M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E

It’s no secret that Jaxson LOOOOOOOOVES Micky Mouse Clubhouse on Disney Jr. He will literally race from one end of the living room to the other to be closer to the TV so he can watch, and when the Hot Dog song comes on at the end of every show, he dances along with the best of them, scooting around on the floor shaking his head or if he’s standing, bee-bopping as best a wobbly 11 month old can do. It’s adorable.

So it was no question what the theme of his First Birthday would be. Oh boy. The big ONE – yikes! How did it come so soon? Didn’t J just go into labor this morning? It’s amazing how quickly this past year has flown by and we’ve enjoyed getting to know our little guy. He’s perfect (most of the time).

Anywho, putting our DIY skills to the test and giving us something else to do together after Jaxson goes to bed, J and I made our own Mickey Mouse invitations for Jax’s birthday party! There were moments while we were cutting and gluing and oopsing where we asked what we’d gotten ourselves into, but after seeing the finished product we are really proud of and super excited to send out to all the guests. Much like the DIY Crib Rail Covers I made a couple of weeks ago, the point of making our own invites was not perpetual frustration at running out of glue, but rather to save some money. Plus it felt good to put our heart and time into making something ourselves!

We got a lot of the supplies on sale at Michael’s after Christmas. Score! So our cost-breakdown ended up being:

  • black card stock for about $1.00 (the pack was already cut into 75-6×6 squares for $2.50 – we’re using the extra to make decorations)
  • white card stock for about $0.50 (we only needed 3 sheets but needed to pick up a whole pack ($4) for other projects anyway)
  • red card stock for about $1.50 for 3 sheets by themselves
  • yellow card stock for about $0.50 (the pack of colored card stock was $5, but we only used 2 sheets of yellow, we’ll use the rest in the future for other projects)
  • 2 packs of 10 6×6 plain white envelopes for $4
  • Mickey Mouse stickers on sale for $2 for 3 sheets.

Grand Total: $9.50, to make 20 invitations. The total cost including the extras was about $20, so still not bad! The funny thing is the stamps to mail 20 invitations ended up being the same amount as the invitations themselves!

This is compared to the pre-made store-bought regular ol’ not very exciting or remarkably cute Mickey Mouse invitations that were $9 for a pack of 8. We needed 20 so we would have had to buy 3 packs for a total of $27.00, so I think we did pretty good DIY-ing for 1/3 of the cost! And we ended up with a beautiful finished product, super cute and complete with that personal touch. Check them out!

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Invite & Envelope – check out Jaxson’s personalized address label!

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Back of the envelope!

I’m really happy with how they turned out, even though we hit a few bumps in the road. I know he won’t appreciate all the hard work that went into making them, but I had a good time getting crafty!

Instructions

  1. Cut black card stock into the shape of a Mickey Mouse silhouette (I found a template online and then traced it onto the card stock)
  2. Cut red card stock into a semi-circle that is the size of half of Mickey’s head (this is for his pants)
  3. Cut white card stock into tiny ovals, 2 per invitation (these are the buttons on his pants)
  4. Assemble the front of the invitations – glue the red semi-circle to the bottom half of the black Mickey silhouette, then glue on the buttons.
  5. Format the wording for the back of your invitations (we decided to do yellow balloons in the ears with a cute Mickey Mouse Clubhouse saying, and the main body of the invitation on white card stock below). We used Microsoft Publisher to “draw” the balloons with shapes and add the words, and to format the circles to fit on the back side of Mickey with the information. This took some trial and error…good luck!
  6. Cut out the pieces for the back of the invitation and assemble – we glued on the body of the invitation, then the yellow balloons in the ears.
  7. Let everything dry! Address the envelopes while you wait or print out address labels like we do, then add your invitation, seal, and mail!
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Our Son, the Woodchuck

The other morning, J woke up and went into Jaxson’s room to get him up for the day. When she entered, she found our son standing in his crib chewing the rail, covered in wood pieces and paint. Literally covered – it was all over his arms and hands, in his eyes, around his mouth, all over his neck. Gross. Now we have quite a few sets of matching teeth marks where he’s chewed the paint off to expose the wood underneath. Thankfully this is not 1960 and lead paint is no longer the norm on children’s furniture.

So began our search for a crib rail cover. We’d seen the plastic ones that stick on to the top of the rail, but knowing how insane determined our son is, we knew he’d peel/chew it off in no time.

They had canvas ones that tied on, but they weren’t fitted to the crib (they were made to accommodate rail sizes from 8-18 inches) and were super expensive for all 4 sides ($25 each for the front and back and then another $25 for the pair of sides). We have a baby, not a Swiss bank account, so that option was out.

Besides, nothing we found was carried in our local stores and would have to be ordered online which could take days. Or weeks. Ugh. So in a last-ditch effort to find a solution, I Googled “crib rail covers” and found a plethora of DIY sewn and not-sewn rail covers! Voila! We had our answer.

“I’m crafty,” I said to myself, “I should just MAKE them myself.”

I was raised by my grandmother and she had a close friend when I was growing up (Miss Penny) who taught me how to sew by hand and on a sewing machine, and we used to make Barbie clothes together when I’d spend time at her house. I learned more in Home Ec in high school and made my own Renaissance prom dress, too. Aside from being taught, I have a natural talent for crafting. I can see something and figure out how to make it without even needing a pattern.

So that night, we went to Wal-Mart (yikes) and picked up the supplies I’d need for the rail covers for all sides. All in all it only cost about $25 for fabric, padding, ribbon, and thread. There isn’t a pattern per se, and it didn’t require any “mad skills” at sewing to get it done. Without interruptions, I could have gotten all 4 covers done in about two hours. Anyone with a sewing machine could make them so I’m putting up the instructions in case anyone out there feels inclined to DIY for their little woodchucks.

Materials Needed (for two long and two side rail covers):

  • 3 yards of fabric (we got a pre-made 3 yard pack at Wal-Mart for $14)
  • quilter’s batting (we used Morning Glory low-loft batting – 81″ x 96″ package and had enough to double up)
  • 12 yards of ribbon (you may need more if you wish to tie bows along the middle and not just the ends)
  • thread

Instructions:

  • Measure your crib rails. You have two measurements you’ll need here – the length of the rail from side to side and the length around the rail. Our long rails measured 52″ x 7″ and our side rails measured 27″ x 14″.
  • Cut your fabric, batting, and ribbon. Cut your batting to the actual measurements of your rails. Add two inches to your measurements and cut your fabric to that size, 2 pieces for each cover. So for our crib, we cut four pieces at 54″ x 9″ and four pieces at 29″ x 16″. As for the ribbon, I used 10″ pieces for the end ties (around the part where the crib sides join) and 6″ ribbons for the middle ties (between the slats) since we only tied the ends in bows and knotted the middle ones. You can adjust this as needed for a thicker/thinner rail or if you wish to tie bows instead of knots in the middle section.
  • Pin your hem. Lay one piece of fabric pattern-side down and then center your batting on top. Go ahead and fold the bottom piece of fabric up and pin it in place to the batting. Next take another piece of fabric pattern-side up and place on top of the batting. Fold your edges under and use the pins you already had in place to pin it all together.
  • Check your measurements. Measure the cover you just pinned to see if it matches the actual crib rail measurements and adjust as needed. Take your pinned rail cover, hold it along your crib rail, and make sure it reaches to the edges and around the sides and top of the railing. Adjust as needed. Take this time to place a pin where your ribbons will need to go so they line up between the slats, or you could go ahead and sandwich your ribbons between the fabric and pin them in place.
  • Insert ribbons into hem. If you haven’t already done so, place the ribbons where they need to be and secure with a pin. The ribbons should be sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric to give it a cleaner look when finished. For the end ribbons, place them at a 45 degree angle so they will tie neatly.
  • Sew! Stitch a small hem (about 1/4″ from the edge) all the way around your rail cover. Back-stitch at the end to secure, trim any loose thread ends, and voila! You now have a custom crib rail cover that will protect your crib from your baby and vice versa.

Our crib rail covers are working out great so far! Jaxson has already tested them out and I’m glad we doubled up on the padding inside of each cover to keep his little teeth safe. I’m also glad that we chose a mellow pattern so that it would blend in instead of demanding your focus when you walk into Jaxson’s room.

J was pretty impressed with me and I’m proud of my craftiness and the money we saved! It would have cost us $75 to buy the one-size-fits-all crib covers and I made all 4 for the price of ONE store-bought one. J kept asking questions about what I was doing and saying how amazed she was that I could do this. After almost 6 years together, I guess there are still some things to learn about each other. She had no idea I could sew “for real”, just because the opportunity has never presented itself. Now, we’ve started a laundry list of sewing projects for the house…decorative couch pillows, patio chair cushions, you name it. And I’ve now been elected the Kids’ Halloween Costume Creator. I wonder if I could put that on my résumé?

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