Director Jewels

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Under the Sea Birthday Party Supplies from Oriental Trading

Looking for Under the Sea party ideas? Make sure you check out our Octonauts Party Favor IdeasOctonauts Birthday Party Food IdeasOctonauts Birthday Party Decoration IdeasSea Anemone Pipe Cleaner Craft and Paper Plate Fish Aquarium CraftThis post may contain affiliate links. I received samples from Oriental Trading to facilitate this review. This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the products listed. No other compensation was received.



After the success of Lincoln's firetruck party last year, I turned to Oriental Trading again when I was planning our Octonauts themed party earlier this year. I love decorating for parties, but there are only so many hours to DIY things for my celebrations - so it makes sense to add in some awesome supplies from a reliable company.


Oriental Trading sent me a big box of goodies to use for the party. The Jumbo Realistic Sea Life Cutouts were so helpful for transforming our house into an ocean wonderland! Everyone loved them, and the kids thought it was fantastic to help me hang them on the wall.


The Under the Sea Stamps have been a huge hit, for weeks after the party! I have to pay close attention so my ink pads don't get other colors of ink embedded in them, but I think Lincoln would happily play with stamps for an entire day if he could.


These stamps make for a really simple birthday party craft for preschoolers, as they are both fun and educational and help kids with fine motor skills.


I know we'll get many more uses out of these stamps!


The party guests loved being able to select things to add to their favor bags. We used Squishy Jelly Fish, as well as Mini Light-Up Spiky Balls (as sea urchins).


Other things we included in the favor boxes were Ocean Life stickers and Sea Life Creatures. The stickers were used up by my kids extremely fast, but the sea life creatures have been favorites in our Octonauts play bin for months now!


The Ocean Life Stampers were a lot of fun to give to guests as well. And I have good news to report: they wash off walls easily!



The octopus in the favor photos above is part of the Plush Mini Tropical Toy Assortment. These were perfect for the fishing game that we rigged up in our hallway. The kids loved fishing for treasures and they were all quite pleased to receive the little creatures.


To create the game, I just hot glued a piece of fishing line to a wooden dowel and a clothespin. It was the fastest DIY ever. The "ocean" wall in the hallway was a plastic tablecloth taped to the wall. So easy and cheap!


We also received some Fish Straws (which were of course a big hit) and some paper plates for our guests to use with our oceanic food options! The party was greatly enhanced by Oriental Trading and we can't wait to go shopping again when it's time to plan another party. 

Disclosure: I received samples from Oriental Trading to facilitate this review. This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the products listed. No other compensation was received. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy

Friday, July 3, 2015

20 Crafts for the 4th of July

20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Independence Day is upon us! As I write this, my neighborhood is a cacophony of firecrackers and loud booming sounds in the sky. Thankfully, the kids have slept through it all! I had great intentions to make a bunch of the projects on this list of 20 Crafts for the 4th of July to display in our house, but it hasn't quite happened yet. Maybe I'll pull out some supplies while I wait for my neighbors to stop lighting things on fire!


American Flag Pom Pom Worksheet | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

4th of July Recycled Wind Chimes | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Hand Made Flag Shirt | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

4th of July Sparkle Candy Dish | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Patriotic Pinwheel DIY | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

DIY Temporary Patriotic Tattoos | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Toothpaste Box Firecrackers DIY | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Popsicle Stick Flag Magnets | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Patriotic Duck Tape Parade Stick | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Upcycled Flag Craft | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Patriotic Ribbon Coasters | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Easy Patriotic Bandana Wreath | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

4th of July Cupcake Toppers | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Hand Winged Bald Eagle | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Upcycled Patriotic Windsock | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

American Flag Popsicle Stick Craft | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Red, White & Blue Kids Placemats | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Uncle Sam Fascinator for the Fourth of July | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Faux 4th of July Paper Sparklers | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Magazine Mosaic Flag | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

What are your plans for the 4th?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

I don't know about you, but I think a $50 Amazon gift card would be a great thing to win this summer! I have a big list of books I would love to get for the kids to enhance our summer reading list.

What would you buy with a $50 gift card?

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Kinsights Summer Splurge $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Hosted by Tales From A Southern Mom

Co-Hosted by Michigan Saving and More IMHO Views, Reviews, and Giveaways Director Jewels

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

26/52



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."
(halfway through the year...what?!)

Lincoln - haircut time!
Addie - sharing her emotions with Sadness. Much love for her Inside Out toys.

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.  

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

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.
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