Felt Heart Button Covers in Action!

9 02 2012

Of course the very day after Eleanor insisted that she could not possibly wear the button covers with anything other than her purple stripped tights, I found her rummaging through her drawers looking for her “heart buttons”! Apparently it finally sunk in that I don’t do the wash daily and she had settled on a different pair of tights. And here I was thinking I had found the solution by putting the shirt aside to wait for the tights to be cleaned. Nope. Once we put all the clothes back in her drawers, dressing commenced and I ended up with a very happy girl.

I did find out that it doesn’t pay to ignore the directions on which way to place the button slit and that said slits should be made on the small side. As I mentioned yesterday, it took me less than 5 minutes to make the 7 little hearts. Well, it took me even less than that to redo the 3 front hearts so that they wouldn’t pop off every time her little belly rubbed against something. Now they’re on there snugly and all is going well. Personally, it’s the french cuffs on a 4 yr old that slays me.

PS Look where my paper doll snowflakes ended up! A dreamy little slide show about snow. Oh, how I wish it would snow!





Felt Heart Button Covers

8 02 2012

I’ve always wanted to make these little felt button covers since I very 1st saw them in a Martha Stewart Kids years ago when the magazine still existed. But since we live off hand-me-downs, this is the 1st year I’ve actually had a button down shirt for Eleanor that would work. I think it looks better on a wider placket such as that in the original inspiration, but this works just fine too. Once I had the felt, the project took less than 5 minutes. I was shocked that I had such a cute little embellishment in such a short amount of time. It helped that I let go of the idea of perfectly measured hearts and just eyeballed it.

Eleanor thinks they’re grand too, but insists on wearing them with a certain pair of purple striped hand-me-down tights that she wore the day before I made these and I’ve yet to wash. Maybe that’s what I should go do now!





Valentine Matching Clip Job

2 02 2012

Inspired by a photograph found via pinterest, I decided to make a valentine themed job for Eleanor’s preschool classroom. When I showed it to Eleanor she loved the idea. Well, except for the sharing part. Apparently there was a bit of a concern about a specific little boy ruining it with his “germs”.

I promised to laminate it and told her if she liked it, I could make a 2nd set for home and she graciously gave her consent. Seeing as she couldn’t keep her hands off it last night when it wasn’t even done yet, I have a feeling I’ll be making that 2nd set.

I backed 14 pretty papers with pink card stock, laminated and cut out hearts.

I was having difficulty with glue and the clothespins as I was trying to use the left over laminated scraps. However, not a single type of glue in my household would hold those puppies together. I finally took a step back and simplified. Using a little more fresh unlaminated paper and good old modge podge I got the job done.

The arrow points are still laminated as I feared a gaggle of preschoolers would otherwise do them in. Plus both clips and hearts are backed in solid pink.

Eleanor was rather upset that she couldn’t bring it to school this morning, but now it’s ready and waiting for her.





Thanksgiving Place Cards

22 11 2011

After plenty of suggestions, the kids finally chose the place cards they wanted to make for Thanksgiving. Origami is simply irresistible to Seth. We didn’t use construction paper like the instructions suggest, but nifty origami paper that reminded me of wooden boards.

We now have an entire fleet, ready and waiting for Thanksgiving.

Here are some of the other options we considered:





Scavenger Hunt

23 06 2011

We’re very into scavenger hunts around here. In the car, the house or the yard. With picture clues or words. Lists of items to find, clues that take you from room to room or simply a hide and seek affair. The kids just can’t seem to get enough of them. So when thinking of what games the kids might enjoy at Eleanor’s birthday party, it didn’t take me long to land on a scavenger hunt. And since both of the crafts and all of the decorations were flower related, it was time to do something with butterflies.

I made these magnets using wood circles, photos, modge podge, dimensional glaze, super glue and, of course, magnets. The wood circles were cut from branches in our backyard. Each one sanded down smooth while I dreamed of a hundred other projects I could use them for.

I even got a little help. This is her best “why are you taking a picture of me” face while wearing a nightgown over her other jammies and a matching headband to boot.

Although I have plenty of my own pics of various butterfly stages, I decided to go with the classic monarch. And since I only had a shot of the caterpillar stage, I went looking on flickr for the rest. I was fortunate to find images which allow for personal use. The egg shot is from kiwinz and the butterfly is from grandma sandy+chuck. I’d tell you the chrysalis shot only I lost the link. Sorry chrysalis photographer! But I can say that I really appreciate their willingness to share and plan to look at creative commons licenses for some of my photos.

I printed the pics on plain paper and affixed them to the discs with modge podge. After they dried I added a layer of dimensional glaze. Awesome stuff, I tell ya. It adds a nice think resin like coating. The right side of this pic is before adding the glaze, the left after. It goes on sort of milky but dries clear after a day or two as you can sort of see in the top photo. Hard to take a pic of, but I think you get the idea. The last piece of the pie was to glue the magnets on the backs. I used your regular ol’ black circle magnets but would really love to research stronger magnets for future projects. I think the patience needed for this projects was the hardest part. All that waiting for things to dry drove me nuts. I so wanted to touch them. And well, I did. Once. Had to re-do that one.

I made a complete set of 4 for each child attending the party. Fortunately, the rain eased up so we could do the scavenger hunt outside. We bundled everyone up, headed to the backyard and had a brief discussion on the 4 stages of a butterflies life cycle. Most of the kids were 3 or 4 years old after all. They were jumping up and down to tell me the answers. We then sent them into the yard to find one of each magnet. Once they found their 4, I sent them back to help their friends.

The magnets were theirs to keep but I felt a reward for finding all 4 was still needed. And what did they get? A flower lollipop of course!

And could I stop at just one flower per kid? Oh, no. Not me. I had to make a whole basket full.

Super easy to make while watching tv after the kids go to bed, but not so easy to make when they’re around. “I want root beer flavor” “I want cotton candy!” “Will you write my name on this one?” Ugh – go away.

I used left over crepe paper streamers from a past birthday party, winding around the sucker while occasionally folding in a bit at the bottom. Then I secured them with some floral tape, which I continued all the way down the stem. It took a couple practice goes, but I eventually got the knack of it.

After each child picked out theirs (and immediately tore off the crepe paper) I divvied out most of the rest into the thank you bags.

I really had fun creating the magnets and lollipop flowers and the kids really seemed to enjoy it all too. This was the one project I did more than a day in advance. And good thing too, with all that drying time!





Flower Necklaces

15 06 2011

Even though there were boys invited to the party I decided they were still young enough for flower necklaces. This was originally going to be a back up project just in case. However, it came together quickly and the end result so fun I decided it was no longer a back up and pulled it out mid party.

I put together the fixings while having a cup of tea and chatting with my mother. In other words, not much thought or time was required. Here’s what we used:

  • A selection of dark colored 1″ buttons from the stash
  • Hemp cording cut to sections 30-36″ long
  • Blunt tip darning needles
  • 2.5″ felt circles of various colors
  • 1.75″ felt circles of various colors
  • 3.5″ green felt leaves
The size of the felt pieces is approximate as each was hand cut, purposefully not being a perfectionist about it. It’s not worth the time to nicely draw out each shape plus the wonkiness adds to the charm. A snip was precut in the center of each circle and toward one end of each leaf.

One nice thing about the hemp cording is that it has enough stiffness that the kids could weave it through the buttons without use of skinny pokey needles. (It’s great for all sorts of lacing projects because of this.) I had the kids pick 1 item from each bowl and then demonstrated for them how to lace the button, thread the needle with both ends of the cord and stack the felt pieces to form the flower. When they were done, I tied a knot and they happily slipped their creations on.

Most of the kids needed help threading the needles but that was expected. It was a super quick project, only taking about 15 minutes tops but the kids were quite into it and really liked their necklaces. If I were to do it again I’d make a couple changes. One would be to provide enough needles for all the kids, taking turns is no fun after all. Also, I would try smaller or lighter weight buttons. Due to the heft of these 1″ oldies the flowers would some times droop downward. Although the kids didn’t seem to notice one bit.





Gifts

24 02 2011

We mostly just give handmade valentine cards within the family, but this year I went a little further. I really like the fact that we keep it simple, creating cards with just what we have on hand. Still, I had the urge to do a little more this year, but I tried hard not to go overboard.

For Seth – An etched seashell. Making the valentine shells reminded me of a project in Laurie Carlson’s More Than Moccasins. You paint an image on a shell with clear nail polish, then place in a bowl of vinegar for a day. I think it would be nice to reverse the surface that is etched and paint all of the shell except the heart. A note of warning should you be tempted to try this project, not all shells are created equal. White or lightly colored shells do not work because it’s difficult to see the difference between the etched surface and the protected one. Additionally, thinner shells may disintegrate completely. This happened to me twice which is why I ended up with a different gift for Eleanor. I simply didn’t have another 24 hours to risk on another shell.

For Eleanor – A felt heart necklace inspired by new house project’s necklace I spyed on The Crafty Crow. I had been cutting out and collecting small red hearts from scraps left by the bean bag project. I was thinking if it came together Eleanor could wear it to school on the big day. Well, I didn’t finish it until about 1/2 hour before the end of her school day but it did solve the problem that I didn’t have a 2nd etched shell to give out.

For me, from Kristin – isn’t she awesome?! I simply love this little pin and was really touched when she gave it to me.

This concludes the crafty valentines day summary. I promise to keep hearts on the down low for the next 11 months.





Valentine Beanbags!

14 02 2011

Raise your hand if you know I tend to go overboard at Valentine’s Day.

Ah, I see more than half of you with your hands up. As you may have guessed, this year was certainly no exception. We’ll see how much time I can find this week to show you all of our projects.

First up, I made a pile of bean bags out of left over felt from Seth’s halloween costume, an old grey t-shirt and a large bag of rice. I had everything on hand except the rice, which I found on sale – bonus! I would have preferred to have found some old sweaters to felt down or some lovely new wool felt to use, but time and money were not on my side so I made do.

Eleanor helped fill them with the rice. She and her brother also helped sweep up the rice after one rather large spill that happened when my back was turned. I just kept repeating in my head – practical life lesson, it’s ok, breath, practical life lesson….

In this pile, you can see one with the tag hand sewn on. It was the only one that had a tag by the time the sun was going down yesterday.  I purposefully sewed the hearts a little wonky twice around, but I’ll admit by the time I was on my 22nd one they were REALLY wonky.  I somehow doubt the 3 to 5 year olds will care though.

I suggested to Eleanor that she might want to write an E on the back of each card, but she would have none of it. She wanted to trace her full name on each and every card. The crazy part is she did it! Half last night and the rest this morning. We were a little late for school, but I wasn’t going to stop that concentration and persistence.  Even last year Seth didn’t make it through signing all his valentine’s and his name is so much shorter than hers. It was very unexpected. She even added a little sticker to each one.

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Find someone to hug and slowly enjoy a good chocolate treat.





Advent Calendar!

8 12 2010

Every year I become enchanted with all the beautiful – and often complex – advent calendars out on the net. In fact, I become rather obsessed. The closer christmas comes, the more disappointed I become with myself for not pulling it off. Logically, I know that’s silly. One simply CANNOT do everything. But this year I found myself once again dreaming of little envelopes or bags filled with activities and the occasional sweet. I figured I’m no longer employed outside the home, so why can’t I pull this off? And then boom! December was upon us and I decided to have a good old fashion sit down with myself on what is important and what I have time to do while still enjoying the season. Enjoyment being key as all the hard work in the world isn’t worth it if you’re not enjoying  yourself. So I came to terms with an advent calendar not being in our cards this year.

That very same day, Seth came home with a strong desire to make an advent calendar. Did he sense I had just tossed that possibility out the window? All I can tell you is that he was NOT going to take no for an answer. He started digging through the recycling bin and the basement, emphatically saying no to any of my suggestions that involved leaving the house to buy supplies, and he came up with a plan. His own plan. The best kind.

He found the base materials:

  • a flattened cardboard box
  • green construction paper
  • a flattened paperboard box (from a large box of crackers)
  • a box cutter (actually he asked for this one)
  • a self healing cut mat (I kid you not – his idea)

I filled in the gaps:

  • white duct tape
  • markers and colored pencils
  • a bone folder

Process:

  1. We cut the cardboard and paper board to the same rectangular size, roughly 11X24″
  2. Then we covered the cardboard with a few pieces of construction paper
  3. These 3 pieces would form our layers but before attaching them we had a little work to do. Although Seth didn’t think it necessary I wanted a little picture on the front. You know, something to gussy it up. I was thinking along the lines that Seth or myself could draw. A snowman or a christmas tree perhaps. But Seth, with his infinite wisdom, chose a cabin. After sketching out a few ideas on scratch paper I looked up at him and said “maybe we should wait until your dad gets home”. To which he replied “because he designs houses at work”. “Yeah.” “Good idea.” And so we did.

    And boy am I glad we did.
  4. Next I used a stencil to trace out 24 uniform window openings and cut out the 3 sides with a box cutter. I also scored the 4th side of the window using a bone folder to make the window open more easily.
  5. Steve numbered the boxes and filled in the image with snow and sky coloring
  6. Despite my worry that duct tape was no longer classy enough for this masterpiece I went ahead and used it to edge the piece and hold the top paperboard layer to the paper covered cardboard.

I’m adding messages only a day or two prior to the window being opened to prevent peaking as well as to give me the flexibility I need around the holidays. I’ve got a whole list to draw from so that if I don’t feel like making cookies with the kids the next day I can replace it with something like give someone a compliment instead. Gently as I can, I pull back the window being careful not to truly crease the board. Then I write a little suggested activity for the day. Here’s a sampling of my list:

  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Sing a christmas carol
  • Buy a christmas tree
  • Decorate the tree
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Go sledding
  • Give someone a hug
  • Make orange pomanders
  • Go for a drive in our pjs to see christmas lights
  • Watch Rudolf
  • Make someone smile today
  • Dance to christmas music
  • Drink hot cocoa

Granted, you can see the Cheese It box front when you open the windows. If we do it again maybe I’d glue down a backing paper or paint it. But really, it doesn’t hurt the overall effect and the kids don’t seem to notice once bit. The best part of this project? That it was a collaborative effort. In my opinion, the best holiday projects, are ones you do with someone else. The fact that it was based off my son’s idea and initiative only makes it that much better, giving him confidence and pride in the outcome.





KCWC Success!

22 09 2010

Meg over at Elsie Marley is hosting Kids Clothes Week Challenge. I try to avoid signing up for things because more often than not I let myself down. However, sometimes I just need a kick in the pants to get going. So with nothing to loose I signed up. I didn’t make any announcements that I signed up for fear of failure. But I needn’t have worried so much. Here’s how it’s gone so far:

Day 1: Found the bottom of my sewing table! Spent some quality time cleaning the table off and organizing stash and supplies. Though technically not sewing, I couldn’t actually do any sewing without this step.

Day 2: Although fully intending to start on the Oliver + S syllabus, I couldn’t find the right fabric and ribbon in my basement to satisfy both my daughter and myself. I came close to bailing and then was inspired by this shot of my kids. In this picture Eleanor is wearing one of her favorite dresses. In fact, not only has it been through a few girls before her, but she wears it so often that it’s basically starting to disintegrate. Add that to the fact that Eleanor is obsessed with wearing dresses and yet has drawers full of tops and pants and I had an eureka moment. I could actually make a similar dress with the top of one of her unused long sleeve t-shirts and the bottom of an adult t-shirt! Not a new concept I’m sure, but a good one none the less. So I set to work pairing shirts, cutting and reminding myself how to make gathers.

Day 3: One completed dress!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only remaining questions are – Will she like it? Will she wear it? Will it fit her? I can’t wait until she gets home to find out. If it’s a success, how much do you want to bet I start another one tomorrow? (I already have the shirts picked out.)








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