Sunday, November 13, 2011

Craft projects for Baby Hoot's room

Despite my best efforts, the nursery wasn't completely done before Baby Hoot arrived. But I did manage to finish a couple of projects. Once I get the rest done, I'll post photos.
As I posted earlier, I'm using an owl print for my inspiration. Most of the bedding and decor from the boys' nurseries is blue, green and yellow, so this was a perfect fit.

Paper lanterns are a very popular and very cheap alternative to mobiles. I think I spent a couple of bucks on them.



Owl mobile. I had some felt left over from my felt owls, so I decided to try an owl mobile. I created a very simple template and cut out two pieces per owl and glued them together. I thought about putting some batting in them, but opted not to. I machined stitched them together, but I might have done a neater job with a blanket stitch. I had the google eyes an glued them on, along with a circle cut from cream felt. I had a wooden dowel I cut in half and tied together with some ribbon. I added felt to the ends of each rod so that the monofilament I used to hang the owls didn't slip off. I hung it from the ceiling with some thin cream ribbon.


Owl painting. Continuing my owl theme, I painted three "night owls" in acrylic on canvas. The owls represent my three boys. The stylized owls give a modern and playful feel without being too babyish.

Baby Hoot is here!


Here's a photo of our newest addition. It's been three weeks and we are all enjoying getting to know him, especially his big brothers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rice Krispie Treat Bugs


Tater turns the big 6 tomorrow, so I brought treats to share with his class today, since he's out of school the rest of the week. I made these last year for his pre-K class, accept this time I added a layer of chocolate. I just melted some chocolate chips and spread them over top. They were a big hit, though a little messy. When it's Monkey's birthday in a few weeks, I'll probably forego the chocolate.

I made two batches which worked out to about 32 treats. I cut them in rectangles and wrapped them with plastic wrap. I attached googley eyes with glue dots, because I ran out of time to use glue. I then attached a pipe cleaner to each to create antennae.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where have I been??

It's September, and I've neglected my blog for months! Turns out getting ready for a baby cuts into your blogging time! Well, I've been very busy painting, planning, prepping and, of course, crafting. But before I get to all the big changes at home, I wanted to show you some kids crafts.

Thanks to my impeccable conception planning, baby Hoot is due to arrive three weeks after Tater's birthday and two weeks before Monkey's. We've spent the last couple of months moving the boys to new, separate rooms and renovating our garage, and the idea of planning a kid birthday party for them seemed a bit overwhelming. Oh, and then there's the whole I'm-totally-exhausted-because-I'm-pregnant thing. So, we decided that we'd celebrate the boys' birthdays before Hoot arrives by doing a fun, but simple and affordable trip with our family to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The boys were totally cool with it. It takes most of the day to get through the exhibits and catch the dolphin show. And we haven't taken the boys there in a couple of years. They don't even remember going. After our visit, we'll head back home for pizza, cake, ice cream and presents.

So, I've decided to do some ocean-themed crafts with them to get ready for our family day. I had some left-over crafts from VBS this year. The theme was Son Surf, so crafts were inspired by the beach and sea life.

1. Sea Life Visors: Tater made his at VBS, and Luke got to make one when we did the same craft with our play group at church recently. The one above is my example. I bought a bunch of blue foam visors, and attached precut blue craft foam waves with hot glue. Then, I gave the kids a bunch of cross and sea life foam stickers to decorate it. This was a great project for the 3-5 age group. And they might be coerced into wearing them to the aquarium.

2. Sea Stars: Another craft foam craft. I purchased precut stars in a variety of colors, along with some clear plastic lace. I made a loop and glued some lacing to the top of a star and added 5 longer pieces to the bottom. I then glued a star of the same color on top of the other one, sandwiching the lacing between them. I dotted the glue on one side of the star and let the boys add sequins. They added pony beads and bells to the longer strings. I had to help them tie the ends.

3. Rainbow Fish: This is a pre-K/K craft staple and super easy to make. First, take the indispensable paper plate and staple/tape a fin, head and tail out of construction paper to it. Next, cut out pieces of tissue paper, construction paper and a few piece of foil that will be "scales." Add glue to the plate and let the kids add as many colorful scales as they would like. Oh, and don't forget googley eyes if you've got them. Tater's is blue. Monkey's is green.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Girl's Dress


I made this simple summer dress for the new daughter of a friend of mine. She's two, so I made it a 2T. It's my first effort with this pattern, but it was pretty easy to follow - and it's free! It actually flares out more than the photo shows. She might be too small to wear it this summer, but maybe next.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

More Necklaces

Here's a couple more necklaces I've made. The first is more of a collar than a necklace.
It is inspired by olive branches. My mom would say that green is not my color, but I really don't care. I've always wanted to make an olive branch necklace. This one took several tries, but I like the way it turned out. The other is a longer necklace made with small multi-colored glass beads. It goes with just about anything.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

On The Rocks

They say you forget about how much pain you went through during childbirth. Not true for me. I remember all 40 hours with Tater. I also remember how hot I was being pregnant during the summer. You'd think I'd learn the first two times, but here I am again, spending my third trimester in the heat of the summer. Well, I decided one way to keep cool, at least psychologically, is to think of cold things. So, I made some necklaces that reminded my of ice, snow and frost. The first is a combination of flat teal-colored glass with frosted silver beads.

The other necklace is made of large white quartz beads with clear beads covered with a wire frame. At first I made the quartz necklace with about a dozen of the large beads. After wearing it for a few hours, it became so heavy my neck started to ache. So, I took it apart and made it a little lighter. I like it better and have been able to make more necklaces with the rest of the beads.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hydrangeas


Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. These are from my Endless Summer hydrangea. It turned out pretty well this year, even though the peony plant next to it only managed to produce one bloom. It was a glorious bloom, but I've decided I'll just need to move it to a sunnier spot in the fall. Last year, my hydrangea was a little purple-y, so I added a few pots worth of coffee grounds to the bush back in the spring. From what I understand, alkaline soil makes them pink, while acidic soil turns them blue. And what's more acidic than coffee? Well, the experiment worked and I got some beautiful blue blooms. I couldn't take a decent photo of them indoors, so I set them on a table on the front porch. I'm sure my neighbors think I nuts (as if they didn't already). I've managed to have several bouquets of blue hydrangeas thus far this season. Few things make me so happy as fresh cut flowers in the house.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Felt Owls

I made some felt owls for yet-to-be-born baby Hoot. My mother's side of the family are Gibsons, and boys in the family were nicknamed "Hoot" after a famous cowboy named Hoot Gibson. As my married name begins with an L, I thought it might be fun to give #3 the initials O.W.L. and call him "Hoot." O.W.L. didn't go over that well with my husband, but he liked the nickname Hoot, so that's what we're calling him.

I came across the idea for these cute critters here. I had some beat up foam balls that I used. My first attempt was the black and brown one, since I already had the felt. Not really appropriate for a nursery, but I have a neighbor who will appreciate it. The "feathers" are about 1 1/2 - 2 inches long and 1 inch wide.



I went and bought some more for these two. I kinda wished I had gotten a more orangey yellow for the eyes. Speaking of owls, I found this cute Robert Kaufman owl fabric that I'll have to incorporate into the nursery somehow. I found it on etsy.com.

There's a coordinating argyle print that I'm thinking of using for the crib skirt.


Boy or Girl?

I got this cute cake idea from my husband's cousin. It's not my best cake decorating attempt, since I was in a hurry trying to make it before dinner, but it still tasted good. We told the boys if the inside was blue we are having a baby boy. If it's pink, it's a gril. Tater really got into it. "It's a boy!" he shouted as he cut into the cake. Monkey was more interested in just eating the cake. It was a delicious and memorable way to let them know. I know they are both very excited about having a new little brother.



Friday, May 20, 2011

Dinnertime! Pepper-Crusted Steak Wraps

There are some things I miss about receiving the daily Washington Post in print form. The thing I miss most is the food section. I can look at it online, but it's just not the same. This yummy recipe from the WashPo is great for a casual dinner or pool party. Summer is almost here! Pepper-Crusted Steak Wraps. It has some of my favorite ingredients: steak, fresh basil and avocado. Tater wasn't too keen on the wraps, but Monkey ate most of his. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Garden in May


Spring is finally here and things are blooming and growing. The boys and I finally got around to planting a vegetable garden.
A few weeks ago, we sowed some mesclun lettuce seeds in an old under the bed storage bin and have enjoyed some delicious salads.













We used a small sandbox to plant beans (on the outside), radishes and carrots in the middle. The radishes look good- a great vegetable for the immediate gratification gardener, but I don't have much hope for the carrots. I built a small (4x2 ft) raised bed garden out of some old wood. We planted some peppers, butternut squash, cucumbers, and zucchini.





On the other side of the house in a small bed near the unsightly hvac and water meter, I planted few tomatoes - a gift of our green thumb neighbor. It's been raining a lot, so I hope we have a great crop. I planted a few herbs too: cilantro, basil and thyme.



Our lavender and mint has come back too. I love the wonderful mingling of aromas as I walk around the backyard. The boys are very excited and enjoy checking on the progress of our vegetables every day.



My lovely Siberian irises are growing. I divided them last fall and planted a big clump in the front. They did not disappoint. Twice as big as last year. I just love the way the purple just pops. These are in the backyard.

Dinnertime!

I used to love to cook, but I haven't had the time or the energy to whip up something fabulous lately. However, I have decided to get myself out of the recipe rut and start making more interesting dinners. Here's what we had last night...


The boys liked it all. Peanut butter with spaghetti?! What could be better!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tater's Ironman Bedroom and Monkey's Transportation Bedroom

I'm beginning to plan the boys' new rooms. I know it's months away, but surfing online is much easier than actually painting and moving furniture.

Tater loves Ironman, so I decided to use the colors (red and gold) as a theme. That way, if Ironman falls out of favor I won't have to redo his room. IKEA has some great bedding.

Luke's is this I like that they are similar, but distinctive. This is a poster I plan to hang in Monkey's room. It's from a National Book Festival we went to a couple of years ago. Jan Brett illustrated the poster, and I think its wonderful.More to come...

Pirate Festival and Nursery Plans


This past Saturday, we took the boys to a local Pirate Festival. We had a great time. I've been trying to improve my photo skills, and I took this one of parrots I really liked. Every pirate needs a parrot, right? I've been thinking of hanging photos of places we've been as art in the boys' room. Now, that we plan on have a third, I'll need photos for a nursery! That's right, I'm about 17 weeks pregnant. We'll have to play musical rooms with boys moving downstairs to separate bedrooms. #3 is getting his/her own room. I don't really have a theme in mind, since I'm just going to use stuff we had from the boys. I did a Classic Pooh theme, but painted over the murals. Just as well, I was getting sick of them. The bedding and other items had a color scheme with blue, green and yellow. I think those colors will work for a girl or boy. I think I'll include the parrots, since #3 came along for the adventure. Here's some of the things I'm planning in the nursery...


I love this cross-section green fabric, but not sure where to use it. Bed skirt, maybe? I'm going with a breathable bumper this time.
Our old crib was recalled and rickety anyway, so we're getting a Gulliver bed from IKEA.

Green fabric bins for our Closetmaid shelves.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Train Rag Quilt


The boys currently sleep in a Kura bunk bed from Ikea. We love it, but bed making is a chore for Tater who sleeps in the top bunk. I made a train rag quilt that fits over top of his bed. No tucking required. I used three different types of fabric. I think it looks better than an exposed fitted sheet with his blanket folded at the foot of the bed. I gave up on a flat sheet for him long ago. It ends up wadded down at the end of the bed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Visit to G.G.'s



We drove to Nashville for Spring Break and stayed with my mom, G.G. to the boys. They loved her big backyard. I have yard envy. I really took for granted as a kid what a great yard I had to play in.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Puppet Madness!


I made another set of puppets for our growing children's puppet ministry at church. Here's the first set. This set is a little larger, but very similar to the first. They are (from left to right) Dee, Cy, Paul and Chip (a dog). Discipleship. Get it?! Don't worry. It took me a while too.

We have had nothing but positive reactions to our puppets shows. Older kids (3-7 graders) perform short skits for the younger kids (pre K- 2nd grade). Those little ones are just mesmerized by these puppets. And I have to say that this has been a wonderful creative outlet for me and such a great opportunity to share the message of Christ! I think I've been more blessed by this experience than the kids have been.

However, Tater and Monkey were a little jealous that I was making all of these puppets for the church and not for them. So, I decided to make them a couple. Meet Mr. and Ms. Green!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Taggie Blanket #4


I made this taggie blanket for a dear friend who just had a little girl. Similar to the other taggies I've made, but I used two coordinating fabrics for the top layer. I think this makes it a little more visually stimulating.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rag Wreath


There are so many fun holidays in the spring, but I don't have the inclination to make a front door wreath for each one. So, I decided to make a spring color wreath. I couldn't decided what kind to make, and I didn't want to spend much money. Luckily, I had a lot of fabric scraps. I also had a foam wreath, so I decided to try a spring rag wreath. I cut strips of fabric 1 inch wide and about 10 inches long. I loved my rotary cutter for this project. I wrapped the strips around the wreath, double knotting them. I repeated this until I had filled the wreath. It took about two hours. Very simple.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Transportation Diaper Cake


I came across this photo while trying to sort through all of my digital pics. I made this several years ago for a friend expecting a boy. I picked up the wooden pieces at Michael's along with the wide navy blue grosgrain ribbon. I remember that they loved it, I just wish I'd taken a better photo. Now, back to organizing!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Up and away!

Hot air balloon

I painted this little canvas for a very sweet girl who loves pink and purple. It's 14 x 11 inch gallery wrapped canvas. Stretcher bars are 3/4 inch thick.

Hot air balloon side - girl

I painted around the edges, so it's ready for hanging. I attached a simple brass hanger on the back.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dog Puppet Tutorial


Happy New Year! As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm making some puppets for a new puppet ministry beginning at the church where I attend. I've never made puppets before, so it is a learning experience. I had so much fun making them that I thought I'd share the process. I'm actually planning on making some for Tater and Monkey, since they were so taken with them. These will be used by kids in the 3rd-5th grades, so I tried to size them to fit. You might want to make them bigger for an adult. These are easier than they look. If you can use a glue gun and a sewing machine, you can do it.

I found an excellent video tutorial here. So, check it out if you need clarification. Oh, and please give feedback in the comments.

Materials:
1 yard anti-pill fleece (I can make four puppets from 1 yard)
sewing machine
matching thread
hot glue gun
black felt
2" styrofoam balls
pom-poms
craft foam sheets (red for the tongue, black for eyes)
1" thick urethane foam sheet (the furniture quality, high density green stuff ) - 7 x 7 1/2 inches
poly-fil foam (for pillows)
thin corrugated cardboard - 4 1/2 x 6 inches
rubber cement or spray adhesive

1. Create a paper pattern for the puppet. You can play with the size and shape.


2. Cut it out and lay it on fabric (two layers). Most anti-pill fleece has a rough side and a smooth side. I used the smooth side for my people (see bottom) and rough side for the dog. I found that the rough side is easier to work with, and there isn't a noticeable difference between the two in the finished work. There are other types of fleece available at fabric stores, so make sure you're buying anti-pill. Pros use a product called antron fleece, but that can me difficult to find.

Draw around the form with a magic marker, leaving at least a 1/2 of fabric around the shape. I didn't include the fingers in this, since it's a dog. It's easier without the fingers, anyway.

3. Sew two pieces together following the outline. Leave an opening at the bottom. Cut out the form leaving about 1/4 inch around the edge. Be sure to cut around the stitched line and not the drawn line, since they may not match up exactly.


4. Turn inside-out. I used a chopstick for to push out the "paws."


5. Fill the hands/paws and arms with the poly-fil. Chopsticks or pencils work for pushing around the filling. A little poly-fil goes a long way.


6. Now the mouth. Cut a 4 1/2 x 6 inch piece of thin corrugated cardboard for the mouthplate.

Use rubber cement or spray adhesive to attach the same size piece of black felt to the cardboard. Don't use hot glue. You want an even coating of glue, so that the felt doesn't pucker. Score the middle of the cardboard so it folds evenly and round off the edges to form a mouth.


7. Determine where to put the mouth by laying the felt on the face of the puppet. At either sides of the fold, mark on the fleece with the pencil.


8. Using the marks as guides, cut a line across the face. Careful, only cut into one side of the fleece!

9. Insert the felt into the puppet. Overlap the fleece about 1/2 inch over the felt and begin gluing all along the edge with a hot glue gun. Dipping your finger in some water when pressing down on the area you just glued will save you from burning your fingers. Make sure things are lined up right as you work your way around the mouth. And you may have to snip a little more fleece to make it fit, but the fleece has some stretch to it. Don't cut too much at a time.


10. Now, get the urethane foam. This will be used to form the head. I had some thicker foam on hand, but I think the 1 inch thickness would be easier to work with. Cut out the 7 x 7 1/2 inch piece. You might have to trim it a little to get the head shape you want. Cut out a v-shaped notch in the center of one of the long sides.

Fold the foam in half at the "v."

Then fold the corners in and insert the foam in the head of the puppet. This takes a little finagling. The inverted "v" will be the back of the head. The front will fill in the forehead and cheeks.


11. Next, attach nose and eyes with hot glue. In my people puppets (below), I cut one of the styrofoam balls in half and covered it with fleece for a nose. For the dog puppet's nose, I used a black pom-pom. The eyes were also styrofoam ball halves that I hot glued on. For the people, I wrapped fleece half way around the dome for eyelids. I then added some craft foam circles I painted black, attaching them with hot glue as well. Keep in mind that hot glue melts the styrofoam.

12. I cut out a 2 x 3" piece of red craft foam in a heart shape for the tongue. The ears were simple ovals cut from a darker brown fleece. I attached those elements with hot glue as well.

These are the finished puppets. As you can see, I lined the mouths of the people with felt for lips. I did this because I went a little crazy with the hot glue on the first one I did and wanted a finished look to hide the globs. I added it to the rest of the people for consistency. I think they'd look better without "lips," but I'm learning as I go! Good luck!
I used (in order) yarn, a black marabou boa and fake fur for puppet hair. Also check these sites for more inspiration and information.