Friday, July 27, 2012

Quick & Dirty Fish Extender

This was fun - but if you don't have the time, let me make one for you! 
See the item at my ETSY shop here!

Post note: having now gone sailing with Mickey twice, I can say that my finished 9 1/2 inch may be a little wide...it still fits, but perhaps try a 6-8 inch finished width to be safe, especially on the larger ships of the Fantasy and Dream.

So we have been planning for the Disney cruise for TWO YEARS, the WHOLE EXTENDED fam, and my hubby finally starts researching and learning the week before. 11 pm, T minus 4 days and he comes in the bedroom as I'm settling in to mention the phrase: "Fish Extender. Just Google it."

Sh**.

I NEED a new project! I ALWAYS need a new project! Why didn't you point this out three weeks ago when I told you how anxious I was about the trip and that I didn't  "have much else going on"??? Now I need to make one. Or maybe three.

So I don't really know if I'm part of the 'club'... I didn't get on the Disney World forums and start pre-making cruise friends so that we could exchange "fish extender gifts", but I'm a sucker for a good sewing project.

Apparently a "fish extender" extends the ability of the fish that is hanging outside your cruise room door to hold your itineraries, excursion tickets, and also possibly, gifts from strangers who want to be you or your child's friends. Could be cool! Express myself a little? Sure.

For the purposes of this project, consider it a soft mailbox/wall-hanging. Hmmmm...college dorm room maybe? I'm always inventing new ways of embarrassing my children.

So I Googled some images and came across some patterns, and modified them to make my own. I ended up making three because I wanted my parents to have a little classy mailbox for their door, and my nephews to have one, and of course, my children to have one to check on throughout the week.

When I'm looking for a tutorial, I often wish they just had a cheat sheet up at the top for reference and if I'm in a rush to find a certain measurement or info/materials needed I can race to it. And let's face it, I'm always in a rush. So let's start with:
 Quick & Dirty Guide
  •  16" x 10" folded in half for each pocket
  • add appliques to pockets
  • 22" (or shorter) x 10" for front 
  • 22" (or shorter) x 10" for back
  • Fold under bottoms of pockets and sew them on front piece
  • Put right sides together of front and back
  • Sew 3 sides of front and back pieces together (with pockets); leave top open
  • Pull through
  • Turn under top hem and fold over back to make dowel loop
  • Add strap


 



Slow & Painful Guide

First let's start with the appliques. Appliques are the pictures, images, and letters you are going to add to your mailbox to embellish and personalize it.  

You gotta have some mouse ears at the top! 
Mickey Mouse Template

Print out the page, cut out the image, and trace this onto the back of your fabric (I have some tailor's chalk, you could probably use a regular pencil to get you by.)
People seem to put these at the top of the hanging with their family name and some cute saying like "Cruisin' with Mickey!' I don't have an embroidery machine and don't even want to start trying to figure out Disney Font, plus I never have the time, so I'm just going to do the quick & dirty way and cut out the first initials of my kids' and nephews' names. 
I used to print out and trace letters as well, but I now find it easier to cut squares and then free-hand cut the letters out of those boxes (for letters like H and I, you can fold the square and one cut will give you two consistent sides.) As long as you try to make all of your line thicknesses the same, they will match each other. In this case, the boxes were originally cut  4" high and 3" wide.

Next your cuts of fabric: Disney and/or pirate themed fabrics seem to be the most popular.
  • 2 cuts of 22" x 10 1/2 "  (one front of hanging, one back of hanging) (you'll need it longer than 22 if you have more than three 'pockets', shorter if you have less); 
  • 3 cuts of 16 " x 10 1/2" (one for each pocket; you're going to fold them in half so that they are 8" high)
  • 1 cut 12" x 4 " for your hanging ribbon, unless you just want to use ribbon or string
Add your appliques to the pockets. Go ahead and sew straight through the two layers. You keep the fold at the top, because this is the top of the pocket and will remain open and clean.




Next, sew the pockets onto the "front" piece. I honestly did not measure the spacing of these--just eyeball'd 'em. I'm guessing about 3" between the top of one and bottom of another. You want to turn under the non-folded side of the pocket and sew it onto the front. 

Be careful! Here's what happened when I go too quick and dirty. That's my foot stuck on the bow tie.
Remember, you are not affixing the sides or top of the pocket to the front piece right now; the folded/top part is the opening of the pocket, and the sides will be affixed when you attach front and back.

Ok, now attaching front and back piece. Put "right sides" together and pin a few points. You are going to sew the sides and bottom together, then pull through to turn the whole thing right side out.





In this pic I folded over the hanging to show you both sides.



Once you have the right side out, iron it so it's nice and flat.









Next you are going to focus on the hanging mechanism. There are so many ways to do this, but since I actually had an extra dowel in the house left over from another project, I decided to fold the top around to the back of the hanging about two inches as a sleeve for a rod. I saw some women use beautiful mini drapery rods, or simply use string and no reinforcement. Honestly I think you could glue two chopsticks together and just hide them on the inside; you just need some help. Up to you and your level of ability and the precious limits of time and material.

I attached my handmade strap to the last two inches of the back of the hanging (upside down) before turning it down and sewing it through. You have to attach the strap first, so that when you sew down the entire "loop", it is actually a loop to insert the dowel and not closed on the sides from your strap hem (have done this obviously.) (Maybe many times over.)




 <-- Once again: the dirty. I forgot to sew my strap together before attaching it! Quick fix after the fact. No one will notice.








To make my strap, I start with the same technique used to make binding. Cut a 4" wide strip of your fabric (about 12" long is good) and fold each side length-wise to meet in the middle. Iron in the sides into the middle, then fold again and iron the whole thing flat. I sew down the open side, and turn in the ends and sew them shut to make it complete.


ALL DONE! Simple, right? Now go make dinner, the kids are going apesh** downstairs.

AND HAVE FUN ON THE CRUISE!! I'll let you know how it goes for me, if I end up looking like a total poser or if I shine with glee every time I pass one of mine in the hallways....

POST NOTE: 
I don't think I looked like a poser. There were only 4-5 other extenders from what I saw, so it may have just been cruisers who brought theirs, not having bonded with other cruisers pre-trip, but rather, used it as a marker of where the room was, and as a little mail box. My sis-in-law and I had fun using them to surprise the kids with little toys that the 'fairies' must have brought them. Another little fun aspect to our trip! 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peanuts



 My son is in a very sensitive psycho-sexual phase right now. He is 3 1/2 and I'm afraid we have just begun. Last night he had a dream that "girls and boys were chasing me and touching my peanuts." I asked him, "what boys? what girls?" but he couldn't answer. He said "they were chasing me." So I told him, "that's why we wear underwear, to protect our peanuts", because, basically, the boy wants to be naked 24/7 and sooner or later it's going to haunt me that I've let him hang around the house like this on a regular basis so I've got to start rationalizing clothing in some way or another. He is so textbook Oedipal--wanting to be with mommy, sleep in the bed with mommy, or have her sleep with him. This also includes rejecting Daddy, which of course completely demolishes my husband's Daddy ego.

 OH....ego...where did you go...Mommies don't have those...

I tried to discuss the dream with my son more this morning, hoping to derive the source of this particular image, hoping that there is nothing going on in his 'real' life that has entered his dream life, but no such luck on that front. I asked him what he did/said to the boys and girls and he said he "was just hitting them....with a hammer."

Classic Freud. A freakin' hammer. Phallic. Totally justifies my reading aloud the Wikipedia entry to the hubby the other night...

"I was just hitting them like this", and he proceeds to make a fast series of downward-swiping-moves that lead to his penis. Uh-huh.

The only alone time he has been 'naked' also includes his twin sister. As she bounded down the stairs this morning to join our little chat, it occurred to me to ask him if his sister was in the dream. "Yeah."

"And what was she doing?"

"She was just lovin' me....and she was giving me hearts..."

Aw, so cute. Maybe she like, saved him a little, instead of being the perpetrator of the peanuts-touching.

"But I just don't want hearts." Hmph. Ok. Gotta call Grandma in on this one. Way over my head now. Something else I could ask? Should I ask his emotion at the time? Should I try to reassure him, or make it so that it's not a big deal? Should I tell his sister? Should I grab him some underwear right now to double-reinforce the issue and double reinforce his need to wear them since he is just wearing his pj pants after having ripped off his nighttime pull-up diaper? Does this mean I'm going too far in letting him associate with his penis and be naked as often as he likes within the confines of our home? Should I applaud his self-defense in this situation or start the violence conversation? Or am I not doing enough to help him identify with his penis and maleness and force him to do "guy" things with Daddy? Is he going to be MESSED UP FOR LIFE NOW? HAVE I ALREADY RUINED HIS BODY IMAGE, SELF WORTH, and NATURAL CONFIDENCE?? 

"So...you hit them. All better, right?!?" There's something.

"No, I just want to eat my purple bread."

[Cinnamon bread]

Hmph. Coffee now.
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