Every year, we get invited to a big potluck one of my friends hosts. There’s lots of people, food and chatting and a great big Easter egg hunt for the kiddos. Really big. It’s divided into two groups – kids 5 and under and kids over 6. Seriously, when your 2-yr old manages to fill her entire basket with eggs, you know it’s a big hunt. Lol. Anyways, the host keeps boxes of plastic eggs in storage, and when Easter comes around, starts handing them out to families with kids. Last year was our second year filling eggs…
…and it was expensive. Mostly because I didn’t want to fill the eggs up with candy. The first year was easy, since I had lots of leftover prizes from when I taught, so those got stuffed into eggs. But last year, I ended up spending too much on little toys. More than I would have spent if I had just bought a bag of candy. Let me tell you, $1 here and there really starts to add up quickly when you’re filling Easter eggs. And we only did three dozen.
This year, I still wanted to avoid the candy, but didn’t want to do the toys. So Princess and I came up with a better way to fill the Easter Eggs. And they’re gluten-free, free of artificial colorings, flavorings and preservatives.
We went to the bank. Yep! The BANK. I got waaaaay too much in change; it’s ok…they’re still rolled and we can take ’em back. We ended up using one $2 roll of nickels and four $.50 rolls of pennies for a grand total of $4. I had a few dimes in my wallet, so I threw those in, too. Then, we had some sheets of Easter stickers left over from our Lucky Bouquet craft. So we put coins and stickers into our Easter eggs. What preschooler doesn’t get excited about money and stickers??? And could you imagine how much cooler it could be if you had foreign currency like Canadian pennies and Italian lyra?
Could this be a choke hazard? Probably. But having done this egg hunt before, I know most parents (and older siblings looking to swipe their favorite candy) of kids this age sit with the kiddos while they open their Easter eggs, so few of these coins will find their way into mouths. Most of these parents are also relieved to find something OTHER than candy in the eggs. So use your judgment before deciding to fill eggs with change. Plus, wouldn’t swallowing a Tootsie Roll or Jolly Rancher whole be worse than swallowing a penny?
Anyways, Princess did most of the filling, since I was busy cutting up the sheets of stickers. For a girl who’s not quite three, she’s pretty efficient. We finished filling up over 100 eggs in a little over 1/2 hour. Princess was instructed to put 2-4 pennies OR 1 nickel into each egg with a sticker. She did really well up until the last 10 minutes, when she started to get a little overexcited about the eggs and the idea of hunting them herself…I saw her sneaking $.13 into one egg. But it’s all good. Come to think of it…that may have been one of the eggs she snuck back into the bedroom and emptied into her piggy bank. Lol.
So $4 in change (plus a little bit more) + leftovers from a $1 book of stickers = $5 for over 100 eggs (we actually filled up 114). Less than a nickel per egg! Yay! I could have been really cheap and stuck with one penny per egg (boo hiss!) or been generous and put in dimes and quarters (do preschoolers care for dimes?), but I figured if Princess was happy with the eggs, then it was probably about right. Guess we’ll be doing this for a few more years. At least until change isn’t cool anymore and we have to upgrade to quarters and dollars. Then I’ll have to come up with something else. 😉
Early last week, we received a very exciting package in the mail from Green Toys. If you don’t know who Green Toys is, they are a California-based company that produces quality, made-in-the-USA toys from 100% recycled plastics. Their toys contain no BPA, Phthalates, PVC or external coating.
Well, not too long ago, they hosted a contest on their Facebook page. They had a product with extremely high reviews from both children and parents; after a year on the market, however, the toy simply wasn’t moving. The question was WHY? So they asked for their fans’ opinions and suggestions. The 12 fans with the best responses would receive a Build-a-Bouquet; guess who got a set! 😀 Perfect timing, too, since Princess has really been getting into flowers lately. Since I had so many questions about the toy myself, I thought it would be apropos to post a review of the toy for other parents (or grandparents) who might be interested in it.
Princess is always excited about packages. So once it got through the door, we ripped it open and Princess exclaimed (the moment she saw the toy), “I love this! I’ve ALWAYS wanted one of these!” Really? Because I didn’t know it existed until last month. Lol. To be fair, I DID show her pics of it when I entered the contest, so yeah, she probably did “always” want a Build-a-Bouquet. 😉
We pulled all the parts out of the box (even dismantling the “semi-assembled” flowers) and Princess set them all out so she could get a good look (she likes to see everything first before she plays with any one thing…Christmas day was rather interesting, as she plowed through all her gifts, arranged them in order, and then chose a toy to play with, lol). I turned around to pick up the bits of packaging that had flown out of her hands and onto the floor…turned back to her…
…and saw that she had started building. Actual entire flowers built. On the bases. Which she had attached to each other. I was surprised that she intuitively knew what to do with all the pieces! As she picked up a part, she would ask me to name it (petal, stem, leaf). One of my favorite exchanges: “Mommy, what is this piece called?” / “A stamen…that’s usually found in the center of a flower. Bees drink from there to make honey.” / “Oh. But it can be a baby flower, too.” Yes. Yes, it can. 😉
So to make this easy for you (and me), I am going to move forward in a Q&A style.
How sturdy is this toy?
- It depends on how many base pieces are fit together and in what configuration, but it stands fairly well on a hard, level surface. The bases could be a little heavier to prevent flowers from tipping over accidentally. Or you could place some of those sticky mats (like what you use to line shelves) to the underside to help it grip a table better. The other thing it depends on is how high you stack the pieces…if it get too high and you don’t have a good base, then it all topples over.
- The holes for the stems on the bases are a bit close together, so you won’t be able to put flowers in every hole on the base. BUT, I believe it was designed this way to give kids more flexibility in flower placement. Just good to know in case your kiddo is a little picky about empty spaces.
- Which leads me to the pieces. While there is a little flex in some of the pieces, they are actually pretty strong. The pieces can fit in pretty much any order you want…leaves/stems can go into a flower. The pieces nest into each other (not like Legos, that snap together), so you have to be sure to press down on them if you want to move them around a lot. Otherwise, you just lightly set the pieces into each other and then they slip apart.
- The slipping pieces are great for younger kids too, as they don’t have to exert as much force to actually build something. And the pieces don’t have to fit “just right” like Legos do.
Can you fit the pieces in the base together to make a circle?
- This was one of my questions to Green Toys. Because I thought it would be cool to make a flower crown. I didn’t play with it enough the first day to find out myself (ok…I’ll be honest…I was having a slow-brain day and I couldn’t quite figure it out, lol), but Princess did the next morning – she put the pieces together and made a complete circle (I was mildly surprised, since I kinda thought it might not be possible). However, you cannot wear it as a flower crown because the pieces don’t lock together…including the bases.
- As a result, making a posy ball or a bouquet wouldn’t work very well, either. Well, you could do a bouquet if your kiddo presses all the flower pieces together very tightly. The set works really well as a “garden” set-up, though. Or a table-top bouquet. Without a vase. Just using the bases.
- The stems do not fit into those glow wand handles I mentioned in this post.
Does it come with a storage box?
- Yes, it comes with a little cardboard box. But it’s hard to fit all the pieces in there nicely, so I repurposed a Sterilite CD box (similar to the index card box, but larger), which holds all the pieces perfectly (and fits on a shelf quite nicely).
How creative can you get with the flower/stem pieces?
- Well, you can’t turn the pieces upside down to make little flower umbrellas for fairies. Bummer.
- But you can stack them really, really tall.
- And like I mentioned before, the pieces don’t have to go together in the traditional stem-flower-stamen order, so you can really mix it up.
Besides building flowers, what else can be done with this toy? Preferably educational stuff.
- Well, first of all, ALL play is educational play. But if you’re interested in math/science/language arts kinda educational stuff, then that really depends on how creative you want to get. And how much your child is willing to do.
- You can ask your child to:
- build a flower with “x” number of pieces.
- build a flower with “x” number of leaves and “y” number of flowers.
- build a flower with “x+y” number of pieces (or any other combo of mathematical equations…heck, ask for the square root of 1600…helpful hint, that’s every leaf, stem and flower in the set).
- build flowers of a certain color order.
- fit as many flowers as possible onto a base (let’s see how many kids think outside the box!).
- build the tallest flower possible.
- build the maximum number of flowers of the same (or a certain) height (and yes, kids can understand words and talk like that; it’s a good idea to mix up your phrasing so they have to think a little bit)
- build flowers to the scale of different skyscrapers around the world (see?…you can get really creative).
- figure out what order YOU built the flowers into (this can get really complicated…for example, you build in the color order yellow-purple-pink, but build one flower with a yellow petal, the next with purple-pink, the one after that with yellow-purple-pink, the next-to-last with yellow-purple and the last with just pink…tricky tricky!).
- build a flower of the color you spell out (good for listening skills).
- complete certain building tasks…TIMED (good for helping children who might not be good at taking tests learn how to manage their time…and their panic)
- There’s tons more, but I think you get the idea. 😉
- You can even do these activities using a different language. Cray-cray!
- Obviously, some of these suggestions are for much older kids. And while you may balk at the idea of older kids playing with something like this, some people are tactile learners and learn best when they are touching and doing something instead of just trying to visualize it…manipulating pieces around to complete a math problem may be all the help a struggling child needs.
Sounds good…but will my kid actually PLAY with this?
- Well, it’s only been two weeks, but I’d say yes. Princess played with it the day it arrived for nearly an hour. The next morning, I asked her to go play while I took care of our dishes and she went and pulled this set out again. It’s been out another two times since.
- It will definitely come out again for her off-site birthday party next month…we’ll set it up in the center of the table as a “bouquet” and the kids can fiddle with it as they like. I will probably tape the bases down in an effort to avoid a falling flower disaster.
- Bonus: I can wash all the pieces easily. I imagine you can put the pieces into a laundry bag on the top rack of your dishwasher, but we don’t use the dishwasher. I just rinse everything in 50/50 water/vinegar and, if I’m really being a germophobe, follow that up with a peroxide rinse. Spin it all in the salad spinner and set out to dry. Easy, quick and non-toxic.
We love our Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet – it’s absolutely darling and I love that Princess has a building toy that suits her interests so well. I’d love to see a gardening or tree set next (imagine all the fun you could have building the different levels of branches!). Maybe Green Toys will get really out there and build a cloud set (sorry…the kid in me getting carried away)! There are sooooo many building toys that are “for boys” (model cars, K-nex, Mindscope NeoTrax, and other race-track type setups); it’s about time that there’s something “for girls.” NOT saying that girls and boys can’t play with the same thing (because we have loads of Legos, NeoTrax and train tracks that Princess ALSO enjoys), but I know some parents out there are squeamish about gender-specific toys. To me, toys are toys. Kids of all ages and genders will play with whatever makes them happy. I think the colors are great – not too girly, but girly enough (because honestly, any time there’s a pink anything, it’ll get called girly; and I’d rather NOT have a red flower…it would be a total eyesore with the purple and yellow).
Well, that should about cover it. You were actually probably wondering if this would ever end, lol. But just in case…if you have any questions about this toy, feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll do my best answer them. 😉 And if you want your OWN Build-a-Bouquet, you can find them at the official Green Toys website or on Amazon. Better yet, support your locally owned toy store and ask them for Green Toys!
Have you noticed that Easter is incredibly early this year? And that it falls just two weeks after St. Patrick’s Day? How convenient that two holidays, both religious in their foundation (though most Irish people I know consider St. Patrick’s to be more of a “partying” holiday, lol), should be so near each other. So when I saw the theme of this month’s Collectively Creative: The Lucky Edition, I knew I had to find a way to include both holidays. One, because I’m married to an Irish man, so we don’t skip St. Patrick’s Day, and two, because Easter is the most important holiday in our church.
The question was HOW? It had to be something my toddler could do with me, so food or a craft. But it had to tie both holidays together…and make sense doing so…maybe a countdown calendar of some sort? Involving treats? Of course!!! A “Lucky Bouquet” with treats for every day between St. Patrick’s and Easter! Apologies in advance for the red and white striped straws (we used what was on hand) and the Cinderella cup…Princess is just a LITTLE obsessed with princesses (betcha can’t guess her favorite!), so my boring shamrock vase was just not acceptable. (To view the full image, just click on the circle.)
Considering how much fun we had putting it together and how she’s been excitedly talking about how she can start opening surprises on “Daddy’s Day” (DH’s name is Patrick, so Princess has this cute idea that St. Patrick’s Day is her Daddy’s Day, lol), I’d say it’s a hit over here. Want to know how to make your own? Lucky you…here’s how we did it!
For this toddler-friendly craft, you’ll need:
- 15 treats; I had a mixture of fancy stickers and 3-d adhesive shapes (used for scrapbooking) from the clearance aisle at Michaels and Tootsie Rolls. I didn’t want it all to be candy, since Princess will be getting an Easter basket with treat, too. In fact, I only had 14 treats, since treat 15 is the Easter basket.
- Paper to wrap your treats in; you’ll also be writing your “I’m lucky for…” on this paper. I was really thrifty and used the brown packing paper I saved from our Amazon.com packages. You could really pretty this project up a lot (like I had originally intended) by using green paper or pastel Easter shades, cutting your paper into shamrocks or other fun shapes, but in the end, I figured, “this ain’t supposed to be no work of art…it’s just supposed to be fun” so I went the el-cheapo route. 😉
- Scotch tape.
- Stickers! St. Patrick’s Day and Easter themed, of course.
- Markers, glitter glue, or whatever else your heart desires for decorating your paper-wrapped treats.
- Straws. Or nice dowels rods. Whatever your style. We have a box of straws that I wanted to get rid of (we switched to silicone!)…using it for this craft made sense.
- A stapler. Or ribbons, if you want to poke holes in the bottom of your paper-wrapped treats and tie them to the
- A nice display vase. Or a princess cup. Whichever one is toddler-approved.
- Something to anchor your straws into the vase…like rice; over four years old or the type that always cooks up dry no matter how much water you add. Not that I have either of those in my house. 😀
1. To start, from everyone in your family, collect a list of things each person feels lucky for. Since there are only three of us in our family, I collected 5 from each of us. It’s best to do this over the dinner hour…because the next part of the project is done without your little helper.
2. Cut your paper so that you can wrap each treat in it. You want the bottom end open with extra paper, but you want the sides to overlap and tape up in the center back. At a minimum, you should double all your measurements and add an extra half-inch to the width (for overlap) and an extra inch to the height (so you can staple the treat to the straw). SO…for a 2″ wide x 3″ high sticker, I cut my paper to 4.5″ (4″ + .5″, to wrap all the way around my treat with a little overlap) x 7″ (6″ + 1″, to wrap from the top and bottom of my treat). Sometimes I cut a little more generously. I even cut one really short (it didn’t overlap)…just tucked a little slip of paper back there. No one knows it’s there except for me. And now you.
3. You don’t have to be accurate for all your treats! Save you have five packs of stickers…the largest is 2″ x 3″. Just cut five sets of paper to 4.5″ x 7″. Too big is better than not-big-enough-and-now-I-have-to-do-it-over-again.
4. Fold your papers in half height-wise and then fold the sides in so they overlap. If you want, check that your treat fits.
5. Open up the sides and write one of the things your family is lucky for. A cute one from Princess was “I am lucky for having strawberries to eat” (they’re not in season here and she’s clearly craving them something bad, lol).
6. Then, fold the sides in and tape it down.
7. Put the papers away until the next day, when you’re ready to get your craft on with your kiddo.
8. Now comes the fun part…decorating! Set out the stickers and markers and glitter glue (we opted not to use glitter glue for once) and let your kid go to town. Be sure they know that they only need to decorate the front.
9. When they’re done, slip a treat inside. Between the front paper and the middle paper. Not through the back, where you taped the overlaps…because then the treat would go through the top of your wrapper.
10. Stick a straw in the same space and staple it closed.
11. Pour some rice into your cup (or vase)…about 3/4 full…
12. …and stick the straws into the rice-filled cup.
13. Be sure your toddler shows off his/her handiwork to their friends.
14. Place on your dinner table and admire. I actually had to hide it this afternoon because Princess couldn’t keep her hands off of it…she’s really looking forward to her treat.
Princess had an “I’m lucky for” that was so sweet, it made my heart melt. Can you guess which one of these was hers?
Each day, starting with St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll pull a straw, open up the treat and read the “I’m lucky for…” together as a family. We all know who gets the treat. Lol. By the time we get to the last straw, it’ll be Easter morning! They’ll be an Easter basket, an Easter egg hunt, a big potluck and lots of hugs and kisses from mommy and daddy at the end of the rainbow!
You can’t get much luckier than that!
An interesting side note – while my ethnicity is definitely not Irish, you COULD say that I am part-Irish…a recent study found that mothers carry their children’s DNA for decades after their children’s birth! Want to learn more? Check out this 2010 Scientific American article and this 2012 article reposted from LiveScience.
Before you get started on your own “Lucky Bouquet,” push your luck (for more inspiration and ideas!) and check out posts from fellow bloggers participating in this month’s
Collectively Creative: Lucky Edition
DD is a little obsessed with anything princess and ballerina. She already declared that the theme for her birthday party this year would be “Disney Princess Ballerinas.” With princesses and ballerinas, you MUST have flowers. Flowers to throw at the ballerina when she finishes her grand performance. Flowers for princess tea parties. Flowers for when you’re re-enacting princess wedding scenes…
Until recently, she was mostly interested in single flowers. Just perfect for tossing after a dance. I had kinda hoped that she wouldn’t figure out that flowers could be arranged into bouquets for a little while (taping stems together is not exactly my idea of a good time). Unfortunately, little eagle-eyed DD found a Disney craft book that was sitting on a very high shelf in her room last week. She insisted that it be brought down. After a quick perusal, she found this:
Great. Just what mommy and daddy want…our not-yet-3-year-old wearing a veil (also a craft in the book) and carrying a bouquet. Lol. Well, she asked and asked and asked to make it pretty much all week. Kept bringing the book out and showing us, just to make her point clear. Lol. So last Thursday, we made a trip to the Dollar Tree for some floral sprays (all pink, please!) and I promised that we would make the bouquet over the weekend. Saturday, we got to work. Thinking ahead, I decided to cut all the sprays into individual stems – I wanted to put these into a bin later and (ta-da!) use them to throw them at prima ballerinas. Of course, after waiting 5 minutes for me to cut all the flowers apart, DD decided that maybe she didn’t really want a bouquet. You know how toddlers can be…sometimes, they just don’t want something because they can’t visualize how it comes together…and even if you just hold it all together to show them, it’s not quite the same. I didn’t want to tape all the stems together if she wasn’t serious, so I thought fast…
…all of a sudden, I remembered a handle that I had saved from months before. At the time, DH was pretty adamant that I throw it out since it “didn’t work” anymore, but I insisted on keeping it JUST IN CASE we needed it again. And after all, it only cost me $.25 on clearance at Michael’s and DD had so much fun with it. And it was pink. When would I ever find such a great deal again? You get the idea, lol. Anyways, I scrounged it up out of the depths of DD’s toy box, and stuck a few stems in it. And then a few more. IT WORKED. And I wouldn’t have to waste tape and get the stems all stickied up! Of course, that got DD excited about the bouquet again, and she added the rest of the stems herself (kept her busy for about 15 minutes). We tied some lace around the bottom and she’s been in love with it since. Even took it to bed with her the other night. What a princess!
So what WAS this handle? Well, you know those glow sticks? The ones that kids wear during Halloween? At late-night summer parties? At fairs, circuses and concerts? Well, they have necklaces, bracelets, shaped wands and…
SPRAYS. Glow sticks that insert into a base with holes in it. Holes that each conveniently hold 3-4 stems of flowers! 3 stems gets you a fairly firm bouquet that will come apart with intentional shaking. 4 stems gets you a bouquet that has to be treated roughly to come apart. Yay!!! DD had no problems fitting in the 3 stems on her own. I had to help push the fourth stem in. Right now, you can get these at the Dollar Tree (where everything’s $1). Only they’re not in pretty pastel colors…just red and blue. Don’t bother looking at Michael’s…they don’t have ’em. 😉 I love that you don’t have to waste tape on a bouquet, that DD can easily create a new bouquet whenever she wants, and that she has a comfortable handle to hold instead of pokey stems.
(As an aside, I participated in a Facebook contest for Green Toys a couple weeks back and won a Build-a-Bouquet for DD…as soon as it comes in, you can bet that I’ll be checking to see if those stems fit in this handle, too…because that would just be awesome. I’ll keep you posted. Especially since I plan to post a review of the toy.)
And of course, while we were at the Dollar Tree, we went ahead and picked up more floral stems. Because I really like the idea of having a bin of flowers for DD to use when she wants to put something together. Of course, these handles will go in the bin, too. So glad I didn’t throw that handle out. 😀
So how many of you have little girls (or granddaughters) who own those Tolly Tot Princess Toddler dolls? Over here, my little girl has FOUR of them. All acquired in the past three months. I hear there’s another one on the way. Plus, we’ll be adding one of their baby dolls to our princess collection, too. Lol. ANYWAYS, One of my friends also picked up a toddler doll for her daughter for Christmas. The “Ariel” doll, to be exact.
As I was making clothes for the dolls, it struck me as a little odd that Ariel didn’t have a mermaid tail. So I put together a little tail for my friend and sent it off as part of her daughter’s Christmas present from me. This weekend, I made another tail, took pics, and am posting it here as a free tutorial for you! Just so you know, if you use a solid colored sock for the body of the tail, it’ll look a lot better. I just happen to have a lot of very loud socks that I want to use up and this purple striped one was the least offensive of them all. I imagine the other socks will make some very interesting mermaid tails, though. Lol.
So here’s to making your mermaid dreams come true. (As a side note, this same idea can be blown up to a child’s size [of course, you won’t be able to use a sock, so you’ll have to get creative with a jersey knit] so you can make a mermaid tail for a special little girl, too. Not that I’ve done that. *wink wink*)
What you need:
- Part of a sock; I like to buy knee-high socks for cheap (they are currently on sale at Target!) and cut the part above the foot for children’s leggings…the foot portion gets used in my crafts.
- About 1/4 yd of flashy non-fraying fabric; I used some sequined dance costume fabric. Some other options include swimsuit fabrics, basic ‘rumba’ fabrics, plain simple knits, or tulle (the edges must be finished on tulle or you’ll end up with a mess).
- About 1/4 yd of jersey knit; I used a very small portion of a sleeve off of a turtleneck I bought on clearance at Walmart for the purpose of reclaiming the fabric. Check the plus-sized section for some great deals!…I got some 5x long-sleeved shirts with a great gold and floral pattern for $3. They’re going to make awesome skirts. Or maternity shirts.
- About 8″ of grosgrain ribbon, preferably in a color that matches or compliments the outfit…all I had on hand was white. Lol.
- Very small portion of iron-on Velcro (1/4″, to be exact).
So here’s how to do it. Oh! By the way, I use the smallest seam allowance I can get – about 1/4″…the edge of my sewing foot with my needle placed as far to the right as possible. If you are not comfortable with this allowance, then use 3/8″. This project is so forgiving, it really doesn’t make much difference.
1. First off, we’ll make the body of the tail. This is also a GREAT way to make summer dresses for the dolls. I’ll post some ideas later on.
2. Cut the sock to a length of AT LEAST 4.5″. This number is the same whether or not you have to make a waistband. With this purple-striped sock, I followed the stripes and managed to cut to a length of almost 5″. It’s ok if the sock isn’t exactly an even tube (for example: maybe it tapers slightly because of the toe) because this is going to get sewn up later anyways.
3. On one end of the sock, cut a diagonal about 1″ up from the lower edge of the sock towards the center of the sock on both sides. If you have a sock that might have a design seam, be sure to fold the sock so that when you cut towards the center, it meets that seam. Just to make it look nice. This should give you a nice “triangular” point.
4. Now on to the jersey! Fold it in half and then cut it (on the fold) to 3.5″ x 2″ for the waistband and 3.5″ x 3″ for the bikini top. When you open up the pieces, they should measure 7″ long. You can skip cutting a waistband if you’re using the cuff of a sock for your waistband. But really, use the top half of that sock for leg warmers or arm warmers. Why waste a perfectly good sock??? 😉
5. Sew up the side of the smaller piece. Set the other, wider piece to the side for now; you’ll need that in Step 14.
6. Flatten out the seam and then fold the piece in half width-wise so that the two remaining raw edges are together and the seam is tucked inside. This is your waistband! Now, we just have to attach it.
7. Stick the flat edge of the sock into the waistband, raw edges touching, and stitch together.
8. Next is the tail! Take your sparkly fabric, fold it in half and cut it to 11″ x 5.5″. Rearrange the fold so that the raw edges are inside. Then fold THAT in half, basically enclosing your raw edges.
9. Now this part looks strange. You have to make sure that you’re cutting towards where the raw edges are…in my case, they are on the left side. Cut two diagonals: one starting 2″ down on the raw edge (left side) to the outer edge of the folded side (right side), the other starting 2.5″ up on the raw edge to the folded side. You might want to mark the 2.5″ side some how…maybe with a clip or tape. Or pins. Whatever floats your boat (heh heh heh!!!). (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am showing the pieces on my cutting mat so you have the inch references.)
10. You should have something resembling a bow-tie when you’re done cutting. Sew the smallest edges together to make the piece continuous.
11. Gather the 2.5″ side. The whole thing. All the way around.
12. Then pin (or clamp…I’m not into pins) the gathered end of the tail to the triangular end of your sock (the body of the tail) and sew together. Be sure the right sides are together. Mind the points…they’re a bit tricky to finagle. Once that’s sewn on, your tail is done! Unless you want to exaggerate the angle on the tail more, in which case, you can start snipping away at the bottom edge until it looks the way you want. There’s a lot of wiggle room. 😉
13. Now on to the top! There are lots of ways to jazz this up a little bit – make it a halter top, ruche the center, etc. But this is a toddler doll. I don’t think toddlers should really be in those kinds of clothes. Lol.
14. Cut your grosgrain ribbon in half…angle it slightly (so that if it DID fray, it would fray slowly) and heat seal one end of each. Take the piece of jersey you cut for the top and place the ribbons 1″ apart at the center of the jersey. Clamp or pin into place.
15. Fold your piece in half length-wise, tucking in the ends of the ribbon and sew together.
16. Turn your piece inside out (it’s a tube!) and then sew the ends together using a larger seam allowance…up to 1/2″ here. This seam will be the back of the top.
17. Next, you should trim the ribbon down to 3.5″ from the edge of the top…this time, trim it straight across and then heat seal.
18. Almost done – now you add the Velcro! Take that 1/4″ piece of Velcro and cut it in half. Place the rough pieces of the Velcro about 1/4″ from the seam (the pieces will be 1/2″ from each other) and iron on (follow the directions…too little heat and it won’t stick…too much and you’ll ruin the adhesive). Place the soft pieces on the inner side of the grosgrain straps (double and triple check it!) and iron on. Let cool before you test them or you risk weakening the bond.
19. If you want, trim the seam allowance on the inside of the top…I trimmed mine to 1/8″, but it’s not necessary.
20. Put your new outfit on the doll and admire! And did you know – you have two outfits in one??? Not only is the tail, well…a mermaid tail, but it also doubles as a short, sleeveless summer dress (DD found the doll wearing the tail as I was working on the top, and SHE pulled it up to become a dress; Mulan, dressed in her new mermaid-tail-summer-dress then joined us on a very windy, frosty walk around the park [because we go outside everyday, whatever the weather, for a gulp of fresh air]).
Hope you enjoy the tute! If you make the tail, I’d love to see pics! And as always, please refer other crafters and link back to this post!