do you wanna build an elsa costume?

I know, I know. I talk pretty much ALL. THE. TIME. about how the movie Frozen left some things to be desired. I just really love Disney villains, and there isn’t one in this movie. Elsa’s not a villain–she has powers and she’s misunderstood, but a villain she is not. That one guy who wants to marry Anna? I guess he’s the villain. But he’s not some menacing Scar-like figure, or even a lovable jerk like Gaston. He doesn’t have a villain song! But, I digress. The point of this post is to talk about my upcoming FROZEN PARTY at the library, and as always, I am getting super into it!

Picture this: your library’s children’s room transformed into Arendelle, with purple, gold, and green banners hanging all around. Then, you are ushered to the meeting room, which has been turned into Elsa’s ice palace! Icicle lights, snowflake wands, troll bowling, Olaf snowball toss, and then…A GIANT SING-ALONG. Guys, I am beside myself with excitement about this party! And just like with the Star Wars party of yesteryear, I need a sweet costume to really get in the zone.

 

Leia on Hoth!

Leia on Hoth (2012)! And Pete the Jedi!

Have I mentioned that I love costumes? I’ll take pretty much any opportunity to dress up. Obviously, this Frozen party is no exception.

After scouring the planet for a turquoise or teal or basically blue/green formal dress and not finding any in my size, I was pretty much ready to give up. I figured I’d just get one at the local Savers that was two sizes too small and try some alterations. I mean, it was only a $15 dress. I was hemming and hawing about it when my mom came to the rescue.

“Don’t you have that dress you wore to like, three dances?”

I drew a blank. A dress I wore to three dances? I couldn’t at all remember.

“You know,” she continued, “the one you wore with sneakers. It’s in the attic in a box that’s for dress-up clothes.”

Ah! Yes! Of course I remember that silver gem. I wore it with sneakers to junior prom. Other notable memories of junior prom? I choked on a meatball at dinner, and I believe that’s where “DJ Mullet” made his first appearance. I seem to remember comically large sunglasses, as well. Anyway, yes! The dress was there, in the attic, and it wasn’t teal but it was free, and that made it good enough.

Other cheap finds for this costume:

-Free tulle from work! It’s old and white and ratty, but since “free” trumps pretty much everything else in my costume-making adventures, I figured it’d be fine as long as there weren’t big gross holes.

-$4 sparkly blue tulle on a roll

-$4 sparkly snowflake buttons that will go in my braid

-Glue that I had on hand

-Thread that I had on hand

So, aside from the hours and hours it took me to make the cape/train, it’s really just an $8 costume!

I planned to also make a mesh shirt with long sleeves to go under the dress, but after all that work on the train, I just can’t be bothered. Kids will get the idea! I also went back and forth over whether or not to paint or dye the dress. It’s mostly polyester, so I guess typical dye (like Rit) is a terrible idea according to many blogs I ended up reading on the subject. Paint would have worked great but would have taken forever and it probably would have looked ugly. The dress remains an icy silver.

Here’s a million pics of the process:

The dress and the very long length of tulle before any alterations. I just kind of put the tulle on top to see how long/wide it really was.

The dress and the very long length of tulle before any alterations. I just kind of put the tulle on top to see how long/wide it really was. Answer: longer than I thought, which ended up being great. I had enough to cut two side pieces in addition to the middle part of the train.

As I said, I had enough tulle to kind of fill out the train and add some pieces to the side for a rounder effect.

As I said, I had enough tulle to kind of fill out the train and add some pieces to the side for a rounder effect. I just eyeballed this. What did I have to lose? The stuff was free!

I made this discovery after I'd cut the sides. I told you it was ratty! Luckily I had enough that I could cut a new one.

I made this discovery after I’d cut the sides. I told you it was ratty! Luckily I had enough that I could cut a new one.

I sewed the two sides on (it wasn't as hard to sew tulle as I'd thought!) and then gathered the top. I attached that to a piece of Velcro, and put the other side of the Velcro on the dress. Presto, changeo: the dress now has this magnificent train/cape thing.

I sewed the two sides on (it wasn’t as hard to sew tulle as I’d thought!) and then gathered the top. I attached that to a piece of Velcro, and put the other side of the Velcro on the dress. Presto, changeo: the dress now has this magnificent train/cape thing. I was worried after this, though, because it’s so WHITE. I feared it was a bit too bridal.

Enter: elements of blue! I figured if I added a bunch of blue in different places it would trick the eye into seeing the dress as more blue than white or gray. This is when inspiration struck after about two hours of staring at the blue tulle and going, "WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?" Make a giant snowflake, of course!

Enter: elements of blue! I figured if I added a bunch of blue in different places it would trick the eye into seeing the dress as more blue than white or gray. This is after about two hours of staring at the blue tulle and mumbling, “WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?” It took me a while to make the jump from imagining Elsa’s dress as teal to imagining my dress as an interpretation of that dress; one that’s within the same  color family but not an exact replica. I decided to make a giant blue snowflake. It made me happy.

This also made me happy.

This also made me happy. Starting the giant snowflake!

Giant snowflake complete and attached with glue. Kind of crusty and ugly, but hopefully from far away nobody will notice.

Giant snowflake complete and attached with glue. Kind of crusty and ugly, but hopefully from far away nobody will notice the glue crust.

This part actually took the longest: sewing six little snowflakes onto the tulle. I didn't like the look of the glue, so sewing seemed a good option. I tied each on in three places. It was painstaking and horrible.

This part actually took the longest: sewing six little snowflakes onto the tulle. I didn’t like the look of the glue, so sewing seemed a good option. I tied each on at three points. It was painstaking and horrible. But look! I also added blue to the top to hide the Velcro.

 

Still hand sewing. Ugh.

Still hand sewing. Ugh. This is probably right before I pricked my finger for the 15th time.

Finished! I think having sleeves would really help the situation out, but as-is, I think it's passable. Don't mind my really messy kitchen. Oh! And I will FOR SURE have a blonde wig.

Finished! I think having sleeves would really help the situation out, but as-is, I think it’s passable. Don’t mind my really messy kitchen. Oh! And I will FOR SURE have a blonde wig. I frolicked around the house like this for at least twenty minutes. I LOVE DRESSING UP. I also love trains.

Look out for an update after the Frozen party next Wednesday!

sewing paper

This morning I thought I’d try doing a paper-only craft, since most of what I’ve done with this blog so far has been all sewing. Today at work I’ll be doing an origami program with 3rd-5th graders, so I thought that might be appropriate. The only problem was that I wasn’t really into doing origami. Truth be told, after doing an afterschool enrichment program with elementary-aged kids, I’m a bit origami-d out at the moment. That’s okay! It’ll come back to me! Today is going to be great and we’re going to make some fun projects. That said, I did not want to spend my own precious Thursday morning folding paper into frogs or boxes.

So, as I always do, I came back to sewing. I’ve been reading through a new book we got at the library called The Best of Sewing Macine Fun for Kids, by Lynda Mulligan and Nancy Smith. One of my coworkers and I will be starting an after-school sewing club and I was looking through the book for some ideas, even though we’ll be primarily presenting hand-sewn projects. The first few pages of the book recommend sewing on paper bags or other paper scraps to get the hang of machine sewing (feeding, using the pedal, etc.). A few pages later, the authors offer simple straight lined, big zig-zagged, and curvy lined patterns to “trace” over with your sewing machine needle. The idea of sewing on paper was a revelation to me!

I figured I’d give it a try today in the easiest way I know how: straight lines on lined paper.

Paper heart banner.

Paper heart banner.

It turns out that sewing on paper is much easier than sewing with fabric. This might be my new favorite thing! I decided to use some scrapbook paper and make a pennant banner, but instead of triangles I used hearts. Good for every day, but especially good for the upcoming Valentine’s holiday (also nice for a wedding or birthday party, perhaps?), hearts are the bomb. I used the same heart pattern that I used for my d.i.y. heart warmers. They might be a little big/fat for this kind of project, but I think they’re pretty cute. Obviously, you can do this project with whatever shape you desire.

I wish I could tell you some secrets to this, but it’s really the easiest thing I’ve done in months. Cut your shapes, place under needle, press pedal, and you’re golden!

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Up-close look at the stitching. Super easy, right?

Up-close look at the stitching. Super easy, right? Also, I love metallic paper. There, I said it.

I’m sure there are some awesome sewn-paper crafts out there. Got any ideas for me to try?

As always, thanks for reading!

Christmas time’s a-comin’

I haven ‘t been updating much lately because Christmas is on its way, and here at LFTPR, it has been BUSY. Three gingerbread building parties, Christmas shopping and crafting, making gifts, baking and cooking… Huh. I guess our holiday season sounds a lot like everyone else’s!

I felt pretty proud of myself today for using my Thursday morning wisely–making a from-scratch supper that Pete and I can enjoy when we are off doing our own things tonight (I’m working, he’s rehearsing). I made Guinness beef stew using this recipe, and baked biscuits using this recipe. Both came out DELICIOUS, so I highly recommend.

All around the internet I read tales of biscuits gone awry. These were easy!

All around the internet I read tales of biscuits gone awry. These were easy!

Carrots, onion, mushrooms, beef, Guinness, and some spices.

Carrots, onion, mushrooms, beef, Guinness, and some spices.

 

I’m thinking it’s going to be a very tasty supper!

Oh! And this past weekend my family helped me stage a fabulous gingerbread party at the library! We had a few pieces left over, so Pete and I decided to build this on Sunday afternoon. That gingerbread beauty took us four hours to complete:

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I’ve promised myself that I won’t eat any of it until after Christmas. We’ll see!

Those gumdrop flowers are definitely my favorite part.

The gumdrop flowers are definitely my favorite part.

I hope you all have a joyous holiday!