Friday, December 28, 2012

How I did it: DIY Barbie house

I managed to get some better photos of the Barbie house and wanted to give a little how-I-did-it info. Here's the finished product in better light:
 Basically, we just bought an $18 particle board bookshelf at Target. Casey used a belt sander to sand it down and I grabbed some paint we already had in the house and painted the outsides and top a yellow color and the inside side walls turquoise, which consequently is the same color I used for their beds.
 For the flooring, I found 12x12 scrapbook papers at Hobby Lobby. The woodgrain could not have been more perfect and I love the black and white tile look for the kitchen! I used glossy finish Mod Podge to stick them on and seal them. You can look up online all kinds of tips for applying mod podge to paper and avoiding air bubbles, but I tried a few ways and still got some bubbles. I thought it looked awful until I put the top coats on and really, they pretty much disappeared.
 For the windows, I simply measured and drew the frames onto white card stock. I then glued those onto the cloud background paper. On the lower windows, I also cut out the wave paper, to make it look like a beach house.  I Mod Podged the windows on too.
 I started out using papers for the back wall too, but the backing that comes with the bookshelf was flimsy, had creases and needed sanded. The paper wasn't sticking. So Casey went to home depot and got a thin board cut to the right size. It cost $5. I then picked out fabric for the back wallpaper. It worked sooooo much better! It went on with no air bubbles and it was plenty big enough so I didn't have to piece it together like I would have with paper.
 The "carpet" upstairs was some printed felt, also from Hobby Lobby. It's much stiffer than felt, though,  it's kinda the weight of Peltex. I made the zebra rugs out of a leathery like 8 1/2 by 11 sheet at Hobby Lobby.

One more note to add: rather than using the little shelf holder pegs that came with the bookshelf, Casey bought the L-shaped kind so they could screw in and the shelves won't flop around and the kids can't move them.

That's it! It can be as easy or as time-consuming as you want it to be! With the furniture I scored on Black Friday, our total was less than $60. The nice wooden Barbie houses and even most of the plastic ones are much more than that!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


I mentioned I'd bought some pricey patterns with my birthday money last month and one of them was the Renfrew tee from Sewaholic. I was excited to give this a try because there's so much you can do with a well-fitting basic t-shirt pattern! Well, I've made not one, but two and love both!! Casey was actually surprised these were not store bought, ha!

Here's the lace version I made last night. The girls took these pics, they're getting handy with the camera ;)

This lace print was gorgeous. I found it at Denver Fabrics for 2.97 a yard. It was not a typical border print, it had top and bottom borders, plus the big medallion one through the middle AND another one from selvage to selvage every so often! I knew squeezing a shirt around the borders would be tricky, but I had to have it because I love lace and I have a black lace top that I love and wanted to emulate. I think I made good use of those borders! The pattern is so great because it's easily adaptable. For this version, I added some gathers to the sleeves and omitted the hem band. 
 And here is my original version. This is a really soft and light rayon knit. It fit great right out of the package, I didn't make a muslin and I didn't trace my pattern pieces, *collective gasp*.

I'm super happy with this pattern purchase!!! I'm not used to paying more than a buck or two for patterns, but I'm trying to branch out for basics that I know will fit well and will get used over and over. This one will absolutely pay for itself over time!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Christmas

We had a very nice Christmas. I just love Christmas day. It was just the five of us and so relaxing and fun. My whole family (except me) stayed in their p.j's all day ... except for when the girls put on some princess dresses.

The Barbie house was a huge success. If I should post more detailed pictures and some how-I-did-it instructions, let me know in the comments and I'd be happy to do that.

Christmas Eve, new p.j.'s and game night!
 Headbanz. Playing this with Kelby is hilarious.
 The finished Barbie beach house! I took these pics when it was still kinda dark outside, so they're not great, but I wanted to take picture before they started redecorating.
 See the waves in the windows? :) Some of the furniture we already had from a Goodwill score, but I saw a huge thing of Barbie furniture in a black Friday ad for super cheap at Target. I went that night at 7:30, not expecting there to be anything left, but I got the last one!!! I was pretty happy about that.
 I got this fuzzy shot of Natalie's face when she saw it!

Kelby and Daddy playing with his tools and truck.

 I got Kelby's Tonka fire truck at Saver's. I didn't realize it was missing the middle wheels and the battery cover thing.  :( I was super bummed out on Christmas Eve about it.  I don't know why I was so upset because he really doesn't care, he has played with it and the little firefighters I got for his stocking ALL day and is playing with it as we speak, actually. I cut a piece of cardboard the right size for the battery cover and duct taped it on. He loves it and it is huuuuuuge. The ladder extends and rescues stuff :)

 He rescued Barbie from her roof several times.
Casey and I played Blokus a lot yesterday, I got it for him and it is super fun!!! Mr. Strategy, though, he wins most of the time. I'm getting there, though!

I got to sew a lot yesterday too! I had ordered Colette's Juniper pants pattern with birthday money and made them yesterday. They're almost done and they're looking good! Can't wait to share!

Oh, and Casey and I, out of necessity because Natalie dropped our laptop, which was our only computer, and because as the kids get older and homeschooling plugs along, the little old laptop was not cutting it anymore, got this last week...
It's awesome. Seriously. Apple knows their stuff. It sure is making photo editing and blogging and pretty much everything else computer related much more fun!

I hope you all had a wonderful day of celebrating Christ's birth and dwelling on your blessings!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

hustle and bustle

Only 1 week until Christmas!! I am SO excited for Christmas morning. The DIY Barbie house is done and in hiding and the fire engine is safely tucked away. I can't wait to see my kids' faces. I think Christmas is the one day a year that I have no problems getting myself out of bed early! Someone's got to put the monkey bread in the oven and get the camera ready for those first joyful smiles!

My mom took the girls shopping for Christmas dresses (with matching accessories, of course) and they have worn them two Sundays in a row and will definitely wear them again this Sunday.

 Kelby was not into wearing a "Christmas shirt". He is so funny about this clothes. He likes elastic waistbands--he calls them his "easy peasey pants". He doesn't get sweater vests because it doesn't make sense to him to wear two shirts--he just think a sweater vest is a summer shirt. And any shirt with a hood or pockets, he insists is a jacket. He's all about easy clothes, kinda like someone else I know... ;)
 Natalie took this one. Not bad :)
 I am loving how my fridge looks with all the Christmas cards rolling in!!! Makes me smile to see so many of my loved ones right here in my kitchen.
 Granny left to go back to Mongolia today :( But, she left us with some awesome slipper/socks!

All my shopping is done and we don't have a lot of plans this week, although the pile of presents under our tree has inspired me to make room for them in our house! Whipped several rooms into shape yesterday and it felt great.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

reindeer fudge

I saw this on Pinterest recently and had to make some! I love peanut butter fudge, and dressing it up like this makes it a perfect little present for the kids to give to their co op teachers, piano teacher, Awana leaders, etc... Hmm, I think I need to make another batch. Good thing it's easy ;) Here's the link to the recipe. They're a good size too, more than a one-bite treat.
 The antlers were my own addition, just a brown pipe cleaner :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

looks like Christmas

It doesn't feel like Christmas, or a Colorado Christmas, at least--we've been in the high 60's, which is pretty unheard of! But at our house it sure looks like Christmas is coming! Yesterday I had to take a day to clean up the Christmas mess that is just everywhere lately. There was no flat surface to wrap, box up or work on anything Christmasey because said Christmasey stuff was all over them! It's a fun mess, though :)
 Thanks to my talented sister, we are enjoying the Jesse Tree advent custom for the first time this year! She hand painted ALL the ornaments (did a gorgeous job, too) for her own family's Jesse tree last year and made color copies of them to give me for Christmas. We are enjoying it so much! I think it's easy to feel like we need special devotionals or Bible story books for kids for them to understand, but I have discovered over this past year that reading to them right out of the Bible is easiest and best and they understand it just fine with some extra explanation here and there. We are loving reading the Scriptures each night and putting on the right ornaments!

 Natalie drew a Nativity yesterday and hung it on the wall. So cute.  The sheep is my fave.
 She also set up these Merry Christmas blocks. It's too cute for me to want to fix it. Plus, we are missing an R. Gotta find that.

 Looooove these shots of Casey and Natalie!!

How is your Christmas prep going?? If you're stressed, just breathe in, breathe out and pick some things to let go of for this year. Especially if you have very young kids. It turns out that I can do more things as they get older that I couldn't do when they were all littler, so give yourself a break for now! Ask the Lord to make clear the task list. That's my advice :)