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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Ms. Frizzle Costume Tutorial - Literacy Parade!

It's that time of year again... Literacy Parade!!!
It's my favorite school day of the year.  It's what our school does in lieu of Halloween.  We have the kids dress up as literary characters, and we parade through the school.  Then, the elementary school grades do a book report, which is equally exciting, I think.    

Last year, I went as Amelia Bedelia.  Here's my costume in Falling In Love With Fall.  Last year I just kind of put different elements together, but this year I really went all out.  I've wanted to be Ms. Frizzle since last year's parade.  She's so cool, has an awesome sense of style, and best of all - give the girl a theme, and she'll rock it from here to kingdom come.  Just like yours truly! :)

So, here's a list of what I used:

- Dress - I found my dress at Goodwill for $6.00.  Looking through The Magic School Bus books, she wears many different colored dresses, but her blue/purple one is the one she's most often portrayed in.  I don't know if it's dumb luck, but I tend to find what I'm looking for when I go to Goodwill.  That was the case this time too.  It was the perfect length, it fit (barely, with the belly, but still fit), had a collar-like top, and had shoulder pads (yes, in this case that was a plus!)
- Old (boys') space sheet - I commandeered my sheet from one of our youth students, who wore it as a cape to a youth event.  It had these cool planets on it, so I asked her if I could have it, and she was sweet enough to give it to me.  If you don't have a cool situation handed to you like this, you have options.  Although you would never sleep on a sheet from a garage sale (right!?), you may find one that way.  Another option, if looking at stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall's for a random space themed sheet.
- Fabric Glue
- Scissors

- Crazy colored pumps - I found a pair of yellow ones at another second hand store, for a whole $1.
- Cut out planets to decorate.

- Stuffed lizard/gecko/chameleon
- Book - (requirement for our Literacy Parade)
- "Cosmic" jewelry - I had globe earrings I made years ago.
- "Frizzy" hair - I'll show you farther down

So, I started by cutting the planets out of the sheet.  I thought about using the trim as a belt, but ended up not liking it as much as I thought I would.  I also have pictured some plastic bead necklaces, but then ended up not using them,  It didn't add to the overall look at the end.

I unbuttoned the dress, and laid it out on the table.  

I did this, to try to make sure I wasn't gluing the dress together when I was gluing on the planets.  So, the next part was just placing the planets on the dress, trying to not have two of the same ones next to each other.  Next, I applied an even coat of fabric glue to the back of the planets, and stuck them back down.
Fabric glue is very fluid, so you want to make sure you aren't dripping it on the fabric.  Especially with a material such as sateen, which isn't very forgiving.  The fabric glue takes about 2-4 hours to dry, so I hung it up on a hanger, to let it dry.

The shoes were super easy.  I simply found some super uncomfortable, cheap yellow pumps, and using fabric glue to attach a planet to each of them, like so:

I don't know who Amanda is, but I'm glad she doesn't make shoes anymore.

For earrings, I used a pair I made a while back.  All it is, is some cool beads that look like the world, and strung them on a metal hook, then an earring, and voila!

I wanted to be as "authentic" as possible.  So, when my friend and I went to the book store, and they were almost completely out of The Magic School Bus books, and didn't have the space one, I was pretty bummed.  I bought the electricity one instead, and told my husband of my troubles.  My sweet man went ahead, and scoured the bookstores of Jacksonville, and finally had one shipped to a bookstore near his work, and surprised me with it the day before the parade.  He's that awesome. :)

Now for the hair.  I didn't want to dye my hair red, because we have our maternity photo shoot next week, and I didn't want to risk having funky orange hair.  But, if you wanted to dye your hair, I think that would be really cute!
So, the night before the Literacy Parade, I washed my hair, and put some curl control products in it.  Then I french- braided it in 6 braids (3 on each side).  The thinner the braids, the tighter the waves will be.

Good morning!!!

In the morning, when you take them out, hopefully it will look like this.  :)

I left some bangs out, and then pinned the rest of it up.  The great thing about waves, is that a messy up-do is easier to create, you can "hide" bobby pins better, and there's more volume.

So, the morning of the Literacy Parade, I did my hair, put on the earrings, the dress and the shoes, got my borrowed lizard, and went to work!
Yes, people in my building parking lot stared at me, as did people later on, when I was running errands on my way home.  But... how often do you get to be Ms. Frizzle, I mean, really!?

So, here's my costume, complete with lizard:

We had so much fun!  I had kids dressed up as Pinkalicious, President Obama, Madeline, Goldilocks, Fredrick Douglas, Arthur, Cleopatra, the pig from If You Give a Pig a Party, and a couple Cat in the Hats.  They did so well on their book reports, too!

I had Dan take a couple pictures of me too, because... well... it was a really cute costume! :)

There you have it!  My Ms. Frizzle costume!
I had so much fun putting it together.  Let me know if you're planning anything for Halloween, or if you and your family do anything as an alternative to Halloween.  Hit me with your best costume ideas!  I'm always looking for new ones! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spruce Up Your Dining Room Set!

Small household projects.  They're one of my favorite things.  Especially the ones that are inexpensive, quick and easy.
That was the case with this reupholstering project.  In an ideal world, I would have a giant spool dining room table.  However, I can't find one, AND even if I could, I live on the 3rd floor, so getting it up the stairs would be kind of interesting...

We have a cute, perfectly "apartment" sized dining room set, that was a hand-me-down from Dan's aunt and uncle.  The only thing is, that the seat covers were never really my favorite.  There was nothing wrong with it, it was just black and white checkered.  But we were wanting something a little more fun, and "us".
So, this is a tutorial on how to take something that looks like this:

To something that looks like this:

You only need a few things:
- Fabric - the pattern/type will depend on your liking.  The thicker the material (like a heavy duty linen) is going to last longer than a cotton one.  But that's up to you.  When it comes to pattern, I say get something that makes you happy, that you don't mind looking at every day, and isn't TOO loud.  If it's too loud, it'll limit your linen, dinnerware, and accent options later on.  Another suggestion, is to go more for color than pattern.  If there's a certain color you're really wanting to highlight in your dining room, even a solid color would work out beautifully.  We chose this pattern, because it complemented the accent pillows in our living room (which for us, is about 2 and a half steps away, and we do use them for extra seating when people come over, so it was a consideration), and it complements our dinnerware (which is graphite and green).  The amount of fabric you need will depend on the size of your seat cushions, the number of chairs you are recovering.  Remember, fabric on the roll is folded in half, so you may not need as much as you think.  We forgot this detail, so we ended up with more fabric, but we really like it, so we were actually kind of glad.  Maybe we'll make a runner, or extra pillow covers.  It's also good to have on hand enough to recover at least one, in case of spillage, or what have you (especially with a baby on the way).
- Scissors - My mom always had scissors that were just for fabric, which I didn't understand as a kid, but now I wish I had a pair.  I just used my all-purpose scissors, which worked fine, but it's always just a little easier/neater if you have super sharp scissors.
- Staple Gun - You can get light duty, or heavy duty, or a combination one!  We went ahead and bought the combination one, because then you have it for any sized project!  They're about $20.00.
- Pliers - incase you need to remove old or misplaced staples.

So, this is the fabric we chose.  I love it!  It was 7.99 a yard, and we got 3.  So, not too bad of an investment!

Start by removing the seats from your chairs.  Strike that.  Start with a husband who shares your appreciation for a home improvement project, and get him involved.  Then, get him to unscrew them.  I'm sure that there are chairs out there that are more complicated to take apart, so I would suggest making sure you can take them apart and put them back together before you just jump into this project.
Next, remove the covers that are already on there.  There was a lining on ours, thankfully, so if yours don't, you may need to buy a thin, cotton, light colored fabric to go underneath your pretty fabric.  After all that, you'll have naked seats!

Next, cut your fabric into squares that will cover your seats, with a couple inch hangover.  We were lucky, because ours came to about a square foot each.  A difficulty, however, was how the seats narrowed towards the back side.  It made it a little difficult for folding under.  But we made it work! :)

Lay your seat on the fabric, with the patterned side on the bottom, as if you were wrapping a present.  If you are working with a definite pattern, make sure your pattern is facing the same direction each time.  Fold over the sides, like so:

Make sure it's always nice and tight.
Then, start stapling.  Don't go staple-crazy, as it may pucker, but also make sure it's secure.  (Two sets of hands really helps.)

As I said, the corners were the hardest.  So, first staple sides facing each other, the battle the corners.

Then staple.

You may need to get a little creative with your corners.  But this is about what we ended up with most of the time.

Once all your seats are recovered, the only thing left to do, is to screw them back into the frame.  (Again, your chair may be more complicated than that.  It all depends on the construction of the chair.)

Finally, fall in love with your creations, and get a new excitement for your dining room!  So much so, that you decide to do a vase arrangement!

So, with about $40, a couple hours (with shopping), and a little bit of effort, we were able to give a redesigned look to our dining space (because who are we kidding, it's a little nook).
Here's one last look at the final product:

Let me know if you've done anything similar, if you have any suggestions, or questions!  Have a crafty weekend!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

10 Minute, DIY, No-Sew Maternity Tunic!

Ahhh... maternity-wear.  Such a sticky, touchy subject.  You wanna wear it, and you kinda want people to know you're finally wearing it, but you also want to look cute, and like "you".
So you buy some, refashion some things you already have, and you can... DIY!
I found this adorable, and super simple DIY maternity tunic at  Their instructions are really easy to follow, but I'll give you my instructions here as well.  The more the merrier! :)

You will need:
2 yards of jersey knit fabric
Bust, or someone to stand still for a couple minutes, who is approx. your size
Exacto knife

So, the first thing you'll want to do, is go to a fabric store, and pick out a jersey knit you like, and buy 2 yards of it.  Jersey isn't expensive, the one I bought was 6.99 a yard.  

I chose gray, because it's an elegant color that goes with a lot, and it's very versatile.
I happen to have a bust, because my fabulous mother-in-law gave me one.  Having a sweet friend, or a helpful husband works just as well.  

The first step is, to find the middle of the fabric.  The same thing that makes jersey so scrumptious also makes it hard to deal with.  it's hard to find a definite "middle".  

Once you find it, line that up with the middle of the back of the neck of the bust, and drape it to the front, to how you want it to eventually lay.

Pull out the edges, to ensure that your material is as centered as possible.

Tie a belt, or ribbon under the bust line, so it'll be as accurate as possible.

I used an exacto knife to start the arm holes.  The original instructions say to cut a 5 inch slit, I say make it 6 inches.  We don't all have spaghetti arms, plus, I think it's more comfortable.

Basically, you're done!  All that's left is evening out the bottom.  and then...
Wear it!!!

Baby Aidan is the size of a papaya!!!

I really liked it with the black leggings, black belt, sweater, boots and chunky necklace.  I kept it simple with the monochromatic colors, but you could and SHOULD mix it up with some color!
I plan on wearing this for our Blair family pictures in a month or so, and I'm going to mix it with navy, yellow and brown, so I'll let you know how that goes! :)

Here's some extra ideas:
- You can leave the tails long, or cut them shorter, whichever suits you best!
- This is a really quick and easy way to look pulled together, even on days when you feel as big as a house.
- Try a patterned jersey!  Be adventurous!  
- This is a super easy and inexpensive gift for a friend who is pregnant!
- This doesn't only have to be a maternity look!  I'm totally wearing this after Aidan arrives!

Hope you enjoy this tutorial, that your project brightens your day, and makes you feel as beautiful, pulled together and rockin' as you are!