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Lunchbox Dollhouse

10 Jan

This was one of those projects that took weeks to come together, but was fun nearly every step along the way.  As the daughter of a high-school coach, my three year old niece gets brought along to games weekly for which she shows little to no interest at this age.  She plays with her “babies” for hours on end and I thought this might be a simpler way for her to bring babies and play house than dragging a bag full of dolls with her.

I started with a small purple metal lunchbox I found at my favorite Salvation Army store for  just a few dollars.  I went through my stash of scrap-booking paper and found a wood grained piece for the floor and bright colorful stripe for the wallpaper on the walls.  I traced the paper and cut out pieces so that it fit for the floor, and for the walls.  To adhere it to walls I laid a piece of cardboard in the snow, just outside the back door. On these I laid the pieces of paper upside down (one at a time) and gave them a quick spray with 3M Super 77 adhesive. I then quickly brought each piece and the super 77 in and adhered them to the lunchbox. Here in frosty MN when you don’t have a heated garage space, using aerosol adhesives can get tricky. The spray worked better than I expected. You can see the floor and the walls in the photo below.

Since it was the holidays, I wanted to give the dollhouse some festive decorations.  I found the holiday lights in the scrapbooking section on sale for about $2.00.   I then found an old magnet and applied some of the left over wall paper to the magnet with super 77.  I cut it into small pieces then used a piece of tape to adhere the lights every few inches to the magnets.  They will now stick to the wallpaper and ceiling allowing holiday lights to hang, but also blend in to the paper. I also cut out the shape of Christmas tree on a piece of felt and attached the lights to the front and the magnets to the back with a dab of hot glue.


Every house needs some family photos framed and hanging on the walls, right?  I took photos of my nieces family, minimized them, put a black frame around them and then printed them in color. For fun I also found an image of a television, Candyland, some books and images of plates of food.  I then used the super 77 to adhere them to an old magnet (reuse!) and cut them out with a scissor.

photos on magnet with edits

I also found a table and bed at the Dollar Tree for $1.00 each along with some small figurines that could call the doll house home.


I removed the existing bedding on the bed and painted them both with an acrylic paint in a bright pink sure to impress my niece.  I took fabric and made a small pillow, sheet and blanket. In fact the fabric was the extra hem left over from my bridesmaids dress I wore in my niece’s parents’ wedding nearly ten years ago!


In the photo below you have a clearer view of the floor, and the dollhouse decorated.


For the finishing touch I used my Cricut and cut out my niece’s name with Vinyl to adhere to the outside.  I also gave her extra magnets if she’d like to decorate the lunch box herself.


Here is another view of the inside with the books and food and game on the table.


IMG_1244It was definitely a hit!  I hear she has used it quite a few times already!

I’m linking up to:



Ski – u- mah!

2 Oct

If anything, writing posts for this blog has me completing projects for which I have been dreaming  for years. Such is the case for the shotski.  I had seen a shotski years ago when my childhood next door neighbor made one for his sister’s wedding festivities.  Since that time I had picked up not one, but TWO sets of old cross country skis for this project. One set I bought for $5 and the other I picked up for free at a garage sale.  First I removed the hardware with the help of my godson.

Next I sanded down both the top and bottom of the skis with some medium grit sandpaper and then wiped off the dust with a rag.  To note- one set of skis still had a horrible old wax on the bottom.  I used a stiff putty knife to scrape this off before sanding and painting.

Then I spray painted the tops of the skis lightly with a coat of paint.  I waited fifteen minutes between coats or until they were no longer tacky and gave them between three and four coats of paint. I let the skis dry, then flipped over the skis and painted the bottoms of the skis as well. Two cans of spray paint cost me $8.00

When the ski was dry I spaced out the five POKAL shot glasses I had purchased from IKEA for $3.00.  To adhere them to the ski, but still allow for them to be removed for easy cleaning I adhered them to the ski with velcro.  With the first ski I found the velcro stuck very well to both the shot glasses and the ski.  With the second shotski I have since made I used gorilla glue to adhere to the shotski as the adhesive alone was not strong enough to hold on the shotglass.  Make sure to give the glue time to dry if you need to employ this method for adhesion!

To decorate the shotski I purchased a sticker at the U of M bookstore and used a simple paper cutter to cut it down to size.

For the bottom side of the ski I placed the U of M chant Ski-U-Mah as requested by the friend for whom I was making the shotski.  Many months before I had ordered a multi-color pack of vinyl adhesive on Amazon with hopes of using this for a project.  Using my cricut I typed in the words Ski u mah and the Cricut cut the vinyl simply and easily and it adhered to the bottom of the ski without needing any additional adhesive.

Here are the gopher fans in full gear with their new shotski ready to tailgate.

Just a week later I made an NDSU version of the shotski for a silent auction in my hometown.  The shotski raked in $80 for the community theater.

Onesies, Twosies, Threesies, Foursies

1 Aug

I’m of that age when it seems nearly ALL of my friends are having children.  At times I’ve been a go-out-and-buy-it-off-the-list type of friend, but for those that I believe will appreciate the love and thought I put into it, I also make many of the gifts I give to them to celebrate their children’s arrival into this world.  One of my go-to items has been onesies for quite a  few years. From tie-dyed to logo onesies off the printer they’ve evolved, but thanks to a new sewing machine I have started appliqueing images and letters on onesies to specialize them for the babies and parents they are gifted to.

To adhere them to the onesies I use HeatnBond iron-on adhesive.  I follow the directions on the package to adhere the adhesive it to the back of whatever material I happen to be using.  This is a leftover piece of flannel that happens to match a blanket I made for the same baby.

First, I cut out the images I want to  create as an applique.   I cut these letters out using my Cricut, but you can just as easily print letters out on paper and cut them out with a scissors.  For another friend I made some animals and used to find a free  font from which to print out free animals (as text).  Next, I traced the image onto the paper side of the fabric/iron-on adhesive making sure to invert the number so that it faced the right direction. This is especially important with letters and numbers.

From there I cut out the “K” and followed the directions on the HeatnBond to iron it onto the onesie.

I then zigzag stitched around the Exterior of the K.  I would suggest practicing your stitch and finding a stitch length and width that appear right for your letter.  The more  applique work I do, the better they look. One way to hide some of those imperfections  is to choose a thread color that is the same or of a similar tone to your fabric choice.

For fun, I added a small heart on the backside of each of these onesies which I made for my cousins twin girls. I typically press the final product one more time before packaging it up as gift.

Here is the finished product along with the matching blankets I made for the girls.

You can see other examples of onesies I’ve made below, including a MN state and an elephant onesie I almost didn’t want to part with!

MN onesie to remind the parents of the fine state where they met!

Elephants are just cute!

Did you have any favorite onesies for your kids?  I’ve got a stack of onesies waiting in the wings for babies. What would you applique?