It was last year when my family, and especially my then 1 yr. old son, welcomed a wide-eyed, blue fox named Fig into our home. From the time we started watching Tumble Leaf until we had devoured every last cinematic quality, wanderlust provoking frame, we were mesmerized. As a mother I was thrilled to finally see a television program geared for children that sparked out-of-the-box thinking. I don’t know how many kid shows I’ve seen that focus on left-brain thinking only and force children to memorize facts instead of teaching them how to think for themselves. Fig along with the many other beautifully crafted, colorful characters are warm and endearing. My son truly loves them and believes them to be his best friends. Luckily the Tumble Leaf series has brought home a myriad of awards since it’s debut and will be coming back with a second season. Yay! Sadly, merchandise has yet to be seen for this amazing series. Seeing as how much my son loves it, I knew it had to be the theme for his second birthday party. However, what to do, what to do? What would Fig do? (Haha) He would get creative and that’s exactly what I did. It turned out to be a lot of fun and it’s something everyone can do!
The show itself is very colorful and thus decided the color palette. I started with a fun backdrop which consisted of a white flat sheet from Walmart. With blue and green craft paint, I painted a sky and rolling hills. Once that was dry I was added all of the main characters from the show. The characters of the show are stop motion and I knew if I painted them they wouldn’t look the same. So I went to Michael’s and bought a couple packs of printable iron on sheets (for dark fabrics). I printed off some images I found of the characters, cut them out and ironed them onto my sheet where I wanted them to be in the seen. Pretty simple and took hardly any time to do.
Next while I was printing stuff off, I decided to make my son a special t-shirt. Using the transfers again, I printed out a picture of Fig (his favorite of course) and ironed it to the front. I then found an image of the iconic red leaf and wrote a special message. However I didn’t stop there. What Tumble Leaf shirt would be complete without Fig’s furriest and portable pal Stitch? So I added Stitch to the sleeve of his shirt to mimic how Fig carries his friend about.
My son’s birthday banner spelled out a simple HAPPY BIRTHDAY and his name. What makes it fun is that each letter is shaped like a leaf hanging from a rope by a clothesline pin. This is a nod of course to the hanging leaves outside of Fig’s bedroom. To add further interest I suspended a few light weight branches from my yard above the backdrop and banner to make it feel 4 dimensional (another detail I borrowed from the show). You will also notice the fuzzy balls over them. They represent the fun little barnacle creatures living on Fig’s boat. In the show Fig has a playful collection of odds and ends, mainly all sorts of keys, hanging from his branches. So, of course we needed those as well! Luckily Michael’s has a large assortment of metal keys in their scrapbooking section and wood keys (I quickly spray painted) in their seasonal section. Instead of crepe paper, I used multi colored yarn. As it zig zags across the ceiling you see it connects into the scene in the backdrop (as Auntie Pine is knitting with it).
As for the food and drinks I simply grabbed anything fun shaped and colorful to serve to our guests. The cake I made from fondant and modeling fondant/gum paste mixture. I’m not gonna lie this was a lot of work but I made the figurine days before the party and let him dry out (I painted him with food coloring and edible shimmer dust). The rest I did two days before and once assembled I left it in the fridge uncovered until the party.
To finish off the Tumble Leaf world I decided we needed a “Finding Place”. Which in the series is where our beloved blue hero finds his intriguing treasures. This to me made perfect since to have one for our birthday boy to find his presents in. You can create one too. It’s really simple and everything you need for it can be found at Michael’s.
I started with a plane wooden box they had on sale 40% off (check online for their coupons at michaels.com). I drilled two holes on each side about 3 inches apart for handles I added later. Then I stained the entire inside of it a mahogany finish (with a foam brush). Once dry, I closed the lid and spray painted the entire exterior gold. I also spray painted the latch gold as well. When all of that was dry I painted three blue rectangles (using blue craft paint) on the front and back and on the lid. I made sure they were about an inch apart from one another. On the sides I painted an arch and rectangle below leaving the same distance between as everywhere else. (This creates the look of straps) Finally, I added some small details. I attached the latch to the front using only a screw driver (no need to pre drill). I cute two ropes for the handles, fed them through the holes and knotted them off on the inside (I used the leftover rope from his banner), and lastly used finishing tacks (I found in the bedazzle section) along the sides.
If you’re viewing this and planning your own DIY Tumble Leaf party I hope this helps. Also, if you have any further questions on how I did something let me know! Until, next time…..
After many discussions between my husband and myself about needing a bedside light we finally agreed we did indeed need them. However, my only concern with them is that we have smaller nightstands. This is a HUGE problem for me because I don’t know how many times I have murdered an unsuspecting table lamp reaching to turn it on in my zombie-like state. My solution? Hanging pendants above each nightstand. I scoured the internet for inspiration and was inspired by Birch Lane’s Grantham Pendant Light for $169 (Picture below)
Creating a mercury glass effect: Turn your pendant shade upside down (on a protected surface preferably outside). Wrap the outside of the shade with paper attaching it to the rim with painter’s tape (as seen below). This will protect the outside from any over spray. Next, spray a mist of water on the inside of your shade. Whilst wet spray a light coat of silver spray paint. Let it dry and then repeat this step 3-5 times until you’re satisfied with the coverage. (TIP: If you want to invest a little more you can add warmth by alternating with gold spray paint. You can also give an aged effect if you add one very light mist of bronze spray paint. However, remember to always spray a mist of water before paint. This is what gives the mercury glass effect.)
While painting you will also want to spray paint the rod cap that came with your light socket.
Wood Table Leg: First, remove the dowel rod that came already in your wood table leg with pliers. Next, measure the diameter of the 6″ threaded rods you purchased. Choose a drill bit just big enough that the rod could slide through the hole. Then drill a hole through the center of your wood leg.
Now that your shade is dry remove tape/paper. Sit your table leg with the wide end up. Keeping your pendant shade upside down, hold it on top of the table leg and center it. Still holding it, take a pencil and trace around the outer and inner rim on the wood leg, and then remove the shade. This creates a template for you to use your router on your wood leg. By doing this it will allow the shade to sit up in the wooden leg.
Clamp your wood table leg so it doesn’t move on you (use and old rag to wrap around leg so the clamp doesn’t damage the leg). Use a small bit for your router and carve out your template, as picture below, but please excuse my lack of routing skills
Paint your wood leg with the two washes we’re going to make. First a white wash (create by using craft paint in a throw away bowl or cup and mix with water until you get the thickness consistency of milk). Paint the white wash all over. Once dry wipe away the parts of the leg that protrude outward with a wet paper towel. Then make a gray/taupe wash the same way you did with the white paint. Paint the gray wash anywhere you wiped away the white wash. Keep playing until you get a distressed look you are happy with.
Pex Pipe: Decide on low you want your pendant to hang and cut your chain accordingly. Whatever length you decide cut your Pex pipe (they will cut your pipe in Lowes and Home Depot for you) so that one link of your chain will stick out the top and bottom of your pipe. Once it is all cut, go ahead and run both your chain and your power cord (that came in your swag kit) through your Pex pipe. (TIP: You can use one link from your swag kit chain to attach to the top of your chain in your Pex pipe. This will not only keep your chain from sliding through your Pex pipe but it will also be roomy enough for your ceiling hook to fit through) Now attach your rod cap (that came with your socket) to the bottom link of your chain and run your power cord through the center.
Grab your roll of Jute and tie a knot on the first small link of chain at the top of your Pex pipe. Now, hot glue a half inch vertical line at the top of your Pex pipe moving downward (as seen below). While it’s still hot, quickly wrap your jute around the Pex pipe until all the glue is covered (keeping it pulled taunt). Continue gluing and wrapping your pipe all the way down to the bottom working in half inch or one inch sections (so the glue doesn’t dry on you before you can get to it). Once you make it to the bottom, simply cute the jute and glue down the end piece. Tuck the knot you started with up at top down inside the pipe, so it isn’t visible.
Assembly: Finish assembling in this order. Run the end of your power cord that is sticking out the bottom of your pipe, through your threaded rod. Next run them both (power cord and rod) through your wood leg, then through your glass pendant shade, then your large washer. Now take off the steel top to your light socket. Slide your power cord through your steel top and twist it on to the bottom of the threaded rod. (ALWAYS FOLLOW DIRECTIONS THAT COME WITH THE PRODUCTS AND ALWAYS TURN OFF ANY POWER BEFORE WORKING ON ANYTHING ELECTRICAL) Connect your power cord to the socket and screw it closed to its steel top. Now moving everything upward as far as will go twist the top of the threaded rod up into the rod cap (this is what holds everything together). The swag kit also comes with a switch you can install on the power cord (this is optional).
Lastly, hang your pendant using the ceiling hook that came in your swag kit and Enjoy!
Thanks Buddy 🙂
So, it’s been a while since I’ve had a good upholstery project and anyone who knows me knows I can’t stay out of Hancock fabrics. I can’t stop it! I. Have. A. Problem. (At least I can admit it. That’s the first step, right!?….………right!?) Well at least my addiction fuels my creativity and it will yours too, I promise! In fact you should pay them a visit and see all the beautiful fabrics in the upholstery section. They always have a great sale going on and if you didn’t know they also sometimes have an extra coupon on their website you can use along with the sale price. Who else does that?! No one. Seriously, no one, because they aren’t cool. Anyway, last time I was there I found this geometric print in neutral tones that was absolutely perfect for the toy bench I was making for my son. I had checked out some well known children furniture sites and their prices were ridiculous for what they are. Sheesh! It would be cheaper to do it myself and I could decide the overall dimensions of it as well.
Getting started: What wood to use? I decided on roofing plywood for its durability and price tag. Also because I was upholstering over it and no one can see it or feel it, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. I unfortunately did not take pics or video of the cutting and assembly of my toy bench. I know bad blogger, bad! However, instead of me trying to explain this process it might be better for you to see it. So, I found a video on youtube that is really close to how I did it. You can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uEoRb6zkTs
Upholstery: Once the box was assembled (leaving the lid off) I began upholstering it. I started by using Nu-foam which is densified batting. (This will make your bench look great and keep little ones from bonking their noggins’) At Hancock’s they have large rolls that can be cut to long lengths and go around the outside of your entire toy bench. This will leave only one seam you can hide in the back. I purchased enough to go around my toy bench and my lid. (Around 4 yards) Then using my nail gun (1/4″ crown staples) and air compressor I began stapling the foam to the bench. Begin with the end of the foam in the back center. (We’re going to wrap it around horizontally) Staple it to the back board so the staples are vertical leaving a few inches of excess foam hanging over the top and bottom of the bench. Wrap your foam horizontally around your bench and meet the other end you started with. Staple them together to create a seam. Now, you no longer have to hold it up. (Thank goodness my arms would fall off if I had to deal with that mess!) Taking the excess you left on top, fold it over the top lip of your box and staple it on the inside of your box a couple inches down. (Always work from the middle out and leave your corners for last and remember to pull your fabric/batting taunt while stapling.) Do the same for the excess on the bottom and wrap your lid using the same method.
Moving on to the fabric now, you will wrap your lid the same way you stapled the batting. Now, the box is a little different because I didn’t want to railroad my fabric. Railroading is when you turn your print so it follows a different direction. Since I wanted mine to run up the roll (vertically) like intended I would have to cut my fabric. I cut my fabric so there’d be one piece for each side. I left several inches of excess on each end of every piece. (You can always cut away fabric but you can’t add it back 😉 ) Pinning your fabric pieces end to end and sew them together. Wrap it the same way you did the batting.
Final touches: Using a black thick finishing fabric, I applied it to the inside of the lid and box to hide the plywood. I attached them with a hot glue gun (Watch those fingers! Wow it’s HOT!!!) and crown staples. (I would recommend using an old paint stirring stick to push the fabric down when gluing. It’s long enough to reach into the box and will save your fingers from a trip to the ER.) Glue down your fabric in the bottom along the perimeter of the box, then glue up the sides, and fold your fabric under then staple to box slightly over lapping your print fabric on the upper inside. Lastly, attach lid using hinges and support arms. That’s really all there is to it. Now stuff it cram full of toys and enjoy your clean nursery!