Sunday, October 23, 2011

DIY Baby Mushroom Halloween Costume

I decided that for our son's First Halloween I must make him a unique costume. He makes for an adorable mushroom! You might recognize the mushrooms in this shot, as I swiped them from his nursery. This costume was quite simple, only took a couple of hours and used common things you have in your kids closet and sewing room scraps.

I made the mushroom hat by using a cheap beanie I found on clearance ($2.99 at Gap). It saved me time because it already fit and stayed on, so it served as the perfect lining and shape for my mushroom cap. I stuffed it with socks to hold the shape while I added scrap batting from a previous project to give volume.

I next draped red fleece fabric over the shape and pinned white cut out spots to create the look I wanted. I took the red fleece with pinned spots to the sewing machine and sewed them on. I didn't bother finishing off any of the edges as I felt the fleece had a clean look even unfinished. (I used the Blizzard Fleece from Jo-Anns by-the-way), plus this only made the process faster.
Next, I just draped this over my batting-covered hat and began to "fan fold" the edges of the red fleece tucking them in so they'd be on the inside on the hat. I pinned this to hold it in place and trimmed excess fleece as I went along. Once pinned in the shape I wanted, I sewed it into place just roughly tacking the edges down by hand and did a fine trim of the extra fabric.

The stalk of the mushroom is just a white bodysuit by Carters. I found a pack of like 5 on clearance at JCPenny's for about $5. Yay for extra bodysuits! (Can never have too many!)

The pants were a challenge.... I used an existing pair of my son's pants to make a pattern and made a basic "sweat pant" using green fleece. I cut grass shaped leaves from a double layered piece of fleece (so I ended up with 2 identical strands) and sewed them together.This just gave the leaves a bit more structure....they still don't stand completely up while my little guy is sitting cause of his chubby belly, but oh well. I added several of these grass strands around the waistband of his pants. I think you could easily do an adaptation of this if you aren't big into sewing or just want something quicker. You could easily make a belt with grass strands and use it with an existing pair of green sweats. You could easily just use fabric glue to achieve the same look as sewing. The fleece is really easy to work with.

To top off my son's costume, I made a caterpillar out of scrap green geometric fabric and brown yarn for the legs. I took a strip of the fabric and added balled up scrap pieces of fleece to shape the round body of the caterpillar. Then I tied a piece of yarn to hold the shape and provide the colorful bands of the caterpillar as well as legs I shaped them later when I was done.

I continued making these round shapes till I had a total of 5 of them. I finished off the last one by folding the end fabric under and using the last band of yarn to hold it in place.
Lastly, I just knotted the yarn to make feet and trimmed the excess. I don't have the pins attached here, but later I just hot glued pins to be able to attach the caterpillar to his shirt, hat or wherever! So many fun adaptations you could to here...making different type bugs, etc I was so tempted to do a trail of ants up the leg and on to his belly (mushroom stalk) But with him not walking yet they would have just gotten lost in folds and rolls! But maybe you could do this idea!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Eclectic Mobile

I originally had the idea of creating a crib mobile by hanging antique skeleton keys from a ring of twigs. I loved the idea but later of course realized prob not the best idea to hang over a crib just in case one fell (terrible choking hazard), so I moved the idea over to above the changing table. I had trouble finding old keys online that weren't overpriced like crazy for some collector. So I ended up purchasing a collection of very small skeleton keys (1/4"- 3") and of different finishes for around $10 on ebay. I returned my large twig ring and got a sphere of twigs from Michael's deciding to hang the keys along with some collected buttons inside at different heights using clear jewelry string (could also use fishing wire, but I didn't have any on hand). This created the "buried treasure" for my Peter Pan inspired nursery. Twine was then braided and used to hang the sphere from a mere screw drilled into the ceiling. Hope this sparks some creativity to think outside the box for nursery mobiles. This whole idea actually steamed from a mobile I saw online created from lots and lots of hanging vintage scissors!

Fun Zodiac Wall Art

This piece was the missing puzzle to complete before the nursery was officially done! After I passed the last day of the prior Zodiac sign, I created this piece with the reasonably predictable Zodiac sign of my to-be-born son. I finished the project in an hour or two. I printed the Aries symbol off the internet onto card stock. I then cut out fun words associated with kids, a future little boy or names of those close to us from the local newspaper. Using a glue stick, I just wrapped those fun words/phrases around the cut out Aries symbol in a random order. I took a piece of leftover wallpaper from my closet project and used it as the background. I glued the entire Zodiac symbol to the wallpaper to hold it in place and threw it into a picture frame that housed one of our engagement photos from our wedding reception. Wah-la! The missing piece to my wall collage. My son must have known mommy completed his room as I went into labor the next night (2 weeks early!)

I think this could also be a really fun project to do with kids. They would have a blast finding words or even pictures that express them!....Favorite color, pet names, or sports they're in to!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Low-Ceiling Crib Canopy

My son's nursery had a few challenges. Like many older homes, we had to work around low angled ceilings and odd room cutouts. I was set on having some sort of canopy and came up with this DIY canopy alternative. First, I purchased a wall bracket from Anthropologie for I believe is was $22. These decorative wall brackets are traditionally used to create a wall shelf. I wanted one that had a bit of a "lip" on the top to help secure my fabric.

Next, I purchased 4 yards of chiffon fabric from Jo-Ann's and hemmed the unfinished edges by folding the fabric 1/4" in, pressing with a hot iron and then folding 1/2" in pressing then pinning in place and later sewing with coordinating thread. Here's the end result!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Size Dividers for Infant's Closet

I made these size dividers for my soon-to-arrive little boy. They are a very easy DIY project to keep your life organized. Like most moms-to-be, I have started to accumulate clothing from newborn all the way up to 18-24 months!. In order to be able to gauge how much clothing I actually have for a particular age group, I thought the use of dividers would be the best at-a-glance indicator.

To create these dividers, I just went to Michael's and purchased wooden door hangers. They are found in the wood projects section and are sold as plain door hangers intended as a project for your kids to make their own "Do NOT Disturb" signs for their bedroom doors. These hangers were only $0.79 each. I painted them with leftover paint from the dresser we refurbished. You could easily use leftover wall paint as well. In addition to the hangers, I purchased white 2" craft felt numbers and letters also from Michael's. They are in sticker form so no need to glue! Easy peasy! I used the standard sizes: NB, 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24, 2T, 3T. I placed the felt size ranges on both sides of the wooden dividers as we tend to approach a rack of clothes from both ends (left to right and right to left). I have a teeny tiny "closet" as you've seen in my "No Closet Solution" post, so I couldn't fit all of the size ranges on the rod. I at least, though, have the dividers already made so that when he out-grows each size range, I will just rotate his closet out accordingly. No point in keeping out clothes that are too small.

I hope this little DIY project helps you get your life and your kid's closet more organized!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

No Closet Solution for Kid's Room

In designing our son's nursery, I had to work around the huge obstacle of there not being a closet in his room. As we live in a charming 1920's home, this dilemma is unfortunately very common. Our "master" bedroom doesn't even have a closet, so we have to use the one in the hallway. Not the most convenient, but I suppose that's the trade off for charm. After maybe a second of consideration, it was evident that there was no way we could fit another person's clothes in there, especially little tiny ones that would only get swallowed by our abundance of fabrics. So, Solution: Turn a bookshelf into a closet!


Again, by using the oh-so-fantastic Craigslist, I found an old mission-style bookshelf for only $50. I wanted the piece to really have life, so I scoured the internet and stores to try to find vintage wall paper that I could use to line the back of the piece to give it a pop. This search soon became a mission. First, wallpaper is extremely expensive when looking at buying rolls. I looked at Goodwill to try to find a discounted roll but had no luck. I only needed about 2 1/2 yards, so buying a $40-$100 roll was ridiculous. Luckily, I found a vendor on that actually sells vintage wall paper by the yard. The one I chose for this piece, the orange fern print from the '60s, was only $3/yard....much better. After choosing the wallpaper, the only things left to pick out were the paint color, dowel and metal pole supports. If you are using leftover paint for this project, it really becomes a low-cost furniture conversion as the dowel and metal pole supports in total cost about $5. My husband applied the wallpaper to the back of the piece with spray adhesive and also added a protective clear coating on top of the painted portions to prevent scratching. I am quite happy with the way it turned out. It easily fit into an awkward nook in the room and provides lots of storage to hang clothes as well as have some folded away into baskets that will sit on the shelves. I also plan to designate the bottom storage with the door to hide those toys that seem to accumulate at a rapid pace for kids. Plus, it's at the perfect height for him to be able to learn to put his own toys away!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dresser Makeover!

I originally fell completely in love with an orange dresser with white trim online from my favorite store in the world Nadeau; however, when I drug my husband and mother-in-law the 2 1/2 hour drive (one way) all the way to Chicago to check it out, and, of course, buy it....I was disappointed when I saw it. Well, to start with I was going to use this dresser as a changing table for the nursery. The size was okay as I knew the dimensions before the mission, but the quality of the piece was not like the other Nadeau gems. The drawers basically fell out and even more strangely was that the drawers were only half the size they could have been, meaning they only went back half the depth of the piece. Strange. I had to cut my loss and move on despite how hard it was. It was not practical. Plus, it cost $314 and wasn't even solid wood. I could only imagine our little guy pulling out the drawers and them tragically falling on him when he is one day mobile. Couldn't do it.

I was still enamored though with the color and style of the piece, so my husband and I scoured Craigslist to try to find an old dresser that needed some TLC. My husband found the perfect piece, a claw-foot dresser. It had amazing bones where I could pull out the white trim I so wanted against the orange, and it was solid wood! After much sweat and frustration from my husband (poor thing), he was able to sand the entire piece, pull out all the tacky drawer lining and apply the many, many coats of paint to pull out the right color. I have to pay homage to him for this project, as I was purely the visionary and he, the heart and love.   

We purchased the dresser for $75 off Craigslist, and purchased the hardware from 2 suppliers on for a total of $33 including shipping. The white paint was leftover from the paint we used for the baseboards and the orange was a Behr $30 gallon from Home Depot. We had thought about painting the hardware white, like the trim, but the character that the patina showed on the old knobs just took on a beauty of its own. Plus, as you will see the nursery unfold, it meshed perfectly in with the rest of the room. To tie it all up, we got a beautiful solid wood dresser with more storage and for less than half the cost of the original inspiration. Gotta love it!