Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to Make Rapunzel Hair

I made Rapunzel hair for my 3 year old for Christmas, and I discovered that it's surprisingly easy - and cheap.  She loves it, and you can style it and restyle it several different ways.  Braids are recommended, however, to reduce the occurrence of tangles.

 This is how I made the hair:

two 7 oz thingers of yarn (you'll use about 1 1/2) - I used Red Heart - Cornmeal (color)
Big fat detangler comb (pictured below) - it's the best thing to comb yarn with
sewing machine
two chairs
child's head

To begin, figure out the desired length of hair.  I measured from the top of the head to the floor, plus 6-12 extra inches. (Remember, hair gets shorter when you braid it)  Place two chairs far enough apart that when you wrap the yarn around it will equal double the desired length.  My child complained about the hair only reaching the floor at first, but I explained to her that it would be unreasonable for it to be any longer.  It gets pretty heavy to drag all that hair around.  It this won't fly with your little one, I've seen Rapunzel hair that's just a thin braid wrapped around the head that drags much longer.  Personally, I think my way is much more elegant.

Tie the end of the yarn to one of the chair posts and start wrapping.  Be careful that you don't accidentally cause the chairs to scoot in while your wrapping.  That happened to me with the first hair that I made, so there's a couple different lengths. Empty the first ball of yarn, tie off the next one and start wrapping.  To make it easiest, I put the ball of yarn on the floor and guided the yarn in my left hand and wrapped with my right.

 Pictured below is how thick I made it.  The end thickness will be double this since this accounts for only half the hair.  You want enough hair to cover the child's head, but not too much, cause you don't want it to get too heavy. Snip the tied off ends and pull the hair off, keeping it securely in your hand so it doesn't shift around and get messed up.

Get a little string and tie it off at the top to keep it secure.  On to the sewing machine!

 Sew that fatty glob of hair through, remembering to back stitch at beginning and end.

 Now, when you pull on the hair at the beginning and end of the seam, the seam will elongate. Do this.

Then fold it in half and sew on the seam again.  It shouldn't elongate anymore after that.

Now, we brush the hair with a big fatty comb, like thus...

 and snip the loops on the end of the hair.  Trim it up to look even.

Now, we style the hair.  Put child in front of the T.V. and place the seam on top of the head, starting at the hairline, with yarn falling on either side, with the bulk of it in back. It should cover all the hair on the head. You'll probably need that big fatty comb again.

 The chunk of hair that I'm holding in the picture below is important.  It holds the hair on.  Get two chunks of hair (one from each side) and pull it around to the back of the head.

Tie it off at the base of the head, nice and snug, to hold the hair on.  Now, braid all hair.  Tie it off with a ribbon.

You may notice that in the pictures of the first Rapunzel hair I made, there's a braid across the top and front of the hair.  This is a little piece that I braided separately and sewed on.  Originally, I used it to hold the hair on, as I pulled it around back of her head and tied it under her hair.  I've discovered, however, that it is uncomfortable and that securing it the way showed above, works just as well, and much more comfortably. You can still add a braid in the front, if you wish.  I would take a chunk (unattached from the sewn hair) the same length (double length) as the rest of the hair and braid it and sew it on at the seam.  This will give her two braids hanging down in front.  You could also do the same thing, just braiding the portion that will be on the head, and incorporating the rest of it into the main large braid. That way, you'll have the braid across the top without the two braids hanging in front.  (I would have done this with the second Rapunzel hair, but I ran out of yarn.)  Lots of options.  This is a fun and easy project, and your little girls will love it.  It's also a cheap wig idea for halloween costumes.  Hmm, is it time to buy some black yarn?

Oh yes, messy children may require washing.  I haven't tried washing the hair yet, but I imagine it's possible.  I would make sure it's braided tight, then tie it into a pillow case, and wash it on a gentle cycle in the washing machine. Or, you could hand wash it.  But, like I said before, I haven't tried it yet.

Happy crafting!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Kelsey Needs a Friend

This is a little movie my two-year-old, Kelsey, and I put together the other day, just for fun.  It's about a princess who needs a friend and her wish is granted by a magical goat.  We had fun with it and it turned out pretty cute.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I can't help it, I defile my child's coloring book.

This post is for the Hess' who baby sat my toddler and found the first coloring book I defiled.  Some people get confused cause the pen drawings look like the coloring book drawings.  Don't be confused. If something looks out of place, it's cause I put it there.

Click on the pictures.  It's better if you can read the page's coloring instructions.
"You won't believe what I found, Ariel."

Poor Pumba

Why would those girls come to Bell's wedding anyway?
They came for Gaston.
The real reason she needed to be home by twelve.

Unidentified floating lights.

You know it's all about the bling.

Jasmine and her frog prince.  Oh wait, wrong fairy tale.

The Original Bonnie and Clyde

It may as well have been a mace.
How many hits to the head with a frying pan can one man really survive?

To all vegetarians an haters of fast food.

Introducing the secret side of Aurora.
What's that behind your back, Auroa?
Oh, nothing you need to worry about Flora.

Home from a good day's hard work.

Prince Philip knows how to win her heart.
Even creepy people have happy endings.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reusable Fabric Gift Bag

As a hobby, I make reusable gift bags for Christmas, birthdays, whatever.  I usually keep them in the family, but people are more than happy to be gifted them.  They're fabulous.  No wrapping paper waste, and Christmas Eve wrapping is a cinch!  Drop gift in, pull strings!  Even husbands can do it!  After my husband kept grabbing christmas bags to wrap my birthday presents, I decided it was time to make birthday bags as well.

This is how I make reusable gift bags.

You need:

a piece of fabric that is 2-3 times longer than it is wide

rope or ribbon for the drawstring that is 4 times the width of your fabric.

sewing machine, thread, measuring tool, marking tool, pins, tape, large safety pin, and pinking shears (optional).

To Make Bag:

1. Finish the top edges (and possibly side) of your bag using either an edge finishing stitch, peeking sheers, or a narrow hem.   If the top edges are selvedges, I usually leave them and call it good. If I'm using a highly fraying fabric, I will finish the side edges also with an edge finishing stitch.  For cottons, I finish the side edges with pinking shears later on.

2. Fold fabric in half hamburger style, right sides together, and pin.

3. You will need to mark where you want the rope to come out of the bag and leave a break in your stitching there.  On both sides of the fabric, mark at about 3 3/4 in and 3 in from the top of your fabric, creating a 3/4 in hole.  For larger bags, you may want to mark further down and possibly have a 1 in or larger hole.

4. Sew up the sides, breaking the stitch between the markings.

5. Trim with pinking shears. Iron seam open.

6. We want to sew the seam down on either side of the rope hole (or you'll regret it later as it will pull through with the drawstring).

7. Fold down top edge with wrong sides together, overlapping rope holes by at least 1/4 in. Measure to make sure it's even.

8. Mark location of rope holes by poking pins from the inside out, and marking with fabric marking tool.

9. Sew stitches across mouth of bag on either side of rope holes.

10. Turn bag right side out.

To Thread Drawstrings:

This requires two drawstrings, each double the width of your bag.

1. To cut your rope,  first tightly wrap a small piece of tape around where you are cutting.  Cut in the middle.  This way, you avoid instant annoying fraying.

2. Attach a large safety pin to the end of one of your ropes, behind the tape.

3. Thread it though the rope hole, all the way around until it meets back at the other end of the rope.

4. Tie rope ends together.

5. Attach safety pin to the other rope in the same manner.  Thread it through the hole where your other rope ends are not coming out.

HINT: To make life easier, you can now pull the loop end of your first rope through and attach the safety pin near the tied end of the first rope and use it to pull your second rope through.

6. Second rope threads all the way through and is tied at the opposite hole from your first rope.

All done!

I gave away this little bag as a wedding present to dress up the otherwise boring card and money.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Last week in El Salvador

During my last few days in El Salvador:

We went to a large park that used to be a coffee plantation.  Because people used to work this land, there's a village smack in the middle of this park.

As you can see from the pictures above and to the right, mango season is beginning.  I hope that means more delicious mangos in our Logan Bountiful Baskets.

They have a saying here.  "Si hay pobres pero no hay hambres."  Translation, "There are poor people but there are no hungry people."  Very appropriate for a place where food literally falls from the sky. My dad's been hit by a falling mango during mango season. Apparently it hurt.

At the coffee plantation park we found our first non-ghetto play ground.  Those are awesome banana trees next to it.

My mother and Kelsey looking cute.

  This is how bananas grow on trees.  The awkward looking dangling participle is the flower.  

The ladies posing in front of banana trees.

The park had a super cool bamboo forest.  It just makes you want to snap a bunch of sticks off and take them home.  Yeah, good luck with that.  Hope you brought your machete.  Bamboo is notorious for its non-snap-off-ability, which I was reminded of as I tried feebly to yank some pieces off.

When the wind blows all the bamboo trees sway and creak and click together.  It sounds really cool.  Therefore, I've posted a video of it, which doesn't do its awesomeness any justice.

My last day there we were able to meet up with our old housekeeper, Loli, who worked for us while we lived in El Sal as a family.  I was in first and second grade when I lived here.  Loli was very excited to see the grown up me and my mini-me.  It was a good visit.

It was interesting to hear about her life.  So different than our pampered American lives.  She was one of 7 children.  Three have died and one has not been heard from since he tried to immigrate to the US (illegally) with the help of a Coyote.  Presumably, he didn't survive the extremely treacherous trip. We were the only family Loli worked as a housekeeper for.  After that, she sold fresh produce door to door to her clients.  She no longer does this because she no longer needs the money to support her children, who have moved out, and her and her husband can live off his pension, which is about 1000 bucks a month.  But most importantly, working her vending business is simply too dangerous.  Anytime anyone runs any kind of a business in the villages they become prey to the gangs.  They will come to you and demand a certain amount of money.  If you can't pay up, they will kill your family.  Simple as that.  The gangs keep everybody down so businesses can't prosper, and people don't work unless they absolutely have to to survive.  And we wonder why people risk their lives to come to the United States illegally.  Loli's family has received a couple gang threats via phone calls.  They call up and say give us your bank account number or we'll kill your family.  Her husband, who answered the call, suspected that it was a false threat because the phone number appeared to be coming from Guatemala.  He cleverly said, oh, I'm not from this village, I'm from such and such village.  The man making the threat said, well, where's that?  It became obvious to Loli's husband that they were not going to be found.  If the man was a local, the threat would have been real.

P.S. I survived the plane rides home.  It was a ridiculously long day but all went well, I didn't kill Kelsey out of tired irritation, and I'm still pregnant.  I thoroughly missed El Salvador for the first couple of days back.  It's all brown and wintery here, and where are the parrots?  Sigh.  I guess geese, magpies and a very low homicide rate will have to suffice.