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A Closer Look at My New Invitations

whale invitation

I’m so excited to finally be able to share what I’ve been working on the last couple months.  I’ve gone back and forth about what all I want to offer in my shop for a long time now.  Shipping is much more costly and difficult than it was when in the US so I’ve wanted to sell things that were digital.  I had thought about selling my old art digitally but have been unsure about just putting my art out there like that.  And then it just suddenly hit me one evening that  I could sell custom invitations.  They would fit in with the vibe of my shop with being both personalised and mostly centered around babies/children  (even though any of it can be for other purposes).  Plus with each invitation being so custom it wouldn’t be as easy to just resell them.

I love painting with watercolors and so enjoyed some quiet evenings while the kids were asleep painting different animals, vines, banners, backgrounds, etc.  I used the animals for my ornaments as a starting off point since if someone is buying the ornament they may also be helping with a baby shower!  So, they can coordinate!!  And then I made a couple others that might be popular baby shower themes.  I want to continue to add more in the future but started with 6 different options.  And 2 of those options I have made in a blue/pink version.

bear invitation

For the process I played around and painted on watercolor paper until I got things I liked.  Then I scanned the paper and brought it into photoshop elements.  Since I painted different pictures on the same page I isolated them and saved them separately so I could move them around and work with them individually.  It was fun to play with them.

I continued to work with them until I got them just right.  (A fun fact: For the information I put on each invitation, I used first and last names from different friends and family and also places and numbers that mean things to me.)  At first, I had planned on only offering invitations but then I thought it would be fun to offer coordinating items to go with each one.  So, I made a matching thank you note and also a shower activity called “Wishes for Baby”.

Printable Blue Bunny Thank You Card from The Nesting Spot

Custom Printable Wishes for Baby shower game from The Nesting Spot

It’s funny, before I moved here I was involved with hosting SO many showers.  I was/am in that stage of life where everyone in my friend circle is having more and more babies and so I was always helping to host them.  For the last few I did I was usually the one designing the invitations so it’s really pretty natural for me to be doing this now.  I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner.  Part of hosting showers was figuring out games/activities to do and so I thought I had seen most of what is out there.  I noticed  this “Wishes for Baby” activity when doing some research for this and couldn’t believe I hadn’t come across it before.  It’s so sweet.  It’s a little form that each guest fills out with hopes for the baby.  The parents can then keep them and look back at them as the child grows.  There are things like “I hope you learn…”, “I hope you get your Mom’s/Dad’s…”, “I hope you try…”, etc.  So, I made one of these cards to match each invitation.  In the future I may add some other things as well.  Let me know if you have any requests!!

Custom Printable Anchor Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

After creating them digitally I then printed them out to see if they looked good in real life.  There were a couple that I made changes too once I saw them printed.  When I used to sell my prints I used archival quality Epson paper that was so thick and lovely and textured.  It really made the ink colors so deep and gorgeous.  I don’t have that here but figured the watercolor paper I used to paint on would give a similar look.  So, I cut it out of my spiral since it was a standard A4 size and it worked great.  I highly recommend it as a cheaper way to make your invitations LOOK super professional and expensive.  Also, with the designs being watercolored it really makes them look like they are painted on and not printed.

Pink Elephant Printable Baby Shower Invitation from The Nesting Spot

I also bought a corner craft punch so that I could make the corners rounded.  They looked good with normal corners but once I rounded them it really elevated the look.

Watercolor Bee Invitation from The Nesting Spot

Most people on Etsy who sell similar items just show a mock up that is just digital but I wanted to take pictures of mine to show the real thing.  I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to use as a backdrop and was also waiting on some good natural light to take the photos.  On the day that I cut the paper and corners I had them laid out on my couch.  When I was done I looked down at them all and realised that I could use a couch cushion as the backdrop!  Ha.  It is a light gray and has lots of texture which is what I was wanting to contrast with the white paper.  Once I get an idea in my head I’m not usually great at waiting and want to do it right away.  So, I told Ken I was going to walk down to the park at the end of our street and pick some flowers.  I grabbed one of the kid’s Easter baskets and some scissors and cut different wild flowers, purple leaves off of a tree, plus some grasses and twigs.  It was probably after 7 pm and the sun stays up here during the summer hours really late but it was cloudy which was making it get darker than it could be.  So with my sunlight running out I put an old blanket on the ground out behind our house, put a cushion on top of that and then played around with putting the prints on it and surrounding it with groupings of flowers and leaves.  Afterwards I could hardly stand up again since I had been bending over for so long.  My back actually hurt for a couple days after that…apparently I need to do some back exercises.  It was great to have that stage complete though.

behind the scenes

I also needed some other close ups of each piece and realized the blackout curtains in my bedroom would work for that with them also being gray and having a slight texture.  So I put our ironing board next to the window, laid the curtain on it and then took turns taking pictures of each print.  So funny that my sofa and curtains became the backdrop.  But the price was right!

behind the scenes

The next step was figuring out how to format it for people to be able to download it and print it.  It took me a while to figure out how to do that and then do it 48 times for the ones that are instant downloads (which are the thank you notes and activity since they aren’t custom).  I made it so for each of them you can have the option to print yourself with 2 on a page sized for both letter size which is the standard 8.5×11 inches that Americans use or A4 which Europeans use.  I also uploaded a jpeg of the print’s actual size in case people need it that way.

For the invitations, you will tell me what you want it to say and I’ll email you your own custom invitation!  I also think a perfect gift idea is to give the mother-to-be one of my baby’s first Christmas ornaments to match as a sweet way to remember the baby shower.

Personalized Whale Ornament from The Nesting Spot

Well, so that was a bit about the process from first idea to final product.  I hope you’ll keep me in mind the next time you are needing some printable invitations!!!

Introducing My Custom Printable Baby Shower Invitation Collections

Bee Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Today I want to show you what I’ve been working on the last 2 months.  On Monday I will share a post I wrote that goes into detail about why I made them and the process I went through from beginning until now.  So please come back for that!

But first, here are the printable invitations I have created and am selling in my shop.  They feature watercolored animals and designs which give it a custom, high-end look without the custom, high-end price!  To start with I have 6 different themes with 2 of those having a blue/pink color option.  I used my animal ornaments as my initial inspiration so they can coordinate. The thought is that you can use the printables to host your baby shower and also give a coordinating ornament as a personalized gift to remember the day.

Pink Elephant Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

And to make it even easier on you when hosting the shower I made additional items that match.  First, there are thank you notes which could also be given to the mom-to-be so she can send them out after the shower.  Second, there is also a shower activity called “Wishes for Baby” where each guest fills out the form to share their hopes and wishes for the little baby.  I thought it was such a sweet keepsake for the family to look back on in the coming years.

Elephant Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

The great thing about being digital downloads is that YOU have control.  You can print them from your own home printer or go to a local copy shop/printer or even use an online printer.  You can get the look just the way you want it at a price you can afford.  Online printers that offer custom invitations cost around $3 per invitation which would add up very quickly.  With these you can print out as many as you need!!  I printed these on watercolor paper that I got on sale.  It was spiral bound but I just cut it out and used it since it was A4 size (the normal printing size in the UK).  The pictures really don’t do them justice, they look and feel so nice.  The weight of the paper and the texture really makes them look expensive and professional.

 

Pink Watercolor Bunny Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Blue Bunny Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Whale Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

Bear Printable Invitation Set from The Nesting Spot

anchor set

And to celebrate their new release I am putting them all on sale for 25% off until the end of August.  No need for a coupon code, I changed the prices in my shop!  So, please think of me the next time you need to host a shower/party.  Hopefully in the future I can make even more options.  Let me know if you have any requests.

Free Printable Butterfly Valentine’s Day Card

Free Printable Butterfly Valentines Day Card from The Nesting Spot

Today I thought I’d share a free printable with you all!  I created a simple little butterfly valentine with the cute saying, “You make my HEART FLUTTER”.  Get it?!  It’s not in your face obvious but the wings are made up of 2 hearts stuck together.

You can use any lollipop as the butterfly’s head and body.  I love blow pops so we went with those but Tootsie Pops don’t have the twisted wrapper hanging off the top so that is another good one to use.

After you cut out the shape of the wings, fold the butterfly in half so the wings are together.  That makes it very easy to cut the slits for the lollipop stick and also gives the wings some dimension.

Free Printable Valentine from The Nesting Spot

I designed them as simply as I could, and here’s why:

I tried to make it all as customizable as possible by not adding my own colors with ink so that you can do whatever you want. By printing it on different colored pieces of card stock you can stick to traditional Valentine’s colors or do the whole rainbow.

I also kept the font simple so that even new readers can read them, as opposed to using a pretty cursive.  I was trying to keep my 1st grader in mind and thought it’d be silly for someone his age to have to have help reading the valentine.

I also left a lot of blank space so that your child can go to town decorating it.  We just used crayons on these but of course markers, paint, and stickers would all be great.  We also used a little heart punch that Audrey got for Christmas since she had asked for lots of art supplies.  So any decorative punches would be fun.  We glued googly eyes onto the lollipop.  First, we used Elmer’s glue which was nice so that Audrey had full ownership of the project but some were falling off (she might not have used enough glue) so then I used hot glue.

Free Printable Valentine from The Nesting Spot

You can click here to download the butterflies.  I put 4 to a page to save on paper.

Printable Butterfly Valentine

Free Printable Valentine from The Nesting Spot

And last, but definitely the cutest, are a couple of the ones that Audrey worked on while I photographed the others.  I kept mine super simple but she went all out and made each one very different.  She also liked choosing different colored eyes for each one.  She really enjoyed getting to do each step herself, from cutting them all out, to coloring, glueing the eyes (with Elmer’s) and then putting the lollipops in the slits.

Free Printable Valentines from The Nesting Spot

I hope you like them!  If you use them I’d love to see how they turn out.  Please send me a link to where you post your versions on the web.

Tutorial: Easy DIY Zebra, Horse, or Unicorn Costume

 

DIY zebra costume tutorial

Every year for Halloween I try my best to make the biggest impact I can with the costumes for the least amount of work and money – it’s a necessity with 3 kids.  Some years I’ve found great deals on Ebay or at Goodwill and gotten a store bought costume (my littlest will wear his big brother’s skunk costume this year which was an awesome Ebay find).  Other years I’ve made key elements paired with some items we already had to make a really fun costume.  You can see the costumes I’ve made in the past here.

DIY Zebra Costume

This year my 4 year old daughter asked me to turn her into a zebra.  I had planned on finding a white hoodie and sweat pants to paint but wasn’t finding anything.  I ran into Walmart to see if they would happen to have some and instead found the perfect thing…someone else already did the work for me and made a fleece zebra sweat suit!  I am not a big fan of most animal prints and zebra print particularly can be hard on my eyes unless done in small doses but for actually dressing up to BE a zebra, it’s perfect!  Of course my daughter was content to just wear that to pretend to be a zebra but I knew we could do a bit more work and make it really cute.  And she was using a snake plush stuffed into the back of her pants as the tail…and that wasn’t gonna work long term.

DIY zebra costume from The Nesting Spot

A great thing about this costume is that by changing the color and making the mane longer it could easily become a horse costume.  And then if you make a horn and add that on top it can be a unicorn!

 

To make a zebra costume you’ll need:

Zebra hoodie and pants  I found mine at Walmart for about $13. If you can’t find ones already made you could find a white outfit and either paint black stripes or use black duct tape to put stripes on.

Comfortable black shoes

1/4 yard zebra pattern fleece

1/4 yard black fleece

Small amount of white fleece

Black thread

Hot glue gun

Safety pins

Cardboard…can be from cereal box or anything from your recycling can

1 sheet white card stock

Templates for head, ears, eyes, and muzzle

Zebra Template 1

Zebra Template 2

 

Cut everything out.

From the zebra fleece:

-2 ears facing opposite directions

-1 tail rectangle – 8″ x 3 1/2″

-2 faces, with one cut about an inch bigger all the way around so it can fold over to the back of the cardboard.  (It doesn’t have to be perfect, just eye ball it.  The edges will be hidden.)

From the black fleece:

-1 tail tip -5″ x 5″ piece

-1 mane -10″ x 20″ piece

-2 muzzles

-2 eyes facing opposite directions

From the white fleece:

-2 ears facing opposite directions

From cardboard:

-1 face

From card stock:

-2 ears cut a bit smaller than the fleece ones

 

Make the Ears

zebra ears inside out

Place one white piece and one zebra piece right sides together.  Stitch around, leaving the straight edge at the bottom open.  Repeat one more time for the other ear.  Clip the curves and the top of the ears seen in picture above.  Turn the ears right side out.

zebra ears

Cut out two ear pieces in card stock making them about a quarter inch smaller all the way around.  I had to cut a little extra off the bottom making it about 4 inches tall.  Place each piece inside the ear.  It will make the ear bend a bit and help it to stand up straight when worn.  After the card stock is in I put a big dot of hot glue at the bottom middle to press hold the sides together and give it that zebra ear shape.  I waited to do this until I was glueing the face together.

Make the Mane

Zebras’ manes are actually striped but I thought the black would be a nice contrast so it wouldn’t just blend in with all the other stripes.

zebra mane

Fold the large black rectangle in half (hot dog style as seen above) then fold it in half again.  Sew a line along the edge of the folded side.

zebra mane

On the side that was not sewn there will be a folded edge and two raw edges.  Cut the fold open so that there are four raw edges.  Then cut slits all the way down to make the hair.

Make the Tail

zebra tail pieces

Roll the small black fleece square onto itself.  Lay the zebra tail fleece rectangle right side up and put the rolled black square on top of it in the middle with the edges lined up.

zebra tail step 1

Fold the zebra fleece over the black fleece with right sides together.  It will make a little burrito.  Sew carefully along the long open edge and the side where the black fleece goes to the edge.  Make sure to not sew the black fleece in the long side, only the bottom edge where the two ends are.  Leave the other end open.

zebra tail step 2

Turn it right side out.  Cut slits in the black fleece to make the hair and shape it to come to a point if you like.

zebra tail step 3

Make the Face

zebra face materials

zebra face cardboard

I used cardboard from toy packaging but a cereal box would work great too.  Just something to help the face not flop down over the child’s eyes.  Bend the cardboard to make it rounded.

zebra face

Glue with hot glue the bigger zebra fleece onto the front of the face.  Glue the black muzzle and black eyes.

Note:  Please be careful with the hot glue!  I have been using hot glue forever but burned three of my fingers doing this and one of my thumbs has a big blister!

zebra face step 2

zebra face step 2

Cut slits around the fabric that is hanging past the cardboard.  You can see this in the pictures above.  This will make it easier to turn it over and glue it down on the back without lumps.  Use the hot glue to glue all those slits down on the back. Do the same thing with the muzzle.

finished back of zebra face

Glue the smaller zebra fleece on the back to cover up all the overhang on the back.  Glue the muzzle down on the back and trim the extra off.  This way if any of the bottom is showing it will still look nice.  (The picture above is of the back.)  This was also helpful because I was able to attach the head to the hoodie using safety pins to attach the fleece on the back.

Assembly Time!

Now that you have all the pieces you can choose how to assemble it.  I had thought about sewing the ears and mane on but decided to try just safety pinning them and it ended up working great.  Hot gluing is an option as well.  It depends on if you want to be able to use the clothes again for another purpose.

First, I put the hoodie on my daughter to see where the face should be on the hood.  Once I got that I used two large safety pins going through the hoodie and the back fleece of the face to hold it on.

Then I could play around with the ear placement.  I just played with it until I found a spot that looked natural.  At this point I also just had the hoodie sitting on my knee so that my daughter didn’t have to keep standing there and I could work it easier with all that maneuvering/pinning.  I used 3 safety pins per ear to make them stand up the way I wanted them to.  This took some trial and error but only took a few minutes.

I started the mane a little bit on the forehead of the zebra face and then followed the seam on the back of the hoodie.  I made my mane long enough to go onto the back a bit but if you’d like yours to end at the neck you could just make it shorter.  I put a safety pin through the hoodie and edge of the mane every few inches.  To keep the “bangs” of the mane attached to the face I ended up hand sewing them onto the face fleece since I figured a safety pin would show.

Lastly, pin the tail to the back of the pants.  I pinned mine just below the waistband.

simple zebra costume DIY zebra halloween costume

And that is it!  It looks like a lot when all written out step by step but it is actually pretty simple.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  And remember that fleece is very forgiving and hides lots of flaws.  I didn’t pin anything when cutting or sewing it and didn’t cut perfectly straight lines and you’d never know.

And just because she’s too cute I’ll add a couple more pictures.

DIY zebra costume DIY zebra costume

zebra out take
Ha, the donkey wanted to get a little taste of the zebra ear I think! Thought this was pretty funny.  Congrats for making it this far in the post.

And this tutorial is part of a Halloween Craft Tutorial Link Up with 12 other Halloween crafty ideas!  Thank you Alicia from Felt with Love Designs for organizing the link-up!

Halloween Crafty Tutorial Link-Up

Bugs and Fishes // Family Living on a Budget // Felt With Love Designs

Good Critters // GYCT Designs // House Full of Boys

Hugs Are Fun // Knot Sew Normal // Mommy in Sports

My Pinterventures // The Nesting Spot // Woods of Bell Trees // Year of Sarah

Baby Gift Idea: Crib Art

Awhile back, my mom made another gift for our littlest, William.  It is a bumper of sorts to put in his crib.  But it wasn’t made for the reasons bumpers are usually made, it’s like a piece of soft art for him to look at while he’s stuck in his crib.  She thought it would be a fun way to introduce some animals to him.

I thought I’d show it to you since the idea of it wouldn’t be hard to recreate.

animal bumper artFor the purposes of taking pictures I hung the bumper on the outside of the crib but normally it would hang on the inside.  Although, it could actually be used on the outside as well for the child to look at while they crawl around the room and learn to pull up on things.  This would be especially good if there was already a bumper being used in the crib.

My mom used different background fabrics for each animal but if you wanted to keep it simple you could use just one long piece of fabric cut the width of the crib.  Sandwich some batting in the middle of two pieces of fabric and you’d have your background.

As you can see the animals are basic silhouette shapes and then just sewn on with pretty stitches from a sewing machine.  You could do this by googling animal silhouette images.  Then just print out the shape and use it for a pattern.  Another idea would be to use fabric that has images on it that you like.  You could cut out those images and then sew them on.

Some of the animals also have a few details that are embroidered on.  See the pictures below of the butterfly and the cat.

To attach it to the crib there is ribbon sewn into the seam of each end to tie around the rungs.  I would recommend putting  in at least one more in the middle as well if not a couple to keep it from drooping.

You can really do as little or as much as you want with a project like this.  Even a beginner could have fun playing with the machine to see what they can do. Part of the charm of a handmade item is seeing the little imperfections and signs that it was made with love.

animal bumper art bird squirrel butterfly fish cat

Gift Idea: American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

We have friends who have twin girls who recently turned 9.  I have seen the girls a few times with American Girl dolls and for their birthday they asked to go camping.  So, I thought, why not make the dolls sleeping bags of their own so that the next time the family goes camping the dolls can get in on the fun too?

I did a quick search online to see what else had been done before and to find out the dimensions needed for 18″ dolls.  I came across a few sites but used this one as my main resource.  I followed the dimensions but didn’t follow the directions completely.  Although, maybe I should have since mine ended up being a bit bulky at the bottom corners.

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

Basically, I cut out my two rectangles, sewed around the edge with right sides together.  (I used fleece for the inside and cotton for the outside.)  I turned it right side out and then folded it in half so that the fleece was on the outside.  To sew the open hole closed (that I used to turn the bag right side out) and turn the long rectangle into a sleeping bag all in one motion, I just tucked in the fabric at the hole and then sewed along the edge of the bag from about half way down and then across the bottom.

Then I just turned what now looks like a sleeping bag right side out so the cotton fabric was on the outside and it was finished.  I think the version I linked to is probably less bulky the way they did it but if I read the directions correctly it seemed you would see the raw edges of the seams on the inside of the bag which I didn’t want.

To help visualize what I just wrote here are some very basic drawings.  Hope they make it a little clearer.

sleeping bag tutorial step 1

sleeping bag tutorial step 2sleeping bag tutorial step 3

For the pillows I cut two rectangles of fleece 5″ x 6.5″.  And you just sew around the edges with the fabric right sides together.  Clip the corners, turn right side out, stuff, and then do a ladder stitch to close the opening.

I am pretty terrible about putting off sewing things until the day before they are given (even though I may have planned it and gotten the supplies well in advance) so this was a great project for that since you can’t get much easier than sewing some rectangles together.  The hardest part for me was finding some fabric in my stash that was big enough and I thought might fit their personalities.  The twins are very, very identical in their looks and general preferences but their dolls are not so I decided to give them different looking sleeping bags.

sleeping bag for 18 inch doll

To spruce up the look of the bags with a practical way of keeping all the pieces in place when not in use, I also sewed a piece of elastic in a loop (to figure out the size needed I just put the elastic around the rolled bag and pillow with a little bit of overlap) with a pretty flower on it.  If I had had my thinking cap on I would have sewn the elastic into the bottom seam of the bag like a real sleeping bag (like I showed in the instructions above) so that the elastic would always be attached and not get lost, but I didn’t think about it until I had finished the first one and I didn’t want the bags to be different in that way.

I cut out a flower and leaf from felt and made yellow yarn pom-pom and hand sewed them onto the elastic to hide where the two elastic ends met.

american girl doll sleeping bag diyI thought they turned out very cute and I loved the extra detail of the flower on the elastic.  It really made it look extra special.  I didn’t have a doll to try them on so I hope they fit, but hopefully they were fine.

This is a great sewing project for beginner sewers.  Please feel free to ask for any clarification if my instructions weren’t clear.

Does your household have any American Girl dolls in it, or other 18 inch dolls?  Have you made anything for them?  What are some other ideas that are cute and easy to help accessorize them?  My daughter is a bit young for them but I’m sure there will come a point when she’ll be into them.

 

Update on the Doll High Chair

Well, this is a bit embarrassing but I never gave an update to the doll high chair I bought back in December of 2011!  I’ve actually taken pictures of it twice since then to show you what I did but didn’t like the photos.

So, here is the before.

11 29 11_1727

And here is the after.

doll high chair

I was so torn with all the great color options out there and many of you gave beautiful suggestions on here and Facebook.  But in the end I went with red because I felt it was a classic color that would go with the period of the piece.  I also like that it isn’t too girly.

red high chair

lamb in doll chair

Of course it’s been so long now I can’t remember how much paint it took – either one or two cans.  I spray painted it slowly with lots of thin coats.  I also sanded it the best I could by hand before hand.  But boy was that a pain with all those little knobs. There seemed to be a little lacquer or sealer on part of it in the crevices which was really hard to get off so I just painted over it after having roughed it up and it covered it pretty well.

doll high chair

My daughter is finally at the age where she is enjoying playing with dolls and being mommy.  Last night she couldn’t go to sleep because she had taken a nap.  We could hear her awake until almost 10:30 and in the morning we discovered that she had been dressing all her stuffed animals, including the lamb in these pictures, with her doll clothes.  This is why we don’t let her nap anymore!

By the way, the little kitchen is what Santa brought Audrey last year.  We love it!  It looks so nice and is a great size.  We saw other kitchens that were really cute but when we saw the dimensions they were really short and didn’t seem like they’d would grow with a child.  We did have to put it in baby brother’s room because that was the only place it would fit, but he loves opening up all the doors and pulling out the play food.  I also love that it isn’t gender specific and doesn’t even scream kid so it’s easy on the eyes.

double photo

Free Children’s Valentine’s Day Printables

valentines

1.I Only Have Eyes for You 2.Tiny Animal Valentines 3.You A”Maze” Me 4.Pirate Valentines 5.Yoda Best Valentine

We’ve got a week until Valentine’s Day. With my son in Kindergarten we’ve got our first official party that he’s got to bring cards for. I’m still debating whether to print one of the many pretty options on line or just grab a pack at the store. But while I think it over I thought I’d share a few of the fun printables available on the internet. Here are just five but you can see more on my Pinterest site.

Do you have a personal favorite?  Do you give the traditional candy or do you try to give some healthier or non food all together?  Please share in the comments!  I’ll take all the ideas I can get from more seasoned parents.

DIY Megatron Transformers Costume

http://villains.wikia.com/wiki/File:G1-Megatron_1301774239.jpg

I had told myself I’d get this post written before Thanksgiving.  Well, it technically is Thanksgiving right now, but I still haven’t gone to bed yet so it doesn’t count, right!?

The last costume this year was Megatron from the Original Transformers cartoon.  He is head of the Decepticons (bad guys) and transforms into a gun.  You can see the Peter Pan costume I made here and the Tinkerbell costume here.

My oldest could not commit to a costume idea this year.  He changed his mind every hour.  Finally, he was pretty set on being Megatron.  I was really hesitant to do it because he only wanted to be the “old school” version and all the premade costumes from the store were for the newer cartoons.  And the DIY ones I was seeing were to be made out of boxes which would be too cumbersome.  But, I finally gave in when I saw these two versions here and here that looked more comfortable to wear.  I was so ready to just buy anything from the store though since the hospital time got us so behind but he had his mind set.

DIY Transformers Costume from The Nesting Spot

DIY Transformer costume

It wasn’t hard to make but it did take a lot longer than I expected. I also ran out of duct tape the night before Halloween and then a big flood came and I was trapped at home and couldn’t get to the store to buy more.

Let me pause here to say a huge thank you to Judy who saw me comment on Facebook that I wouldn’t be able to get to the store to get the supplies I needed and within about 10 minutes delivered to my door foam, duct tape, and ribbon!  What a miracle she was!  The costume would not have been finished without her help.  I just couldn’t believe she had the supplies I needed and happened to live on this side of the low river crossings.

DIY Transformers Costume from The Nesting Spot

DIY Transformers Costume from The Nesting Spot

The whole thing is made from foam, cardboard, duct tape, masking tape, hot glue, and elastic.

DIY Megatron Costume from The Nesting Spot

First, I made the chest and back pieces.  I cut two pieces of cardboard after measuring the width of his shoulders and the height of his chest.  I hot glued little pieces of  cardboard on it to give it dimension to give the appearance of buttons.  It also made the cardboard stiffer because the piece wasn’t completely flat so it kept it from bending at the creases.  I carefully laid the tape down so as to minimize lines showing.  I put black electrical tape on the lines going vertically.  The red, blue, and yellow buttons are masking tape that I colored with marker.  I found an image from Google of a Decepticon symbol and put it in Photoshop to color it purple because it was originally black when I got it.  I used clear packing tape to put it on and keep it safe.
transformers chest piece

I ended up using the duct tape for the shoulder straps. It kept it very flexible and light weight. I put two pieces of tape facing each other and then taped that to the back of each cardboard piece.

Megatron chest piece

Back of Megatron chest piece

I used an old tube from a paper towel roll and covered it in duct tape to use for the gun barrel that comes up behind Megatron’s back. I put a bit of foam around the top and covered with tape as well just to add some interest and make it look less like a tube. It did make that side of the costume a bit unbalanced but it didn’t lean too much as to be a problem.  As you can see below I also used smaller pieces of cardboard underneath the tape to create texture and make it look more robotic.  I just used more duct tape to carefully lay over the tube to hold it down on the back.

back of Megatron

Next, I made the arm bands and legs bands. I wanted to give him a bit of a boxy look to make him look more robotic but not compromise his movement. At first my plan was to make the foam go all the way around his arms and legs so it would stay on easily but when I made the first one it ended up being too tight and too difficult to cover with tape. So, I tore off the back piece of foam and then just used duct tape and elastic to help hold it on. So, it wasn’t as neat looking as my original version but it did the job and he liked it.

I measured the length and width of his arms and legs to figure out the size I wanted to make it all.  I then made a paper pattern so I could hold it up to him and test the size before cutting into the foam.  I traced the pieces with a sharpie on the foam and cut them out.  Next, I hot glued the pieces together.  The glue didn’t want to stick at first but if you hold them together carefully while the glue cools it will stick.  The tape also doesn’t like to stick very well to the foam but once it was overlapping with more tape it stuck well enough.  All of this was a bit of a surprise and part of what made the process take longer.

One tip on covering the foam with tape was to cover all the vertical edges and ends first and then use big pieces horizontally across the front and back to cover up all the little pieces of tape to make it look nice and neat.  It was hard to get it to cover corners well but I just cut the pieces of tape smaller and carefully laid them in place.

arm and leg bands

On Megatron’s right arm is a big black barrel that I guess is the gun sight.  So I used another paper towel roll and covered it in black electrical tape.  I then laid about 5 strips of black tape across the barrel and onto the arm band to hold it on.  And then to hide that tape and to secure it better I laid duct tape going down the length of the arm.

megatron arm band

Megatron arm band

I tested out a couple ideas for holding the arm band on and ended up using the duct tape again by laying two pieces on top of each other and then taping them to the inside back.  This helped hold it onto his arm well.  On the arm band with the scope I added a couple pieces of elastic but it probably wasn’t necessary.  I also put a piece of elastic (the white one) at the top of each arm piece for him to put his hand around.  It started to come off on the one arm band during the Fall Festival so I just yanked it off and never put it back on.  I could’ve fixed it but didn’t seen too necessary so I didn’t worry about it.  That’s why only one of them has it in the photos.  I also just noticed in the photos that his hands are pulled in a bit and hidden but normally they are sticking out so you can use your hands.

top view of arm band

For the legs I ended up just making a front piece and a foot piece.  I covered them with duct tape and then used a strip of tape to attach the two.  That allowed it to hinge and just rest on top of his foot.  I thought about leaving the foot part off altogether, and in fact now that they just play with it at home we did take that part off just to make it easier for them to walk.  I ended up adding elastic but then tying to behind his leg so he didn’t have to slip it over his shoes.  My original idea was to use gray ribbon but I didn’t have enough of it and with the flood couldn’t get more so I just went with what I had.  The perfectionist part of me just had to ignore that it was easy to see it.  Note: All of these pictures are showing the lines and layers of tape much more than in real life.  But it is helpful for seeing how I laid the tape down.

Leg bands for Megatron

Lastly, I made the helmet.  It is pretty comical looking because of its size but I was using what I had.  We  bought foam years ago for a mattress pad for a baby bed and there was still some left over.  It was 2 inches thick so it made the whole head piece really large.  You could make it much thinner though by just using skinnier foam.  I will write a post about how I made the helmet soon because I actually did take some process shots of that.  The kids love the helmet though and it still gets worn a lot.  There has never been any questioning by them of the size.  I love that about little kids, they don’t care that it isn’t perfect or exactly like the original.  They are just happy to have something to help them imagine being another person.

Megatron helmet

Back of Megatron's helmet

And finally, as the base of the costume I bought a gray shirt and pants at Target.  Thankfully, they had both that were plain and so I didn’t have to go searching all over the place.  He’s worn both at different times already so I’m happy that that money wasn’t wasted.

Over all I was very happy with how it came out and thrilled that he loves it so much.  He already started saying he wants to be another transformer next year….uh, I don’t know about that.  Even little sister wants to be one too.  So glad we have a year to decide.

DIY Transformers Costume from The Nesting Spot

DIY Tinkerbell Costume

Well, these posts are taking longer than I’d hoped, but now that we made it past Josiah’s 6th birthday party I’ll try to speed things up.

I’ve already written about my littlest Peter Pan costume here.  Now it’s time to talk about Tinkerbell.

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

While Josiah took to the last second to make a decision on a costume, Audrey knew from the beginning that she wanted to be Tinkerbell.  I figured it would be easy enough since she looks like her.  I think she turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself!

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot

I wanted to try and make something that looked like the actual Tinkerbell from the different movies, not just a green tutu dress that is Tinkerbell inspired.  I looked around the web for tutorials or pictures to help.  I did find some handmade costumes for sale that looked like I wanted but didn’t find any tutorials.  Ken and I were at JoAnn’s and I was looking around at all their green fabric to see what could work.  I wanted something comfortable.  I found some green knits but nothing quite light enough.  Then I saw another pretty fabric that was a shimmery and looked like leaves because of the texture of it.  In the newer Tinkerbell movies her dresses are made of leaves so I liked copying that.  The fabric was a bit sheer though so I bought the knit fabric to go under it.  I figured extra layers would help keep her warmer in this minimal dress as well.

diy tinkerbell dress from The Nesting Spot

I used another sun dress that she has as my reference for size.  I made the under layer first.  It is very simple with just front and back pieces.  I cut it long so that I could cut the bottom later.  I really didn’t want to end up with it being too short.  The top layer I made using four pieces.  I really just made it up as I went and kind of winged it.  I was inspired by this.   I did use her measurements though.  I also had to try both layers on her a couple times and take in the sides or make other adjustments to make it just right.  After getting the two layers the way I wanted I put them on her again to measure how much tulle would be needed for the straps.  Tinkerbell’s dress doesn’t have straps but we’re not doing that on a 3 year old.  I did want to give the illusion a bit though so I bought a quarter yard of nude colored tulle for a few cents at Hobby Lobby.

Note: You may notice a crease in the different parts of the dress.  I’m assuming that is where it was folded on the bolt.  I prewashed both green fabrics and am surprised it didn’t come out.  I really wasn’t paying attention to it and didn’t notice it until I was finished.  I don’t know if that kind of fabric can be ironed or not.  If you know tell me in the comments.  But really, it wasn’t too noticeable in real life.

tinkerbell dress sized from sun dress

tinkerbell dress straps

I pinned the two layers together and the tulle in between them as well.  I also tried it on her to make sure I was putting the straps in the right place.  The dress is FAR from perfect if you look at the seams closely but I try not to worry too much about a costume that will only be seen a few hours.  After it was all pinned I sewed two  rows around the top and backstitched over the straps to make sure they were extra strong.

Finally, I put it back on her and just needed to measure how much to cut off the bottom to make the skirt with the cutouts.  I debated sewing the layers together or doing other things but ended up just not worrying and just cutting the two layers to match (although they often lay in different positions when she moves).  I just kind of eye balled it.  I was afraid that the top leafy layer was starting to fray so I did a zig zag stitch close to the edge all the way around just to keep it from fraying too far.  I kind of liked the added detail.  Knit doesn’t fray so I left it alone.

tinkerbell dress

Surprisingly, the hardest thing for me to find was the wings. I looked everywhere….at least twice.  Finally, I ended up accidently seeing at the 11th hour that a local gift shop was selling Halloween accessories and I popped in to find that they indeed had angel wings for only $3.50!  I had been seeing every type of wing imaginable in my quest for good Tinkerbell wings but they were every other color of the rainbow.  I also saw some really awesome fairy looking wings but they were around $18.  Um, no.  Can’t do it. You may be asking yourself why I didn’t just make some.  Well, I could have but I really just wanted to keep this simple and not go through the trouble of trying to form coat hangers and get the panty hose to work etc.  I just figured this would be an easy short cut. Who knew it’d be so hard?  But in the end the angel wings (with halo) worked great.  They definitely looked more to me like fairy wings than angel wings.  I did bend the corners of all four wings though to make them a bit more pointy and fairy-like.

tinkerbell wings

Because there was such a large piece of cloth in the middle of the two halves I wanted to disguise it a bit so it wasn’t so obvious that it was fake wings on her back.  I wanted them to look like they were just coming out of her dress…you know, like a really fairy would.  I also didn’t want to use the arm straps that came with it because that would detract from the look.  I didn’t want to cut the straps off though so that when Audrey plays with them later at home she can just slip the wings back on.

tinkerbell wings

So, I used a scrap of fabric leftover from cutting the top dress layer and just wrapped it around the middle a few times and then safety pinned it down.  Then I just slid the straps under the cloth and they stayed put.

tinkerbell wings

I safety pinned the wings to the back of her dress.  I actually didn’t do this until we got to the Fall Festival because wings and car seats don’t mix.

tinkerbell dress and wings

Tinkerbell wears huge pom-poms on her shoes.  These are super easy to  make.  I grabbed some white yarn that I already had and cut out a piece of cardboard to wrap it around.  Choose the cardboard width to be half the diameter of the finished pom pom.  There are tons of tutorials online on how to make them.  Here is one.

Tinkerbell shoes and pom poms

At first I had trouble figuring out how I would attach the pom poms without hurting the shoes.  But then I had a flash of brilliance and remembered some barrettes I had bought long time ago to use for something else.  Thank goodness for hoarding supplies!  I simply used another long piece of yarn, tightly tied it around the center of the pom so you couldn’t see it and then tied it to the barrette.

pom pom clip diy

Then all we had to do was clip it to the top of the shoe.

tinker bell pom pom

I had been going back and forth about what she should wear for shoes.  Tinkerbell wears green shoes but I don’t see those often and wasn’t sure how to make them.  Finally, I decided that she could just wear some brown mary janes that she has but I was staring at her new gold shoes and thought that even though they aren’t true to the movies, they were fairyish and would also be comfortable for lots of walking.

tinkerbell shoes

And I think they turned out pretty cute!

At the last minute before we left I finally had a chance to look up how to do a sock bun. I had heard of them but hadn’t never seen how one was actually done before. I watched the first youtube video that popped up on Google and it looked very easy. I found an old sock that had no mate, cut it and started wrapping it around Audrey’s hair. First of all, it is always hard for me to pull her hair back because of the way her hair lies. It does not like all going back in one direction. Lots of lumps happen. Second, her hair is still very thin so it really wasn’t enough to fully cover the sock and it kept trying to slide out all night. But I just kept tucking it back in and it looked good enough. For someone with fuller hair this is definitely an easy way to get the Tinkerbell hair look.  Oh, and this photo shoot was done after Halloween so her hair was done quickly just for the photos.  It actually was a bit better on the actual night.

Okay, well, about wraps things up. If you have any questions please ask! I hope to get the last costume written about before Thanksgiving. haha!

DIY Tinkerbell Costume from The Nesting Spot