Monday, December 24, 2012


I thought I'd share how our Christmas tree looks this year because it's weird.  Nicole has developed an penchant for undecorating the tree.  And, well, we knew it would be a draw, so all the more fragile ornaments are clustered at the top of the tree.  She also loves pulling bows off and moving presents from the back to the front of the tree.   Jared says that she's opened a few presents at home, too, for the sheer joy of ripping paper.

It's been a weird year for decorating.  Usually, the day after Thanksgiving, the manger scenes go up, and stay up until New Year's.  The Christmas tree, well, it's up at least the week before Christmas.  This year, the tree went up first.  And I wish it had been the other way.  Those stockings piled up?  Well, they're usually hung with the 3M hooks.  I have burnished pewter colored ones to hang them from.. or I did.  This year, they're nowhere to be found.  The creché on the bottom is a Little People one, because Gracie kept trying to get her hands on the others.  Mom painted the wood one to the right, the one on the left is a glass one that was a gift (the face is missing off the sheep) and the middle was from a kit in the 70s.  My dad painted it, with "help" from my then three-year-old older brother.  The angel that hung from the front of the dowel and "plank" (more like thinner, square Popsicle sticks) got lost years ago, so I printed star fields with a central star from my computer and taped them to a backer board.  The rest of the set is battered, chipped, and broken in places and the stable is rickety.  But that creché has been with us for as long as I can remember.  The one thing I didn't take pictures of is the candles in the window--fake ones so we don't have to worry about burning the house down.  (We usually only have one, but, well, we found the one we lost two years ago)  It's to let Christ know that there's room in our inn and that He's welcome here. 

This is our Christmas.  It's not about the presents, though there will be presents aplenty, but about family, spending time together, and the birth of a special child millennia ago.  So Merry Christmas... or Happy Holidays if you celebrate something different.  And perhaps, for once, we'll have peace on earth for this one night a year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas presents, wrapping, and other seemingly endless things.

Christmas for 14.  This year.  Next year, it'll be Christmas for 16, because my sister-in-law is pregnant with little Alex and my sister is pregnant.  (I just hope it's not a girl, because she's said that she'd name it Liberty.  Poor kid.)  I spent 15 hours wrapping yesterday (arms hurt!) and we're almost done and cleaned up.  15 hours, might sound a bit excessive, but I'm chief wrapper here.  Which means that I'm not just wrapping up my give-away presents, but my mom's and grandmother's as well.  And, well, Christmas for 14!  That's only a little over an hour apiece, right?  And when you have huge presents, like a new travel system for Alex (Grandma is a big believer in useful gifts and Nikki and Grace wore out the old one) they take more than one person and almost a whole roll of wrapping paper to wrap!  I thought about taking a picture of my tree with the packages piled around it, but my house is a huge mess right now still!

Handmade gifts are king in my house.  Above is Ricky's present--he's into trains, and has been insisting on wearing his outgrown railroad stripey overalls, so I made him new ones.  The picture isn't exactly what the finished product looks like because I made an oops cutting.  See, McCalls 6592 is insanely short.  I made a child 4, but cut it to the length of 6.  And somewhere in there, I cut the back piece wrong.  Not only did I find out after it was all sewn together, but I didn't have more ticking to recut, so I fixed it, but made the fix into a design feature... which is a post for another day!

Gracie asked for a "pink dinosaur" so I raided my scrap bins and bought a copy of the Melly and Me Dilbert pattern because it was the cutest I could find.  And I'm telling you without my smallest tube turner, I never could've turned those spikes!

Lizzy's favorite animal is giraffes, so I bought Simplicity 2613 on a dollar sale and the gold fringe for it's mane.  The fabric was a donation.  It's some sort of upholstery fabric that came to me in a huge box of "I was cleaning out a sewing room and can you use this" fabric.  It's a velvety, heavy weight stuff that looks like it's backed in some sort of canvas.

For Nicole, well, her current favorite book is Anna Dewdney's Roly Poly Pangolin to the extent that I can easily recite it!  We bought her a copy of it to take home for Christmas, but there weren't any commercial pangolin toys, so I dug around the internet and found an anteater pattern.  See, pangolins look quite a bit like anteaters--the ears are different, and they have armor plating.  Rather than sew on individual scales, which I was pretty sure wouldn't be baby proof, I found some quilter's cotton with a scale pattern on it.  I wish I had taken a picture for you, but with everything going on, I forgot!    Joanna got new pjs--I let Grace choose fabric for it, as well as for Uncle Geoff's new jammies (Nikki chose one, too, because when he's at home, he practically lives in his jammies), as well as her Uncle Shane's and Dad's pj bottoms.  Mom got an IOU, because I was running short on time, and I also made fleece blankets for presents out of more donated fabric.  (Fleece blankets were made out of donated fabric, too which = free present)

To finish Geoff's and Grace's last Christmas request, I had to borrow a sewing machine.  (This was how I discovered that I don't like drop in bobbins!)  I knew my machine was overdue for servicing, but I didn't expect it to slow to a crawl.  It's happened before, so I know what it means--it's dirty and needs cleaned and oiled!  So I'll take it in sometime in the next couple weeks.

Grace's final Christmas wish was for "Aunt Laura, will you make me a warm nightgown for Christmas?"  With flannel 60% off and mom in tow for senior citizen discount day (which made it 80% off), how could I say no?  And if I'm making something for her, I have to make something for Nicole, too, so that's how they got matching nightgowns made from the Peekaboo Pattern Shop's (it's offline for maintenance, so don't worry if the link doesn't work) Sugarplum Nightgown pattern.  I made it in both girls' favorite colors--pink and purple!  So that's my gifts this year.  What are y'all making?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

One Piece At A Time dresses!

Both hanging together with matching hairbows, including Nikki's "bow hat"

Well, they're done.  I thought I'd post the lyrics from the song from which these dresses are named!  Because they really are completely frankenpatterned.  The only patterns that matched were the late 60s-early 70s patterns that the sleeves came from.  The dress shells are from two different 50s patterns, Nikki's pinafore is modified from  40s pinafore dress pattern, and Gracie's is from a 30s Hollywood pattern.  The collars and cuffs are finished with Victorian faggoting stitching.

 The red and white ribbon is hand dyed, bias cut silk ribbon and a sort of a nod to candy canes. :) I wanted a bit of longevity, so I avoided things like Santa, Christmas trees, and the like.  Yeah. it's red, and it's covered with stars, but...  :)  Remind me to never do entredeux with a lined bodice again!
That was a biiiig mess and I ended up redoing the finishing on the inside of the pinafores.  Grace actually helped design the dresses--she wanted a dress with a big skirt (I have crinolines from last year to go underneath, and the hems are done with CRIN again because it helps them stand out.), no puffed sleeves, and an apron with ruffles and no itchy collars and cuffs.   I learned something about working with CRIN--use a 70 needle because the 80s and 90s are too big to sew through the mesh easily.
 ;) There went my half formed plans for using up some of the lace collars in my stash!  She did, however, consent to lace on the bodice, and the lace on the skirt conceals the fact that I, um, cut the skirts a titch too short.  More than a titch on Nikki's, actually!  I didn't have the fabric to recut the skirts, so I just used more lace and silk ribbon to cover the join.
 Grace informed me that she wants to wear Nikki's dress, because it's cuter.  And here I thought I'd made them match!  The collar looks a bit crooked here, but I swear it's not.  :)

 The sash is necessary, especially on Nikki's, because she's still a tiny bit smaller than a size 1/2 (like 1/8"), but on her way out of infant patterns.
 The lengthening was considerably more on this one!  I went for tea length on both simply because they'll last the winter that way.  I like knowing that if  they grow an inch or two, they won't be too short.  Surprisingly, in Nikki's case, with a ten minute alteration, her crinoline still fits and Gracie's does, too.  At the last minute, I added an extra line of lace on Nikki's bodice because it just needed it to my eyes.  Tomorrow, after school, we're going to the Sears portrait studio to take pictures.

White tights, the dresses, shiny black shoes, crinolines, and coordinating bows are the order of the day. 

 And speaking of bows...  Nikki has a "bow hat".  It's really just a bow attached to a stretchy headband because she doesn't have enough hair in front to hold one.  Predictably, Grace wants one, too, but I've only got one headband right now!  More silk ribbon here, with the red and white in the centers.  (I wouldn't really recommend doing silk ribbon bows.  They're just too limp.)  

We've tried things on, and they fit, so I'll iron them tonight and I'll post pictures when we get them back! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Confession and Thanksgiving craftiness

I have a confession to make.  I'm just paranoid enough that I don't use my nieces' real names on this blog.  Ever since my brother's best friend's little boy (he's Grace's age) got his identity stolen, I've been being a bit more careful about things like the kids' names.  So I've replaced the names I originally wrote on the following picture with blog names.

Does anybody remember doing this?  It is a little old for Nikki, but I'm sure she'll have a grand time making a mess with the glue.  Originally, I'd thought to leave this for a few years with her, but when I started tracing Gracie's hand, she insisted on joining in. So the new plan is that she doesn't get glitter and sparklies since at 18 months, she'd just try and eat them, and we'll do hers first and then Grace will get a chance while Nikki naps.  I have no idea where I got the shellack from.  It's been in my sewing/craft closet for years, and since I can hear things sloshing around, I'm hopeful that it will still work.  I suppose this could be called, "keep the kids out of the kitchen" crafts! 

Really though, Thanksgiving will be interesting as our oven broke this week.  We're pretty sure we know what's wrong, and we're also pretty sure that getting it fixed this week isn't going to happen!  Tomorrow, we'll have glitter covered kids, so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

With all the illness that's been going around, I completely lost track of the fact that it was Veteran's Day today.  For the first time in years, we didn't go over to the cemetery to make sure that Grandpa got a flag... because for some reason, people seem to think it's funny to steal his.  He was what you might call a late casualty--he died in 1985 from stomach cancer that was a direct result of being ordered over Einwetok during the nuclear testing there in the 50s.  Let me introduce you.  :)

I think this is actually a picture of him as an Ensign.  And yeah, it's signed to my Grandma, who was his sweetheart and a war bride.  Lieutenant Commander Marvin Davies.  He served as a Naval Aviator through WWII and Korea, taught other people how to fly, and flew everything from bombers to fighters and even the first jet. He hit the up or out clause sometime after Korea due to a CO that gave everybody crappy fit reps.  He flew commercial later on, and even spent a short stint flying for the CIA. He used to joke that for a few months, he was a short, fat, tall, thin, bald-headed man with curly hair.

He never really told war stories.  He told stories of funny things that happened, one answered prayer, and how great it was to fly.  The closest he ever came to telling war stories was when I was six and asked why one of the soles of the boots he always wore was fatter than the other.  He told me that he'd been shot down during WWII and a piece of shrapnel had torn through his thigh.  And that he had been lucky in where it had hit because any higher and Dad wouldn't exist and neither would I, and he would have missed me without knowing what he was missing.

He loved flying and he loved the time he spent in uniform.  Sometimes, though, you could see it in his eyes that he was remembering something bad.  But he said once that he wouldn't change anything.  My Dad was the same--he was a late casualty, too.  He joined the Army during Vietnam, even though as an only child he could have avoided it.  He said that the absolute pride on Grandpa's face made it worth it, even though injuries received while in the service crippled him and were the eventual cause of his death in 2007.

So Grandpa and Dad, take care of each other.  We miss you.  And thanks.  Our world isn't perfect, but it's safer because of you and other vets like you. 

New words

Nikki learned a new word this past week--Puke.  Yeah, that's right!  She talks a lot more than most 18-month-olds do and has a bigger-than-average vocabulary. (It's the second child thing, I think.)  But this was a new one... and she learned it because of first-hand-experience.  Last week at this time, she was throwing up, and so was Grace.  They spent most of the week recovering, 'cause this was a particularly nasty strain of stomach flu.  And then I spent Friday and yesterday doing the same thing.  Needless to say, there wasn't much else going on here.  Fever and chills follow the throwing up, which is the stage I'm at now.  Joanna offered to keep them at home last week, but 1) we'd already been exposed at the contagious stage and 2) she really couldn't afford to miss work.  Chances were that I'd already caught it anyway, so we told her to send them over.  The entredeux I ordered early last month finally arrived so I can finish the pinafores for the Psycho Billy Cadillac Christmas Dresses... which I'll do as soon as I get over the hot and cold stage.  Here's to hoping that everybody else is well!  :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

An open letter to my sister

To my readers... few though y'all are...  sorry for this interlude, but this is driving me crazy and has to be said. (And since Sarah doesn't even know this blog exists, it's a safe place to do it.)  This was last week, and I'm recovered enough to actually say something now.  I know she'll never see it, but it'll make me feel better.  They were dumped here early Friday morning and snatched back late Sunday afternoon.

Dear Sarah:

Once again, I survived your kids.  I survived you dumping them on us at the last minute with me having two others to take care of.  Geoffrey and Jared were both gone Saturday at the Georgia Tech Football game and Joanna was working so Saturday, I had all four.  Mom has some nerve damage in her leg from the chemo that's just shown up five years after she finished treatment and is on meds for that which knock her out, so I had to manage on my own.  Spending time with them was... interesting.  Are you aware that Ricky, at four, is still sticking random things in his mouth?  He happily chewed on some of Nikki's teethers and a good many of the other toys.  I must have missed washing one, because she's sick now.  And that's another thing.  What part of immune compromised do you not understand?  Because you dumped two sick kids on your elderly mother and handicapped, immune compromised sister for three days with less than 24 hours warning.  And you could have said thank you.  You didn't.  You snatched them and their new stuff (which you also didn't thank us for) and left.  Thanks to us, who are barely making ends meet, your kids have new clothes and shoes.  I find it sad that the only reason they have fairly nice clothes is because your retired mother and handicapped sister spent their savings on buying them.  That money was earmarked for covered gutters on the front of the house and your kids are now wearing my covered gutters.

And don't poormouth me.  You and Shane are upper middle class.  At the very least, you could buy them decent clothing that fits instead of the ill-fitting cast-offs I see them in.  You could take them to a real shoe store and buy shoes that fit instead leaving it to me and mom to do it.  Payless' measuring system is crap, and the quality of their merchandise is poor.  There's a reason why I haunt ebay to buy the good stuff.  You two have screwed up priorities from my view.  The kids should come first, not the poor third or fourth they seem to come now.  I know they don't meet the legal definition of neglect, but I also know that you could do better.  I know that you only left them here because Shane's parents went to this conference you two attended.  I also don't understand why you've taken all of Shane's ideas and opinions as gospel truth.  We were raised by the same parents and they taught us to think for ourselves, yet you seem content to let him do all your thinking for you and treat you like a 50s housewife.  I hate that you only call when you want something or come visit to get something out of us.  I hate that you seem to think that we owe it to you.

I'm aware that your husband doesn't like us.  I know that he was afraid of having children because they could be Autistic like the older two siblings (they have Aspergers) or overweight like I am or have lymphedema like me.  I know he hates us because in his view not only are we different, but in his mind we're a drain on society.  I wish you'd kicked him to the curb the first time he insulted your family.  It may be clannish of me, but my family is the most important thing in the world to me and I don't get why yours isn't.  We were raised by the same parents, taught the same things, and even shared a room growing up.  But I don't recognize you anymore.  You seem to have forgotten almost everything our parents taught us.   Lately, when you've called, it's been to complain that you didn't like what I bought for Lizzy or Ricky.  I somewhat resent having to clothe your kids as it is, and your complaints make me want to tell you where to get off.  Momma taught us manners.  Marrying that damnyankee of yours seems to have erased yours.

You seem to think that we owe it to you to take care of your kids because we take care of Gracie and Nikki.  We don't.  If you'd drive from Stone Mountain to here to visit more than Christmas (and part of me is convinced you only come for the gifts) I might love your kids more.  Mom might, too.  But ours is a distant, dutiful kind of love because we don't know your kids.  At best, I see them once a year unless we have something you want.

When Jared was in school, Joanna was working to put him through.  They couldn't afford child care, so we volunteered to take care of Gracie.  This has been her second home since she was three months old.  The same with Nikki.  They're both working full time, but with school debts, and what they make, they still can't afford child care, so Gracie and Nikki are here.  I couldn't love them more if I'd given birth to them.  I'd die to keep them safe if it were necessary.  They're my kids, and I have full permission to claim them.  You say that they're spoiled, I say that they're loved and know it.  Mine aren't even mostly given their own way and have set rules that they follow.  Yes, even 18-month-old-Nikki has rules.  They know what the consequences are for breaking the rules, and they also know that afterwards, they can always expect hugs and kisses and forgiveness.

Yours I'm not so sure of.  I don't know what to think of your kids, Sarah, but at the same time, I know you.  You're stubborn.  Anything I say to your face will cause a rift until you manage to rewrite history in your own head to make it your idea.  You claimed that you knew Ricky had wide feet, but when I suggested that might be the problem three months ago, you told me that I was crazy that there was no way.  I've watched, and you tend to treat them as if they're older than their age, but you tend to baby them with certain things, too.

Some of the behavior you complain about is your fault.  It's one thing to limit your kids' sugar intake.  It's another to deny it entirely.  That's why Ricky will stuff any sort of sugar loaded thing he can get down as fast as he can, even if it makes him puke.  It's the same with television.  By not allowing it at all, you make it to Ricky and Lizzy are immediately drawn to it when it's on and turn into zombies. Mine take it or leave it because they've been exposed to it, and I swear the idiot box saved my sanity when Nikki had colic.  I could count on one blessed hour of no crying when The Fresh Beat Band was on.  Control what they watch, fine.  Mine watch educational TV when they're allowed to see it.  They also have no problems with turning it off to go play, do a craft, or go outside.  Yours throw tantrums.  I don't know how to end this letter.  Gracie, Nikki, Joanna, Mom, and me are sick now because of exposure to your kids' germs.  I still love you.  I just don't know what to think of you anymore.  All I can do is keep communication lines open so that if something happens, you have someone to turn to and somewhere to go.  And despite the fact that your kids have a complete wardrobe of new or nearly new clothes that we gave them, and we took them in and I had to give up my bedroom so they'd have a place to sleep, you still haven't said thank you.

Love, Laura.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Babies and sewing machine feet.

I'm the proud owner of a Pfaff 1222E.  Yes, it's older than I am, but it's a workhorse and as it's mechanical, it will never get a virus or have a software problem.  I know where I can get it fixed and as the walking foot is built in, I have less problems than a lot of people.  I was also lucky enough to get a complete set of sewing machine feet before Grace was born for $10.  And those feet have served me well... until two months ago when Nicole threw my buttonhole foot away.

See, this was how Impling got her new nickname.  She's a sweet baby, but she gets these looks on her face that mean she's planning trouble.  and her fascination with throwing things (like Mommy's Ipod Touch) in the trash has led to that!  (The Ipod was two weeks ago.  *sigh* Nikki, what are we gonna do with you, Sweetheart?)  Since we didn't figure out exactly what happened until the week after the event, my buttonhole foot was long since consigned to the dump.  So that started off a month and a half of searching.  I can easily find the feet, yes, but I'm sooo not willing to buy a new-to-me machine to get it.  I have a perfectly good machine--I just didn't have the foot.  and truthfully, my buttonholes look better when using the proper foot for them.

I contacted every seller who had one, offering $10 over the current market value if they'd separate it from the machine they were selling.  I posted ads.  I even asked around on Pfaff boards and the vintage Pfaff list.  Nada.  Until last week.

Ahh, my new buttonhole foot.  How do I love thee.  I will take him home and love him and squeeze him and call him George.  He will be my pet, my good pet, and I will feed him and brush him, and give him baths..  *ahem*  Sorry, got a bit carried away!  ;)

To make it even better, I also scored a new pedal from the same seller.  Both mine and the one from the 1222 have electrical problems.  Since mine and my mom's machine (the 1222) are only one model apart, feet and the pedals are interchangeable, among other accessories.  But in both, there are breaks in the line somewhere that make them not-quite-functional.  So now I have one that's listed as functioning perfectly and--eventually--I'll buy replacement cords and work on rewiring the old ones.  Everybody have a great day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween in Review

 I kind of find it ironic that Grace needed two costumes for Halloween this year.  There was the purple bat costume that Joanna got for 90% off last year--

The skirt lights up, and her hair was supposed to be purple, but I guess that wasn't quite right!  And yeah, that's a bat painted on her cheek!  The original commercial costume is sleeveless, but it was actually cold here (which isn't usual for Halloween in Georgia)  so Mommy insisted she wear a black turtleneck underneath.  And the boots are an Aunt Laura and Grandma contribution to her regular wardrobe.  Boots are favorite footwear and even though I always used to say that they were a waste for a little kid, I've found myself looking for flat (no heels here for a four-year-old) boots to add to her shoe collection!

But then her preschool insisted on non-scary storybook costumes.  So here comes Rapunzel.  I purposely left up the hair post until today just in case somebody needed it.  :) At 7 am yesterday, they showed up on my doorstep so that I could fix Bit's hair.  I've had waist-length hair since high school, so I know how to deal with it.  

We put Nicole in the high chair with breakfast so things like shiny bobby pins wouldn't suddenly disappear, wet down Grace's hair, and did it in double twists.  You can find a general tutorial here.  I had to locate said tutorial because I hadn't done that since high school!  I did it to the middle of her head, ended in a ponytail, and then twisted that into a bun so it would look like it was almost into the Rapunzel braid.  Then after a generous application of hair spray (which she hated!) I started pinning in Rapunzel hair.

This is probably one of the few places you'll see pictures, even sort of , of me.  My disease led to inactivity because of having to have limbs elevated for a minimum of 8 hours a day, which meant a massive weight gain.  It also means that very few of my projects are for me because if you're even as big as a RTW size 20, patterns don't come in your size... but that's a rant for another day.

After I pinned it in, we had Gracie shake her head a bit... which led to more pinning because I hadn't pinned it tightly enough.

To which she said it was too tight, but when asked it she could wear it anyway, she said yes.  We've been talking to her for over a week on how she couldn't take it off herself because with how I carefully put hairpins in the twists as well as pinning it in, we'd have a partially scalped child.

Her hairpiece is pinned front, back and sides, and when her hair dried, it almost looked like the braid was actually her hair since she's such a light blonde.  Because it was even more cold yesterday morning, that's a My Little Pony PJ shirt underneath.  After all, poly satin and poly organza are not cold weather fabrics!

Since crinolines have been pronounced "itchy"  (would hate to see how she did with the original starched cotton ones) she did without, which I think didn't hurt the look at all.

One in, the braid went almost a bit past her knee, which just shows how long that bugger is.  (Grace currently needs a 26 inch dress to get to the bottom of her knee... which I prefer because that gives a little bit of growth space before it's too short)

We were just lucky that the dress still mostly fits!  If it weren't for the fact that the sleeves could use another inch...  :)

The ribbons and flowers in her hairpiece were a source of happiness because she's a girly girl!

And she proudly showed them off for the camera.

She was the prettiest Rapunzel at preschool!

But not to leave the Impling out, we also had the cutest little pink owl running around.  She's learned to say "who" for the sound an owl makes and loved informing people that she was an owl.  "Tick or teat" was her request at Trunk or Treat last night along with pleading looks and "Candy peas!"

The weather made me glad I'd gone for felt because she was nice and warm in the cooler weather without being overheated.... which was the mistake I'd made with Grace at this age!  (And ironically, I used felt for Gracie's Foofa costume) 

We set up a clothespin drop with varying containers, step stools, and distances according to age.  :) Candy for all, prizes for those who tried.  3 and under had their own setup to ensure that they could win, too, because I swear it's the most frustrating game ever invented!  Even some grownups tried it... and failed.

So how was everybody else's Halloween?  Ours was fun, and the neon purple even washed out of Bit's hair! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tutorial: How to Make Commercial Rapunzel Hair Fit

So, your little girl is going as Tangled's Rapunzel for Halloween and you bought the hairpiece from Disney.  It's not made to be adjustable, so if your child has a head that isn't 18 inches in circumference, you're SOL, right?  Nope.  If your little girl has a head smaller than that, cut a bra strap off an old bra, including the little plastic jump ring, and whip stitch both the ring and the other side to the back of the crown.  Voila!  Adjustable headpiece. (I would, however, fray check the raw edge and turn it under first.)

If, like Grace, her head is bigger than 18 inches, it's a bit more involved. You'll need hot glue, a needle and thread, 1/4" pink grosgrain ribbon, a lighter, and 1/8" pink ribbon.  You might need an extra flower, too.

 Examine your headpiece.  The plastic band has two little tabs that when pressed in will take it apart.  The only problem is that the hair is glued to it.  Lucky for us, it's hot glue.  (Disney, I expected better than that!)  Gently pull off the flower, the hanging braid, and then several inches of the end of the braid crown on one side.  I chose the right. 

While you're removing things, You'll need to cut the ribbons and gently peel off the combs.  Be careful not to break them, because we're going to reuse them later. Also be careful not to cut the ribbon wrapping the plastic band or the hair.

Now, measure your child's head, and subtract 18" from it.  Add two inches to that and heat seal the ends by running them over the lit lighter. Fold under the raw edge, glue in place, and then whip stitch it for extra security.  You'll need to measure, keep measuring, and fiddle with the other side until it measures correctly.  Glue and stitch in place, and then try it on your child's head.

Now, we're going to reinforce it, because the braid is too heavy to hang from just one piece of ribbon.  So repeat the process on the other side of the braid, and then glue the two ribbons together.  Glue the braid in the center of the space (across from the pink center flower of the crown).  Now, cut a loooong piece of ribbon, tie and stitch around one end, and wrap the whole shebang.  You'll want to do criss-crosses on the braid to reinforce it.  Try to have enough ribbon to do two layers.  Glue and stitch the end.  Be sure to heat seal them so the ribbon so it doesn't come unraveled.   Position your flower.

If the ends of the braid crown are showing, you'll need an extra flower.  Glue in place, and with small stitches sew the wrappings to each other so they won't come unwound.  Now, if you want this stiffer, you could use a scrap of heavy-duty pellon interfacing on the back.  But I found that the ribbon is sufficient, and it helps shape it to Gracie's head.

 Now, let's talk about attachment.  The combs were oddly placed.  So I didn't put them where they'd been--I put them on the sides and glued them in place... at first.

The thing is, as I just proved, hot glue isn't the most permanent thing in the world.  It's fairly easy to pull it apart and even remove it.  So while the glue will hold it for a bit, it won't keep it there through everything, so you need the needle and thread again!  You'd have to pull off more hair to redo it the way it came, so a needle and thread are the way to go--especially since they wrapped the plastic band in ribbon.

I used between the combs and in that negative space inside the comb itself to secure it.  And I placed it right in the middle of the sides.  You can just call it good here and be done.

But if your little girl is anything like Gracie, this next step will insure that it stays on her head.  Cut 1/2 inch pieces--I did 10--of the 1/8 inch ribbon and seal the ends.  Put the sealed ends together and whip stitch them.

Take that, and whip stitch it to the inside of the band.  Repeat at regular intervals.  This gives you little loops to slip hair pins through to pin it to your child's real hair.

We're doing double twists that end in a low bun under the braid and securing it that way so 1) it won't fall off and 2) she can't just pull it off.  We've made it clear that she'll need to see her teachers for help to get it off if she needs to.

Disney didn't bother to seal the ends of the ribbon that's braided into the hairpiece, so even if you don't have to adjust it, you ought to heat seal that.  (It's funny, nobody smokes here, but I have several lighters just to heat seal ribbons!)

And now you have what Gracie terms to be the "beautiflulest" Rapunzel hair that actually fits and works!
And here is our little Rapunzel at preschool....
And getting her hair fixed. I did it in twists on the sides of her head and ended it in a bun before pinning in the hairpiece. The dress is one you might recognize from May if y'all read this blog--I made it as a birthday present for Grace from Simplicity 2065.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rapunzel hair, take 2

This is the Rapunzel hair that I ordered from the Disney Store.  I wish the flower really looked like that!  (It's limper and folded in on itself... but I think I can fix that.)  From the reviews, I knew the chances of having it fit Gracie were about nil.  It's made to fit an average size head, and everyone in the family tends towards big noggins.  Grace isn't an exception--she has a 21 inch head!  Turns out that it's meant for an 18 inch head, and I'll know more tomorrow if what I did worked after she tries it on again.  And that won't be until after school.  If it did, I'm planning a tutorial!  I figure I can't be the only person out there to buy a Disney braid crown only to have it be too small, and the fix is both simple and inexpensive.

I'm also working from a back up keyboard right now because Nicole, who shall hereafter be known as Imp, dumped juice in my keyboard causing half the letters to malfunction.  I bought a new one just like my old one but it probably won't be here until next week.  I prefer the one I had because I'm used to it, and the keys light up so that they're easy to see!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

KCWC--Day 7, last day!

And I did next to nothing.  Sewing on Sunday never works out for me, so I try to avoid it.  If I do it, it takes twice as long, I tend to ruin projects, and the results tend to look.... bad.  I did break out the iron and fuse the interfacing, though.  Nikki isn't quite old enough to understand that the iron is hot, so I do my best to avoid ironing when she's here.  So I spent my hour ironing instead of sewing.  Tomorrow, well, that's a different story.

I hope my materials show up to finish the Psycho Billy Cadillac Christmas dresses.  Don't you hate it when you thought you had something and it turned out not to be true?  That's why I had to order more stuff--my entredeux is UA.  So that was my day.  :) No church 'cause it's Stake Conference this weekend.  That's five or six congregations in the area getting together for a meeting. 

I'm going to try and sew the shirts together tomorrow.  And then I'll move on to crinolines, since I plan on more vintage dresses for them.  Gracie grew again, so I should probably do some remeasuring.  She's about three inches taller than the last time I measured her.  The Rapunzel hair should be here tomorrow, and from the reviews, I'm going to have to adjust it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

KCWC--Day 6

I wanted to get some sewing done, but after my SIL went to work, my brother showed up and we played with the girls instead.  But I did spend an hour and a half getting two white shirts cut out and the elastic for Nikki's Sunday diaper cover situated.  No, it's not sewn in yet, but I cut another two inches to add to it and trimmed off the ends of stitched, slightly mangled elastic ends.

Diaper covers are the second most boring thing I make.  But they're a wardrobe staple for babies and not easy to come by commercially.  With what fabric I tend to use, they're also cheap if I make them.  I almost always make a matching one for any baby girl clothes, and a handful of white ones to go with everything else.  And as for the white shirts, well... I scored some Strasburg jumpers for the girls that were missing the shirts that originally came with them, and if we put the shirt underneath, it stretches their sundresses for another month or two and gives me the space to whip out some winter dresses!

Friday, October 12, 2012

KCWC--Day 5

Sorry for the dark pic.  All I was getting was either too dark or too light.  Today, I adjusted patterns again to make white blouses for the girls to put under sundresses.  Sundress weather is just about over, so unlike a lot of clothes I make them, this is entirely practical!  I mean, they can go with jeans, too, or just about anything because they're plain white blouses.

I also ripped out stitching in Nikki's Sunday diaper cover so I can add more elastic to the legs.  I don't know what I did when I made that this time last year, but they're still blousy and a bit big... except for the legs.  Tomorrow, I'm going to try and get some actual sewing done!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

KCWC--Day 4

I've spent several hours today adjusting patterns.  Now the waistlines of the pinafores should fall in the same place as the waistlines on the dresses.  I also spent two more hours locating the lace the pinafore will be trimmed with and attempting to find the entredeux that is supposed to run up the bodice around the shoulder ruffles and around the skirt.  Couldn't find it, so I ordered more... which will set me back and make it so this won't be completed this week.  I'll do all I can, and then move on to the crinolines.  Grace needs the next size up, and Nicole outgrew hers a long time ago.  I didn't bother to make another for her because she hasn't had the full-skirted dresses that need one underneath!  But, well, this is a 50s base pattern and you need one to get the necessary fluff.  I've learned a few things since last year, like the fact that I should line the whole thing to prevent "ticklies" as well as "itchies"!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

KCWC--Day 3

I didn't quite get as far as I wanted, but it was my older brother's birthday, and I had to bake a cake--

And make cheeseburgers.  So instead of finishing the dresses and starting on the pinafores, I just managed to get from where I was yesterday, remember?

Yep.  Collar, fancy stitching, lace sewn on, basic bodice assembly done.  Today, I attached the cuffs (lots of handsewing there!), the skirt, had to fix an oops, sewed on more lace, hemmed it, and generally did all the finishing work.  So we went from what's on the left to this--

 For all that this is the Psycho Billy Christmas dress, I think I'm getting more classic and timeless.  But doing it this way was the only way I could get what I want. 

As for the oopsie, well, I got to the hem and measured the dresses, only to find that I'd made Grace's three inches too short, and Nicole's was five inches too short!  I didn't have enough fabric to redo the skirts, so I added a band to the bottom and then sewed lace over the join. 

I'd intended on topstitching the hem and hiding that with the lace, so it just required the slight adjustment of hand hemming them--which isn't always the easiest thing to do with CRIN!

I know these could use sashes, but since I'm doing a pinafore, it would make tying them awkward.  As many eras as these are, this will be Nicole's first vintagey-modern dress!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KCWC--Day 2

I actually got pretty far today, all things considered.  The plackets on the skirts are done.  (That lace looks really crooked in the picture, but I swear it's not.  *sigh* if it is, I'll be ripping it off!)  The bodices are sewn together.  I had the cuffs on, too, before I realized that I'd sewn them on wrong, so I ripped 'em off!  Tomorrow, I intend to finish the actual dresses and get the pinafores cut out.  I have to adjust the pinny bodices to the same length, but the Psycho Billy Christmas dresses are progressing.  Yeah, if I were making separates, I'd be finished with four complete outfits by now, but I didn't finish last years' dresses, so this is redemption for me!  And I may have to adjust my plans to try and make some winter weight dresses because the weather suddenly changed to cold.

Craft Fail

Not everything I do turns out.  Case in point--Rapunzel hair.  Gracie is required to dress as a storybook character for Preschool on Halloween, and since she already had a Tangled costume, we decided that Rapunzel was the way to go.

The idea was that by buying weave hair, we could make the hair for $4 instead of the $20 the commercial hairpiece costs.  And that much yarn, aside from being pricey, is heavy!  So I bought the two lightest colors of cheap braiding hair from the local beauty supply, cut pink and purple sparkly ribbons, and did my best.  And the result--a snarled, hopelessly tangled mess! 

We'll still fix Gracie's hair as we planned, and she'll still wear her My-Aunt-Laura-Made-It-For-Me Rapunzel dress.  But instead of a homemade Rapunzel wig, well, we cheated.  I may have to make adjustments to it, but she'll be wearing a commercial Disney hairpiece.  Lucky for me, it was on sale on their website and I had a coupon, so it was only $12 instead of $20.  I just wish I hadn't bought the kaneklon!