Project Run and Play Fall 2013

Oh I’m so excited! Or, sew excited! Whichever it is, Project Run and Play is back up again starting September 9.

In case you didn’t know, Project Run and Play is a blog-based sewing competition inspired by, as you may have guessed, Project Runway on Lifetime. Except it’s kids clothes, and online. And they give you the challenges a month ahead of time so you can actually *think* and *design*. AND they host a sew along for people not in the “real” competition so I get to play with the themes too!

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There are EXCELLENT challenges this season:

  1. Pattern Remix of the Oliver & S Popover sundress, which is a FREE pattern.
  2. Candy inspired
  3. Mad about Plaid
  4. Signature Style

And I’m setting an additional challenge for myself: buy nothing. My fabric stash is, ah what’s the word… ridiculous excessive sufficient. And don’t even ask about my pattern collection. My other challenge: wearable pieces only. When I participated last winter, I got a little too caught up in design and a little neglectful of what my daughter actually NEEDED in her wardrobe. This time I’m being much more intentional in my choices of fabric and pattern. I’m even making several coordinating separates for different challenges.

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And being an overachiever, I actually have 2 thoughts in mind for the signature style. But one may require, GASP, buying things which is against my personal rule. But then again, it was something I was going to make for her anyway… we’ll see what happens. September 30 is a long way away yet.

One last note, aren’t these whales the cutest things ever?! Walmart, people. Seriously. The fabric is junky but I couldn’t pass it up. Let’s get sewing!

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Oceans Resource Wrap-Up

I wanted to give a completed resource list for our play school unit on beaches and the ocean. We’re using Hubbard’s Cupboard free 2’s curriculum as a jumping off point, but as you’ll see, we added and adjusted a bit. Please go to the original curriculum for math, art, and theme activities because this unit at least I didn’t get creative. Maybe next time!


  • Creation from the Jesus Storybook Bible
  • Genesis 1 from NASB
  • Counting and talking about the days of creation

Hymn and Verse songs:

  • My God is So Big (change “valleys” to “oceans” in the 2nd verse)
  • Genesis 1:1 (See Hubbard’s Cupboard, it’s from their list)


  • Beach Feet by Kiyomie Konagaya
  • Sea, Sand, and Me by Patricia Hubbell (the girls’ favorite!)
  • Sand in my Shoes by Wendy Kesselman


  • Looking Closely Along the Shore by Frank Serafini
  • A Swim through the Sea by Kristin Joy Pratt
  • Habitat Survival: Oceans by Claire Llewellyn
  • On the Seashore by Anna Milbourn (reads like a picture book – good intro to nonfiction)


  • Eye Witness: Seashore
  • Reading Rainbow: Dive to the Coral Reefs
  • Bob the Builder at the Seashore

We’ve gotten a ton of use out of our sensory bin, which is made to look like a beach. It has a bed of cheap cornmeal, a sprinkle of gold glitter, 2 shovels (one for each toddler), a few shells, and a few beach toys. They LOVE running the cornmeal through their hands. And then, of course, throwing it in the air to be pixie dust… I love the way kids think!

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Another big hit was singing and playing “This is the way we go to the beach.” If you couldn’t guess, it’s to the tune of “Here we go round the mulberry bush.” The curriculum has a list of different verses you can add; I usually just made some up. We ran to the beach, jumped to the beach, spun in a circle to the beach, marched to the beach, swam at the beach… you get the idea. Fantastic energy burner!

Next week starts the Camping unit. The curriculum only has you making one sensory bin a month, so the kids will continue playing beach – unless I get bored and make something different! I just picked up a bagful of books from the library. Tonight I’m planning to pre-read everything to get it sorted and remake the basket. I love having the theme basket out first thing in the morning when the other kids arrive! It’s just so inviting to dive right in to our exploring.

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Purple Polkadot Tutu

A few days ago I was shopping for something and Grace saw bolts of tulle. “TUTU!” she yelled. “PEEEEEZE?! Wanna purple tutu!” Then she batted her bright blue eyes at me. And then, like a good mom (ahem), I bought many yards of purple and while tulle.

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I’m in the middle of a couple of complex sewing projects right now and a simple tutu is the perfect brain-break. You also can’t beat the fact that it’s practically instant gratification. I think there’s 2 hours of work in this, most of it distracted? I bought the tulle in the morning and had it finished well before my bedtime. In between keeping a toddler alive, fed, and entertained, plus making sure the rest of the world didn’t fall apart. Very easy.

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I looooooovvvveeee this tutu. The pattern / directions (since it isn’t technically a “pattern”) come from the Oliver and S Little Things to Sew book (also known as LTTS). I made it before for Grace’s Valentines Day outfit. My favorite part is it is more ballet style than the super popular strip tutus. There’s 10 layers of tulle (5 larger pieces folded in half). I modified the pattern ever so slightly by adding an 11th layer but not of tulle – it’s thin polyester lining fabric that I bought a bolt of earlier in the summer. Her other tutu is too sheer to wear without shorts underneath, but since Grace is newly potty learning, layers are the enemy. The slip layer is actually seamed at the back for more complete coverage. The tulle layers are left loose.

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The slip layer keeps it from getting tied up with her legs, too – a major beef I have with the chocolate colored one. This tutu is perfectly play worthy and looked great the whole time… even when she decided to ride a horse:

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Silly girl.

It’s actually a little too big. I measured off the other tutu since Grace was in bed when I got to the waistband step, forgetting that THAT one is a little too big. I keep thinking she’ll grow into it, but the girl just keeps getting taller and skinnier. And now that we’re potty learning I’ve lost the “shelf” that a bulky cloth diaper provides. The tutu is safety pinned to the side seams of the tee shirt on each side to keep it where it belongs. I really pray I don’t have to do that with every outfit this fall… if it is, I’ll be making another stack of dresses!

8 2013 069The princess approves.

Getting Started Playing School

Now that Grace is two, I’ve been wanting to add just a little bit of structure to our days. It’s a looooong day with a bored 2 year old if I don’t have *some* kind of a plan. That plan, however, is really loose. I most identify with a Charlotte Mason educational philosophy, which looks a lot like unschooling in the younger ages. Lots of playing outside. Lots of reading worthwhile books.

I’m using a lovely curriculum called Hubbard’s Cupboard as a “jumping off” point. It’s lovely as is if you’re looking for something print-and-go and a great inspiration curriculum if you’re looking to add more yourself. I’m using Joyful Hearts, their 2 year old program.

My changes: They plan 2 lesson days a week; I’m leaving Grace’s theme basket available to her whenever she wants to play or read from it. They have a Bible theme but no particular lesson; we’re incorporating reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible and other places. I’m having to adapt some of the books based on what I can find at my library, plus adding in non-fiction books. I grabbed a couple theme-based videos at the library, too – we’re not big TV watchers, but some days I need her to focus alone while I get something done (like make lunch!). I’m also adding a hymn for each theme since Grace LOVES music!

The first theme is Beaches and the Ocean, for 2 weeks. Grace and her 2 friends that I watch are really loving it! Today I’ll show you our sensory activities. I’ll post our complete resource list next week when we wrap up the theme. There’s a couple books I’m still hoping to get from the library, plus a couple that I got I doubt we’ll actually use. I want an accurate list for my records.

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Our seashore theme basket: books, a movie, a tin full of real shells, and the Melissa and Doug ocean-themed instrument set

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Tropical drink mix flavored play dough plus shells to press


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Beach sensory tub: cornmeal, gold glitter, sea shells, shovels, and a set of pouring toys

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They loved it! Playing on our beach towel outside

I’m really enjoying playing school. It’s just enough structure without being academic. I didn’t do the math activities this week but will probably add them in as we go. I’m using the planning sheet more as inspiration and less as a rule book – mixing, matching, and adapting as I go. The next theme is camping and I’m super excited – that’s our new hobby of the summer, so Grace will really connect!