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We had quite a few activities planned for the princess party.  As the guests arrived, we had Rapunzel/Tangled coloring pages and crayons out on the table, as well as little “kits” set up to make Pascal blowers.

coloring pages and Pascal blowers to put together in the dining room

I’m really glad that I switched from regular craft foam to adhesive craft foam–it made all the difference!

Vivian made a Pascal blower

Becker made a Pascal blower with Mommy's help

We also had beanbag games set up in the entryway, where guests could throw “apple” (red) beanbags into a hole for Maximus and “satchel” (black) beanbags into a hole for Flynn.

Vivian's fifth birthday party [Ed's camera]

We did one “organized” party game before the “main event!”  I had cut a whole pile of small paper apples with my Silhouette, and we hid them around the rooms in which the party was happening.  The guests each collected at least five and they turned them in for a “reward from Maximus”– a little bag of red and green M&Ms (they were supposed to be apples, haha!)

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do you spy my Rapunzel charm bracelet?  I was Disney-bounding Rapunzel for the party, of course! 😉

The main event was the whole reason we decided to put on this party!  Husband found out about “party princesses” (entertainers who come to a birthday party dressed as a favorite princess character) and decided that they would be absolutely perfect for V.  And of course, they were!  We had requested that Rapunzel come to V’s party, and we were delightedly surprised when Aurora came with her!  The princesses sang, told stories, worked on a little craft, and played some games with the guests.  It was so sweet to see the little girls interacting with the princesses!  At the end, Rapunzel did a little coronation ceremony for V and then V gave out “coronation gifts” to each of the guests (toy rings for the girls, and sticky hands for the boys).

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Aurora, Vivian, and Rapunzel

As we did the different activities, the guests put their little treats and treasures into paper bags that I’d labeled with their names on tags that were styled after the party invitation. Also inside each of those bags was a little watercolor set shaped like a palette, and I added a little tag that says “Add a few new paintings to your gallery”

one of the favors for the kids

The party was so much fun to plan and even more fun to see in action… but it was so much work (totally worth it)!  The next party we do will probably be for B’s fifth birthday party– a few years from now, haha!

This is the last post in my series about our daughter’s princess party; click here for all the posts

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Vehicle quilt

My little boy has been needing a larger blanket for his bed for a while now.  One night in the fall, I realized that it really wouldn’t be hard to make him a quilt like the ones I made last spring (here and here).  I went on a hunt to find fabrics he would love.  Since (of course), I started the quilt two weeks before Christmas (remember, I mentioned that I was pretty busy, and I still had a princess dress to make, too!), I was limited to the local selection, and I was surprised how hard it was to find non-character vehicle prints that were not too babyish.  But I did find one!  It’s a navy cotton with white line drawings of different kinds of vehicles: airplanes, cars, trains, helicopters, busses.  (No trucks! What?!  But it’s okay, because thankfully my boy likes all kinds of vehicles.)  I teamed it up with a multicolored, striped cotton and a solid red cotton to piece the top.

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The back is one large piece of navy cotton printed with white stars.

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Like the previous quilts I’ve made with this design, I used flannel as batting and machine quilted it along the piecing seams.  And of course, I made a scrappy binding.

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And a dedication tag.

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The quilt is just the right size for his toddler bed (a converted crib).  Later on when he has a larger bed, he could use it as a reading or TV-watching cuddle blanket.

Becker's quilt (sewn for him for Christmas 2016) on his bed

Becker's quilt (sewn for him for Christmas 2016) on his bed

Becker's quilt (sewn for him for Christmas 2016) on his bed

These aren’t super-high-quality fabrics, but that is okay for now.  They are good enough for some hard use (we’ve already washed this quilt several times!)  I’ll make my son a better “big-boy-bed” quilt when he’s a bit older.  This one is for him to enjoy right now 🙂  And he is!  I loved his reaction on Christmas morning– he immediately wanted to lay down and snuggle on it.  The perfect endorsement from my vehicle-loving little boy.

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Becker's new quilt

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Costumes 2016: Pascal

Our almost-two-and-a-half-year-old son played the part of Pascal in our family costume this year!

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We started with the basic jumpsuit in Simplicity 1765 in the smallest size published, but it was still over 10″ too long for our boy, since the pattern is really a “child” sized pattern, not a “toddler” sized pattern.  We shortened the pattern and also took out quite a bit of bulk on the side seams.  Since we were making a chameleon outfit and not a dinosaur, we lengthened the tail and changed its shape a bit.  When the suit was assembled, Husband added some strong twisted wire into the stuffing of the tail, and we used that to curl it up.

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I changed the feet on the pattern to be more like Pascal’s three toes, and instead of making mittens, which B would have hated for restricting his ability for holding onto things, I modified the feet to make something that is effectively a wristband with three big puffy toes that come out over the hands.  The wristbands are held together with Velcro.

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We hand-stitched the head and eye ridges onto the hood and added fabric eyeballs.  To make the eyes, I cut two large circles out of white cotton (old sheet, of course!) and ran a long stitch around the perimeter.  I added some polyfill inside and cinched the stitches.  On the first one, I used a marking pen to determine the placement of the iris and pupil, removed the stuffing and flattened it again. Based on this marking, I used freezer paper templates to paint the iris/pupil onto the flat fabric circles, then cinched them up again with stuffing inside.  At the very end, I added a little catchlight (the white dot) in each eye, and it absolutely amazed me how much of a difference it made– the eyes suddenly looked friendly, rather than staring.

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The hood (as well as the hand-toe wristbands) is lined with some fabric from an old dress shirt of Husband’s.  When I realize that there was a likelihood of the lining being visible, I knew I needed to use green fabric– and the only reasonable green I had in my stash was this shirt.  Before I cut anything, though, I made sure that I could also transform the shirt into an apron!  The hood lining was cut from the upper sleeves– it is amazing how much fabric goes into a sleeve!

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Stay tuned for Flynn Rider!

 

 

 

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Costumes 2016

Happy costume day!!  Our family loves coming up with elaborate group costumes each year, and this year was no exception! Say hello to the cast of Tangled!

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Our almost-five-year-old daughter is really into Rapunzel right now, and our almost-two-and-a-half-year-old son really loves the movie, as well.  So it seemed only natural to choose to “play” characters from the movie for our costumes!  It’s pretty obvious that V is Rapunzel! B is dressed as Pascal, Rapunzel’s best friend and pet chameleon.  Husband is Flynn Rider, and I am dressed as Maxiumus, the royal guard horse.  (I didn’t want to play a kidnapping, conniving, selfish and lying old woman, even if her dress was prettier!)

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Starting at the end of this week, and going through next week, I’ll have posts featuring each of our individual costumes, with all the details about how we made them.  Stay tuned!

Rapunzel
Maximus
Pascal
Flynn Rider

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Lap desk for B

We had an eight-hour drive to and from our vacation spot this summer, so I decided that it was time that B had a lap desk of his very own!

Thankfully, I’d had the foresight when making V’s lap desk to take detailed notes and photos of my process.  [When I looked back at that set of instructions, I was seriously impressed with myself–I have no idea how my mind was clear enough to come up with the plan, let alone execute it and even take notes!  My baby was 6 weeks old, for heaven’s sake!  I think my creative brain was functioning better then than it is now 😉 …I was just desperate for some crafty time, and my deadline was extremely motivating.]

Anyway, I was very glad for the notes+photos combo.  I made almost no changes to my original “pattern,” though I did add a little pencil/pen slot to one of the pockets because the fabric scraps I was using weren’t long enough!

On one side, there are two smaller pockets:

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And on the other, there is one larger pocket (and the pencil slip):

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The desk is topped with a magnetic whiteboard that ties on with ribbon, and there is a green carrying handle.

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Underneath, there is a envelope pillowcase that holds a thin pillow for padding:

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The row of buttons holds a piece of corrugated cardboard that gives the desk some structure beyond the magnetic whiteboard’s edges.

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The cardboard, pillow, and whiteboard can all be removed, if the desk needs to get washed.

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I think B enjoyed having a lap desk for our trip.  The kids really enjoyed coloring with Color Wonder pads and crayons to pass the time.

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As soon as I started making V’s princess album, I realized that my son would also probably like to have a little scrapbook to look at–focused on his favorites from the trip.  It turned out to be a longer process than I’d expected!

It was easy to select photos, and I purchased an 8″x8″ album the next time my local Hobby Lobby had a sale… and then I got stuck on patterned papers.  Which is so silly, right?!  I hemmed and hawed, and tried to use papers I had in my stash, but I just didn’t like the way they looked.  Finally I went out and purchased a Simple Stories Sn@ap! “Color Vibe” 6″x6″ paper pad.

The next hangup was that unlike V’s album, for which I came up with a basic layout formula for each spread, I had varying numbers of photos in both orientations for the nine favorites I’d picked for B’s album.  I’m not sure where I got the idea, but I finally decided to color block/collage the photos together with monochromatic patterned papers to coordinate with each photo set.

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Also unlike V’s album, each page was a different topic, so I opted to create a title.  I used the font “Lobster 1.4” and cut each word three times from black textured cardstock.  I glued the layers together to give the words some substantial dimension before I added them to the page.

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I kept the embellishments minimal.  Not only is the album for a two year old, I also wanted it to be finished quickly!  I used the cut-apart tags from the “Color Vibe” paper pad and kraft tags from Jillibean Soup (jb0413), to which I added some crochet thread.  (By the way, I had to make a few more tags because I wanted to stick to only a star motif– I just used a 1.5″ circle punch and a tiny star punch I have that just happens to match the Jillibean tags perfectly!).  To top it all off, I added some Hobby Lobby enamel dots.

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For the title page, I broke from the color-block look and instead did some layering.  I chose the “classic” Disney colors (red, gold, and black), and added aqua for some kick.  Again, I embellished with the enamel dots and kraft tag… and the title is triple-layered die-cut cardstock.

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The 8″x8″ album I purchased at Hobby Lobby had a photo window in the front, so I chose a photo of Husband, B, and me from our day in Epcot and added a quickie title in PSE, using the same font (Lobster 1.4).

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(pardon the reflection, the protective plastic over the photo created quite a glare!)

 

 

 

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My little boy turned two on Friday!  He is 100% smitten by trucks– he is fascinated by any vehicles, really, but his true love is for trucks specifically.

When Husband and I started discussing cake ideas for his birthday, we did a quick Pinterest search for “truck cakes.”  I’d seen many construction site cakes before, but seeing the different variations on Pinterest made me realize that this really was the kind of cake design that would really appeal to my little boy.

We took inspiration from a few cakes in particular (This one, and this one, which isn’t attributed properly, unfortunately.)  The first one was particularly intriguing, because of the inside!!

But first, some photos of the outside:

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We first spotted those mini construction vehicles on Amazon, but soon discovered that they are significantly less expensive (for five trucks rather than four, even!) at Toys R Us and Walmart.  I couldn’t find them in my local store, but my mom found them in her area and brought them when they came to celebrate with us.

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I used my favorite buttercream recipe and made it chocolatey-delicious by adding 4 oz of melted unsweetened chocolate at the end.  I made another half-batch and colored it construction yellow for my son’s name and the lower border.

To fit the dump truck under the bulldozer (as if it is catching what the bulldozer pushes over the edge), I added a little platform of cardboard wrapped in wax paper.  I frosted it to help hold the dump truck in place.

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The “dirt piles” are chocolate-filled Oreos, crushed and strategically sprinkled on top to make it look like the bulldozer made a “2” shaped path on the top of the cake.  When I dug out the excavator’s pit in the side of the cake, I added more frosting and crushed Oreo to conceal the inside of the cake…because I wanted it to be a surprise!!

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Looky!  It’s caution-striped!!  I used the tutorial HERE to create this cool effect.  I added food coloring to a yellow cake mix to give those stripes the construction yellow color, but I just used a dark chocolate cake mix for the “black” stripes.

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My son was so excited.  He loved the trucks so much that he actually used them to eat his piece of cake!  Talk about a sign of approval 😉

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