Monday, December 26, 2011

The Man Fort

My boychild has complained a lot that we do not have trees for a clubhouse, so for Christmas I made him a fort, which he deemed the "Man Fort."

I found a cool tutorial here and then I made changes to make it my own.

Because I have a boy, I figured it needed to be sturdier than the one dowel rod through the center, so I added two dowel rods along the sides.

All the holes lined up, but when I added all the dowel rods, one leg would not touch the ground. I pouted for a day and then bought four more "legs" and started over. The same thing happened. I was at a loss and without my Dad or Grandpa around to tell me what I am doing wrong, I had to do some major problem solving that lead to the front legs being shorter than the back. For some reason this worked and it doesn't wobble anymore.

I sewed the fabric where it would slide over all the dowel rods. It can only be removed by taking the whole fort apart, but it is doable in the event it needs to go in the wash.

 I also added a solid back and a front flap so he could be enclosed and have the privacy a clubhouse would give him.


The Super Awesome Fun Show

My son loves puppets. We went to a local shop in town and they had a puppet theater for $85. I can't bring myself to pay for something that is so cheaply made, so I decided to make him one for Christmas.

I bought some wood. It was about $26 for the press board. I don't have dimensions because it's another thing I have just worked through.

I used a drill and cut a hole into the press board and then cut out a rectangle. Then, I cut a 2x4 in to smaller pieces and used them for legs to make it sturdy. I made cutouts in the center of the legs so the press board would fit into it snug. 

My first attempt at painting it was unsuccessful. I used Krylon primer and blue spray paint. It sucked. I was feeling down because no matter how many tutorials I read about spray paint I cannot do it.

I was at Walmart talking to a guy in the paint section when a helpful man that worked for Krylon walked up to me and started to give me well needed advice. 

I ended up going with a latex based paint.

My sister-in-law used her Cricut to cut out the lettering for me.

I used a dowel rod to hang the curtain and small hooks to hold it up. 

I think I may eventually add some chalkboard paint on the bottom so he can add showtimes.


The boychilds Raving Rabbid Costume

My son is a genius... the kid can convince me to make anything. I would never go through this much trouble to make something for anyone other than him.

Back in July,  he and I were cruising around as we normally do on Saturdays and he said, "Mommy, I've decided what I want to be for Halloween and it's going to take a long time to make so I wanted to tell you now." 

Our conversation goes on and he tells me he wants to be a Raving Rabbid. "A Raving Rabbid? How am I going to make that?" He replied, "You'll figure it out, I believe in you!"

Those were the words that got me, "I BELIEVE IN YOU!" I couldn't let him down and I didn't. I worked on it until the Saturday before Halloween. 
I completed it and I must say that it is one of my finest accomplishments. 

Let's note that I didn't start on it until late August: 1: because I am a slacker. 2: because I had no idea how the hell I was going to complete this task.

 I new I was going to paper mache the head, because it seemed easier that way.

I started with one of those giant popper balloons that have a rubberband on it because they are round and not egg shaped. I used a flour and water mixture for glue and then cut the strips of newspaper to dip into it. It came out lumpy and not smooth like I wanted. :(

I cut ears and teeth out of a cereal box and attached them with masking tape.

Using a felt like material,  I added a two layers to the body and didn't sew it closed so I could stuff it later. 

It was longer than needed because I needed it that way so I could attach legs.

I measured out the size I needed for the legs.
(This is where the directions trail off for a while, obviously I was just trying to figure out what to do next)

Partially stuffed belly and detachable gloved arms. 

 When I was at the fabric store having a meltdown about the texture of my mask, an older lady told me to use liquid starch from the laundry section and follow the directions for paper mache. I did several layers with newspaper with liquid starch-- it came out perfectly smooth.  (Thank you random lady who listened to my problems.)

At first I was going to spray paint the mask white, but I was worried about fumes so I only sprayed the ears and teeth white.

Once the spray paint dried, it was a different shade than the body, so I decided to cover the face with the same fabric using a spray adhesive. The front was perfect, but the back looked a bit like puzzle pieces or, if you prefer, Frankenstein.

 The eyes are a bouncy ball from the dollar store that I  cut in half, spray painted white and glued to the head.

 My son asked for red eyes, so I painted them on with acrylic paints.

 I added tulle to inside of the head for the mouth.

 I stuffed the belly and attached the velcro on the back for closure. The bottom I left open so I could attach the legs.

 Added lips.

At last minute the boychild decided that his Raving Rabbid needed to be from this specific game.

So let me get this straight... he wants a costume for his costume? WOW! The words "I BELIEVE IN YOU" started to echo.

 I used a faux leather to make the eye patch and belt, then I used a strip of red fabric for a bandana, whicht I glued together on the backside.

 I cut a two pirate hat shapes out of a cardboard box, as well as small sides to secure it together.  

I spray painted the eye patch black.

 here is the paper mache pirate hat and the completed belt.

 Once it dried, I spray painted it black and free handed the pirate rabbid and crossbones with white acrylic paint. I added a fabric tongue to the tulle.

You can see how large the head is in comparison to my kid.


I got lazy toward the end of this, and decided not to attach the legs to the body. I actually attached them with large safety pins to his jeans. The bottom of the feet were made of what I will is likely vinyl tablecloth material.

With the legs being detachable, bathroom emergencies were not a big deal and saved me a lot of additional time.

When he was trick or treatin', kids recognized him as a Rabbid and that made him very happy.

I received a ton of thank you's and hugs from a very grateful little boy.


Friday, October 14, 2011

An imperfect monster cake for my perfect little monster

My son requested a monster cake for his 8th birthday that sent me scouring the interwebs for ideas. While searching we ran across this blog, and he had to have THAT cake. I made a few changes to the cake to make it my own.

 I did three 8-inch rounds. The top layer was funfetti, middle layer was strawberry and the bottom layer was chocolate. I used orange dyed buttercream frosting between each layer. I dyed all the frosting with Wilton's orange gel.

 Gave the cake a base layer in case the fur didn't cover in some spots. It didn't have to be perfect because it will be covered.

I didn't know how I was going to make the mouth so I bought Sugar Sheets and cut out a mouth and teeth.

I used the Wilton color mist food coloring spray to color the inside of the mouth black. It was a pain. It doesn't ever dry and remains tacky. Later in the day, I found out just how brittle it actually was. 

The mouth before I added the "fur". 

 I don't actually own any cake decorating tools, so I borrowed this from my neighbor—I have no idea what this tip is called.

I piped the fur from the bottom up with short strides up the side so the hair would overlap. Once it was time to ice the top, I started from the center and worked out in stripes.

For the cake balls, I used left overs from each layer and added in leftover frosting.

I didn't have a recipe so I kind of winged it, but they seemed to come out fine. You want them to be soft and firm at the same time because you're going to put a stick in them. You start with just a little frosting and add more as needed. Roll in your palms to get a perfect ball.

This was my first time to make and frost cake balls and I really had no idea what I was doing (the story of my life). The eyes weren't as smooth as I wanted, probably because I didn't melt the Wilton's Candy Melts well enough. The candy was white chocolate and I used the orange Wilton gel to dye them. The way they turned out would be perfect for a mummy cake.

 Once they cake pops cooled, I used a dab of white frosting to secure the candy eyeballs in place.

I was afraid to stick all the cake pops in before it was transported to the birthday party, so I only have this picture. I would suggest taking a picture of your completed cake before the party or you could end up with the problem below.

When I pulled the cake from the carrier, it caught the mouth and tore it. I took the birthday candle and shoved it into the tear. My kid thought it was cool, so no harm, no foul.

My cake balls didn't turn out smooth, I ripped the mouth, but it was tasty and it all worked out in the end. 

Everything is trial and error when you have done nothing like it before.