Monday, May 19, 2014

Long ago, in a home far, far away...

Or, you know, not so far depending on how close you are to Wisconsin...
But the long ago part is right no matter how you look at it.

Basically, I'm horrible at sharing the parties I throw my kids.  I think it's because by the time I make the gifts, make the decor, make the food, make the games, make and make and make and make and set up and set up and set up and set up and then CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN... well, I'm done.  Plus, my oldest two have birthdays in December.  Which means that all parties take place indoors.  And it's dark at like 3.  Do you know how hard it is to take decent photos indoors when it's dark?  It's impossible.  So then I end up with mediocre pictures of something I worked really hard on and all I have to show for any of it is a destroyed house.

I mean, that's how the PPD feels (Post Party Depression.  Remember?  I have that.)

But, I loved planning this party for mini and she was so very thrilled with the whole thing that I feel I have to share it, crummy photos and all.  
So even though this was when my now 4 year old turned 3 I'm going to share it!  This week, you'll get a small taste of what it's like to be the mother of a little girl passionate about Dora the Explorer.

First up, I'm sharing two gifts I made for Zoe.

Let's start with a little Backpack, Backpack!  I may remember, I made this easy version of Backpack out of fleece and sans zipper.  It was pretty cool.  We still have it.  But I felt like I could do better.  

So for this real guy, I used lilac cotton and a fun purple floral cotton for the lining.  I also actually totally sewed a zipper (I know!) and made some pockets and used real life strap type material (like you'd use for a belt).  Unfortunately, as I was making this kind of last minute (of course) I don't have a tutorial.  But I can give you a basic rundown.  

The backpack consists of 5 basic pieces.  Since I'm not an expert at lining anything, I first cut out these pieces in the purple, then in the floral and sewed the corresponding pieces together inside out, left a little opening, turned them right side out through the opening, and top stitched around the whole piece making sure to sew up the opening.  The five pieces are the front and back, The bottom (which curves up to make the sides as well, the top, and the flap.  I sewed the zipper to the top piece right away, before sewing anything together.  I used this basic method (but just folded my one piece of fabric in half and sewed instead of using two pieces.)  I made some cute pockets out of the floral material - one is a star shape and the other a simple curved bottom with a straight top gathered with elastic.  I sewed them to the bottom/sides piece.  Then I tucked in the bottom of the straps and I sewed the back piece to the bottom/sides and the front piece to the bottom/sides (right sides together).  I tucked the top flap and the top of the straps inside - sandwiched with the top piece, and sewed the top piece to everything (right sides together).  Flip it all right side out and done!  I hand sewed the mouth and eyebrows and glued on the giant goggly eyes.

After it was all together, I cut the straps so there was more on the top than bottom.  I used two buckles with teeth so the straps would stay put.  I slipped the bottom piece of straps around the middle of the buckle and sewed it, then folded the ends of the top pieces of straps over twice and sewed that down to finish the end.

Then I made map!  
I printed out a bunch of little places you might find in a Dora episode (a lake, mountains, a beach, a field, a city, the moon, a case, a tower, a gate, you get the idea) on iron-on transfer material, then ironed it all to a piece of white felt.  I cut them out.  Then I cute two rectangles of white felt the same size.  On one, I top sewed two curvy pieces of tan felt with a space in between right in the middle.  This is the path.  In the corners of the white felt, at the ends of the path and in the middle between the two path pieces I sewed small pieces of velcro.  On the other piece of white felt, I sewed a red felt mouth and glued on some goggly eyes.  Then I sewed the two pieces of white felt together.  I used two pieces because I wanted it to be sturdy and didn't want it to stretch out of shape with all the pulling on the velcro.  
Zoe can make her own adventures by putting the little felt pieces on the velcro and following the path!

Roll up Map and stick him in his pocket!  I also put some glow in the dark stars in the star pocket.  

You can't tell in any of these photos really, but I also made her a Dora outfit.  She already had a short sleeved pink top.  I made her an orange skirt out of a turtleneck sweater by using the neck for a waistband.  I know Dora wears orange shorts, but if you know Zoe, you know she'd rather wear a skirt.  Then I dyed yellow ruffle socks bright yellow because I couldn't find yellow socks anywhere.  I got little white canvas tennies at Walmart on clearance.  Done!  (She DID have to wear white tights too, since it was winter and cold.  But, you know, close enough.)

And though this was two birthdays ago, she still plays with her backpack and map!

*Be sure to check below for all the fun parties I link to!*

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