Thursday, August 28, 2014

Disney's "Brave" Inspired Costume Dress

Good Afternoon!
Today is a lovely, warm, sunny day....the kind of day that just makes you happy...and I have been perfectly happy all day :)  Let's see if it lasts...

For the past couple of days I have been working on caulking and puttying my fireplace.  I would be finished by now, but I ran out of I will be finishing that this afternoon.

Today I am going to share with you the dress I made for my one-year-old niece's birthday party a couple of weeks ago.  It was a "Brave" themed party and my sister was having a hard time finding a Brave costume for her daughter that was small enough to fit her newly one-year-old daughter.   I started thinking about it, and decided I could make one for her.  I can not believe how awesome it turned out!  I made this before I started back blogging, so I regret that I don't have a lot of "detail" pictures of it.  I did take a few though....because I just couldn't resist texting them to my sis while I was mid-project.
Disney's "Brave" Inspired Costume Dress

The materials I used were this:


  • 3 yards of dark teal netting
  • 1.5 yards of kelly green netting
  • 1.5 yards of light blue tulle 
  • 1.5 yards of lime green sparkly tulle
  • green crocheted headband stuff on a spool (yeah...I'm not sure what it's called...see picture below if you're confused) 
  • 1/8th yard of dark teal satin (ish) material
  • 1/8th yard of gold satin (ish) material
  • 1/8th yard of blue and green tartan plaid material
  • a whole bunch of gold rope trim.  I bought three different kinds.  
  • gold ribbon
  •  two sheets of brown felt
  • a small section of leather cording
  • hot glue
  • more gold rope trim
  • head of a fake daisy
bow and arrows: 
  • stem from a fake flower
  • gold elastic cording
  • small piece of leather cording
  • three strait sticks (or dowel rods could work)
  • brown "real looking" craft feathers
  • glitter gold felt
Total cost:  around $25 dollars and I bought it all at Hobby Lobby...I used my 40% off coupon! 

Here is the skirt after I got it all assembled:  

It's just your basic "tie tutu."  I measured my niece's chest and then stretched out the stretchy crochet mesh so that it would fit her well, and then I sewed the crochet mesh closed into a circle.  I used a zig zag stitch and sewed the heck out of it over and over so I could be sure it would hold up. 

I cut all of the netting and tulle into equal lengths and folded them in half.  I took the center fold of each tulle piece and put it through one of the crochet holes on the very bottom row of holes.  I inserted it from the front so that a  little loop of tulle was sticking through to the inside of the crocheted mesh.  I then pulled the loop down, stuck my fingers through the loop and grabbed the tails of tulle that were hanging and pulled them through the loop and tightened, so that it made a knot.  I wish I had a detail picture of this, but I don't. It's really easy though....just knot the tulle into the little holes....and repeat!  until you've used up all of your tulle. I did a little math with mine so that it had an even pattern of the different kinds of netting and tulle.  Here's a close up: 

Side note:  Using both netting and tulle will make for a stiffer tutu.  I loved the netting, but if you want it to be really soft and flowy, then I'd go all tulle...but you will need a lot more than what I used here.  

After I finished the tutu, I took two pieces of braided gold rope to make straps.  I hand stitched them into the inside of the front of the tutu only.  I left the back pieces free so that I could adjust them on my niece when she put it on.  Those were just safety pinned in when she put it on.  

This much by itself is a perfectly good tutu dress, but I wanted it to be special, so I made an adjustable bodice to fit, unattached, over the tutu dress.  Here's what I did:  

This is the finished front of the bodice:  

and the finished back:  

I measured by niece's chest circumference and made the length around approximately that length.  I cut two matching pieces of the shiny blue fabric in a basic long rectangle, but added a little dip down to a point in the front, to make it look more medieval ....the length of this rectangle needs to be as long as the chest measurements.   No pattern, I just eyeballed it.  I made sure to keep in mind that I was going to do a 1/2 inch seam allowance around the whole thing.  It looked kind of like this:

After that, I figured out how wide I wanted the plaid fabric to be and I cut out the piece of plaid fabric to the same height of the blue fabric.  I then cut only one of the pieces of blue fabric (the one that will act as the front of the bodice....the other will be the lining of the bodice) in half and then cut off the part where the plaid fabric will go, except I left a 1/2 inch seam allowance on both the plaid piece and the space where I cut to make room for the plaid piece.  Does this make sense?  I am basically replacing part of the blue fabric with the plaid fabric....but you still want your entire front piece to perfectly match your still intact back piece.  Jeez, I wish I had a real photograph of this. In my lovely diagram, pretend the green part is plaid.  

Before sewing this together, I cut several tiny pieces of gold rope and pinned them in a zig zag pattern across the plaid part in the middle.  I would recommend gluing these in place before you sew it, because the seam itself wont' keep them in place.  They slipped out a bunch.  

Now you want to put your right sides together and sew the plaid piece to the left blue side and then do the same thing to the right blue side, so that you have the same shape you started with of blue, plaid, and then blue.  Take this piece and then match it up to it to it's matching liner piece and set aside. 

  I then cut four long rectangles out of the gold shiny fabric to make two sleeves. Two pieces for each sleeve.   I put two pieces together, right sides together and sewed them along each long side, but left the ends open.  I then turned it right side out using a safety pin to pull it through....and then I repeated for the second strap.  These were about two inches wide and looked like a long strap before I added them to the dress. 

 I then dry fitted them into the bodice (everything right side out, and you have to fold the bodice around so that it makes a it's folded in the picture above) to see where I wanted them to go.  I ended up putting them in at an angle so the strap would go off of her shoulder.  Make sure they are long enough for an arm to fit.  Pin the straps in where you want them at the front of the bodice and at the back. Only pin on the front piece of fabric, so that you can turn the pieces inside out (right sides together) while you sew.  Once you have your straps pinned in place, take the bodice pieces apart and put them together with the shiny sides together....the tops of the strap pieces will be weird and squish up inside.  I recommend pinning them down, so they won't sneak up and get caught in your seam.  The ends of the straps will be sticking out of the seam.  Pin all around, and then sew all of the way around on both the top and the bottom of the bodice, but leave the ends open. Be careful to remove pins as you sew...or some of them will wind up sewn inside of the bodice. Turn it inside out and it should look a lot like the above picture, just minus the rope. 

 On the open ends, I folded them in on themselves and then took two pieces of gold rope trim and made loops.  I stuck the loops into the opening and then sewed it down.  I repeated on the other side.  I then got some of the skinny gold rope trim and threaded it through the loops like you would a shoelace and tied a bow.  This way the top is somewhat adjustable. After that, I glued some braided rope trim on top of my stitches where the loops are, and then I glued the twisted rope trim all of the way around the bottom of the bodice.  I used hot glue...but a better alternative is fabric glue.  I just told my sister to only wash it in cold and not put it in the dryer.  Fabric glue would be better...but you use what you have...

Here it is put together (not the skirt is not attached to the bodice, this is a two piece outfit).  I also added a little bit of gold ribbon that I had to make a bow on the front of the dress.  

After this I added some embellishments to the skirt.  On the back, I tied in some of the braided gold rope into the loops on the crocheted mesh and then did the same with the ribbon.  I got lucky and it curled by itself.  :)  

I also made her a bow, arrows and a quiver for them to go into.  Here is the bow:

I made this by cutting the flower head off of a fake flower and using the bendy stem to bend into a bow.  I then notched the ends with a knife and tied some of the skinny gold elastic cording to both ends, and then I hot glued a little bit of leather around the handle.  It was the perfect size for a one year old and pretty child proof too.  

I ended up adding more embellishment to the front of the dress too.  

I googled how to make a celtic knot and used my left over twisty gold rope to make one.  I then looped some more gold rope through the top of the celtic knot so that I could hang it down the front of the dress.  I just safety pinned it on the inside of the green crocheted mesh.  I covered the ends of the rope with a little bit of blue fabric and hot glue.  

For the quiver, I used all hot glue and brown felt.  I cut a circle, cut little slits around the edge of the circle and folded them up.  Next, I glued a rectangle sheet of felt around the folded up edges of the circle to make a cylinder.  I then made some little holes in the felt and threaded through some extra leather laces that I found around the house (not sure what that belonged  I took the flower that I had already cut off of the stem to make the bow and glued it to the front of the quiver.  I also made a shoulder strap out of the same brown felt and glued it on.  I finished it off with a little bit of extra braided gold trim that you can barely see going around behind the flower. 

For the arrows, I found sticks in the back yard, hot glued some craft store feathers to one end, and I cut two triangles out of gold glitter felt and sandwiched the stick in between them with hot glue.  I don't have any great pictures of the arrows.  My sis is supposed to be sending me one, but it's not downloading....I gave up trying to get it from her, lol.  You can see them in some of these pictures. I'll add a better picture of the arrows later if I can get a hold of one.  
Little princess in her dress! 

With her little baby best friend who also had a Brave tutu on. My sister, her husband and a friend are also pictured. 

I really love love love how it turned out!  Funny step-mom loved this so much, she asked me to make her an adult sized version for her to wear to work at a pediatric dentist's office on Halloween.  It's just cracking me up that she wants to wear this! I'll bet the kids at the dental office will love it though.  
I'll be back soon with more updates on the fireplace soon!  Have a great day! 

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tips for Cutting Moulding for Trim Work

Hi Friends! Today is Sunday...and I'm playing hookey from church!  Well, not really, I'm not feeling very well today and I'm just hanging out in my bed.  What better thing to do than a blog post :)

Friday, I got started back with organizing a project to do list. Basically, making a step by step list of what I'm going to tackle and in what order.  First priority is to finish this fireplace that I've been working on (sloooooowly) for an entire year.  Well, I had several small pieces of trim that needed to be added and fixed.  I can't exactly give you a "big reveal" of my fireplace just yet, but I thought I'd share the little bits I'm working on until I have it completely finished...and then I'll go back and give a detailed explanation of how I did the entire thing.  

Here is the little area I needed to fix/finish the trim on:
I needed to take off the bit of baseboard that is already attached and re-position looks bad...and then I needed to finish the baseboard all the way around the book shelf and back down the wall.  I also needed to continue the trim around the tile and across the bottom shelf of the book shelf (right under where the dvds are).

The first thing I always do is measure the length of my piece of wood, by placing it where it will be going and marking the wood.  This is always better than measuring.  Sometimes you just have to measure, due to size of the wood or the location you are putting it, but always use this method if you have the option.  

For an outside corner, I usually mark where the wood will miter.  I mark both ends.  First where the wood touches the corner on the short end of the miter, and then I draw a diagonal line approximating where the cut will be....and then I usually mark another line indicating where the outside end or the long end of the miter will wind up.  Sometimes you can get a perfect measurement on this, and other times, it's an approximate measurement (I was able to get a perfect measurement this time, because there is a messed up piece that is too short, allowing me to lay my wood flush to get the measurement...more on that in a minute).  The measurement you really want to pay attention to is the one on the inside, the part of the wood that is going to be the same length as what you are attaching it to.  That is your precise measurement.  The other marks are more for orientation when you get your wood out to the saw.  It makes it a lot easier to know where you are going to cut the wood and how to hold your wood.  
You can see why I needed to remove that piece of baseboard from this angle.  Let me tell ya...I've gotten a lot better at this with practice.  Those jacked up cuts were made a long time ago.  Don't worry I'm going to show you how to do it the right way :)

Ok, so I've got my wood on my see that there is a slit opening for the saw to sink into when it's cutting....don't use this as a guide, your cut will be off.  I know that I want the blade to cut along my little slanted line, right?  My saw head only bends to 45 degrees on the left side (I didn't take any pictures of it to show you....but it's just your basic miter saw). I bent my blade to make a 45 degree cut at the saw....but did not move the base either direction (the base rotates left or right to a variety of angles).  The base was kept strait.  Usually, you'll use the head of the saw to miter if you have a piece that you want to miter into the skinny side of your mine below.  In other cases, you could use the base to rotate and keep the head strait if you have a piece that is thicker that will stand up on it's side and do the same thing, or if you have a piece that you want to miter into the long side (like as in a picture frame). A lot of the time you could probably do it either way....not this time though...(sorry it that didn't make any sense) 
 Based on my markings, the blade will enter the wood at the left marking and cut along the diagonal  mark (across the whole piece of wood) exit approximately where the second mark is.  

What you want to do is move the blade down (without turning it on) and see that the very outside skin of the blade touches your wood at the very outside edge of your mark...maybe even the teeniest bit over from your can always cut off more wood, but you can't make your piece longer if you've cut it too short.  You want to make sure that all of the extra wood that will be pulverized by the width of the saw isn't included in your finished, cut piece.  You want that to come out of the left over scrap.

  You can't see my marks on this piece below, because they are on the skinny side of the piece and I'm cutting this on the flat side.  I extended the one mark around the piece of wood, so that I could see where I needed to cut.    

Once you have everything perfectly lined up, then turn the machine on and cut.  Obviously, do all of the things your saw manufacturer says to do in regards to safety and what not....and please don't cut yourself! 

My garage is awful...don't look at the ugly-ness...but this is what I ended up with.  Sorry it's a really bad picture.

And here's how it fit. Perfect fit!  Now, if only I had followed my own advice months ago when I cut those other (already attached) pieces. 

I went ahead and made a repair to the too short piece that you see in the picture above.  Ideally, I would have just taken that piece off and cut a new one....but this was already grouted and caulked in there and you know, I just wasn't feeling it.  Besides, it's amazing what some caulk can do to make a horrible mess look presentable.  Here's what I did...I mitered the end of my wood first, then held it up to measure the gap directly onto my piece of wood, then I held it it place and cut off that small piece going in the same direction as my first miter (all with the same techniques I mentioned above).  Keep your eye out, because those little pieces can go flying!

It fits!  It doesn't look perfect, but it fills it in and will be completely concealed after I patch it up.  I wont' nail this piece in, I am going to glue it with some liquid nails.  If you try to nail it it, it won't be stable because you could really only get one nail in there....and most likely the nail will break the small piece of wood in half....How do I know that?  Yeah, I tried to nail that piece, because I'm lazy....and it happened to me....and I had to re-do it. Don't repeat my mistakes. 

I went ahead and made a few cuts of baseboard around my bookshelf.  here's where I cut another outside corner and it looks perfect.  This is what it's supposed to look like y'all. 

This is an inside corner (between the bookshelf and the wall).  This was done without coping (I know how, but don't have a coping saw...would love one of those).  Coping is a whole other technique to give you really perfect inside it.  I cut these in the same manner as before, but instead of having the long end pointing out, the long end is against the wood/wall.  Whatever is against your wood or wall or ...whatever you are adding trim to, will be your firm measurement.  It's basically the opposite of the outside corner.  The piece of wood pictured on the right side of this picture actually is the same piece in the left side of the picture one end was part of a outside corner and the other end was part of an inside mark your wood well! You don't want to get confused when you go to the saw.

It will look better after quarter round is added to cover the gap there...and caulk and paint is added to cover imperfections....the cut, however, is perfect!  yay! 

I use a nail gun with a compressor to attach the trim.  I got this one from Lowes as a combo for about 100 bucks.  It has been great for my purposes.  

Be careful!  Read the directions and send the kids out of the room while you do this! 

The nailing takes just a minute to finish...and it's really fun!  

This is the little area I finished today all complete!  
Not a huge difference, but this completed all of trim work that was left on my fireplace!   Can I get a whoooo! 

Hope that was helpful to some.  It really has taken me a lot of trial and error to get the hang of the little things you have to do to make a perfect cut.  Good luck!  
Next up is caulking the whole. dang. thing....and then I'll be puttying, sanding and painting.  In addition, I"ll be casing in the window right next to the fireplace and repairing the trim around my back door, to complete this wall.  Almost there guys!  


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three mango seeds

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm baaaack!

Hey Guys!  I'm back!  So sorry to abandon blogging for the summer, but it had to be done.  I just could not keep it up.  I enjoy blogging so much, so that was kind of a bummer for me, but I am ready to start it back up full swing!

Our summer stayed very busy.  If you read back to the previous post you will see that I had two extra kids with me all summer.  We had some major challenges, that I probably had better not explain on the internet, but let's just say it was HARD....well, 6 kids without challenges would be hard anyway.  It was a very rewarding experience, though, and I know what I am capable of, for sure.  It's amazing how, when you have one child, you, I have no idea how someone can do this with two....and then you have a second and think... how does she do it with three...and so on and so on....but yet you are able to expand your abilities with each child you have, and you adjust....and it's rewarding.  I expanded my abilities this summer...boy did I.  The nice thing is that in comparison, it makes me appreciate my own children so much more.  Caring for just them feels easy now...and that is such a blessing :)

School started around here this past Monday.  I now have a 6th grader, a 3rd grader, a Kindergartner and my baby is starting preschool for the first time on this coming Monday.  We have three different "firsts" for my kids right now, and I have to say, it has made mama a little bit weepy.  I think the worst so far has been sending my oldest to middle school for the first time.  You don't walk them in for middle school....they are too old for that...I still tried (unsuccessfully). My kid's elementary school is right next door to the middle school and elm school starts 30 minutes before the middle school does, so we drop them all off at the same time and my oldest walks the bridge and path over to the middle school.  I just dropped him off and watched him walk that long path all the way to the school...and cried!  Sigh...I still can't believe it.  My Kindergartner surprisingly was awesome!  She just marched right in there and took charge of the room.  She was ready to go.  I think the real test will come this Monday when I have to drop off my baby for the first time.  Bring on the waterworks.

Some shots of my kids' first day of school:

Silly photos are always part of the deal. 

My littlest had to join the fun.  She's a bunny in all her photos now, lol.

They all did this face....I spared you shots of everybody else.

You can see a shot of his middle school behind him. 

There he goes.  

off into the sunrise!  He is so grown up...I can't take it! 


As far as my home has been a MESS this entire summer.  Either we were gone the entire day, or I spent the entire day cleaning and it still stayed a horrible mess.  I was doing two full loads in the dishwasher per day!  I have been so so so ready for some structure around here.  Since Monday, I have had three days to get things back into order and get a schedule set.  Let me tell you, it has been great! I got back to my cleaning schedule that I detailed in this post.  This seriously is the best way to keep your house clean. This morning I had a perfectly clean house by 9:30 am!  I have felt like a lazy bones all day long.  I have not had my house all the way clean, all at once, since well before the summer started.   I made a chronological list of the home improvement projects that I need to do.  It helps me to not be overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that needs to be done, to make a list of each step that needs to be completed in the order they need to be done.  That way I can just take it one step at a time.  First up, I am going to concentrate hard on getting my fireplace completely done.  I got it like 90 percent there and then just abandoned it.  It's so sad too....because it is almost BEAUTIFUL.....almost.  I also have a few crafts up my sleeve and sewing projects.  I made an awesome Disney's Brave inspired costume for my niece's for her first birthday party and I will do a post on how I made that...and I have a bunch of pillow making to do etc.
Here's a peek at the Brave costume.  I love it so much!

 Wow....I feel like there is so much to share and catch up on, but I have already made this post too long.  I'm so happy to be back and I will do my best to share all of the projects I'm working on in as real of time as possible.  Until then!