Friday, September 28, 2012

DIY: Dinosaur Hoodie

Passing notes today:  Mrs. Gosling

Hello Ladies!

Fall is in the air!  The leaves are turning, kids are back in school, apple orchards are packed full of little ones eager to fill their buckets full of sweet goodness, and Halloween is just around the corner.  It seems like every night I hear "what should I be for Halloween...Captain America, Superwhy, a dog?" Maybe.  I usually convince a few of them to dust off the costumes of years past that their brothers sported.  They are boys, pretty easy to please. 

Regardless of the costume, one thing is always a must.  How can they wear this more than one day?  As parents we always spend so much time and money on the costumes and they only see the light dark of day once.  So, this year I think that I will convince the four-year-old to be a dinosaur.  Okay, you caught me ...  I made two full on dino costumes two years ago but this one is going to be different.  It's going to be easy, semi-homemade and perfect for year round fashion.  To get in the DINO mood, we went searching through the shelves of books we have, that are dinosaur-esque!  Here are a few of our favorites that inspired us:

Before we gathered supplies we asked questions...

Kids:  Mom, where did dinosaurs go?
Me:  Well, before we were born they used to roam the earth and now they are gone.
Kids:  Yea ... but where are they?
Me:  They are extinct, now they are in the ground sleeping.
Kids:  You mean, they died
Me:  Well, they are just gone
Kids:  So we step on them?
Me:  Let's call your Dad and see when he's coming home.

The End!  Moving on ....
Back to gathering what I needed to get the dino hoodie "roarrrrr-ing."   

Supply list:

*Size appropriate hooded sweatshirt, color of your choice
*Felt or fleece in contrasting color
*Sewing machine, preferably
*Napping kids

I started with a plain blue hoodie sweatshirt.  I picked this one up at Target, on clearance for $4.  You could also try amazon, Walmart, clothing outlets ....... 

Circo® Infant Toddler Boys Long-Sleeve Fleece Hoodie

Then I took some felt and cut it into triangle shaped scales.  You can also use fleece.  Both of these fabrics are very durable, can be machine washed and won't fray.  I thought that the felt would stick up better, so I went with that. 

Next, I decided where to piece the scales into the hoodie.  My sweatshirt has a pretty thick double back seam, so I have decided to fold in the scales on one side of each seam ... to make for easier sewing.  It also happens to be in the center, so that worked out well.  Start pinning to lay out your scales.  I like to sew the scales one at a time so I can check them before moving forward.  If you have a sewing machine, ROCK ON.  If not, you can still do this.  You will have to just sew by hand.  If sewn by hand, make smalls stitches to ensure durability when washing.  Plus side to that:  you can watch TV while working.  The rest of us will be hunched over at the kitchen table sewing away.

Once you have sewn the seam, flip it right side again and you are DONE.  From set up to finish product, this only took about 20 minutes and 1 Cranberry Sierra Mist.  I think that my little guy will wear a pair of dark jeans and be on his way.  It's comfortable, WARM, and can be worn whenever. 

Have no fear, Dino hoodies are not just for boys.  You could totally make one of these for a girl.  I would suggest making the scales round or "mountain like."  Weren't there girl dinosaurs on Barney?  Or were they unidentified jungle creatures?  Who knows!  Maybe Barney and Friends should be considered in Mrs. Kelly's 25 scariest things post.  Maybe, no. 26?

Happy Sewing,

Mrs. Kelly Comment:   Ok, here's my dino sweatshirt.  It's no-sew!  He's a Brontosaurus.

I kid because I love.  The dino sweatshirt / costume is practical and way cute.  Thanks for sharing.  And, yes, Barney kind of scares me along with the cast of Barney.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pictures from Halloween Pasts

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Mrs. K. and Mrs. G.,

So, admit it, you think I take every project a bit too far.  Perhaps the lemonade stand is a good example.  But, I'm telling you, I can't help it.  It's genetic!  I thought I'd share some proof today.  Here are photos of my siblings, cousins, and I walking in our town's Halloween parade 32 years ago.
Check out Mother Goose, Mary's sheep, Little Boy Blue, and the haystack.

I'm in the wagon dressed as Little Miss Muffet and there's a spider in there too.
My aunt and mother were totally over the top when it came to making costumes.  Each year they decided on a theme.  These pictures are from the "Mother Goose Comes to Life" theme.  As my mom says, in preparation for Halloween, "they didn't sleep or eat for months."  They made it all (and in a time without Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics).  They also scarred us all for life.  To this day, my brothers, cousins, and I refuse to wear costumes...a side effect of over the top I guess.  Does that mean my boys are going to hate lemonade?  Oh no, what have I done?

This is when we're accepting our award for Best Costumes.  According to my mom, we always won.

Check out my cousin.  He has asthma.  So basically, he's having a little trouble breathing in this picture...great costume though!
What's a Halloween Mother Goose theme without the book?  Oh yeah, they made that too.  And my brother in this picture...can you hear him begging my mom to take that d@*! costume off?
The Halloween themes went on for years.  There was Peter Pan and even a circus.  Sadly, (or fortunately if you ask us kids), we moved to Texas and the big Halloween themes came to an end.  Of course, that didn't stop my mom.  Check these out...
Space...and my brother and I look so happy about it.  
(I don't think I wear that much makeup now, mom.)

Here are two costumes she made for my brothers.  It's the Lone Ranger and Zoro.
My older brother to my younger brother, "Nice mustache."

It's true that we tease my aunt and mother for their Halloween antics, but looking at these pictures, I'm actually very impressed.  Nice job ladies (you've got great genes)!  I'm still not wearing a costume ever again though.

Later Ladies,

Mrs. Kelly Comment:  Two words:  corn husks.  Um, from now I on, I will refer to you and your mom as the Candy and Tori Spelling of Rochester.  Because Tori Spelling contends the reason she is OCD about parties and themes and presentation is because her mother was the ultimate party planner and passed it along.   You crazy Spellings.  Love the makeup and your deer-in-the-headlights stare for your astronaut photo.  Also, where is that haystack today?  And, kudos to your cousin for taking one for the team!  

One of my favorite Halloween memories:  my mother decided to have fun with our last name.  My maiden name is Tracy.  Remember Dick Tracy?  The movie?  My mom thought it would be funny to dress my brother up as Dick Tracy.  The kicker though is that she then dressed my little (probably five year old) sister up as Breathless Mahoney.  Don't remember Breathless?  She was played by Madonna.  Take that Honey Boo Boo.  Also, don't tell Candy of Rochester this--but in keeping with theme that year, I was a bum.  ?????

Breathless Mahoney and Dick Tracy.
I bet these Halloween costumes really DID scare my neighbors.  
Here is a quick shot from another Halloween.  My grandmother made us clown costumes.  On the top is my brother and I and the bottom is my son and daughter a couple years ago.  My point -- I think your little guy should forget the firefighter idea this year and be a haystack.  Get as much mileage out of that costume as possible!  Also, should I do bangs like that again?

Mrs. Gosling Comment:  Wait, what .. no Joanns or Michael?.  How did your Mom & Aunt even get these ideas without Pinterest?.  This is amazing.  I cannot believe the amount of time, effort and late night 5 finger discount thieving your Mom had to do at all the local apple orchards to "gank" those corn husks.  Seriously, that's $100 worth of corn husks.  Unreal! 

Mrs. Kelly - why weren't you Jessica rabbit?

I wish that I could participate in this Halloween nostalgia hour, but unfortunately back in the 80's ... cameras didn't exist.  Or at least that's what our mother always says.  She follows it up with "I was raising too many kids to take yo' pictures"  I think I was a crayon once out of poster board!  Ah memories!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spooktacular Halloween Place Setting Crafts for Kids

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hi Girls, 

When roaming the aisles of Home Goods in search of another chotchkie, pillow, candle, or lamp that I don't need, I ended up in the seasonal Halloween aisle.  They had some cool stuff including a spiderweb place mat that got my creative juices flowing and my wallet seizing up (they were $5.99 each - over $24 for a set of four). The inspiration mats were round black fabric stitched with silver thread to look like a spiderweb.  I figured my boys and I could get the same look and save a whole bunch of money ... oh, and bond over crafts of course. 

Spiderweb Place Mats
Shopping List:
  • Black Felt (about 16 inches wide)
  • Puffy Fabric Paint (I wanted white but bought sparkles instead - totally worked out)

Step One:  Cut out four felt circles.  My son traced around a big plate with a grey crayon.halloween kids crafts
Step Two:  Paint your web:
  1. Paint a circle in the middle.
  2. Paint lines around the circle like a sunshine.
  3. Connect each line with a curved line (I did this part)

Spider Straws

When we finished the place mats, we wanted to make spiders to go with the webs.  Instead of just creating some that sat on the table, we decided to create spider straws.

Shopping List:
  • Round styrofoam balls (the ones you can paint)
  • Black paint (we just mixed every color we had to make black, but we did pick up some sparkly black that we painted as a top coat)
  • Googly eyes (with sticky backs)
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Straws
Step One:  Poke holes in the styrofoam balls.  We used a wooden skewer and then shoved straws in.

Step Two:  Paint the spider balls styrofoam balls
If you poke the straws into the underside of a cup, it makes it easy to paint them.

Step Three:  Cut pipe cleaners into four equal parts.  Insert four on each side.

Step Four:  Add eyes.

Step Five:  Add a clean, fresh straw (the other ones get paint on them).

Simple Halloween Cups
My son suggested that we paint some paper cups orange for the spider straws to go into.  We gave it a try, and it didn't work.  So, I got out some construction paper and stickers to create some "custom" Halloween cups...or you could skip all this and get yourself some orange cups.

Shopping List:
  • Paper cups
  • Orange construction paper
  • Stickers
Step One:  Take one paper cut apart along the seam to create a template to cut out the construction paper.

Step Two:  Cut out the paper that will cover the cups.

Step Three:  Decorate.

Step Four:  Tape the paper onto the cups.

Even Simpler "Silver"ware Setting
We had some plastic cockroaches around our house (who doesn't?) so we added those on top of the plastic silverware and napkins that we tied with black ribbon.   Simple and spooky, no?

After our crafting (and bonding?) was complete, we got out our Halloween decorations and set up a Halloween themed table.

halloween tablescape

Halloween here we come,

Mrs. Kelly Comment:  I can do you one better.  I've got REAL spiders in my house.  Hah!  Those place settings came out so cute and look relatively easy to make (translation:  I can make them).  I love the spider straws.  I wonder if you could perhaps make a smaller variety for a mom martini or a swizzle stick on my latte?  Wait, between the place settings and the spider cupcakes you made last week...was there a party I wasn't invited to?  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy Halloween - 25 Things That Scare Me As An Adult

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Kelly

In honor of Halloween I'd like to share a list of 25 things that scare me now that I'm an adult!  Boo!

1.  Permanent Markers.  They were fun when they weren't used on wood, wool rugs, painted walls and flesh. 

2.  The Bus.  I don't know what's going on during the bus ride and it scares me.  Not a whole lot of supervision and a range of ages does not a good recipe make.

3.  Surprise Pop In's - I admit it...I like notice when people are going to drop by...even if it's to borrow eggs.  Unfortunately everyone doesn't seem to embrace Lego / crusty Cheerio chic like I do.

4.  The Wiggles - Not sure what scares me most...the four grown men in bright turtlenecks, the subject matter they sing about (fruit salad, yummy, yummy) or the finger guns.    

5.  Skinny Jeans - These scared me before birthing three children.   

6.  My Grocery Bill.  Sometimes I feel like I should be dining on lobster and tenderloin all week long when I see my receipt (as opposed to chicken and shells and cheese).  It's only going to get worse as these kids keep growing.  Didn't I JUST buy milk?  

7.  Leaking Diapers - I don't think I need to elaborate.

8.  75% of Store Bought Halloween Costumes for Little Girls.  Did the costume manufacturers not order enough fabric?  Because in my book, the more fabric the better.  Why aren't there more Laura Ingalls costumes out there?  

9.  Road Trips.  Ok, road trips with kids.  Worse, road trips with kids and broken dvd players.  It happened to me once. 

10.  The Inside of My Car After a Road Trip.  This should be a new TLC show. 

11.  Public Restrooms.  Any parent who has changed a baby in a public restroom knows what I mean.  Sometimes you are "blessed" with a precarious hanging changing table...and sometimes you have to lie a baby down on a cold, gross, tile floor.  And when they're older and can use the seats themselves, well, it's still gross. 

12.  Facebook Tagging.  

13.  Broken Washing Machine.  I never have a handle on laundry with a WORKING machine.  Tailspin!

14.  Student Loans (mine and eventually, theirs).  Wah Waahhhh

15.  Max's older sister Ruby.  

16.  Car Seat Removal - Have you ever tried to remove a Britax Frontier car seat?  No?  What about just the cover?  I watched a tutorial once and it was more confusing than the ending of "Lost."  The car seat is never coming out.  Ever.  They're driving to the prom in those things.

17.  End of Naps.  There's a lot of ends I have mourned...the end of grade school, the end of my twenties (ahem, I mean teens), the end of being carded at restaurants...but not sure if any quite compare to the day the baby forfeits naptime.

18.  Finding old baby when you move the couch to look for the remote and there's a dirty bottle from last football season.

19.  Being without a charger and having a cell phone on one bar.  I know I lived without a cellphone once.  But I really panic if I don't have a phone.  What if something happened at school and someone couldn't get a hold of me? Or, what if I won the HGTV dream home and wasn't available to take the call?!

20.  Scissors.  These were fun too until my kids became stylists.

21.  These Words:  "I'll be home late tonight."

22.  Car Repairs.  I shudder just saying that.

23.  Crib Escape.  That was a frightful day.  It was followed all too soon by the car seat escape.  And some day they will pull the car out of the driveway and I will sit in the window biting my nails.

24.  Warm Pools.

25.  QUIET.

What else scares you ladies these days? Tell me! Happy Halloween.

Shakin' in my boots and my primary color turtleneck, 
Mrs. Williams Comment:  Ditto...and can I add a 26?
26.  When my husband finds out that I posted those Halloween pictures of him dressed as a bee keeper and dog in yesterday's post. 

Mrs. Kelly Comment:  Yes, I'm scared for you on that Mrs. Williams.  Mrs. G., saw your comment too.  I am also afraid I will miss the bus.  For that reason I tend to be home two hours before. The professor has to cross the road this year. Sometimes he is easily distracted so the whole crossing-the-street thing also makes me a little anxious.  I know..Lame! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby Carrier Halloween Costumes

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hi Girls,

With Halloween right around the corner, and since we're focusing on Halloween this week at Naptime Notebook, I thought I'd share how I used to get costumes ready for my boys when they were less than one-year-old.  You see, when our boys were babies we loved wearing them in a front carrier.  I figured that would be no different on Halloween night.  So instead of dressing them up and then sticking them inside the carrier, I figured, why not wrap the costume around the carrier?  And that's what we did.  Our first son was a bee.  (My husband's a really good sport and let me dress him up as a bee keeper.)

If you want to torture your husband, too, you can turn a painter's coverall from Home Depot into a bee keeper's suit.  The hat is just plastic and the netting is glued around it.

 My second son was a fire hydrant when he was in the carrier.  My older son was a fireman at the same time.  (And this time my husband was REALLY good sport and let me convert that bee keeper costume into a Dalmatian dog know for the sake of a good theme.)

Oh, that's my pretend husband, Mr. Williams (hence the name I use when I'm passing notes.)  His face is covering up the mean look my real husband was giving me for making him wear dog ears (well, the entire costume, actually).
To demonstrate how easy the costume to baby carrier conversion is, I recently picked up a baby costume.  This costume is just a typical baby costume.  It's meant to go over the baby's head, has an elastic bottom, and a bit of Velcro in the back to close it up.

The first thing I did was sew short stitches across the elastic at the back of the costume.  I did this because I knew I was going to cut the costume apart at the back.  If I didn't secure the Velcro in place with those two stitches, I would have lost the elastic cinching instantly once I cut through the bottom seam.

Next, I cut down the back of the costume.

Then, to keep it all "together,"  I sewed a zigzag stitch along both sides of the cut-open back.

Finally, I added Velcro pieces (about three inches long).  I just sewed them about halfway down the costume (no science here).  These pieces will secure the costume around the baby carrier.  And...that's it.  Costume complete.

Since I don't have a baby anymore, I borrowed this guy to demonstrate. 
baby carrier halloween costume
Cutest Pumpkin Ever!

bjorn halloween costume

Happy Halloween,

Mrs. Kelly Comment:  Your husband is awesome.  He rocks for keeping to theme.  I'm a sucker for a baby in a costume and these costumes just multiply the cute factor.   I think someone out there should do a Buffalo Bills player (yea, I'm from Western New York) and a football.  That would brighten my day.  Pu-lease?!?!  
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