Making a house a home…

They say the heart of a home is the kitchen.  The Missus loves cooking and helping in our real kitchen and then spends much of the rest of her time pretending to be cooking or baking as well.   So it made sense that the hideout/playhouse needed a play kitchen.  It is a total hack which is either a really good thing proving that anyone can do this using materials that are cheap and easily attainable or it is a bad thing and totally proves Martha Stewart‘s point.  Either way, I wanted to share this with those who have generously donated materials for this build and perhaps it will serve as inspiration for those wanting to do the same for their children.  And so, without further ado:

I started with an upper cupboard I found for $10 at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore.  I chose it because it was fairly skinny in its profile and the doors were the old-fashioned kind.  On most modern cupboards the doors cover the entire front of the opening and that would have been problem in terms of opening and closing.  So I put the cupboard upside down on the floor (so that the pulls on the doors were at the top) and secured it in place with screws.
IMG_1880Then I got out the last piece of that seemingly endless board from the garage (that we’ve used for projects in the kitchen and living room already) to make a countertop.  I was so excited about doing this project that I didn’t care that I didn’t have the right tools for the job.  I happily got out what power tools I had on hand and started working.

IMG_1881Yeah,  you should always use the proper tools.  By the end I was a sweaty mess trying to wrestle the wood into place.  I made mistakes.  But don’t worry I fixed ’em and who cares it is a playhouse right? Right.  So not prefect but still “super cool” according to the Missus.

IMG_1883Do not dwell on the jagged edges of the hole that I created for the sink…like I said I fixed them.  I used the drill to drill circles big enough to fit the $5 taps I found at Value Village.  I also used the drill to poor effect in making the hole for the sink in the top of the cupboard and the reclaimed board for the countertop (and I used the skill saw and a hammer and I swore…a lot).  Oh and also don’t trouble yourself about the unfinished wall behind the cupboards…I’ll get to that later.

IMG_1891See?  The wall is (almost) finished now.  I used an old metal bowl for sink and a piece of 2×4 to fix the gap at the end of the counter.  I’ll be drawing on some stove top elements with permanent marker at some point and painting the fridge (an old store from the MOD shop a few years ago).  Oh and painting the wall…and finishing around the windows…was it me that said she didn’t want to see this project end?  Surely not.

kids kitchen in playhouseWe have plans for kitchen curtains and matching tea towels as well but I’m not sure how they will fare through the winter in such an unprotected playhouse.  So we may leave that project for the spring and summer.

So that is our most recent update.  What do you think so far?

************UPDATE**************

I found a use for one of the three medicine cabinets from our bathroom upstairs as a nice upper cabinet for the play kitchen.

playhouse kitchen

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‘hitting the thrifty jackpot!’ or ‘somebody stop me!’

I have hit the thrifty finds jackpot lately.  One major project is still ongoing and so I can’t share it yet (I can’t wait).  For now I must be satisfied with showing you these beauties:

post elna openThe Elna Supermatic.  She is a beauty.  This  blog has a great write-up on the machine and the history complete with awesome vintage print ads that are charmingly insulting to women (“If you can boil an egg, you can sew and embroider this blouse!!”).  My plan was to get her operational and gift her to Lil’S for a birthday present.  The kid is itching to sew all sorts of things and I am rather protective of my new Pfaff.  I think the Elna is perfect for her! Elna looks like this inside her case:

postelnacase

And when you open her up she looks like this:postelnaopentopShe comes with all of these goodies.  Cams for changing the stitch embroidery patterns, the cutest oil can known to man and the best of vintage instruction.

postelnaopenwithstuff

postelnawith stuffside viewAnd look at what else the case can do!  It turns itself into an extension table!!  Genius.  She is so well-built and in great condition.  I love the knee press instead of the foot control.  I’m officially in love.  By the by,  I took her to see Debbie at The Singer Store in Kingston and Debbie had her working in tip-top shape in no time.  And I loved that Debbie let me watch so I could learn all about my machine.  So I’d highly recommend heading over there if you have any sewing machine needs (no, she did not pay me to say that).

Okay, next up…Lil’S has also been obsessed with typing lately.  She loves watching me type on the computer and was intrigued to know I took typing in highschool.  Yep, I’m that old.  We had electric typewriters and we typed to music…oh the shame.  Anywho, I found this handsome machine on this auction site and snagged him for $16.

post typerwitterHe types beautifully.  And his name is Remmington.  There is no way this could go wrong.  He is intended as a solstice gift for Lil’S so she can type her heart out.

postmessageAnd finally….THIS:

posttableandchairsI love it.  I really, really do.  The table top is an amazing blue colour, the legs have these amazing spring lock mechanisms and it is in great shape.  The four chairs (which will serve as extra seats during family get togethers and dinners) have the same vinyl backs as the table top and the seats themselves are padded and upholstered in a lovely blue polyester.  Yes, I just used lovely and polyester in the same sentence.  For now this set is serving as a cutting table in my craft room.

I still can’t believe I had the winning bids on these finds.  You know you’ve done well when you go to pick up your items and the MaxSold staff say things like “you know you got a really good deal on that don’t you?” as he caresses the table and marvels at the mint condition, and “OH!  You’re the one who snagged the Elna…” followed by murmurs of ‘she’s getting the Elna’ circulating around the room amongst staff and fellow buyers alike.

Oh thrifting, how I love thee!

Oh “deery” my! Woodland Felt Animal Masks and Tutorial

Oh deery my indeed!  This little woodland creature couldn’t get any cuter.  And this blog post couldn’t come any later.  We are in solid birthday mode around here and this post features what I created for LAST year’s birthday party.  I’m not ashamed.  Besides I think these adorable masks were worth the wait.deermask

The theme for the Missus’ birthday was “Woodland Animals” (this year she continues the animal theme only this year it is “party animals”…you can see the difference).  We had planned to take the kids to the park to play, drink apple cider and have cake.  The weather thought that was a bad idea and so we transformed our living room into…a living room that now allowed woodland animals to play in it.

foxesandowlsandbearsohmyInstead of sending our creature friends home with bags of candy, I embroidered and sewed these adorable felt masks to give to each guest.  The fox is my favourite.  When I finished the first fox mask I had the most incredible crafter high!  We kept the animals local and added some skunks, bears, owls, deer and a chipmunk to the mix.

bearmask

It all started with this prototype.  The bear.  I based it on this paper mask that I bought at Michael’s.

paper bear maskI simply traced the outline onto some freezer paper, ironed that onto some felt and away we went.  Oh, and I altered the shape of the eyes from oval to round.  Don’t do that.  The result is still cute (see below) but….

felt bear mask

But the kids…they can’t see that well when they are like that.

bear mask

Fun to wear but hard to attack.  So oval eye holes it was from then on…

So here is what you’re gonna need to make a cute creature yourself:

Supplies:

  • A template.  Get one like the one above or free hand your own.  There are also many template available for free online (google “felt masks”…you’ll see).
  • Heat n’ Bond.  I purchased mine at Fabricland:

heat n' bond

  • Freezer Paper.  I couldn’t find any in Canada at the time (although I’ve heard others have had luck).  This may be one item I am willing to cross boarder shop for and I buy a few rolls at a time when I’m in the states.

freezer paper

  • Sharp scissors
  • A marker for tracing the pattern onto the freezer paper and heat n’ bond
  • Some embroidery thread in a variety of colours (it is really up to you)
  • 1/2 inch elastic
  • Felt in various colours (grey, black and beige for the racoon)
  • A sewing machine with a needle that can handle layers of felt
  • Thread for sewing machine
  • An iron and an ironing board

Now, let’s get started!

howtomakeafeltanimalmask

1. First make a template.  I traced the bear mask onto a piece of paper with marker.  Then I modified it free-hand to make the different animals.  Below is the start of the racoon mask:IMG_9182

freezer paper2.  Now that you have your new mask design just the way you want it, it is time to get out your freezer paper.  Lay it over your paper animal and trace.  For a racoon you need to trace and cut out a few separate pieces:  (1. and 2.)  the outside shape of the mask (3.)  the racoon mask (4.)the snout (5. and 6.) two triangle shapes for inside the ears and (7.) the nose.

IMG_91873.  Lay the two mask outlines onto a piece of felt with the shiny side of the freezer paper down.  Use your iron to set them in place.IMG_91884.  With the freezer paper now “stuck” to the felt, cut out both pieces.  Peel the freezer paper off the felt and set aside (you can reuse this several times for other masks).  Set the felt aside as well.

IMG_91985.  Next lay the freezer paper cut outs for the racoon mask, the ear triangles and the nose on to the black felt, iron and cut them out.  Peel the freezer paper off and set pieces aside.

IMG_91926.  Repeat the process with the snout piece and a beige scrap of felt.

IMG_92417.  Next take out your Heat N’ Bond.  Lay it over your original paper design and trace out all of the same pieces that you did with the freezer paper.  The Heat N’ Bond is similar to freezer paper in that it has a shiny side.  Lay the shiny side down onto the corresponding piece of felt and iron.  IMG_9202When you peel the Heat N’ Bond off you will see the shiny bit has transferred to the felt (sorry only good pic of this is from the fox mask in the making):

IMG_92608.  Now you can start ironing your pieces into place on one of the grey pieces of felt.  I placed the racoon mask on first, shiny side down and ironed it in place.  Then the snout, the nose and the ears.  I placed the nose midway down the snout instead of up near the mask to give it a 3D effect.

IMG_9204

IMG_9205

IMG_92069.  Next I used my sewing machine to sew around the mask, the ears and the snout securing them in place.  This is probably not necessary if you want to keep it simple.  It will add to the longevity of the mask though.

IMG_9207

9.  I used black embroidery thread to outline and hold the nose in place (three layers would be too thick for most sewing machines).  Then, using a running stitch,  I embroidered a line from the nose to the chin.  I think it adds a touch of whimsy to the masks.

snoutandnose

10.  Now, remember how I told you I did this project last year?  Yes, well, that means I don’t have a picture of the next step.  Sorry!  It is pretty simple though…take your elastic and cut a length that is sized to fit your child’s head.  Pin one end to the back of the mask on each side and sew into place:

clearracoonmask

11.  Once you have the elastic in place, set the whole piece aside.  Iron Heat N’ Bond onto the second grey piece of felt.  Peel it off.  Lay this piece of felt shiny side up on the ironing board.  Lay the top piece of the mask with the elastic attached on top.  Take care to ensure the elastic is not between the layers at all.  Iron until the two pieces are fused together.IMG_9238

irononracoonmask12.  The last step is to sew around the entire outline of the mask and your done!  Or if you’re like me, you’ve only just begun!  It was super fun “inventing” each animal mask and adding details here and there.

felt woodland animal masks

Have fun!