Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree tutorial

One of my favorite books is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom! How can you not love an alphabet book, especially one that is as catchy as this one?

My kids love to take stories a little farther than the pages we read them on. Of course the most fitting way to do that with this book is with our own coconut tree!! Here is how you can make your own:
The tree is 16 inches tall when finished.
 You will need:
Green felt cut in two 20x20in pieces and one 9x9in piece
Brown felt cut into one 17x17in piece and two 6 inch circles
pillow stuffing
beanie baby filling
3 wooden 1 inch beads
brown yarn
4 pipe cleaners, any color
large eyed needle
Start by folding your first piece of green felt in half and tracing the pattern. Line up the edge of the pattern and trace again. Repeat with second piece (or you can pin them together so you are cutting through both pieces).
 Fold the smaller felt piece in half and trace the smaller leaf pattern onto it. Cut out all leaves.
 Pin the two large leaves together and sew along the outside edge, completely.

 Fold leaves in half, then half again, finding the center. Mark the center.
 Measure from the center to 6.5 inches on all leaves. Mark the spot.
 Sew a casing .5 inches wide on each leaf. Don't worry about it overlaping in the center.
 Cut the center with a seam ripper, pulling up the overlaping threads.
 Fold two pipe cleaners in half and turn up their ends so they are rounded.
 Push half of the two pipe cleaners into one side of the casing, then the other half through the casing across from it. Repeat with the second set of pipe cleaners.
 Sew along the edge of the smaller leaves to give it a finished look. Sew lines down the middle of each leaf using zigzag stitch set tight.

Mark brown felt diagonally from the bottom corner to 5 inches in at the top, then cut excess off. Repeat on other side.(or use a rotary cutter as I did) The picture shows one side cut already and the other side being marked. It will now be 7 inches across the top and 17 inches across the bottom.
 Fold in half and sew along the open edge.Lay with seam in center back and cut off excess fabric making a straight line. (the picture shows it turned so the outside is out. You don't need to do this at this point)

Pin the two circles to the right side of the felt on the bottom opening. Sew it closed and turn right side out.
 This is what it will look like. I used two pieces for the bottom because I know it will get tossed around a lot and not treated gently. It's for reinforcement only.
 Fill bottom with beanie baby beads or other weighted beads.
 I put in about 2 cups to make sure it would be stable.
 Stuff with pillow stuffing until its firm. You want the tree to stand tall and not slouch over.
 With the open edge of large leaf down, stitch to top of tree by hand.

 This is how it should look now.
 Place smaller leaf on top and hand stitch it on larger leaves to tack it down.

 Use a large eyed needle to thread yarn.
 Begin at the back seam and pull the yarn through.
 Wrap yarn around the tree and pull it through again about 2 inches lower than the first stitch a quarter turn around. Continue down the tree in this manner until you reach the bottom.

 Tie a large bulky knot at the base. You will now continue back up the tree, tying bulky knots at each previous stitch.

 They should look similar to this.
 Tie off the yarn well at the top. Then tie on the three beads at the top to look like coconuts.

 Finished tree with knots showing.
 You are done!! Now add letters made out of foam or felt. I also made blue polka dots and apples out of felt and made the numbers to go along with the book Chicka Chicka 123.

I'll add the patterns for the leaves as soon as I get them scanned into my computer :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Goodness

If I were more organized (and my kids didn't have fevers for the past few days) this post would have gone out early enough that you just might have been able to put some inspiration to use for THIS Valentine's Day. Better late than never.

That Silhouette SD that my fabulous husband bought me for Christmas is very well broken in at this point. I even feel like I almost know what I'm doing now!!

Love Bug is having a V-day party and this is her Valentine to pass out. We are catering to the 4 and under set with these bubble bodied butterflies!!
 Jedi is passing out these too cute cupcake boxes to his kindergarten class.

Angel has these totally cute pillow boxes with a little heart card attached. She's giving out the heart leapers, so that is what inspired the note. It was suppose to read: You make my "heart" leap, Valentine" but something got a little lost in translation, and before I knew it, they were a bit difficult to understand.
 And for the teachers and staff. Cupcakes are for all occasions!
 Our messy Valentine projects underway.

 Now these cuties are for Love Bug's party as well. I'm loosely going with a "Love bug" theme (fitting), and the kisses are love bugs! The flying bugs are two kisses taped together with wings and eye stickers added.
 And these are hopping bugs.
Precious!! I made a killer garland this year, right before Love Bug's party. Then I proceeded to place it in a very special place until AFTER the party. It's still in that special place. I only wish I knew where it was, it's that special. I'm sure I'll find it in time for Christmas. That's still after the birthday party...which still counts, right?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

TUTU and TUNIC second birthday party

Love Bug turns two this month, and we celebrated with a TUTU and TUNIC party. I saw some ideas on the Internet that were absolutely adorable, and of course did my own spin on it. Some people have done at Tutu and ties party, but I like the idea of tunics better. Each guest was given either a tutu or a tunic to wear.

The cake. It wasn't what I set out to do, but this is what I had time for. A two wearing a tutu.
 All the guests had cupcakes with these cute tutus on them. It's fondant skirts and straps, and candy hearts from the Wilton bracelet making set out for Valentines Day. I used pink pearl powder with clear vanilla to paint them shimmery. I also made them earlier in the week, so they were har-ard!
 We did photo mobiles of Love Bug "growing up" (ha! all two years of it)
 This was the spread. I tried to think of foods that reminded me of Tutu's, and then threw a little nutrition in there too. Do you know how many sweet treats qualify as tutu-like?? I had to cut waaaay back on my planning list!

 Cotton candy....of course! It's fluffy and delightful.

 In the left corner there you can see where I hung up the tutus and tunics for the guests as they arrived. I made them to size, so I had little labels on them to keep track of who they were for.
 We also had cupcakes for the parents.
 These are lemon and strawberry swirl cookies (from Safeway). Very tutu looking if you ask me.

Mini sandwiches, cut in a flower shape (that qualifies as a tutu shape...doesn't it??) 

Pink fluffy marshmallow pops!! I had grandeur plans for these, but time got the best of me. 
Tutu tacos for the grown-ups. I just pushed warm tortillas into large muffin tins and cooked at 350 for 10 minutes. Then pull them out at carefully put a child size cup inside them to open them up more. Remove them when cool.

And the banner.

 Tutus!! I did the easy version of tying tulle onto elastic.
 The tunics. Again, as easy as you can get. It's fleece, cut down to approximately 18 inches wide by 40 inches long. Fold in half. Cut out a circle. Then I used adhesive felt for the emblem. The name tags were made with my nifty new Silhouette SD :)
 We played tutu bowling.
 And tutu basketball.
 I made tutu purses for the girls and had foam swords (Target $ zone) for the boys. I used satin and medium weight interfacing for the tutus. Rectangle shape big enough around for the circle I happened to have. If you really want to know how to make them, leave me a comment.
That was the party!!