Category: Tutorials

September 29, 2012

Halloween Trick or Treat Bag Pattern

Filed under: Everything Else,Sewing,Tutorials - 29 Sep 2012

I have memories of growing up carrying a plastic, orange jack o’ lantern bucket to collect my trick or treat candy.  When our girls were old enough to go out and collect up candy from our neighbors, they were into everything pink and glittery. So, naturally, they had pink, glittery princess buckets to carry on Halloween.  The sad part about the buckets were they would spontaneously open at the bottom and each year someone would wind up with all their candy in the street. This year, the poorly made princess bucket are out of here because I made them some new trick or treating bags.


July 14, 2012

Sun Jar

Filed under: Crafts,Tutorials - 14 Jul 2012

Light up your night with the sun. Using a few inexpensive materials, you can make your own solar powered nightlight. If you sit the sun jar in your window on a sunny day, the jar will automatically light up at night.  Our girls love getting to have the sun jar in their rooms at night.  I think I need to make a few more so they don’t have to keep fussing over this one!



Things you’ll need if you want to make your own sun jar:

  • Small glass candle or hinged mason jar; a 10 ounce jar  is a good size
  • Solar garden light; be sure the light fits into the lid of the jar
  • Glass frosting spray paint or glass etching cream
  • Glue, poster tack or other adhesive material to secure the light to the lid


What to Do:

1.  Twist the top of the garden light to separate the battery pack from the garden stake. The top of the battery pack has the solar panel and bottom portion of the pack holds the small LED light. Most lights will have a small tab near the light for you to remove to activate the battery. Go ahead and remove this tab. Below is an example of a garden light you can use. I think the mini version fit into the lids of the jars best.

2.  Insert the battery pack into the lid of the candle jar. Position it so you can see the solar panel from the top of the lid. Secure the battery pack to the lid of the jar. Depending on the space between the battery pack and the glass, you can use silicone glue, poster tack or even wedge a couple pieces of craft foam between the battery pack and lid to secure it. The best method may vary depending on your supplies, but remember the goal is to get the battery pack to stay in the lid without blocking the solar panel.

Here you can see the battery pack inside the lid.

3.  Frost the jar by using spray paint or glass etching cream. Only the jar needs frosting, not the lid. Spray the outside of the candle jar with the glass frosting spray paint. Be sure to use the spray paint outdoors and place paper under the jar to protect your workspace. Follow the directions on the can for instructions and drying times. If you would rather use etching cream to frost the glass, apply the cream to the inside or the outside of the jar and wait the time indicated on the bottle before rinsing the cream off.

4.  Place the lid on the jar and sit it in a sunny location so the solar panels on the top of the jar can collect sunlight.
Wait until nighttime and watch your jar automatically light up. The light will be about the same brightness as a candle and should last for several hours.

Here you can see the solar panel portion of the light/battery pack in the lid.




The jar needs direct sunlight to recharge the battery and normal indoor lighting does not work. On cloudy days, you may not get much light and may take several days to fully charge.

The waterproof seal will let you use the jar inside or outside in your yard.

Depending on conditions, moisture may build up in the jar. You can open the jar and dry it out.

As a decorating option, you can place a few small stickers, like small stars or dots, before spray-painting or etching. When the jar is dry, remove the stickers and the light will shine brighter through those spots.


January 29, 2012

Bouncing Balls

Filed under: Kid Activities,Tutorials - 29 Jan 2012


Today as a beautiful day and we went outside for a couple of experiments. The first one was bouncing balls. I found this recipe for them the other day on the internet.

These do not make the typical store bought balls that you get out of the little vending machines at the grocery store, but it was fun to make them ourselves. The balls will dry out in a couple of days, so this is a project that if fun to do again and again.

What you will need:

2 Tablespoons warm water

1/2 teaspoon Borax (I found it in the laundry aisle at the store)

1 Tablespoon school glue (the recipe says that using white glue will give you an opaque ball and using clear glue will give you a translucent ball. That’s not accurate. We made them both ways and they were all opaque. Once you add cornstarch, it’s opaque so I’m not sure where they got their info)

Food coloring (optional)

2 paper cups

1 craft stick for stirring



Directions for making the ball:

Place 1/2 teaspoon of Borax and 2 Tablespoons of water into one of the paper cups. Stir to dissolve the Borax. Set aside.

Place 1 Tablespoon of glue into the second cup. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir.

Place 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch into the cup with the glue and food coloring.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of the Borax solution to the cup of glue and cornstarch. Wait 15 seconds before stirring so the ingredients have time to interact.

Stir until the mixture begins to stick together. Once the mixture is a globby mess, but stays in one piece, remove it from the cup and put it in your hands.

Start rolling and kneading the mixture. It will be quite sticky at first, but after you keep rolling it and kneading it, it will start to smooth out and become less sticky.

After a couple of minutes of rolling, it will form a smooth ball.

The ball is then ready to bounce. We found it bounces a bit higher on carpet than a hard surface.

Store the ball in a Ziploc bag to help prevent it from drying out too quickly. I’m not sure how long they will last, but they were fun for the afternoon.


Since we already had out cornstarch, water and food coloring, we used equal parts of cornstarch and water to make sidewalk paint. After adding a couple drops of food coloring and giving it a stir, it was ready to go. The mixture goes on wet and dries looking like chalk. After a bit, our sidewalk looked like some pop art.



November 19, 2011

18-Inch Doll Hospital Gown Tutorial

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 19 Nov 2011

I made a hospital gown for an American Girl doll. A friend of mine was doing an awesome thing and donated part of her liver to her mom. I wanted to do something for her. I made her a hospital gown to wear and I made one for her daughter’s American Girl doll, in hopes it would help ease her fears about her mom and grandma’s surgeries. It’s been a long time coming, but here’s finally a tutorial.

First, draw the simple pattern. You only need one piece for the gown. It will fit on a sheet of copy paper. It’s easiest to begin in the upper left corner. Mark a dot one inch down the page and another three inches along the top. Connect these two dots with a slightly curved line. Follow the diagram below to complete the pattern piece.

Cut out the fabric pieces. Place the left side of the pattern on the fold of your fabric. Repeat one more time to get two identical pieces. Flip the pattern piece over and cut one, not on the fold. You will need to make one alteration. Place the full size back piece, right side up. Draw a line from the armpit to the top of the neck curve. Cut off this sleeve portion.


You should now have your three pieces to make the gown.

Fold the fabric on the neck towards the back twice, Iron the pieces to make stitching the curved portion easier. Stitch along the neck for all three pieces. I didn’t do this the first time around so I had to rip part of the gown apart to complete the neck since it was just too tight to easily stitch after the shoulders were sewn. I went ahead and did a sample to show you the part with the neck stitched, and just pretend the pictures following this step have the neck completed.

Place the back pieces on the front with right sides together. Line the shoulders up and stitch using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Use pinking shears to trim the seam allowance and iron open. You can also serge or do a zigzag stitch to finish the edge, but I find pinking shears work fine on doll clothes.

Fold back the end of the sleeve two times (about 1/4 inch for each fold is sufficient) and stitch.

Line the sides up and stitch from the end of the sleeve to the bottom of the gown, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Pink the edges.

Fold back and stitch the remaining sides to finish the edges on the back pieces.

Hem the bottom of the gown and attach fasteners of your choice. You can use snaps or Velcro. Placing one at the neck and one along the side. With this design, the back flap stays closed.


That’s it! As an alternative, you can use bias tape around the neck and to tie the gown closed.


If you need a matching down for your child’s hospital stay, I have that pattern available too!



September 11, 2011

Messenger Bag Tutorial with Matching Doll Purse

Filed under: Sewing,Tutorials - 11 Sep 2011


I didn’t take pictures of the bag I made Katelyn as I went along, so I decided to make another one. This time I made it for her American Girl doll. Now they have matching purses.
I need to get a shot of the two of them together.

The measurements (obviously!) are different, but the construction is the same for each of the bags. So use the measurements for the size you want and follow the instructions.

Go here to see detailed pictures of the other things I made to put in this bag.

Here we go!



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