Throwback Thursday: Road Playmat


I made two of these, one for my son and one for my daughter. They are very time-consuming. I think I saw someone else who said that they take about 50 hours to make, and I don’t think that’s far off.

The base is basically a normal blanket. The backside is a flannel, the front is green cotton (to represent grass.) I used a yard of each and sewed them all the way around with a 5/8″ seam, leaving a small hole in which to flip it right side out.

The other side isn’t exactly difficult to make, but it does take quite a bit of measuring and planning. I first made the roads. I measured and cut a pattern out of butcher paper first, then cut it out of black felt. I pinned and sewed it onto the blanket, using black thread for the top and blue thread in the bobbin (so there wouldn’t be ugly black lines going across the back.) This part was somewhat difficult, the road didn’t want to stay flat and I had some issues with bunching. For the yellow lines in the road, I used yellow thread and a satin stitch. If I were to do it again, I might just use small yellow felt rectangles. The satin stitching just seems to come out easily, unless there’s some trick I just don’t know.

For the buildings, they look complicated, but they’re really just tedious. I planned out what I wanted, then I would find coloring book pages of the subject. I would trace it onto freezer paper, then iron the freezer paper to the felt (shiny side against the felt!) and then cut it out. If you haven’t tried this method when working with felt, you need to! It changes everything.

All of the garage doors and regular doors are only sewn on one side, so that they can lift up. If you have time, you can put surprises behind the doors as well. In the very center is our house. In the top left corner is the train station and railroad, a zoo, their grandparents’ house with their pool and playhouse in the backyard, and a park. In the upper right corner is a construction zone, a temple, a church building, another grandparents’ house with their dog, and a police station. In the bottom right corner is an airport, a grocery store, a gas station, and a fire station. The gas station has a little shoelace sewn in to act as the nozzle. In the bottom right corner is the beach, a library, a car wash, a pizza place, and his grandfather’s house. The car wash has orange felt that I cut into a fringe so he can drive his cars through it.

Most of the buildings were handsewn, because it’s too much of a hassle to be switching around the thread for all of those colors. Here’s what I would do: Cut out all of the pieces for a building and place them in a ziplock bag with corresponding thread, needles, and small scissors. Then I would just keep the bag handy throughout the day, and sew a few stitches here and there whenever I got a chance. Those 2-minute windows of time really add up when you take advantage of them!

I got inspiration from so many places it’s hard to name them all, but I’ll try:


Throwback Thursday: Felt Christmas Tree

This one is fairly simple. I got the idea from Pinterest as a way to let my two toddlers decorate and redecorate a tree of their own. I bought a yard of 72″ dark green felt from Joann’s, and I still had a bunch left over. Everything else was made from felt scraps and maybe a few extra 9×12 sheets from Walmart (they were about $0.23 per sheet at the time…Joann’s carries more colors for $0.50 each, and they frequently go on sale as well.) For most of the ornaments, they are sewn together (some finer details, like eyes and noses, were drawn with a permanent marker.) I tried using a glue gun, but it made the ornament so heavy that it would fall off. For larger ornaments with only a few details to glue on, it might work better.

The “present” is two sheets of red 9×12″ felt, sewn on three sides and held together by Velcro at the top. This was for storing ornaments when not in use.

I tried attaching it to the wall both by using pushpins and masking tape. Both methods were okay, neither lasted too long. My children were especially talented at pulling it down no matter what I did.

Overall, it was a fairly easy and cheap project, and the kids did have a lot of fun with it. There’s a ton of flexibility, and you could do a lot if you have the time.


Sources I used:


Belle Ballgown Part 9: The Final Pictures!




Look at that little princess!!!


But wait…does it twirl??




It does!


What’s left to do but jump for joy?



When she sits, it poufs!



Look at the movement of it!



Oh, and I made one for her doll out of the scraps. Can’t see it very well here, haha. That’s okay, because I was kind of sick of it by then and didn’t do a very good job…dsc02244

So happy! Now onto the tuxedo for the little brother….

Throwback Thursday: The 1st garments I ever sewed

So I just got my sewing machine a few months before this, and it makes total sense to add on to the stress of Christmas by making my kids’ Christmas Eve pajamas, right?!?

*sigh* When will I ever learn?

So off I went to Joann’s to buy the deeply discounted flannel. BTW, flannel and fleece go on major discounts every December. It’s definitely the best time to buy, especially for fleece. Fleece often goes as much as 75% off. So plan ahead and stock up for next year!

Anyway, I found an adorable robot material for my son and a purple bumblebee pattern for my daughter. Spoiler alert: my daughter still adores hers and wears it all the time, even though it’s falling to pieces. My son HATED his, and still does. To be fair, though, he hates all pajamas, and all clothes for that matter. :p

So that pattern I used for my son’s was McCall’s M6458. Keep in mind that this was the first time I ever sewed anything with interfacing, buttonholes, etc…


See how thrilled he is with his new pjs?? Yeah..

Anyway, even though I made the smallest size and it said that it was right for him, it came out huge. Not sure what I did wrong. The print is also a little too busy for someone that small, now that I’m looking back at it. It is cute, though!!!

For my daughter, I used Simplicity 1575. Much easier, but I had so much trouble with that collar. I’d never used bias tape before. I’m still no good at using bias tape, actually. Not sure why. Here are a couple more (blurry) shots:


Overall, it wasn’t too terrible for a first attempt. But I could definitely do much better if I tried again!

Throwback Thursday: My Parents’ 25th Anniversary Surprise Party

A few years ago, my sister and I threw a surprise party for my parents’ 25th anniversary. Well, it was a surprise for my dad, but my mom knew, because she hates surprises! But she only knew the time and place, not who we’d invited or decorations or anything.

Being a little low on funds (like usual) I decided to try to make some of the decorations myself. Because I’m crazy and stupid like that.

I had some left over crepe paper streamers from another party, so I decided to make a big “25” out of flowers made from them. I got the instructions from here.

And here is my result:


Not too bad. Then I cut out numbers from cardboard and hot glued it all together. The idea was here.

My results:img_1534

Not quite as good. I’m not good at random placements, lol. I do better with perfect symmetry.

Next, I tried to do my parents’ initials with quilling. I don’t know that I had inspiration from any one source, I just read and looked at a lot of things. It’s not true quilling…I didn’t buy the fancy paper or tools or anything. I used cardstock to outline the letters, then curled construction paper around a toothpick and just sort of arranged them inside. I was trying to sort of fade from their favorite colors in a diagonal direction…It only kind of worked. My result:


Final verdict: For free, I think these are pretty awesome results. Fairly tedious, though, so neither are something that I’d want to do again. On the other hand…now that I have a Cricut, I wouldn’t have to cut all of the quilling strips by hand, and that was the worst part. So…maybe??

Belle Ballgown Part 8: The Penultimate Post!

I’m almost done! Next post will be final photos!

I attached the bodice and put in the zipper. One of the reviews I read said to put in a regular zipper, not an invisible zipper, because the invisible one was too hard. Since I’ve never done an invisible zipper, I thought that sounded pretty good. But even with using just a regular zipper, I broke the sewing machine needle twice. There was simply too much material or something. I ended up handsewing it in place.

After that, all that was left was to gather the drape by hand. Now this is the first place where using organza was a disadvantage. Tulle fluffs up really well, but organza is stiffer. So the drape isn’t quite the shape I’d like it to be, it sort of hangs and looks heavy. But overall, it looks like I want it to be. I’m so happy!


Belle Ballgown Pt. 7

I’ve now attached the bodice, and man, this this is heavy. Big and poufy and heavy and beautiful.

However, while I was able to get the bodice attached just fine, the armholes are just impossible. So, hand basting/sewing it is. dsc01410

The bodice and lining need to be basted together (shown here) and then you have to sew on bias tape to encase the raw edges. So when purchasing, make sure your bias tape matches your fabric as closely as you can. I don’t know how visible it will be, but it doesn’t really get covered up except for the drape. If I had plenty of time, I would probably make my own bias tape out of the fabric, because that would look infinitely more professional. But with things as they are, a light yellow tape will have to do, and I’ll just have to hope she doesn’t raise her arms too much!!

I sort of enjoy handsewing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my machine. But there’s something so soothing about pulling the thread through yourself. And my daughter loves to “help” by pulling it through for me.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! The dress is coming together, bit by bit!

Belle Ballgown Pt. 6

It’s actually starting to look like a dress! Yahoo!!


This is just the lining pieces with the skirt, I haven’t attached the bodice yet. The skirt is sandwiched between the two lining pieces, which is why you needed two, and the drape is sandwiched between the two bodice pieces (not shown.) I tried it on my daughter, who LOVES it and immediately started twirling. It’s so beautifully puffy. And the layers of fabric did exactly what I wanted them to. You can see here that because I had to hem the organza, it’s a bit shorter than the tulle, so I’ll need to trim that, but luckily the length of the hemmed tulle is exactly what I needed for my daughter’s height. If you’re using all tulle, then you won’t have to worry about hemming at all (and trust me, the hemming was a huge pain.) But I’m just so madly in love with the look of organza that I couldn’t resist. 🙂

Belle Ballgown Pt. 5

Ugh. Tulle. So much tulle. I’m having nightmares where gigantic tulle bolts chase me and wrap me in their horrible, webby clutches while I scream and slowly suffocate.

Okay, not really. But really, the tulle on this thing is insane. Look at this: cropped-dsc01392.jpg

It barely fits under my sewing machine. Like I said, I used two layers of yellow tulle, one layer of gold glitter tulle, and one layer of organza. For those that are cutting, that means I cut 8 pieces of #10 in yellow tulle, 4 in glitter tulle, and 4 in organza. Then you sew the like fabrics together to make 4 layers.

I decided to use a new technique I’d heard of to gather. Instead of doing two rows of long basting stitches and pulling, I took on thread of a different color and ran a zigzag stitch over the top of it, then just pulled that thread. You can see it a little bit better here: dsc01401

This was taken just as I was coming back around to the beginning. If you look carefully, you can see the zigzag stitch going over a black thread. I’ve found I really prefer it. Basting just seems to put so much stress on the fabric. This is more like creating a casing for the black thread, and then you just pull it up.

But basically, no matter what you do, you’re going to be battling a massive pile of tulle and organza. Godspeed, my friend.

Belle Ballgown Pt. 4

After all the craziness up top, at least the skirt should be easy, right?


Honestly, it wasn’t that bad, I just got a little confused. So here’s how it goes. The very bottom layer is the lining, and the right side of it faces in, toward the body. The ruffles are attached to the wrong side, and that faces out.

BTW, those ruffles are a pain to sew. There’s SO MUCH FABRIC. Be really careful not to let it twist or you’ll have to take all the stitches out. I got help with holding it out to make sure it was all straight.

Anyway, then the right side of the satin is sewn to the wrong side of the lame. The lame is sort of sheer, so the satin fills it out. So then the wrong side of the satin is sewn to the wrong side of the lining. It makes sense when you think about how it all lays on your body, but it took some checking and double checking to make sure you have it straight!

Here it is: dsc01250

I know, I know, that metallic lame looks terrible and cheap. But under the tulle and organza, it takes on a more ethereal glow.

One last note, I checked it against my daughter to make sure I was hemming the right amount. When I first checked it, I figured it would sit at about her waist, and thought it was probably about three inches too long. But the I connected it to the bodice and checked again, and boy was I wrong! That bodice end pretty high, so this skirt rides up quite a bit higher than I thought it would. Glad I checked before I cut anything!