Sunday, December 11, 2011

Projects: Rio Movie Blu And Jewel Costumes

My kids LOVE the movie RIO.  Not just love....but LOVE!!! They talk about it all the time, sing the songs, and pretend to be the characters.  They begged to dress up like Blu and Jewel (the blue macaws from the movie) but I wasn't too excited about making them bird costumes.  If I was going to put in the effort to make them costumes, I wanted them to be cheap, durabl,e and easy to get on and off to play dress up.  They enjoy being able to dress up themselves, and I enjoy not being repetitively asked to help get costumes on and off all day long!  I came up with the idea to make them out of felt partly due to its stiffness and durability, but also (let's be honest here) because it is easy to sew--no
 hems and no fraying!  Here's the scoop...
I started with one yard of blue felt (for a 2-3 year old size costume).  I cut it square, then measured my son's head circumference.  I added 4 inches, then cut a triangle off one corner making sure the bottom of the right triangle (the long side or hypotenuse) was the length of my son's head circumference plus 4.  This small triangle will become the hat.  The rest will become the "cape" or wings and tail.  I cut feather shapes in the cape part and stitched arm sections.  For the hat, I added double layer black felt, cut it into a beak shape, then hand stitched it onto the blue hat.  I added white and brown (for Blu's eyes), and blue (for Jewel's eyes), plus some of the black felt for Jewel's eyelashes.  I used some of
the blue felt scraps for the feathers on the back of the head, and some
white felt and a pink paint marker for Jewel's flower. 
All three kids ADORE these costumes.  They worked great for Halloween and have held up well.  They are easy to spot clean and definitely durable.  We've gotten a little stretch around the arm holes, but it doesn't really affect the fit.  SUCCESS!!
I overestimated how much blue felt I'd need for the project and have some extra left over.  I'm thinking about making some more costumes to sell on Etsy...

Completed Blu Costume

Completed Jewel Hat

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Projects: Decorative Paper Clips

Here is a little more detail on the paper clips I used in my card display project:

1.       Craft wire circle- start with a length of craft wire approximately 10 inches long.  Bend it in half and thread it through the top of the paper clip.  Twist the craft wire 2-3 times with itself (like a twist tie), then hold the base and wind repeatedly in a circle.  Secure the ends to the top of the paper clip where you originally attached the wire.
2.       Craft wire flower- start with a length of craft wire approximately 20 inches long.  Bend it in half and thread it through the top of the paper clip.  Twist the wire 2-3 times with itself (like a twist tie), then hold the base and wind in one complete circle for the center of the flower.  Thread the two ends of the wire through the circle, then out and around to form a flower petal.  Thread the two wires through the circle again, then directly back out and around for the second petal.  Repeat for each petal, securing through the center between each one.  After completing the petals, wind the remaining wire around in sequentially smaller circles to fill in the center of the flower.
3.       Buttons- for shank buttons, just thread the paper clip directly onto the button shank.  Secure with thread or embroidery floss if desired.  For threaded buttons, just sew onto the paper clip at the top.
4.       Ribbon flowers- start with a length of ribbon 5-10 inches long.  With a needle and thread, stitch with long stitches along one edge of the ribbon.  Pull the thread tight to gather the ribbon, then twist around in sequentially smaller circles and secure with a few stitches on the back of the flower.  Add a few extra stitches to secure the flower to the paper clip.
5.       Ribbon bows- tie a small bow with ribbon.  Secure the bow to the paper clip with a few additional stitches or thread the paper clip directly through the back of the bow.
6.       Ribbon ties- start with 2-4 short lengths of ribbon (thin ribbon works best), and tie each in a knot around the top of the paper clip.
Use your imagination!  Felt, fabric, glitter, yarn, craft foam are all great options for creating interesting clips!

Projects: Card Display Ribbons

We are blessed to receive many wonderful handmade cards from my
mother-in-law, and the kids absolutely LOVE getting mail.  They enjoy looking back through them and pointing out funny pictures or characters.  We had been displaying them all on the refrigerator, but quickly ran out of room since we had to keep them out of our 15 month old’s reach.  We needed a better solution, to allow them to look at all the cards easily.  I also needed something quick and easy, especially with the holidays quickly approaching, as we expect lots of holiday cards in the mail soon.  Here’s what I came up with:                         

Card Display Ribbons:
1.  Attach a small Command hook to the wall
2.  Tie a long ribbon to the hook, using a small knot or bow
3.  Adjust the length as needed
4.  Decorate paper clips with ribbon, flowers, buttons, craft wire, or your favorite embellishment
5.  Use the clips to attach cards or photos