BREAKING NEWS: Elves Declare War on Dinovember

I recently introduced you to Felix and Fiona, a pair of Elves on the Shelves (that’s the correct plural form right?).  Things have suddenly taken a nasty turn. Evidently they received word about Dinovember and in response to what they see as interlopers trying to divert attention from their one month of living a year they decided to take action.

WARNING: The following photo may be disturbing to some.  It may also cause mass hysteria.

1479082_10151744794070563_485194166_n

It seems they have not only issued this warning to all plastic dinosaurs they have also taken the largest, most powerful hostage.  No word at this time from the remaining dinosaurs.  We will update as this situation develops.

Pink Ariel Dress Tutorial

I had already planned on making my daughter a Cinderella gown for her 4th birthday and to take to Disneyland this Christmas, but then a friend of mine asked if I could make Ariel the Little Mermaid’s pink gown for her daughter for a Christmas present.  Evidently the pink one isn’t as readily available and Etsy has them for the low low price of $300.  So after some Googling I decided that I could alter my Cinderella pattern to be able to make both dresses at once.  And then of course decided that I couldn’t make just one pink satin dress and then, in my daughter’s eyes, get rid of it.   So here’s how I did it.  I tried to break it down  as simple as possible, but if you don’t understand something, just ask!

Arielpinkl

I used Simplicity Pattern 2817  and then just made adjustments to make it look like the Ariel dress. A 3 year old doesn’t need so much cleavage (or really any), but I do think that puffed sleeves and skirt volume is a must.  I used a costume pink satin and then used a stiffer white special occasion fabric to add body.  I added a crinoline to my daughter’s, but the one I sold didn’t have one so I wanted it to have enough shape to not look limp while she was playing in it.  I didn’t want to add tulle because although tulle is cute, it’s itchy and bunches.

I made the top just as it instructed, but I would recommend cutting the front piece on the fold of the fabric. I don’t understand why they want you to sew that together.  I did it with this dress, but not when I made the Cinderella one.Just keep in mind that you need to shift the pattern off the fold the length of the seam allowance or it will make the front bigger than the stated size.  Unless that’s what you’re going for. I also added interfacing down the back because I didn’t put in buttons, but eyelets and lace. Here’s photos of progress so far:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I lined it in the stiffer white.  Lining is a lot cheaper, but like I said I wanted this to hold up and the pink satin wasn’t real sturdy. Also I top stitch everything that could ever possibly need it.  I think it looks neater and helps hold everything together.

Now we come to the part where I changed things.  I wanted puffed slashed sleeves so I used the sleeve pattern for the Snow White dress instead of the Cinderella sleeves.  That means a different sleeve and it also had an armband at the bottom of the puff.  Now I cut out 2 pink and 2 white.  You don’t really have to cut the white into the sleeve shape, I just found that easier to keep track of everything.  So what you do is you then cut all the sleeves into strips and sew the white strips in.  That makes sense right?  Well here are some visual explanations:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I stack them all up and then cut them together so both sides match.  The thing to make sure is that it starts and ends in pink and that you keep the pink strips in order.  You will use ALL pink strips, but not all the white ones.  This method kinda wastes fabric, so if you have a better idea– DO IT!  OK once they are sewn together they will look kinda messy, but don’t worry, we’ll fix that.

The next step is to sew the pink sections together at the top and bottom leaving the space in the middle open.  Now it should look more like the original sleeve, but it will have white sections like Ariel.  Turn the sleeve over and trim and clean up the white.  Right here is when a serger comes in handy.  It cleaned up the area and cut off the white at the same time.  Here’s what you should have now:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DO NOT ATTACH THE SLEEVES YET! Ariel has long sleeves so after I sewed the arm banding on the bottom of the sleeve I added a long pointed sleeve.  You can make this pattern but making the top as wide as the arm banding, from the middle of the banding measure down how ever long you need the sleeve to be plus 1/2 inch, then 1/2 inch below the bottom draw a line as wide as you need the wrist to be (make sure it will be loose enough), connect the ends of the wrist line to the ends of the armband lines.  Once again that’s really confusing so here’s a picture:

20131125_180004-001

I then finished the pointed end of the sleeve then attached it to the same seam where the sleeve and armband meet.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OK then just attach the sleeves as the regular pattern calls for it just make sure that you have the armband facing the right direction.  Believe me (not that I would make that mistake– *cough cough*).  Now you have this!

20131126_160536

Yay!  It’s starting to look like more than a mess of fabric!

So I’m sure you see the skirt next to her on the dress form.  The pattern has 2 parts for the skirt, a side and back piece and a front piece.  For this dress I cut all pieces out in the white and cut out another set of side/back pieces in the pink to make an overskirt.  I sewed the pieces of the white together like the pattern asked, then sewed the two pink ones together, then attached the pink and white at the top of the skirt leaving an inch free at the edge of the pink that meets the center front piece (that way I could finish the edge down the front easily.  I had this:

20131125_143647

looks fantastic right?  OK not so much, but trust me on this.  I trimmed up the front of the pink so that it had a more sloping gradual opening then I attached the skirt to the top.  The white front piece I gathered between the darts on the top  and then distributed and gathered the pink the rest of the way around.  Ta da!  You’re almost done!

20131126_165054

I have serged all my edges which makes the hemming a lot easier.  I made the pink skirt shorter than the white to reflect the Ariel dress a little more.  After I was all done hemming I added the eyelets and just used pink ribbon.  I like to mark all the eyelets on one side and then do the other.  I find that makes them look much more even then trying to do both sides at one time.  Here’s the back:

20131202_123434

This dress is the one I sold and she is a couple sizes bigger than my daughter, so that’s why I left the ribbon long and the dress is a bit big.  I also had issues getting my little girl to stand still.  I’ll try posting some more detailed shots when she wears this in Disney.  Surely she’ll get tired and sit still at some point right??

Here’s some more photos and if you want to know how I made my super easy, non itchy crinoline keep reading.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

OK for the crinoline I bought an old square dance crinoline on eBay and cut it to be 4 inches wider than what she needed it to be, serged the back together leaving the cotton portion open for easy on and off, ran some twill tape through the old elastic casing and voila!

It’s soft and washable.  I can use it with any of her gowns.  Cause, yes she has gowns.  Speaking of which pictures of her Cinderella gown will be up soon.

The Elf on the Shelf Queen

I sew, I bake, my children sing, but I am a horrible Elf on the Shelf mom. I forget about it, I make up horrible explanations and I’m really just not that great with the whole Santa thing either. I make up for it by having a friend that is insanely good at it.  Like, make you ashamed that all you did was run into the room right before your kids did and move him from one bookcase to the other.  This lady is a fierce, strong, DIVA.  She mostly scared me in college and now I mostly stand back in awe of her.  She is an hilarious heartfelt writer who really should have a blog of her own and her kids are the kind of awesome that you’re excited when she shares a story or posts a picture (lets be honest there are a few people you hide in your newsfeed because of all the baby photos– well this is not that person).  Her name is Lindsey Blackwell and here’s her story in her own words:

When Felix first came to our house I was “meh.” about the whole thing. For the first year he sat quietly on the shelf. Three year old Emma had about as much interest in that elf as she did in eating asparagus or cleaning the windows. It wasn’t on her radar. So that year, he moved quietly from one shelf to another. Usually he moved in a panic at around 5am accompanied by strong language from a frazzled mommy who realized the three year old was running down the stairs behind her. No one else I knew had an elf. No one I knew had Facebook, either. All was well at our house.

Fast forward to Christmas 2010. Kid A had turned 6 and Kid B was a delightful one year old. We were celebrating our first year in our new digs and I was celebrating a Christmas with a new outlook, one not marred by the wretched memories of the year before. We were happy and against my better judgment I found myself being downright chipper. I know. Disturbing. This was about the time that Felix began acting out. It started with a few candy wrappers and a mess left in the kitchen. And before we knew it, he was sitting in Emma’s jewelry box looking like Lady Gaga.

Every morning got increasingly exciting at our house as Kid A would run through shouting about Felix’s whereabouts and small child Blackwell was hot on her heels although I suspect he didn’t know why. You know how one year olds are, they’ll laugh just because everyone around them is laughing and if everyone were to run screaming into a burning building, they’ll follow just to be a part of it. They’re funny that way. Anyways, back to that elf. The year ended pleasantly enough and Felix went back to the cupboard, shoved hastily into a cramped position where he would remain for the next 11 months.

Now we’ve reached the Elf of Christmas Present. This year, I started to think about Felix in November. I started to have these ideas. So it began. Felix started slow, eating candy and leaving treats but he quick escalated out of my control. I saw what was happening. I saw my friend’s Facebook elf pictures and it annoyed me. I would scroll down, eyes rolling, thinking “Please don’t let me be that mommy” and “Oh great, there’s that cute mommy again with her cute elf making cute cupcakes.” The whole thing made me nauseous. But it was too late. That damned elf had me in his grip. I couldn’t stop. I could tell you that I do all this out of some desire to “give joy and happiness to the hearts of children”. But that’s only part of it. I do it because I like it. A lot. Too much. Once I began this descent into Elf mischief I knew what had to happen. I knew my primary goal for 25 days would be to constantly outdo myself. It’s quite exhausting, being in competition with your own self. But yet here we are.

So yeah and if that’s not enough she also sings like this.  I love her in spite because of all her awesomeness.  I will keep adding photos of her elf as she continues her insanity this year.  She has stated plans for a Hunger Games themed elf adventure and that Felix and Fiona evidently have a message to the dinosaurs that are causing all that mischief.  So stay tuned so see how crazy she is what her elves get into!

The 12th Doctor!

Image

Photo released by the BBC

My exclamation point there isn’t genuine.  I am not excited about the 12th Doctor.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m not upset that Matt Smith is leaving and I am not upset that Peter Capaldi has been cast as the new Doctor.  I’m a little surprised with the choice just because he was on Torchwood and I would think that would mess with the canon of the show.  Not crazy surprised though, just a little.  I’m also a little surprised at his age.  I didn’t expect someone as young as Matt Smith, but I did expect more of a David Tennant age.

So why am I not excited by all this news?  I wish I didn’t know that there was going to be a new Doctor in December.  Imagine:  all the excitement leading up the the 50th anniversary, followed by the excitement that always surrounds the Christmas special and then BAM! the Doctor dies.  THAT would surprise me.  THAT would excite me.  I understand that Matt leaving would be a huge secret to keep, but it would be amazing to have that kind of genuine shock in Doctor Who.

I see it as when I first got hooked to Doctor Who, Supernatural, Smallville (I’m still watching that one so shhhhhh), Sons of Anarchy, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc.  I came to all of those shows late in the game so I was able to watch multiple seasons without seeing the spoiler-y articles, without knowing when a particular actor/actress was quitting or seeing articles saying how much the show was going to suck because [insert actor] was leaving/staying/etc.  I formed my own opinions, I was surprised when Jenna was killed, when Donna saved the world and then was left behind, when Sookie was a faerie (OK that was a crappy surprise), I didn’t know when the 9th Doctor was leaving and even though I knew David Tennant would leave I didn’t know when or how (come on they really drug out his death) and I could keep going.

I also hate the speculation and the lack of feels surrounding the change over.  First there was the initial announcement that Matt was leaving followed by posts of “Great!  He was a horrible Doctor” or “NOOOOO I’m never watching again!  Matt Smith is MY Doctor!”  Then we got used to the idea and we now get to have months of speculation of how great/horrible/bland/amazing Peter is going to be.

I would love the continual excitement that I experienced when catching up on the shows I joined mid-stream.  I had surprises in every episode and just wish that shows stepped back and instead of leaking a bunch of stuff to create hype (Sons of Anarchy I’m looking at you) they would be mysterious.  Let me come up with huge theories that are completely wrong.  That’s half the fun!

Just think.  We could have been enjoying our Christmas Day excited for the Doctor Who special, snuggled down after a day of high calorie food and present opening to have our emotions rocked by the death of The Doctor and our mind whirling at the thought of a new (impostor) Doctor trying to worm his way into our hearts (NEVER! OK well at least not for a few months).  Think of the feels that we are giving up.  Come on BBC I’m disappointed in you.  I expected you to be able to ruin my Christmas Day completely, not this half-assed attempt at emotional destruction.