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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Homemade Window/Mirror Clings

I wanted to try this craft idea out with C for Valentine's Day but the activity is great for any time of the year.  We've had a few sets of dollar store clings in the past and after the first use, they never seem to have the same life.  The printed picture starts to fade or the paint comes off and some don't even cling again the next year.  I was very excited when I came across glass paint at the hardware store (off all places).

The directions were actually in English which excited me even more.  No translation necessary!  When I set out to try the first set by myself, I was a little nervous.  Painting on my only glass dish?  I chose to go ahead with it.  The directions said you could paint directly on windows or mirrors but in my mind, I only saw dripping paint and wonky designs.  I prefer to draw on perpendicular surface, thank you.

homemade window clings

I drew the images on a piece of copy paper first, keeping it simple in the beginning, before I knew how it would turn out.  I placed the paper under the glass dish and traced the design outline with the paint.  Then I just filled it in.  So easy.  Just let it sit for 24 hours and peel off.

The next day I braved the craft with C and turns out, it is totally do-able with an almost 4 year old.  He chose to trace and fill in a design I drew on paper but I think his own creation would have been darling.  I love his little people with circles for bodies and stick arm and legs.

We've gotten a good little Valentine's crop started!  Can you tell which ones were done by the three year old?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adult T-shirt Re-fashion: Boys Valentine's Shirt

I was all set to sit down and make the appliqued shirt/onsie I've had planned for the boys when I realized I had forgotten to ask my husband for more money this morning.  If you've ever lived in a country that doesn't deal in credit or debit cards, you'll understand my dismay.  I decided to sit down and quickly peruse my blog roll instead and came across a "challenge" from my friend Adrianna.  While her blog entry this morning was asking for more creative ideas for refashioning a T-shirt, it gave me the inspiration I needed.  Why not make the T-shirt myself?

My favorite T-shirt refashion tutorial is here at Homemade By Jill

While not exactly a re-fashion, since she constructs her shirt from new knit material, she does discuss how to go about tracing an old shirt onto the refashioning material, thus creating your own pattern.  Not to mention the fact that the ruffle neck she made is just the cutest.

And that is what I did today. I'm actually really proud of myself. I've not made an original article of clothing since my high school Home Education class and that one was from a pattern. In the end it was really not a big deal. There are some really great tutorials out there so I won't go into detail. Plus, I didn't take pictures as I went along because I was far from confident that it would turn out well. I was most excited that I figured out how to sew long sleeves on!  Chalk up one for sewing confidence!

C as in a very silly mood his afternoon so this is the best shot Icould get.  This next one is pretty cute in theory but you can't see the applique very well.

Future career?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday's Wickedly Awesome-Dinosaur Travel Playmat

Two posts in one day?  You betcha!  I wouldn't forget to feature the really cool stuff I've found on the blogsphere this week.

Kathleen is about as new to this crafty blogging thing as I am, but you'd never know it by the great stuff she has on her blog.  I absolutely adore this Dinosaur Travel Playmat that she's so graciously offered as a tutorial.  I don't know about you, but as a mom, I'm always on the lookout for things to throw in my magic bag of tricks.  One more thing to keep the boys occupied while waiting.  Another amazing mom to add to the collection!

On a personal note:  Today was 2nd Christmas.  Some packages that were mysteriously missing in the mail turned up.  Which means not only a second Christmas because my parent's Christmas presents finally arrived (or were finally FOUND in the mailroom!!!!!!) but also because I also received a whole bundle of fabrics, I've been waiting months for.  I'm so excited, I don't know where to start.  Here's to ticking things off on my crafty to-do list!  Yahoo!

The rest of the Heather Bailey Fabric for my Twin sized quilt.  The Peonies on the left is 5 yards of fabric.  I never knew how much that really was.  Wow, that's a lot of fabric.  Now I'm a little nervous about the final quilting of so much fabric.  The middle fabric  is for the binding and the rest on the right is for a few of the blocks.

Lots of lucious flannel intended for nice, warm pjs for the boys.  The checks on the left might also go to a birthday outfit for S.  Did I mention he's turning 1 next month.  I think in all the Robot birthday bash talk, I forgot to mention that very important fact. 

This lovely set of Kona solids is going to become a firefighters costume for C's dress up corner.  If I hurry, it could be another choice for the Carnival party his preschool class is having mid-February.  I haven't decided what to do with the cars fabric but I thought it was just too cute to pass up.

And this beautiful piece of fabric?  This will be used for matching Easter outfits for my handsome little dudes.  It is a beautifully lightweight Picnic Searsucker.  I can't wait to make their little suits. 

Suprise Feature

I woke up yesterday morning and followed my usual routine.  Followed C into the living room, turn on TV for his one morning show, poured his bowl of cereal, put on the pot of tea and sat down to read through my blog roll.  And what to my startled eyes did I see on Susan and Adrianna's Blog

Something of my very own creation! 

I probably shouldn't tell this story since they do read this blog but I just think it's kinda funny.  Those coasters were supposed to given as a thank you gift when we moved from our old house in Septemer.  These lovely ladies had watched C while I watched the movers pack up our things.  The crazy part of it was that Susan had agreed to watch him and then was forced to evacuate from her home because of a crazy forest fire.  So not only did she still watch him but Adrianna agreed to allow them all to move into her home for the day.  What amazing ladies!

And in my gratitude what did I do?  I furiously made coasters and was stitching around the outside of the last one as they packed up my sewing machine the next day.  I wasn't happy with plain coasters so I packed them up and told myself that when I saw my lovely machine the next month, I would quilt them and send them along to these wonderful women.  And so we moved, we received our belongings at our new house, and after a few weeks of adjustment, I still hadn't finished them.  Now, I was in the terrible throws (pun definitely intented) of first trimester misery.

Needless to say that when I saw these ladies at Thanksgiving, they were still unfinished.  I finally finished them up that next week and sent them along as Christmas presents and what to my disbelieving ears did I hear?  

They didn't arrive until just now.  Got to love the mail system.  So yes, I was very suprised to see them highlighted on their blog since the present is definitely not deserving of the praise for all of the reasons mentioned above.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Robot Cookie Cutter

I was so psyched to find this awsome product on the web today.

Thank goodness for Ebay because this Twist and Press cookie cutter used to be sold by Williams and Sonoma but is no longer available.  Why does it keep seeming like robots are unpopular?

Anyway,  I'm totally excited to make cookies like this:

For C's 4th birthday bash (the robots, not the people!  Why they included on the same cookie cutter, I'm not sure.)

I'm totally getting excited about this party.  I've collected all the paper necessary to make the colorful, robot centerpieces and have scored clear contact paper to laminate the Rummy card game favors.  Next task,  find a good deal on colored t's.  Anyone know where to find these on the internet?  

Monday, January 25, 2010

Robot Birthday Party

C will be turning 4 the first week in March and when I asked him what type of birthday party he would like he enthusiastically said:  ROBOTS!  Where this idea has come from, I have no clue.  He has no robot toys.  He's never even seen a robot on TV as far as I remember.  The biggest clue I have is that sometime right after Christmas he spotted a Wall-E toy at the store and asked for one for his birthday.  He's never even seen the movie.  He just thought it was a cool looking toy.  But whereever it's come from--it's go time!

Living overseas can, at times, pose a challenge.  A mom, especially a mom that likes to crafty, must be uber organized and prepared head of time for all things because one never knows when something will be un-findable on the local market which requires the scouring of the internet, the ordering, and the waiting (sometimes months, depending on the mail fairies) for the items to arrive. 

Better safe than sorry, I said to myself last night, even before I've started searching out there in my world.  I spent hours last night thinking of ideas and sneaking a peak at what other crafty moms have done with the Robot theme.  As fun as a robot themed party sounds, there is not a whole lot out there.  Robots are obviously not a popular choice right now.  All things considered, I think I've gathered and sketched out a pretty decent party. 

I have one month to get it all done.  Here's what I'm planning:

Cakey Goodness:

Robot shaped birthday cake or cupcakes decorated to look like robots.  There are some really great pics on Google Images.

I especially love these Robot Cupcakes but I'm not sure I can find the baking supplies to pull them off. 

This will need a little more thought.

Food:  I saw several websites/blogs that featured food choices that were labeled with robot words like---

Nuts and Bolts-Chex Mix
Motor Oil- punch or juice
Computer Chips-potato chips

And there was a really great, healthy food activity to build Edible Robots that is super simple.

I'm thinking Sushi Circuit Boards for the parents.

Game Ideas:

Possibly a Robot Pinata
Build a Robot Table using Legos (The kids could then take their robot home as part of their goodie bag?)
Pin the Battery on the Robot
Musical Robots (children walk/dance on pictures of famous robots while music plays)
"Build" a Robot from construction paper shapes

And for the parents:  Name the Famous Robots (which really tests how much TV and movies you've seen in  life)

The favor bags are where I get a chance to have some real fun.  I was thinking Freezer Paper Stenciled Robot T-shirts (If I can find a good deal on colored T's) and a Robot Rummy game if my new printer comes in time. 

I think a few tin foil or colorful plain paper wrapped box robots to decorate the room and a small one as a centerpiece and we'll be ready to party. 

If you can think of anything I'm missing let me know.  The plate/cup selection is non-exhistant so I need to think what to do about that.  Stickers on plain plates and cups?
Man, I better get started!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quilted Valentine's Candle Mat

This was my first time sewing a quilt binding onto something that was not a square or rectangle so please don't look too closely.  I'd love some pointers for making this easier, if anyone's got them.

Here are some pictures of each step:

Three 2 1/2 inch strips sewed together then cut into hearts.  The hearts were then sandwiched with bunting and a backing fabric and quilted.

Please don't look too closely at the wonky binding.  After looking at this picture though, I think these would make cute coasters.

I think one more heart would have made the project a little less lopsided but since I was using scraps, I could only make four.  Change the fabric to greens and you have yourself a lovely St. Patty's Day craft.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Valentine's Day Heart Ornaments?

I've been working on a few, simple Valentine's Day decorations but unfortunately, my children keep interrupting with various "I need mommy NOW" issues such as new teeth, pink eye, coughing, and general non-sleeping so I thought instead of waiting to post them all together (if I ever get them done), I'll write three quick posts.

What I've completed so far are some heart ornaments, for lack of a better description.  These are kind of a cheater blog entry since I'd made them last year for my friend's Valentine themed baby shower.  In my defense, I gave them all to her afterwards so I did have to make new ones this year. 

Super easy.  I traced my largest heart-shaped cookie cutter on the wrong side of some Valentiney fabric, cut them out, sewed them wrong sides together, leaving a small hole at the top.  Turned right side out and stuffed with polyester filling and whip-stitched the heart closed.  I then added a ribbon hanger at the top.  I need to go back and add some embellishment where the ribbon meets the heart but otherwise these are done.  I was thinking buttons or even a cute, fabric flower like the one Sachiko added to her Ruffle shirt over at Tea Rose Home.  I'm pretty sure this would still work in the minature form. 

Now the only problem is where to display them.  Our last home had these wonderfully enormous chandeliers with winding, skinny "arms" on which to hang decorations but as you can see in this terribly lighted picture (Please excuse said picture as I live in a land where the sun does not shine.  I'm not even joking.  We've lived here since October and I've yet to see it.  No exaggeration!)

The windows are okay but the handles will block the embellishments.

For now I've settled on the door handles, which we have plenty of.  We have a lot of doors in this house!  They look cute here but as I was checking that all was well last night before turning in, I noticed that the hearts had migrated.  At least three of them are now located in C's bedroom.  I guess he felt like he needed some Valentine's cheer.  At least I know they're appreciated!

Almost finished and coming up next time . . . a Quilted Heart Candle Mat.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wickedly Awesome Wednesday-Valentine's Day Etsy Finds

I was looking through the Etsy shops the other day and came upon some of the most adorable Valentine's Day items that are geared toward BOYS!  Yipee!  I love to smother my boys on the day of LOOOOVE and obviously so do these vendors.

A LoVE Robot Onsie from Tadpoles and Tutus

Monogramed Valentine's Day Pirate by Samemonogram which my three year old would just die for.

and my ultimate favorite for the day is Be Mine Express by Gigglebabydesigns.  Could a little toddler boy get any cuter for Valentine's Day?

I'd hurry over to Etsy fast because these designs are sure to sell out quickly!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rag Quilted Numbers Continued---Again!

And now for the numberals 6-9. 

For the numerals 6-9 you will need to make quarter and dime sized circles using the same method applied in the last post.

Each numeral needs a specific number of quarter and dime sized circles. Once you have everything cut out,  sew each dime sized circle to a quarter sized circle. Here is what it should look like:

I've included pictures of each numeral so you can note circle placement when you are ready to cut and sew the velco.

For the numeral 6 you need 3 quarter sized circles and 3 dime sized circles.

For the numeral 7 you need 4 quarter sized circles and 3 dime sized circles.

For the numeral 8 you need 4 quarter sized circles and 4 dime sized circles.

For the numeral 9 you need 5 quarter sized circles and 4 dime sized circles.

The numerals with two circles will be counted as such.  So when counting the number 6 as you touch each stacked pair of circles you count 1,2 . . 3,4 . . .5,6.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Touch Math Inspired Number-Cont.

Okay, the long awaited rag quilted numbers with a twist are finally finished.  Since the crafty part of this manipulative is relatively easy and has been demonstrated numerous times by those much more qualified than I, I'll leave you with a link to Jessica over at Happy Together.  She's written a fabulous tutorial on creating rag letter and even provided templates for the upper AND lowercase alphabet. 

And now on to the numbers and their Touch Mathy twist.

Here's a picture of the rag quilted numerals 0-9.

touch math numbers

After you've rag quilted the numbers, given them a whirl in the washer and dryer, and in my case then a little bit of iron action, you're ready to make circles.

Yes,  I said circles.  You will need to make quilted circles (I made the circles by cutting around a quarter) using the left over materials (quilt sandwich leftovers) that the numbers were made from. I then stitched a triangle at the center of each.

For the numerals 1-5 need the number of circles to represent each number, ie; 1 circle for the number 1, 2 for the number 2 . . .

Once you've stiched the circles add Velcro so the circles can be easily attached or detached by the child.  Cut one loop and one hook piece from Velcro and attach to the correct place on each numeral and the back of the circle. 

Here is a close up of the numerals 1-5 so you can see the circle placement.

(The circles on the 4 are a little harder to see--they are attached to the "square" part of the four)

One of the great things about the circles is that they are interchangeable.  Here's a close-up of the four and five with circles that have more of a contrast.

As your child places each circle down they count on.  So when working with the three the child counts, 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 (one count for each circle).  Repetition of this activity helps children learn the name of each numeral as well as one-to-one correspondence. 

In my next post I'll show you how to make and arrange the circles for the numerals 6-9 as they are a bit more complicated, show you how the child counts on with the next set and show a quick tutorial of simple addition and subtraction.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday's Wickedly Awesome-Instant Race Track

Our recent move this October has rustled my feathers just a bit.  While everything was unpacked ages ago, I find there are still several rooms that need a more personal touch.  Most importantly, I really do need to get going on decorating the boys rooms and making their spaces more individual.  C's room had a transportation theme at our old house and while he's still deciding what statement he wants his room to make, if he were to keep with the transportation theme, he'd only need a few more items.

Yesterday I came across the cutest idea at Lil Bit Of Us.  It's a super simple race track for the wall.

How wickedly awsome is that?  One more thing to add to my ever growing To Do List.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Touch Math Inspired Numbers

Since my son, C, has started pre-school, he is a wealth of stories.  More than ever he's counting things for my benefit and telling stories that involve counting.  Preschool here tends to be less "educational" than your average American pre-school but obviously they've been doing some counting.  Maybe it's my teacherly ways, but I can help notice that he does not know most of the numbers even though he's amazing me that he can already (usually) count to 19.  Being a boy, or maybe just being 3-soon to be 4-my son is a tactile learner.  He needs to move, touch, and manipulate while learning.

The solution:  Touch Math Inspired Numbers

If you've not heard of Touch Math, I highly encourage you to drop on over to Touch Math and check it out.  I've worked with this math program at the elementary level, a tutor, and as an aid for a child with Down Syndrome and I'm hooked. 

Tutorial  to come in the near future.  Please excuse this poor, tired Momma.  She's got a miserable, non-sleeping, teething/ear infected 10 month old whose worn her out with his crying today.  The numbers are cut out and ready to be quilted but for now, I'm off to dreamland.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Heather Bailey Pop Garden Quilt

I've had this beautiful assortment of fabric in my stash for at least 6 months now waiting to be made into a quilt.  I decided that today was the day to get started.  I'm waiting around for various pieces of fabric and notions to complete a few projects for my boys so why not take advantage of the time.  I've cut each and every piece of yardage and I'm ready to go. 

I even have a plan for my 7 1/2 inch quilt blocks.  After spending months looking at quilt blocks on-line, I decided to design my own.  Here are the two different arrangements on paper:

And here is all the lovely fabric waiting to be sewn:

I'll be dreaming sweet dreams decorated with Pop Garden tonight!
If you haven't yet visited Heather's blog, I highly recommend you do so NOW!  Afterwards, you'll be dreaming some sweet crafty dreams of your own.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Inchies (Mini Quilts)

I recently came across the most beautiful sewing craft and it has become an obsession.  They're called Inchies and they are essentially mini quilts.  I think, historically, that they started out as a paper craft but as an art form, it lends itself so nicely to the world of fabric that I think it is quickly moving the way of fiber craftiness. 
The basic idea is this:

1.  Choose a backing fabric.
2.  Place a piece of Fun Foam or Pellon on top of the backing fabric (wrong side up).
3.  Arrange pieces of coordinating fabrics on top.
4.  Quilt the "sandwich" making sure each little piece of fabric is stitched.
5.  Cut into 1 inch strips (Cut into 2 inch strips for doubles or 1.5 inch strips for Inchies Plus or basically any side strip that lends itself to your final crafting needs.
6.  Use a satin stitch to sew the two long edges of each strip.
7.  Cut into 1 inch blocks (Or which ever side square you are choosing to use).
8.  Sew the edges of the remaining two sides.
9.  And now embellish to your hearts content.  Remember to leave some unadorned for variety.

If those instructions are not clear enough, there's a great photo tutorial over at Feathered Fibers.

Here's a sampling of what I whipped up today. 

Once the embellishments are done the Inchies have unlimited potential in your crafting and sewing.

Here are just a few places where Inchies can be put to use:

* arrange a shape and frame it for instant wall art
* use as embellishment on a decorative pillow
* add to the bottom/back of a finished quilt as your signature
* ornaments, necklace or pin pendants

I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my Inchie yet.  I have a few ideas floating around.  My 10 month old could use some wall art in his room.  Maybe something like this in a nice shadowbox frame?

A pillow could be nice too.  Either like this:

Not sure yet if I find this to be too busy.
Maybe with a Minky border?

Or is simple best? White background with a Minky border at the edges of the pillow?

Since they really can be adapted to any size the possibilies are endless!  I'd love to hear of other ways people have thought to use this great crafting technique!

Here is a great site that provides daily Inchies updates as well as an amazing gallery of Inchie art work that will blow your mind.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fabric Frame Decoupage

I love the simple act of decoupage but thought it was off limits to me while living overseas.  As far as I can tell, crafting is not something that people are interested in here.  While I've scoured the hobby and fabric shops, Modge Podge is not to be found.  The good, old internet will continue to be my friend in ordering for the next few years which means that certain supplies are off limits for mailing. Oh, sigh!

Much to my suprise and delight, I came across a recipe for homemade Modge Podge.  3: 1 (white wood glue: water).  I have to laugh because I've used a similar recipe while working with my elementary school children.  I had students use Elmer's school glue mixed with water to create art with tissue paper.  I never in a million years thought that would work with fabric.

So I had a ball last night decoupaging some old photo frames and I love result!  My favorite is this one, using fabrics from the Darla Collection by Tanya Whelan.  Okay, so maybe it's just that I'm so in love with the fabric that I like the project.  The fact that I was willing to give some of it up (even scraps) is a big deal.  Not sure how hoarding the fabric shows my love but once it's gone . . . I just haven't found the perfect BIG, project yet.  I want to make two more smaller frames to go with this large one. 

fabric decoupaged frame
The great thing about decoupage is that it can be used to cover up a hideous frame given to you as a gift, or in the case of the large one above, one got WAY on sale. This one was a terrible shade of salmon.

Another great thing about decoupaging with fabric is that it is a fabulous scrap buster.  Here's a small frame I made out of the scraps of Anna Maria Horner loveliness that I used to make a quilted pillow which coordiates with a crib bumper and quilt made by my friends over at crafterhours

The pillow is currently in the mail, arriving just in time (I hope) for the new baby's arrival.