25 November 2010

Catching Up On Our Activities (Take 1)

Here is the promised list of some of the things we've been up to during our blog down time.

We'll share some of our fall decorations posted just before I will be taking them down, woops! It just took so long to redo the site.We hung up this turkey, an old craft done by some of our friends...

...and cut out a rainbow of leaves to hang with apples on our tree, (which is getting pretty beat up and I do believe needs replacing now, not to mention the paint on the basement walls!)

Kaia rediscovered one of the cat masks we made for Mardi Gras and has been having great fun with it all over again. We bought plain masks and cut and glued ears on out of craft foam and painted, glittered, and bedazzled them.

We made a jumping cup frog from this tutorial. Kaia is still finding it a bit tricky to let go of both tabs at the same time, so he mostly crashes. She has great fun trying, though, and loves watching it launch when other people do it for her.

We discovered dry erase crayons! They are so cool. She's been using them on the windows and mirrors, too, and totally loves them.

My Mum showed Kaia how to make a wreath for our front door. Kaia selected the branches, and helped wrap the wire by dropping it through the center of the wreath for Grandma to catch and pull back around.

I started on a play quilt for Katalin. On this square the tree and sun are stuffed, the cloud is soft, fuzzy fleece, and the yarn grass is only attached (quite firmly) at the bottom so it can be twiddled and pulled. The shiny, green material is also scraps left over from making my wedding dress.

We also made bath stickers, these are so fabulous! They are cut out of sheets of thin craft foam and adhere with the surface tension from water when you dunk them. We found them here on Filth Wizardly and are completely smitten now. We started with the sun, some trees, bushes, flowers, and mushrooms and I brought the foam sheets and some scissors with us. As Kaia thought of things she wanted, I cut like mad.

I brought really crummy scissors since I knew they'd be getting wet and they were pretty difficult to work with, especially when Kaia wanted spiders. She didn't seem to mind, though. This spider ate the flowers off the bush.

The spiders needed hats and all manner of food to eat. Including, but not limited to; apples, cereal, grapes, pumpkins, and chips. After those, they proceeded to eat the rest of the scenery. Here they are finishing off the sun. They were incredibly hungry.

We ended with at least twice as many stickers as we began with. There will be many more to come, and I will be making sets for nearly all the kids on our Christmas list. It is hard to get out of the bath now. She loves them. They float and so are easy to skim off the top of the bath before draining, and then they go in a baggie for storage. Just be sure to leave the baggie open when the "stickers" are wet so they don't mold... and your spiders don't suffocate. ;)

With a bowl of water, you can use these practically anywhere. Windows, fridge, doors, etc. Kaia likes playing with them on our oven door while I do dishes.

I'll post another list of some more of our crafts in another day or two, then we should be all caught up. Take care!

24 November 2010

Bouquet of Felt Flowers

Miss Kaia wanted to pick flowers to give her Papa when he got home from work. Alas, there are no flowers in bloom around our house, so I thought we'd try to make some. As these grey November days wear on, I am enjoying their splash of summer colour more and more. I think I may need to make some more to add to them. As this began entirely experimentally, I started with eight.

We brought out my bag of felt scraps.. the little ones I wasn't sure I should actually be saving but maybe could stuff something with. I have such a hard time throwing away any amount of cloth. Kaia picked out a couple colours - she wanted red and orange - and we set to work. I grabbed some yellow and greens for the leaves and flower centers as well and cut them all to shape. We went simple, I will try extravagant with the next batch. ; ) And layers, these would be fantastically fun with layers.

Fold each of your flowers in half and cut a very small slit in the center.
Do the same for your leaves, except make your cut toward one end of the leaf.

I had been planning on threading these onto green pipe cleaners, but when it came time, would you believe I couldn't find any? Absurd! (Also, one should probably gather their intended materials for a craft before getting half way done and finding one does not actually posses them.) In any case, in my search I did find cloth florists wire, which I did not know was around. It looks like florists wire wrapped tightly with thread and perhaps has a bit more class than green pipe cleaners, lol. Absolutely a nicer looking stem. They were quite long and I cut them in half.

Using a pair of pliers, twirl one end of your wire into a flat spiral and feed your flower and then leaves on. Once all pieces were on, I did also double back on itself the very bottom of the wire so there would be nothing pokey while being played with.

Although not yet done in this photo, I eventually added a dob of glue to the underside of the bottom point on the leaves and tacked them down so they would stay in place.

I actually quite liked the look of the cute little spirals and hesitated to glue on the yellow circles, but in the end I did. One little drop of hot glue in the center, pressed in place.

And your flowers are ready to be loved on, handed around, played with and gifted! She did excitedly present them to her Papa when he arrived home after playing with them all day, but the moment he set them down she stole them back. : )

They now reside in a little vase on her kitchen counter when they are not being played with. I think they look quite lovely.

This was a very quick and simple project with ample reward. Without a doubt we will have fun inventing more flowers and sharing them with our friends in the long, flowerless Winter.

Maintenance Update

Okay, so it has been 2 weeks. 
This won't be the first deadline I've missed. By a lot. 
It's been a lot of work, though. I needed to take down, re-size, and re-upload every picture I've ever posted on my blog, and I decided to make the look of the blog mine while I was at it as well. No more pre-made template for me! I don't have very much computer time in my life to begin with and just to make things a bit more interesting, my computer has been completely on the fritz of late. One result of this was that while trying to change over all these pictures, I wasn't actually able to open any of the folders most of the pictures are stored in. Eurgh. Such is my life, though, these things no longer surprise me. I am, however, about done and should be able to get posting again in the next day or two.

09 November 2010


Okay, taking a little time here for some much needed maintenance and picture downsizing. I hope not more than a week, I have so many things I want to share x_x

02 November 2010

Totes of Tininess

Whew! We've been without internet. More on what we've been up to later, though. First... tiny totes! Christmas is just around the corner, and if, like us, you try to make everything handmade, you should better be in full swing by now. Er... not surprisingly, I'm not. Nevertheless, I have started so I am still ahead in my book. ;) Here's one of my projects this year. I am making 8 and they will be filled with little handmade magnets. I basically followed this tutorial and their pictures are much more festive than mine, but.. sorry, I wasn't about to bust out the x-mas shinies beginning of November to take a few pics! I was not 100% happy with them, though, so I made mine just slightly different. 

Lets start with the decoration. I didn't want to use scrapbooking embellishments, especially not when I already own some polymer clay. I rolled out some white clay and cut rectangles into it, then used the tip of a mechanical pencil to punch holes through the corners so I would have a way to attach them to my little bags. Obviously you can do this with a pin, or something else pointy, too. Then I formed triangles in green, and cut branches into them, pulling up the tips, and pressed them onto the rectangles. I used the same nice thin steel scraper I'd used to cut to also carefully slice my rectangles back up off the table. If you haven't got something like that I would just recommend working on a piece of tin foil so that your work can be easily moved.

Using just the very tip of my exact-o blade I cut itty bitty little stars. Stars was my first intention, although I have to admit that when I came to this step I tried to skimp and just put little balls on top. It just wasn't the same, though, and I think the stars were with their aggravation. I rolled little cylinders between my fingers and pressed on little trunks as well. Then it was time to bake!

After baking also dabbed some shiny gold onto the stars and added some sparkly "snow" to the branch tops with mod podge and glitter. 
Now for the bags. I followed the same idea as the tiny totes I linked above, but there were a few things I wanted to change. While I liked the stitching on the outside and the crisp edges it gave, I wasn't a fan of the overcast stitch in white. I understand it's a look, but it still just looks in-side-out to me. :) I also found it simpler for myself to just cut five separate pieces rather than struggle with keeping precise and neat folds. This also allows you to use more colours if you wish. I wished.  I measured and cut 3 three pieces of paper for a pattern, and cut all of my squares out of red, green, brown, and white felt. I sewed all sides to my bottom panel first, using coordinating red and green thread and a blanket stitch, then went up the sides and along the top edge as well.

You could, of course, just pick one colour and do whatever stitch you like on your machine, or even just switch colours a lot, and this would go much faster. For me, not only do I like the blanket stitch on these, but it is so much easier for me to work by hand while caring for my kids. I can sit down wherever they are and babble with my baby while stitching instead of polluting our play time with the noisy machine or trying to move it wherever my 2 year old happens to want to play for the moment. It is easy to start and stop frequently this way with the needs of the day , or get a stitch in here or there.

With the box done, I cut pipe cleaners (or, "fuzzy sticks, as they were marketed as O.o ) to a size that looked nice and tacked them into place on the bags. I ran my pipe cleaners clear to the bottom of the bag to help it keep its form, and just tacked at the top. I'm not sure whether or not this was done in the tutorial, I don't believe it says. In any case, that done, I stitched on my little clay embellishments.

And they are ready to be filled with sweet little gifts or delicious treats! I feel like I have to wait so long to share these little presents! Ah well, I certainly have plenty left to do to keep me occupied, lol. Now I just need to defend them from my daughter, whom I believe I will have to make a special one for. ;)