Saturday, 23 March 2013

Crafting with kids: magnetic paper dolls

Can you believe it's the end of March and today it snowed again?!
SO fed up with this weather...I'm not one to go out when the thermometer goes closer to zero, so what to do with my little one in an afternoon like this?
Paper dolls!
When I saw some cute paper dolls on Pinterest, a few days ago, it reminded me of when I was little and used to *LOVE* this simple game of dressing up bi-dimensional dollies with different dresses, which had tags to fold over the paper doll to stay in place.
So, here it is my family, paper doll-style:

  • Paper
  • Pictures of your family members or friends or celebrities or whoever you like; you only need the face, alternatively, you could use a picture of the whole body, rather than drawing it as I did
  • Magnetic photo paper (I use the Pound Shop's one = extremely cheap!)
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Other craft accessories / decorations (optional)
  • Sharpie or other black fine tip marker
  • Glue stick
So, first step is to cut the faces out of your pictures and stick them to a piece of paper. You can cut the individual figures but I wanted the family to be together. Then, draw the bodies under the faces.
Be creative: you can draw animal bodies or cartoon bodies or just, like I did, some sort of body that resembles reality - well, almost, I do have some more curves than this!
I also made a little mistake, as you can see, drawing Little Miss' body...never mind! I was rushing to get finished before making dinner :) You can obviously colour the bodies, and draw underwear if you wish, as I said, I didn't have much time for the details...

Next, lay another sheet of paper on the first one, and draw the templates for the clothes. You should be able to see through the paper because you used a dark it should be easy to trace the clothes' contour around the bodies.

Cut the clothes' paper templates and lay them on the fabric scraps to trace and cut the shape of the clothes. I haven't traced them, actually: I cut out the fabric straightaway using the paper template as an approximate indication. Be creative, again: I made an awful green stripey dress with sparkly yellow ruffle and a pair of cords for myself, and even a little beanie for Little Miss. My husband has a choice of two T-shirts and some jeans. If you have time, you could make different clothes for different occasions...or even little dress up clothes!

Here even the younger kids will be able to help: take the fabric clothes and glue them on the white side of the magnetic paper.

Cut out the little clothes.

Now, fix the paper dolls to your fridge door or other magnetic board, and let the fun begin!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Easy DIY monkey costume for last minute dressing up!

So, I was blogging a few days ago about the dilemma around World Book Day and nursery dressing up as book characters (yes, I know I should go out more!).
This year Little Monkey chose her costume for the first time (sob sob! she is not a baby anymore!), so she picked "MONKEY" in line with her favourite book of the moment: "Monkey Puzzle" by the authors of the Gruffalo.
The usual quest on Pinterest (did the world exist before Pinterest?!), and the fantastic and rich creative community came to help. A quick and easy monkey costume made using a brown hoodie and some felt...this is what I needed! Using a brown hoodie a friend gave me, and some brown and pink felt, it took me only a couple of hours to put together a really simple, but cute, costume.
The felt was used to cut out the ears (pink at the front and brown at the back), the tummy, and a tail. I then stuffed and sewed the ears to the side of the hood by hand; the tummy shape was drawn by using a plate to have a perfect circle on the pink felt, which was then cut in half and sewn by machine on the hoodie; and the tail was a simple, long rectangle of brown felt, folded in two and sewn along the longer dimension, then to the back of the hoodie.
And here is the monkey in action...
But being me at the moment, with lots of things to do and running around all day, I thought World Book Day was on Friday the 8th...turns out it was the day before! So, poor my little one arrived at nursery WITHOUT a costume, when all the other children were dressed up...and went to nursery the day after WITH her monkey costume, the only one dressed up....ehm ehm, I hope I didn't emotionally scar my child for life!
For more simple ideas on dressing up, have a look at my post on Children Dressing Up Fun. I would love to see your creations too!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Dressing up fun...children costumes

World book day is approaching again (8th of March, this year) Little Miss' nursery they always organise a party with the children dressed up as their favourite book character. I find it VERY difficult to come up with something that respond to the multiple challenges of:
1) Being as comfortable as possible: you can't possibly cover your child in fur, no matter the season - although you can see plenty of examples on the Internet of poor little things wrapped in heavy, way too warm costumes...probably getting steamed in there! or perhaps all living in Alaska?!
2) Looks: it needs to be recognisable, or the child won't see the point of wearing it
3) Relatively easy to make - I'm alright with crafty stuff, but as soon as it comes to clothing, I've pretty much got no idea...
However, have a look at these three simple costume I made in the last 12 months...

Last year I made a Very Hungry Caterpillar costume (see my post here), which all in all came quite nice, mixing some basic crocheting and some basic sewing.

A few months before that, I made a bee costume, which is really as easy as it gets (not sure about famous books with bees in them, though!? but worth keeping this in mind if you are running out of time).
All you need is a yellow or orange top (I have had to dye a white top, as couldn't find any yellow ones in the shops), some black or brown leggings, and black fabric (I've used corduroy) to make the stripes and the sting at the back, which I then stuffed with a cushion's stuffing. I found in a high street accessories' shop a lovely set of bee wings and antennae that helped making this very simple costume the winner of the nursery competition!

How about dressing up as the owl in the Gruffalo? or Winnie the Pooh? I found this sweet idea in a blog called Llevo el Invierno, written in Spanish and English. Here you can find the instruction for the wings, pretty simple to make and assemble (no hems required, hurrah!), if only a little time consuming. I didn't attach the wings to my child's neck, though, I instead added two loops so that she can wear them like a rucksack on her shoulders.
To complete the costume, I made a little felt mask (I found a nice tutorial in a blog called Petit Poulou). My personal invention in the mask making was using an elastic band with a little spring stopper (taken from an old jacket - see pics below) to regulate it. This way, I hope, the mask can be adjusted more easily and last for longer.

But since I call her my Little Monkey...can you guess what this year's costume will be?! ;)