DIY Toddler’s Superhero Cape

Halloween is coming up fast (as is my baby’s due date, oh my), and I’m finally forcing myself to start thinking about a costume for my daughter. I’ve actually never been a huge fan of Halloween myself, but there is something about toddlers all dressed up in costumes that is so adorable, so I’m finding myself a little more enthusiastic about it this year.

I asked Brownie what she wanted to dress up as and she said “Super Brownie!” I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make a superhero costume for her. This is what I’ve come up with so far:

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It was actually much easier than I thought. You just cut out the shape and from there on it’s just a matter of hemming really. My newly honed sewing skills (I recently made my very first quilt) helped.

Materials and Tools for Superhero Cape:
3/4 yard square of fabric
contrasting grosgrain ribbon
chalk
string
tape
sewing machine and thread
iron and ironing board
superhero logo
fabric glue

You start off with a square of fabric (mine was about 3/4 yard in width of a satin material I found in the remnant pile, just about perfect for a 2-3 year old).

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Then you rig up a little contraption by taping the end of a string to the floor and tying the other end to a piece of chalk. The string should measure the width of the fabric.

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Draw a quarter circle using the chalk and string (doesn’t have to be perfect).

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Draw another curve for the neckline. This one doesn’t have to be a quarter circle, just a slight curve will be fine (the more curved it is the harder it is to hem, just FYI!).

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Cut out your shape and you’ll have something like this above.

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Iron and sew a hem on all sides (on this side I doubled over the raw edge but on the selvage edge I just left the raw edge since it won’t fray. You can use hem tape or fabric glue if you don’t want to sew the hems. Oh and then trim your threads after (unlike me in the pic above).

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Sew on a length of ribbon to tie the cape on. (You can really see the sparkles in this pic. Love this fabric!)

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Use fabric glue to attach your choice of superhero logo. It could be made of felt or good ol’ fashioned paper. In my case I used a couple of foam hearts that I glued together. Or you could just tape it on so you can change the logo later.

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As you can see I did get a lot of puckering on my seams. I probably didn’t have the thread tension right…whatever that means…

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…But Brownie doesn’t care! She loves her superhero cape and asks to put it on every day. She especially loves the subtle little sparkles in the fabric. This was a fun and easy project that I cranked out in about an hour!

Now I have to get the rest of the superhero costume together. I’m thinking, a matching SuperGirl tutu and headband?

What is your kid (or you) going to be for Halloween? Do you like to make your own costume or is it just easier to buy?

Sharing at BlissfulBee, Think and Make Thursdays, Remodelaholic.

My First Strip Quilt!

I must be a sucker for punishment or something. We’re immersed in a gut bathroom reno, and our next child is due in less than 2 months which we have made NO preparations for, and somehow I decided I was going to attempt my very first quilt for my 2-year-old daughter. Luckily it turned out all right…

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I might even go so far as to say, it turned out much better than my expectations. (By the way, please don’t pay any attention to my very dusty floor. I’d like to blame my daughter’s chalkboard, which is right outside of the frame, but really, I’ve just been lax on vacuuming that corner.)

I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at simple quilts and decided that simple straight strips of fabric would be the easiest, quickest, and most forgiving for my less-than-stellar sewing skills. (To be precise, I literally have to look up how to wind a bobbin every time I use the sewing machine.)

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All of the fabrics are scraps/remnants that I’ve picked up over the last couple years at Joanns. I always check their remnant pile for cute fabrics, which are always 50% off, and turned out just perfect for this project. The quilt back is an old fitted sheet that no longer fits any of the beds we own now.

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I made this quilt approx 40″ by 55″ so that even when Brownie outgrows it she’ll still be able to use it as a throw blanket to snuggle with. I bound it with store-bought bias tape, because after putting together the quilt top I was in no mood to cut and make my own bias tape (although it might have been cuter). The store-bought stuff is great! The filling is polyester, because I already had a piece of polyester batting in my stash, though next time (if there IS a next time) I’ll try cotton.

I quilted it “in the ditch” aka along the seams. Straight line quilting seemed the easiest to handle for me.

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There are far better tutorials than I could provide out on the Net (by people who actually know how to use their sewing machines), so I’ll just link to a few of them here.

How to sew a strip quilt top

How to baste and quilt your strip quilt

How to bind your finished quilt

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I feel that after sewing this quilt I have a much better idea of how to work my sewing machine. Next time I might attempt…dum dum dum…square blocks!

What do you think? Is quilting something you would attempt? Do you get intimidated by sewing in a straight line like I do?

Sharing at Thrifty Decor Chick, Tiny Sidekick, Remodelaholic!

Dollhouse Time (Part 1)!

Sorry for the months-long radio silence, folks! I’m expecting my second baby and the morning sickness hit early and lasted for a long time. Then, I was just tired and unmotivated to do any new projects. Finally, in the 2nd trimester, I’m feeling back to my old self (albeit a bit less limber) and back to tackling new projects!

Baby Brownie isn’t a baby anymore! She’s a beautiful 2.5-year old who talks a mile a minute and whose mind is filled with creative and original thoughts! This is such a great time, guys. She is always pretending to mix up Jello in her play kitchen, or talking to her stuffed animals, or dancing to her own singing. Imagination is starting to be a big part of her play, and to help her along, her loving parents decided to make her a dollhouse.

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After many weeks of Pinning, I decided to model our dollhouse after the one at Young House Love. I liked how simple and unfussy it was but still so cute. We did change the dimensions somewhat — our dollhouse is 10 inches deep instead of 8, and the pitch of the roof is steeper. We also tried to keep it to a 1:12 scale so the ceilings are a standard 8 feet (I mean 8 inches), so it wouldn’t get too ginormous.

I thought it would take longer to get Chris on board with the plan, but the idea catalyzed last Saturday when we saw some cute wooden dollhouses at a local toy store. Then later that same day, we were at Home Depot and saw these 4 foot long, 1×10″ boards for sale for $1.50 each! That’s right! The wood for this whole dollhouse cost $4.50!

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Then it was just a matter of measuring, cutting, gluing, and nailing. An easy peasy project for my handyman =p.

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We added doorways just for fun.

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I briefly debated leaving it pine, because it was really a lovely color, but thought better of it. The bare wood will get stained, discolored, and darken over time. Better to paint it all white.

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That’s where it is right now. We are going to add a back wall so the furniture has something to sit against (and um…wallpaper!), and I’m going to paint the roof and exterior.

Chris says really, the dollhouse is for me. It’s true that at this point I’m more excited about it than Brownie is…

DIY Covered Sandbox

This will be more of a “look what we did” post rather than a how-to. I just dug up these pictures from several weeks ago and sorta went, “oh yeah, we did that too!”. But if you’re thinking of making a sandbox for your child, maybe this will give you some ideas.

DIY Covered Sandbox

(Since Baby Brownie isn’t really a baby anymore, I’m just going to call her Brownie from now on.)

So, Brownie likes dirt (doesn’t your 2-year-old too?). And our yard has a lot of it. We’ve been in the midst of installing irrigation and other landscaping projects for a while, so there are literally big piles of dirt all over the yard. So to indulge her love for playing in the dirt, while at the same time keeping her clothes a LITTLE cleaner, we decided to build her a sandbox.

I’ve heard horror stories about sandboxes and cat poop though, so it had to be a covered one!

(Please ignore the neon green pool. We had a little algae overgrowth that we took care of right after we took this pic!)

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We started by digging up the area we were going to make the sandbox in. There used to be a fence here with a cinder-block footing, so we were able to use some of the concrete footing as 2 of the walls of the sandbox. For the other two walls, Chris put in some 4×4 footings in the corners and nailed on a couple of 2×6 redwood planks. Then, he used redwood fence pickets and cut them down to size to make the edge framing and the lid. He lined the hole with a weed-resistant barrier before filling it with playground sand.

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As you can see, the lid is super simple — just a row of fence pickets held together by a couple of stringers. We sanded down the redwood (which is quite splintery) quite a bit and then sealed it with our homemade Danish oil mixture (1:1:1 Oil-based poly, mineral spirits, and boiled linseed oil).

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The below pictures were taken about a month later, so you can see the red color of the wood has faded quite a bit.

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When the lid is open, we secure it to the metal fence behind it using this little loop, to prevent Brownie from pulling it down on herself.

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When it’s closed it’s just a little pad that looks like a mini-deck. I threw some mulch around it but I’m working on some ideas to pretty-up the dirt all around it. Probably some plants on the right side, and maybe some stepping stones in front.

I’m not gonna lie…Brownie still likes to play in the piles of dirt. Maybe a little less now?

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My Favorite Green Smoothie

This week has been just crazy. Baby Brownie turned 2 (I know, where does the time go?) and I was busy organizing a little party with her playgroup as well as a larger family/friends party on the weekend. Now I can finally breathe a sigh of relief as all the merrymaking is over and now I just need to clean up the aftermath.

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After a weekend filled with sweets and junk food, I’m ready to eat healthy again! I’ve been making green smoothies for a while so I thought I’d share my favorite recipe. I’ve been inspired by my sister too who has started making smoothies in the morning =).

This green smoothie is not very sweet. I used to make my morning smoothies with fruit juice and found that by 11am I was crashing from the sugar high, getting jitters and feeling dizzy. So now I try to minimize the sugar by using more veggies and less fruit, and instead of using fruit juice I use almond milk. I’ve found that for me, the key to satiety is having protein and fat, so the almond milk helps, and I also add a big spoonful of coconut butter (I love this brand that I order on Amazon: Artisana 100% Organic Raw Coconut Butter). Plus, the fat helps you metabolize the nutrients in the greens.

This smoothie has a delicious tropical taste and a vibrant green color. You could of course use berries instead of mangoes and pineapple, but I personally don’t like the muddy brown-purple color when I use berries. Am I crazy? Maybe just a little bit…

Green Smoothie

1 big handful greens (spinach, kale, beet greens, lettuce)
1 stick celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 heaping tbsp coconut butter
1 cup almond milk
1/2 banana
1 scant cup frozen mango and pineapple chunks (I buy them cheaply from Trader Joe’s)

I don’t have a Vitamix or high-powered blender…just a cheapie Oster from Walmart, but I can still make delicious smoothies! First blend together the greens, celery, coconut butter, and almond milk. Once that’s smooth, add the frozen mangoes and pineapple and blitz until smooth. Then add the banana for that last hit of smoothness and sweetness.

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