deeply about, no doubt. She likely shared it with friends and family via Internet, and for some reason, somebody thought it would be a good idea to swipe the picture, and make fun of a precious little girl's appearance, just so they could have a laugh, and make others think they are just so hilarious.

Imagine if that was you. Imagine you took your child to get special pictures taken with him/her. Then, as you proudly send them off to family and friends, you find it's the newest joke spread over the whole face of the earth. That would be heartbreaking. You would yearn that someone, just one person, would stand up for you, and say "That's really rude", but to your disappointment you find that each new day, the picture circulates to a different part of the world, creating all new groups of people who are your child's expense. It makes me sick thinking about how that would feel.

And what was accomplished?? What is accomplished by making fun of people? What is accomplished by letting everyone we know that we think someone else's outfit is ugly? What is accomplished by saying that someone is a bad actor/musician/photographer/seamstress? What is accomplished when we give into the sickening need to tell everyone that so and so is NOT pretty, and IS fat, and is NOT original, and does NOT have style??? NOTHING!!! We think it lifts us up to be able to critique others, but it really drags us down! It makes others critical of you, and it makes us uglier people on the inside when we care so much about what other people are doing.

Some people seem to believe that the Internet is this a place where they can say what they want to no consequence...but they're wrong. Hurt feelings are just as strong through computer screens as in person. The point is, that it's never ok to laugh at someone else's expense. If you're putting other people's style down so that it makes people think you are fashion savvy, then try focusing more on your own fashion than everyone else's. Are you trying to get people to think that you are funny? Then try making jokes that don't put others down.

I'm not trying to be all preachy, and I'm definitely not perfect, but it is something I've thought about lately. Maybe we can all at least just try to catch ourselves amid trash-talking and think of something more positive to talk about. Maybe we can be that one person who stands up for someone else who is being made fun of. Let's try harder to lift each other up, rather than drag each other down, because, as we say in my church,

"Charity Never Faileth".

Friday, October 14, 2011

Feed Me Friday: Icky Fingers

Last week's Feed Me Friday, I had featured bread stick bones and blood (pizza sauce). You may have noticed the pictures had another spooky treat next to them, which I am featuring today:

Icky Fingers.

Super easy. All you need are a couple packs of string cheese, depending on how much you want. I have even less than that pictured. You'll also need some blood (Pizza Sauce) and fingernails (almond slices). 

What you're going to do, is first, cut the string cheese pieces in half.

Next, carve two sets of three tiny divots in each one to resemble the wrinkled skin where your knuckles are.

Then, slash a shallow angle at the very tip on the finger downwards as a place for the fingernail.

Attach each finger nail by placing a dab of pizza sauce on the angled tip, and putting the almond sliver on top.

And there you have it, gross, nasty fingers, ready to eat!

Now tell me those don't look like the most appetizing of treats!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thomas the Train Costume...Again, from Last Year

Here we go getting a tutorial written up for the Thomas Costume from last year! This was a fun little project, though by the end I wasn't having much fun, and sloppily finished it. I was totally sick by that point, so the finished project wasn't quite as polished as my normal, non-pregnant hormoned mind would stand for.

It was still pretty easy, and CHEAP! Here are the supplies you'll need:

-Box big enough to fit your little conductor into
-Paints (I used acryllic) Blue (I mixed Royal blue and white until I got the right "Thomas Blue"), Red, and Black
-Black paper
-One large paper plate
-6 smaller paper plates
-masking or painter's tape
-Black Sharpie
-2 empty toilet paper rolls
-1 inch thick elastic - about a yard, or suspenders

Step 1: First, find a box. Got a good one? cut off the bottom flaps, and securely tape the top side flaps in place. The picture show scissors, but a knife may be more useful.

Step 2. Using your knife, cut along where the red dotted lines are. You may want to trace it out first. For the front, trace around your bigger paper plate as pictured below for Thomas' head. If your box is flimsy, you may want to use some of your scrap cardboard to reinforce the newly cut sides from the inside, to thicken it up.

Step 3. Now use either your masking tape or painter's tape to seal off the cut edges. You will paint over these so that the edges looke more finished than that cut cardboard look. I'm pretty sure I skipped the round part though...yep, just checked, I did.

Step 4.
Paint the box according to the guide below. Blue on the outsides, except for the top and Thomas' head. Black on the inside.

Step 5. Now paint all the extras, starting with the red lines. Mask off a square wuth the line being about an inch or so thick, and paint it red. Use your plate as a guide for painting the red half-circle on the front. I wish I woudl have done that...mine was a little sloppy.

You can use the picture below for your number 1. Save it to your pictures, then print it out as (2) 8x10's. Cut the 1 out, and glue it in the middle of the square on each side.

Tape off and paint a red line in front for your bemper. Then cut out 2 circles (use a glass to trace) from black paper, and glue in designated areas.

Step 6. Using scrap cardboard, cut out and paint the funnel as pictured below. Fasten it to the top of Thomas' head area with glue.

Step 7. Thomas' face. Paint the backside of your big paper plate grey. Then you've got a couple of options. I just copied his face from a picture, and drew it on with a Sharpie, and painted the eyes white, then drew on the pupils and irises of the eyes. But you could also print out a picture of his face, cut it, and glue it to the plate.

Step 7. Carve a slot into a toilet paper roll as pictured. Paint it gold. You can either do the 2nd one exactly like the first, or you can elevate teh 2nd one on a gold popsicle stick kind of like Thomas has. Your choice.

Step 8. Paint all 6 smaller plates blue on both sides. These are your wheels. Once dry, Use Sharpie to draw designs on wheels as pictured below. This was another thing I did sloppy. Sad.

Step 9. Attach suspenders (or elastic, which is what I used) to each side of the head, where it meets the base in the front, and up to the top, about 6 inches apart. Look at the bottom picture for a guide.I used hot glue, but you could easily use a stapler.

Step 10. This costume will be very back heavy, so I put some rocks in a little baggie and glued it to the front, behind Thomas' head. You could sew a little black baggie, so it blends with the inside, and put a paper weight in there or something.

After that, You're Done!!! Now all you need is a little conducter's hat, and a bandana around the neck, and you're good to go!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day of Mourning

This last week, something awful happened. My sewing machine died.

I knew this day was coming soon, I could see the signs for awhile now. After all, it was just a very basic Singer, that was purchased for me only for the purpose of getting the hang of sewing. But nothing could prepare me for the shock I felt when it finally gave it's last breath. I just stared at it blankly in disbelief. This can't be happening... not now...not at the beginning of my biggest sewing season! Disbelief was then replaced by remorse when I started reminiscing about how it was my first sewing machine, how I awkwardly began to try to sew on it (with hardly any previous experience), found my footing (no pun intended), and found my life's newest obsession.

I thought back to everything I had created on the blessed machine:

I started out small, helping a friend make this cushion cover for her rocking chair (my first REAL project on the machine)

I then gained confidence to do other simple things for our house like this...

...then this
...then eventually this

 Which gave me confidence to try out Halloween costumes like this...

...then eventually this

I started to get excited about making little odds and ends here and there, like this nursing cover

And I even got courageous enough to try making a smocked dress for Sienna...

...which led to this...

...and eventually this

In fact, I became so in love with sewing, that I started altering clothes to more fit my body and my style, something I had always dreamed of doing, even as a young girl...

...which led to me figuring out how to make clothes for ULTIMATE goal!!

All on my basic little Singer that tooted it's last toot this last week. So you can see my sadness, the end of a machine that used to intimidate me so much, that turned into a love of a skill I never knew I had, and ultimately, fulfilling a major dream I had my whole life. Now, of course I have dreams now beyond that, in being able to refine my skills and become a better seamstress, but I can't help but reminisce on the things I was able to pop out on that little machine.

Though I am feeling really ready to move onto a newer, more advanced machine, I'm grateful for the lessons I was able to learn on my simple little Singer.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Introducing: Feed Me Friday

This is something I thought would be fun to do every Friday. I don't usually do recipes on this blog, which is actually really strange because I love to cook. Anyway, I was thinking that every Friday, I could post either a seasonal recipe (whether it is fun crafty holiday food, or using seasonal ingredients), or must have staple recipes in my house. I think this could be fun.

Since it is now October, I want to share some spooky dishes with you this month! The funny thing is, I made these all last year for the week of Halloween, while I was newly pregnant and didn't know it. Halloween was my very first "extremely nauseous" day, and I remember seeing the pictures pop up over and over on my photo screen saver, and almost having to run to the bathroom, sick. Luckily, this year, I see them, and I'm excited to try them again! We're permanent damage.

The first I'll share with you are these creepy bones served with bloooood.

(A.K.A. breadsticks and pizza sauce)

I'm sure you could come up with a much more clever presentation

Ridiculously simple:

1. Buy a package of pre-made breadsticks (I used Pilsbury)
2. Lay them out flat on the baking sheet
3. Slice about 2 inches down the middle of each breadstick on the top and bottom
4. Roll each end up away from the center
5. brush with butter and sprinkle with parmesian cheese and garlic salt (these are super healthy)

For the sauce:

You can of course buy pre-made Pizza sauce, but I just took one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, and gave about two shakes of each; basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, and garlic salt. If you don't have all of these, at least go for the basil and garlic salt.

And there you have it...bones 'n' blood. Stay tuned for the fingers next!

P.S. Check me out today on A Happy Place Called Home, where my tissue paper canvases for Sienna's room where featured! Thanks Kelli!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Belle Costume - Only One Year Late...

So now that we're all healthy again, I decided to write up (finally) a tutorial for the dress I made for Sienna for Halloween last year. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the process, so all my pictures are computer illustrations. Let me tell ya, I think I really missed my calling in computer animation. I'm simply amazing. I'm pretty sure Pixar is going to call me up if they ever see this post and offer me a job.

Okay, enough sarcasm. But hopefully the pictures will at least illustrate well enough the process to make this dress. Click on the pictures to enlarge them if it makes it easier to read the text.

In case you missed it, which, you most likely did since at least 100 of the followers of this blog are new, here is the little dress I made my Sienna last year for Halloween. She was two.

There are a few preparatory things you need to do before you get started on this project.

-Get all the measurements of the little girl you are making this for. You will need the length from shoulders to waist, the length from waist to feet (or where you want the dress to hit), her waist measurement, and her chest .

-Based on measurements, compile two different fabrics. One for the main dress, and the other for embellishments. Sienna was two when she wore this, but was the size of a three year old. (At least) We used about 2 to 2/12 yards for the dress, and about 1/2 for the embellishments.

-Get some jewels, covered buttons, rossettes, etc. for further embellishment.

Now onto the instructions...

Lay out your fabric, and cut it as pictured. Your edge peices will not count as pieces, they have to all be the same and regular trapezoids. You will need 8 pieces in total. The length of the pieces should be at least double the length you measured from the waist to floor, depending on how big of a ruffle you want. I'm pretty sure mine was double.

Gather each long side of each trapezoid. You can do this easily by adjusting the thread tension and the stitch
length to the highest setting. Then measure to see how long it is, and if you need to gather it more to make it equal to the waiste-floor measurement, then gather it by pulling on the top thread, while guiding the fabric up the thread to create a bigger rufle.

Repeat the last step for the rest of the 7 pieces, then sew them all together, with, of course, the raw edges on the inside. Serge or zig-zag stitch each hem, so that it is reinforced as a gathered hem, not just the individual hems.

Once your skirt is in skirt shape, make a V in the front to allow the V shaped bodice to easily attach. The V should be about 2 inches in depth, starting from the sseam that will lay on the hip, to the other hip, as pictured below.

Sew a line around the top of the skirt using the same technique for a gathered seam. Then, pull threads again to match up with the waiste measurement you took.

Next, we're going to add the embelleshment to the bottom. You're going to need a very long strip. How long, is dependent on what size of dress you are making. In the picture it says it's equal to the width of the skirt at the portion it will be placed on, times 1.5, since it needs to drape a little. This is approximate, of course, so make sure you double measure. Measure around the portion of the dress that the embellishment will go on (around 8-16 inches off floor, depending on size of dress), then add a few inches as needed to get the total length of this strip. The idea is that this strips drapes 2-3 inches per section. The height will be around 5 inches.

Next, you will fold the strip in half, with wrong sides out, sew down the edges, and pull inside out to reveal the right sides. The height should then be about 2 - 2 1/2 inches, depending how big your hem was. Reinforce hems as necessary.

Next, you are going to gather the strip. Lay it against the dress, and make sure it drapes a little per section. Place a pin on the strip where each section of the skirt meet. Then gather where those pins are as illustrated. 

Attach to skirt. Make sure gathers correlate with the seams on the skirt.

Next, we move to the top. Find an article of clothing that your little girl fits well into. As a tip: if you are using fabric that stretches, use a shirt that stretches, like a knit. If your fabric is not stretchy (like mine), use a shirt that fits well, but does not stretch. I have a tank top shown, but you can use any shirt. It's really just to illustrate what portion of the shirt we are using.

Trace the outline of the shirt onto the fabric. Don't forget to include the hems in your tracing, because you will be hemming as well! You will need 2 pieces for the front. One will be one inch wider than the shirt outline you trace. I'll explain that in a bit. Just add the extra inch to the middle.

You will use one back piece, and you will add 3 inches to the width to allow for buttons.

Remember to make sure the length of the top is the same as the measurement you took from shoulder to waiste.

On the front pieces, make sure you extend the bottom down a little to make a V like we did with the skirt, as illustrated.

Cut a line down the middle of the bigger of your front pieces. This will be that seam that most Disney princesses have down the front of their dresses. Put right sides together, and sew a 1/2 inch hem. Reinforce hem.

Now we want to attach our front pieces. Put right sides together, with the hem from the top piece facing outward, as pictured below. Then sew together where the picture show a red line.

Then flip inside out so the right sides are facing out. Sew along the entire outise, including going over (as close to the edge as possible) the seams we just made that are now on the inside.

For the back, Cut a line down the center. Then hem up the sleeves as shown.

Do a zig-zag stitch, or serge the edge of each side that you just cut. The x2 means do it for each side.

Fold and iron down 1 1/2 inches from the edge, over to the backside, as pictured. Then hem the neckline over top. Do this for both sides.

Make a pencil marking (or mental note) of 1 inch from the edge on each side. This is where your buttons will be. Make sure you measure again and again where your buttons will be to make sure they are even. You'll want to be sure there are at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches between buttons, so we can add embellishment later. Since all sewing machines are different, I will assume you know how to use yours to make a button hole. Most sewing machines have a stitch option for this. Consult your owners manual to learn how to use it, if you don't already know.

Then, attach the back of the top to the front of the top. Reinforce hems as necessary. Measure the width to make sure it correlates with the waiste circumfrance and the chest circumfrance.

Attach Top to Bottom. The buttons should be buttoned up to ensure that the sides are sewn to the bottom correctly.

You can add any sort of embellishment you want at seams. I did rhinestones. You can also do covered buttons, rosettes, etc.

Now for the Top embellishment.

Cut a strip of fabric (the same fabric as the embellishment for the bottom) that will fit around the top of your little girl's arms right at the shoulder. It needs to be long enough to wrap around the back inside panels about 1/2 to 3/4 an inch. It also needs to be about 6-8 inches in height, depending on the size of dress you are making.

Next, fold that piece in half length wise, and sew along raw edges as shown. Sew along the red line.

Sew along the red lines and gather. The raw edges on the very end need to be serged or zig zagged, or even heat sealed, if the fabric is some sort of synthetic fabric.

Attach it to the top in the places indicated in the picture below. See Purple picture below this one for a more clear visual on attaching it to the back. It can be attached with a sturdy hand stitch on the front and on the sleeves.

I then added another rhinestone embellishment to the center of the fron. You can add covered buttons, rosettes, etc.

And Guess what???? You're DONE!!!

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