Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Little Blue House

Two weeks ago, I finished Jenna's birthday present and
stashed it in a closet to wait for today when we celebrated
her birthday. It has been in my head even longer than the
Princess Pavilion Tent - and it originally was supposed to
be a regular flat-topped table tent. But late in the summer
I found, for less than $5, this gem at a garage sale-

and I thought it would be much, much cuter than a
table tent. Plus, I have a thing for roofs.

Here is Jenna's Little Blue House

with its striped roof,

little white gate, doorbell

and awning (has dowels in it - I love dowels).

The little white gate opens into a welcome mat

which is brown flannel with felt applique.

The back of the house has a little round window.

One one side are two windows with gingham valences
and old-fashioned lace curtains with velcro tie-backs.

There are window boxes with hidden slots for planting flowers.
On the other side is a much bigger window with
another little awning to keep the rain out.
And a little mailbox.

The shades are down now because it is closed.

But when the shades are up, and the sign is switched

it's a family-run home business
and you can come buy their wares -

all manner of colorful, sticky, sweet treats -
donuts, jam tarts, gingerbread people

and candy. Lots of candy.

We tried it outdoors and it worked as long as there wasn't
a whole lot of wind. But this is really a playhouse for
indoors, which is just as well, seeing that
that's where we'll be a lot this winter.

I like that the roof is real this time, unlike the Princess
Pavilion Tent's - so Jenna and Kate can actually stand up
inside it. This house is exactly as tall as Emily so she
sits in it. I had a lot of fun making this house but there
was a moment of panic when I realized that the double-
layered fabric walls and roof might be too heavy for the
frame. So I slashed away the inner layer and all was well.
The fabric for this house was mostly thrifted bedsheets.
The stripes of the roof were strips of blue sewn on white
fabric and scalloped at the edges. I love the versatility
of plain solid fabric - perhaps this is why the designer
print stuff doesn't grab me so much.

An important feature of many of the toys in
our house: it can be folded up tiny and put away!
The IKEA lamp box was what the PVC frame was packed
in at the garage sale so no, unfortunately,
it cannot be bought at IKEA.

Jenna quite liked her little blue house,
but her favorite thing was really the lollipops

which she carried around all day.

Scroll to the next post for the lollipops tutorial, people,
if you're interested in your own candy store for Christmas.
And with that, I can honestly say I am done with tents.
Unless a really fascinating new shape comes along, that is.


  1. please excuse me while I scoop my jaw up off the floor...
    OMG!!!!! that is insane! I am so in awe of you!!! that is my dream, to make one of these, but even in my dream it didnt look as amazing as this!!!
    WOW WOW WOW!!!!

  2. This is amazing! What a fantastic idea.

    I actually have a frame for a house that my daughter used when she was smaller and the house fabric is torn now - this would be an amazing craft to make for her little brother.

    I'm not sure I have the courage to do it - great job!!

  3. That's so nice! I used to have a 'house' like that as a little girl, but yours is waaay prettier :)

  4. The detail is AMAZING!!! I'm speechless.

  5. that is amazing!
    you are a super mother and sewer!

  6. I'm blown away again! The house is adorable and has so many features that I would have loved to have when playing (I espeically love the mailbox, I love getting mail!).

  7. Once amaze me!!! Incredible!

  8. Wow, I love it. You are sew talented and your girls are the lucky recipiants of your gift.

  9. AMAZING!!! Seriously I love this - you are too clever.

  10. I love your blog, and I love your playhouse! I made one for my oldest son when he was 1, 4 years later his baby brother loves it too. Did the frame myself, PVC pipes are easy to use since you can buy all the different types of joints. Your house puts mine to shame though, it's just wonderful!

  11. Incredible!!! You are an amazing creator! I've been wanting to make a similar playhouse for my girls, and if it is half as amazing as this is I'll be thrilled!! Great job!

  12. WOW. This is incredible. I am in awe at how clever - the door gate that opens into a welcome mat, the awning (oh, the awning!)...

    This is really spectacular. Well done!

  13. You've done it again...AMAZING! Your kids are so lucky to have such an awesome mother

  14. That is so cute! I love that idea...what a perfect little playhouse! Great job!

  15. good golly!!! How awesome is that little house! Great job!!!

  16. Absolutely amazing! What a fantastic gift to give to your little girl.

  17. I absolutely love this little house. Oh my! It's just beautiful.

  18. Amazing as always. I have this exact frame, it was a bug tent that was for sale at Target a couple of years ago. Now I have visions of a whole new tent for my kiddos.

  19. Oh my gosh! This is what I was planning to make for my girls for christmas (they're 1 and 3yrs old)!! You found the frame at a garage sale?? Lucky duck... do you think it'd be possible to make it with dowels and plumbing fittings? Any tips on the sewing? I can't wait to make mine, playhouses are the best when your little.

  20. You make the most amazing things! I'm just in awe all the time. Please please please consider writing a book someday with all you fabulous ideas and then sign me up for a pre order. That would be soo cool.

  21. You are crazy, woman. I am not entirely certain why my friends keep thinking I'm creative, because this just blew my mind out of the water. Again. Just like all your other stuff. ;)
    Please tell me you are at least behind in your laundry D: lol

  22. Just when it seems like you can't possibly make anything cooler than your last project, you blow the roof off the place with something new and amazing. Well done!

  23. I love so much about this little house. The colours you have going on are gorgeous and the versatility of the whole half door/fence, shop/house etc makes it so much more awesome than just a play house. It's a beautiful heirloom toy! I wish that I had a bit more focus for making things that will last forever and not just stuff made from trash that go back to the recycling bin after a few weeks. I love seeing your sewing projects! They always make me smile.

    I wanted to make a house shape from plumbing parts just like this one, but wasn't sure where to find parts with the right three joint angles to do the four top corners. Me and my sister used to have a dreadful polyester covered house, but the skeleton for that is long gone.

  24. KM: I actually took a protractor and measured the angles. (But could have used geometry to work it out too; I just didn't think). The roof apex is 90 deg and the roof-to-wall angle is 120. I suspect those might be easy joints to buy from the hardware store. That's what I think anyway. I could be totally off here, having not been in Home Depot since last Christmas to buy a tree.

  25. okay... I have to ask for a tutorial OR the very least the measurements that you used for each of the pieces... I have the guts to the house and have been dreading pulling out the original house cover and measuring every little bit... a bit cumbersome when the fabric is still put together. Also, what do you think of putting cross "beams" up with dowels? My problem with these houses is that my 3 kids tend to knock them over easily because they are too rambunctious. I thought when I sewed a new cover that I could incorporate cross beams to help stabilize it. Basically inserting dowels diagnolly (sp?) into a chanell in the fabric.

  26. I am more than impressed! Now if you could only mass produce them! :)

  27. This is incredible! That you for sharing your talent. My husband and I are going to make a playhouse for our kids for Christmas,thanks to your inspiration!

  28. Oh my heavens. This is incredible! Your children are very very lucky to have such a talented mama!

  29. I CAN'T believe I missed this! I so love it - even more than the princess table tent. For one - it is blue = not-pink! I did love the pink one already. But this is even better. I did not think that this was possible cause the pink one was already so pretty even though it was pink. Hope you know what I mean. :-) And I love that you made it fit the pvc-frame. Since I saw your table tents I so badly wanted to make one. But I simply could not find a table that I could use and my daughter is already pretty tall ... so it would have to be a rather large table. I do have this frame from a tent she got one year that is now so worn that we probably wont be able to put it up again. I was thinking ... maybe I could try to make a new tent to fit that frame ... and now you showed me that it actually can be done. Well, at least YOU can do it. :-) But if I get really really bored this year .. maybe I will try ... :-)
    You know what I love most ... the DOORMAT! AWESOME!!!!

  30. So again I thank you. I was looking at the blog the other morning when my 3 year old son plopped down and pointed at this house. Joe want one.... So we are off. I gathered most of my supplies this morning. We happened to have some PVC for a tent downstairs and with a little reworking it now looks like a house that will fit all 3 kiddies. Your ideas are wonderful and you have been keeping me very busy. I made a foam cake for a Christmas present, and my owie dolls are in the sewing room waiting to be finished. I love to sew and for years I have been quilting, but this is so much more fun. Keep the idea a comin' or it's going to be a long boring winter.

    P.S. Owie Doll fabric can be found at, it is called craft velour.


  31. LiEr,
    We finished our "Candy Cottage" and I would love to send you a picture. Let me know where to send them.

    Thanks Again,

  32. I came by when I saw the playhouse on Design Dazzale. So cute! I love it! Cute girl, too!

  33. would you ever consider making and selling your tents? I have a little boy and i was thinking a golf club house would be too cute!!! please let me know.

  34. i have two little boys who really loves your play tent ... do u sell the product ... i would like to have a beach house theme play tent .. and how much for that .. u are so talented..

  35. you amaze me....i cant seem to get much done with one almost 2 yr old and here you are doing so much with 3 kids :)....i guess i need to work harder :D. ur kids are very lucky to have such a wonderful mom.

  36. Your girls are so very lucky to have a mom like you. I am truly jealous and inspired. Just one little problem- I'm still a novice sewer stuck at square pillows. Lucky for me my daughter is barely two months, so I have a couple years to practice. I have subscribed to your blog- the only thing aside from Better Homes and Gardens that I have personally subscribed to- and I cannot wait to see what amazing thing you come up with next! Thanks so much for sharing!!! -Kristin

  37. You are the mother I inspire to be, imagine waking up on your birthday morning and seeing THIS - and knowing that your mother loved you enough to hand make it. Thank you so much for your easy to understand tutorials - tonight I'll start small and try to make a scrunchie! :-)

  38. This is another amazing house, and those lollipops are just the cutest thing!

  39. This is so amazing! You are so talented! I am trying to figure out how you did the roof. Is the house made entirely of the light blue fabric with the roof sewn, seams finished, on top of it? Or is it more like the table tent you made?

    1. The walls are the light blue fabric. The roof is the dark blue fabric, with white fabric stripes appliqued on. The edges of the roof are sewn to the slanty edges of the front and back walls. So there is no "attic" - a person can stand in the house and have her/his head reach all the way to to the top of the roof.

  40. This is AWESOME!! My 2 young(er/est) daughters would absolutely LOVE this!! I am going to have to plan to make it for them for Christmas this year. Thank you so much!

    If you go to you can design your own PVC tent structure but you have to buy the PVC poles elsewhere

  42. Darling! It looks like I'm late to the party, but I'm making something like this for my grandkids and I'm wondering how you made the porch awning and if it is attached to the frame with those cords? Does it raise and lower?

    1. It is attached to the main house wall at that one seam/edge. The three other edges have channels to insert dowels to give it rigidity so it doesn't flop. And there are cords from the house wall to the outer corners of the awning. And yes, it does raise and lower (and collapse when the dowels are removed, so can be folded and stored)

    2. Thanks! I'm still trying to figure out the mechanism for raising and lowering that awning.

  43. Seeing this much later than when you originally posted, but this is amazing! Thank you for sharing it on your blog. I am making something similar for my son’s birthday next month. The only thing I can’t figure out is how you finished off the edge of the roof - I know you mentioned that you appliqu├ęd the dark blue fabric onto the white, but it looks like on the scallops you sewed right sides together and then flipped inside out! What did you do to finish the edge of the white stripes?

    1. Tess, If I remember this correctly (and it's been years, so I might be wrong), I believe I edge-stitched the blue stripes onto the white background (i.e. the entire roof is actually white) at regular intervals. No scallops at this point i.e. the roof is a straight-sided rectangle with that big fold in the middle. Then I added a lining to the entire roof, sewn RS-to-RS the way you would sew a pillow case, at which point I sewed the scallops along those two opposite edges. Then turned everything RS out so you get the neat curved edges.

      And then found that the two--layered roof was too heavy and ended up slashing away the majority of the lining in the middle section of the roof (leaving the scalloped edges double-layered up to the point where they connected to the walls of the house.

      I hope I remembered this right. Happy sewing!


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