Nativity Stable Tutorial

7:18:00 PM

I when I was young, my mom began collecting a nativity set made by Fontanini. We loved them because not only were they beautiful, they were made of rubber, so we could move the pieces around as we pleased without the worry of them breaking.

When we got married, I missed this nativity set, so I scoured Ebay and found a set (sans manger) for a steal of a deal. I had the intention of adding a new piece every year like my mom did, but because I started out with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, three wisemen, a shepherd, a sheep, and an angel, it has been sufficient. This year I will get one more shepherd, but I also wanted a stable. Fontanini stables are expensive, and though craft store stables aren't too bad, but I wanted to try and make one.

It was a fairly easy project if you have all the supplies and it only cost me $3.50 worth of moss and $0.50 worth of hot glue, because I had everything else.

Here is a tutorial:

  • 1 box used to hold canned goods (my box held 12 cans of corn)
  • 1 box used to hold produce (this box was extra sturdy, but you can double up layers of cardboard to get a similar effect
  • Brown Kraft paper (or a couple of paper grocery bags)
  • Stick and twigs
  • Brown paint
  • Duct tape
  • Hot glue
  • Modge Podge or simple Elmers glue
  • Wood glue
  • Sheet moss (I used ProFlora preserved sheet moss--Walmart)

  • Utility knife
  • Pruner shears to cut the sticks
  • Hot glue gun
  • Foam paintbrush

1. Create a curved base out of the produce box.

2. Cut off the corners of the canned goods box and add cardboard from the produce box for the roof. Attach with duct tape. Obviously you can make the roof asymmetrical or symmetrical.

3. Rip pieces of brown Kraft paper or paper bags. Using Modge Podge or Elmer's glue to attach pieces to the stable. Attach paper to sides, roof, back and inside of stable, but not the floor part of the stable.

 4. Attach the stable to the base with duct tape. Cover the rest of the piece with torn Kraft paper.

5. Cut sticks and twigs at various length and attach to stable with wood glue (hot glue would be fine as well) as desired. I attached sticks along the roof line, in the corners and to the back of the stable.

 6. Water down some brown paint. Paint the corners and edges of the paper. Blend together with water. This will add texture to the stable, as well as highlight the torn edges because they soak up the paint more than the parts of the paper that aren't torn.

7. Attach moss with hot glue. It helps to spread and tear the moss so you use less moss and the color isn't just solid green.


fun crafts

felt flower clips

2:21:00 PM

I've been collecting wool felt over the past couple years from old clothing pieces and little store-bought squares piece by piece. I love the feel and look of wool felt. It's so soft and rich.

Recently I've been watching old movies at night. But since I don't know how to do just one thing at a time, I started making felt flowers for hair clips and pins while I watch. It has been very fun. Here are a few:

 Red Red Rose

 Have you seen how these are made around pinterest? Its just a scalloped spiral all rolled up. Simple.

Brown and Gold Autumn Flowers

 This is just a spin off of the very simple spiral rose.

Cheerful Daisy

These are much more time consuming, but I love how they turned out.

dress up

Family Halloween 2012

2:57:00 PM

We had a good Halloween this year aside from Jack getting sick and not being able to go trick-or-treating. Total bummer, I know. At least he did get to go to preschool (before we knew of him being sick) in his costume and sing Halloween songs for us. That was fun.

Rosie was in heaven trick-or-treating. Stroller? check. Candy? check. Seeing friends and being social? check. I don't think I could have invented a better night for her. She did inform someone who was passing out play-dough and toys instead of candy that she wanted candy. Luckily, a two-year-old's high-pitched "nanny?" isn't completely understandable so I think it was okay.

This year, three of us followed a theme-- Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Wendy, and Rob was on his own being a mushroom. He wanted to be especially cool and unique for work, so he stole the idea from our nephew and won "Most Original Costume." It was worth it. He did look great.

This is our only family picture (taken on Rob's co-worker's iphone). It was taken right before poor Jack made it known to us that he really was sick and it wasn't just the dinner I made him the night before as he claimed.

"See? This is my pixie dust!" Note: one of my roommates gave the pixie dust to me when I was on a real fairy craze. :)

"Okay, Tink, let's fly!"

dress up

Tinkerbell costume

8:23:00 PM


Rosie was Tinkerbell this year for Halloween or "Bell" as she calls her. Tinkerbell is basically her favorite character, so it worked out great.

"See the crooked wings Mommy made me?" :)
with a jack-o-lantern
collecting fairy dust

Costume Construction

I made the dress with the purpose of it being a church dress but also working for Tinkerbell. I've perfected the pattern and have a how-to for the scallops that I plan on posting soon.

The tutu skirt is just some green gathered tulle sewn to stretch fabric.

The "wings" are just a piece of sheer fabric torn and pinned to the dress. I had big plans to do the hanger-and-tights wings, but a piece of fabric is so much easier. When I was young and my sisters and I needed wings for our pretend play, we tried to make the fabric extra long so we could tie it to our wrists and really flap our wings!

Shoe construction found here.
Note: I would have cut the fabric a whole inch taller to cover the shoes completely after sewing elastic to the bottom.

Sparkles came from aloe vera gel mixed with glitter and glitter in the hair secure with hairspray.

The end.

dress up

Mushroom Costume

8:19:00 PM

Rob was a mushroom this year, stealing the idea from our nephew who is a mushroom expert (and was a mushroom last year). Rob didn't want to join in the Peter Pan fun and wanted something more unique. He won "Most Original Costume" at work! It really did look great.

Costume Construction

All white pants and shirt, white face and hair.

Sign that says, "Fly Agaric Mushroom, Amanita Muscaria" just makes it officially nerdy.

Paper grass taped to shoes.

Red umbrella with freezer paper dots ironed onto it. The iron must be on a pretty low setting so you don't melt the umbrella.
Note: This works well for an adult, but I think it would fall apart for a kid. For a kid, I'd recommend that office label paper. I'm pretty sure you can buy it in whole sheets. Or spray paint works well (this is what our nephew used).

dress up

Wendy Costume

8:14:00 PM

I was Wendy this year. Mostly because I didn't want to think too hard to figure something out. Also, the idea of wearing a comfy nightgown was very appealing. I really wanted to be Mother Nature again, but I cut up the costume like a non-thinking-ahead person. It was too much trouble to make it again, although it might be my choice next year. :)

Costume Construction

Altered blue nightgown from secondhand store.

Two HUGE bows. One for hair, one for tie. I loved wearing them.

Black ballet slippers or Mary Janes.

I LOVED wearing this bow.

dress up

Peter Pan Costume

6:33:00 PM

Jack was Peter Pan this year for Halloween. He loves the movie and was very excited about it. When asked what he would be for Halloween he would excitedly declare "Peter Pan!" then add, "and Rosie will be Tinkerbell and Mommy will be Wendy and Daddy will be a mushroom."

"Think of a wonderful thought! Any happy little thought!"

"Take that!"

Costume Construction

I made the tunic and hat in a similar way to the tunic and hat I made for him with the Jack and the Beanstalk costume. (Sorry, the pictures in the tutorial are bad.) I cut the edges of the tunic zig-zaggy and made the shoulder seam longer so it would be more like a sleeve. I finished the edges using a wide zig-zag stitch.

I made the belt and dagger holder out of some vinyl I had lying around.

I scored the light green velour pants at Gymboree (girl section) for $3.

I made the shoe covers in following what I did for Rosie's shoes. I just added more fabric on the top and scrunched it together with an elastic.

The end. :)

dress up

costume shoe covers for Halloween

10:36:00 PM

Rose will be Tinkerbell this year. She will wear this dress with a little tutu and some wings. Sadly, she doesn't have any adorable green ballet slippers, so we went with the covering an old pair of shoes option. Surprisingly, it's really easy!

Step 1
Start with stretch knit fabric (from a t-shirt or the store). This part is essential in making this process easy. Cut a strip of fabric twice as tall as the shoe and as long as the shoe is around. Wrap the strip very tightly around the shoe. About 1/2" will go under the shoe all around. Pin in place.

Step 2
Trim the fabric to fit the shape of the shoe. Don't cut too close to the edges, or it won't look good. :)

Step 3
Trim the back, where the pins are, turn fabric right sides together and sew (zig zag). Put back on the shoe and mark the center front part of the shoe. Sew a short zig zag line.

Step 4
Press the extra fabric at the front down and pin in place. Zig zag stitch along the edges.

Step 5

Decorate however you would like!

Step 6
I'm still working on this one. The covers need to stay in place somehow. I think I will try tacking the extra fabric under the shoe to the sole. I do not care too much for the shoes anyway. In the past, I have stitched across and every-which-way at the bottom, but this takes a lot of work, and the thread/yarn wears out with walking.  I think though that the best way may be to stitch a sole to the bottom of the covers. Of course, that's more work, but it wouldn't have to look good.

fun crafts

what to do on a rainy evening with stained shirts

11:58:00 AM

Tuesday evening all planned--outside yard work. The garden needs clean-up, lawn needs mowing and trimming and weed killing, sprinklers need fixing, plants need planting. You can tell we had our work cut out for us.

Well apparently we forgot to see if the weather would cooperate. It said, "No way are you coming out here tonight!" So instead of doing the other work that needed to be done (the whole inside of the house), I pulled out a couple of stained shirts, freezer paper, paint and brushes. The kids choose their jack-o-lantern designs--"I want him to have a moostache!"-- and we went to work.

I let the kids paint the orange part of the pumpkins (4 yr old--good idea, 2 yr old--not the best) and we let them dry. Even Rob got in on it by trying out a splatter pumpkin on one of his old shirts. (Coolest idea ever, but because he crafts very little, the execution was not as he would have liked. We'll see if he tries to fix it.)

You can see how happy Rose was this morning.

We worked on another Halloween project (to come) and put the kids to bed. I finished the faces the next morning and they...ahem...Jack was so pleased to wear it.

Have you ever worked with freezer paper? I, um, love it.

sewing projects

how to sew a lapped zipper

4:20:00 PM

I've been promising many people that I would do a tutorial on how to sew a zipper into a skirt. Little did I know (I'm the most forgetful person ever), I actually HAVE a tutorial posted of it, but I'm posting this one too because the pictures were taken in better light and I may have given more information (even if it is opinionated). So HERE IT IS! I'm finally adding something to my sewing blog.

P.S. I really love to answer sewing questions and teach people how to sew, so if YOU have ANY questions, email me.... or comment. I will do my best to answer and hopefully give answers to others who are looking too.

beautiful things

tomatoes and zinnias

8:52:00 PM

The last couple days have really felt like autumn. The nights are cold, the days are cool. It's been quite lovely other than the fact that I want to stay in bed and hibernate. :)

I took this picture last week when it still felt like the end of summer. We're still getting plenty of tomatoes and I'm collecting the dried out zinnias for a glorious show next summer. I'm pretty much in love with zinnias if you can't tell. Do you see those pears in the back? Our tree got infected with rust and being new homeowners, we didn't catch it in time. The guy at the nursery said they'd still be okay to eat. We only got three, and one already went bad. I'm anxious to try these!

beautiful things

family pictures

6:14:00 PM

These photos were taken last Sunday when we took a drive up in the mountains. We attempted taking family pictures as well. With a pair of glasses, a boy who only knows how to look crazy or in pain and a little girl who is not interested in sitting still, we have a hard time succeeding in our attempts. If I were photogenic (like Rob...except for the stinkin' glasses) for pretty much every picture, I think we'd have better luck. I hoping in another attempt to get good looks from everyone.  I just can't forget the candy and the jokes. 

Nature was much more cooperative:



I love autumn.

P.S. I keep forgetting to share that I'm expecting again! Baby number three in the beginning of March.

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