Saturday, October 25, 2014

Olaf Head Tutorial

I like warm hugs
The mouth shape left uncovered
and already starting the duct
No self-respecting Elsa would not be accompanied by her snowy creation, Olaf.  I whipped this up in two evenings, and it would have been quicker if the papier mache did not need to dry.  I started with a balloon, drew what I thought the mouth should look like, and then covered it with one layer of paper mache.  If this was meant to last, and if I had more time, I would recommend more coats, but I was under a time crunch.  After that dried, I put a layer of duct tape over it.  Then I hot glued some cotton batting where Olaf's cheeks and his head bulge were, and covered those with duct tape as well.  That approximated his head shape close enough.  I covered this with white felt, stapled and hot glued into place.  The nose is a cone of orange construction paper hot glued on, his "hair" is pipe cleaners, and I used puffy fabric paint to his eyes and eyebrows.  Astute Frozenites will notice that he is missing his teeth (tooth?).  Don't care.  Good enough.  Many smiles from the kids yesterday.
After I covered both cheeks and the
 head bulge,I felt his head could
use even more of a bulge.
Right cheek covered in
duct tape, first head bulge
applied, and left cheek still
 uncovered by duct tape


Sunday, October 19, 2014

My First Dollhouse's Homemade Details

This post is primarily for my niece, Nora, although, it is also for me.  For me, because most of these things were made so long ago, and left at my parents, and forgotten.  So when my mother brought these items out, and I saw them again for the first time in over 30 years, I couldn't even relate to that girl about to become a woman who had this creativity and free-time to produce such wonderful things.  Since then I've gotten three college degrees, had two careers after my initial working life as a secretary, been engaged, been married, and finally, had a daughter.  It seems so far in the past, this other, leisurely life. 

The book set was a purchased set of wood with printed covers
glued on.  Some of the covers became detached, so I bound
pages together to make a "working" book.  This one was called
"My Biography"
Here are some of the details that survived.  I remember I had made bread from actual kitchen ingredients with an edible glaze, and food from a recipe I memorized from the Mr. Roger's Show; none of that survived.  I had also made miniature pictures cut from a picture of a picture (this was before anyone had computers and printers).  I guess this is what children did before video games: explored their interests!
Armed with a Bic, I meticulously documented the story of
Dr. Doolittle (the male occupant) and Sunshine Family
daughter (the female) a la Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Farmer Boy"
My baby sister found the unfinished text
 and  decided to "help", marrying off the
 couple and giving them a "cild" in
just over a page.

Tiny carrot and celery, along with jam
jars from a picnic set purchased at
A tiny shelf with plants made from
quilling paper

Another plant from quilling paper

A wreath made from arbor vitea dried
buds, a hersey bar, a birthday candle
cut to size with a bead holder, and
a wooden spoon carved from a popsicle
Plant from quilling paper,
in a macrame planter, held
up with a pearl-headed pin
Another view

Elsa Costume Part 4 - Complete!


 Well, I finished it, and with weeks to spare.  The good news is that it will be much harder to steal than the Kitty head.  For info on how I made it, find the three prior posts.  She loves it, and I'm fairly happy with it.  We will do her hair and makeup on the days she will wear it.  Let it go, let it go!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Elsa Costume Part 3: Putting the Pieces Together

Let it go...
Let it go...
We're beginning to see something resembling Elsa!  In these pictures, she is holding the bodice, which is sewn onto the skirt, to the undershirt, which has not yet been attached to the bodice.  As you can tell, she is loving it. 

Glittering the cape.

So, all that remains is the glittering of her cape, and attaching that, and voila, I think we're good to go.  I've started glittering the cape below, and since I'm older and wiser, I put freezer paper underneath the design while the glue was drying, therefore eliminating the need to painstakingly remove the stuck-on paper with a Q-tip and nail polish.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Elsa Costume Part 2: Undershirt, Skirt and Bodice; and Cape Template

A sleeve, mid-glittification.
Edged with a zigzag stitch in metallic
silver.  The finger loop attached to end
of point.
The planning took seemingly forever, but once I started with the actual fabric, serious progress has been made on the Elsa costume.   The first thing I did was cut the performance fabric for the undershirt, and before sewing the pieces together, I glittified them.  I used the drawing from this photo to create a template on graph paper.  I used fabric Modge Podge to adhere the glitter to the fabric, but my mistake, and there's always a mistake, was to let the glue dry on the graph paper.  Naturally, the glue stuck to the paper, and I needed to soak a Q-tip in nail polish remover to take the paper off the back of the fabric.  So, dear reader, after putting the glue on, remove the paper from the back of the fabric!!!  I sealed the glitter with another coat of the glue so that glitter would not be everywhere when the costume is worn.  It is too late for my house, as glitter is in every crevice and corner, but nevermind.  I edged the performance fabric with a zigzag stitch in metallic thread.  Now that it is sewn together, I will connect the glittered arm designs across the chest and back using this drawing as my guide.

The bodice was the easiest part!!!
I was scared about the bodice, because I've never sewn sequined fabric before.  Okay, her mermaid costume was faux-sequined, and the glue attaching the sparkly bits clogged my sewing maching needle, but the bodice fabric had actual, sewn-on sequins on it.  It could not have gone more quickly or easily.  And the skirt was the same; those two pieces came together beautifully.

Copying the design to paper

So, on to the cape.  I traced from this site, and I used my school projector to copy it to chart paper (sometimes, just sometimes, being a teacher comes in handy).  I cut it out and fit it to Tootie Pie, who claims it is not long enough.  She is technically correct, since Elsa's cape is luxuriously flowing, but I'm not 100% convinced that her teachers will be pleased if she comes to school wearing a 7 1/2 foot long cape. 

She insisted on posing like

Long enough, n'est pas?


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Elsa Costume Part One: Fabric, Pattern and Mock-Up

Not too bad...
The season's most coveted costume, Queen Elsa of Arundel, if it was bought in a store, which it cannot be because it is backordered, would cost much more than I spent on fabric.  But, that being said, I could have spent a LOT less on the fabric.  I am a wannabee fashion designer and absolutely love browsing the Fashion District here in New York.  It was my birthday, so I justified my expenditure that way, plus, after years of trolling, I finally had a reason to buy something.  I got caught up, what can I say?  So, the amount of fabric, by the yard was:

  • Undershirt: one yard performance fabric from Spandex World (middle left in pic)
  • Bodice: one yard sequin fabric from Cut Fabric (only needed a half yard, but they have a one yard minimum) (middle right in pic)
  • Skirt: 3 yards satin charmeuse from Cut Fabric (far right)
  • Cape: 2 yards iridescent organza from Cut Fabric (far left)

The pattern for the bodice and the undershirt
Pattern for skirt
Since I didn't have a princess pattern lying around (I don't have any patterns at all), I needed to make my own pattern for the Elsa Halloween costume.  I took Tootie Pie's measurements: waist, from waist to floor, from shoulder to wrist and from wrist to the start of the middle finger. Then, I researched others' patterns from throughout the internet, which you can find in my Pinterest board "Costume".  The best tutorial is here.  Warning!  If you do start this process, you will become exposed to all sorts of adults making costumes for themselves; there's a whole world out there of which I was only tangentially aware.  Anyhoo, I wanted the undershirt to be more boatnecked than roundnecked, so I incorporated design inspiration from all the patterns. I drew my pattern pieces on newspaper fliers, and then cut up an old t-shirt and nightgown to make my mockup.  I made adjustments to the patterns, and here they are, along with my mockups:

The bodice mockup.
I will cut the actual
bodice into a V at the bottom,
which is why the front is
so much longer than the back.

So, it fits pretty well on my model.
For reference, Tootie Pie is a very tall, 52" 7-year-old.  She loves the one-sleeved, hold up the bodice, stick-out-one-leg-so-it-doesn't-fall-down skirt, so imagine how she'll feel when it's done!

Elsa Costume DIY Tutorial - The Crown

Template cut from here.
I followed this tutorial to make Elsa crown.  I copied the template, cut it out on cardstock, and then filled it in with hot glue.  I might suggest doing this with puffy paint, instead, because that doesn't harden as fast as hot glue.  I had to trim some mistakes with an Exacto knife and scissors before I could spray it.  I know that Elsa's crown is gold, but A) I don't have gold spray paint and B) I asked Tootie Pie if she wanted authentic gold or snowy silver, and she chose wisely.  She takes after her mother in her preference for silver, I guess.  Once I sprayed it, you could really see the flaws, so I covered the lumpy bits with jewels and, for the narrower parts, glitter.  I will attach it to a hair comb that I have from the handmade bridal veil I made. I had everything on hand, so this cost me nothing.

That is why jewels and glitter were invented.  To cover the
crown makers mistakes!

Filled in with hot glue and spray
painted.  Kind of messed up.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Easy 50's Day Poodle Skirt Outfit Tutorial

Not much of a tutorial, just ideas for making a 50's outfit.  I made the skirt by sewing a rectangular piece of felt around 1 inch from the top and feeding through a pieced of elastic.  The best part about felt is you don't need to hem.  I stitched up the two ends of the rectangle and pulled the elastic so it fit nicely on Tootie Pie's waist.  The poodle template came from this website, so I cut it from felt and then added eyes and a mouth with puffy paint.  The leash and the poodle were applied with fabric glue, and that was the end of the skirt!

Then I took Tootie Pie's jazz shoes that were almost too tight, since there was no chance they would fit her next dance season and therefore it didn't matter if I made a mess of them.  I covered the edges and soles with painter's tape and sprayed with spray paint.  Then, using a photo of saddle shoes from the internet, I painted a black stripe and she had saddle shoes.  If these were going to be used more than once, I would have applied a clear coat to them, but this was a one-off affair, so I skipped that.  A cardigan, some bobby socks and a scarf in the hair, and she was ready to rock around the clock.

My Version of the Shell Cake

It's sad that I look at this and think "Cool, Mom".
My Pinterest board is choked with girls' birthday party decor, because I love crafting Tootie Pie's birthdays.  The cake, being the centerpiece of the day, was the origin of all this looniness, since I made a Care Bear cake for her third birthday.  My husband, dull as he is, when he was prodded for praise on my glorious concoction, replied " you just copied it from the internet", as if there's a button for creating a Care Bear cake.  Four years ago and I'm still harboring resentment.

Her fourth birthday was celebrated at school, and I made a poorly documented Rainbow Leprechaun Trap cake.  Her classmates loved it, since there was a story behind it and, of course, a leprechaun trapped inside under the gold coins.  How cute!  For her fifth, the Princess Castle cake, which I think was the pinnacle of my cake making days.  For her sixth, a store bought pink cake that I tarted up with fondant flowers and a fondant Hello Kitty!  And, for this birthday, the shell cake. 

Please notice the shell chair she's sitting on.  Thank goodness
I'm a teacher and have gallon bottles of glue and glitter coming
out my ears!
Making cakes is kind of like giving birth; you forget how painful it is, so that you'll foolhardily repeat the process.  It takes hours, nay, days to make, and mere moments to disappear.  But, I know I will someday miss the days when my Tootie Pie would dream up her theme, and I'd research and improvise and stress and in the end, make her dream come true.  If the rest of her dreams were so easily achieved!

I followed this tutorial closely, just adding the mermaid detail, and crafting the top shell out of Rice Krispie treats instead of another cake on cardboard.  The mermaid was a doll from Tootie Pie's collection, who just happened to have pink hair; I removed her legs with a hot knife (she was hard plastic), and added a fondant tail.  To the cake dish I added brown sugar "sand" and pink and white chocolate shells to complete the look.  Each guest got Rice Krispie treats, cake, and chocolate.  Sugar fest!

The gallery of Birthday Cakes Past:
The cake that started it all: her third birthday
"Chris" cake - she loved the Care Bears
because her cousin gave her the plush version
but she'd never seen the show.  Hence, this
was "Chris" instead of Cheer Bear or

Her fourth birthday I made a rainbow leprechaun surprise
cake.  The sign was to trap the leprechaun inside with a
promise of gold.  Her classmates were intrigued by the premise.

A shot of the inside rainbow.  And a goofball.

This was probably the greatest of all my cakes, for her fifth birthday.

Six was a Hello Kitty theme.

Who knows what next year will bring?

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