Director Jewels

Friday, June 26, 2015

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #InsideOutEmotions #CollectiveBias

Have you seen Inside Out, the new animated film from Disney/Pixar, yet? It's so cute! I never would have thought that a movie about feelings could have such a profound impact on people! I have no issue admitting that I cried through most of the movie. I mean - those pigtails on baby Riley? Break my heart already.

We talk about feelings a lot in our house anyway, and Inside Out opened more avenues of discussion for that. I wanted to come up with a tangible way for the kids to interact with their emotions, so I decided to make a DIY Plush Toy Backpack so that they could carry some emotions along with them wherever they go!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

First of all, we had to gather up some emotions to carry in the backpack, so we headed off to Walmart, where we found these adorable exclusive Inside Out plush toys!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

It was quite the debate by Lincoln and Addie on which emotions were the best. They're all so cute!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

Ultimately, the favorites chosen were Anger (by Lincoln) and Sadness (by Addie). Addie has developed an obsession with "her Sadness" and carts it with her just about everywhere she goes.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

Once we had our emotions in hand, I set out to create a backpack so that they kids could keep their emotions with them at all times! It's a great way to keep them aware of how they always have feelings - and that it's okay to have those feelings!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Supplies Needed
-11x11" fabric square, cut on fold (so actually 22"x11")
-10" tall x 11" wide fabric square, also cut on fold (so 20"x11") - coordinating color (this is the lining)
-Roll of coordinating 1.5" ribbon
-Velcro
-17" piece of elastic
-Sewing supplies

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

1. Cut your fabric out. I folded my fabric and cut an 11" square on the fold. Then I folded the lining and cut a 10x11" piece on the fold.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

2. Sew up the sides of each square, leaving the top open. Use a 1/2" seam. Trim seams.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

3. Attach Ribbon Straps to Outer Fabric Pouch. This part was a little tricky. It may have been easier to do this before sewing the edges together, but I opted to wait until it was already done (in other words, I got ahead of myself). I used a 26.5" piece of ribbon for the lower band (which goes around the waist) and two 19" pieces for the shoulder straps. You may have to tweak this based on how you decide to finish the ends (see below) and what size your child is.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

To attach the lower strap, I pinned the ribbon on top of one piece of the pocket and tacked it in place with my machine. It was tough to get the fabric under the needle without bunching or catching the back of the pocket - it may be easier to just hand stitch it.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

For the shoulder straps, I sewed the ribbon onto the back of the outer fabric pocket about 2-3" below the raw edge.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

4. Attach Velcro. I used three sets of velcro pieces - to attach the waistband sides to each other, and each of the shoulder straps to the waistband. I think the photos do a better job of illustrating how I did this than my trying to explain it!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

5. Turn the outer fabric pouch inside out. Insert into the inner (lining) pouch with wrong sides together. Photo above illustrates this. The outer pouch has been cut larger than the inner pouch, so there should be some fabric sticking out of the top.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

6. Turn outer fabric under 1/8" and iron. 

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

7. Fold outer fabric over lining and stitch, leaving small opening. Insert elastic into opening/casing, stitch ends together, then whipstitch opening.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

8. Finish Ribbon Edges. Make sure that the backpack is appropriately sized for your child, then finish the ribbon edges. Maybe it would be easiest to do this before adding the velcro, but that wasn't my method.

You can fold the ends under and stitch them down, use something like Fray Check, or use a candle to singe the edges of the ribbon. I did a combination of these ideas.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

And that's it! Make any adjustments needed to the ribbon length before you attach them, okay? You'll thank me later.

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com
Better visual of where all the velcro went!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

The last step is to drop your emotion in and take him or her for a spin!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com

Lincoln showed a wide range of emotions over trying on the backpack, almost the full range of joy, anger, disgust, fear, and sadness. Ultimately, I think he liked it, but I might have asked him to stand for a few too many photos!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com
While in use.

It didn't bother Lincoln, but the ribbon straps tend to ride up on his belly when he is wearing it, making the backpack sag a little. I'll be tweaking the instructions a little when I make Addie's backpack - hopefully I'll find a solution and will update the post if I do!

DIY Plush Toy Backpack Tutorial with Inside Out from Disney/Pixar at directorjewels.com


This project took me about two hours to make from start to finish. What emotion would people see on display if you had to carry your feelings around in a backpack like this?

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#FuelTheLove: A Family Staycation

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#FuelTheLove #CollectiveBias


Sometimes, family vacations are big and exciting. You might drive for two days to reach your destination, then spend a week and a half at the beach or an amusement park before heading home. Other times, vacations are a short and simple affair. You pick a destination that makes a good day trip, stay in a hotel one night, then come right back home. And then there are still other times where you don't go anywhere out of the ordinary at all, but you still make memories and have the best family fun imaginable - right in your own backyard.


No matter where you're headed this summer - your local zoo or Kalamazoo or somewhere in between - you will definitely want to make sure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape for the trip. Even for running errands around town (which seems to be what I spend a lot of time doing), it's important to keep up with routine maintenance for your car. That means - yes - actually paying attention to that little oil change sticker on the top of your windshield! I admit that I'm not the best at remembering to have maintenance done on my car - but with the convenience of the Walmart Automotive Care Center and Pennzoil, I am trying to overcome my failings!


The Pennzoil brand is one I have come to trust. It's designed for complete protection and allows you to drive 550 extra miles per year (when compared to a car with a dirty engine). Our van has well over 75,000 miles (we'll drive it into the ground), so we always ask for Pennzoil's High Mileage oil. It's designed to reduce leaks and oil consumption. Plus, all Pennzoil oils help clean out sludge that other oils leave behind. Win-win, right?

From now until September 9th, Pennzoil oil changes are even on Rollback at Walmart Automotive Care Centers. High Mileage is $35.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $39.88 and Platinum Full Synthetic is $45.88, compared to the regular Walmart price of $49.88.

So on this particular occasion, when I noticed it was time for an oil change, we high-tailed it to our local Walmart. We may not have a big trip planned, but we need our van at its best for all of our day to day adventures. As it turned out...we didn't want to hang out in the waiting area for very long, so we got to have a little staycation right at Walmart! Mini family vacation on a random weekday afternoon? Love it.


So in case you, like us, need some fun ways to occupy your time while also being responsible and getting your car's oil changed, here are a few of our ideas! Lincoln and Addie chimed in with their opinions on what is most fun.

1. Take the long route. Make sure everyone has a partner, and go for a nice leisurely stroll about the store. Warning: avoid aisles with glassware, light bulbs, and poison.


2. Rank toy cars in order of coolness. Beg your mom to buy a few. Throw a fit or two if mom refuses. It'll be fun!


3. Check out the clothing selection. Anything with a monster truck is automatically approved.


4. Practice counting on the ruler at the fabric counter. Climbing and/or standing on the counter (while fun) are not recommended. Moms get a little worried about that.


5. Play with every toy on the lowest shelf. Drag a lot of them onto the floor. Push every button you can find. Other shoppers love that!


7. Stop to smell the roses. Or the candles that smell like roses. Because, those are basically the exact same thing!

What's your favorite staycation destination?

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

25/52



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Cheesy faces this week. And yes, she's wearing two different shoes. :)

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.  

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Annie at Kansas City Starlight Theatre {Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this event. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow! 

I imagine that there are a lot of people out there in the world who recognize that song whether they are musical theatre fans or not! There's something about Annie that is impossible not to love. I've never had the privilege of seeing a professional production of this show before this week - and what a treat it was!

Issie Swickle as Annie and Sunny as Sandy in “Tomorrow”. © JOAN MARCUS

The touring production is directed by the show's original lyricist and director, Martin Charnin. Annie’s touring cast features a 25-member company. 10-year-old Issie Swickle makes her tour debut in the title role of Annie. She is joined by principal cast members Gilgamesh Taggett as Oliver Warbucks, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, Ashley Edler as Grace, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily, Jeffrey B. Duncan as FDR, and Sunny, a 5-year-old rescue terrier mix as Sandy. 

Isabel Wallach as Duffy, Lilly Mae Stewart as Molly, LillyBea Ireland as Tessie,
Issie Swickle as Annie, Angelina Carballo as July, Sydney Shuck as Kate
and Adia Dant as Pepper in “It’s The Hard Knock Life”. © JOAN MARCUS

From start to finish, the spirit of the show is all about optimism and invites you on a journey back to the big, bustling city of New York. Annie debuted in 1977 on Broadway and has played to audiences worldwide (in 28 countries) since that time.

There is no lack of familiar music in this story - from Annie's "Maybe" to "It's the Hard Knock Life" to "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile." I thought the set design was phenomenal, both the detailed skyline backdrops and interior of Oliver Warbucks' home. The four pieces of moving set that consisted of both indoor and outdoor buildings and columns were my favorite part. I love versatile set pieces!

Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan in “Little Girls”. © JOAN MARCUS

The cast was strong, led with much joy by Issie Swickle - who belted out Annie's songs and blew away the audience with her spirit. Gilgamesh Taggett was appropriately abrupt as Oliver Warbucks, but softened out in time for the end of the show. Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan was perhaps the most exuberant person on stage, and was well-received by the audience. The supporting cast - Grace, the orphans, Rooster, and Lily, especially - were all cast very well and helped put together a solid production.

Gilgamesh Taggett as Oliver Warbucks, Issie Swickle as Annie,
Allan Baker as F.D.R. and Company. © JOAN MARCUS

My only complaint about the production as a whole is the amount of mild language that is included in the script. I haven't read the original script - I assume it was written that way - but when I could overhear little girls in the row behind me saying "Mom, isn't that a bad word?" after multiple instances of one word in particular, that was frustrating. I know as a parent, I would probably have expected Annie to be an exceptionally family friendly show - this just makes the point that it is very important to always review the material before you take your kids to see it! It would be a difficult decision for a production staff to cut words from the original script, but when it appeared that at least fifty percent of the audience consisted of girls under the age of twelve, that may be something to consider. At least a reduction in the instance of the word might be appropriate, even if some language remained.

Gilgamesh Taggett as Oliver Warbucks and Issie Swickle as Annie in
“I Don’t Need Anything But You”. © JOAN MARCUS

Tickets for Annie at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $92. Tickets are available online at Starlight Theatre, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

You can follow the Annie Tour on Twitter and Facebook, as well.

Thanks to Starlight Theatre for providing my tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet for Independence Day

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

With Independence Day right around the corner, I'm gathering a few fun projects to do with the kids to help encourage patriotism and the American spirit in our home! This project is not difficult to make, and can be used  for toddler fine motor skills, a busy bag, or anything else you dream up.

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet
Supplies Needed:
-Free Printable Sheet - click here to download
-Pom Poms - 28 red, 20 white, 12 blue - 1/2 inch
-Pom Poms - 6 white - 3/8 inch
-Roll of Magnetic Tape
-Scissors
-Hot Glue
-Cookie Sheet, Fridge, or other magnetic surface

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

1. Print the flag sheet. Laminate if desired (the paper sheets hold up better over the long run this way - if you're going to use it as a Busy Bag and keep for multiple uses, I definitely suggest lamination).




Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

2. Cut small pieces of magnetic tape and attach one to each pom pom. The first time I tried this, I said it's adhesive magnetic tape...it'll totally stick. Well, it didn't. After about one use of the worksheet, half the magnets had fallen off. Not good. Using hot glue to attach them will take a little longer, but is probably worth it in the long run.

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

3. Enjoy! Seriously! A two-step project. Very easy, and very fun.

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

Lincoln (age 4) thought this was a nifty project. He sat down and studiously "filled up all the rows, mommy!" We used the tiny white pom poms for the stars and just filled the blue ones in the spaces around the stars. You could easily skip the blue pom poms and make the project even cheaper. I added them as a last minute thought.

Addie (age 2) was not quite as interested. She put a few pom poms in the correct spot, then shuffled them all over the cookie sheet with her hand, and finally gave up to go play with something else. We'll try again next year.

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com 

This worksheet worked really well on a cookie sheet (so the magnets had something to stick to), but you could also use a fridge or skip the magnets altogether and just place the pom poms on top. You could even skip laminating and use glue to attach the pom poms as a one-time craft!

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

Teaching kids about patriotism is important! How will you celebrate the 4th of July this year?

Free Printable American Flag Magnetic Pom Pom Worksheet Craft for Independence Day / 4th of July | directorjewels.com

Find more craft ideas here!
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