Naptime projects

While my kids are sleeping I get to step into my own creative world. I love to create magic inspired by and for my children!


Need ideas to bring more joy into your home?

"You have to share your happiness to multiply it!"

I stumbled upon this quote by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach  during one of my countless projects I have worked on during naptime. Not having a forum for this important part of my life, of who I am, inspired me to create this blog. I write about my creative projects and my parenting experience which at times can intertwine.

Who am I? I am a Sweden based designer, mother, thinker and dreamer! Together with my partner and best friend and my wonderfully intense and multilingual package of a daughter I live life as best as I know how to.

You can find and follow me on pinterest, facebook and instagram and of course here on my blog!

Matching mermaid tail blankets for kids and dolls

“Mama, can we play mermaid and cat?” Like so many kids my daughter is into roleplay. ALL DAY LONG… Costumes and pretend play accessories are her favorite toys and I had long admired some mermaid tail blankets I had spied on Pinterest. Most of those were knitted though and I happen not to be a big knitter. However, I am good at sewing so I took my idea to a fabric store and bought some cozy knitted fabric to have a go at sewing a mermaid tail blanket.

The focus of this project was the tail fin. Most knitted versions I had seen were beautiful but the fin was always a bit floppier than I had in mind. So I wanted to make a stiffer tail fin that would not have to be arranged to shape. I also wanted it to look nice and “fishy” so I designed a pattern to quilt into the fin pieces.

The mermaid tail blanket turned out so cozy and nice and the process of making it had actually been quite simple and fun. I made the plans for the pattern in one evening, cut and traced the pieces in another, and then sewed it all together in a third.

After such a success I decided to use some of the leftover material to sew a miniature version of the tail for my daughter’s doll Pippi.

Pippi is a Waldorf doll I made for Amelie almost three years ago. She has been a steady companion and every once in a while she gets a new little accessory. This time around it was a matching mermaid tail. So fun to see them play!

I used the same process as in the larger version. For my daughter, I had lain out a pair of her pants to draw the outlines of the tail around. For Pippi, I simply used the doll itself. Then I designed “half a fin” on a folded piece of paper, cut that out, and traced the lines onto the woven backing for the quilting.

It gives me so much joy to be able to create toys and beautiful moments with and for my children. I love how my kids bring out my own inner child. I hope I will never grow up 😉

Transformable balcony bench

Furnishing a small balcony is not that easy. Furnishing a small balcony with an angled shape is even harder. Looking around for inspiration I found a lot of beautiful little tables and chairs but I also wanted something cozy. As a family of four, we don’t really fit around a table to sit down for a meal out there anymore. Even if we used tiny foldable chairs, it would be a tight fit and so they would just end up out there unused. I decided the balcony needed to be a very comfy place, one that we actually use and enjoy and also looks nice and inviting.
It also needed to be a much cleaner place. So it all started with a good scrubbing of the balcony floor as well as laying out the previously random pattern properly again. The previous owners had placed the decking tiles in random directions and after cleaning and rearranging them, most of the spiders had moved in with us, but the new look was well worth a few eight-legged roommates.
I drew up the balcony in SketchUp to see if I could move around some furniture models and find something that would fit. I didn’t. So I modeled basic shapes along the contours of our balcony. There were basically two good spots for building a bench: along the long side of the railing for a sunchair position and around the angled corner for a more social setup. And by building the angled bench in two pieces, I could turn the modules around to become one long straight bench as well. The transformable bench idea was born.

At first, I thought it would be tricky to get the angle right. How would I measure it? And how big should the sofa be anyway? Too big and it would take over the balcony, too small and it would not be the cozy couch I was going for.

But I simply made a simple surface mockup out of newspaper on the balcony floor to try out the size and get an exact pattern for the shape, measurements and angles. Easy as that!
So off to the workshop to put my plan into action. I used big, cheap decking-squares to cut out the top of the benches. This made the construction faster and easier and I wanted to spend the budget on really big comfy cushioning. For the legs and supports, I used weatherproofed construction wood and the wood that was left after cutting out the seats from the decking. I had underestimated the amount of construction wood I needed, and having no car I had to make do with the leftovers. But it turned out perfectly, better for the environment, better for my purse. I ended up with almost no waste at all 🙂
For the cushions, I ordered the foam for the seats cut to size. Luckily we have a big bike trailer for the kids, so I could transport all the material, haha.

The backrest I pieced together myself so I could adjust the stuffing to be a bit softer in the front for comfort, and a bit stiffer in the back for stability. Then I covered the foam pieces with batting to fill out the covers nicely and give the cushions a soft and rounded look.

I wanted the fabric for the sofa to be full of joy and color. But I had a hard time finding patterned furniture fabric in the nearby stores. The door and window frames around the balcony, as well as the railing, are painted in a soft green color that I love. So my first thought was to match that tone. But then my spouse had an even better idea. The house we live in is built from yellow brick that makes up the sidewalls of the balcony. He suggested a beautiful mustard tone that both reflected the joyful look I was going for and fit well into the space. And with mustard yellow being so popular now, I had no trouble finding a good and durable fabric to sew the sofa cushions from.
Since completing this custom build we have spent so much more time on our balcony and it almost feels like we have an extra room when the weather is nice. 

Also, I am really proud of the result and of having accomplished it mostly during naptime, on evenings plus one amazing workshop day I got to spend in the makerspace.

DIY reversible Mini Baby Quilt

When I was nesting and getting ready for our second baby, so were the Acorns, the little squirrel family living in my dollhouse. Baby gyms, baby nests, and baby blankets were popping up left and right. This mini reversible quilt was extra fun to make, as it was inspired by a jersey quilt we have for our daughter. We love it for being extra soft and cozy and the mini version turned out just as comfy. 

Since you gave me such positive feedback on the blanket on Instagram, I thought I’d share the pattern and instructions.

I used my sewing machine for this blanket but not everyone has access to one. If you know how to hand sew and make small, careful stitches, you can just as well do that if you like.

It’s a simple enough project to figure out yourselves for those of you who are used to sewing, but if you are not here are some follow-along instructions and a pattern you can trace. You can download the freebie pdf below.


Get the free printable for the Mini-Baby-Quilt here:

Here is what you will need:

  • Two small fabric scraps ca. 11x9 cm or 4,5x3,5 inches  (+ some felt or similar as padding in case you are using very thin fabric. To achieve the miniature-quilted look you don’t want to make it too thick though 😉
  • A print of the thinking dreams DIY reversible Mini Baby Quilt freebie
  • Chalk marker or vanishing ink pen
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (or just sew by hand)
  • Thread and needle
  • Pen or chopstick to push out the corners

As you can see the original blanket that served as an inspiration has very different design than I made in the miniature version. Do you have any ideas for your own quilt pattern design? I would love to see your results! Feel free to give me a shout-out on social media with your results: Instagram: thinking_dreams · Pinterest: Thinking dreams

DIY miniature origami lamp

An old 70s dollhouse came into my life a little while ago and ever since I have been busy with a fun variety of renovation and miniature projects. I was delighted to find out that the wiring for electricity in the house was still intact and one evening I decided to fold a tiny origami lamp on a whim.

It was a very simple standard origami fold and it was fun to be able to create a little thing with almost zero budget in very little time without planning. I posted the result on instagram and the feedback I have received from you all was overwhelming! As a way of thanking everybody I thought I would make a little pdf guide and template for you to download here on my blog. The freebie contains the pattern I used in three different sizes as well as instructions on how to fold the lamp. It is the first time I have created a tutorial like this and I did not take pictures of the entire process. But let me know how it works for you in the comments and if I can do something to improve it!

Get the free tutorial and template here:

I am still new to sharing my projects on social media and online and it is not the prioritized part of my hobby work. So this blog will have to grow in it’s own time. But I am hoping to share more about my dollhouse projects here in the future and hopefully another freebie tutorial and pattern for my miniature baby quilt very soon! If you are interested, have a look on my instagram account and make sure you follow to find out when it’s ready!

But back to the origami lamp! Here is what you need:

  • The thinking dreams DIY miniature origami lamp freebie, printed on your paper of choice
  • A cutting ruler and cutting mat
  • A hobby or X-acto knife
  • Paper glue (I actually used wood glue)
  • Optional: a burnishing bone (the blunt edge of a knife or other sharp but not cutting edge will do just fine)

1. Print the pdf template at full scale and cut out the lamp in the size you wish or transfer the markings to another paper of your choice at a different scale or in different proportions

2. Trace the markings for the folds with a burnishing bone, the blunt edge of a knife or similar to make folding more accurate.

3. With the markings facing upward (this will be the inside later), fold the dotted horizontal lines outward into a mountain fold.

4. Also with the markings facing upward, fold the diagonal lines inward into a valley fold. First fold all diagonal lines in one direction and then all the ones going into the other direction.


5. Adjust all folds to the folding pattern of the origami lamp shown in the picture.

6. Glue the first and last “flap” of the folded paper on top of each other so that the strip of paper now forms a circle. Make sure the side of the paper with the markings faces inwards.

7. With the help of a needle, toothpick or similar, glue together the top triangular folds (marked orange and pink in the drawing below). As you come around toward the last of the folds, place your led or other “hanger” inside the lamp, before closing it up completely.

Pregnancy nausea time out

So where was I those last months? Did I just create a blog, grew tired of it and abandoned the project before it even really got started? Nope! The simple answer is: I got pregnant! Unfortunately, just as with my first child I was hit by some serious pregnancy nausea that lasted from the very beginning until halfway through the pregnancy. My little family fought alongside with me. And now, thanks to the help of this fashionable daddy-daughter-duo, both I and baby are “alive and kicking” and I am hoping to pick up this little side project of blogging about my DIY projects again. First thing I did was create a little circle skirt for my daughter, who has decided that twirling skirts are an important functional part of every outfit. Making her skirt by myself allowed me to combine her heart’s wishes with my need for functionality during play and easy maintenance. It also allowed me to combine our ideas of aesthetics 😉
Coming up will be a separate post about the skirt and the tutorial I used!

Big sister is helping us get ready for her little sibling! She is not only becoming really tall and smart and funny but also STRONG! You go, girl! You can do anything you set your stubborn mind to! Be brave!

DIY cat costume + face paint step by step

“Feel free to dress up for our masquerade at daycare tomorrow!” I love this part of being a parent! Being able to relive some of the magical moments from childhood with my daughter is so precious and I love when I can make them extra special for her! And after her having “been a cat” for the bigger part of this autumn, the choice of costume for my two-year-old’s Halloween at daycare was easy.

What’s more, this costume is age appropriate for a toddler and not scary for other kids at daycare. (Some daycares ban scary masks now as they may truly upset some of the youngest ones.)

It was also an affordable project and I was able to accomplish it in one night. If you are not used to sewing and crafting you may want a little extra buffer though 😉

In this post I will show and explain how I made the costume including:

  • Cat ears
  • A furry-belly shirt
  • pants with a button on tail
  • A step by step guide for a striking yet super quick and easy cat face paint
What you will need:

  • Basic sewing equipment
  • A glue stick
  • A hair band/diadem (mine had outlines of cat ears but you can use any headband)
  • Leggings + long sleeved shirt (Any color or pattern works. But I chose to buy black ones and plan to remove the furry belly later so she can use the clothes regularly.)
  • Black hobby felt
  • A small piece of fake fur (c.a. 15 x 15 inches / 40 x 40 cm)
  • A piece of soft fabric for the tail (Mine was c.a. 20 x 6 inches / 50 x 15 cm. But you may want a longer tail. I used an old black t-shirt of mine)
  • Some stuffing, wool or similar for the tail
  • Black and white face crayons or similar
Start by deciding upon the length of your tail. I used a piece of yarn that I held to the waist of my daughter and then marked the right length with a knot. Then mark and cut a piece of fabric that is about 12cm/5inches  on one end, 7cm/3inches on the other and the length of your tail +1,5cm/a half inch My tail is about 43cm/17inches and my daughter is 2 years old and about 91cm/3feet tall.

Next, you will want to cut out a piece of faux fur for the tail tip. Place the narrow end of your tail fabric over the fur and trace around it. Make sure you add seam allowance at the top (see picture).

Two important things!

  1. Make sure the hair of your fur is going in the right direction down toward the tail tip!
  2. When cutting the fur, keep the tip of your scissors carefully close to the base fabric of the fur so you don’t cut off too much of the individual hair strands.

Place your fur tip over your tail fabric. Then flip the fur along the top edge so that it’s furry side is against the tail fabric. Pin in place and sew along the top. Flip back.

Next fold your tail lengthwise with the fur inside the fold. Make sure the fur does not stick out too much but carefully bend the hair strands toward the inside of the fold.

Sew along the bottom and side of the tail. Keep stuffing the hair strands inwards as you sew. Then flip it inside out and stuff it with toy stuffing or wool. A long spoon or other stick may help with the stuffing. After you can sew the top shut. At this point, you can either just use a safety pin or clip to attach the tail or you can add a buttonhole to the tail and a button to the back of the pants like I did. My daughter naps at daycare and I wanted her teachers to be able to take off the tail when it may get in the way.

For the shirt, I made a quick cardboard template using a breakfast plate that I traced two times to form an oval in the size I wanted. But you can make it any shape or size you want. Then simply cut it out from your fur (no seam allowance needed) and use a zig zag stitch all around to attach it to the shirt. Again think of the direction the hair is “grows” and be careful to neither cut off the hair strands or to sew over them too much. Fold them away as you sew along the edge.

For the cat ears, I used black hobby felt. The hairband already had cat ear outlines. So I simply traced around them with some extra seam allowance. But if you have a regular hairband just cut out a triangle that is a bit rounded outward on two sides. Cut 4 black ear shapes. Also, cut 2 smaller triangles from your fur. Sew the triangles onto two of your ears placing the hair to point outward. Then place another ear shape on top, furry triangle on the inside. Sew along the two curved edges and flip inside out.

Cut strips of felt and rub a glue stick along one side. Then wrap the felt around the hair band until it is all covered. Last, hand stitch the ears to the top. If you don’t have an ear structure inside be careful to place your stitches so the ears will stand up.

I also gave the white fur of the ears a bit of a haircut as I thought it stuck out a bit too far.

Now to the face paint! If your toddler is anything like mine, they will not hold still for long and even then “still” is relative. So the classic approach of a black nose tip and whiskers is a simple and easy way to turn that already cute face into an adorable cat. But I want to show you another way of painting a cat face that I made up as I went and still was able to accomplish in only three minutes.

As the rest of the cat costume was in black and white I chose to do the face in black and white too. I used affordable face & body crayons for kids.

I had to be very fast and bold when putting on the makeup so I was pleased to notice that the white whiskers were much more forgiving than the classic black whiskers. I went all in and added fur on chin and eyebrows as well. And after a whole day of play, naptime and several meals the face paint was of course very rubbed off but in a surprisingly “clean” state as there was no black smudging the cheeks.

Below you will find a step by step guide for how to achieve this fast and fun cat look. My tip! Don’t be too careful or afraid that you will mess it up. With this face paint, you can work fast and bravely. I am certain each version and result will be a great cat!

Make a sensory activity toy from scraps

If you like crafting projects you probably have a bunch of fabric, buttons, beads, cords and ribbons stashed into boxes and drawers. Or as in this case even an old glove. My daughter was a very active baby craving a lot of stimulation and easily got bored of her toys. So for a trip, where keeping her busy with something new to look at made traveling so much easier, I did this last minute project the night before we left. I turned scraps and pieces into a sensory toy with lots of texture, contracts and odd shapes. I am not posting a pattern for this little monster I made since I basically created it “freehand” and your collection of leftover may not match my specific ones I had at hand when inspiration struck me. But let me know if you want to find out more and I will share some more details with you!

I was surprised to find how similar my creation ended up looking to my initial sketch. The little text on my note paper is german and means: “You have to share your happiness to multiply it.” by Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach. Pretty fitting for a diy-blog post, right?
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Transformable balcony bench

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