Saturday, October 27, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
I asked my girls what they thought of the Pony Royale Pony Princesses that we received to review. Here’s what they said:
“When I play with my ponies, I think they are good. I love their crowns. And also, I also love to hug them, with you, Mama.”–Sarah
“I love my ponies so much and I play with them. And, I read books with them. I like to eat with them too.” –Sophie
“I also love to read books with them too! I like my pony when she cooks with me.” –Sarah
“I also like to look at the map with them.” –Sophie “I like to look at the map with Dada.” –Sarah
“I like to watch tv with mine. Write that down.” –Sophie
“Ok I think that’s all.” –Sarah
There you are, a very honest review from my girls. Disclosure: they also said they wanted to eat a bed for lunch.
Now what does Mama think? Okay, I’ll be honest too. I am not a huge fan of girly toys. But the girly in me was enchanted by the Pony Royale concept, where a Pony and a Princess were born at the same time and shared the same birthstone in a magical land. Each month after that, another princess and another pony was born, 12 total. The ponies each have their own birthstone and represent an element (Land, Water, Air, and Fire).
Watch the video…you’ll be enchanted too! And if you want to be able to get stuff done around your house, make sure you watch this alone or with headphones on. Otherwise, your girls will ask you to watch it over and over again. And then again and again and again. Then they’ll ask when the movie version is coming out.
The ponies themselves are super pretty. They come with two sets of manes and tails, a hairbrush, and you can remove the crown, saddle, and even the little bracelet. My girls love interchanging all the items between their two ponies.
The ponies each came with a map of their enchanted world. My girls’ ponies represented Fire and Land, so they got to see where their ponies came from. They love maps so this also provides lots of entertainment for them. My only wish is it came with a little storage pouch or box to hold all the little pieces. My girls happened to have decorated some jewelry boxes at summer school, so they use that now.
My girls have played with these for hours. I love toys that encourage imaginative role-playing, and the design-y side of me loves the many different combinations they can make with the interchangeable items. I think the Pony Royale Ponies a fun addition to my girls’ toy collection, a great way to balance the girly with non-girly. I know that they’ll be playing with their Pony Royale Pony Princesses for a long time.
Visit the Pony Royale website for more information. Look for Princess Ponies in
Toys R Us stores starting late July! Meanwhile, be sure to check out Pony Royale’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
It seems that as my girls get bigger, their toys get smaller and have more parts to them. And they like to play in different rooms in the house, as well as on the floor, on the couch…so I find their little toy parts everywhere. Nothing’s creepier than a Lego head staring back at you when you lift a couch cushion.
I had found two wooden trays on two different trips to two different thrift stores. I was going to redo one for my mom and one for myself, when it dawned on me that I could stick a Lego board on it and also provide some “wells” to catch their Lego pieces. I also realized that they could also use the board for beads as well as their felt pieces (like their Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls) by laying a piece of beading mat on top of the tray (it’s like a really soft felt for keeping beads from rolling around on your work surface).
The tray would keep everything in one place as they move around the house, and encourage them to put one project away before they take out a new one. Maybe Mama needs one for her crafts, too.
Here’s how I made our
Kids’ Activity Trays
For Beading, Legos, and as a Felt Board
- Wooden tray. Again, mine were thrifted.
- Lego building plate that fits your tray. Mine is the LEGO Green Building Plate (10" x 10")
- White Primer
- Craft Paint
- Wooden dowels to fit your tray (you may need to trim them)
- for the well (mine were stamped…see my DIY Foam Rubber Stamps for Kids tutorial)
- for the dowels (use long strips to wrap around the dowels)
- Ruler/Straight edge, rotary cutter and self-healing mat (to cut fabric)
- Mod Podge (I used Matte)
- Foam brushes
- Push Pins
- Not shown: Sand paper, band saw (if needed to trim the dowels), sticky Velcro dots, beading cloth such as this one: Beadalon Beading Mats - Prevent Bead Rolling 12 X 9 Inch (Set of 3) or you could use a piece of felt.
Sand, prime and paint your wood tray. My girls selected purple and pink. I stuck push pins on all four corners underneath to serve as little legs to give me a place to hold the tray while painting it, and so it would dry without sticking to my newspaper (idea from Chica and Joe).
While the tray is drying, trim your wooden dowels if needed, and cut out your fabric to fit the dowels as well as the fabric for the bottom of the well (in my case, that would be the stamped fabric). For the dowel fabric, you can cut it just slightly longer but cut the width the exact circumference of the dowel. Also, stick a push pin on either end of the dowel to give you a place to hold the dowel while you are applying the Mod Podge.
Sand the dowel and coat with a layer of Mod Podge, and another coat on the wrong side of the fabric strip.
Here’s an easy way to apply the fabric to the dowel smoothly…lay the fabric strip down horizontally on your workspace, and hold the dowel by the pushpins with both hands, like rolling pin. Then roll the fabric right on to the dowel, smoothing the fabric as you go. The seams should meet together if you cut it exactly. Apply a coat of Mod Podge on top to seal. Allow to dry. Repeat with all dowels.
One of my girls insisted on using this purple floral, but it wasn’t long enough. So to hide the seam, I wrapped a strip of fabric around it and Mod Podge’d it down.
When the paint is dry on the tray, add the fabric strip that is the bottom of the well. Apply Mod Podge to the tray the width of the fabric, then apply Mod Podge to the wrong side of the fabric. Smooth down the fabric and apply a coat of Mod Podge on top to seal. Repeat for the other well on the opposite side. Allow to dry.
Use the glue gun to glue the Lego plate to the center of the tray. Then apply a bead of hot glue down the seam of the dowels and press down onto the tray, along the edges of the stamped fabric. You may need a rather thick bead of glue for it to stick. Test for wobbliness when it dries…if it wobbles, you can peel it off the tray carefully, peel off the dried hot glue, and reapply a thicker bead of hot glue and press down harder.
Finally, add Velcro to the tray and the beading mat which can be removed when the girls want to play their Legos, but the Velcro will keep the mat in place when they’re beading or using it as a felt board.
All done! Here are our trays in action…
-As a Felt Board
-For Legos, whether working on our own separate projects…
…or collaborating with each other.
We love snuggling with the tray on our laps, working on a project together.
So while I was working on our trays, I came across some other DIY Lego trays. Apparently I’m not the only Mama of kids who like Legos but wants them off the floor. These trays are both unique and awesome in their own ways! Go check out the Lego Trays from That’s My Letter and Finley and Oliver for more inspiration.
Anyways, hope these trays keep us more organized!
Linking: The Frugal Girls :: Tip Junkie :: Rook No. 17 :: How to Nest for Less::Oopsey Daisy :: The Trendy Treehouse ::Tidy Mom :: Creation Corner::Whipperberry :: Sassy Sites::Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique : :Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Mine for the Making :: Fine Craft Guild :: Mad in Crafts :: Finding My Way In Texas :: Creative Jewish Mom :: The Taylor House
Thursday, February 23, 2012
My girls love paper dolls. There’s a paper doll sticker book with over 200 stickers that they go through it so quickly. And they have some cardboard sets too but those are starting to bend and curl.
It might take me a while to build a big set, and my illustrating skills aren’t the best. So I don’t think this little felt set will completely replace their other paper dolls, but at least these are an alternative. And I gotta tell ya, these was so.much.fun to make, especially since my girls helped me design the clothes.
I have been having fun with my Simply Screen Custom Screen Printing Kit by Plaid. Screen printing may seem like a daunting, complicated process, but as mentioned in my review here in my Screen Printed Storage Ottoman tutorial, it’s a lot less intimidating than other systems I’ve researched. The Simply Screen is a great starter set and I’m getting better and better at it. I still love it and I’m glad to have it among my craft tools.
So this isn’t really a tutorial, but to show you that it works on felt, with my hand drawings of the dolls and their clothes. I love the results, but I can see where I could have improved. And I’d also love to bore you with my thought process. But to see how to use the screen printing kit, please see my tutorial linked above.
Here’s how I made my Screen Printed Felt Paper Dolls:
Materials: In addition to the Simply Screen Kit, Screens, and Paints, I used printer paper, felt, pencil, Sharpie pen, painters tape, paint brush, iron, press cloth and scissors.
Process: First I drew out the dolls. I kind of based it on my girls! I am not very good at drawing things to look real, especially people. So it looks a little cartoon-y. That’s ok.
I drew the face a zillion times and was happy with this one. It was too big, so I tried to draw it smaller but I couldn’t capture the same cuteness! My mom literally said “Yuck” about the bottom two. Thanks Mom. Well, honesty is good. I guess.
So I scanned the drawing and resized it on my computer and printed it out. Then I drew the body attached to the head. I added lines for underclothing.
Then I traced the face onto another piece of paper but changed the hair to ponytails to make another one.
When I was finally happy with the drawings, I retraced them onto another piece of paper, then traced over the lines with a Sharpie pen. First I tried a Sharpie with a fine point, but the lines did not develop well on the screen.
So I had to switch to the medium point pen and try developing the screen again.This time it worked, but I didn’t like how I lost the details of the drawing (such as the fingers, toes and face) because of the thicker pen.
I used black ink to screen print onto an oatmeal-ish color felt. No my girls aren’t the color of oatmeal. But everything other color that was available the day I was at the craft store was either too light or too dark. Maybe something more peachy? Will have to look again.
When the paint dried, I heat-set it with an iron and press cloth. Then I cut along the edge.
All done with the dolls!
Then I started working on the clothes. I sketched out a little wardrobe and used the medium Sharpie over my pencil lines and developed the screen. Again, I lost some of the detail. The t-shirt with the sun says “Sunny”. I should have redone that one.
Here comes the fun part…making the clothes! Love these purple and orange pants!
As the girls waited for mama to finish the clothes, they played with their new dolls.
For this dress, I colored in some pink when the black ink dried. I just squirted out a dollop of pink onto the squeegee that came with the screens and used a paint brush.
One of my girls might have a punk rock, Joan Jett side, because this was requested.
This is sort of a copy of one of their favorite dresses. That white blob up in the top corner was supposed to be a flower…that was one of the details that got lost, plus I think this dress didn’t develop too well (I didn’t press the screen to the paper well enough, even though I used a piece of glass…see my review for details on this).
Since I messed up the first time I developed the dolls, I ran out of screens. So I wasn’t able to make the shoes, hats, and toys I had planned! I’ve ordered more screens and will show you when I make them. I know, I always say that.
As mentioned, I was the most bummed out about the loss of detail using the thicker-tipped Sharpie pen. At the store, they said there was no in-between for Sharpies (really?), so I’ll have to look at other brands I guess.
Again, that was a lot of fun. Yes, it was time-consuming. Yes, I had to do a lot by hand. Yes, there was a lot of room for improvement! But I enjoyed every minute. Even though I may not have taught you much today, I hope it still inspires you to create something, anything, on your own!
Here are two great fabric paper doll tutorials using different techniques if you don’t have a screen print kit:
- Magnetic Felt Paper Dolls by Colleen @ Mural Maker and More (she used transfer paper and paint). So cute!
- Printed Fabric Paper Dolls (via One Month To Win It…scroll down towards the end of the post) by Rhonda @ home. made. These are so cool!
And please see my review of the Simply Screen Custom Silk Screen Kit by Plaid (and scroll to the bottom for more projects and tips from fellow bloggers). And here’s what else I have screen printed:
Disclosure: Thank you Plaid for sending a screen refill pack and more paints. This post was not required, nor was it a paid post.
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