Friday, November 1, 2013

Mike the Knight handmade costume

Well this year Eli is old enough to have interests, ha ha, so I had to factor in his say (Waaah!). He loves his "shows" on Nick Jr and I've noticed him grab any random sword shaped object lately and go into full lunge yelling "Mike the knight!" He also currently hates putting clothes on so when I was brainstorming for costume ideas this year, it obviously had to be something of interest to him in order to not only get dressed in it, but to most likely be covered from head to toe in costume due to this unpredictable, yet sure-to-be-frigid midwest weather. So then I was like if I made him a "real" sword & shield and a complete costume some accessories to go with it, then he'd surely go for it! I am happy to report that I was right. Yay me! I made his costume over a month ago to test out my theory and it almost didn't even make it until Halloween because every day I heard "I want my Mike the knight sword momma!" and "where's my Mike the knight hat/shield/tunic" (Yes he'd say tunic. It was hilarious). Finally I had to just hide it completely and it only took 3 weeks of asking morning, noon, and night for it, he forgot about it.

In full lunge yelling "I'm Mike the knight!"
His outfit was actually very simple and came together without a hitch (I LOVE it when that happens!) The first thing I did was to google an image to get Mike's exact outfit as a reference and as usual I wanted his costume to be as close as possible. I decided to go with felt instead of fleece because its way cheaper and I managed to find plenty of the perfect color blue felt in the remnant bin at Joanne Fabrics and literally paid like $1.50 for all of it! I used some black thermals for the top and pant "underarmer" part of the costume. 

The costume consisted of gloves, elbow "pads", knee pads, belt, helmet, boot covers and of course, sword and shield. I made the sword out of card board that I cut to shape and then covered with colored masking tape. The shield is also cardboard that I covered in felt and free handed the images for each corner and then used some of the masking tape to finish off the edges and keep everything in place. I made a handle out of black masking tape for the back and secured that in place with a lot of the tan colored tape to cover the rest of the back and have it all blend together.

Then I made the tunic the same way you would a pillow case dress (using 2 rectangle pieces of fabric) except I made a neck and arm holes and cut the back piece so that it would open completely and close with velcro. I again free handed the patch that goes on the front, mimicking the shield but in much smaller, less detailed form, and then glued that puppy on.

The belt and elbow "pads" as you can see in the pic above are just one dimensional shapes (with a buckle design glued in place for the belt). I used velcro for everything. Easy peasy. The knee pads however, are stuffed with a little fiberfill and I added elastic to the backs so that they could slide on up over his knee.

With the gloves I traced his hand and then added about ½ inch all around and sewed the two pieces of felt together to make it glove shaped. I trimmed down the seam allowances as close as I could knowing felt doesn't fray and left them as is. No need to turn them inside out to hide the seams since it served my purpose as they were.

The "boots" actually aren't boots at all (sneaky sneaky sir). I made a little slip-on bootie that I fit over the front part of his shoe and then I pulled his thermal pants down over the rest of the shoe and overlapped them with the slip-on (which is how the cartoon looks. In the pics, I didn't really see the start of his shoe and the end of his pants, they seem to be one piece so that's why I did it the way I did). I added some puffy fabric paint to the bottom of the slip-on piece to give him some traction while walking but in all honesty, they were just mainly a photo prop. As soon as I had all my "modeling" pictures I took them off ;)

As for the hat, it may look like the hardest part but it really was very simple to do as well. I used the same hat link I shared in my post about the Olive Oyl "hair", only I used the kid sized one and didn't bother with the band piece for the bottom since I was going to add the "mask" part to it. (I just needed something to get me started for a basic hat shape that already fit his head and this pattern fit that bill). I free handed the red feather by sewing 2 pieces of felt together, (so it would be a little stiffer and able to stand up) trimmed down the seam allowance to nearly nothing, and inserted that into the top seam of the hat. It's hard to see but I did cut a jagged piece of brown fleece and sewed it hanging down from the front of the hat for Mike's "bangs", ha ha. I traced the general shape of the mask piece onto a piece of paper as a pattern and used it to cut out 2 pieces of felt, sewed them together then turned it right side out. From there I sewed long, skinny rectangles on the the front and cut the centers out to create the final slit look and then just sewed it onto the main hat. Finally I cut a rounded bill shaped piece to hang down the back and sewed that on. It sounds way more complicated then it was, I swear! Estimated cost: $7.50 ($5.00 for the 2 rolls of masking tape, but I will definitely use them for other projects).

You can see the details I've described, including the "bangs" in this pic:
See? No shoe covers. Took them off so he could dance
Overall, felt is defintiely my go-to fabric of choice for costume making because it's just so easy to work with and it doesn't fray. Costume sewing is so liberating because a lot of the rules for sewing clothes can get tossed right out the window since its just to create an illusion and doesn't necessarily have to stand up to wear and tear and be all that functional. Most importantly, it doesn't have to be perfect. Woo hoo! Did I mention he won best homemade costume at his little kids party?? Well he did! He shot his hand up in the air and said "I'm a winner!" Ha ha ha. It was hilarious. As the DJ announced him as a winner he added "and he's a good dancer too, I've seen him." Too funny. Love that kid.
$10 cold stone creamery gift card for winning!
Me and my little knight in shining armor :)

I had so much fun making these costumes. My brain is already in overdrive thinking of a fun family themed costume for next year. I probably won't tell my husband until the day of and just say, "put this on!" like I did this year so he won't fight me on it. Seems to work best that way ;) If you have any ideas, shoot them my way, pleaseandthankyou.

Until next time,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Handmade infant Staypuft Marshmallow man costume

 We all recognize that guy right? From the Ghostbusters movie??

This one was a doozy for sure! I had a friend ask me if I'd be able to make this for her almost 6 mouth old son and it seemed simple enough so I agreed. However it nearly kicked my butt! But I do love a good sewing challenge so I was very proud of myself that I got through it and didn't have to back out of it because I couldn't figure it out, (which I was thisclose to doing.)

Now she didn't give me any mandatory criteria to include, but there were some things I wanted it to have since I was the mother of a 6 month old once and remember that stage vividly--mainly the frequent diaper changes. First, it needed to be easy on and off and ideally 2 pieces so that diaper changes wouldn't be a hassle, and secondly I needed it to already be stuffed so that she didn't have to put him in it and then stuff it. (I could imagine a 6 month old not tolerating being poked and prodded as mom and dad shoved itchy stuffing inside his costume to get it "just so" and then repeating the process with each on/off for changes Gah! Could you imagine?! She'd get it and be like "um, totally not worth it, but thanks anyways. Right??) Thinking how to do these 2 things proved to be the most difficult part of the whole process. Once I could picture in my mind's eye how to make this happen, the sewing came pretty easy.

The idea is very similar to the Popeye arm's I discussed in my previous post where you cut out 2 of the same pieces and stick inside the other and stuff it. The legs/arm assembly and attachment were very similar to the lycan costume I made last year. It will be too hard to describe all the steps without doing a full on tutorial so click on the links back to those posts to see what I mean if you're at all curious. This is what it looked like on the inside:
From the neck opening, looking in...

from the waist opening looking in...
The bottoms I made just like a pair of pants with an elastic waistband and only stuffed the leg pieces, not the top part. I didn't worry about making that area stuffed because as you can see in the picture above, the poufy elasticized bottom sat on top and covered that area.

Let me just say that I want a costume like this in my size, wait, strike that-- make it jammies to sleep in, because with the stuffing inside, it was so soft and cuddly in there! I'd be asleep in 1.2 seconds if I slept in something like this. Waking up in a pool of sweat would be totally worth it to me ;) 

The hat is just a chef's hat that you can find a tutorial for all over the internet. To make it flat on top though, I cut out a round piece of cardboard and stuck it on the inside. Then just made a little red tassel thingy, glued down a fabric covered button on top and voila! All done.

So over all, I was able to make it 2 pieces, it goes on and comes off fairly easy (the bulk is a little tricky to maneuver around, trying to find baby arms/hands and whatnot but crying stops within 30 minutes, max. Just kidding! Neither baby cried when I tried it on them! Lol) and it's pre-stuffed. I love it! I hope my friend loves it as much as I do.

The handsome little model is my brand new nephew Liam. Isn't he just the munchiest?! Muuuah!
And that's all she wrote folks. Over and out.


p.s Tomorrow is Mike the knight.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Handmade adult Popeye and Olive Oyl costumes

Oh my gosh was I excited about this one! My mom and step-dad had a party to go to that was this past weekend and it was out in a barn so she wanted something to stay relatively warm in. (Not to mention, she wasn't too interested in wearing a "sexy" crayon or anything, ha! Costumes these days, they kill me!) My step dad loves cartoon characters and super heroes, and he's a burly/muscled dude so again, I wanted to work with what we had. My mom is a brunette so I thought popeye and olive oil would be perfect (turns out, hair color would be a mute point'll see).

Mom's costume was super easy. She already had a black skirt at home just sitting with tags on it in her closet, and boots. The only thing we had to buy was the red top which I snagged at Goodwill, brand-new for $4! Bonus. I added lace to the neckline and wrists using a long stitch length so she could easily remove them if she wanted to wear it again. Same thing with the skirt, using a large zigzag stitch (So it can easily be seam ripped off), I attached the yellow ribbon about 4 inches up from the bottom. For the earrings, I took white rounded buttons I already had on hand and painted them yellow, then attached them to earing studs (again I had those on hand from my Marilyn Monroe costume from last year) and lastly, I decided to make a black hat in the shape of Olive Oyl's signature 'do using this fleece hat pattern in adult size, omitting the ear flaps and adding a "pony tail" piece stuffed with fiberfill to the back seam. I then just wrapped ribbon around it Voila! Estimated cost: $4

What a good sport! I had her contorting in all sorts of weird "Olive Oyl poses" ha ha
As for Terry's costume, He gave me a dark blue T-shirt that fit him well, and I just added the Popeye details to it. I used 2 thrifted red t-shirts to make the red collar then added black ribbon to that. I looked to this tutorial to help guide me in the shape (I attached it to the t-shirt sewing only along the back piece of the shirt and velcroed the front pieces of the red collar together so that it could still fit over his head. I worried that if I sewed all the way around the collar, I'd lose the stretch and he wouldn't be able to fit it over his large noggin, or "dome piece", as Aldo calls it) I used some scrap blue knit I had for the sleeve cuffs, and again painted some white rounded buttons yellow and hot glued them down the front. I already had the sailor hat from a Halloween costume years ago and he just wore his regular jeans and boots. I found a random wood piece shaped like a pipe and glued it to the end of a paint brush handle for pop eye's pipe. (Hey, where there's a will, there's a way!) As for the arms, I made them very similarly to Eli's popeye arms except these were made as sleeves to slip on, not attached to the shirt like Eli's. I based it off of Terry's wrist to elbow measurement, adding about 7inches of "sleeve" length to the top, and also got his bicep measurement where the sleeve would end. Then it's really 2 triangle shaped pieces (with bottom short end being a few inches larger than wrist measurement, and top long edge being bicep measurement) sewn right sides together to get a cylinder shape, with one stuffed inside the other wrong sides facing together (see pics below if this is confusing). 

Before stuffing the forearm, I made a casing at the bottom of the 2 layers so I could add some elastic (cut elastic sized to actual wrist measurement). Once that part was done I stuffed fiberfill in-between the layers of the cylinder until it started to resemble pop eye's arm. I only filled half way and the rest I left empty so it would slide over the arm and rest on the bicep. (I serged the bicep end shut to allow for stretch over the arm and to keep the stuffing in. You can do a zigzag stitch too if needed, just not a straight stitch or the thread will break when you try to stretch it over the bicep). All done! Estimated cost: Free (had everything on hand).What do you think??
These two are good at humoring me for my photos
Here they are together:

Recognize that spinach can from Eli's costume last year? ;)

One of my faves!

Best Popeye and Olive Oyl I've ever seen! (If I do say so myself). I loved how they totally got into character, ha ha ha!

Tomorrow I'll show you how I did my infant Staypuft costume:

Hellooooo HANDsome!

Lator gators,

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sandy and Danny Halloween Costume

**Tap, tap, tap** This thing on?? Hey there strangers! Sorry, I've been on a bit of a hiatus from blogging. I blame joining Instagram. Ever since I've joined, anything I would have blogged about I've just posted a pic or video with an explanation on instagram and then blogging got shoved to the back burner :/

Well, my favorite time of the year to sew is here, Halloween! I just love making costumes and getting as literal with them as I can. This year Aaron and I went as Danny and Sandy from Grease:

These were the pictures I used for inspiration. I wanted to keep costs down and we didn't already have a leather coat so I went with the Letterman sweater for Aaron. He was out of town the whole week prior to the party we had this past Saturday and so when he came home I just said "put this on, we're going as Sandy and Danny from Grease!" Ha ha. He had no choice. (He actually couldn't even remember who these characters were! Don't worry, I kicked him for you.) He already had the black shoes, tee, and pants. I just hemmed his pants a little short so his white socks would show like in the movie. I bought the cream colored cardigan in the women's section at walmart (ha!) for $13, added a large red "R" with felt, and cut some t-shirt strips for the red stripes on the arm. I didn't luck out with Goodwill trying to find the sweater. Talk about bummer, but for a total of $13 for his whole costume, I sucked it up ;) I present to you my very own Danny Zuko!
As for my costume, it needed to be a little more precise since her outfit is what everyone remembers. I did not own a pair of leather pants (gasp!) or an off the shoulder top, or a leather jacket. Sheesh. If you know me, I pride myself in making/buying our costumes for as cheap as possible so I was a little worried if I would even be able to pull it off. The reason I even chose this idea for our costumes is to obviously work with what we already had going for us: me being a blonde with the appropriate length hair and him being brunette. 

First stop, Forever 21 because you KNOW that store has to have leather pants and coat! Well I got lucky because they had a pleather pant ($13) and I found an AWESOME leather coat on clearance for $15! I'm in love with it! (I will totally wear it again in real life.) I struggled finding the top with summer being over so I ended up buying a tight fitting tee at H&M for $6 and altered it. I cut off the shoulders, hemmed the top and sewed some elastic down the front to give it a little shape with some ruching. I already had some red cork shoes, (not exactly the same as her slip-ons but enough to make it work I felt.) Steph had the perfect belt that she loaned me. THANKS STEPH! I had big black and gold hoop earrings, and finally I curled/teased the heck out of my hair (and added some clip in extensions that I already had) to finish off the look. Total estimated cost: $35. Here's mine:

Like my "straw" cigarette? Ha ha. I wasn't about to buy a whole pack for 1 prop.
And us together:

Won a contest for best couples costume!

What a fun time we had! Stick around and I'll be back to show you Mike the knight (toddler costume), Popeye and Olive Oyl (adult costumes), and Staypuft Marshmallow man (infant costume) from this year.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

A baby shower gift idea

Sorry I've been MIA for a while from blogging, I've been super busy in my craft room sewing up a ton of gifts for other people, mainly for Steph and my nephew on the way, Liam. Seriously I've been a sewing maniac! This month has been crazy busy and it looks like things wont slow down until August, but then again Liam will be here so I'll be living over at Steph and Aldos visiting a lot, so it looks like things will still be busy around here. Sigh.

So on to the baby shower gift idea. I know most, if not all my readers, are moms or moms-to-be (lets face it, the dudes could care less about my ramblings on baby/toddler stuff and crafts. Its ok, I understand. No hard feelings) so I thought I'd share my shower gift to my sister if any of you want to spoil someone YOU know. This was a pretty big hit at the shower Jac and I threw Steph this past Sunday, and I was pretty giddy to give it to her because we are a lot alike (ha!) and I knew I would totally want this! (Come on now, who doesn't LOVE unexpected thoughtful gifts?!) So I had been thinking about the weeks before, during, and after my labor with Eli so that I could help Steph get as prepared as possible for her birthing experience because I want it to be as amazing as it should be, and voila! In popped the idea, and I couldn't put it together fast enough!

I'm sure this isn't a new gift idea but I was encouraged that when I searched "baby shower gift" on Pinterest, a million of these didn't pop up! :P Thats how I gauge how unique my current sewing idea is. Dang you Pinterest! You are a curse and a blessing in equal proportions!**shaking fists in air** Here it is, a gift for mom:
So much space for all the necessities!
hospital bag with matching toiletry bag
I just realized I'm obsessed with making bags and want a new one every week. Ever since becoming a mom, I'm preoccupied with customizing a bag to meet every single one of my lug-around-a-bunch-of-junk needs. I can't help it. It's a compulsion and I probably need help.....ANYWAYS back to Steph's bag. I made this one with the idea that I wanted it to be big enough to fit all she would need for a 3 day stay, as well as stock it full of stuff she would need or not even think of. Jac and I joined brains and experiences and decided this is what was needed for Steph's personalized bag:

lightweight knit night gown (nursing accessible)
Lightweight knit robe (fits in the bag and good for the hot/cold flashes)
Fuzzy socks
Greatest bras ever x3 
Water bottle
Toiletry bag (fits all this stuff, plus extra room for her makeup bag)
Contact solution
Contact case
Crossword puzzle book
Tooth paste
Tooth brush and cover
Dental floss
Mouth wash
Facial cleansing wipes
Body wash
Pads & mesh panties
Breast pads
Kind snack bars x3
  Mocha Frappuccino x2       
**I forgot deoderant but I would recommend that :)      
Did we forget anything that YOU would recommend? I chose to make the bag because, again I can customize it to my specifications but there are a TON of large, super cute totes out there that you can buy fairly cheap and stuff full of goodies as well. It obviously doesn't have to be handmade, (heck if I didn't sew I would totally sell Thirty-one bags and use one of those!) or another option is to search ETSY for a bag you like and you will also support a small business owner :) I've made a bunch of lined bags before so I just used my prior experience to come up with this bag but if you are ambitious and want to make it yourself I can send you my dimensions or you can check out Pinterest for awesome tutorials and tweak it as you wish. Here's a pretty detailed one I found that would be perfect. Then I figure she can use this bag for travel in the future or convert it to a back up diaper bag (which is what I would do)

Do it! Make a new mom's day :)

Ok, happy packing ya'll!

P.S I will be visiting my crafty cousin Beckie with next week and we plan to sew a bunch of stuff and do a few tutorials so if there is something I've done in the past that you want a tutorial on, please let me know and I'll be sure we do that one. (I've been toying with the idea of offering tutorials on this blog but it's a LOT of work so I haven't gone that route yet. So a BIG shout out to those bloggers who do! Muuuuah! I love you, I love you, I love you!) I plan to do one on the toddler backpack and the "busy bag" for car rides/travel so far:
Toddler backpack with "learning caddy"
**Update: Tutorial done! It can be found here

Travel toddler "busy" bag
**Update: Tutorial done! It can be found here
Other options could be the toddler training skivvies or diaper wipes clutch:

Toddler training skivies 
Diaper wipes clutch.
Let me know. Toodles!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My "baby" is TWO years old!!!

Well my "baby" who isn't a baby at all anymore has a full blown personality now complete with a sense of humor and everything. This is such a fun and exasperating  curious age! We have legit conversations all day long. I am continuously amazed at the things he picks up on and understands. He will randomly walk up to me and go "I love you momma", and in the morning daddy will get him out of his crib and bring him to our room where I pretend to still be asleep and he very loudly says to daddy, "Momma sleepin'! Kiss momma?" and Aaron will put him on the bed, I'll open my eyes to his sweet face an inch from mine (with ZERO morning breath! How does THAT happen??) and he'll plant one on me and say "thank you!" Makes. My. Morning.  He'll say "bless you" when you sneeze, ask for "mommy kiss it" for any and all boo boos, show off when he sees people he's crazy about or notices he's getting a lot of attention, stop at every single "baggetball" hoop on our walk around the block until I drag him away, asks "momma, 'a doin'?" 1,342 times in one day, will give you a play by play of his daily observations, point out to you when he's listened--"momma, I listen!", and also proudly say "nice one!" when you shoot and make a basket or catch a ball :) Here are his stats along with some of my favorite pics over the past year:
My little golf enthusiast
SizeWe went to the doc the other day for his 2 year well visit and he weighs 28 lbs and is 34 1/4 inches tall. Everyone tells me they think he's a lot older because he's so tall. We don't ever discuss what percentile he falls into at the office so I don't know if he's actually tall for his age or not. He also feels like he weighs a ton but looking at him you wouldn't guess it. He's just a solid kid.  He's pretty much on target for 24m/2T clothing but I've learned to just hold clothing up and eyeball it because kid sizes can be so wonky! (He's sporting some 12m jean shorts at the moment that I got on clearance at Walmart. Go figure)
Incognito. He gets mistaken for one of the pros all the time ;)
Likes: FRUIT, with a capital "F"! Good lord that kid could eat his weight in fruit if I let him. He's obsessed with sports at the moment, particularly basketball, tennis, golf, soccer, and baseball. He loves attention from people and being around people and as mentioned above goes right into show-off mode the minute he's got your undivided attention. He loves going to grandma and papa's house, going to the park, wagon rides, bubbles, running as fast as he can, showing off his foot work, BREAD (another food he could easily pound), and watching his shows on NickJr.
As Eli says, " Nice one!" Solid hit.
Dislikes: Being brought inside after playing outside, bedtime & nap time (he's been fighting these hardcore lately. Daddy however has no problems getting him to go down. Not sure why that is), getting dressed, diaper changes, mommy doing anything other than playing with him, and leaving grandma.

He shoots! He scores! Look at that follow through!
Eating:  For the past 2 years up until about 1-2 months ago he's been a pretty great eater. I've been blowing through the grocery budget trying to satisfy this kid's hunger. He seems to be slowing down a little now and is more particular of the things he's willing to eat however if I offer "dipping sauce" for anything he's not wanting to eat, he will :). He's never really been much of a meat eater so I try to load veggies into meatballs or chicken bites and he will eat those.  I hardly make him snacks anymore because he usually does fruits and veggies during snack time, or cashews. He loves those! As for meal times, he eats what we eat.
This is from daddy. I have 2 left feet when it comes to soccer

Sleeping: He is and has been a great sleeper. Once he's down for the night, he's down for good. I put him down between 6:30-7pm most nights and he's up about 6:15-7am, the next morning so a solid 12hr sleeper. For a whole month he refused naps unless we were in the car between 11-1pm (then he almost ALWAYS naps), but lately I feel he still needs them so I put him in his crib at 1pm for "quiet time" and he's been napping. Not gonna lie, sometimes he cries for 10 min before getting to sleep but he always ends up sleeping so I know he needs a nap.
Teaching him "gentle" with my other "baby"

Milestones: Well he is officially talking in sentences, some clearer than others. He knows his colors, has started to count, mainly 1-2-3, and jumbles the rest up to 11 ;)  He can jump with both feet (I guess the doc said kids tend to learn the 2 foot jump later, and start with one foot hops). He pooped out of the blue on the potty the other day (we are getting acclimated to the idea of potty training and talking about it and he watches me but we haven't officially "begun". I'm waiting because I don't want to push it and have it be a bad experience for the both of us. I've heard boys are more successful waiting to closer to age 3. We're in no rush.) He can name just about all the pictures accurately in his "my first words" book, can kick and hit a ball, has a great throwing arm (seems to favor the right but I notice he tends to swing lefty.) and last but most certainly not least, he has finally grown some GORGEOUS curly platinum blonde hair. Oh how we've waited for this moment! :)

So there you have it! My big boy in a nutshell :)

Nice form buddy


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eli's new "murse"

Ha ha ha. Just kidding. (For those of you who are lost, **coughmomcough** a "murse" is a man purse, or man bag if you will) Well I guess it could be considered a man bag because it IS a bag, and it DOES hold all my little man's important stuff, including (to quote Blue's Clues) his "handy dandy NOTEbook." Ok murse it is ;)

Last weekend my family and I took a mini road trip to Michigan and I was concerned about the 4hr car ride because Eli has never been strapped in his carseat for more than 1-2 hours at a time. I have seen on Pinterest the idea to use a baking sheet to entertain children in the car because it's magnetic and also because it has a lip around the edge to keep items from rolling off the pan, so I picked up a cheapo one from the dollar store, along with some magnetic numbers, cute Thomas the Train puzzle (that I made magnetic by adding magnets to the backs), a notebook with crayons, some colored pipe cleaners, and chalk. I started to grab a bunch of zip lock bags to put everything in but then got to thinking how nice it would be to have everything kept all in one convenient place....and the idea for his "murse" was born. I present to you, Eli's man bag:

Closed and ready for traveling
Opened up, each item in its own ziplock baggy compartment
Lets go mom!

I sewed the ziplock baggies inside the holder so they stay put. I know that plastic baggies aren't the first thing you think of for being the most durable things out there for long term use, especially with something that will have a lot of wear and tear, but I wanted cost effective and most importantly, for it to be super simple. I COULD have made zippered pouches with clear vinyl windows (I had originally contemplated going this route) but again I wanted to stick with practical because lets face it, I didn't want a simple concept of a "busy bag" to end up costing a fortune in materials (zippers). 

I thought I better see how it holds up for our trip and to see if Eli even used it before blogging about it (gosh how embarrassing, I blog about his new tote beforehand and have it fall apart with one use!) and I'm happy to report it held up nicely and he used everything but the chalk (it was too cold outside and I didn't have time to use my chalkboard paint on the baking sheet).

Here he is in action during the 4hr car ride:
At the hotel he'd hold up his notebook and point to something and go "a clue, a clue!" (although it sounded more like "a kwoo, a kwoo" ;)
Pipe cleaners good for making shapes and naming colors. Note to self, always fold the metal ends in on themselves to avoid poking through plastic baggies and little people. Noted. 
Eli counting: " Two, free, six, seven, eight, ten!" Every. Single. Time
All in all, it was the perfect accessory for a quick trip out of town that allowed me to leave his entire toy box at home. Best part, both the "murse" and baking sheet fit nicely in my backpack without taking up a whole lot of space.

Stay tuned to my cousin Beckie's blog this summer for a tutorial on this if you want to make one for your next road trip. Beginner sewers, here's your project!

**Update: Tutorial done! You can find it here. Enjoy!