Disney, DIY

Tie Dye Mickey Head Tees: My tips and experience

Yo Ho Let’s Go-Florida Abound in 24 DAYS!

We are heading to Disney World at the end of the month and I’ve been going out of my way to make it super special. I am not necessarily a big Disney fan; I like it and all, but I am not a cartoon fan in general so my love for it pretty much exists ONLY because I have a three year old. But we have never had a real destination vacation before as a family so I am very excited!

Another fun facet of this trip is that we are also meeting up with my husband’s parents and siblings out there, so it will be endless fun for the kiddo and hubby…but for me, traveling with the inlaws means having FIVE extra babysitters on hand! So THIS mama is definitely looking forward to some girlie time poolside, shopping, or sleeping. AHHHH. I can’t wait!

That being said, I have it pretty easy with this Disney trip because I have had almost nothing to do with the planning since my inlaws are all Disney pros. Seriously, they have been there a zillion times. Obviously since they know a ton of stuff about doing this….voila! Instant vacay for us, all we do is pay our share and show up! But I wanted to do something nice for them in return for all that work. So I decided I’d make us all cool shirts to wear to the parks. My husband is a major tie dye fan so we did some research and found out that you can actually tie dye a mickey head into your design. This seemed like a perfect solution.

This is a great tutorial. If you google “mickey head tie dye,” there are endless photo results and tutorials. I won’t try to reinvent the wheel–but after dying 12 of my own and helping a friend dye four for her family, I have a few things to mention.

1. We used Tulip dyes in squirt bottles from Michaels. Use coupons to save on a big kit, but don’t be fooled by the number of shirts it says it will make on the box. Half, no, a quarter of that number will be the end result with shirts that are very nicely saturated with color. If you like a lot of white coming through, then you won’t mind doing your own shirt toward the end when there is less dye to squirt out. My Mother In Law’s shirt is a good example of this:


I used colors she liked and I think the combo is great but there is a LOT of white showing through. There is also another problem area on this shirt, which leads me to my next point.

2. Mix up all the dyes at the same time, then start dying. The reason this:


SPECKLES!! Not a big deal on a shirt made mostly of dark, saturated colors. But on one that has a lot of white on it, not so much. I realize this is tie dye so it is meant to be imperfect, but try explaining that to my perfectionist husband, which is the reason I have made 12 shirts for 7 people and have to still remake at least two.

3. Lighter colors make the worst mickey heads. All the ones I made that were lime green in the center came out as giant green blobs. Made alllllll that sewing around the mickey head outline and rubber banding so unnecessary because it was as if we did nothing but squirt lime green in the center. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the lime green errors but the turquoise center is almost as bad:


See how it looks all kind of, well, blob-like? Meh. I don’t really like it. The lime was terrible. I admit it. Hubs is saying I don’t have to redye this one, but I think that is because he has already pissed me off by not really liking some of the other ones that look just fine, like this one:


I personally thought this one turned out great. It has a defined mickey head, a white area surrounding it, and bright saturated colors in a a near perfect spiral. What’s not to love? I don’t know, but he doesn’t like it. Hmmmpfh.

4. You CAN fix the centers if the mickey head doesn’t turn out. Some people use bleach pens to fix, like this:


{image source}

I actually tried this with all of the lime mickey heads that failed. I didn’t take a picture! Sorry about that, but I wasn’t really sure I was going to blog about this during the process. The process is just taking so long that I felt like a blog post would be a good idea! I think that the bleach pen mickey gives it a very definite look, where as the tied ones are more uneven. This is a good fix if ALL of the mickeys in the group of tees have blobs in the center. This was not the case for ours and we preferred the more organic look of the tied Mickeys.

So I had the brilliant idea to RE-DYE the centers of three shirts. Oh. My. What. A. Pain. In. The. Ass. This. Has. Now. Become.

The results?

On my niece’s shirt, the ONE shirt I was MOST excited to make, turned out like a purple blob after redying. I was so upset I immediately put it in the goodwill bag which I already dropped off the other day. So no picture. ( I am a terrible craft blogger, ha!)

The other two turned out pretty good, I think. Especially considering they were sewed, then dyed, then bleached, then sewed again, then dyed again, amongst many washings….

purple re dyed mickey

This is the purple redye. Its shape is ok, but sadly, the purples do not match up. At all. WHY do there have to be so many shades of purple??

This is the dark blue redye. Matches perfectly and the shape is ok. Not the best but...OK.

This is the dark blue redye. Matches perfectly and the shape is ok. Not the best but…OK.

Mr. Particular? I’m not sure he really likes either of them, though he says he is ok with the blue. I’m not a fan of the purple either and need to redo my niece’s shirt so there will definitely be another round. After this I might not ever tie dye again. Maybe.

5. My final, most critical piece of advice is DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR HUSBAND and drink wine.

Happy tie-dying!

Books, DIY, life, Parenting

The elusive Ikea Bekvam

I did it. I found it.

Ikea Bekvam spice rack. In it’s natural habitat.

It was lovely and glorious to spot them there on the bottom shelf, a torn box of five shoved to the back, as if hiding from the next poacher.

So I caught them and took them home, and now I am endlessly perusing the ‘netz for book nook ideas for Ben’s room. Because I too am going to poach them for their exquisite functionality.

Pictures of the finished reading nook/area to follow, once I actually complete the project. Which could be a week or a month. Heh.

Check out Modern Parents Messy Kids’ book-nook roundup for your own inspiration.

DIY, German Schtuff, life

Twist One Up: Schultuete

Mini School Cones at KinderCone.com

I’ve been missing Germany lately. I’ve also been feeling a little bummed that I’m no longer in school myself, and therefore have no reason to buy new pens and clips and notebooks. Oh, I do love fresh school supplies and the beginning of a new semester.

So when I stumbled across a picture of Kinder Cones on Facebook, I got a bit inspired.

Literally translated, Schultuete means school bag; Schule = school and Tuete = bag.
Basically, it’s a cardboard cone filled with treats. Traditionally, they consisted only of sweets (Suessigkeiten), earning the cone an alias of Zuckertuete (Zucker = sugar).

Child with Schultuete, 1953, Wikipedia

The tradition (reaching back to the late 1800s) is that parents present the child with a cone on his or her first day of first grade (Einschulung), which in Germany is the year that kids begin their formal elementary school education. (The American parallel to this is Kindergarten.) The ritual is so popular that many little ones look eagerly forward to their Schultuete.

Some parents choose to continue the tradition beyond the first grade, making it a time to also provide the student with other basics they need at back-to-school time, like socks or clothing. They also don’t stick exclusively to candies for fillings; Schultuete can also contain cool new school supplies and maybe some small toys. A great way to bring a little cheer to saying goodbye to summer vacation, if you ask me.

I love filling Christmas stockings and making Easter baskets, so naturally this tradition is one I plan on starting with my little guy. But,we are nowhere near  Kindergarten! My niece is, however, in fourth grade. This is typically a little older if we were sticking with the tradition (er, rule?). But fourth grade is still big news so I’m happy to take the opportunity to celebrate with this Schultuete tutorial.




What You’ll Need:

Paper, card stock, or poster board, depending on the size cone you want to make

Double stick tape

Invisible tape

The loot.


Tissue paper


Small bit of ribbon or yarn

Candy, trinkets, school supplies, etc.





Twisting it up.

Take the paper or poster board and twist  into a cone shape. Make a nice sharp point by inserting your hand into the cone.

Tape it down on the outside. Then tape the inside so it doesn’t uncurl on itself.







I cut this point off, but you could leave it alone too, it’s purely a personal preference.

You’ll likely be left with an awkward point on top from rolling a square or rectangle into the cone. You can leave it alone, but I cut mine off.







Then I started the decorating process.

Making the top.

To make a traditional top, I lined the inside rim of the cone at the top with double stick tape. Then I took a sheet of coordinating tissue paper and just stuck it in around the edge.

Now you have a cone with tissue sticking out.






Apply stickers or whatever trimmings you like to the outside of the cone. I used foam letter stickers I had in my stash from Valentine’s day and a matching little flower embellishment to spell out my niece’s name.

My decorated cone, waiting for treats.

Now for the super fun part. The fillings!

Filling it!

Topped off with a Ring Pop and a note 🙂

Tie the top with a ribbon…

Tie it closed.

and now you have a Schultuete for your little student!

The finished school cone!


5 Minute Craft: Sponge Ballz

I’d like to post more projects here, and I suppose after graduation I will have a lot more time to do so.

I originally ran into the sponge ball idea here.Image

This clever lady made a bunch of these as party favors/toys at a water themed party.

source: onecharmingparty.com

So when I saw them, I wanted them. Even though I knew I wasn’t going to be able to use them as outdoor water toys for many months.

I did think though, that a couple of these would make great bath toys. A great non-sugary addition to an Easter basket, too.

They never made it into the Easter basket due to time constraints, but the other day I was looking at some of the junk collecting on my dining room table and found my pack of O-Cello sponges I had purchased for just this.

So I made some. And I took step by step pics. For you.

You’re welcome.


Sponge Ballz

All you need are basic dish sponges, without the rough scrubby side. I like O-Cello, they come in fun colors.


A four pack like this was $1.89 at Menard’s.

So get some sponges, a pair of sharp scissors, and some dental floss.


Cut the sponges into strips, longways. Each sponge will yield 4 strips.



Then cut off a piece of dental floss. Grab a bunch of sponge strips. Squeeze and twist together.


Now, tie the floss around the bunch. Make it tight, and knot it. This is probably the hardest part.


Especially with distractions this cute just hangin’ around.

Anyway, so you tie the knot.



And then you have these.