Thursday, June 30, 2011

cozy coupe gas to electric conversion (free dash sticker download)

There's nothing quite like an early morning garage sale to get you going! The bebe and I ended up going across town to this one because the Craig's List ad promised lots of kids yard toys. I had my eye on a Radio Flyer wagon (which turned out to be a different model, and more money, than I'd been dreaming of). Instead of the wagon, we hauled home this sweet ride, a turquoise and orange Cozy Coupe with a $5 price tag. One of these was on my wish list as well, and my little guy LOVES it!

Ooh, I had a ton of fun cramming it into the front seat of the car.

It had been outside a bit, so the dash stickers and warning tag on the back were peeling and flaking. Not something I wanted the kiddo putting in his mouth (and you know he would).

It was the perfect opportunity for a Cozy Coupe gas-to-electric conversion! I did a bit of research to see what the dash of an electric or hybrid vehicle looks like, and then put these new dashboard displays together.

And of course, because there was a half sheet of sticker label paper left after designing the dashboard displays, the kiddo also got this "I'm Great!" Oregon license plate!

I added a line on the bottom edge of the plate sticker that has some of the safety warnings of the original sticker, just so that we remember the weight limit and the ban on steep hills and whatnot.

Download your own sticker label sheet here:
Cozy Coupe Dashboard Stickers

For best results from home, print on 8.5 x 11 inch, full-sheet label paper, using a laser printer. Or have a print shop print these for you on vinyl for truly weather-safe labels!

Have another idea in mind for dashboard stickers, or need a different license plate? Contact me for details.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

wonderland, part 7 ( summer 2010 )

A little more from last summer's production of Alice in Wonderland. These terrible photographs show a little of the process and materials I used to make the rose bush costumes, from the scene in which the Queen's cards are painting the roses red.

These are inspired by these dandelion hats from Pushing Daisies.

I sewed the base hat from the same vintage pattern used to make the hats for the Children of Hearts, but with the crowns extended to be over a foot tall.

This is so that the hat could conceal a half of an eight-inch foam ball. The ball was held in place with a little hot glue. Later, a circle of green felt was stitched over the exposed styrofoam inside the hat to keep foam bits out of the kids' hair.

The hat base. The chin strap secures in place with velcro, necessary because of the height of the hat.

Cut individual flowers on stems off of a few fake rose bunches. (If I hadn't been on such a tight budget, I would have more than doubled the number of roses per hat. As it was, between the three hats, I used a total of five dollar-store bunches of each color) The pin was used to poke pilot holes through the felt and into the styrofoam, so that the stems of the roses would go in more easily. Poke a hole, place a rose, repeat over entire hat.

The leaf mitts are the easiest part of the costume: trace around the hand in the shape of a leaf, making sure to make it extra-large and including some seam allowance. Cut 4, two for each mitt. Make a simple cuff with a doubled-over rectangle of felt that, with seam allowance, fits fairly snuggly around the wrist.

This would be a fun project to try with other kinds of flowers as well, or with feathers for a strange bird hat, or maybe mini feather-dusters for the dandelion look in the inspiration photo.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Promised: shots of this room in progress. I'm not always awesome about updating the blog on a project from start to finish (there are still, for example, a few dozen Alice in Wonderland shots from last summer that I keep meaning to post), but I'm really excited: a) to have the back room useable (the kiddo loves to wrestle pillows on the bed, and bounce, and read Heedley Pecked Me in the Eye for the umpteenth time); b) to have completed such an insurmountable task as cleaning the space out; c) to be able to have visiting friends and family stay with us when they visit, as opposed to a hotel, a campground, or someone else's house. Have I mentioned how grown up that makes me feel at age thirty+? Really, really, really.

Here is the earlier "in progress" shot from a few weeks ago. The headboard is a cut-down old door from Bring. The bedframe came from Craigslist. No, we did not get robbed at gunpoint.

And here is a current "in-progress" shot. The room isn't done yet (is any room in our house ever done?), but you can see, we'd now be comfortable hosting guests here.

The sheets, dust ruffle, and white curtain panels are recent Target clearance. The name-embroidered pillow is a re-worked wedding present with fabric from Ikea and Troismiettes. The coffee sack bolster is made from the remains of the coffee sack I recently blogged about here. The small rectangular pillow is a Target clearance item from four or five years ago, unearthed in The Great Clearing, with added vintage button details. The grey tweed wool on the square pillow came from the Assistance League of Eugene thrift store shortly after I moved up this way. The finger paintings are the work of my favorite baby boy, hung with vintage wooden pant hangers.

This next photo shows a close-up of some really cute little tiki shot glasses from Archie McPhee, repurposed as tiny planters for some hens-and-chicks and baby tears (don't succulents have the best names?). You can see these in the previous photo as well, on the headboard.

Shown here is the night stand vignette, also still in progress.

The night stand is the first piece of furniture my father's parents bought together after their wedding: a sewing machine table. Inside the hinged front panel is where Grandpa, an electrical engineer, attached the foot pedal to the wall of the cabinet so that Grandma could use her knee instead of her foot to operate the machine. This was probably VERY helpful with little kids around; I've discovered how much my kiddo likes to go after the pedal of my own sewing machine when it's sitting on the floor. Being able to keep it away from little hands while in use as well as when put away is pure genius.

The little spatterware pot is something I picked up at the Olde English Flea Market last weekend. Great for holding the watches and earrings of house guests. The book is the aforementioned Heedley, which is well-loved around here. The lamp is a piece of red cedar we kept from our old rental house when we left. The mister cut both ends flat and sanded off all potentially splintery or pokey parts, and I attached a lamp kit.

The search for the perfect shade has turned up this St. Vinnie's drum shade ($2.50). It's not quite right yet, but I'm still considering how to change it into something fabulous.

The window wall. The clock was on the wall for thirty+ years at the BookMark, the first bookstore to ever employ me. There used to be a large sign over it that read, helpfully, "CLOCK". I still have the sign somewhere, too. The barn star only looks old; it came from the craft store. The tin "Days o' Work" art is actually an antique chewing tobacco mold that came from the Salvation Army's local antique/vintage store, Tea & Crumpets. It's a regular old Salvation Army store now, but for awhile it held a pretty awesome collection of 1920s-1930s inlaid British wardrobes, old photographs, and glassware.

Our Ikea chair folds out into The World's Most Comfortable Cot. People have been sleeping on this in our living room or {former} office for years. Now it makes this room perfect for guests with kids. The corduroy pillow is a Fred Meyer clearance pillow (from six or eight years ago) that I tufted with some buttons. The coffee sack pillow is blogged here. The pillow covers on the seat of the chair were purchased with the bedspread (see bed photo) at Value Village. More about that in a minute.

One of my favorite collections, rediscovered in this room a couple of months ago, is my collection of vintage rackets and paddles. You can find these inexpensively at almost any thrift store, but one of these is my hubby's high school racket. Can you spot it? It's the one peeking up in the bottom left corner.

This is the first racket I ever bought, back in high school. The Salvation Army used to run a salvage store in my home town. Maybe they still do! You could buy clothing there by the pound, and I did. I think I paid a buck for the racket, too. Everything was way underpriced, even by thrift store standards. I later used the racket in a college tennis class, and the PE teacher thought it was awesome. Still strung tightly, with lots of bounce. The Scrabble letter sign (from a vintage 1970s set found at Value Village) takes on a double meaning when displayed with the rackets.

There are a million little details I'm still working on, and I'm saving the closet makeover for another post, but this should give you an idea how things are progressing. It's been so much fun arranging little treasures in here, and we've spent more time in this room in the past couple of months that we have in the past five years. It's been like increasing the size of our house by 10%, and we love it.

One last note, and a nicely lit bed view: The bedspread you see here came from Value Village, together with the two pillow covers you saw on the chair seat. They were a deep charcoal gray when I bought them. Too dark, I thought, for the room, but I liked the texture, and the size and price were right. So, despite knowing better from years of textile and surface design classes in college, I decided to try and fade the color with bleach.

Bleach doesn't just fade black. In fact, if you soak most black textiles in bleach, you'll get some variation of yellow, brown, or orange, not white. I ended up with a bedspread that was Beaver State orange. Over-dyeing with Black Velvet and Jeans Blue Dylon dye turned it chocolate brown. Not at all what I'd intended, but it'll do for now. Sometimes dye accidents aren't the end of the world. In this case, it goes nicely with the reproduction Swiss army blankets from Mills Fleet Farm.

There you go! Consider yourselves updated!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

mega-score at the thrift store

As the kiddo starts stacking and building, I've been thinking about adding to our small collection of MegaBlocks and Duplo.

And then it happened: we were at St. Vinny's looking for a lamp shade on a day when all green tagged items were fifty percent off. High on a shelf in the toy aisle, a clear plastic bin was tucked back. The green tag on the top of the bin said "Leggo's $7.99".

The box includes a couple of horses, arches and turrets, several Megablocks cars, and about two dozen animal and people bricks.

I think after they're sanitized, some of them will need new faces due to sticker peeling.

Others might need new faces due to general creepiness.