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Archive for the ‘toy’ Category

Last Christmas, Husband and I decided that V should “inherit” my American Girl doll that I’d had when I was younger.  She was delighted, and I really enjoyed seeing all of my special little doll clothes and accessories out and being enjoyed again.

One thing that I really felt strongly about, though, was having a good way to store the doll’s dresses.  When I was younger, the dresses must have stayed in a pile or gathered under the little garment bag I had as part of the doll’s traveling kit.  It made it hard to play with them, and so I asked Husband if he could help… and of course, he did!

We browsed for some ideas, and somewhere on Pinterest we saw an idea that we both liked– it was straightforward and we had scrap wood on hand.  Husband purchased a dowel, and put this cute clothing rack together really quickly!

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Originally, we had intended to paint it, but we think it looks nice as-is.  It’s stable without being bulky, and I love how it keeps the outfits tidy and unwrinkled.  It’s also tall enough that my daughter can store more accessories on the floor under the hanging clothes.

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I noticed, however, that the dresses collected dust really easily.  (Our house always seems so dusty, no matter how frequently we change our filters!)  It really got to me the other day, and so I went down to my craft studio and drafted up this fabric cover for the rack.

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There are main panels connected with a top panel (so that the design of the fabric could be upright on both sides), and end panels that flare to fit the shape of the clothing rack.

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I added a handle on top so that my daughter can easily pull the cover off whenever she’s ready to play with her doll.

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I think it’s working out really well!

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The cover is easily vacuumed or washable, and it keeps the dresses ready for playing!

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Bunny and Bug

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I’m not exactly sure what gave me the idea, but I decided that each of my kids should get a special mommy-made softie for Christmas.  I love Ikat Bag’s Menagerie pattern, and since I’ve already made a squid, I knew that the pattern is really straightforward and well-written– and therefore manageable in the short amount of time I had free before Christmas.

I chose to make a Bunny and a Bug, because those are nicknames I use for my children.

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Bug is made from “anti-pill” fleece from Joann.  He is soft and snuggly, but I must say, I am super unimpressed with the “anti-pill” nature of the fabric.  He was pilled almost as soon as my son hugged him!  But thankfully, that doesn’t inhibit him from being cuddly.

I found some faux fur in a nice grey color for Bunny (I was surprised (and happy) that when I asked V about the color of an ideal bunny, she chose grey instead of white.  I love grey!!). The inside of Bunny’s ears and her tummy are made from scraps leftover from V’s bathrobe.

These softies were a quick and inexpensive project to make, and since B isn’t much of a softie kid in general, and since V has a seemingly endless supply of them, I didn’t expect these two to become beloved toys.  I was delighted, though, when Bug became B’s most-snuggled animal, and V was so taken with Bunny that she wanted to bring her for show-and-tell at school.  Both kids insisted on bringing them on the airplane for our holiday travel (and Bunny got pulled aside in security because she was so dense! Whoops!).

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Even months later, Bug and Bunny are counted among the “favored few” of the kids’ stuffed animals.  That makes my maker-mommy heart so happy.

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just look at those faces! 

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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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Squid

This handsome fellow was a surprise Christmas gift for Husband.

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

 

His name is Qubit, and he is a squid.  Or SQUID, if you are a physics-y kind of person.  😉

Indulge me while I share some more beauty shots.

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

Stuffed Squid made from IkatBag Menagerie pattern

I used the simply fantastic Menagerie pattern by LiEr at Ikat Bag to make this handsome sea creature.  He is made from two shades of solid-colored fleece that I bought on an extreme sale (it turned out that when I had to buy a spool of lighter green thread for matching topstitching on the eyelids, I spent more on it than the fleece!).

He came together so quickly!  I absolutely loved using the pattern.  Every step was well-explained, and the amount of information provided is fabulous.  I am really looking forward to the chance to make more animal variations.  I highly recommend this pattern to anyone who wants more whimsical animals in their life.

Qubit is now at Husband’s office, overseeing his work there, and providing some squidsperation.  I hope he gives Husband a laugh or smile whenever he sees him!

 

P.S. Happy birthday today, Husband!  I love you.

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So, just as I started stitching my quilt blocks into rows, I ran out of white thread. While it was quite a bummer and dented my momentum, it gave me a bit of an excuse to work on a couple of other things that had been simmering in my brain, but that I’d been putting off because I wanted to devote my crafting time to finishing this quilt.

One of them was this baby dinosaur taggie toy for B.

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The project popped up on my Pinterest feed as a “recommended pin.” Generally I really dislike these pins, since they tend to dominate my feed and dilute what I have chosen to follow. I try to seriously limit the time I spend on the site (I already have so many things I want to do…) and so I try to ignore all the tempting pins on the home feed, but this little dino was so cute, I couldn’t resist. Husband has a soft spot for dinosaurs, and I have s soft spot for my husband and son. 🙂 As soon as I saw the link, I’d mentally chosen fabric!

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To fit the fabric scraps, I had to reduce the size of the pattern to 90%. And since B seems to love tags but more ambivalent toward loops, I finally tried the candle technique to “seal” the cut edge of the ribbons along the dinosaur’s spine.  The whole thing took me less than an hour.

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It was immensely gratifying to see that B immediately liked his dinosaur.  He made approving growly noises and proceeded to explore the ribbons and have a taste of the dinosaur’s head.  I think the dinosaur ended up being the perfect size for him to hold (and bash).

The other thing I made during this particular overlapping nap time were two small, loosely stuffed pillows. I’m calling them door pillows.

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At night, we like to have our kids’ doors partly open so that we can hear them better, and also because my daughter likes to have the light from the hall spill into her room until she falls asleep. But we don’t want the doors wide open, either. The way the doors are hung on their hinges means that, left on their own, they will swing wide unless latched. Until recently we have been employing an inelegant solution: propping the doors open on bunched up scraps of cloth–ugly and sort of embarrassing, really. These pillows are low enough loft that the doors still swing over them if pushed (say, as a bleary parent responds to a cry in the night), but there is just enough friction to keep the doors from swinging on their own.  I didn’t weight them, so they are not tripping hazards (see above, about bleary blundering in the dark).  I’m so pleased to finally have such a simple solution that looks intentional.

door pillows for the kids' rooms

door pillows for the kids' rooms

door pillows for the kids' rooms

After working on a long-term project like the quilt, I felt so successful to have completed a couple of projects in about an hour of overlapping nap time!

 

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Lap desk

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time!!  I am so excited about this project.

Way back in August, my brother got married.  And there was no question that I was going to be there!  But the wedding was far, far away, and our boy was just 6 weeks old.  We decided to drive, rather than fly (still not sure whether our decision was the best one…but we made it!!), so I wanted to make sure our girl was well-stocked with activities for the car.  As Husband and I brainstormed all sorts of ideas, we decided we should have some sort of lap desk for her.  This project started out as a simple magnetic dry erase board with a few colored dry erase markers.  And then it became so much more!

Even though I had negative free time, I knew I wanted to make this a really special lap desk.  I had an idea in my mind to add pockets on the sides so that she could put her markers and other activities into them.  While I nursed my baby boy, I dreamed about designs.  A search on Pinterest for “lap desk for car” yielded a lot of results.  There was one that looked almost exactly like my theoretical lap desk.  The pin led to a post on the “Mer Mag” blog which had lots of different views of her creation, and in reading the text of the post, I found another post on her blog where she’d written a skeletal tutorial to construct the car lap desk.  It was exactly what I needed to boost my sleep-deprived-mama-brain into gear to make my lap desk.  I mean, my daughter’s lap desk! 😉

My sweet husband helped me to put together enough moments to make the desk in time for our car trip.  I still have no idea how we managed to find me the time!

I am so extremely proud of how this thing turned out!

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V explores her new lap desk– a surprise on our big road trip.

Here are the features:

 

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finished lap desk

finished lap desk

finished lap desk

The lap desk is fully washable.  The magnetic white board is tied onto the top with narrow ribbon.  A piece of cardboard slips into a fabric pocket underneath the white board to add stability, and it also adds enough width so that the hanging pockets clear the sides of V’s car seat.  An envelope pillowcase attached to the underside of the desk holds a small pillow so that the desk sits on a bit of padding on her lap.  If it needs to be laundered, I can remove the whiteboard, cardboard, and pillow and throw the whole thing into the washing machine.

finished lap desk

finished lap desk

finished lap desk

There is a handle so that it can be carried more easily.  The pocket that encases the cardboard is closed with loops of narrow elastic that secure a row of colorful, mismatched buttons (which intrigue V– bonus!).  On each side, there are hanging zippered pockets for storage of things like markers and a rag for wiping the whiteboard.  On the outside of the zippered pockets, I added more pockets, and two of them are held open by a bit of boning to make them wide-mouthed.  I didn’t want my daughter to struggle to put her things into them.

With the exception of the whiteboard and the narrow yellow ribbon, I made the lap desk entirely out of materials I had on hand.  The black and white chevron fabric was originally destined to become cloth napkins, but I am so much happier that it became this project!

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Within moments, the bows come out of the yellow ribbon–inquiring little fingers cannot resist!! I make sure that the ribbon is knotted first, and add the bows just for looks 🙂

 

This lap desk was such a hit!!  V absolutely loved coloring on it with the (washable) whiteboard markers, and Husband had the brilliant idea to transform some adorable dimensional animal stickers into magnets (we simply glued plain round magnets to the backs of the stickers).  V had a grand time placing them all on the whiteboard and moving them around.  We didn’t even need to break out the magnetic alphabet, since V was so intrigued with the markers and the animal magnets!  As she gets older, I can see attaching coloring pages and activity sheets to the whiteboard with magnets so that she can work on them.  On every subsequent car trip (which have been much shorter in length, thankfully!),  V has requested her lap desk, and we are more than happy to see her coloring on it or playing with the magnets!

finished lap desk

finished lap desk

finished lap desk

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We made magnets from dimensional animal stickers, and V loved moving them around on the magnetic whiteboard surface of her lap desk!

 

I took really detailed notes as I constructed the desk, as well as a ridiculous number of photos.  I want to make one for my little boy when he is old enough to need one (thankfully I have at least a year or two ;-)).  Maybe I’ll even write a tutorial post… but if Ido, it won’t be for a while.  It already took me almost a month to get most of the photos of the finished lap desk (just two were taken on our road trip, the rest were “staged” when the car was in our driveway at home a month later), and two months to get these photos on the blog!

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A while ago, this cute sailboat pillow was featured on Sew, Mama, Sew!, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one for my little boy.  His nursery is going to have a bit of a nautical theme, so it’s perfect!  This project was SUPER easy!  I skimmed the tutorial, made my own pattern, and had the entire thing sewn in less than an hour.  And it was entirely free!  I used some scraps from the crib skirt, boppy cover, and a couple others form my scrap bin.

sailboat taggie pillow for our little boy

sailboat taggie pillow for our little boy

I added more ribbon taggies (scraps from my ribbon bin) than originally shown, because I liked the idea of the boat having lots of cheery, celebratory signal flags!

sailboat taggie pillow for our little boy

In the tutorial, the author gave an idea to insert a little bell, so my daughter helped me poke one into the stuffing 🙂

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I hope my little boy has lots of fun with this little taggie pillow!

 

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Doll clothes

I mentioned in my first post about this doll that my daughter’s two grandmas were going to make outfits for her doll.  I won’t be showing them in this post, just the two dresses that I personally made for the doll.  

 

When I was choosing materials to make the doll herself, I showed my daughter the pictures on the cover of the pattern.  I was trying to get her input about the hairstyle I should give the doll, but my daughter focused in on the dresses!  One of the dolls has a pink dress, and from this point forward, my daughter has referred to this doll (when she remembers about it– she hasn’t received the doll quite yet) as her “pink dolly.”  Therefore, a pink dress was an absolute must.

On another trip to the fabric store, I had my daughter pick out some pink fabric (I narrowed the selection down to a few choices for her first).  She picked this cheerful bright one, and it was the first dress I sewed up.

 

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Most of the doll’s clothes (including the undersuit, which can be seen in my first post about the doll) are made from scraps of fabric from other projects.  Her second dress is orange…

 

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(Any guesses as to where this fabric was first used? ;-))

I made a coordinating “diaper” as I attempted to modify my diaper pattern.

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I have the pieces cut for one more dress– with fabric that matches a dress of my daughter’s (made by my mom!).  If I get a chance, I’d like to make it up for her soon!

 

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Doll diapers

In my last post, I mentioned that I made some diapers for my daughter’s handmade doll.  She loves pretending to give her stuffed animals and other toys “diaper changes,” but we actually don’t have any play diapers.  With the new baby, I figure she’s going to see a lot of diaper changes in the future, so I’d encourage the idea by making some little cloth diapers for her doll.

The concept of these diapers is based on a tutorial I found through Pinterest: http://onelittleproject.com/how-to-make-cloth-diapers-for-a-baby-doll/, though I didn’t use her pattern, since this doll is a dramatically different shape and size!

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Based on the basic shape of the diaper pattern from the tutorial, I drafted my own pattern.  When I was happy with the design, I sewed up a couple in white, and I’ll make more in the future if they are needed!

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The design is very similar to the shape of a disposable diaper (or a fancy cloth diaper).  They close with velcro just like in the tutorial, though I didn’t line them with fleece (seemed excessive for such a small doll).

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I have to admit, it’s a little funny to be posting pictures of this poor doll in just a diaper, but I think they’re super cute, and I’m certain that my daughter is going to get a kick out of diapering her!

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Doll

I decided near the beginning of this year that I wanted to make my daughter a doll.  I thought it would be a fun gift to give to her when her baby brother is born– both so that she is receiving something special as a gift, and also so that she has a little “someone” to take care of herself as she watches me take care of the new baby.  She already is interested in some dolls that were mine when I was little, and goes through phases where she is fascinated with pretending to change their diapers (which they actually don’t have– just little bloomers).

Long ago, I came across the cute “Kit, Chloe, and Louise” doll pattern by Wee Wonderfuls.  When the doll idea began to formulate in my busy brain, I came back to this pattern.  I especially loved the idea that the doll would be soft and cuddle-able– not a plastic head on a soft body (which I found disconcerting as a child).  And there are several sets of clothes!  I asked V’s grandmas to get in on the gift.  They would each make an outfit or two for the doll, so that between the three of us, the doll would have a tiny wardrobe of fun clothes to wear.

I finished the doll in March, though I didn’t get up the courage to embroider her eyes until the end of April!

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This post is going to have a lot of photos!  I am super-proud of this doll.  She is certainly the most complicated softie I’ve ever made!

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I pretty much followed the pattern instructions to the letter– except for the eyes.  Instead of appliqueing felt circles to the doll’s face, I decided to embroider the eyes using a satin stitch.  Oooh!!  I just realized, I never gave her eyebrows!  Oh well 😉

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The hair was such an interesting process!  The instructions were great, and even though it took a lot of hand-work, it was very straightforward to make the “wig” and attach it to her head.

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In a later post, I will show off the “diapers” and two dresses that I’ve made (so far) for the doll, but in this post, I’ll just write about the little “undersuit,” which was the first piece of clothing I made.  I edged the neckline, arm-, and leg-holes with some trim I had on hand (thanks, Grandma!), and added a couple tiny buttons to the front for decoration.

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