Making Magic: Paper and Glue Wands

As this last week winds up our Summer, I am determined to slow down a bit, and enjoy my family.

Falafel came into the room and said she wanted to make wands (she has been listening to at least one of  the Harry Potter books on CD every day this Summer). I jumped at the chance to sit for a moment and craft with my girl (especially this one because it is one of my favorites).

Paper and Glue Wands: by Falafel and the Bee

If you need a tutorial to make your own, you can see mine here. You can also see some others we made here. All you need to make these is paper, hot glue, and paint. We also used tissue paper (for stuffing) and tape (to hold them tight). Oh and don’t forget to bring your imagination.

Paper and Glue Wands: by Falafel and the Bee

I made this one. I love making them bronze. I have no idea why. Just seems magical to me. My Falafel, on the other hand, made hers a dark sparkly green/brown. She also made hers much shorter and wider. This is a craft of much creative freedom.

Paper and Glue Wands: by Falafel and the Bee

I absolutely love the simplicity, and ease of making these. We always have materials to make them, so the convenience factor really pushes this one to the top of my list.

Paper and Glue Wands: by Falafel and the Bee

Falafel said that hers reminds her of a flute, and she likes the way mine turned out, so of course I said that she could have them both. She has  been casting spells and pretending to play the flute like Hagrid ever since.

Paper and Glue Wands: by Falafel and the Bee

It is amazing how making time to sit and create with my child helps me recharge. Did I need to make a wand? Probably not. But did I NEED to MAKE a wand? Absolutely.

What is YOUR favorite craft to make with your children?

Sewing for my Teen: Bringing home Marbella

A month ago, I shared this Marbella dress I made for The Bee over at Melly Sews as a Blank Slate Patterns Team member. Today I get to bring it home! I absolutely adore sewing for my teen.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Oh my goodness we had fun with this one. When she put it on, she and I agreed that we needed to do a 1940’s-esque photo session. We got some great looks from passerbys in the ferry terminal and in the center of town, for sure.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Believe it or not, this pattern is a fairly quick sew! The Marbella uses knit fabric, and has a collar and front placket. Instead of buttons, I used snaps, because I thought they looked cleaner. Well, that AND I really dislike sewing button holes and buttons. Ha!

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

 A really cool feature is the side seam pockets. I took this opportunity to use a fun light blue woven map fabric. It is just a little pop of color that peeks out when she bends.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

I folded the hem up, on the sleeves, and topstitched on the right side of the fabric, so that it would have a cuffed appearance. I left the bottom of the dress unhemmed. This knit fabric will not fray, and I didn’t want any bulk down there.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

My girl is all over the sizing chart. Literally. Her measurements spanned across size 4- 10. And not in top-to-bottom fashion, which would be easy to grade out. Over bust is a 10, Bust is a 4, Waist is an 8, and Hips are a 4! So I took her bust measurement which was a size 4, and even though her waist is an 8, there is enough ease to fit her there. All I did was decrease the seam allowance a bit, and it fit beautifully.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

She has already asked me to sew up another Marbella for her (just in time for school to start), which is a sure sign this pattern is a big hit!

This officially is my last post as a Blank Slate Team member. A big Thank You to Melissa for choosing me to be on the team this past year. It was wonderful to sew up your fabulous patterns. I know I will continue to use them for many years to come!

On-Our-Shelves Sunday: The Lost Hero

::This post contains affiliate links::

This week, since my 10 year old (Falafel) has finished the entire Percy Jackson Series, she has started:

The_Lost_Hero

Heroes of Olympus

The Lost Hero

by Rick Riordan

This series is not a continuation of the same stories as the first series. It is a whole new series about different half-bloods. I am thrilled that my picky girl has more books to read. With the Summer ending (all too soon, in my opinion), I am glad she is squeezing in a little more fun reading!

What are YOU reading this week?

BIG news

Hey you guys! I have reopened my Etsy shop!

Upcycled White Rope Basket

This time, I am combining my passion for upcycling/ recycling with my passion for making rope bowls! They go pretty well together.

Upcycled Rope Basket

 I am making some plain, and then playing with color for others. Eclectic and fun.

Upcycled Rope Basket

All of them are made from upcycled/recycled rope. A little something for everyone. I am actually amazed at how very sturdy they are!

Upcycled White Rope Basket

If you want to make your own, I do have an instructable to show you how. If you want a rope bowl, but do not want to make it, hop on over to my Etsy Shop to purchase your very own!

On- Our-Shelves Sunday: Fourth book in a series

Today, on our shelves, is the fourth book in a series that I absolutely love:

keeper

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Neverseen

by Shannon Messenger

*affiliate link*

I started this series a few years ago, and was instantly hooked. After finishing the mermaid books I was reading (see here), I was looking for something else to read, and discovered there was a fourth book in this fabulous series!! I didn’t even know. I devoured it, instantly, and now am waiting impatiently for Shannon Messenger to release her 5th book in the series, which will be out in November!

Basically, there are Elves and Goblins and Alicorns, and magic. I love it.

What is on YOUR shelves today?

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

 This past week, I celebrated turning 44! Every year I have a themed birthday party to ring in another fabulous year, surrounded by good friends, all dressed up. I love it. Truly, it is the most fun way to age. To prepare, I ususally make myself something to wear (see 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015). For this year’s theme, I was inspired by Bollywood. The colors, the music, the fashion. I turned to Pinterest for some design inspiration, since I knew I didn’t want to make a sari (although it was tempting! Knowing me, it would untuck in the middle of the party, and the whole thing would fall to the ground, and NO ONE wants to see that.). The party would be more of a nod to the genre, and culture. This particluar pin caught my eye. So began my Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I turned to a pattern I have used before in the book Sew Many Dresses (affiliate link). The bodice has princess seams, and made a good base. First, I started by taping the front and side panels of my paper pattern together, and then cutting the center piece out. This was done by holding it up where it would roughly sit on my chest, and drawing a line around the place I wanted it. The center panel was created by freehanding a sweatheart neckline, and marking where it would be, once it was connected to the (now cut) front and side panels.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I did muslin this first, and that was a  very good thing. There was a bit of tweaking to be done, because the fit wasn’t quite right, and I ended up with a gap near the armscyes. Of course, I turned to the fabulous ladies over at the Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong FB group for help. And they did! They are some good peeps (I don’t really think I can pull off using that word, but I have made it my goal to work it into my daily vernacular, much to my family’s embarassment). I ended up adding a dart on the side panels near the armscyes and it fixed the problem.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

That skirt was self-drafted. It was just as challenging as the bodice to figure out. I could not think of a way to get the side pieces to look good in the back, so I cut them into two seperate free-hanging panels, and let them cup my sides. I love the effect.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

The outer fabric is brocade from Cali Fabrics, and the gold is silk from the huge rummage sale I attend every year. It is a bit stained, but you can barely see it because of the way I placed the fabric. I hand stamped the pattern on my shawl, with acrylic paint (which you can’t really see from these photos).

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

A realization hit me when I was about to tackle this project. About 75% of my creative process is in my head. I think about sewing something for weeks before I even touch a pattern. I go to sleep thinking about how to tackle any problems, and how I would alter existing patterns to fit my design. I think about it when doing household chores, while driving, and showering. Borderline obsession, really. Then one day, it has gestated enough to the point that it is time for labor, so to speak. I have no idea if this is unique to me, or if others work this way too, but find that if I have enough time to let it marinate (as my chef husband would say), the final result is closest to my vision.

Bollywood Birthday Party

photo credit for above photo: Dawn Weber

Bollywood Birthday Party

The party was a lot of fun, but seriously the strangest weather we have had so far.

Bollywood Birthday Party

It rained, then the sun came out, then it poured, then it stopped. All the guests were very good sports about the whole thing.

Bollywood Birthday Party

YUM.

Bollywood Birthday party

You may recognize this outfit from here.

Bollywood party

My husband wins the year with this outfit, in my book. He is wearing our daughter’s (the Bee’s) pants!

Bollywood party

Another notch in the old aging belt, done with style.

I would love to hear from you…what is YOUR creative process?

On-Our-Shelves Sunday: Henna Sourcebook

On our shelves this week is a super fun book :

henna

Henna Sourcebook

by Mary Packard

*affiliate link*

If you are interested in doing any body painting (like with Henna), this book is a wonderful resource for designs! Not only do they have designs from India, they also include symbols from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Egypt. It starts with the history, moves on to Henna basics, and then goes on to show you how to transfer a design. Finally there are pages and pages of designs to thumb through. Great if you are say, hosting a Bollywood themed party and want guests to have choices for body art. Hmmmm, I wonder who would be doing that?

You will have to come back tomorrow to find out.

What is on YOUR shelves this week?

Inspired by The Little Mermaid Sail Dress

This post contains affiliate links

My Bee decided to make herself a dress inspired by the one the Little Mermaid wore when she became human. She had been thinking a lot about this, and even worked out where we would photgraph it.

mermaid

She came up with this:

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

(Inspired by) The Little Mermaid Sail Dress

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

I am so impressed (and I don’t impress easily)! She draped the entire thing, which I have never done. My girl did say she would teach me, though. It is so cool! The best part is she used an old curtain (more comfortable than a sail, I would think). You know how I feel about upcycling (just look at the category above if you don’t).

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Here it is without the belt. It isn’t a super complicated dress, but I think, well exectued. She was, at first, unsure about the piece that comes to a point in the front instead of the back, but we both agreed that it works.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

The sun was in the most inconvenient spot (and I have not figured out how to move it), and we only had 30 minutes to photograph this between activities. It resulted in some artful photography.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Instead of rope, she used a belt in her closet, for a more modern look .

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Her friend made her that seashell necklace a while ago. Perfect for this!

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Do you recognize this dock? That time I didn’t photograph a mermaid that turned human, though.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

I love when my girls are inspired to create something solely on their own, especially when it consists of using materials we already have! I am completely ecstatic to support them any way I can when they do this. Whoohoo! Way to go, my girl.

What have YOU upcycled today??

On-Our-Shelves Sunday: Waterfire Saga

I am so excited! On our shelves this week is a book that I have been waiting months for (Be prepared: affiliate link below)!

waterfire

Book 4 in the Waterfire Saga

Sea Spell

by Jennifer Donnelly

I just picked it up a few days ago from the library and am almost done with it (and that is saying a lot for this slow reader)! It is fantastic. I love fantasy/adventure books, and I am 3 books invested into this one. Such excitement.

Am I the only one who loves reading Young Adult and Juvenile fiction?!

What is on YOUR shelves this week?

Skirt as Art series with Skirt Fixation: Norman Rockwell

Welcome, Skirt Fixation readers! Today I am participating in the fabulous Skirt as Art series (which is one of my very favorites). The artist I chose is one my family has loved for many years: Norman Rockwell. A few years ago I made a dress inspired by another Norman Rockwell painting (here) called “Girl at Mirror“, which, funnily enough, is the same girl in the painting I chose today (although it is a different daughter of mine modeling).

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

This one is called “Triumph in Defeat” and was originally for the Saturday Evening Post. I adore it,  BUT let me tell you, it was dang near impossible to find a location to photograph it in. I decided to zoom in on the little girl in the photo, to simplify things, so that all I would need to do is find a suitable bench, and wall. I ended up shooting in two different locations, and then chose the one I liked best (which was from a local school). To make things interesting, my daughter and I made up a story about the girl in the photo, and we documented that, first.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

This is the “before” scene.

Little Mary Whalen (her actual name) was headed to school, neat and clean like her Mom liked her to be, but she rarely enjoyed. Just as she was approaching the school,  another little girl who was a known bully, knocked Mary’s books out of her hands. A great fight ensued and even though Mary got punched in the eye, and called to the Principal’s office, the other girl was taught a lesson, and would not bother her again.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

Outfit details: I sewed up a Bookworm button up by Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link) like I have sewn before (here and here). The only change I made was to shorten the sleeves (so they could be rolled up for the photo).

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

The skirt is the Betty Skirt by the Shaffer Sisters which was perfect for this pleated uniform skirt.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

Clearly, this is the “after”.

The story goes that Rockwell was having trouble painting the black eye, so he put out a call and offered $5.00 to a person with a black eye willing to sit for him. A little boy, named Tommy, from Massachusetts happened to get two black eyes while playing, and his Father drove him all the way to Vermont to sit for Rockwell. For my model, I had face paint, and photoshop.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

I have to say, getting the expression of this girl was the other challenging part of this project. Take a second to try it. Let me know how you do. It is super tricky to get right! I was trying to demonstrate it for my girl, and really could not do it. We took a whole bunch of photos, and this was the best I got. I wonder how much liberty Mr. Rockwell took with the eye and expression and how much was the ability of the model.

This was so much fun to reenact. You know I love a good challenge. The sewing part was easy, surprisingly. Thank you for joining me.

If you were to recreate a painting, which one would it be?

Now hop over to Skirt Fixation to see which painting Audrey chose to recreate!