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21  Craft room doors - WWCD? in Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions by sugarbeth on: September 01, 2007 07:24:55 PM
I'm putting some single-panel bifold doors on my closet in my brand-new craft room. So there will be 4 narrow doors like so:

I want to do something fun with them, like make one into a chalk board, make one magnetic, etc. What else? I have 4 of them!

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22  Little Robot Hands! in Halloween Costumes by sugarbeth on: August 29, 2007 12:54:58 PM
I've started on my almost3-yr-olds Bumblebee costume. And so I just made some little robot hands! Smiley

I made a little stencil, then copied that onto the silver fabric 4 times, layered the silver fabric over the headliner foam and then machine-quilted it. Cut away the extra foam, then sew two sides together, then voila!

Now I'll probaby work on the head. That's going to be a puzzle!
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23  MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE (FINISHED!!) in Halloween Costumes by sugarbeth on: August 21, 2007 08:34:50 AM

I have an almost 3-year old son who LOVES transformers or anything robot, really. He doesn't get to see the movie, seeing how he's just 3, but everytime he sees those transformers on tv, he screams "'BOT!!!! 'BOT!!!!!! Mama!!! 'BOT!!!!!!" lol

Apparently they have come out with an Optimus Prime costume for sale. But the smallest size is 4-6, which is going to be huge on him. So of course his crafty mom who cannot say no to a fun project is going to have to make a transformer costume for him.  Grin

So I went to the fabric store last night and bought a bunch of stuff. Over the next month or so, all this fabric will TRANSFORM into a couple of costumes. heh heh

There are various colors of polyester ponte, stretchy metallic, and headliner foam fabric. All from Joann's. I was debating whether to use the ponte or instead get satin so it would all be shiny, but I decided in the end to get the ponte since it has a little sheen to it but more importantly, a little bit of stretch.

I'm going to try to make it "soft-sculpture"-like, and that's where the headliner foam comes in.

The plan is to make a Bumblebee costume for my son, and then make an Optimus Prime costume for my husband. I'll use black shirts/leggings for the foundation, and then make car pieces to attach to it.

My son's birthday is at the end of september, and I'm hoping to have this all done by then. I'm going to make the Optimus Prime costume in secret, so that my husband can surprise him at his birthday party. Then they can wear their costumes the next month for Halloween.

Anyhoo, I thought it'd be fun to start a thread and document my progress, and if anyone else is going to be making Transformers costumes this year, feel free to join in and maybe we can swap ideas for construction.

I probably won't get started until next week, because I'm giving a beginning sewing presentation on saturday for my mom's group and I need to work on that. But once that's done, it'll be robot-central at my house! Smiley


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24  Re: Backyard Playset - image heavy in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by sugarbeth on: July 11, 2007 03:34:01 PM
slb2724~ here's another picture I found which shows more of the whole thing at once (the underside of the roof has been stained white since this was taken):

bongirl5~ I'd say in all it was probably about $2000. That's including the wood, hardware, stains, accessories, shingles, perimeter, weedblocker and woodchips, a new jigsaw... Wink So not cheap by any means, but it's custom, and big enough that they'll play with it for many years, and I'll be able to sell it since I made it to come apart some day. I made a big excel sheet and price-shopped. The local lumberyard was cheapest, and on top of that gave me like another 5% off since it was a big order - that was nice!

I need to give some credit to my FIL - he helped me a lot with the roof, which was impossible to do alone, and gave me a bunch of wood from his old deck for underneath the shingles, so that saved me some money there too.
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25  Backyard Playset - image heavy in Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects by sugarbeth on: July 11, 2007 09:16:22 AM
This is what happens when craftsters get old and have a bunch of power tools - just a warning! Smiley

This is a project from last summer. I thought I should finally get around to documenting it. It was really satisfying to build from scratch. A playset this size (and it is pretty big) would be well over $4000 from someplace like Rainbow or Backyard Adventures.

I made the playhouse part of it an homage to our first house which was painted this color. The swings and ladder hardware and accessories were from byoswingset.com. The slide and swing arm braces were from one of the big hardware stores. The lumber is from Dunn lumber - a local lumber store here. I HIGHLY recommend getting your lumber from your local lumber yard rather than Home Depot, Lowe's etc. The lumber yard will be cheaper, delivery will likely be free (or cheap), and you just drive through and they load up your car. It's awesome.

Power tools I used: Drill, circular saw, power sander, jig saw, miter saw.

In addition to lumber you need: about 100 3/8x3" galvanized lag bolts + washers, 5-6 lbs of decking screws (2" I think), various strongtie braces.

I put a shingled roof on, but if I had to do it over, I would just make a simple roof using cedar siding.

The area was first cleared and leveled, then we put down a layer of weedblocker fabric. Built the structure, and then made an enclosure for the woodchips out of 2x8 treated lumber. I think there's something like 6-8 sq yards of wood play chips in there.

My original sketch. The plans changed somewhat as I forgoed the monkey bars and the peepholes in the house panels.

I labeled a bunch of pictures with the dimensions of the lumber that was used. Some of the lengths might be approximate. But basically, the structure is based on the 4 4x4x10' support posts. The deck is 5' off the ground. The 2x6x5' horizontal supports do most of the work holding it all together. In the pics, you can't see the 2x6's that are at the base since they are covered in wood chips, but refer to the sketch for that.

It is all held together with 3/8x3" galvanized lag bolts. I would first make a recess for the bolt head +washer with a 1" forstner bit on the drill, then pre-drill a hole for the lag bolt. There was a lot of cranking bolts on in this project!

Anyhoo, the point of my story is this: Just because you are a girl, it doesn't mean that you can't build big cool things out of wood. But do have your man do the heavy lifting parts. Wink
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26  Re: 6-year-old's Unicorn Birthday Extravaganza! in Party Planning by sugarbeth on: July 10, 2007 12:33:08 PM
Unicorn Party!

Note: I didn't come up with a lot of this stuff on my own - I got a lot of these ideas off of the internet.

Lilu's 6th birthday party was a smashing success! That was so much fun to set up. Thanks to Chad for helping me out.  The rundown:

Saturday I started setting the mood by having Eilie the fairy leave a note for Lilu on the doorstep. Up until this point, Lilu knew this was all a made-up story, but I added another dimension by bringing the fairy letters to life. I'd made a bunch of teeny tiny yellow envelopes with notes printed with teeny little fonts. Chad would sneak out and ring the doorbell and run back inside. This one said:

Dearest Lilu,
Tomorrow is the day!
I hope you are ready!

Oh, she was so excited! She was counting down the minutes to her party. But she is already quite a good skeptic and was grilling me about that note. I like to dodge the questions by asking more questions. "What makes you think that I put that note there?" "Do you think I can write that small?" "How would you prove that I wrote that note?"  It was so fun to see her imagination take off. (And I was so proud of her investigative instincts!)

So the party starts, the girls are decked out in their princess dresses, and I paint a unicorn/butterfly face on them as soon as they walk in, and give them a sparkly "pony" tail holder.

Then we make our own body glitter. I bought some containers and aloe gel from the drugstore, and fine glitter from the craft store. Each girl got to mix their own, and then they got themselves all sparkly. And this is about where most of the face paint gets smeared. lol

Next, we made shrinky-dink charm bracelets. I got some cheapie bracelets on sale at the craft store, jump rings, and a bunch of plain shrinky-dink plastic. I traced 5 designs for the bracelet charms - a unicorn, butterfly, heart, and flowers. The girls colored and cut them out, then I baked them and Chad helped me assemble them while the girls looked through the "Unicorns I Have Known" book from the library, which is a book of realistic unicorn photos and they ate their "unicorn horn" lollipops.

Now we were all ready to read the unicorn poem. We weren't sure what was going to happen next, so we started opening presents. Then the doorbell rang! There was nobody there - but wait! A letter from Eilie!

Lilu and friends,
The unicorns are in trouble.
You must find them.
Look near the rosebushes.
~ Eilie

And so begins the quest! Chad put some unicorn "fur" (soft purplish yarn) snagged in the rosebushes. Another note:

There is another clue
near the back gate.
Please hurry.

Near the back gate was a glittery horseshoe (wooden one from the craft store covered in glitter). Next note:

I fear the worst
I saw a broken horn in
the garden. Protect it well
And do not drop it!
~ Eilie

This horn gave me so much trouble! First off, those are a lot harder to sculpt than you would think! I made it out of tile clay, and I was trying to speed up the drying in the oven and the frickin thing exploded! So I was left with about 3 inches of it, which actually lent itself nicely to the story that it was broken, but dang! It was so cool when it was big! I painted the dried clay with pearly white paint. I would've fired it if I had more time. Next note:

I know that they are close
I can hear them call
for help. It sounds like
it is coming from high up.
Look well and see if you can
find them.

I bought each girl a stuffed unicorn - small beanies for the guests, a big one for Lilu. Chad put them in a garbage bag "trap" and strung them up in a tree. Final note:

Congratulations, Princess Lilu!
You have all passed the test!
You were brave and clever
And have completed the quest.
The unicorns must stay magical,
But they leave you these gifts.
Enjoy them and have a
Wonderful Birthday.
With Love,
Eilie and the Unicorns

I've got the hunt on video. They all had a blast, and it was so fun to watch them get so into it. Totally worth the effort. After that we had cake, finished presents, and cracked the pinata. Then they were out in the backyard looking for more unicorns.

Lilu knows my part in the whole scheme now. She's already asking for the same deal for next year, but with just fairies. I'm on it! Smiley

Almost forgot the cake! This is a Pantastic pan. It looks very elaborate, but it's mostly candy melts for the body, so it's really easy to make it look good!

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27  6-year-old's Unicorn Birthday Extravaganza! in Party Planning by sugarbeth on: July 10, 2007 12:28:28 PM
First....the Story....

Lilus Unicorn Story

Hi, Im Lilus mom. I want to tell you about the unicorn in our backyard. It all started last March when Spring came and all the flowers began to bloom. I was just minding my own business, doing the dishes at the kitchen sink and I glanced out the back window to see a white and pink blur just out of sight. What the heck was THAT?! I remember asking myself. I was so puzzled that I just figured it was my imagination.

I almost forgot about that encounter until two weeks later when I heard the crows yelling. I was curious about what made them cause such a ruckus, and I looked out my bedroom window. My eyes widened and I think my jaw must have dropped all the way to the floor, because outside in the backyard I saw it a UNICORN.

Could it be real? It sure looked real. He was beautiful. Tall with long legs, white fur with a pinkish-purplish mane and tail. His horn looked like it was made out of pearls. And I swear he sparkled.

He didnt know that I was looking at him. I debated whether I should stay and admire him while he was there, or take a chance to grab my camera. I decided to go for the camera I mean, how else is anyone going to believe that I saw a unicorn? Theyll think Im crazy!

Quietly, I tiptoed out on the deck, ready to snap my picture. I didnt realize it, but 2-year-old Toby had followed behind me. He saw what was in our yard and yelled, Horse!!

OH NO!! Startled, the unicorn bolted and jumped over the fence. I only managed to get a blurry picture of his rear end. Argh!! So frustrating!

At least I had SOMETHING to show to my family and friends. But still, I was met with a lot of skepticism: Oh, you just made that picture on your computer, that didnt really happen. Or I dont see a horn on it, and besides, unicorns arent real. I was so bummed that nobody believed me except for Lilu she LOVED unicorns.

Every day I watched for that unicorn. I would sit in the backyard with Toby hoping that he would come by again. But weeks went by and nothing. Lilu would come home from school and ask me all excitedly, Did he come, mom? Did you see him? and Id have to tell her no, not today. It was making the both of us a little glum.

Then one sunny day after a rain, something else amazing happened. I was on the deck, looking out into the yard when a yellow butterfly flew up and landed on the railing next to me. When I examined the butterfly more closely, I realized that it wasnt a butterfly at all it was a little fairy! Two magical things at our house! What are the odds?

I had to get right up close to hear her, for her voice was so small, but she introduced herself as Eilie, princess of the Tiger Swallowtails.

She knew I was looking for the unicorn, and she told me that I was very lucky to see as much of him as I did. He must be coming here for a very good reason, she said. The only thing that I can think of that would bring one of the unicorns out in public would be that they are getting ready to name their next Unicorn Princess. Perhaps they believe that she lives here. 

I gasped! Lilu! Hes looking for Lilu! Shes at school all day, thats why he cant find her!
Ahh, you have a little girl! Then that really must be the reason hes been here, Eilie replied. Tell you what, she added, I will ask around and see if theres a way to get him to come when shes home. Meanwhile, keep watering the garden by the playground, I know that unicorns find those particular flowers hard to resist.

That was good advice that Eilie gave me and I passed it on to Lilu. She watered that garden diligently every day, and look who came by!!

The unicorn ran off when he saw me, and I yelled after him, Shes here!! Your Unicorn Princess is here! Shes just at school right now! Please stay!!! But either he didnt understand me or he was too frightened, because he just bolted over the fence again.

At least now I have two good pictures of him to show people that he really does exist! Fairies too! Lilu made me print out copies of the photos and she keeps them by her bed at night. I hadnt yet told her that she might be the next Unicorn Princess, because I was not quite sure if that was true and I didnt want to hurt her feelings if it wasnt. She was happy enough simply having some magical visitors.

Up until now weve been keeping our unicorn story a secret. But something happened yesterday and we need your help. We were having dinner, and the doorbell rang. I went to answer it with the kids running after me like they always do, but when I opened the door, there was nobody there. As I closed the door, Lilu shouted, Whats that!? She picked the item up before I even saw what she was talking about. It was a teeny tiny yellow envelope, left sitting on the welcome mat.

I think its a letter from a fairy! I told Lilu. Go ahead and open it!

Luckily, Lilu had just gotten a magnifying glass, otherwise, it wouldve been very hard to read this note! It said

Dearest Lilu,
Rumor has it that the Sunday after Midsummer, the unicorns will come for their princess, and I think it just might be you! On that day you must assemble 5 of your friends to become your princess court. Dress like you are a Unicorn Princess already the sparklier, the better! When you are done, recite the following poem, and then the unicorns will know that you are ready!

O, unicorn with coat so white,
Your beauty is divine,
With all my heart and soul,
I wish you could be mine.

For if you were, I'd love you so,
And protect you from all harm,
So all the world would come to know,
The magic of your charm.

~ Eilie

So, on the Sunday after Midsummer (June 24th), we will throw a party to welcome the unicorns! It just so happens to be Lilus birthday party too! The girls will transform into  princesses and who knows what we might see!

Hope to see you there!!

...that was the invitation to the party, courtesy of a liberal dose of photoshop.  Grin

Back with the party rundown...

edited to add: I wrote everything but the poem - got that off the web - the creativity well was runnin' dry by that point!
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28  Is this where Clapoholics Anonymous meets? in Knitalongs by sugarbeth on: December 01, 2006 09:01:50 PM
A couple of gifts finished up...

Both clappies with Noro Silk Garden - 6 skeins. 1 less increase/decrease section, 1 additional straight section. I used the method where you purl the dropped stitches so that you don't have to use markers. And I twisted the stitches that are edging the rungs on the purl side also. Each took me about a week of evening knitting.

Clappy A is in color #228

Clappy B is in color #37

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29  Re: Succubus Costume in Halloween Costumes by sugarbeth on: October 06, 2006 04:45:52 PM
Okay, here's my pics. I'd tell you how I made the wings but I'm not sure I remember! There's wire in them, and a little bit of stuffing, too.

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30  Re: tooth fairy ideas? (I made the wings now. Any suggestions?) in Halloween Costumes by sugarbeth on: October 06, 2006 04:23:52 PM
I have a tooth fairy get-up in progress, for when my kids start losing their teeth. I have this shirt (that I made at cafepress):

It's just clip art that I used, anyone can make one like it.

I just need a cute tulle skirt to go with it.

One of my favorite costumes that I saw looooong long ago was "The Bad Tooth Fairy". She had a black fairy costume, a tooth necklace that she drew black cavities on the teeth, and she used that tooth blackout stuff on her own teeth. It was really funny.
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