Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Easy DIY Ruffle Top Dress Tutorial - My Maternity Dress Makeover!

I'm expecting... and when you're expecting there's 2 things you desperately want your clothes to be - comfortable and cute. But that's hard to come by... especially together!

I went hunting at the thrift store the other day and found this gem – a long-sleeved maternity dress that was literally just a giant t-shirt. Talk about comfortable! But not so cute.

Well, it’s summertime and I had a plan… time for a dress makeover!

You could do this with any t-shirt or skirt too.

Step 1: Cut off those long sleeves.
Step 2: Cut the sleeve scraps into strips.

We’re going to use the cutoff sleeves for ruffles!

Make each strip 2 ½ inches wide. I wanted 3 ruffles on my shirt. So I cut one strip 14 inches long and the other two strips I cut 7 inches long.

TIP: Cut your strips 2 times the length that you want them to be in the end. This gives your ruffles plenty of “flounce”. Example: Want a 7 inch ruffle? Cut a 14 inch strip of fabric.

Step 3: Sew big stitches about ¼ inch from the top of each strip. The pull one of the strings to make a ruffle.

Step 4: Pin the top ruffle in place (the 14 inch strip). Then stitch it on.

Make sure the ruffle is centered on the shirt.
Step 5: Pin the top of the next ruffle about 1 ½ inches below the top ruffle’s stitching. Sew it in place.

Repeat this step for as many ruffles as you like. I made the 2nd and 3rd ruffles shorter than the top one just for added spunk. :) 

The top is done. YAY! If you’re only doing a t-shirt, you can stop here. But I had an entire dress to doctor.
Now to fix the bottom of the t-shirt dress…

Step 6: Cut off the bottom of the skirt.

Since it went to the floor, I had plenty of fabric to play with. *Remember not to cut off too much! You can always make it shorter.

Step 7: Make the bottom ruffle.

Cut two strips that are 2 ½ inches wide. Sew them together to make one long strip of fabric. Sew using big stitches about ¼ inch from the top and pull one string to make the ruffle. Then sew the two ends together to make a circle.

Don’t trim those strings yet! You might need to pull the thread again to keep that ruffle “ruffling”.

Step 8: Pin the bottom ruffle in place. Sew across the top of the ruffle.

Ok, now you can trim the strings. 

And … Ta Da! Here’s my new cute dress that feels like a t-shirt without looking like one. Happy day! :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cardboard Kitchenette Tutorial

My little girl has become quite the chef.  She even has her own cooking show, where she says "And then..." over and over while mixing her "ingredients" in her hat, bucket, bowl, purse, etc.  I decided she needed to have a real kitchen to work in--well--a real pretend kitchen to work in.  Here's what I used to make her a small kitchenette: a medium sized cardboard box, a paper towel tube, metal or plastic bowl (has to have some sort of lip on the edge), pen, cerated knife, tape, paint, felt, Elmer's Glue, string, yarn and a few odds and ends for "hardware."

Before you get started, make sure the box you have chosen to use is a good height for your little one.  And make sure it will hold up to mini Iron Chef-ing.  It would be very sad if the kitchenette fell apart after just a few months.

Step one: tape your box completely closed on all sides.  Make it secure.  Then measure where you want your sink, faucet, stove top, oven door, and cupboard doors to be stationed. Mark all areas with your pen.

Step two: Use your knife to cut open the oven door, cupboard doors, sink area and faucet area.  When cutting the oven and cupboard doors open, be sure to only cut 3 edges, and score the remaining edge so that it will open smoothly.  Also, to cut the sink space, place your bowl open side down on the box.  Trace it, and then cut it a bit smaller than the lip on the bowl.  Cut the hole for the faucet exactly the same size as the paper towel tube.  Err on the smaller side, not the bigger.

Step 3:  Create the faucet out of the paper towel tube.  Mine is not a super clean job, but it works.  I cut two wedges out of my paper towel role so that it would curve over the sink.  I angled the paper towel tube and taped it back together.  The end of the paper towel tube that is going to be inserted in the cardboard box needs to be clipped about 1/4 of an inch in, perpendicular to the open edge.  Insert the clipped edge into the faucet hole.  Under the "counter top," bend out the edges of the paper towel role to secure the faucet in place. Glue and let dry.  Then tape like crazy to reinforce it.

Step 4:  Install Sink.  Literally plug the bowl in and move on.

Step 5:  Get creative and paint away.  I removed my bowl so I didn't accidentally get paint on it.

Step 6:  Gather your odds and ends and paint them (if you need to) to turn them into cupboard handles, oven handles, towel racks, hot/cold faucet knobs, element knobs, oven temperature knob, etc.

Step 7:  Now, what to do about those elements.  There are so many ways you could make cool stove-top elements.  Mine are not that complex.  4 circles of felt glued with Elmer's Glue to the "stove top." I also decided to reinforce the felt elements with large stitches of fun colored yarn sewn through small holes I made in a spiral pattern in the cardboard top. This is really helpful to prevent kids ripping the elements off of the stove.

Step 8: Install your hardware any way you like.  I used hemp-like string and looped it through small holes I made in the cardboard cupboard and oven doors.  I used a pretty small phillips head screwdriver to push through the cardboard.  It worked really well.

Step 9:  Add a little costume apron and giggle as you watch your little chef host her own cooking show: "And then, stir for two minutes....And then taste it....And then...."

clean the shower doors tip

Having trouble cleaning hard water stains off the shower door?
Try this...

Use a mixture of:
1 cup baking soda 

a few drops of oil 

1/4 cup dish soap 

add enough water to make a thin paste 

Use a sponge with "scrubbing" capabilities and scrub with the 

After getting the hard "spots" off, rub lemon oil on the doors.  

Use a squeegee after every shower.

Hopes this helps.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thumb print bags

This was a simple project that took about 24 hours to complete because of drying time. I made six of these bags, well, not the bags themselves, but the printing on them. I bought the bags at a craft store for $2 a bag. I used alphabet fabric stamps that I bought at a school supply store for $20. I used my thumb and fore finger for the balloons. I used fabric paint for the ink on the letters and the balloons. I used a sharpie marker and a ruler to draw the strings on the balloons to the letters.  Slide a piece of cardboard into the bag before you start so no paint leaks through. Wait for one side to dry completely before stamping the other side. Then after the paint is dry, cover the image with a thin cotton cloth (I used a thin cloth diaper) and iron it, hot and with steam to set the paint. Any image you can manage to draw with a sharpie or paint could easily be put on the bags. Fun little gifts for teachers, friends, sisters, thank you's, or hello's. Happy printing!

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