We Lived Happily Ever After: February 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Despicable Me Stuffed Minion Tutorial & Pattern

My Husband (and daughter) LOVE Despicable Me. 
My bother said that he wanted to teach his future children Latin first, and then English. But we joke that we will teach our daughter Minion as her first language, and then English. :)

This Christmas I decided to make some "cousins" (aka minions) for my husband. They turned out really cute and are so much fun to goof around with while playing with our daughter. 

I have to say that I really got inspired by Lucy's Pumpkin Minions from Craftberry Bush.

Above shows how to connect the pattern pieces (aka, tape the Minion body A & B so they become one pattern piece... and do the same for the goggle band)

Excluding the goggle band and the circular icon symbol that goes over their overalls, cut out two of everything (you can double the fabric over and then cut the pattern piece so your cuts will be perfectly symmetrical) 

*** Note: the eyes and all of their features (the white circle, black center, lids), hair, and mouth are not included in this pattern. This is somewhat because they are simple to create on your own, but also because mason jar lids vary in size.***

First, I make a twinkie-like shape out of my yellow fabric (if you are reading this in the future, you may not know what a twinkie is/was!)

You will want to make it a little wider then you would envision a minion being, because it will appear thinner once sewn together and stuffed 
(You don't want your twinkie to look more like a hot dog, do you?)

Then I cut out the overall part by "tracing" shape of the the yellow body (folded in half) over an old pair of jeans.

I pinned the 90 degree edges of the jeans on each body piece to give it that "overalls" look. Then I sewed them on. Next I cut a felt patch out for the logo and sewed it onto the front body piece.

Now you want to sew the arms together. Just cut four strips  just a little longer and a little wider than what you want them to be. Place them in groups  of two. Sew the sides together then turn inside out. Now pin them together on the front body piece as pictured above.

Stack the two body pieces together with their fronts facing one another.

Sew together using a 1/4 " hem allowance. But make sure to leave a hole to pull it through... otherwise you'll just have an inside out minion. :P

I left the opening on the center of the bottom part so it will be less noticeable.

All nice and turned right-side-out!

Now you get to stuff your little guy! 

Now sew two overall straps (just like the arms!)
Then tuck the ends into each overall part and sew onto the body.

Next sew on buttons (or black felt cut into circles) on the overall straps.

Now you can cut out the strap that will go around his head and his mouth. I used black felt. Sew on the "goggle strap." Now sew on the mouth.

Now for those "irresistible" eyes. Haha.
Grab some Mason Jar Lids. and cut out all the pieces according to the lid's circumference (make the eyelids and white eye pieces slightly larger so they will fill the lid perfectly)

Minions either can have one or two eyes. I decided to do two eyes on this one. You can do all sorts of funny expressions. I added eye lids because I wanted to make him look mischievous (I also make a happy one, pictured at the bottom of the post) 

Now you will need a way to attach the Mason Jar Lid to his face, so you will need to poke at least two holes into the metal. I recommend doing at least 3 if this is for a child. Strength in numbers!

Now sew 'em on!

For the eyelids, I just glued the hem. Lazy but quick! :)

Now we can give him hands and fingers! Again, I just used felt.

And our minion needs some style, now we need to give him hair. You could use black yarn too.

Classy. :)

Now for those chubby little legs!

Cut out two rectangles , sew up the sides, turn 'em right side out and stuff them.

Now attach them to the body.

Last, our minion needs feet to help him get around and accomplish his mischievous feats!

I just cut a square, stuffed some poly fill in it, then attached to the legs.

Now everyone say, "Whaaaaaaaaat?"

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Prevent Your Camisole Straps from Getting Ruined by the Wash

I can't wait for spring to come!!! Then I can start wearing more tank tops! 

Today I wanted to share one of my little tips to help prevent your tank top straps from getting ruined by the washer!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Letters from Boot Camp: The First Two Weeks of Boot Camp from a Wife's Perspective

So I thought I would share with you all a little bit of what is going on in my life right now. I haven't been blogging as much as I would have liked too in the past few weeks due to my husband leaving for Marine Boot Camp. It's been a rough two weeks without him so far. On the bright side, only 10-ish more weeks until I get to see him (HA! That's not long at all is it?)

Above is my man with our baby girl right before he left.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Making your Blog Images "Pin Worthy" {Helping You Go Viral}

It is amazing how visually driven blogs have become over the past few years. Pinterest has been such a huge part of this. 

If your blog has many beautiful images illustrating your content, chances are that you have seen a lot of traffic from Pinterest. It can be a great audience builder. But just because you have images in your posts, doesn't mean they will get re-pinned a lot.

There is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to format your images, which determines how "pin worthy" your blog is.

By pin worthy, I am referring to how appealing your images will be to people on Pinterest who see your content in their feed, and how many of them will WANT to re-pin it.

Pinterest is all about "beautiful images" 

The problem is is that you can have a "beautiful image" without it showing up in all it's glory on Pinterest.

I recently became aware of this when I experimented with one of my most popular posts on making Chocolate Butterflies using an open book. 

The first image was one that I had had up for several months (6+) 

It looked great when it is on my blog. But since it is a horizontal image, it doesn't show up as nicely as a vertical image. Instead, it ends up squished, and will most likely be ignored by most browsers.  

I was wondering why I wasn't getting more traffic from this post on Pinterest. My content was cool. My concept was creative. I knew people would love it. But from the 6 or so months I had had it up, I really only had like 500 Pins from it. Then I decided to try to re-do my original collage and make it a VERTICAL image (as follows)

Within weeks of making this change, the Pins jumped from 500 to 20,000. 

Wow. It worked!

Above is an example of how the two images compare & compete in actual size on Pinterest. Do you see the difference? The vertical image stands out so nicely compared to the horizontal image which just gets squished and lost in the collage all the other pins on the page. 

It may be a little bit more of a "mouthful" image on your blog posts, but it is so worth because hey, what use is a blog post if no one reads it?

There is nothing wrong with re-working images on already existing posts. I've re-done several of mine & I have noticed a large increase of traffic in all of them. My most popular posts are always the vertical ones.

Even if you aren't going to make every picture in your posts "vertical" as a rule of thumb, try to make the first image (which should be the most "pin worthy" looking image) 1/3 as wide as it tall (in inches this would be like 7" wide, and 12" tall)

Avoid using square images. These are almost as unimpressive as extreme horizontal images on Pinterest. And when you do do collages, make them longer than wide.

You will find that this makes such a huge difference and most the time it will just be a cropping job!

Last, but not least, I like to try out my images before I post them by uploading them to one of my secret boards. It helps me see what they will see, thus helping me reach out to potential readers!

UPDATE: after only having made this change for 3 months, the post I used as an example jumped to 100,000 + Re-Pins!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY LEGO Ninja Hat out of a Ski Mask

This Christmas I made each of the guys in our family a special hat reflecting their personality. Because my little brother is really into Legos and Spinjitzu (whatever that is :) I decided to make him a Lego Ninja Hat. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

7 Free Printable "Coupons" for Valentine's Day

My husband is going to be gone during Valentine's day... :( and he isn't going to be back in time for a late V-Day date either. So I thought I would send him a "coupon book" full of dates and fun things we could do together once he gets back!