She loves sparkles, glitter, ribbons, nail polish, and jewels.
So when it came time for her to gather her things for her brand spankin-new activity, learning all the right moves at her Hip, Tap, Toe dance class, she shook her head big-time when I showed her the bag she could use. It was a pretty cute jean bag with gold straps that I got at the Gap a few years ago.
Mommy!! I can’t use that!! It’s so not faaaaaancy. It’s too plain!
I breathed deeply, knowing that her tuition, leotard, tap shoes, and ballet shoes already far surpassed the amount of money we set aside per child for activities, and I said, You know what? If you think this is not fancy enough, then we have some work to do. We have a ton of things we can use to make this bag awesome, but you have to help me.
And she did.
So, without a sewing machine (I don’t have one!), this wanna-be crafty-crafter mama worked out what she could, with what she had.
Here’s the skinny:
- Simple, Pretty, Totally Easy, Blinged-Out Ballet Bag: My thought was that if Cora wanted fancy, then we’d have to go for it. But I knew it would be hard to do sans sewing machine and with minimal–and I mean minimal–sewing skills.
So I grabbed our ribbon box, because I knew that Cora loved bows and ribbons and that bows and ribbons took up a whole lot of room if we wanted them to.
We have a lot of ribbons around here, thanks to the clearance bins at craft stores.
I said, Okay my friend, how about you choose all of the ribbons you love, and we’ll figure out how to put them on your bag?
She picked out about 20 that she loooooved, and I told her it was a great place to start. Now pick out your top five favorites.
She did, and we started with those.
Our first few ribbons. . . sewed onto the ballet bag!
I cut the ribbons long enough that they’d dangle a bit when tied into bows, and then I folded them in half.
Next, I grabbed a large-sized bead (just ones we had on hand from some other craft kit), and I sewed the ribbon onto the bag, with the bead in the center. I thought that the bead may make the ribbon look prettier if it untied, which is very likely with all the shuffling to and from, in and out of the car.
Cora helped choose which ribbon she wanted next, and she decided upon the bead that would go with each ribbon.
Sometimes she would pull the needle and thread through the bag, but I did most of the actual sewing.
We placed about four ribbons on the front and back and one on each side, but then Cora stumbled across some fancy jewel beads that she found. She asked if we could sew them on the bag, too.
I know. Too beautiful for words.
So I sewed the butterfly and heart jewel beads on the front and back, and Cora insisted on adding some sticker jewels to the front as well. I tried–unsuccessfully–to explain that because they were stickers they’d most likely fall off, but she insisted. And after the first class, two fell off.
After only a minor freakout, she was fine. Sometimes it takes a lost jewel to realize that your not-s0-crafty mama might actually know what she’s talking about. . .
And that’s that. The whole bag took us only about an hour to make, from start to finish, and it was fun. And she loves it. Loves it, loves it, loves it. I mean, she loooooves it.
Cora feels good about how it turned out, I think because the whole thing was her idea and because she actually did do some of the sewing (or pulling the thread through!). And it was a but of sneaky little fine motor skill work and conversation time, in the name of creating a beautiful, homemade, totally simple, totally blinged-out, (almost tacky but I’ll never say that out loud) ballet bag.
Happy dancing, Cora!