Tag Archives: tutorials

How to Braid a Hair Wreath

Wreath Tutorial

I woke up on Solstice morning with the idea of braiding a wreath into Quinn’s hair. I didn’t look for any directions and just went for it. It was a little messier than I would have liked, but it think it turned out pretty well for a first attempt.  This is a great hairstyle for Christmas or Solstice celebrations.


View from the side.

1. Be sure to have your kiddo standing or sitting in a place that you can walk all the way around them.
2. I pulled her bangs back into a ponytail at the spot where I wanted the top of the wreath.
3. I split the ponytail in half and used the 2 sections as two of the 3 starting parts of my braid.
4. I picked up the third braid part from her head to lock in the top there.
5. Visualizing where I wanted the wreath to be, I did a regular French braid down the left side of the wreath, following the curve that I wanted. (a lefty may want to go the other way) I picked up hair on both sides like a regular braid.
6. Once you get to the bottom, only pick up hair from the outside of the wreath (one side). This will keep the unbraided hair in the middle smooth. You can see in the pictures that I didn’t figure this out until I was halfway across.
7. Once you are across the bottom, you will need to braid UP the other side. It’s not really hard, but it feels awkward.
8. Once you get back up to where you started, braid the hair out the rest of the way and put a holder on it.
9. Tuck the braid through the braid in the top to lock it in there. Follow the wreath and tuck it through the braid a few more times until you run out of hair. I think I did a total of three tucks and ran out at the very bottom.
10. When you run out, hide the end with a bobby pin.
11. I finished the bottom with a vertical barrette with a piece of ribbon.
12. As with anything like this, a good shellacking with hairspray will make it last longer.  Her braid lasted through package opening, an hour car ride and 4+ hours of romping with cousins.

If you are feeling extra festive, you can chalk the hair with some green chalk or wire in some holly berries.





18″ Doll Skirt from a Shirt Sleeve

skirt from sleeve

Quinn has decided that she wants an American Girl doll for her birthday this year.  I think they are ridiculously expensive, but she has been consistent all year that this was her dearest wish.  She has an 18″ doll that we got several years ago at a church yard sale.  She is Tolly Tots brand, but looks very similar to the American Girl dolls and has been largely ignored.  I decided to clean her up and make her some clothes to see if Quinn will play with her and dress her and such.  It is sort of a test to see if she really is interested in one of these big girl dolls.  We got a wig brush and did her hair.  I got the ink marks off with rubbing alcohol and magic eraser.  I put an outfit (that she came with) on her and suddenly she was beautiful to Quinn.  The thing that cinched it is that Quinn named her.  Intoducing: Rose Petal

I looked around online for free doll clothes patterns and pinned quite a few things at Pinterest.  You might like to have a look at what is there.

I hit the thrift shop and picked up some clothes with some fabrics that I knew Quinn would like.  The first things that I made were a couple of t-shirts with this pattern..  I only followed the directions exactly the first time because I found my serger to be so much faster.  It was very helpful shape to have that shape for my first item.  Rose Petal is eagerly waiting to not be a nudist.

ready to sew

Biggest tip ever – If you can, ALWAYS cut your pattern to maintain the existing hem in the clothes.  You will save time and it will look more professional.

After this shirt, I cut the sleeve off of a silk blouse.  (For the record, I don’t think <i>I</i> have anything silk in my own clothes.)  I noticed that it fit around her.


I kept the angle of where the sleeve attached to the shirt and then sewed an elastic waistband into the other end (mid-sleeve).  You can see from the pictures, I didn’t do any pinning or worrying about the stitches.  I may regret that a tad, but my daughter never noticed.

elastic waistbandwaistband


Well, sort of. In these pics, the bottom isn’t hemmed and it was fraying like crazy, so I ended up running it through the sewing machine. Here she is in her new t-shirt and silk skirt.

Finished outfitFinished outfit

I hope you like this. It was super easy and my daughter thinks it is very fancy.

Mail Bag for a Junior Postal Worker

finished bag smaller


My son’s school just got a mail box last week, complete with mail bag and letters.  The kids loved it, but I heard that there was going to be a knock-down, drag-out over the mail bag.

Megan asked if I could make another bag for the room.  I was told that the only requirement was that it said MAIL on it in big letters.  I decided to do the label in felt, as I have a TON of it (shocking, huh?) and because I am pretty comfortable working with it.  I was going to write out MAIL in Word in a big font, print it, cut it out and use the letters as a template…but I got lazy and just free-handed it with chalk on the felt and cut it out.

I sketched out the front as a half oval and the back/flap as a full oval.   The picture is of the full oval.











I decided to do the handle and sides/bottom in one continuous loop.  I didn’t do any measuring.  I just know I wanted it about 3 inches wide, so I sewed a tube and flipped it inside out to hide the seam allowance.

Speaking of sewing, I used both my sewing machine and my serger.  If you don’t have a serger, you could use a zig zag stitch.  The fabric I selected was some green canvas that I already had around the house.  I chose it because it was stiff enough to hold its shape.



Here are the pieces cut out and laid out  without the edge piece.  It gives you an idea of the shape.

Ignore my chalk note.  I just wanted to make sure that I got the bottoms to line up together.

When I started sewing, I started with the half oval and the tube and just serged all the way around the curved part.  Once the front was done, I attached the back the same way.  I attached the bottom part to the other side of the side strap and just serged the top flap part to keep it from fraying.

As you can see, I used some wacky colors, but since it was going to be exposed anyway, I thought I’d go for “I knew you were going to look, so I made it pretty.”









Once the front and back were on, I cut the handle to the right length and sewed the start to the finish, thereby making the edge a complete circle.  I then serged any remaining unfinished edges and went over stress points again.

I was hoping that I could just be done then, but the strap was kind of wimpy-feeling, so I did a row of stitching with the regular machine down each side of it to make it stronger.

Once I was done, I flipped it to put the sewing on the inside and sewed the MAIL sign on (although I seriously considered leaving all of the seams on the outside since the colors were so cute).  I used the machine to sew it on so that it would be neater on the inside.







Here is Jude with the bag that he is taking to school tomorrow.

Chalking Quinn’s Hair

We saw hair chalking at Pinterest and knew Quinn would love it.  There are some videos at YouTube that were pretty helpful.  Also, this tutorial at (wait for it) Seventeen Magazine.  Basically you are going to buy some cheap art chalks (less that 10 bucks at Jo-Ann’s), wet the hair you want to color and rub the chalk on.  It’s a little messy, so rubber gloves and a towel around the neck are a good idea.  Well, the gloves should go on your hands, not around your neck, but you probably knew that.

Here is what she looked like with her hair wet.

Before I flat ironed it

I took the top layer of Quinn’s hair and pulled it up on top of her hair.  This made the color sort of peek-a-boo.  These pictures are a little out of order, but see:  Hair down on the left and up on the right.

You can't see the color when I drop the top part down.Pink and Purple under the back

Once I was done coloring, I combed and then flat ironed it.  It was supposed to “set” it, but I’m not sure that it did.  It did make it lay nicely.   When I brushed it, a cloud of chalk flew out.  I didn’t see this in any of the tutorials that I read elsewhere, but this inspired me to spray aerosol hairspray over the chalked hair to set it.   I sprayed the hair and then brushed while it was drying so that the individual strands were shellacked.  The chalk cloud stopped immediately and I think the color will stay in for at least tomorrow, but probably until we wash it.

Here are all the colors with the hair still pulled up.  Green, black (her personal favorite because it is “like Snow White,” pink/red and then a tiny smidge of the purple.

All the colors with her top layer of hair still up

Final Results!

Table Vert - Represent!Purple on this side

EDIT – Not to be out-done, here is Jude with some blue to match his eyes.

The play fridge is done!

Play Fridge Done

This is the used kitchen cabinet that we bought at a Habitat for Humanity Restore.  Here is the post with what it originally looked like.

We applied a couple of 8 1/2 x 11 adhesive magnet sheets (~ $5 delivered from ebay) to the front so that magnets would stick.  We would have preferred magnetic paint, but it seems to run $20 a can, so this was a much cheaper option.  I do have to say that the power of the magnet sheet isn’t great.  One thing to remember is that you are putting up a magnet and not metal, so some magnets that you put on might stick and some might repel, depending on the polarity.  If there is something you really want to use or are making magnets to match, test them first and make sure the “sticky” side is facing out.

The original handle was a little white ceramic circle.  We wanted it to look a little more like a refrigerator handle, so we picked this one up at Lowe’s for $3.

Play Fridge Done

We painted it with some paint that we already had.  It looks nice, but it might scratch off pretty fast.  That’ll be a watch and see.

We saved some plastic foods that the kids would recognize.  I also was on a big crochet kick and crocheted a selection of new things – a couple of eggs (in the carton), a cookie, a jar of peanut butter, a block of tofu and a stalk of celery.  The eggs were the only things that I used a pattern for.  The rest I just made up as I went along.  If you were interested in any of these patterns, I could try to remember what I did.  I’m pretty pleased with the peanut butter jar. I meant to put a label on it, but forgot and then didn’t have enough time.  I think that I would just cut a rectangle of felt and sew on a peanut shape.

Play Fridge Done







The kids really like it.  They loaded it right up with our felt felt food.  Quinn especially liked identifying fruits and veggies for the “Crisper drawer” – which is just a cardboard box covered in paper.

How we got rid of lice



First of all, I’m so sorry that you are reading this.  It means that someone in your house has lice, probably your kid.  We hate lice.  Hate them.  Our daughter has brought them home two times.  We did a bunch of research and reading and figured out the following plan of attack.  I hope it helps you.

(thank you CJ for compelling me to finally write this up)

Basically nothing replaces sitting and picking and picking and picking. Put all stuffed toys and soft things that can’t be washed in trash bags for at least 2 weeks.  Any bugs on them will starve and die (or hatch, starve and die) by then.  Wash bedding and towels EVERY DAY. It’s is a terrible pain, but if you sit and pick for an hour and then tuck your kid into a bed with bugs, it totally defeats the purpose. We take away the comforter and “nice” things (wash once and them put in trash bags) and use 1 pillow and blankets we don’t love so the laundry is do-able.

We haven’t bought any of the chemicals. My reading suggests that they are more toxic to you than to the bugs because they are resistant. Mix gross yellow (original) listerine with vinegar, douse the hair and put on a shower cap or saran wrap for at least a half hour (let your kid watch a show or two). Wrap a towel around your kid’s shoulders to catch drips and give him/her a wash cloth to blot with.  I’d suggest getting the shower cap because the saran wrap has a tendency to open.  Also, you might find dead lice in the cap when you take it off, which is satisfying. The listerine kills bugs. The vinegar dissolves the egg glue.

Rinse in the shower or sink. You might see bugs, but they’ll probably be dead.  If possible, I’d suggest not getting your whole kid wet because eventually they will be naked, cold, wet and doused in conditioner for the pick-a-thon.  It works out better if only the head is wet.

Wash the hair and then douse on a TON of conditioner with dimethicone, preferably something with coconut oil in it. Dimethicone is the main ingredient in LiceMD. I had originally thought that it smothered them. Now it seems that it just lubricates the hair so much that they slide out super easily. It doesn’t matter, it’s good stuff. I don’t know if lice really don’t like coconut, but several sites have said this. We bought coconut white rain at the dollar tree and it was perfect. It’s a $1, so seriously, douse the hair in it.  The conditioner really helps you see the eggs and slows down the fast adult lice.

Sit the kid down where you can see really well and work your way around. I’d suggest entertainment for your kid because you’ll be a while (especially the first time), but put on music instead of a TV show, because you’ll need to turn his/her head all different directions and you don’t want them to be looking at something that is only in one spot. I’ve had NO luck with a comb, but it may be great for you.  I just keep parting and sliding the little egg sacks (and occasional live lice) out with my fingernails.  Egg sacks will be ~ 2 or 3 mm from the head.  If they are much further than this, then you’ve probably had lice for a while and the hair has had time to grow.

Whatever you pull out, smush the sucker between your fingernails so you know they will NOT come back. It will make a tiny popping noise that causes you to throw up in your mouth every time. Also pop them because you hate them and want them to die. Also do it because you are sick of standing there and your feet hurt and it gives a sense of accomplishment.  If it doesn’t pop, it has already hatched (which is sad) or sometimes it is just dirt or a skin flake from the scratching.  Prepare yourself for the emotions you will feel when the bug you just popped leaves your baby’s blood on your fingernail.

Go through the hair until you have made a complete pass without finding an egg or a bug. Do the treatment and pick every other night until you stop finding them — then continue to spot check without the treatment. You will probably do 3 treatments. Your kid will smell like the listerine, but our kid liked the smell (weirdo) and it seemed like it was probably protective against them.

Continue washing bedding and towels every day until you go a week without finding any. Keep the stuffed animals and such in quarantine for a while longer.

Oh wait, I lied about the toxic chemicals.  We did buy an aerosol can of stuff from the drug store that we use on the car seats.  We spray it on in the evening when we can leave the car windows open for a while so it can air out.

I hope that this process can make lice removal as simple as it can be for you.

Google Plus

Dante CirclesAre you using it?  I’m really enjoying the coziness of it.  It doesn’t have all of the wacky overwhelmingness of Facebook.  I like the possibilities provided by the circles, although I am typically of the belief that one shouldn’t put anything on the internet that they don’t want the world to see.

I’ve had an amusing week or so because someone put me in a SWTOR group and shared it.  Until this happened, I didn’t even know that SWTOR is a new Star Wars MMORPG that may or may not be in beta right now.   I’ve had quite a few people randomly add me, of these, I’ve added some back.  I mean, honestly, in a venn diagram these SWTOR peeps and I have quite a bit of overlap.  Checking out all of these people and the diversity of their profiles and posts (or lack thereof), it has inspired me to put together a little bit on how to make new friends on Google+.

#1 – Upload a freaking picture.  I don’t care if it is you, your dog, your neighbor’s dog or what, but if you don’t have a picture to represent yourself in some way, you basically don’t exist in my mind.  Even if I have to think about you as “purple turtle guy,” I want to be able to recognize you by sight.  Even better, upload 5 pictures so your little profile montage gets filled.

#2 – Fill in your profile.  It doesn’t have to be detailed.  Additionally, you need to make sure your profile is public.  Some folks have their info locked down so tightly that I can’t see their profile page at all.  Why add me if you are not going to share anything with me.  That’s kinda creepy.

#3 – Make some posts public.  I know people are all super-psyched about this circle thing, but if you put ALL of your posts in circles, then nobody new can see what you are talking about.  Sure, you might be awesome, but only the 32 people in your X circle or the 213 people in your Y circle that you share with know it.  If you want new people to find you, post publicly so your posts are searchable.

#4 – Reply to people’s posts.  If you think someone is cool or your like their post, give it a +1 or a comment.  Social media is all about the interaction and people aren’t posting to hear themselves talk.  I’ve also found that when I reply to someone, if another reader agrees, they might come and look me up.

If any of you need help getting started in Google+, I’d love to help wean you from the madness of Facebook and the constraint of Twitter.  Come and visit.

Thanksgiving Felt Food Tutorials and Ideas

Thought I would compile a selection of felt food tutorials of a Thanksgiving-type nature. I was sure that I would find a ton, and I did. If you find the whole “first thanksgiving” thing as questionable as I do, just select items that fit with your beliefs.

You could make a cornucopia center-piece and than add the pieces to your kidlets’ felt food bin after dinner. This isn’t felt, but I think felt might not have the structure you would want, anyway. It is from Crafty Staci


Here are some good foods to put inside:

I’ve always loved this ear of corn pattern. I think it would be neat to use several felt colors in the weaving and make “Indian Corn.” (Is there a PC name for this type of corn other than dried multi-colored corn?)

Felt Corn
There is a great, free tutorial here at Cook, Clean, Craft.

A summer squash, of course…
Summer Squash

Here is a nice tutorial from Cut Out and Keep

Here is another tutorial from Shelley Inspired that is a free download that has another summer squash, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, potato and a few others. She calls it her Farmer’s Market Set.

Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots has put together roasted turkey with removable drumsticks.

Felt Turkey

Some green beans from Craftiness is not Optional.

Green Beans

Back to Smashed Peas and Carrots for pumpkin pie. She shows how to make a dollop of whipped cream on the top, which I think totally makes the whole thing.

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

This is already way longer than I intended, but you may also want to consider adding fruits to your cornucopia or adding mashed potatoes, dinner rolls or cranberry relish to the menu.

What are some of your Thanksgiving food traditions.

Ridiculously Easy Reusable Snack Bag

I had an assortment of PUL fabric that I had purchased once upon a time to make diapers with (that never happened) and I was trying to decide what to do with it. PUL is fabric that is coated with plastic on one side to make it waterproof. We have a couple of store-bought reusable snack bags that we like a lot. One in particular was good because it closed completely with velcro and so didn’t have spillage issues. I decided to use our PUL to make a few more of these bags. You can order PUL from many places online or you could use vinyl or nylon or something that available in your local typical fabric store.

Here is the final product:

Finished snack bags

– A piece of PUL (or whatever fabric you are using) that is twice the size you want your bag to be (plus a little extra for seam allowance.) If you are unsure, fold your fabric in half, lay whatever sandwich bag you use now on top of it and cut loosely around it.
– A strip of velcro/aplix/hook and loop tape that is the width of the opening.

Unless completely necessary, I am not a pinner. Take your fabric (PUL side up) by the short edge and fold over a tad. Lay one of your velcro pieces on it to hold your fold in place and sew down the length. The seam will be under the velcro, so you only need to fold it over once. If it is an option on your machine, you may want to move your need to the right to get closer to the edge without letting your velcro and fold escape.

Fold overNeedle to the right

Make a turn at the corner of the velcro and keep going around until you’ve sewn a whole rectangle on the velcro. Do the exact same thing with the other half of the velcro on the other side. This is what it should look like with the velcro done.

Sewn rectangleVelcro done

Fold the fabric in half, wrong side out. Sew one side closed. This actually turned out to be the most difficult part because the PUL is sort of sticky and did not feed easily through the machine. Do the same thing on the other side.

One edge doneBoth Sides

Flip it right side out and you are done. Seriously. It’s that easy.

Velcro open

Velcro closednull

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