Category Archives: party favors

Thrift Store Coffee Table Turned Princess And The Pea Inspired Bench: Making Mattresses

After finding and altering a coffee table into a bench, I set to work making it cozy. It needed to be a comfortable sitting and/or reading spot. That meant a pillow of sorts but then I got a clever idea: to add a pile of mattresses like in the story “The Princess and the Pea.” How fun! My girls liked the idea too. The idea was to have the mattresses look home-made like a pile of Grandma’s quilts. I wanted them to have lots of playful variation, yet still look nice together. And, of course, I wanted it to be made with lots of recycled materials.

Princess on Princess and the Pea inspired bench

This “princess” has discovered something under her mattress.

Making the mattresses:
1. Make a pattern by laying a piece of salvaged packing paper on the top of the bench. Run the edge of a crayon around the edge of the bench: marking on the paper the outline of the bench shape. If your bench is rectangular in shape then your job is easier: just measure your bench.
2. Add about ¼ inch all the way around to allow for the loft of the mattress and another ¼ inch for the seam allowance.
3. The mattresses are made like basic pillows.
4. To fill mattresses, I encourage you to use recycled materials.
-an old comforter: layer the pieces to achieve desired loft
-stuffing from salvaged pillows
-recycled fiber stuffing (I’ve only seen this sold in bulk). or even dryer lint. (try asking at industrial drying places for large amounts)
-down from salvaged comforters or jackets

Girl on Princess and the Pea inspired bench

The top blue mattress (picture above) has been given a quilted look by tying it off at regular intervals with super soft alpaca yarn (left over from knitting project).

Princess and the Pea mattress: blue quilted

This mattress was made from scrap fabric from another project. It is filled with two layers of an old comforter of ours that had become faded and torn. It is made like a basic pillow then I hand quilted it using embroidery floss.

Princess and the Pea mattress: striped shower curtain

This mattress was made from a cotton thrift store shower curtain (not the liner). I used the curtain’s own hem to edge it.

Princess and the Pea mattress: orange plaid

This mattress was made from a second hand tablecloth with a bleach stain on it. No problem, I was able to use the un-stained piece. It was made like a basic pillow then I machine sewed all around the edge. It is filled with recycled fiber stuffing.

Princess and the Pea mattress: striped curtain

This mattress was made from left-over fabric from the curtains I made for that room. Although this fabric was not recycled, the stuffing is. Inside is two layers of an old but clean comforter.

So far I’ve made 6 mattresses for our bench. This pile of mattresses will continue to grow as I come across other fabric to recycle.

Cat sleeping on Princess and the Pea bench

Find out more about the bench and tips on how to alter it:
Thrift Store Coffee Table Turned Princess And The Pea Inspired Bench: Altering Bench

Build a Bot: Robot Building Party Favor Game

MYO robot party bots

Gossiping robots -These were made by two guests at party.

I designed this game because I wanted the kids to have something fun to do at my daughter’s 9th birthday party. In addition, I wanted to give out party favors but wanted to avoid the usual candy and plastic stuff.

Even the girls loved this robot building game. It generated lots of laughs and the kids liked that they could take their creation home.
Game rules
Using one dice, roll to see what number you get. Start with the birthday boy or girl and then continue around the table.
If you roll a one, pick out a body and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a two, pick out eyes and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a three, pick out a nose and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a four, pick out a head and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a five, pick out a mouth and pass the dice to the next player.
If it’s a six, pick out arms and pass the dice to the next player.
Bonus: If you roll the same number as the previous player, pick out an extra part. You might want to find something to be the ears, hair, eye brows…
Note: If you roll a two and you already have a set of eyes just pass on the die. There is no limit to the number of extras you can choose; as long as you are lucky enough to roll the same number as the previous player’s roll.
Game set up:
You will need to set up 7 trays; one for each number plus one more for extras. Find “trash” for the parts. Get enough for each player plus a few (for variety sake).
Body (one): olive oil cans, large cans…
Eyes (two): bottle caps, nuts, bolts, misc…
Nose (three): misc…
Head (four): cat food or tuna cans…
Mouth (five): misc.
Arms (six): thrift store silverware, electrical wire…
Extras: electronic wires,…

robot parts

Robot Part Trays
Children have artistic freedom. If they want the eyes to be on the side of the head, they should put them there. These robots develop a personality of their own. Make up a name for each. The first person to finish gets a small prize. The game continues until all the guests finish their robot. Some of the bots look like robot people and some resemble animals, some are clown-like and others are aliens.
After the children have designed their robot, you will need to glue on the parts while the kids move on to another activity. I used a glue gun which worked with most of the parts (avoid really heavy items). I also used magnets to hold some of the pieces. (The head attaches well to the olive can with a magnet.)
If you want to restrict your pieces to things that a magnet will stick to, you can make a Mr. Potato Head -like toy (We named it Mr. Bolt or Mrs. Washer.)The fun being that you can rearrange the pieces to make different faces. Just glue a magnet to the back of each piece.

More robot fun coming soon.

Repurpose White Waste Paper Into Doves For A Beautifully Wrapped Wedding Gift

dove gift wrapping

Be creative and make your own dove embellished wedding gift wrapping. This white gift wrap is really “green.”
You can find supplies for this project in a surprising variety of sources. Bumper stickers often have a really nice glossy white side and the back is often white paper that you can trace a stencil on. Another thing works well if you come across any is thin white plastic that is stiff yet thin enough to cut. I found a white plastic tray from a game. You can also find white cardboard in packaging from dress shirts to toys. You could go out and buy some white paper/ cardstock but that wouldn’t be a challenge and you would miss the point. I save all kinds of white product packaging and other waste materials and used the best pieces for doves.
dove gift wrapping detail

The paper I used for this dove was stiff: I wanted it to stand up for a 3D effect that would take the place of a bow. To hold the dove in place: I cut out a rectangle, folded it in half and glued half onto the back of the dove. The other half of the rectangle can be slipped under the ribbon and discreetly glued or taped to the wrapping paper.
I wrapped this gift in discarded office paper (poster size). The other side had last month’s office presentation on it. It was too good to waste.

dove gift card on box
Use a nice quality ribbon to add a touch of color. It can later be used on another gift or reused in some other project.

dove gift card
Dove gift tags
To make a gift tag, you will need to fold scrap paper and place the stencil along the fold so that the top of the head and part of the wing will be on the fold. Write a message of love and peace. Use salvaged paper that is about the thickness of card stock. I’ve provided stencils of two different doves that I sketched.

dove gift card with message of love

This is far from looking like trash.

view of dove A stencil

dove A stencil

view of dove B stencil
dove B stencil

Make Your Own Protective Sketchbook Pouch Out Of Jean Pant Leg

This protective sketchbook pouch made out of salvaged jeans is a great beginner sewer project.

1.
Find a pair of pants that are worn in the knees. Cut off one leg at the knee. Keep in mind that the width of the pant leg will determine the width of your pouch. Therefore use children’s pants if you want a small pouch.


2.
Think about what you want to put in your pouch: sketchbook, journal, phone/ address book, or diary. I put a sketch book on top of the leg to help gauge the size pouch needed. Make sure you leave room on the bottom for the seam. I cut off the bottom edge of the pants but you can leave it on if you like.
If the pants you are using are a straight leg, you may want to use the bottom edge of the pants at the top edge (This edge will end up on the front of your bag as the flap edge. The pants that I used had a little flare at the bottom and I liked the shape it gives to it.
Also determine the length you want the flap to be and cut.


3.
Lay your piece flat and face up, then cut out the front part of the pant leg where the flap is (see image). The back of the pant leg will flip forward and become the flap.


4.
Turn your pant leg inside out and sew the bottom seam or don’t turn it inside out and just sew across, leaving the seam on the outside (as seen in photo).
Also, decide on the shape you want your flap and cut. You can leave the edges raw so they will fray or you can turn the fabric under and sew. The jeans that I used had some stretch to them and I found out that they don’t fry as well as traditional 100% cotton jeans.


5.
Add button, snap or recycled jean button. I re-used a button from a pair of button fly jeans. When you cut it off the jeans, leave it attached to some of the jean fabric. I left it on a 1.5 inch square piece of jean fabric.
Mark where you want the jean button (if using) and make a small straight cut. Then, mark the position of the hole below by making a mark through the first hole. You should now have two holes lined up with each other and just big enough for the button. Do not make a hole in the back of your pouch: just a hole in the flap and in the front part of your pouch.
If using a regular button, you will still need to clip a small hole in the flap and mark the position below. Instead of cutting a second hole, sew on a button to the front of the pouch. Keep your eye out for fun vintage buttons for using in projects like this.


6.
From the inside of the pouch, put the jean button into the hole (see image). I didn’t think it was necessary but if your button is loose, you may want to add a few stitches to hold the button in place (sewing, fabric to fabric, a circle around the button).


7.
To close the flap, put the button through the flap hole.


8.
Here is a closer look at the button I used in this project. It was salvaged from a pair of button-fly jeans.


9.
Add a slot that will give you easy access to a pen or pencil. Cut a small hole just large enough for a pen or pencil to slip through (see arrow in photo). Only cut through the front of the pouch! Next sew a channel about ¾ of an inch from the edge of the pouch (see white line in image).
10.
That’s it, you’re done. Put in your notebook and your pencil and you are ready for a nature hike.
Also see other ideas for pant leg pouch, bag, or purse. Link

Versatile Pouch Made From Recycled Pant Leg

This clever little pink pouch was designed by an eleven year old (my daughter). She independently came up with the idea to recycle the bottom part of a pair of old pants to make a pouch/ bag.
This project is simple enough to do at a children’s party. Kids will love designing their own unique pouch.


This pouch could also be used to hold your Valentine card collection. Do you have a collection of special Valentine cards already started? They would fit nicely into a home-made pouch. My daughters each have a small collection of valentine cards that grows each year.


Add a strap if you would like to make this pouch into a purse.


I think a pant leg pouch/ bag would make a wonderful eco-friendly gift wrapper too: place gift inside.
I used the design of this pouch and took it a little further: See my post for instructions on how to make a jean sketch book pouch.