Thursday, February 3, 2011

Easy Playhouse with Felt Detail

It seems as though some of my favorite project start on a whim. As did this one. I had the sewing machine out to hem some pants and decided it was time to make something fun. After being snowed in for a few days, I needed an easy project and my girls needed something to do!

I really like this playhouse because it fits on top of our folding card table and it can all easily be folded up and put away. It can also be easily moved to different rooms in the house. Right now it is parked in front of the television with pillows stacked inside and a little head peaking out watching Seaseme Street.

The inspiration for this little play house came from here, although I didn't really use any of the instructions, just had it in the back of my mind while I worked. Mostly I just used what fabric and supplies I had on hand and it came together.

If you want to try making this too, here is what I did. A disclaimer before hand, I am not a writer by any means. I hope the instructions make sense, I haven't wrote many tutorials. I blog because I like to share what I've done and possibly inspire someone else!

Supplies Needed:
A Table (I used a folding card table)
Tape Measure
Roughly 5 yards of fabric for top and sides
1 yard of accent fabric (I used 2 different fabrics)
4 yrds. 1 inch Ribbon (I used 2 different colors)
Felt Scraps - 1 square of brown, 1 Green, and some various colors for flowers
~ 1 yrd 1/4 inch Green Ribbon (for flower stems)
~ 1 1/2 yrd Lace Trim
8" x 12" piece of white fabric (for the window)

I started by measuring our folding card table. Our table is 33 1/2 inches square and 27 1/2 inches tall. I added about an inch for seems. I ironed the fabric first. Then, I cut a 34 1/2 inch by 34 1/2 inch piece for the top.

For the side pieces, I cut 3 pieces of 34 1/2" x 20" out of my main fabric and then 3 pieces of 34 1/2" x 8" accent fabric. I might have just used 3 pieces for 34 1/2" x 28" pieces, but I didn't have enough fabric. I used 2 different fabrics for my accent pieces.

To create a curtain type entrance for the front of the playhouse, I cut 2 pieces of 17 1/4" x 18" out of my main fabric. And then 2 pieces of 17 1/4" x 8" out of one of the accent fabric. And then 2 pieces of 17 1/4" x 2" of the other accent fabric.
Next, I took the each of the side pieces and sewed on the accent fabric. Do this by taking one of the 34 1/2" x 20" pieces and laying one of the 34 1/2" x 8" accent pieces on top, matching the ends with right sides facing each other. Pin and sew together using a 1/4" seem. Repeat this with all 3 sides.

For the front entrance pieces, I did the same, sewing the accent piece on to the main fabric and then sewing the extra 2" accent piece on to the end of that.

Instead of hemming the bottom of each piece I used ribbon to enclose the raw edge. To do this, you overlap half the ribbon accross the bottom edge and top stitch. Like so.
Then, you turn the fabric over the the backside, fold the ribbon over and top stitch again, like so.

The top stitching should match up on the front, if you're careful. I am not so careful, so the front side of my ribbon looked like this:
I did this with all sides and then the 2 front entrance pieces as well. You could just hem the bottom of each piece, but I liked the look of this more.

The front entrance of my playhouse has two pieces that open like a curtain. For the inside edge of theses pieces (that wont be sewn to the other sides), I top stitched on some lace trim. I simply did this by overlapping the trip on the edge of the fabric by about 1/4" and top stitching.

For the decorative pieces of the playhouse I appliqued on each piece individually. I started with the window. Take your 12" x 8" white fabric and pin it to one side piece, wherever you would like.

I used my sewing machine to applique it on (in other words, top stitch it on). Then, I pinned 4 pieces of 1" ribbon around the window edge (2-8" pieces and 2- 12" pieces). I cut the corners at an angle so they would fit together. And then used 2 pieces of 1/4" ribbon to create and inside cross (1- 8" piece and 1-12" piece). So it looks something like this:I appliqued all this pieces on. Using a zigzag stitch to join the angled corners.

On one side of the playhouse, I added 2 trees made from felt scraps. I drew the pieces on felt free hand and cut them out. I then positioned and pinned them where I wanted.
Then I appliqued them on, using a continuous stitch around the tree trunks and the green tops. I never did change my thread during any of this, I used purple thread the whole time. So the trees have purple stitching, as does everything else. Simple and I kind of like the look of it all.
For the flowers and butterfly, I drew the flowerpots, flowers, and butterfly pieces freehand on the felt and cut them out. I used 1/4" green ribbon for the stems. And again, I pinned everything where I wanted it and top stitched.Once all the applique detail is finished, its time to assemble it all. This playhouse fits the table like a slip cover.

You start by laying the top piece (34 1/2" x 34 1/2 ") right side up on your workspace and take one side piece and lay it on top, right sides facing, matching the top edge of the side piece with one side edge of the top piece. (I wish I would have taken more pictures, because this sounds much more confusing than it really is!). Pin and sew together using 1/4" seem. Repeat with the remaining 2 sides.

For the front entrance pieces, you do the same, only laying the 2 pieces side by side with lace trimmed edges facing eachother. I hope I haven't lost you yet! Like I said, I'm not a writer!

Once all the side and front pieces are sewn on the the top piece, you join the sides together, creating a box-type shape. You do this by taking 2 sides and pinning the edges together, with right sides facing. Stitch the seem (1/4" seem). Do this for all 4 sides and you're finished!!

All that's left is to slide the playhouse over your table and enjoy!!

I hope my directions weren't too confusing, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Skin Soothing Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

Image from

Yes, dog shampoo. I know, I know, it's kind of lame and rather specific, but if you have a dog (or 2) and you've had to pay more for dog shampoo than you do for your own shampoo, this post will be helpful!

We've recently inherited an old Labradoodle and I'm not sure if this is breed specific, but she has really dry itchy skin and needs some kind of special shampoo to help. I looked around and was not happy with what I found in the stores. So I Googled Homemade Oatmeal Dog Shampoo and found tons of recipes. I used the most commonly listed ingredients that I had on hand and viola, super cheep, toxin-free puppy shampoo!

It seems to be working well, so far. Our doggie isn't scratching nearly as much and smells pretty good too! Here is the recipe if you're interested and want to save some cash!

Oatmeal Dog Shampoo

-1 Cup Oatmeal (I don't think it really matters if you use instant or rolled oats, I found recipes with both. I used rolled though)

- 1 Cup Baking Soda

1 Quart Warm Water

-A couple drops of essential oil

Grind oatmeal into a powder using a food processor, blender, or coffee grinder.
Mix ground oatmeal and baking soda. Add warm water and essential oil and mix until well blended. Pour on to dog's coat and let sit for about 5 minutes and rinse thoroughly.

Good luck! The only word of advice from me is to try and get the oatmeal ground as fine as possibly, because if it is slightly chunky and your dog shakes while it is soaking, you'll have a bit of a mess on your hands (and wall and pretty much everywhere!).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Orea Birthday Cake

I love cake really, I do. But I personally prefer a health-ified version of cake. But my Adam on the other hand likes his cake rich and chocolaty, topped with cookies and a heap of ice cream on the side. And when its your birthday around, you get what cha want. So, here is my latest smoosh up of recipes, that if I do say so myself was friggin' delicious! The frosting was basically a creation of things I had on hand that sounded like they'd mix together well (and they did!).

Oreo Cake
(recipe and picture from My Recipe Finds Online)

1 boxed devil’s food cake mix (with or without pudding)
1 small box instant chocolate pudding (5.9oz)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


8 oz. package Light Cream Cheese
8 oz. container Lite Whip Topping
2 - 2 1/2 cups Powder Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
10- 15 crushed Oreos

For Cake:
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Spray 2 9" round cake pans (or line with parchment).
In a large bowl hand mix together the cake, pudding mix, salt, vanilla, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and divide batter into the prepared pans.
Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. (mine took more like 40 minutes). Remove from oven and let cool at least 30 minutes in pan and then cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Mix softened cream cheese and sugar together until well blended. Add Vanilla. Mix in thawed whip topping and then fold in crushed Oreos.

Ice the top of on cake and place the other on top. Frost all the way around and top with halved Oreos.

This cake was a hit! Small slices were the key for me. I don't want to even know how many calories the sucker has. But, all in all, sooo tasty!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The calm after the storm

Ahh,the past month has been hectic to say the least. For such a simple event, the wedding took up so much of my time and energy. And then it seemed that as soon as the wedding was over, we started in on Christmas. And now that we are almost done with the Holiday season, I feel like I'm ready to write a few blog posts.

There have been some really great projects happening around here! My favorite was the doll bed we (yes we. My hubby and I both worked on this one)made for Maya. I also made a bundle of these kimono dresses for my Wren and my younger nieces. And of course there are all of the wedding details to share. The dress turned out beautifully, the cake was lovely, and the food was so yummy. I feel like we have so much catching up to do! I shall start tomorrow with one project at a time and hopefully we'll be caught up in no time!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

DIY Ring Pillow

With only 3 weeks left until the wedding, I am suddenly getting my butt in gear. Procrastination is no longer an option. I've delegated some tasks and started in on my last few hand made projects. Last night I finished up our ring pillow.

I wanted the pillow to have a handmade heirloom look to it. Something we would hold on to forever as a memento. I feel that way about a lot of the things I make around here. I value things from my family's history so much. I especially love things that were made by someone and passed down through generations. It's like you have a little piece of that person to hold on to forever.

As far as the construction of this little pretty went, it was fairly simple. The most time consuming part was the embroidered "H" in the center. I hand embroidered it over a few nights while watching television. It sat around for a few weeks after that while I decided exactly how I wanted to use it. The white and tan fabrics are both pieces that are cut from old linen clothing. In fact most of this pillow is made from re-purposed pieces.I ironed the edges of the white fabric down and pinned it to the tan fabric (which measured 12" x 24 " but is folded over in the picture). I used a simple stitch on my sewing machine to applique (which really just means sew one piece of fabric on to another) the white on to the tan. Then I folded the the fabric over so that the right sides were facing each other and sewed around the outside edges to create a pillow, which I then stuffed and hand stitched closed.

The finishing touches were the applique heart, cut from scraps and hand stitched on the finished pillow. And the ribbon (which was salvaged from a piece of clothing), which was also hand stitched on. The rings on the pillow are stand ins for the real things. All in all, this pillow really didn't cost me a dime, I had all the supplies on hand. Now it will wait a few more weeks before it is carried down the aisle by possibly the cutest ring bearer in history.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pesto Pizza

image from

This is my new favorite homemade pizza combination. We made it for our pizza and a movie night this week and it was so yummy. It is such a simple meal and with it's thin crispy crust and small amounts of cheese, it is far healthier than your normal pie.

I use a simple thin pizza crust recipe (found below). A thin layer of pesto sauce stands in for pizza sauce. I use jarred store bought pesto, for the sake of simplicity (I've yet to make my own pesto). Then a light sprinkle of mozzarella followed by thin slices of tomatoes. Finish it off with a bit of parmesan cheese. Bake according to crust directions (or until the cheese is melted and bubbly).

This pizza taste best right from the oven, but the cold left overs aren't bad (I'm eating some as I type this). Really, I don't know how we ever ate so many frozen pizzas in the past when there are homemade recipes that are so quick and simple.

Thin Pizza Crust
(I'm not sure where exactly this recipe came from, but I didn't come up with it myself)

1 package Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 1/4- 1/2 Cups Flour

Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast into warm water and stir. Stir in sugar, salt, and oil. Begin adding flour by 1/2 cup fulls. Begin kneading by hand when necessary. When flour is all added, knead dough on a lightly floured surface for approx. 5 minutes. Roll on to a 16" pizza pan and add toppings. Bake for 15-2o minutes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

20 Minute Cardigan Refashion

Take one ordinary cardigan.

Add a beaded cut from an ill fitting t-shirt. Pin, sew, and...

Bada bing, Bada boom! An embellished cardigan that cost me nothing. Not a Penny! And in less than 20 minutes! Uh huh, that's right.