Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stuck in Customs

No, we haven't left the country yet. We haven't even packed
yet. It's just that I've realized a person can't really make
any progress, packingwise, while the children are awake.
My only hope is to pack when they are in bed. So today,
we went to Home Depot and bought these little doodads

to make cardboard suitcases.

What for?

Why, to play customs and immigration, of course.

The kids are bouncing off the walls for excitement about
the upcoming trip so might as well harness all that
energy and make them do dry runs of the whole
fascinating, lovely, spirit-uplifting experience that is
airport customs and immigration.

First, we made and decorated cardboard suitcases

- nesting ones, to save space when storing

No, I don't have a pattern - they are just rectangles
with rounded corners and a gusset hot-glued all around.
We used little hinges (pack of 4 for just under $2) for the lids

and some sort of hasps (less than $2) to keep them closed.
Note: if you are going to try this project, I recommend not
hot-gluing the hardware on. Try a slower-drying, stronger
glue, or use paper fasteners or something to
really get them to stay put more securely.

The handle was just a loop of cardboard that slid in
and out for carrying and storage, respectively.

We also printed out flags of different countries and used
our sticker maker to make them adhesive. Emily especially
enjoyed this part because we got to talk about which
countries I or her dad had visited, and which countries
were part of which continents and why North Carolina
didn't have a world flag of its own.

We stitched together little books for passports and
the girls got to draw in their mugshots and choose a
fictitious name and country of origin (Kate picked
Candyland). For simplicity, we assumed all countries
world-wide were part of the visa-exclusion program.

We added luggage tags and then assigned roles.

Whomever's turn it was to be Airport Officer got to stamp
in the passports with all the Thomas Tank Engine and
Hello Kitty stamps, and inspect the luggage for smelly
socks and vials of suspicious liquids and pointy objects.

If you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em eh?

Packing tonight. Must. Or we might never leave.


  1. This is such a wonderful idea! Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  2. you are crazy amazing!!
    I think I can safely say I want to be you "when I grow up". :)

  3. I love these - your girls must have had an absolute blast! I think it's great that Kate picked Candyland as her country of origin. And now I'm all confused about the North Carolina flag. Must brush up on US History (which, incidentally I have never taken a course on and therefore have many holes in, but still...)

    And definitely don't try to pack with children underfoot. The last time I did that I left behind an entire suitcase of things that my long-suffering sister had to retrieve for me one month later. Including my coat and Lily's coat, never mind that it was snowing the morning we left...

    1. She said 'why North Carolina didn't have a world flag' not a state flag :)

  4. Such a cute idea. I might make some passports for my girls. I had mine out today since I had to scan and send it somewhere. My daughter took and was trying to find a marker to draw in it. After starting to freak on her. I showed her all of our passports, which was a good thing since I just realized that hers expires next month.
    Anyways - I think they would have fun playing with them and stamping them.

  5. I think you have some of the most inventive and wonderful crafts and sewing projects out there - I just love seeing everything you produce. All these cool cardboard crafts! Your owie dolls! Your princess pavillion and ice cream stand! You are SO talented. Please keep doing what you're doing (keep sharing with us!)

  6. So great! Love the look of the corrugated cardboard texture. Such a fantastic idea. Home Depot, here I come.

  7. oh my gosh, pure and total brilliance!!

  8. What a great idea, wonderfull!!!
    i love it, how do came up with it...

  9. You really are incredible! Your girls are so lucky to have you making their childhood so wonderful! I wish I had a fraction of your creativity! Lucy x

  10. Your cardboard creations are astounding! I guess I must find some hot glue and something to cut cardboard...
    I love that Taylor Swift is going with you, lol!

  11. You really are a genius! What a great idea, and how fun! I especially love those little passports - what did you use on the front of them? (in the last photo, they look very 'official'...)

  12. Your suitcases are "just some rectangles with rounded corners..." like the Taj Mahal is "just" a summer vacation home. : )

    ...But must stay on track. Came here to re-print out some patterns pieces for the cardboard ships. Boat will be birthday gift (along with some playmobile figures) for neighbor boy.

    And you, woman, go pack!!! : )

  13. I think some small brads would work well for your hardware. Very cute.

  14. CUTE! That's such a great idea, especially for the older two. My 2 year old would be done decorating in 2 seconds.

  15. Amazing. I am waiting for you to announce your book deal. Love it. Have a wonderful holiday.

  16. OK, REALLY, those suitcases make me want to play!! I am not a mom who plays with her kids (I'm guessing that's odd to you), but I would get on the floor with these and create and play. They are so cute and I just want to play packing and stamping. . . .such a fun treat to look at! Thank you!

  17. So cute! Wish you that the packing goes easily and quickly. I hate packing! :-/ Especially packing for kids ...

  18. So completely amazingly fabulous! I want to come live at your house!! :o)

  19. What a lovely, lovely find of a blog this is! Can't wait for you to come back from your trip so I can keep up with your creative happenings!

    Nice to meet ya!

  20. LiEr. You. Are. A. Genius.

    You are so inspiring that it makes me want to crawl under the bed and give up. Seriously, this is one of those LiEr crafts that makes me fall to my knees and shake my fists at the sky and yell "why? why couldn't I think of something as awesome as this???""

  21. wonderful idea! you are amazing!

  22. this is brilliant! It's going on my to-do list ASAP!

  23. Wow!! I am blown away - this is THE coolest craft ever!!

  24. Oh Wow I have no word. Really a great project and game and... perfect, absolutely perfect for our world wide family ;)
    Thanks for sharing, I love it!

  25. Great idea ! I just made some, I made them even simpler: just used a chocolate bar wrapping as hinges and openings. They are there if you want to see:

  26. I love these!
    You may like mine:

  27. this is amazing! When i have grand kids we are doing this! When i was little i made a city, and had a pharmacy where i sold cosmetics and know, white shoulders and Chanel No. 5, and Arpege of course. Fun!!! Have a safe trip!

  28. OH MY GOODNESS!!! These are just ADORABLE. Your girls are so blessed to have a mother that takes time to play creatively with them. It makes me wish mine were still little!! I have my first grandchild on the way... I am going to tuck this idea away to use at a later date!!!

  29. Absolutely Awesome ! I love it, can't wait to show it to my kids :). Thank you so much for sharing

  30. This is amazing!
    You don't mind if I post this on my blog?

  31. LOVING all your cardboard projects! thanks so much for sharing!

  32. Parabéns! vc é muito criativa.Bjs


  34. Now I reeeeeeeely want to make nesting cardboard suitcases! And decoupage them with my many scraps of cute wrapping paper.

  35. THANKS a TONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN for dis idea...i was so badly in need of something like that was pretty and practical to store my crafts and sewing supplies...........can i pin it on pinterest, if dats ok with u? thanks again!

    1. Absolutely. It's right there in my copyright notice (sidebar).

  36. Es maravilloso!!!!!!. Felicidades, tienes unas manos preciosas para estos trabajos, voy a intentar hacerlo.

  37. Oh those suitcase are just lovely, what a wonderful idea to start the summer I can not wait to try them with my boys, thank you to share

  38. Lovley, given me an idea..
    Im a childminder, and we're doing a Holiday (making passports etc)/Travel Agent/Airport type theme over the summer holidays.

  39. Hi dear,
    can you share a bit on how to make the top and bottom part? i didnt get mine in the right way,a bit confused on the measurement hehehe..
    Thank you

  40. Oi adorei a ideia mas poderia passar para nós os moldes de cada uma, eu adoraria fazer na festa do meu filho, desde agradeço de coração, pode me enviar por e-mail,

  41. I'm Brazilian.
    Thank you very much, helped me a lot ...
    Your beautiful work.

  42. awesome! I will make this for my little boy.

  43. Being both a paper(or cardboard) and fabric lover, I may try your suitcases and cover them with fabric for pretty storage boxes! I love your ideas.


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