making the castle

soul turns five soul turns five soul turns five This is how we put together the castle for Soul’s princess party. Ben created the frame by using PVC pipes we already had. I simply covered it with my massive roll of craft paper (I use it for so many things!) and affixed it on with packaging tape. I cut out the two, top front panels in the shape of a tower, and then I painted on a brick pattern all throughout the exterior (excluding the back and right side) and interior.

I originally wanted to make it out of cardboard boxes (inspired by this) and make them slot together, similar to the cardboard dollhouse, but we didn’t have boxes large enough. Also, I was too pressed for time to figure that out (that’s what happens when I have two December birthdays to prepare for on top of Christmas!). I told Ben what I was visualizing and I let him come up with the frame. Thus, he came up with the skeleton, and I added the meat. We like to tag team on projects like that often. Usually though, I do the skeleton and he adds the substance, but this time it was at the other way around. *high-five Ben!*

I did see this cool medieval castle playhouse, and this coloring castle, or this life-size fairy castle, or even this discovery play castle. In the end though, none of them were quite large enough to have them have a party inside the castle, so we made our own. But I just came across this carriage, and had I seen that early enough, I might have gotten that to add to our castle. Everything worked out wonderfully and if you saw her party post, you know Soul loved her castle! The only bummer part is that when I moved my fiddle leaf fig tree, I didn’t realize there was sitting water in the saucer. I’m guessing somehow it leaked out because there was a big puddle on the wood floor, which I didn’t see until after the party was over, and well now, we have a a couple really warped planks. Oye vey!



dollhouse pillow on a beautiful mess

dollhouse pillow dollhouse pillow One of my most favorite things to sew are my dollhouse pillows. This is my first one ever and it’s still getting a lot of love today. It looks pretty worn because it’s been played with and loved so much! In my book, Let’s Sew Together, I give full instructions on how to make a dollhouse pillow that opens up! It’s one of the “take your time” projects in the book, but it’s really such a labor of love your child will treasure.

I shared a simpler version of my dollhouse pillow on A Beautiful Mess, so if you still need a couple ideas of Christmas presents to make, you might want to consider making one these. Get the full instructions here. Also, if you want to see some of my other contributions to ABM, check out the full list here.

We had such a lovely day celebrating Ben’s 40th birthday yesterday, and what I thought was going to be all about him, there ended up being a surprise for me too (I share a bit about it here). That man of mine is something else!



simple brown paper packages and vintage fabric scraps

simple wrapped presents simple wrapped presents simple wrapped presents simple wrapped presents Our presents are wrapped up in simple brown paper and string, but I also included some bits of vintage fabric and other embellishments. I used some smaller crochet pieces, and cut pieces from old table cloths and handkerchiefs. As much as I love brown paper packages tied up with string, I think they still needed a little something extra. Plus, now I think they match a bit with our crochet tree skirt (it’s really just a crochet tablecloth wrapped around the bottom).

I’m a simple gift wrapper. I would love to be able to paint paper and do other pretty present toppers, and get all super fancy with my present wrapping, but this lady ain’t got no time for that. Know what I’m saying?!



loving: start creative doodle books

start creative start creative start creative I shared about these doodle books by Start Creative Studio a few months ago in a weekend link up. I said they would make great stocking stuffers, and here we are at stocking stuffer time, and I have these little books ready for the girls. It’s pocket size, so besides being a good stocking stuffer, it’s a sketch book to take on the go.

These little doodle books are intended to spark creativity in kids. There is a little scribble (swirl or line) on each page, and your little artist continues their doodle from that. I love the concept; they provide the start and they let you get creative. I can’t wait to see what the girls turn their swirls and scribbles into! If you want to grab a couple, use CAKIES10 for 10% off orders through December 14th.



diy: hand-drawn softies

hand-drawn softies Hand-Drawn Softies

1 yard of plain fabric
1 yard of patterned fabric
Coordinating thread
Fabric paint
Paint brush
Hand sewing needle
Sewing machine

Seam allowance: 1/2″

1. Paint your designs on the plain fabric. Allow to dry completely, then iron to heat set design in place. Note: I find it best to iron the image with some scrap fabric on top, just in case some of the paint comes off.

child-drawn softies child-drawn softies 2. Cut about an inch around the entire perimeter of the drawn image. Place on top of the backing with their right sides together, and cut out the backing fabric.

With the right sides of the image and backing fabric together, sew around the perimeter, but leave a 2″ – 3″ opening for turning. Clip any curves and corners, and turn right side out. Fill with poly-fill and slipstitch the opening closed.

child-drawn softies child-drawn softies child-drawn softies child-drawn softies My girls drew the images, and I did the sewing. I love how striking the black and white images are, but if you want more color, just used colored fabric and colored paint.  We made these for Christmas gifts (for each other and friends). I think this is a simple homemade project that kids would love doing, and they would be proud to give something they made to others!

And if you want more ideas for handmade projects to do with (and for) kids, my book, Let’s Sew Together, is filled with them! It would also make a great stocking stuffer or Christmas present for someone who wants to learn how to sew.



diy: wee felt house & a little mouse

wee felt house and tiny mouse Wee Felt House & A Little Mouse

Wee Felt House & A Little Mouse Template
3 – 12″ x 12″ wool felt rolls
Felted flowers and balls
Various scraps of felt or wool felt (for the mouse)
Coordinating embroidery floss
Embroidery needle
Poly-fil (for the mouse)
Snap buttons
Fabric glue

wee felt house and tiny mouse Directions:
1. Using your template as a guide to cut out the triangle portions of the house roof. For the body of the house, cut out five 5″ squares from your wool felt fabric. For the side of the house roof, cut out two 4″ x 5″ wool felt pieces. For the windows, cut out three 2″ squares, and for the door, cut out a 2″ x 4″ piece of wool felt.

wee felt house and tiny mouse 2. Hand sew your door and windows onto four of the 5″ squares, set aside one to be the bottom of the house.

wee felt house and tiny mouse 3. Pin the four walls of the house to one of the four sides to the bottom of the house. To attach, use a blanket stitch to connect each piece together. Go around sewing the all four sides of the bottom of the house. Continue sewing together the corners of each house. Then, sew three sides of the top of the house. Leave the top back of the house free of stitching.

wee felt house and tiny mouse wee felt house and tiny mouse 4. To make the roof of the house, pin together the long side of the two 4″ x 5″ pieces together, then pin the ends to the two sides of the triangle (the 5″ side of the triangle should line up with the bottom of the roof. Blanket stitch all sides of the roof together, but leave the back bottom of the roof free of stitching. Then, pin together the back bottom of the roof to the top back of the house, and blanket stitch those two edges together.

Cut out a 1″ x 8″ piece of wool felt, sew each short end 3″ down from the top center of the roof with a blanket stitch, and continue to blanket stitch all the way around. This is the handle of the house. Using fabric glue, add the felt flowers and balls to decorate the house. This can also be hand sewn on as well.

Sew on the snap buttons onto the top right and left of the house; one stud on the bottom center of the roof, and one socket on the top center of the house body.

wee house and a little felt mouse wee felt house and tiny mouse wee felt house and tiny mouse Wee Felt Mouse

1. Cut out the felt pieces for your mouse using the template. Stitch on the inner ears onto one of the mouse body pieces; this will be the front of your mouse. Place the front and back mouse body pieces together, with the right side facing out, and stitch all the way around the edges of the mouse to create the mouse body. Leave a small opening, lightly stuff with Poly-Fil, and then continue to sew the opening closed.

wee felt house and tiny mouse 2. Sew a strand of floss up through the bottom for the little legs of the mouse. Sew on a little felt foot on each end and knot. The bottom of the feet end up dangling about 1″ down from the base of the body. Sew another strand of floss through one side of the body and out the other side for the mouse arms. Sew felt hands on each end and knot. The arms and hands extend about 1″ out on each side of the mouse body.

wee felt house and tiny mouse 3. Embroider on the face of your mouse and add any additional touches you may like. I added a tiny bow tie on mine. With your embroidery floss, add on a tail at the back of your mouse.

wee felt house and tiny mouse 4. Line up the three cheese block sides with a triangle and stitch all the sides together to the triangle. Continue to sew the sides of the cheese block, and then add the bottom triangle and continue to stitch all the sides of that piece on. Before stitching the cheese block closed, add a tiny bit of Poly-Fil, and then stitch the cheese block closed. Make sure that all the sides, edges, and corners of the cheese block are stitched together. I had made all the pieces for this tiny mouse when I felt like he was missing something. Then it dawned on me: this little guy needs a cheese block. I think it was the perfect addition!

wee felt house and tiny mouse wee felt house and tiny mouse wee felt house and tiny mouse wee felt house & a little mouse Isn’t this wee house and little mouse so cute?! He’s the perfect little friend to tote around with his wee house. You could also use the template to make a whole family of mice! There is certainly room for more to live in the house. This tiny house from a small box could also be used for the mouse (or mice) to live in.  It’s a present for one of the girls, but I’m tempted to give it to her already. To help fight the temptation, I better wrap it up for Christmas and put it under the tree. This project is a fun one to make and would definitely be a good present to make for Christmas. It’s also a great project to do with older children, and they could make little mice for friends.

Supplies for this project was provided as part of the Michaels Makers series.

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