Friday, April 5, 2013

Adorable Glamping Play Tents

2 - 1x2's (8ft.each)
2 - 1/2" dowels (4ft long)
1 - 3/4" dowel (4ft long)
2 ft 1/2" elastic
1 yd wide ribbon (or 2 - 18" long pieces)
approx. 2 1/2 yd 44-45" wide fabric
1.5 yds of wide rick rack or ribbon (optional)
fabric for pennants - scraps, fat quarters, etc. (optional)
1/2" and 3/4" drill bits
Drill, sandpaper/sander, sewing machine, saw, etc.
Cut 1x2's in half, then trim one end on each at a 22.5 degree angle (or not. It just looks better, and the legs sit on the floor better). Sand all pieces smooth. Drill a 3/4" hole approximately 5 inches from the non-angled end of each piece. Drill 1/2" holes approximately 1.5-2 inches from the angled ends. These holes are for the dowels, obviously. :) Set all wood pieces aside.

 Fold one bottom edge of fabric over 1/2 "; press flat. Fold edge over 1.5" to form a rod pocket; pin and press. Stitch close to edge, about 1/8" or so. Insert the 1/2" dowel into the pocket.
 Lay 2 leg pieces down together, angled ends forming an inverted "V". Place one on top of the other and slide the 3/4" dowel through the holes. Repeat with the other 2 pieces on the opposite end of the dowel. Leave about an inch of dowel sticking out of each end. Stand it up and spread the legs to form the tent frame.
It will NOT be very stable at this point, but everything works out when it's fully assembled. Drape the cover over the top, and insert the 1/2" dowel into the holes at the bottom of the legs on one side of the tent. Insert the other dowel into the other side's holes. Gently pull the fabric down to stretch it tight over the frame. Now, measure where the second rod pocket should go. Leave a 1/2" to fold over so the seam is sealed. :) This part can vary, which is why I didn't give you exact measurements. It all depends on where you drilled your holes. :) Once you have this figured out, remove the cover, trim the fabric, and repeat the steps to create the second rod pocket.
Optional pennant decoration:
Cut 6 triangles from your fabric scraps - top edge is 6" long. The points on mine are 8" from the top.
Hem or serge the side edges of each triangle, about 1/4", folded over once.
Finishing the Tent:
Cut your elastic into 4 pieces, about 6" long or so. Assemble the frame and cover. The fabric should be stretched, but not so tight that it bends the rods. Wrap a piece of elastic around the first leg bottom, pinning it to the backside of the fabric just above the rod pocket (so it doesn't show from the front). The loop should be snug enough to help hold the frame together. Repeat on other 3 legs.
If you are adding the pennant, pin the ribbon or rick rack at the peak of the tent on both sides, folding the edges over about 1/2" to hide raw edges. Pin each pennant under the ribbon, spaced evenly. You will want LOTS of pins so nothing moves around while you're sewing it on. Pin one of the 18" ribbons to the peak at both ends, as well. Remove the cover from the frame carefully. Stitch down the middle of the pennant ribbon, then sew on the ribbons and elastic loops.

To Assemble/Take Down:
Insert 1/2" dowels into rod pockets (leave these in when taking it down). Insert 3/4" dowel into holes at tops of legs, and spread them out. Lay cover over the top, pulling sides down. Wrap elastic loops around leg bottoms, then insert smaller dowels into holes at bottoms of legs. Tie ribbons at peak ends around the tops of the legs and beneath the inch or so of dowel sticking through the holes. This should provide the tent with more stability. The legs will collapse outward if pushed or slid along the floor (tents work best on carpet or grass).
To take it down, untie the ribbons, slide elastic loops off, and take small dowels out of the legs - DON'T take them out of the rod pockets, though. Remove the cover, fold it in half with the dowels together, and lay it on the floor. Take the legs off the top dowel and lay all 5 pieces on the cover at the end wit the small dowels. Roll everything up, and then use the ribbons to tie around the bundle for easy storage. (THAT part was unintended brilliance on my part!!)

Emily's Glamping Birthday Party

When Emily started planning her 9th birthday party (waaay back in January), she really wanted to go camping. Hmmm...okay, but March in Utah is definitely NOT outdoors-friendly. Sorry, sweetie!
But why not camp indoors? Glamping - or, glamour camping - was a perfect fit for an indoor, girly party! Glamping is super trendy right now, so it was amazingly easy to find ideas on Pinterest - something I'm not used to. My girls generally request themes that have me scouring the internet for crazy stuff. By far my most social child, Emily also surprised me by only wanting to invite her 4 besties (and her big sis), instead of the 2 dozen or so that usually round out the invite list for my girls' parties. And no games or planned activities - she just wanted them to bring their American Girl dolls to play with.
 ("Really, Em? Are you sure??" "Yes, I am.")
Now, we throw some elaborate parties around here (by our neighborhood's standard, not Pinterest's!), but the sheer numbers involved usually keep the party favors pretty tame. This time, I made these adorable play tents for each girl to take home after the sleepover. At $12-ish each, they were still pretty inexpensive, too! Want one of your own? Of course you do! The instructions are HERE . You're welcome. :)

 I just couldn't have a party without at least one, little craft, though! The girls made "lanterns" out of pint-sized Mason jars covered in stickers, sprayed with frosted glass spray paint, and lit with electric tea lights. (Sorry! I forgot to take pictures!)

Dinner was just grilled hot dogs, chips, fruit, and lemonade (in darling jars, of course!), but dessert was truly the main event:
S'more Cupcakes

Trail Mix Popcorn

 ....and an assortment of goodies: rock candy in her colors, licorice, and s'mores (roasted over the gas stove after it started raining). All served on my collection of vintage glass plates for that touch of glamour!

Decorations were kept simple this time to really highlight the tents: just a couple of pennant banners made from fabric left over from the tents, and a little added greenery on the mantle. Honestly, I had some tree stumps, plants and lanterns planned, but the tents took up SO much room that nothing else would really fit without being in their way. Oh, well. :)
Emily & Co. loved the party - especially the tents! - and the freedom to just play and hang-out. I guess it just goes to show that you don't need to have a gazillion guests, hyper-planned activity schedules, or a huge budget to pull off a fun party your birthday child will love.
I hope you like it, too!