Dress-up Apron for a Little Snow Queen

If you have a little girl in your life, chances are she loves a certain queen who sings a certain captivating song, and once it is heard, the brain just won’t let it go. I have three little granddaughters who role play Frozen at least once a day and would watch the movie every day if they were allowed. Even though the song gets stuck in my head, I love watching them sing with so much emotion while play-acting the role of Elsa. It seems they can’t go up a flight of stairs without bursting into song! So I decided to make some dreams come true and sew dress-up costumes for them for Christmas.

Melinda had a bridesmaid’s dress from several years ago hanging in the closet that was the perfect color. She wasn’t planning to wear it again and  knowing the girls would LOVE it, gave me permission to transform it.

Bridesmaid

I removed the zipper in the back and opened the seam to the hem. I made a horizontal cut across the dress between the waist and bust line. Since there were eight panels in the skirt, I also opened the seam down the front of the dress to the hem. Then I had two pieces of skirt for making two dress-up aprons. I folded the skirt panels in half lengthwise and made an angle cut from the top edge to the side to fit under the arms. Then I folded the top of the bodice of the apron under 1/4 inch twice and top stitched. Each side of the apron skirt was also folded under twice (up to the arm opening) and top stitched. To make a casing for ribbon ties, I sewed wide seam binding to the arm opening (right sides together) and folded the seam binding to the back side and top stitched it into place, leaving openings at the top and bottom edges of the seam binding for a casing.

Arm Casing Elsa Apron

Seam binding casing for ribbon ties at arm opening.

I found some crocheted snowflake ornaments made by my grandmother that had never been starched to make them stiff for hanging. They had been embellished with sequins and beads and were perfect to sew onto the front of the apron bodices.

Crochet Snowflake Elsa Apron

I threaded a fancy ribbon up through one arm casing and down through the other arm casing to form the neck of the apron and the waist ties. I wanted the apron to be one size fits all, so this makes it easy to adjust.

Elsa Apron SnowflakeElsa Apron Top

To help keep the ends of the ribbons from pulling through the casing, I sewed some fancy “ice crystals” pompoms that I just happen to have in my stash, to each end.

Ribbon ends Elsa Apron

The apron looked beautiful, but I had a snowflake stencil I purchased last spring that was begging to be used. So I stenciled snowflakes onto the skirt using white fabric paint. Depending on how the light hits the fabric you can see the snowflakes well or hardly at all– makes them feel more magical.

Stenciled Snowflakes

Elsa Dress up Apron

I can’t wait to see these on the girls. Next post I’ll show you some accessories I made to go with the aprons. Now to work on the Anna Apron! Shh…don’t tell the girls!

Elsa Apron Dress-up

 

Making Crayons New Again

Over the years we have accumulated many crayons, and over time, they inevitably get broken. As I am sure you know, it is way more fun to color with fresh new crayons than broken ones. So these poor lonely crayons accumulate and settle to the bottom of the box passed over in favor of their sleek, full-sized brethren. A couple months ago, the crayons got sorted so the broken ones had their own box that I kept up on the shelf for a someday later project. Someday finally arrived! I allowed/made my girls help me tear the paper off so they could be chopped up.Peeling paper from broken crayons

Broken CrayonsI have always thought it would be cool to make crayons into new ones by melting them together in the oven. We put the crayon chunks into paper liners in the muffin tin. (I also had some foil liners and highly recommend those over the paper ones. They come out easier and they have a pretty shiny look.)

In the oven at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. They don’t come out looking too pretty sometimes….

Hot Melted CrayonsMelting crayons

Until you take them out of the liners!

New crayonsNew Melted Crayons

I love the way they turned out! You can do all kinds of color combinations to make them interesting. I like how the paper and foil liners make them look like bottle caps. I packaged them up to give as gifts for Christmas.

Bottle Cap Crayons

I am definitely not the first to melt down crayons, so if you want to see more ideas check out Pinterest or google.

 

Before the first pan had cooled, I wanted to try painting with the melted crayon. I found a canvas that My Princess had painted a lovely shade of Toddler gray a few years ago. I used an old kids watercolor set paintbrush and dipped it into the wax while it was still hot. It worked pretty well until the crayons started to cool (started painting the blue flower and ended with the red).  I think it turned out kind of cool!

Warm Crayons Painting

 

 

Creative Kids, Giotto Di Bondone, and Learning to Paint With Them

I pulled out a book for my kids that we got a long time ago but hadn’t looked at much. The books is The Usborne Book of Famous Artists. I thought we could read about an artist then do some art. The first artist in the book is Giotto Di Bondone. You may or may not have heard of him. He lived almost 700 years ago. He painted mostly religious works and mostly on walls of churches. When we looked up some more information about him online, we learned that he did several versions of the nativity.

No.18 Scenes from the Life of Christ--Adoration of the Magi

No.18 Scenes from the Life of Christ–Adoration of the Magi

I had the kids each paint their own version of the nativity.

"The Big Light" by Ninja Boy

“The Big Light” by Ninja Boy

"Family" by My Princess

“Family” by My Princess

"Paint" by Miss Tickles

“Paint” by Miss Tickles

While they were painting, I realized that I wanted to paint too! I don’t usually do much with paint. I haven’t ventured into that medium very often other than the gelli plate. As I sat down and started painting, the kids were fascinated with my use of the paint brush. They were used to using the paintbrush much like you would a pencil or marker. I swirled the brush around with wispy movements, and they decided they wanted to try that too! Ninja Boy did a few strokes on my page then let me finish it. They decided I should make a snowy scene rather than a Nativity.

"Winter Birds" by Melinda

“Winter Birds” by Melinda

I also talked to them about how you can add layers to your painting by doing a background first then allowing the paint to dry before you add more on top. My Princess tried that with her next painting (we cheated a little and used a hair dryer to speed the process up a little).

Painting

If you have kids, try sitting down to paint with them next time. You can learn something and maybe they can too. If you don’t have kids, maybe you should try painting anyway! You don’t have to get anything fancy, just practice with a brush, paint, and a piece of paper.

Documented Life Project- Week 49

For week 49 of the Documented Life Project, the art challenge was to : “Trace a hand onto your page.”

Jan:
I used my hand as the “stamp” to remove paint from my homemade gelli plate before pulling the print. I love how the lines in my skin show up in the paint. I made many prints trying various techniques and color layer combinations before coming up with this one. Some of the prints I was making seemed to be heading in the right direction until I took them one step too far and lost the effect I was going for, but that is the fun of gelli printing– experimenting. And every print is totally unique and unrepeatable.

DLP-Hand-Week-49-J

 

Melinda:

I had been looking at Pinterest for another project and came across a pin that suggested literally making a copy of your baby’s hand. I loved the idea and wanted to do it with Baby Boy as a way to remember his sweet, tiny hand. I held his hand on the copy machine, and he looked at me like, “what are we doing?”

Since this week was trace a hand, I felt that this was a perfect way to use my keepsake. I love those baby fingers.

DLP-Hand-Week-49-M

Creative Kids: Making Clay

My grandkids always want to try what they see us creating and the results of our clay adventures looked enticing to them. Since the polymer clay requires hand strength to condition it (make it softer) I was not sure they would be able to work with it yet. I came across this recipe for making clay from Argo cornstarch and we gave it a try.

Making Argo Cornstarch Clay

The recipe says to add food coloring with all of the other ingredients, but I had very little food coloring. So I waited until the clay was cooked and slightly cooled, then divided the batch and colored a couple of balls of clay with food coloring by kneading it into the clay. I gave them some tools and the kids had a great time playing with the clay and trying to make things with it.

Argo Clay colorsArgo Clay colorsArgo Clay colors

While they played I watched the video that came with the recipe– there is a big green button right under the “Directions” header that says “Watch Video” but I somehow missed it! I realized after watching the video that I had cooked the clay for too long. The clay seemed drier than it should have been and of course when most of the creations they had made dried, they were cracked (you don’t have to bake this clay to harden, just let it air dry.)

Overcooked clay

Overcooked clay will dry with cracks.

So on another day, we made a new batch of clay. This time we did it right without overcooking it. I also left it white so they could try painting it after it dried. The kids could tell that this batch was much easier to work with and held its shape better while they were creating.

Argo Clay Argo ClayArgo Clay

When this batch of clay creations dried, there were no cracks.

Argo Clay dried

Now it was time to paint and they seriously enjoyed painting every piece.

Painting clay

They stuck their beads into toothpicks to make it easier to hold for painting and the toothpicks were stuck into holes in a box for drying.

Painting clay

After the paint dried the girls wanted to string necklaces with their beads and were so proud of their work.

Argo Clay beads necklaceArgo Clay beads necklace

Make a batch of clay for your kids and let them create. Or just let them play with the clay without making a final “product”. My Songbird does not like the texture of play dough,  but while visiting her I made a batch of Argo clay to see if she would like it. She likes it and her little people like it too!

Playing with Argo Clay

 

 

Fall Crafter–Laura White with Pleache’t Technique

We have one more crafter to share with you from our visit to the Harvest Festival. As we wandered around the booths at Silver Dollar City, some beautiful and unique rugs caught our attention.

This particular one was 65 years old, well used, and still in great shape!

Pleache't Rug

Laura White demonstrated a rug making technique called Pleache’t (pronounced to rhyme with crochet- technique combines pleats with crochet) using a needle developed in the early 1900’s by her grandmother, Laura Elizabeth Johnston. Her grandmother sold the needles at fairs. She even created wall to wall “carpeting” in her living room, dining room, hallway and stairs with her rug making technique. Laura White’s late sister, Shirley Wood, introduced this rug making technique to the craft world, and now Laura is carrying on the family tradition by teaching others how to Pleache’t.

Laura White Pleache't Rugs

Pleache't PosterCreator of Pleache't Rugs

The rugs are made by first cutting strips of wool or wool blends and cotton on the bias. The width of the strips determines the thickness of the finished rug. Laura finds old garments at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, and occasional fabric store from which to cut her strips. She recycles old material into new heirloom rugs. The Rugbee Rug Needle is pointed on one end and has a crochet hook on the other. The strips are looped back and forth onto the pointed end of the needle. Using a string called carpet warp (which is what weavers use on a loom) she joins the strips together with crochet stitches. There is no sewing involved in making these rugs.

Pleachet

The color design of the finished rug is determined by the cut edges of the wool strips, not the actual pattern of the fabric surface. She says that sometimes the ugliest fabric makes the prettiest rugs. Rugs can be made in round, oval or rectangle shapes. If you want to start small, you can make soft chair pads. The rugs last a long time even with lots of use. “The more you use them the prettier they get.” (Shirley Wood)

Laura White Pleache't Rugs

Laura sells the Rugbee Rug Needles along with an instructional video and book. You can even have her come teach a class on rug making to your group. She is scheduling classes now for 2015. You can contact her for more information at her Facebook page, Rugbee Rugneedle. Doesn’t making a rug sound like a great winter project as you cozy up next to the fire with a cup of coffee?

Documented Life Project- Week 48

The art challenge for week 48 in the Documented Life Project was to: “Depict Gratitude in a creative way.”

Although every week should be a week of gratitude, this week is when those in the USA focus on gratitude with a celebration of a day of Thanksgiving. Melinda and I are grateful for many things, but we do want to express our gratitude for all of you who have become faithful followers of our blog. It brings us much joy when we hear from you about how you have been inspired to express your creativity because of the encouragement you have received from us. That is our desire– to help you find the creativity that is locked up inside of you so you can find ways to play with that. One way Melinda and I have been stretched this year is by doing the challenges in the Documented Life Project. We chose to share them with you not only to inspire you to try something new but also to help us stay committed through the year. Only four weeks left! It is really fun to look back through each of our challenges– some we really liked, some we didn’t, but we can both see growth in our abilities and it feels good to have tried things that were new to us.

We would like to invite you to participate with us in the Documented Life Project for 2015. It is free and you can do it with or without sharing your work. This past year the focus was on a calendar planner/art journal but Melinda and I just did the art challenges (without the planner.) It is our understanding that 2015 will be focused on an art journal and the coordinators are bringing in several teachers to present new techniques and ideas for you to try. Be sure to sign up so you don’t miss anything. You can find out more about it here. Melinda is even considering having her older kids join with her in doing the challenges next year.

Jan:
DLP-Week-48-J

My heart is full of so many things for which I am grateful. My inspiration for this was a silver necklace pendant I have which is puffy and has open cutouts of hearts and circles on one side.  I used colored pencils, white and black pens and a little acrylic paint on my page.

Melinda:
DLP-Week-48-M

This was my third attempt at doing this challenge. The tree wasn’t coming out right at first. I like how this turned out. The things I am grateful for are the leaves. I used a black 05 Micron and colored pencils.

Documented Life Project- Week 47

The Documented Life Project challenge for week 47 was to: “Add a map of your town, state or country.  Document about this map.”

Jan:
On my recent flight to NYC I was enjoying seeing the fall colors from above as we took off and descended. So for this challenge, I chose to make a bird’s eye view map in the fall of the largest lake in the area where I live. Table Rock Lake was formed when a dam and powerhouse were completed in 1959 to help control flooding on the White River and is part of a system of 5 dams and lakes in southern Missouri and northwest Arkansas. There are nearly 800 miles of shoreline on Table Rock Lake.

DLP-Week-47-J

 

Melinda:

I chose a map page of our area out of an old maps book we had. My family is about to head off on an adventure of full-time RVing for our ministry, Four Point Families. As I worked on the page, I kept thinking about “home base.”

DLP-Week-47-M

Documented Life Project- Week 46

The art challenge for week 46 of the Documented Life Project was: “Incorporate fabric onto your page.”

Jan:
Digging through a box of scrap fabric pieces I came across some fabric scraps that I had used a while back for feathers on a stuffed owl pillow. It made beautiful feathers. This time, however, when I saw the fabric it made me think of waves and some pictures I had taken in Hawaii.

Hawaii Ocean

I cut out waves from the fabric and some rocks from brown fabric and collaged them to a piece of paper used to roll paint off a brayer while gelli printing.

Ocean Wave Collage

Melinda:
As I looked through the fabric scraps, I saw ones that were leftovers from making the lovies in our Etsy shop. We had given one to Baby Boy a couple weeks ago, and he loves it! I decided to commemorate that on my page for this week.
DLP-week-46-Fabric-M

He is a fan!

Baby Boy Dino LovieBaby Boy Dino Lovie

 

Documented Life Project- Week 45

The challenge of week 45 in the Documented Life Project was to: “Add a tab.”

Jan:
I drew a picture with graphite pencils of part of my computer with the “tab” key showing and then glued the cover and tab pages from an old pocket sized planner to the page.

DLP-Week 45-Tab-J

 

Melinda:

My Hubby hates it when I leave tabs open on the the computer. He told me it’s like all the lights being on in the house. While I don’t exactly agree with him, I thought his quote was perfect for this challenge. I used a graphite pencil and colored pencil to draw for my page.

DLP-Week 45-Tabs-M