Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Barbie Tent

Guys, I'm having major flashbacks to my childhood. Look what I just made. Did you have one of these because I sure did. I'm pretty sure you could find them at every craft fair.

And what's a tent without a sleeping bag?

It has the mesh window in the bag and the door and window roll up and secure with elastic loops, just like you remember.

I was really surprised that I couldn't find a free pattern and I was too cheap to buy one so I made this without a pattern, it turned out surprisingly well though. I did think Catie wasn't nearly as grateful as she should have been though so we'll see how much use it gets.

It even folds down flat, just like yours did.

I think these are next on my list to make, because how cute are they and let's be honest, there's no way Barbie is sleeping on the floor.

I originally wanted to make this version because I thought it was super cute. But I was also aiming for free and I didn't have anything I could use for poles and I did have wood dowelling. But this one is ridiculously cute and there's a tutorial.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

3rd Annual Favourite Things Party

Boy have I ever neglected to talk about one of my Favourite Things. This year marked the 3rd annual Favourite Things Party, I barely mentioned the first one and didn't write about last year's at all!. I look forward to this all year though, it's so much fun! I hold it every February (because nothing else happens in February)

So it starts with the invitations. I don't want just a simple Facebook group invite, I make up real, paper invitations and they get mailed out to each invitee. This year I went the extra mile and calligraphied the names which I thought was a fun touch.

Here's how it works. Each person brings 5 of their favourite things under $6. The same 5 things and they don't need to be wrapped. When they arrive at the party they write their name down on 5 slips of paper and drop it in a bowl. Then we eat and visit. When the times comes for the exchange we all sit in a circle and one person takes the bowl. They pull out a name (putting their own back if they get it) and that person explains what their favourite item is and then gives the name puller one of their things. The person with the bowl then takes a second name (putting back any repeats) and continues until they have 5 items. Then they pass the bowl to their neighbor who repeats the process.

Now I'm terrible at taking pictures during the party, it's just too much fun so I instead compiled a bunch of photos later of everyone's favourite things. They may not be exactly the same but pretty close so let me tell you about everyone's items because they were so fun. We'll start with mine though.
My items were inexpensive so I was able to give everyone two things, I have a problem with paper straws. I could have pulled out 5 packages to give away without buying any, I have that many on hand. I don't use them for water though, just fun drinks. Sadly, my greatest supplies is Target and they're closing out of Canada... single tear. The second item was a set of measuring spoons. I hate when you measure a wet ingredient just to discover you need the same measurement of a dry ingredient, so I have lots of sets. My requirements is that the labels can't just be printed on, because they wear off and it's irritating. And I also hate when they're super wide and shallow, they're hard to level off and they don't fit in spice jars. Lastly I like them to have a little character so I found the above ones that look like little bowls or tiny bundt pans.

And now everyone else's.

1. Bath & Body Works hand sanitizer and room spray (she wanted lotion but they were all out in her scent).
2. Face Mask
3. Slippers
4. This very specific brand of Salsa
5. Mettalic Sharpies
6. Glitter cardstock
7. This one was probably the most unique and everyone was intrigued. Did you know that apparently Avon bubble bath makes a really good cleaner? You mix it with some water and then use a microfiber cloth to clean just about anything, including streak free windows. So she gave away a small bottle of bubble bath, a microfiber cloth and some lipgloss.
8. Teavana Tea (I got one of these and it's super yummy)
9. This picture doesn't even sort of do this item justice but I couldn't find anything better. She gave away a notepad but it was super graphic and bold and patterned. Then there was a set of matching blank cards, envelopes and a pen to complete the set. It was awesome, unlike the boring picture.
10. Lipgloss and Mini Eggs. I got this item too and I'm loving the gloss.
11. Washi tape, you can do amazing things with this stuff.
12. This huge box of hot chocolate
13. The most adorable tweezers ever
14. A Booster Juice gift card

I love how different all the items are and it's always fun to anticipate when your name will be pulled.

The best part for me at this party though is the extra's that I give away. I gathered 7 (no significance to that number) of my other favourite things, but didn't keep within the price restraint for all of them. Then I put 7 slips of paper in the bowl with a star, so when someone pulled a star they got a sixth item. I had put them all in a bag and then when a star was pulled I picked an item for that person. I could have done it randomly but I thought since I know all the people it would be more fun. I don't know if everyone loved it but I sure did. Here are the 7 things I gave away.

  • All about treats. Jolly Rancher Awesome Twosome's are the greatest. Big Feet are a long standing favourite and the Dairy Milk Sweet and Salty Peanuts is cruncy and sweet and salty and yummy.
  • These cord clips are amazing, in our house we currently use 7 of them. You stick these to your bedside table/desk and then clip your phone cord (or whatever else you need) in and it keeps it from sliding off the table. I stick them to the back side of the bedside table so you can't see them but they keep everything tidy and neat. Love.
  • This Magnetic tray is awesome! I mostly use it for upholstery and holding all the staples as I remove them but it would work for any project, keeping all your nails/screws handy.
  • Eyeshadow Primer. I don't actually use this brand, I use the MAC Paint Pots but this one is equally as great. If I couldn't use a primer I wouldn't bother with eyeshadow. It keeps it from creasing, makes your eyeshadow more pigmented and makes it last forever. Get some, seriously.
  • I love lipstick, it makes you feel so polished and ready. I chose this Rimmel Colour Rush one because it lasts forever but doesn't feel super lipsticky if you know what I mean. I thought it was pretty universal. 
  • These spin pins. I use these probably 3 days a week, they are probably my all time favourite beauty product. Any time you see me with a top knot it's thanks to these spin pins. After I've curled my hair, to keep my curls lasting to the next day sleep in a very loose top knot, also thanks to these babies. Buy some, especially if you have long hair.You can get them at any drug store.
  • And lastly, also in the hair category is the Wet Brush. I don't know what makes this brush so magical but I bought one for Catie and loved it so much I instantly bought one for me too. Somehow it gets through tangles with almost no pain and you can even brush your hair wet without any stretching and breaking.

So there you have it. A giant this of Favourite Things.

This party is all about Favourite Things, so I make my favourite invitations, invite my favourite people and we eat my favourite food. I like that I don't try to co-ordinate the food, I just choose a bunch of things I like so they're completely random. This year I served;
1. Mini soft pretzels with a pizza sauce dip
2. Yummy Salad (Romaine, craisens, toasted pecans, cumbled feta, cubed pears and poppyseed dressing)
3. Ichiban Salad (minus the mangoes)
4. Italian 7 Layer Dip with baquette. The recipe is here but I really think it needs to be heated so I serve it warm
5. Awesome Twosomes
6. Big Feet
7. President's Choice Moktails - Margarita, Bay Breeze and Mojito flavour

And for dessert
8. Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake
9. Creme Brulee

Here's the food table after it's mostly eaten. Next year my goal is to be ready early enough to take proper pictures :)

I love everything about this party, it's such a fun way to get together with friends and I'm already planning next years.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Deer Silhouette Pillow

I had a Women's Christmas party to go to and needed a gift under $10 (yeah, this was a while ago). I finally settled on a pillow. It's one I really want for myself but since I already have deer silhouette coasters I figured enough was enough so I might as well make one for someone else.

I really didn't take a finished photo, I forgot but I did take this one. The pillow is black fabric with a plaid deer and a sparkly bow. Super cute and I was sad to give it away.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Quatrefoil Couch Upholstery

Alright, I finished this couch quite some time ago and have put off blogging about it for long enough. I'm super happy with how it turned out, writing about it is just such a long process and I'm always worried that I add in details that no one but me care about. So heads up, this will be a long story with lots of pictures.

 This couch started with a completely different couch. A friend of mine found a couch, with a matching chair that looked a lot like this. We were both in love with the potential and though completely out of my experience we were convinced we could do it. So we borrowed a truck and made an appointment to pick it up and then we got there and we were stood up. The person apologized and wanted us to come back but by then I'd lost all momentum. I'd also started to look into how much covered buttons would cost (between the two pieces there were hundreds of them!) and it was going to be a lot. I was also pretty concerned with what we would find under the fabric since they're so old. In the end, and I'm sure it was for the best, we passed on the furniture.

I felt bad though and wanted a couch for my friend so when I came across this one, also for free and I knew I'd found a winner.

I am aware that it's super ugly. But here's what I imagined the finished piece looking sort of like.
This one obviously isn't my photo. I should credit the original site but I can't remember where I found it. We decided to not use piping so mine doesn't look quite as crisp as this one but no piping was the way to go. Just a little bit better hey?

So one more time, here's the original couch, sad and droopy.

And how I transformed it.

Now let's get down to details, starting with fabric. I like to order from They have such and incredible selection at prices no where close to what I can find in Canada. Shipping to me is really expensive but I ship it to the states and have family pick it up for me. It takes longer to get to me but saves me at least $50. So we spent a lot of time on fabric choice, finally picked one and here's what it looked like. Cute hey?
I was horrified. I had messed up. The fabric was gorgeous but wasn't upholstery weight at all. It wasn't wide, it was just a basic cotton and could not be used for upholstery. So here's my final plug for, they have a 30 money back guarantee. You send it back (at no extra cost) and they'll refund it. So I was much more careful and my friend and I ordered a similar fabric that I think was a much classier choice.

Once the proper fabric came it was time to make some box cushions. I like to make them first so when I'm done upholstering the couch I am actually finished, not just starting on cushions. I knew I hated the look of the four cushions on the back of the couch and my Mom happened to have some foam I could replace them with so I created a cardboard template and used that to cut two new cushions. Then I wrapped new batting around the old cushions, it made them seem brand new.

So I made the best box cushions I've ever made, lined up the pattern, they were perfect the very first time (I should have known it was too good to be true).

The main challenge with this couch was the importance of lining up the fabric so each piece continues onto the next. Here's the bottom cushions, the first ones I sewed and I about fell over when I saw how great they turned out.

Look at those sleek zippers and how the patterns continues from one panel to the other.

And then the back cushions. Everything was moving along so smoothly and dreamy.

Brad and I hauled the couch inside  but I wasn't willing to put these beautiful cushions on a disgusting couch so I threw some sheets over the base and tried them out. I didn't take a pictures with both of them on the couch so you'll have to use your imagination.

They were perhaps a little tall but perfect otherwise, or so I thought until I sat on them. That new foam was so hard! The couch wasn't going to be comfortable at all. I really couldn't leave it like that so I took the old cushions and glued them together to make two large cushions instead of four small. Then I wrapped them with batting and they were a pretty good fit. So I took apart my first covers, cut new ones, sewed them, put them on and somehow they were way too small. I had super compressed them and now they were too small for the couch. I took them apart again, cut and sewed new covers again and sighed, because this time they fit. They're perhaps a hair too big but I was too afraid to make them smaller.

Luckily this couch needs lots of strips of fabric and I was able to use almost all of those scraps so I didn't end up wasting as much as I initially thought (make sure you notice the pattern matching on those back cushions :).

Finally done with the cushions it was time for the base. Staples were removed and I stripped it down.

Not surprisingly it was disgusting and I ended up throwing away all the old padding. I posted this pictures on Facebook and I loved my friend Jane's comment, "Every time I think you've bit off more than you can chew... Can't wait to see the reveal!" I got a good chuckle out of that.

This couch was interesting though. The nasty fabric on the bottom couldn't easily be removed, it was hooked to the springs and I was not messing around with that so I vacuumed it really well and I left it where it was. I hand stitched the foam to the fabric to keep it in place, then I stretched nice new fabric over top.

Also, this couch is extra long so the foam I used wasn't long enough so I also hand stitched that together. You can see the seam on the left there on the back and the front but the two sides came together surprising seamless, I also stapled it at the bottom to hold it all in place.

I didn't want the foam on the arms to look puckery so that also got some quick stitching.
And at this point it was a couch I'd actually let my daughter sit on .

I added a layer of batting to the arms to make them extra puffy and then the pieces went on one by one until it was all done (the buttons were finished a little later).

My favourite is the contrasting piping and that piece on the front and how well the pattern matches, this picture is my favourite.

The original couch had ugly gold wheels for legs and they got swapped out for these simple wood ones.
How about a side by side before and after.

And some with the cute buttons after it was moved to it's new home. 

There is a matching chair for this couch so I had planned to cover that in the same fabric but instead we've decided to toss the chair and add two wing back chairs in a co-ordinating fabric to complete the set so you can look forward to those in the future.

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