Teaching children to sew can be a fun and rewarding lesson if you let them take the lead and design their own monster dolls.

let your child make their own monster doll

Make Your Own Monster Dolls

Aren’t they cute?! Okay, they may have a few imperfections, but I don’t want to hear about it because my boys made them! That’s right my 4 and 7-year-old sons made their own Monster Dolls (with a little help from me). It was a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon together. And as a bonus they learned some basic sewing skills.

My 7 year old really dove in and enjoyed every aspect of making his monster. He used the sewing machine with my help. My 4 year old needed a bit more guidance and help. He was very tentative about the sewing machine, but I convinced him to push the pedal. After one time pushing it, he was LOVING puttin’ the pedal to the metal! LOL!

Materials:

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Instructions:

Let your child draw their monster on a piece of paper.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Help your child draw the outline of the monster onto the backside of the fleece. Explain that you might need to fatten up any skinny appendages so you can turn the monster right side out and stuff (him or her) after sewing.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Pin two pieces of fleece together (right sides together.) Help your child cut out around the outline of the monster’s body. This will give you two identical pieces for the monster doll body.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut eyes, nose, and mouthparts out of colored felt. Pin the facial features to the right side of one of the body cut-outs. Let your child use the vanishing marker to mark other facial features that will be stitched.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Using the sewing machine, stitch the facial features and attach the felt pieces.

Helping Children Learn to Use a Sewing Machine:

To help my boys learn to sew, I let them depress the pedal on the sewing machine. We focus on light pressure, slowing down, and stopping. Meanwhile, I guide the fabric through the foot.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

To emphasize the features we drew over the stitching with the Sharpie marker.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Use buttons or the Sharpie to create pupils for your monster doll.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Pin the right sides together (facial features inside) of the doll. Stitch around the edge, leaving a small three-inch opening for stuffing.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Trim any excess fabric away from the edges before turning the doll right sides out.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn the monster doll right sides out. Use a pencil’s eraser side to poke out any corners and turns. Stuff the monster with polyfill stuffing. Use the pencil to push filling into small areas.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Whipstitch the opening closed after the doll has been fully stuffed.

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Your child’s monster doll is complete!

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Ugly Monsters or Adorable Monsters? What do you think?

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Your child will surely love his creation and will definitely feel a huge sense of pride that he (or she) designed it themselves!

Monster Dolls Designed and Made by Your Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

I let my boys do as much as possible so they could feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment when they were done. They both were so proud of their monsters. They tote their monster dolls everywhere and tell friends and family, “I made it!”

 

 

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Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home

Guess what! BIG NEWS!!! I FINALLY finished our kitchen remodel. I completed most of the work over the summer, but had two key components that I had to install. They are big, chunky and I am truly in love with them.

Pretty Handy Girl's Christmas Home

I’ve been waiting for some free time to get these puppies up, and the time finally came. On November 30th, (13 months after our little leak, but who’s counting) I installed two shelves on the tile wall in the kitchen. Like that it was…BAM…Put a fork in it, this kitchen is DONE!

Because I know you’re wondering where I got those gorgeous corbels, I got them from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques! And even though they are in Alabama, you can shop there online or ask for Garlan and he’ll hook you up with ANYTHING you want. In fact, would you believe that these corbels are brand new? Yup, I designed them and SAAA made them for me. I painted and distressed them (tutorial to come) to look like they are salvaged.

Now that the kitchen is complete, I’ve been enjoying decorating for Christmas. If you remember, last year our kitchen looked like this and decorating was low on my priority.

kitchen_progress_2.21.13

This year, I’m REALLY enjoying adding that holiday jewelry and decorating. I will be showing you the full kitchen reveal and pictures of the rest of my home as part of the Christmas Home Tour hosted by Just a Girl. Check in with her tomorrow morning for the start of the tour!

Christmas-tour-of-homes

The line up of homes is truly spectacular:

Monday:
Just a Girl
Nesting Place
Hi, Sugarplum
Tatertots and Jello
Remodelaholic

Tuesday:
Shabby Nest
Life in Grace
Not Just a Housewife
All Things Thrifty
Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday:
Thrifty Decor Chick
Storywood Designs
Decorchick
Southern Hospitality
Our Fifth House

Thursday:
Sand and Sisal
A Place for Us
Songbird
Pretty Handy Girl
Beneath My Heart

Friday:
I Heart Organizing
My Blessed Life
Emily A. Clark
A Thoughtful Place

Are you ready for the tour? I can’t wait to see all the fabulous décor. I’m really ready to sit down with a cup of cocoa and enjoy the holidays. How about you?

PHGFancySign

Peacock Pride Room Reveal + $10K La-Z-Boy Giveaway

The day has come…you get to see the room I designed around my La-Z-Boy sofa!

Peacock Pride Room Reveal + $10K La-Z-Boy Giveaway

When you head over there, you can also watch this short video explaining why I chose this sofa and how I decorated my room around it.

Peacock Pride Room Reveal + $10K La-Z-Boy Giveaway

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So, are you ready to see my room? I kind of miss it now that I’m back home. Read more

2012 was a jam packed year. It was filled with adventures, triumphs, and destruction. But, overall it was filled with a mass of accomplished projects. I shared some great tutorials with you and these are just a few of the best from 2012!

One of my favorite transformation tools is paint. Whether it be spray paint, craft paint or glazes, the changes can be amazing. These are my favorite paint transformations from 2012: Read more

Top Ten Reasons to Do-It-Yourself

Top 10 Reasons to Do-It-Yourself!

Over the course of the last ten years writing this blog, I’ve met numerous people who have lamented that they wished they had skills like mine. Or have professed that they just didn’t have it in their DNA to be handy. Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to persuade people that they are handy but just don’t know it yet. Granted, growing up in a family of DIYers helped me take the leap of faith from paying someone else to fix, build, or create something to doing it myself.

If you’re still on the fence about taking on a DIY project, let me give you the Top 10 Reasons to Do It Yourself:

    1. Save Money, Save Money, Save Money. (Do I need to emphasize this again?) When you do something yourself, you keep the money in your pocket that you would have paid otherwise. Why not create a jar and put money in there every time you save money doing it yourself versus buying or paying someone else? Did you know that taking on your own room renovation could save you as much as 50% of the cost to hire out?
    2. Try It. If you fail, Watch and Learn. You’re sink faucet is leaking or your toilet is running. You get ready to pick up the phone to call the plumber but then you remember the bill last time he was at your house. If you are trying to repair something, you will either fix the problem or need to call a repair person anyway. (That being said, recognize your limitations. Don’t take on a complicated electrical project if you don’t know what the black, white, or green wires are!) Go ahead and call that repair person, but stick around and watch how the repair is made. Ask questions. A lot of times you will realize that you could have done the repair yourself and next time you will!
    3. Help is All Around You. If you can read and able to follow directions, there is a 95% chance that you will succeed at your DIY project. There are so many resources to assist you. Here are just a few:
        • Instruction manuals that come with the fixture to install
        • Online resources, try googling “how-to” instructions for the project
        • Ask a professional or home improvement store employee for advice
        • Search for instructional videos on Youtube.com
        • Check out a DIY book at your library
        • Buy a DIY book at your local home improvement store
        • Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor who you know has the skills
    4. The Time is Now. You can complete your project now instead of waiting for someone else to do it.
    5. Get into Your Zone. You may love the process of working with your hands. If you are a parent, you’ll appreciate the fact that unlike children, wood and building is predictable. The materials will bend to your will (or tools.) Personally I find DIY projects relaxing.Modified King Size Farmhouse Bed with Storage Drawers | Pretty Handy Girl
    6. Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. Learn something new. Studies have shown, that challenging your mind improves your brain functioning and prevents Alzheimer’s.
    7. Lose weight. If you involve yourself in a DIY project, you will probably sweat a little! You will likely be climbing, moving, and generally using your body. Engaging in a DIY project will definitely get you off the computer and keep you moving until the project is done. Talk about finishing your move goals!
    8. Discover a New Skill. How do you know you can’t tile or paint or build? If you never try, you won’t know if you actually have a talent for DIY.
    9. Bragging rights. Simple, but if you DIY something, you must brag about it to the world.
    10. Sense of Accomplishment. Do you remember the last time you tackled something new or difficult? Wasn’t the sense of accomplishment you go when you succeeded HUGE?

Install a Post Mounted Birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

That’s the Top 10 Reasons to Do-It-Yourself! Did I forget any? If so, leave me a comment below.

Tomorrow you’ll get your third step in this Guide to Learn How to DIY Anything! Be sure to check your email inbox, it’s going to be a good one.

Ready to jump into your next DIY project now? You’ll find an entire gallery of projects to try here: