1

DIY Frozen Anna Cloak

Hi!

It’s that time of the year again where the kids want to dress up. Nope, not Halloween! It is the annual fancy dress competition at the local play centre.

Since I made a Little red riding hood costume for my younger daughter Anjana, it was absolutely necessary that something was made for elder one too, even though the frock would have been enough.

So, I promised to her that I will make a cloak for her to go with this frock. I had promptly assigned the task of buying fabric to my mother (my very own Superhero who rescues me all the time). Unfortunately, Santoshi tagged along with my mother for this trip. Which meant that the fabric will be in purple colour. After making sure that Santoshi understood that her choice of the colour meant that it will not be the same as Anna which we see in the movie or books, I started looking for tutorials on how to do this cloak.

Unlike little red riding hood for which I easily found the best tutorial ever, I could not find anything easy for this one. Most important reasons were: 1. I can’t sew properly and 2. I did not have enough fabric for the “easy” tutorials.

So, I went hunting for this tutorial in the digital domain and found this image. It seemed easy enough and did not need more material than what I had (at least that’s what I thought).

This is what I did:

  1. Cut the fabric to 36 inches in height (neck to mid-calf).
  2. Use the leftover fabric for the shawl (or collar – I am not sure what the right term is. For this post, let’s call it shawl).
  3. Hem three sides of the cloak and run a gathering stitch at the top.
  4. Repeat step three for the shawl.
  5. Add a red trim to the shawl to differentiate it from the rest of the cloak.
  6. Stitch the cloak and shawl together, aligning the top of both

That’s it! I did not have a clasp. So, I used a safety pin to secure it.

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This was also one of the easiest and quickest costumes that I had made. Santoshi was very happy with the outcome!

Thanks for reading this post! Until next time, bye!!

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1

DIY Little Red Riding Hood costume

Hello after a long time!

The last few months have been a bit busy for me and my focus was on reading abs podcasts – do visit Digital Amrit for book reviews.

Coming back to the costume, both my daughters wanted to participate in the fancy dress (dress up) competition in the local play centre. It is an annual thing (last time it was Pongal pot and Christmas tree).

After thinking long and hard and going through the kids wardrobe and the stash of fabrics (that I carry for no reason), I found the Anna frock (which was bought almost 2 years back). Luckily, it still for my elder daughter Santoshi. So, her costume was settled – though I had to make a cloak for it.

Now for Anjana, I had to do more thinking (beep beep) and I ended up with Little red riding hood – chosen by Anjana (yup, I believe in democracy so long as it is convenient and switch to dictatorship when the going gets tough). The costume seemed easy enough – a pretty frock, a basket with cookies but the hood? Turned to my guru Google who promptly directed me to here thank you Google and my sincere thanks to Meg and Steph for the tutorial.

Here is what I used:

  • 1 Metre of red velvet fabric
  • A small piece of yellow cotton fabric for the lining (only for the hood)
  • A small length of red fabric as ribbons

I pretty much followed the tutorial to the t, except that I used ribbon instead of a clasp.

On the d-day, Anjana was like :

Unlike the other costumes, Anjana was thrilled about this costume! I had made it about a week in advance and she just couldn’t wait to put this on.

Thanks for reading my post!

0

DIY Pencil Costume for kids

Hi everyone!

About ten days back, I received a phone call from my daughter Anjana’s school. The teacher told me that Anjana will need to be dressed up as “<I-couldn’t-hear-what-the-teacher-was-saying>” , that she has written a note in the diary and that I had to meet her at 9 am the next day. It was school dispersal time, so you can imagine the decibel levels in a kindergarten classroom. Making sure that each kid is picked up by the designated pick up person is an essential duty of the teachers and I did not want to take more of her time.

The note said that Anjana will be on stage as a pencil for the Science Day Celebration at school. Wow, pencil! Images of all kinds of cute and colourful pencils went through my head, I was elated. Unfortunately, Google let me down this down. No proper tutorial on pencil costume – at least, not the kind that I was looking for. Most of the images were kids wearing tshirts and leggings with pencil-tip hat on their heads. Not good, not at all. Others were costumes which I could buy online but they looked horrible. No words to describe the horror of some of the images that I wish I could unsee some of the images.

In the meanwhile, fancy dress competition came up and I spent my energy and time of those costumes plus my elder daughter’s theatre showcase for which we had to spend considerable time and effort on hiring the costume and taking her for the rehearsals and the show. All of these pretty much ate up most of the weekend space that I had. Now, with one weekend left, I had to make a pencil and I was still clueless.

Cursing my stars, I tried to mentally visualise what kind of thing would be easy to buy, easy to work with, light enough to be worn on stage and yet be sturdy enough to be withstand the handling of a 4-year old. Bending a sheet of store-bought cardboard will be disastrous because they are not meant to be bent. I used to be a hoarder of cartons until recently. After renovating the house, I felt the need to throw out useless (but sturdy and perfect-sized) cartons (mostly Amazon pantry delivery boxes – though their packing tape stinks – literally stinks – the boxes are unmatched in quality). So, now I was left with nothing.

Luckily, I acquired a JK Copier Paper box which had to do the trick. The box was about 12 inches in width – an inch more than Anjana’s width, lol!

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Apart from the box, I used the following:

  • Fevicol (glue) and Fevikwik (superglue)
  • scissors and box-cutter
  • bright colour paper (neon pink and neon yellow) – OR newspaper, paint and brush
  • gold and beige colour gift wrapper
  • black chart paper
  • brown tape
  • a circular plate for outlining
  • strings / ribbons

I did not click a lot of pics during the process because unlike the other costumes, I did not have the finished image in mind while doing this. So, I was doing my signature thing – making up as I go. I have included pictures below to explain how this was done.

Box

The box will be covering the torso while the lid will be mounted on the box for the head and above. Let’s start with the box first.

Box - bottom1

With the base (or bottom) facing up, leave the left side (flaps attached the to side of the box) intact. Open up the flaps on the right side of the box. It will look like this:

Box - bottom

Now, the left side of the box (left intact) will be placed on the child’s shoulders. So, cut out holes on the sides on the box:

Arm hole

The step above is for the right arm. Now, repeat it for the left arm.

Armholes done, it is done to cut the box for the neck part.

Neck

Keep the box aside and take the lid and reorient it:

Lid

We will be cutting out a circle for the face. Make sure that you leave a couple of inches gap for the neck:

Face

I do have a pic at this point – when I first drew the circle for the face, I forgot to leave some space for the neck. Thankfully, I remembered before cutting it – that’s why you see multiple circles. After cutting the circle out, just below the circle, cut open the flap – this will ensure that the flap does not scrape against the child’s neck. It also helps in gluing the lid to the box.

Now, mount the lid on the box. The lid is (obviously) a bit wider than the box. So, fold the lid a bit at the sides to match the width of the box. Secure this assembly using superglue or regular glue and tape. Or, heavy duty stapler, if you have one.

mounted

At this point, I started covering this thing with bright coloured paper. Be sure to cover the sides too. I had bought 4-sized colour paper and it took a lot of effort to the paste them on to the pencil. When I was almost done, I realized that I could have pasted old newspaper all over and painted it with whatever colours I wanted. It would have had lesser joints than what the pencil currently had!

Now, the tip of the pencil. The box was fully used up for the above. So, I used an Amazon delivery carton for the tip. My first attempt in attaching the tip to the top of the pencil failed miserably (not pictured here). So, I made the tip using this shape:

pencil tip

Before sticking the tip to the pencil, cover the tip also with the colour paper. I use a beige colour paper for the entire tip, then stuck black to the pointy end on top (sharpened graphite lead) and a wavy-edged pink (sale colour as the pencil) for the rectangular part.

Using superglue, stick the tip to the pencil. Since I am unable to explain using words, please see the pics below: Place the tip on the pencil aligning rectangle A over rectangle B – bring green rectangle denotes the overlap. This way, the tip will start to taper from the top of the pencil.

pencil top overlappencil top overlap1

Well, almost done now.

Since the colour paper joints were showing up, I used strips of gold paper as accents to cover up the mess. With that done, using a ruler and a pencil (or a stencil if you have one), cut out “HB” in the black paper and stick them sideways towards the bottom end of the pencil.

One last step and we have it ready: tie one end of each ribbon to the armhole so that the loose ends of the ribbons can be wrapped and knotted behind your child’s back.

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With Anjana inside:

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Yup, you guessed it right! She does not like the costume. But, this is what she will have to wear for the show.

Thanks for reading this long post. Bye!

2

Easy diy witch costume for kids

Hello after a long time!

I hadn’t realised that reading books would leave me with very little time for doing other things like craft activity with my kids. Not that I have had the patience to sit with them cutting and sticking bits of paper, but never mind.

Since we were taking my elder daughter to a different city for national art competition, the younger one (Anjana) had to stay with my mother. The timing wasn’t great because it was from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night. That’s the time when she has no classes to attend and we will be generally try to bond over the button snipping game using Kindle fire. But, oh well, it’s my mother’s problem to keep her occupied until we came back.

The week before, Anjana came home running to announce that she was going to the Halloween carnival at the after school activity centre as a witch and gave me a ‘muahahaha’ kind of laughter. Two hours of playing, running around, jumping up and down will be fun for her and give some respite to my mom. More importantly, I would feel less guilty for leaving her behind for a day and a half.

Also, my creative muscles were itching for some activity and how cumbersome can a witch costume be. When the rest of the family had gone to sleep, I was staring at the glow in the dark wall clock in the bedroom, I tried to rake my brain for an easy way to make a witch costume. I had already taken a day off during the week, so I will only have a few hours in the morning of Saturday to quickly put something together.

Anjana didn’t have a black frock, neither did my elder one which could be resized for Anjana. I was not buying a frock just for Halloween party – sets bad precedent, you know, as a parent, it is a strict no-no, especially when there is more than one kid in the family. I mentally scoured through her wardrobe for something that could refashioned. Nope, there wasn’t any except for a black and grey-striped tshirt. Which means, I only need a black pinafore and here’s the good news – pinafore is easy! No, I can’t sew one, but I can buy a camisole which would cost about INR 100. That’s less than USD 1.50, given the current exchange rate.

If pinafore is taken care of, that leaves me only with a witch hat and a broom. Though Anjana will be more than happy to take the broom that is used to sweep my house, I needed to make some lightweight broom, so that people don’t roll their eyes at her, “Is that from the broom closet of their house?” Nah, I don’t have a broom closet. My husband had recently ordered a tripod to hold the camera/phone for video-recording. The box in which it came was kept outside the house for trash pick-up (no, my husband didn’t know that I needed cardboard box for the broom). The box made its way to my not-so-secret stash in my kitchen, waiting for its turn to become the broom.

Next, though I had a vague idea about witch hat, I looked up to Google for some validation. I, for one, don’t believe in “validation comes from within”. Whose idea was it, anyway! Wikihow gave me the comfort that my idea was in the right direction.

Alright, enough of blabbing, let’s move to how it was actually done. Let’s start with the broom because that’s the easiest.

Diy broom using cardboard and twig

Things you need:

  • Cardboard (any delivery box from Amazon will do the job)
  • Box cutter
  • Twig ( just a little shorter than your little witch) strong enough to survive rough-housing for a few hours by a dozen kids
  • A metre or two of polyester yarn or twine
  • Glue
  • Packing tape
  • Scissors

Using the box cutter, make thin strips out of the cardboard. Please make sure that you use a base / board while you cut the cardboard strips. Who wants scratches / cut marks on their table or kitchen countertop? I used my oversized clipboard which silently takes on the scratches.

About 20-25 strips will do. The strips were around 10 inches in length.

The reason for using a twig is that it looks more authentic (pardon me because my knowledge of this kind of broom comes from the series The Worst Witch which Santoshi binge-watches) and it would be stronger than cardboard which might bend. The last thing I wanted was my daughter crying at my mom’s house that the broom was broken. Since Santoshi wasn’t going to the Carnival, I didn’t want her to feel left out. So, on Saturday morning, I sent her on a quest for the right twig. She sent downstairs to the garden to pick up a twig. I told her that her twig should start from her shoulder and end at the tip of her fingers. She proudly brought 3 twigs, two of them were quite thin but the third was perfect and was the chosen one.

Now, apply glue to one end of the twig – about 3-4 inches and start stitching the strips to the twig.

After sticking the strips, wind the twine/yarn tightly around the strips. Then use packing tape to secure them. If someone tells you that you are using too much packing tape, stay away from them. You don’t need that negativity in your life.

Now, let’s move on to the hat.

It is pretty much similar to Wikihow. There is a circular base on which a conical shape is mounted.

Things you need:

  • Black chart paper. I didn’t have craft foam as used in Wikihow. When you don’t have something, don’t run to the store; just improvise!
  • Cardboard
  • Measuring tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Circular object for marking the outline. I used the lid of my laundry basket and a plate
  • Pencil/crayon
  • Needle to poke a hole
  • Elastic band
  • Decorative items – I used the yarn to make a tassle

Mark the outline a quarter of a circle on the black chart and cut it out.

Fold it to make a conical shape.

Glue the edges so that the chart stays in shape. wikiHow had used a wire to keep the cone upright. My chart paper was sturdy enough to stand upright on its own.

Measure your child’s head circumference so that you can trace out a circle for the base which is an inch or so wider than this measure. I used a plate to mark the circle for the base – cardboard and black chart. Paste the chart on the cardboard.

Now, the glue on the cone should have dried. Make 2-inch incisions at the base of the cone.

Open them out and add glue.

Mount the cone to the base and let dry.

Once dry, poke two holes diametrically opposite each other and loop the elastic band through the holes, tying a knot at each top end. This makes sure that the hat stays in place.

Add decorations of your choice. I added a tassle using bright pink yarn.

Wind the yarn repeatedly around your fingers (20 times) and snip one end.

Using a short length of the same yarn, tie the top end together. Now, using glue, add it to the top of the hat.

For the pinafore, I bought a camisole which was plain black all over. Added a dash of colour to it using bright orange satin ribbon – trims at bottom and at the neckline and a bow at the waist.

She was mostly happy with the costume but didn’t like the bow in the pinafore and was upset that the broom didn’t fly. Duh!

My mom reported to me later that evening that the broom didn’t survive the carnival. That’s ok. We knew it would have a short lifespan.

End of day, I loved doing my little project and Anjana was happy. That’s all that matters.

Thanks for reading the post. If you like it or not, please leave a comment and share the post. Bye!

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The Sanyare Chronicles – the happy accident

Hello everyone!

Been a long time, isn’t it? Well, with a full-time job, two young and energetic kids and home renovation going on in full swing, my blog has also collected as much dust as my home now. Majority of my posts have been my experiments with craft and costumes and of late, my kids don’t seem to be enjoy being the guinea pigs and I have zero patience for any craft projects, let alone the time and ideas that are essential.

A month back, I had to buy a skipping rope (jump rope if you are in the USA) for my 7 year old who was attending a summer camp. This little shopping trip meant a little walk in the shipping district of my city to go to the toy store where I can do some window shopping of pretty, fluffy bears, not to mention the side benefit of about 20 minutes of me-time. So, I declared my intention of not taking my daughter along and sneaked out of the house.

By default my eyes scanned the mailbox for interesting. Last year, I was part of a Christmas card exchange with my friends (mostly in the USA / Canada). That’s when I used to regularly check our mailbox. Along when the cards, I also started collecting the postage stamps. I now do have a decent collection of stamps. That particular day, I saw an envelope which saw a typical greeting card sized one addressed to my husband and it was mailed from the USA. Interesting! But no stamp, only franking; so, disappointing in a different way.

But, what was inside? It was definitely not a greeting card. I looked at the sender’s name: Haskell. No clue. May be some small, niche computer part manufacturer, perhaps? (my husband is a techie, fyi). But, the package did not seem suitable for small, fragile items. I felt the envelope from all angles to see if it was anything else that my husband haf ordered from eBay which was shipping from the USA. But, hardly any chance of that because I am the forgetful one and he always tells me what he orders, where it will come from, etc.

Curiosity was killing me. I called him over phone to check what it was (too lazy to go three floors up to ask him in person, plus it might jeopardize my me-time to the toy store). He told me that it was from an author and he will explain once I was back home. I couldn’t stop thinking of the envelope. My husband does book reviews, ARC’s too and a few of the authors have sent him signed copies of their books. But this was not a book; it was small, lightweight and flat. I made a run to the store, picked the first skipping rope that I saw and skipped back home.

Back at home, I immediately gave the skipping rope to my daughter without a word (usually I would give her a sermon on value of money, the importance of taking good care of things, the consequences of not taking care of it, blah blah blah) so that she would be occupied while I could open the envelope and see its contents.

For us, unboxing is an important event by itself. We look forward to unboxing (be it a new PS4 or a new case for my phone or any Amazon package for that matter) – we sit on our sofa facing each other, keep the box between us and open it carefully, checking all of its contents one by one, sometimes click pics (like the serial number, etc).

During the unboxing ceremony, my husband told me that he was part of a street team group of this author. Wait, what’s a street team group? Similar to ARC (advance reader copy). Aaah, ok. The envelope had stickers and postcard sized illustrations about the book. Wow! He told me that the books had a strong female lead character and assured me that I will love these books.

I was still working on the podcast of the earlier book (The Maze Runner). The understanding between us was that the next set of books will have to wait until I finish the podcast of the current one. So, once that podcast was published, I started with the first book and soon was drawn into the series. Listen to the podcast on my thoughts of these books. The text review will soon be available at Digital Amrit.

I am soooooo excited about the new books that are coming up in this series – a companion novella will be out soon, followed by book 4.

Until next time, bye!

2

Christmas Tree Prop using cardboard

Hi!

I know there is already a post of DIY Christmas tree prop which was more of pin-up to the t-shirt kind of prop. That was made to fit Anjana’s t-shirt and this was for Santoshi. Read here on how I had to make one more costume this time.

Things used:

  1. Cardboard
  2. Colour paper (green and brown)
  3. Christmas decorations
  4. Scissors
  5. Glue
  6. Box cutter
  7. Marker

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Step 1: Draw a Christmas tree outline on the cardboard (mine is a very rough drawing; guess that’s my signature style apart from poor finishing)

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Step 2: Cut to shape.

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Step 3: Using glue, paste the green paper and start decorating. Sorry, not many pics because I was running out of time.

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Here is Santoshi with the prop:

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Here is the rare pic of a Christmas tree sitting down and hugging a Pongal pot:

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Thanks for stopping by! Do leave your feedback in the comments section.

3

Pongal Pot Costume

Hello there!

This is yet another DIY costume post – this time it was Pongal pot.

The after school activity centre was conducting a fancy dress (costume) competition and initially I thought, “arrgh, ditch it! I have no ideas and no time, more importantly, no motivation”.  I had to Santoshi to the dentist for her half-yearly check-up and conveniently blamed the appointment for my laziness.

But, the dental clinic called that morning and cancelled the appointment. I did not know how to react. A part of me wanted to make costumes or props and the rest of me was like, “you already made your mind up; so, no costumes”.

Somehow, I persuaded myself to go to the nearest stationery shop for ideas. A bulb went ding, glowed with all brightness – a Pongal pot for Anjana. There was not even the faintest spark for the second idea or prop. It would be absurd to send both kids as Pongal pots.

The stationery was located at a corner and when I turned, I noticed the shop which sells decorations for birthday parties, etc. That’s the shop from where I had bought Christmas decorations for Anjana’s classroom. So, Santoshi had to be the Christmas tree for the show. I bought cardboards for both, Christmas decorations for the tree and cotton for the Pongal pot (to be the pongal which boils over from the pot).

This post is only on the Pongal pot. The Christmas tree post is here.

Things used:

  1. A sheet of cardboard
  2. Golden colour paper
  3. Stickers, satin ribbon and colour paper for decorating the pot
  4. Cotton roll (sorry it looks like toilet roll in the pic below)
  5. Glue
  6. Brown tape (my trusted companion in making props)
  7. Scissors and box cutter
  8. Marker
  9. A circular lid and a small plate
  10. Hat (fitting your child’s head) and binder clips

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Step 1: Using the lid, draw the pot and the pongal on top

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Step 2: Cut to shape

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Step 3: Cut a circular hole (using the small plate) close to the top for the face.

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Step 4: Apply glue

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Step 5: Paste the colour paper and press to remove air bubbles

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Step 6: Start decorating. I added a strips of paper / satin ribbon and stickers. Then, I made wavy lines and dots using glue and sprinkled white flour over it and let it dry.

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Step 7: While it dried, I pasted cotton at the top as pongal. Take a small piece of cotton, fluff it and paste it on to the cardboard, making sure that the cardboard is not seen. Let try

 

Step 8: (sorry no pic): Using binder clips, hold the front side of the hat to the top of the circle from behind. The hat will hold the prop in place.

The finished pot:

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Here is Anjana as a Pongal pot. After she put it on, I realised that her face was much smalelr than the plate. Never mind, there is always next time.

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment.