Sunday, February 16, 2020

Felt Doughnut Tutorial

It's been party-central on the blog here lately because it's my favorite way to create (and it involves so many DIYs that I have lots to talk about!)  So bear with me a few more times as I share about my daughter's 3rd birthday party and all the fun elements within it.  Today I want to show you how I made felt doughnuts. They were used as decor & then the kids at the party got to take them home as a favor to use in their own play kitchens!  So even if you aren't planning a party, you'll definitely want to read on and make these for your own imaginative play! Because after all, there's never a bad time for a doughnut.

[This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. This allows me to continue making new content for the blog. Thank you!]

Have you ever read If You Give A Mouse a Cookie?  There's a whole series that includes the original mouse cookie, Moose a MuffinPig a PancakeCat a Cupcake and of course Dog a Donut (just to name a few). Our whole family loves these books!  My daughter's birthday party was themed around the series, meaning that each table or section was based on a different book.  This table was all about Dog and his donut!

I found this great tutorial on felt doughnuts and used the basic idea to make my own.  I'm not sure why she left an opening on the outside though so I changed that and also sewed the topping on before turning it.  Hope that makes it a bit easier for you (and less hand sewing so it's faster!)

First cut out your circles from felt (2 pieces) and cut a hole from the middle of each.  Then from a different color felt, create an icing piece (also with a hole in the middle).  I hand embroidered some sprinkles on it then top stitched with my sewing machine to attach it to my felt.  Don't forget to keep the middle hole spot open for turning!  Here's how it will look once the icing has been attached:

Next, take your 2 pieces (one just the tan felt, 1 with the frosting attached to the tan) and putting them right sides together sew all the way around the outside of the doughnut.  Keep the middle hole open. It will look like this when this step is done:

(The photo above is of 2 different doughnuts. On the back of it you will only see tan. On the front you will see the stiching from your frosting) It's like a little sandwich from the side view.

Next, carefully turn the doughnut inside out using the open middle hole.

After everything is turned right side out, use Poly-fil or another stuffing to give the doughnuts their shape and blanket stitch the middle hole closed.  It's easiest if you do a little stuffing, a small batch of stitches, some more stuffing, some more stitches until you make it all the way around.

The blanket stitch gives it a secure hold for a long play life and is visually a prettier stitch for projects like this (it's also a very basic, beginner stitch so it's easy to do!) 

That's it.  These doughnuts are pretty easy in terms of dimensional felt food and are about the cutest things ever!  We did all sprinkles with different colored frosting but you could do plain, just frosting, drizzle, nuts, the possibilities are endless!  What would you put on yours? Would you use them for a party like this (or an entire doughnut themed party?) or just for play? Let me know & follow me on Instagram!

Friday, February 7, 2020

'Toy Story' DIY Birthday Party

I am all about having fun birthday parties on a budget.  Creating memories and making it magical without buying a bunch of stuff that ends up getting tossed a day later.  Not to mention, I find joy in creating so having a big outlet for it makes me happy.  That's why I've blogged about birthday parties time and time again.  Here's a few from the past:

Book theme
Big Adventure [girl]
Construction theme
Tutus & Tools [girl]

For the first time ever, one of my kiddos actually wanted a cartoon-based theme: Toy Story.  Our house has become TS obsessed so it was no surprise to me (we dressed up as TS characters for Halloween too *here's a photo of us*) and I knew that it was going to be a fun and easy theme since it's such a common/popular one.  Pinterest has lots of ideas, a few in which I did but I also added a few that are new. So scroll on down and hopefully be inspired to create your own Toy Story party with almost all DIY elements!

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products I used in my projects.  Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

Let's talk decor, food and my favorite- activities! First up...


The easiest way to decorate the walls for a Toy Story party is of course- Clouds!  It's a classic symbol from the movies and all you need is white paper. I also (very last minute) made an etch-a-sketch design on a white board and hung it up to add something else to the wall.  Looking back I wish I would have added red paper around the outside to make it look more real, but it was a late night, last minute thought.  You win some, you lose some.

Using some miniature toys that were too small for table decor and my son's little letterboard, I made it look like Buzz put together a special message just for him:

I also made some cardboard blocks and painted them to spell out my son's name.  These were surprisingly time consuming so if you are going to do them, start early!

As for the table decorations, I separated them into themes a little:

Grab a collection of "Toy Story" toys like Woody, Buzz, Rex, etc. and stack them on tables with books and blocks.  We didn't own any of these toys a the time (he got them that day as gifts!)  but a friend of mine let me borrow everything from her.  Thank goodness for friends!

On one table I did Woody & Rex with books and blocks and hung "Woody themed" colored balloons above it.  On another table I did Buzz Lightyear with some cars (and of course the Pixar ball!) and hung Buzz colored balloons over it. It's all about positioning here- see how his foot is propped up on a block and he's holding the ball?  You don't need to spend a lot of money, you just need to get creative!

On both the Buzz table and our third table (with a Chatter phone from Toy Story 3- found that at a yard sale!) I ran a long roll of white paper down the center of the table and placed cups full of crayons on it so that guests could doodle while they enjoyed the party!

While the paper & crayons is sort of an activity, I have 2 even more fun ones coming up.  But first, let's talk...


Over the years I have come to the conclusion that the easier the better. I used to plan a ton of interesting foods and it stresses me out.  This year, I ran with the "Pizza Planet" theme from Toy Story and ordered pizza for pickup! Best idea ever.  Just pick it up and bring it home.  If you can find a Pizza Planet Truck toy, set it next to the boxes for instant decor.  If not, even print out a photo of the PP logo and put that next to it.

I also placed a Mr. Potato head next to bags of "Potato" chips (again... so easy!) and made fruit kabobs with the card "You've got a friend in me" (you know, because the fruit is all hanging out together like friends- ha!)  Lastly I made a green drink "LGM (Alien) Juice" and sweet tea (labeled "to infiniTEA and beyond)

We also made cupcakes and placed them on the "Blast off Rocket Cupcake Stand" (I got mine from Party City for $6 and it's so sturdy I saved it for future use!).  The frosting is just blue, purple and green mixed together in an icing bag (Buzz Lightyear colors) and topped with the same colored sprinkles (I think I found them at Walmart).

My son had a very specific idea for his cake- asking for a picture of Woody on one side, Buzz on the other and it to look like a galaxy on the side.   Since I have zero artistic skill, I used a transfer technique similar to this, except I only piped the outline instead of making it entirely filled in.  On the sides, I started like I was doing an ombre icing and let it mix together some before adding Wilton Galaxy Sprinkles (a little pricey but worth it. They are cool and we are still using them up!)

I wish I would have used a transfer for the words too but I clearly overestimated my handwriting skills too. My son didn't care, so that's what matters.

Now onto my favorite part:


There are lots of 'Build a Forky' kits in stores & online but the character is chip board instead of an actual 3D utensil so I didn't like that idea.  Instead, we created our own.  On a table I laid out plastic forks & spoons, googly eyes, some sharpie markers (to draw the rest of the face), pipe cleaners, some generic play dough & cut apart craft sticks for the feet.  On a long piece of paper I wrote out the steps on how to build it (just for fun since it's pretty self explanatory) and set up a letterboard displaying the activity as well as a little embroidery I made previously:

[Photo from my Instagram page. Please follow me for more fun crafts!]

This was a fun little activity for people to do together!

Look at those great Forkies!

Then of course, was my big project for the birthday- a custom handmade Toy Story 'Face-in-Hole' (see my post on how to make it HERE).  My son specifically requested this and I knew I could make it.  It ended up being really fun for me to do and we still play with it every day 3 months later!

Lastly, my son had asked for a claw machine but seeing as I was already making the face-in-hole I thought that wasn't an option.  Then we remembered that his grandpa had a small one at his home.  In typical grandparent fashion, when we mentioned it, he spent a good amount of time making sure that it worked with individual bags of gummies per the birthday boy's request. (these kids are so spoiled aren't they? hehe) Needless to say, the kids loved playing it! Thanks grandpa!

Lastly, we whipped up this "Birthday Buzz" shirt, designed by the birthday boy himself (with some help from mommy!) using our Silhouette Cameo and heat-transfer vinyl:

I hope you've enjoyed seeing all the fun elements from our Toy Story birthday party and are feeling inspired to make your own. Some ideas are easier (or faster) than others but are all DIY and totally fun for a kids' party! Which is your favorite part? Don't forget to follow me on Instagram!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

DIY Pretend Play Ice-Cream Toppings

I don't know if it's because my children are blessed with so many Christmas celebrations (read: spoiled by family) or because we have managed to raise little humans who are thankful for what they have but when I told the kids that their "big" Christmas gift from us (they still get some things from Santa) wouldn't be finished by Christmas, they were totally fine with it.  Honestly, I planned for it to be done pre-Christmas Day but as is often the case with DIY projects... I got a little behind.

So that's why I'll be sharing parts of this gift over the next few weeks here on the blog... because well, I just got it done and gifted this weekend.  It's the truth, it's messy, it's real life.  Aaaanyways, keep on reading to see how I made these custom ice-cream toppings to fit the pretend ice-cream we already owned.

[Discloser:  This post contains affiliate links to products used in this project.  Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you, which I use to put back into my blog/projects. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

A little backstory: My daughter (2) has recently started playing "ice-cream shop" every day.  Sometimes with our Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Set, sometimes just with her imagination.  But each and every time she would ask me what topping I wanted.  Of course, it's always great to simply use our imaginations but I thought that her and her brother would just be tickled if they could actually add 'toppings' to their ice-cream.  I figured the company would have some for purchase but after repeated online searches, I found nothing.  So I decided to make my own. Join me as I show you what works and what doesn't:

What Doesn't Work:

My first thought was to make entirely new scoops of ice-cream, using a similar technique as these faux whipped toppingsProblem: They are made out of spackling.  After doing some research, it seems that spackling isn't super safe and since my kids sometimes actually lick their play ice-cream I decided it wasn't worth the risk.

My second thought was to use school glue and paint to create a drip (like I ended up doing in the photos above). My first one went really well and then I dropped it on our couch. No joke. Paint everywhere. The next day I tried to make more and could not get the consistency to be thick enough.  Below is the clear school glue with sprinkles (beads) on it and it was so thin that it dripped too much and couldn't keep shape. Even mixed with paint, I couldn't get it to work.

What Does Work:

So finally I figured it out. Hot Glue. First things first- cover your ice cream scoop!  You want to be able to remove it without ruining your nice play set.  Plastic cling will melt, so I used aluminum foil.

Next, simply squeeze hot glue out onto the top of the aluminum foiled-scoop. Glop it on top, occasionally letting it fall over the edge to create longer drips. It's easier than it sounds and the hot glue & gravity really does the work for you.

The one problem I can't get past is the aluminum foil sticking once the hot glue has dried. I was hoping to peel away the foil from the inside but it's pretty hard to do.  The plus side is that for the drizzle toppings, paint covers the top and for the clear base toppings (like sprinkles) it does show through but doesn't seem to be very distracting.  I would still love to hear any ideas that anyone has for removing it (or using something else in place of it) so please comment or message me letting me know what you think will work! I did try to grease it with non-stick but it discolored the glue.

Once the glue is dry, use non-toxic acrylic paint to paint the top of the glue.  Personally I would not paint the inside because it might discolor your store bought ice-cream scoops over time but it's up to you.  For sprinkles or other toppings like that (we used brown beads for toffee/nuts and rainbow beads for sprinkles) carefully drop and press seed beads onto the glue while it is still hot.  Be careful not to burn yourself!

I ended up creating 4 pieces to start with.  Two were drizzle flavors- chocolate and caramel/butterscotch...

...and two sprinkle type toppings- a rainbow sprinkle and a toffee/nuts:

You can see how the aluminum foil shows through on the toffee/nuts one but it really doesn't look bad at all and my kids don't even notice!

Here's a few peeks at the toppings in action. They just set right on top of the store-bought scoops but because they are molded to the shape, they don't easily fall off. It's almost like they "snap" on!  Now my kiddos can offer their customers a wide variety of ice-cream and topping flavors!

If you don't already have a play kitchen, see how my husband turned an entertainment center into an amazing play kitchen !

What flavors/toppings should I do next? My favorite ice-cream is "Coffee Toffee" so now my kids use chocolate ice-cream and toffee bits topping to make it for me.  It's so fun!  If you have any ideas for something better than aluminum foil (or how to remove it better) please let me know & don't forget to follow me on Instagram for crafty ideas straight to your feed or just to chat!

Looking for more play kitchen DIYs? Check out these other projects I've made for our play kitchen: felt pasta , personalized apron , felt decorated cookies , even DIY seasoning salt ! 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Face-In-Hole DIY - "Toy Story"

Before I even begin with this post, let me just say that I cannot believe it is 2020 already. It's one of those things that seems like nothing because it is what it is but also like- WHERE DID THE YEAR GO?!  So please excuse me while I go stress breathe for a few minutes.

Okay, I'm okay now.  A couple months ago I briefly shared on my Instagram page that my son (age 5) asked for a "Face-in-Hole" at his birthday party.  Being as he rarely ever asks for anything specifically, I figured I should oblige.  Of course I had no idea how to do it and I have ZERO artistic skill despite being so crafty so I came up with this plan that ended up being incredible easy to do.  Seriously y'all- it turned out so much better than I could have expected and although it took some time to do, it wasn't very hard. [disclaimer: I had my husband do all the wood cutting!]

Just in case you would ever like to have one at your birthday/baby shower/bridal shower/totally rockin' part-ay, let me share with you how we did it:

[Dislaimer: This post contains some affiliate links to products I used in making this project. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

[I don't know why but this is one of my favorite photos. Project half done,big ol' glob of paint on my neck, crazed look on my face. It's really got it all.]

- 1 large piece of Lauan Plywood (this is ideal because it is sturdy but thin)
- A few 1x4 boards (to use on the back to help it stand up) 
- An assortment of acrylic craft paint 
- Paintbrushes (I used foam ones like these
- Projector (don't worry, you can DIY it easily!)

First things first- if you don't have a projector, you CAN easily make one.  Being as my husband is a teacher I was sure I could borrow his but apparently they don't use them anymore so I had to find another way.  I wish I had taken a photo of my ugly-as-sin concoction but basically I used an idea similar to this one. It wasn't pretty but it got the job done.  I also used an actual piece from an old projector and I think using a magnifying glass like they suggested would have been a lot better.

Next, cut the lauan plywood to whatever size you would like. Consider the height of most of your guests (people can bend down some and kids can stand on stools too). Then using the projector, pull a photo up on your cell phone that you want to trace. I used two separate photos to get the different poses for our Buzz, Woody and Jessie characters (Toy Story).  Adjust as need be to make the photo fit your wood piece and trace an outline in pencil.

As you can see, I also wrote the colors on my Buzz Lightyear trace so that I didn't accidentally color one of his sections wrong.  The other two were obvious enough I didn't need to do that. It's covered with paint so if you trace light enough, even the words wont show through.

After it is traced, cut out holes for the faces -SAND THE EDGES- and bring inside to paint.

Now the hard part is over and the fun can begin.  It takes some time, especially with detailed or multi-character boards but I finished painting this one in just a few nights working a few hours a night on it.

Color big sections, common colors (like they all had white on them) and bottom colors (Like the shirts and vests which have patterns printed over the top of them) first and let try completely before moving on.  Try to plan ahead so that you aren't rubbing your arm over wet paint as you go back and forth across the large board.

As you start to get more details it might get you all excited and hyped up that you will want to pull an all nighter just to see it finished (ask me how I know).  After the painting is finished, cut your 1x4 boards and screw them into your plywood in the back in an "L' or triangle to prop it up.  We also added some weights to the finished 1x4s to give it extra stability since so many kids would be running around it but that's up to you.  The lauan is pretty light for being so large so it's not likely to hurt anyone if it does fall over but use your best judgement.

If you are doing Toy Story characters as well, Buzz has the perfect size head for kids where as Woody and Jessie are great for adults. (You could always size them all the same, but I kept it more true to their actual shapes)

But it's so fun that even with 3 kids in each one, it is still looks great!  

This was a big hit at the party and an even bigger hit with my kids.  I was able to bring my son's idea to life and help make his birthday that much more special- and really, that's what it's all about.  Now I just need to figure out what to do with it because it's still sitting in our playroom! And yes... they still play with it!