Friday, December 20, 2013

Thirty-One Tips and Tricks: Santa's Bag


This tip may seem obvious, but I had to share my Santa Bag! It's the all NEW Deluxe Large Utility Tote with the new Deluxe Cinch Top Lid! It's perfect to fill up with Christmas presents to take to grandma and grandpa's! The large utility tote is perfect for my gift bags. I love the new bold bloom pattern. I kinda want to turn in all my other stuff for this new pattern. The new deluxe LUT is larger and has pockets on the front as well as handles on the sides. As you can see with the new lid, you can fit a ton of stuff! Side note: The 31 outlet sale is coming on the 26th! Contact me if you want to be added to the mailing list to get the special link!

Happy Holidays from The Dabbing Crafter!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Toy Story Western Birthday Party

Yeeeeehhhhaaaawwww Partner!
I was going through old blog posts, and I just now realize I never blogged about the Toy Story party I did for my daughter in May. I can't believe I missed it! I did a ton of projects. I made stick horses as party favors, tons of signs and banners with my Silhouette and we even mined for gold! Pinterest really makes this sort of thing easy and cheap to do. (Not only do I want a wedding do over, but I would take childhood birthday parties do overs as well)

Check out the Jessie-rific fun! My daughter still talks about it! :)

I've already starting to plan the next one. I fear we're still on a Rapunzel kick, so expect pink. Looooootttttts of pink.

So, when guests arrived at the party, they came into our backyard and picked up their sheriff badge and cowboy hat. Then, they went over to the gold mine to mine for some gold so they could buy their horse.

Mining for gold with some pie tins and rocks I spray painted gold. This was easily the biggest hit at the party. The kids looovvveed to mine!

After everyone bought their horse, they joined us in some horse races across the yard. 



My daughter's horse had a pink crown. :) Even cowgirls need some birthday bling!

I think I look we look pretty good in mustaches!

Then, we tried to throw a snake in a boot! It was much harder than I thought it would be!

Cupcakes, gifts and snacks followed.

Smores on a stick. Great, especially out of the fridge!

Decorations that greeted our guests

Paper banner (cut with Silhouette)

Cow print balloons stuck in the ground by golf tees. It was pretty windy, but it would have been a fun idea otherwise! I have Pinterest to thank for this idea as well!

Our General Store.

Favor bags. Each guest got mustaches, a cowboy rubber ducky and some Toy Story tattoos (plus their stick horse!)

Here are some of the signs I made. We had some Woody's, Jessie's, and Bullseyes printed and put up. Plus, I made some signs with my Silhouette (including this one that said "This ain't my first rodeo (it's my third)"...totally an idea stolen from Pinterest!

Our main table. I had a flannel blanket that was great for the table. We also got some hay from a professor at my husband's vet school (which was AWESOME). Bandanas and a banner complete the table. 

I broke down and bought a customized party set from a girl on Etsy. She provided templates for invites, water bottle wraps, thank you tags for the favor bags and cupcake toppers. You just have to get them printed at a local print shop.

Another Silhouette banner. I had some fun paper left over from my woodland/hunting themed baby shower. This banner has s'mores and trees on it.

 Banner from the negative space of the banner outside. (get more bang for your buck to not through away the negative space on the banner!) You can see some large brown paper town buildings I had made (a jail, post office and general store). Originally, they were going to hang off the clothesline so people could go in and out of the buildings, but it was just too windy. 

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Show & Tell: Santa Dance Costume

Howdy there!

I thought I would share what I whipped up for my daughter's dance recital this week. Our dance studio has parents make (or buy) their own costumes for the winter recital. This year, the preschoolers are going to be Santas. By the time I got around to it, I didn't have time to order a dance leotard or tutu, so I had to make parts of the costume.

I made a few different aspects of the costume. I made a hair bow (using a process much like my No Sew Hair Bow tutorial but with wired ribbon instead), a tutu (I used three different tutorials together), and Santa inspired bracelet/cuffs. I think I am going to use some black ribbon as a belt as well. I bought a red sweater and black tank top from Target and will pair them with a pair of short shorts and black tights my daughter already had. (The tank top was about 10 dollars cheaper than the black leotard and looks the same.)

Tutu Tips and Tricks

When it came to making a tutu, I have tried several different tutorials in the past. They haven't really worked. The tutu look all sad and limp. So, I did some research and pulled the different parts that made the most sense. I thought I would share how I got mine to work.

First of all, I used both tulle on the roll and on the bolt. The roll is easier, but it does cost more. The roll tulle also seemed to be a less quality fabric than the bolt fabric. I will in the future buy it off the bolt.

Cutting Tulle

The most time consuming part of making a tutu, is cutting all the strips. This video from Just Add a Bow is the method I used. Here's a tip from me: you can also use this method to cut bolt fabric. Just make sure your cardboard is exactly the side of the strips you want (so both length wise and width wise). You can wrap it width wise, cut and then wrap length wise and cut. Another tip: An Usborne book box insert is exactly 15 inches long (which is how long each of my strips were so it was a nice poofy tutu) and the cardboard is really heavy duty. Definitely recommend them (and buy some books while you're at it...we love our book lady Bethany!)

Knotting Tulle

I used a inch wide, no roll elastic. I didn't even use a sewing machine. I just hand sewed the elastic together. I found a tutorial that suggested measuring your daughter's waist and subtracting 3 inches and cutting your elastic to that size. (worked great for us) Now, I didn't do the traditional loop through method of attaching the tulle on to the elastic. I used this double knot version from The Ribbon Retreat instead (which help keeps the tulle poofy).
Instead of using a chair or bucket or whatever for the elastic, I found this tutorial on Just We Moms where she suggests using your own leg. That was perfect for me and made the process go even faster.

All in all, using these tips, my tutu was done within an hour. I think I might do them as favors for my daughter's birthday party in the spring.

Santa Cuffs

These were quite easy to make. I picked up a cheap stocking from Walmart, cut off the furry part and then used some elastic which I hand sewed on to the furry fabric. I did grab a glue gun to put a nice clear layer on the outside of the raw cut sides so it wouldn't fray and shed everywhere.

All in all, I'm pretty excited for her to wear the outfit this weekend and the best part, most of the costume can be reused!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

DIY Sunday: Making your Elf on your Shelf Positionable and Making Accessories


Holidays came a bit early this year in our house due to some unusual circumstances with my husband being in vet school. We put the Christmas lights up outside last weekend when it was 50 degrees out (thankful we did it then, this weekend it's in the single digits!)

That means that when we pulled out the Christmas stuff, we also pulled out the Elf on the Shelf a bit early. Last year our daughter understood the "hide and seek" part but didn't really get the rest of the tradition. This year with a couple of days of reading the book, our daughter was pretty excited to see what her Elf would do.

I quickly found out, as many people have, that out of the box, your elf isn't going to be positionable. This is news to people new to the Elf that see all the crazy stuff that people have done with their elves.

You can make your elf positionable with just a dollar and a needle and thread. I also made some accessories with some material I had sitting around.


Wire (I found mine in the arts and craft section of Wal-Mart...think the section with paint, styrofoam balls, project kits) $1.00



Red Thread

Of course, a elf!


1. Cut a small slit right at the wrists, top of the back of the thighs (I also put one in the main body, but I don't think you notice that). Make sure you put it on the back of the limbs so they aren't as noticeable.

2. Measure the wire to be a bit smaller than the section you're putting the wire in and cut (any set of sharp scissors will cut this type of wire)

3. Slip the wire in. Take care to go around the paper stuffing. You can do this by pushing it right up against the side of the fabric. Make sure you don't push the wire through the fabric.

4. Sew up the slit by hand with some red thread.

So far, I have made a skirt with some felt fabric and thread, ear muffs (some spare fur from a stocking, spare wire and hot glue) and hand warmer (also spare fur and hot glue).
Our elf has only been around for a couple of days, but so far has left a letter for our daughter, gotten dressed up with our daughter's hair things, sat in the fridge, listened to music with ear buds, told secrets with Goofy and had a camping trip with Barbie.

Sometimes you need a little help with super clear tape.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DIY Wednesday: Hunting Dog Kennel Cover

Hello Everyone! 

This is an easy project that took me a total of three days of hard work but somehow took me a year to finish. Sound familiar to anyone? Let me explain…

I promised my husband a kennel cover last year for Christmas (or maybe it was even the year before last? It's been so long I don't remember.) The project it's self only took me three days of work, but I kept finding other projects to complete instead (and my old sewing machine was woefully inadequate for the amount of fabric I was shoving in it).

Since my husband is going on a big hunting trip here soon, I decide it was time to finish it up. 

This was definitely a "fly by the seat of my pants" project, so sorry for the lackluster tutorial. 



Duck Cloth. I bought around 10 yards of this stuff and still have a ton left over. I would say for a large kennel, you would be set with 5. 

Fleece. I used fleece as a liner/insulator for the cover. You will need the same amount as the duck cloth. 

Velcro. I used two types. I started out with sew on Velcro, but I was having some issues with the thickness of the fabric so I switched to permanent iron on Velcro. It's more spendy but totally worth the extra expense!

Elastic (You don’t need much at all. Around 3 feet at the most)

Buttons (I used 6 random ones I had sitting around.)

Sewing Machine (The more oomph the better)

Good quality thread (the cheap stuff will snap with the heavy duty fabric)

Fabric marker (the washable kind) or dressmaker chalk

If you'd like to do the appliqué, you will also need:

Scrap fabric 

Iron on appliqué interfacing

Needle and thread


1. Cut.

I wish I had a fancy pattern to share with you, but I just created my own. I draped the fabric over the top of the kennel and using a fabric marker to do an outline of each side of the kennel. (including marking the vent section on the side pieces) Then, I cut the fabric out about 2 inches from that marker line (to give yourself room for hemming). I also tried to cut the line straight when my marker line was clearly crooked. This method allowed me to make allowances for the lip that is all the way around. I did not cut a piece for the bottom of the kennel.

Cut out a duck cloth and fleece piece for each side of the kennel. Remember you will also need a hole for the side vents and flaps to go over the vents (make sure the flaps are overly big, you can always cut them down).  My cut list (each cut had 1 duck cloth and 1 fleece):

2 sides (mirror images of one another) with hole for vents.
1 back piece
1 front piece
1 top
2 flaps to cover the vents
Optional: Fabric for a pocket.

2. Attach Fleece

Now this is where I screwed up, I initially stacked the two types of cloth on top of each other and started sewing everything together. (Big mistake for so many different reasons) If you have a gentle soul sewing machine like I did, I would suggest adding the fleece on top of the duck cloth, but only having duck cloth on the areas that are going to be hemmed or attached to other pieces.  Otherwise, you’re going to be folding over 2 layers of fleece and duck cloth and attempting to sew it.
Take your fleece that is the same size as your duck cloth and on each side, cut off 2-3 inches off of the fleece. Then, take each piece of duck cloth and sew in the fleece. You will now have a piece of fleece that is attached to the duck cloth, but there should be 2-3 inches of just duck cloth on each edge. Don’t forget you’re going to need this allowance around the vent holes as well. Here’s an illustration to explain the babble I just said: 

3. Hem

You will want to hem all the sides that will not be attaching to other pieces. You don’t want to be hemming when you have everything sewn together. Whatever we can do with small pieces of fabric makes the job much easier. Sewing big pieces of fabric stinks! That means you will want to hem the bottoms of the sides pieces and the bottom of the back piece. You will want to hem the sides and bottoms of the two vent flaps as well as the front flap. (you can leave the tops unhemmed if you’d like since it won’t show) You will want to hem the entire vent hole opening on the two side pieces.

I didn't follow my open instructions and ended up just applying fray guard to the bottom of my pieces rather than going back through and hemming. Not nearly as neat but hubby didn't care.
4. Attach Velcro & Optional Items

First, after everything is hemmed, on both side pieces, you need to sew on the Velcro at the bottom of the vent cut out (or iron it on). You also will want to sew on the Velcro at the front of the side pieces for the front flap to attach to. All this Velcro is going to be on the right side of the fabric. (See illustration below for help about placement)

Second, you will want to attach the Velcro to the sides of the front flap, and the bottom of the vent flap pieces as well. Both of these will be attached to the wrong size (fleece side). You may want to now add in the optional items like a pocket or applique name to the flap. I also added in a line of elastic for things like duck dummies or water bottles, but that is just a personal preference.

My haphazard pocket.

4. Attach Side, Top and Back Pieces

After you have hemmed everything, you will want to start putting all the pieces together. I suggest attaching everything to the top first and then move to attaching the sides to the back. Now you should have a cover minus the vent flap covers and the front flap.

5. Attach Vent Flaps

You’re going to attach the vent flaps to the carrier. You will want to sew right side of fabric to right side of fabric. You also will want to sew in the elastic loops that will hold up the vent flap. See the illustration below. Loops will be facing down. Sew along the white line. Repeat with the other side.

6. Attach Front Flap

Repeat the same process with the front flap. Remember to add in the elastic loops.

7. Attach Buttons 

Add in buttons. You will want to add them to the cover right above the elastic, above where the flap is attached. See illustration below. You can either use your machine to do the button or sew them on by hand. Repeat with other side and the front.

8. Add in Additional Securing Features

You can now decide if the cover fits snug, or needs additional items. I did two things. I added in elastic loops at the front of each side flap so I could elastic the cover around the screws that hold the kennel together (see picture below)

I also added in a piece of elastic at the front and back of the kennel. I just attached the elastic to the two side pieces so it put the cover snug. (also pictured below)

Front elastic pulled out.
Back elastic pulled out

Now you’re done! If you’ve made it this far with reading, THANK YOU. This was a fairly messing ordeal, but hopefully knowing the process prevents you from making my mistakes. I got a lot of use out of my stich ripper!

More shots of the kennel cover:


Side Flap

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