Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stuffed Animal Zoo

This is one of those projects that has been on my back burner for a VERY long time. Probably because I sometimes overthink things (who, me? nooo!) and then can't decide how to proceed with a project. So, it gets pushed to the back of the line. Repeatedly.

But, like with most projects that I am determined to do, there comes a day when I get up and decide that today is the day, no more thinking, roll up my sleeves and get to work. So, off we go--

I wanted to build a stuffed animal zoo for my kid's bedroom. I'm sure you've probably seen this one on Pinterest or online somewhere, it's a great, simple design and a great space saver.

But, this one is too big for our space and too pricey for my budget, so with some extra help from my husband, I built my own version.

First, we decided on our size, 5' tall X 20" wide X 8" deep. Yep, you read that right, it has to fit in a very specific, small space. Then, my husband cut out all the pieces using mostly scrap 1x6 wood that we already had, I'm not quite over my issues with the table saw, so I had him do the cutting. Then I gathered up our wood, bungee cord, eye bolts and tools and started the assembly.

We decided to run 2 bungee cords vertically on the front and back face and 1 on each side for the "bars", so my husband pre-drilled the holes in the pieces before assembly.

I decided to give the pieces a quick base coat of white paint before I put them together. Once that was dry, I started laying out and assembling my frame.

Starting at one end, I stapled the short cross pieces to the longer ones making one side of the zoo. I made 2 of these.

On one of the sides, I attached the short "leg" pieces. At this point, my husband came out and suggested that it may be easier to put the eye bolts and bungee in before I put the 2 halves together, so I skipped to painting.

I used a dusty grey-blue that I already had, and the kids even helped paint one side of the frame. (That is, they painted for approximately 15 minutes, got bored, wandered off, then kept asking when it would be done.) 

Since the frame was blue, my daughter insisted we paint the letters pink.

Once everything was dry, I screwed the eye bolts into the pre-drilled holes.

Then, I strung the bungee cord through the eye bolts on both pieces.

Last, I put both pieces of the frame together, finishing the box.

Here's where I began to get nervous. Looking at that, I started thinking that it wasn't going to hold all of the stuffed animals that we have.

This is the pile of animals. GULP!

I am happy to say that I was wrong, they all fit with even some room to spare.

I was actually surprised at how much this thing will hold. So, now the animals are off the floor, you can see them (was I the only one who was unaware that we had 3 Kermit the Frogs??) and my daughter now has a whole new way to occupy her time by rearranging the zoo.

Look how happy Kermit is in his new home! snicker, snicker 

This was such and easy project and I'm happy to be able to cross it off my list, finally! I only have a few more things left to do in the kid's bedroom before I'll want to start all over again I'll be done and able to move on to another room, most likely back to the craft room/office, still plenty of work to do in there!

In the meantime, keep crossing things off the list, as my hubby would say. Happy building!

Linked Up HERE

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dress Up...Again!

Here's how it happened. You'll recall that I had built a small dress up storage unit for my kids a while ago. Then, more recently, I built a larger version for a friend's 2 daughters. While I was building the larger one, I kept thinking that I should really upgrade ours from the small to the larger version.

This time I took the kids with me to buy lumber and choose a paint color. Since it's a shared item, it must be a color they both like. And something I can stand to look at. So, after some discussion, they chose orange.

Bright, safety cone orange.  Ummm, really?? Sorry children, I don't mean to step on your decorative style, but Home Depot orange is not gonna happen! We compromised on a milder orange color, one that they liked and one that I could live with.

The color is Orange Slice from Glidden, and once I had painted the dress up storage unit, I actually liked it a lot. (That was a big relief, is there anything worse than painting something then deciding you can't stand the color??)

Halfway through painting it orange, I began to have visions of a stripe detail, after all that is a lot of orange. I got out some painter's tape and started taping in lines on the 2 ends and down the shelf on the front. I didn't measure anything, although I did make sure the lines were straight, and I decided not to try to make the 2 sides match. I painted the stripes yellow, turquoise, dark grey, and pink. A little something for everyone, and what I already had on hand.

Side detail.

Top shelf detail.

While I was painting the stripes, I kept thinking of the Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, the places you'll go.." Maybe it was the colors that reminded me of the book, or the stripes, or maybe I just had Dr. Seuss on the brain that day, but I decided to go with it.

I used the turquoise blue for the lettering. Then I took the hardware off the old one, and put it on this one.

Her side.

His side.

Again, I thought it would be more fun to let them choose where their letters hung and didn't try to have the sides match.

Last, but not least, I moved it into their bedroom and transferred the costumes, props, hats, shoes and a million purses (seriously, that girl has more purses than I've ever owned in my entire life!) into the new dress up box.

And I'll be darned if that sucker isn't full ALREADY!!! But, there is a lot more space, especially in the bottom, and the kids seem to have an easier time getting their costumes out and (mostly) hung back up. They're also very pleased with having had some design input on this project. Maybe I should have them help me with a certain kids chair that has me completely stumped. I'm pretty sure they'd have some opinions!

Have a great weekend!!

Linked Up HERE

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sewing for Charity---Dress A Girl Around the World

I love to sew.

I know, it probably seems like I'm stating the obvious after reading this blog for 5 minutes, but let me explain further.

I don't exactly remember learning to sew, it just seems like something I could always do, like reading. I know my mother taught me how to use her old Singer when I was a kid, I remember practicing sewing straight lines and circles and making clothes for my dolls and Barbies. Since then, sewing has always been a major part of my life, first in college as a theatre major, then in my career as a theatre artisan both in costume shops and in props shops all over the country.

Sewing, crafting with fabric, designing, and working with my hands has been invaluable to me throughout my life, it's something I'm proud to be able to do and proud to share with others, so when I found a local chapter of Dress A Girl Around the World, it was a natural fit. This organization offers a way to give something tangible to girls in need all over the world. And really, what girl doesn't love a new dress?

Plus, since the style of the dress is very simple, it's a great way to show off some mad sewing skills. These are the dresses I made for this month's meetup.

I was able to make 7 in all, in sizes ranging from 2/3 to 5/6, each one a little bit different.

I've been hoarding this fabric for a long time, it's super soft and lightweight. Size 2

These pockets are actually 4 pockets, to hold more stuff. Size 2/3

This is another fabric I've been holding onto, hmmm, maybe I have a problem....Size 5/6

This one is actually from a pillowcase, love this fabric! Size 2/3

This one is my favorite. I used small black ribbon over the seams to emphasize the color blocking. 
Size 3/4

Sadly, this was the last of this fabric. Size 3

How cute are these little fish?? Size 2/3

Whew! That's a lot of dresses! (Now, don't go thinking I'm superwoman, I didn't sew them all in one day) And you can see that even using the same silhouette, with each color variation, the addition of pockets or trim, each dress is special. The one element that is also sewn into each of these dresses, the one that you can't see, is the one that starts with "L". The ladies that run our chapter, Dee and Carol, and all the ladies who sew these dresses, myself included, envision the little girls who will wear them, knowing that each child is as unique as her dress.

My goal for next month is to make some dresses in some larger sizes for the older girls. I already have some fun design ideas, and I'm looking forward to getting started. If anyone in Tucson would like to join our meetup, here is the link--Dress A Girl Tucson, we're always happy to have sewers, people to cut dresses, assemble kits to take home and sew, and several other tasks in order to get the dresses made. Everyone is welcome. In the meantime, happy sewing!

**I am not a spokesperson for Dress A Girl Around the World. This is a charity I choose to contribute my time to, I am in no way being compensated for this post.**

Linked Up HERE