3.27.2013

Craft for the day: children's apron

So, I will be attending a child's birthday party with my daughter at a bakery in a week or so. My little girl really has a knack for picking out perfect gifts and had selected a cute little wooden play food item that is birthday themed and was really excited about giving it...so she's a little disappointed she has to wait to hand it over. She is however, over the moon excited to go to the party!

To go with the play kitchen items, I decided I should make a kid apron to go with it. This is a pretty simple sewing project if you're new to sewing. It requires some very basic materials (I used 100% cotton) from the quilting section, and either a button or snap.

I started with laying fabric out on the cutting mat matched exactly with right sides together and smoothed flat. Then I cut the fabric to be 18" x 22". Once this was done, fold the fabric in half so it is now 9"x 22". Then using a compass (you remember from Geometry) I measured and cut a semi-circle out of the non-folded corner that has a 4.5" radius. In addition I cut two strips of fabric that were 18" x 3" and one 12" x 3".

The first thing to do is to sew up the 3" strips to make the ties for the side and the one that goes around the neck. I did this by ironing and folding the fabric and then sewing along all sides to make nice strips. Then these are laid between the layers of fabric (I did two layers of fabric so this is reversible). The ties should be on the inside as you sew around the arm holes, sides and bottom (leaving the top open). Then you flip it right side out, iron all the edges and fold down the top seam, and iron it. Once that is done, insert the neck tie into one side of the top and sew around the entire perimeter of the apron (this will finish the edge as well as add extra security to your ties).

After completing this, I figured out that my daughter currently needs a 9 inch neck strap to put the apron in the correct location...so I added a large snap to the neck strap at 9"s as well as to the front of the apron. This way it'll be adjustable and still stay in place. Alternatively, you could do a button hole and a button, or two neck straps to tie. If you're feeling extra fancy, add pockets, names, etc. Ah the possibilities!

I did two aprons, as I decided my little girl needed one too. Now she will hopefully stay clean for cooking projects too!

Ended up super cute! Happy crafting to you!

3.25.2013

Project for the day: Bunny nails

So, it's less than a week til Easter and we decided to get all spring-y here. My daughter wanted me to do her nails, so instead of just a simple single coat, I went all out and did Bunny nails!


I know you're jealous...but really this thumb nail was the best one...there are definitely 9 just ok ones :) She's a big fan though. Also, I've found when she has nail polish on, she tries really hard not to suck her thumbs... so this may be the method I use to start to break that habit before long.

Happy Easter again :)


3.22.2013

Just in time for Easter: Finished wooden Eggs

I said I would post a picture of when I had finished all the wooden eggs. I did 6 of them myself. My two year old daughter did 3 and my husband did 1.

Here they are!

This was actually a great craft for my daughter to take part in. She loves painting, and had enough patience for one egg at a time.

She did two eggs in the crayola washable watercolor paints and they turned out lovely as well. The rest are done in the Martha Stewart craft paint. (which if you haven't noticed, I love).

The only issue we've had with them is when people visit my daughter will run over to them with the eggs and the guests have slightly freaked out because they don't want to break them, not realizing they are wooden...but really...that's a compliment :)

Hope you have a lovely Easter all in case I don't craft before then :)



3.21.2013

Craft-it forward: Rock-a-billy shoes

If you have been on Facebook in the last few months you probably have seen at least one instance of the "Pay it forward - craft for the year" thing. This was a fun little project to offer 5 people the opportunity to get a crafted item from you. In return they have to offer the same deal to their facebook friends.

Well, I jumped on the bandwagon and I have officially almost finished my first one. I have a friend who really likes retro/rockabilly styles so I decided what better item to send than a crafted forward retro looking item. I also noticed that she had quite a few leopard-print and red shoes pinned on her pinterest boards. So that was the goal.

I got her dress size and shoe sizes (so I could find at least stuff that would work for her, if I found what I wanted). I turned these scuffed up thrift store shoes (this is post acetone scrub and a touch up with some black paint to fill in holes in the scuffs):

Into THESE:



Relatively rockin' shoes...(if nothing else they are fun to look at).

This was done using acetone (to remove the gloss from the shoe), acrylic paint and lots of time (as the coats have to dry between). They are currently drying. Then I will coat them with a spray sealant (to return the glossy patent leather look, as well as prevent the paint from just flaking off).

Here's hoping she'll love them!

Carrot cupcakes

'Tis the season for cute bunny-related items. I was recently in charge of bringing the dessert for a shindig as well as expecting some company and decided to get my craft on and make them extra cute.

First, I had my daughter help me make yellow cake from scratch. This is relatively easy, (just look in your standard joy of cooking or other cookbook - mine was from a parish recipe book and turned out excellent and moist). She even was in charge of selecting the cupcake liners (after I had gone through the remainder of my boring ones) and chose some nice spring-y ones.

Following this I got out my almond bark and melted a bunch, added orange food coloring and make some carrots. Once those set, I pulled out the almond bark once again and added tops (but with green food coloring). Turned out pretty cute :)

After they were all set and had sat in the freezer until I was sure I could handle them, I frosted the cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Then I pushed the carrots in place and added a few mini-robin's eggs to make it really fun.

Tada! Easter themed cupcakes. Done!

3.06.2013

Project for the day: Painting Easter eggs


I know I had mentioned before that I was painting wooden easter eggs to have around the house as decorations. Today, I let my daughter paint one too. This was slightly nerve wracking for me because I let her use the Martha Stewart craft paints. These paints can be used on any surface, which means they're a little less likely to wash out of things...but she did a wonderful job. She managed to only get a little bit on the sleeve of the old shirt of my husbands I put her in, but otherwise she did a great job keeping all the paint on the egg.

She also, was quite proud of her finished egg. It is incredibly colorful, including every color we had and lots of blending...so there's a bit of muddy colors on it, but mostly lots of bright color. Because she's 2, it was applied a bit thick, which will probably be dry about the same time as Van Gogh's thickest works.

Couldn't really beat the enjoyment in making it though :)

3.05.2013

Craft project: gift wrap

 A few days ago we welcomed a new cat into our family. He had been rescued after a rather harrowing experience and he really is the sweetest of cats.

When we went to finalize the paper work we brought our friend, who had introduced us to our new family member a little treat.

Those are shortbread cookies dipped in white and milk chocolate and wrapped in cellophane. Don't they look cute? I had intended to make her some cookies, but ran out of time, so instead used store-bought shortbread. I did, however, do the dipping :)

I love how the gift wrap turned out.

2.26.2013

Project for the day: Painted Easter Eggs

I'm a sucker for cute little decor items. Especially of the seasonal variety. (If I had to guess why, I would say it would stem from the lack of seasonal items I had growing up...but I don't know where we would have put the stuff as there were 12 of us.) I've never been a fan of a lot of knick knacks - probably because it just something else you have to clean, but seasonal decor never feels that way to me.

I've also always been a fan of the intricately decorated Easter eggs I've seen in fancy shops, but I've never purchased them because:

1) I can't afford to spend that much on 1 decoration used for a few weeks at most
2) They are very fragile and breakable and I get nervous with that sort of thing
3) I like the personal pride in having created decorations myself.

My little girl and I were on the hunt looking for the perfect egg shaped items so we could paint them ourselves when I found bags of wooden hen's eggs at Joann Fabric. This was perfect. They aren't breakable. They can be easily painted and they aren't super expensive (especially if you get the coupon flyers). So I got 10 eggs for just over $5. I'm sure you can probably find them online as well.

I was contemplating painting them all a bunch of base colors and then drawing designs on them, but I decided that unless I had the background colors pre-mixed I shouldn't do that as I wouldn't be easily able to fix a mistake...so I drew designs on them with a pencil first. Then I filled them in. (This was tough to focus the camera on without an extra hand, so excuse the tissue box holding the egg). This one is a rose design.

That one is mine (if you couldn't guess), but I also let my daughter draw on a few as well. She did lots of swirls - which I think might make a fun, stained glass like look where I paint each closed section a different color or tone. We'll see what she decides when I get that far.

To paint these, I am using the Martha Stewart craft paint. It works wonderfully on the wooden surface and dries quite rapidly, so I had minimal issues with trying to hold an egg with wet paint. I painted one color at a time on the eggs so I wouldn't mistakenly hold a wet color while painting another as well.

I have thus far (mostly) finished three eggs. You can see the rose one, that is the drawing above, a geometric design that is similar to some candle holders I have. and a cute little bunny (similar in style to the Beatrix Potter characters). This is the one one that isn't completely finished. I discovered I don't own any brown craft paint, and I wanted to make the bunny a lovely light brown, but I'm not really a fan of any of the complimentary color mixed versions as they all appear too muddy... So I will be going out to buy some brown paint so I'll be able to finish that one.

If you have been really observant you'll see I have quite a few to go on this too... I have 7 more eggs that don't have anything on them as of yet, so I'll post the whole bunch as I finish them up.

Have a great day!




2.25.2013

Mini tarts: Snow day treat!

Last week, my husband got a surprise half snow day due to the crummy weather, but that meant we got to have fun while he was home.

So we decided to make little fruit pie/tarts.

This is an easy and fast snack...mostly because it's refrigerator pie crust, and canned pie filling.

My daughter helped by selecting the cookie cutters we used for the pies (she wanted a dinosaur - which was super cute) and then we did circles for all the rest.

First, you cut out an even number of all pieces. (so we had two dinosaurs, and 10 circles out of one pie crust). Then you spray the tray or stone with non-stick spray, put down one half of the pieces and spread with melted butter. You then put in a small amount of pie filling (for the circles we could do 4 cherries, the dinosaur could fit two cherries). Then the other half of the pie crusts are put on top, crimping the top and bottom pieces together to make little enclosed tarts.

Then you cook according to the pie crust directions...but not quite as long. We did well with about 10 minutes, but we started watching them after a few minutes since they are significantly smaller than a full sized pie. It still smells wonderful as you cook it, so that was an added bonus.

We had decided to eat our pie/tarts with ice cream while still warm which was fabulous! My little girl was thrilled to have her dino-tart :)

Hope you find your snacks as wonderful as she does :)

2.20.2013

Project for the day: Luck o' the irish garland

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

My little girl so enjoyed helping me make our valentine's garland that I thought we could tackle a second one to get in the spirit of St. Patrick's day.

I discovered I really don't have any decorations for St. Patty's. I would guess it's because I like all the spring colors and such associated with Easter, so I tend to skip right over it and decorate for the later holiday...but it can't hurt to have some four-leaf clovers around :D

First I cut out a bunch of clovers using a template I drew and then tracing it on green paper.

Then I got out a large hole punch and proceeded to make a bunch of "gold coins".

Afterwards, my daughter and I glued them all on some green and white baker's twine.

I probably should have stopped there, but I thought it would look cute to have some design on the clovers, to make them look a bit fancier...so of course, I decided to emboss them. (this was sadly, not a good project to try to do with a 2 year old) so I put it away and returned later in the evening. It went much smoother, but I can't say that I love the way they turned out...they look fine and it's pretty cute, but not nearly as cute as the valentine's day garland we made.

Ah well :) It'll only be up for a few weeks anyway.

I'm sure my daughter will be tickled that she helped make it - so really it's a win regardless!


2.18.2013

Project for the Day: Convert the closet

Good evening all!

I've been busily trying to organize my life a bit more, so that I can actually find items with relative ease.

Enter the front closet make-over!

I discovered I was having issues fitting everything in the front closet, which of course makes sense as I also kept all my shoes there....

So I decided to tackle a re-do inspired by, of course, pinterest.

 First I started pulling everything out...(sadly this is after about half the re-usable grocery bags, two mops, a broom, rain boots, one pair of roller blades, a drum stick case, and roller blade pads had been removed from the floor and 5 coats (yes, 5)). As you can see we used both the front and the back of the closet door to store stuff, and had additional stuff piled as high as possible inside.

Following the removal of everything inside, I got rid of the hanging shoe bags (opting for wooden ones that stick close to the ground). I then removed the rod from the center of the closet, repainted the area where it had been removed from, and installed double hooks all the way around, including one at my daughter's height for her coats, hats and scarf.

Then, I installed some command hooks inside to hold roller blade pads and such off the floor. Following this, I went through everything and removed all re-usable grocery bags that were torn or had the handles falling off, one bin of old make-up, a few former files and forms that I never ended up needing, and moved the mops out to the hanging storage in the garage (as I don't use them daily or even weekly).

Then I went through the coats and put the ones that we had kept purely for sentimental reasons like HS letterman jackets away for safe keeping and reduced the massive numbers a bit.

Everything including the bags and purses from the front door fit inside, and my daughter has a spot she can reach for her items, so all is much nicer. Also, my husband's shoes were able to be cleaned up using one of my old shoe hanging bags.

Ah! So much better!

2.05.2013

Project for the day: Spreading the love

My little girl and I got our craft on. We needed some valentine's decorations to brighten up the place.

First I cut out a ton of hearts (using a cookie cutter as a guide). I used some pretty scrapbook paper I had laying around that was embossed with flowers.

After I finished cutting them all out, my daughter assisted me with gluing them all onto some baker's twine.

We glued two to each spot (with one on the front and back).

Then we hung it up and had a look. It was quite lovely and she is thrilled she helped make it.



Don't you think you would love one too :) Have fun!

1.23.2013

Having fun around the house

My little girl has been sick lately. I think I had mentioned our trip to the ER, but she had another bout with it this week. Having a sick kid, on the whole is no fun.

I have however really enjoyed the extra cuddles I get when she's feeling ill, but I look forward to her sleeping through the night again.

Today, we've been having fun at home and I just wanted to share two of my favorite pictures from the day.

 This first one was from our fort this morning under the table. Our cat, who is generally a bit skiddish around my little girl felt it was time to cuddle. It was a sweet moment to catch.

After we had finished with the fort and been playing for a while. She ended up putting on a pair of my heels and grabbing her winnie-the-pooh umbrella. This apparently was hilarious and she was in a fit of giggles over this. Ah, the joy!

Hope you are having an equally joyful day!

1.05.2013

A little fun at home: Tea Party

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I was hoping to make my daughter's childhood more fun/memorable as I feel she doesn't get to be as carefree as I would like, since I work from home.

Today, I made a special treat for her while she napped. I set up a tiny tea party for the two of us.

This tea party entailed hot chocolate, shortbread cookies, and marshmallows in the sugar bowl. And yes, I did use real china for this party in combination with a real silver tray and the princess tea set sugar and cream set. She was very careful, so I think she did a wonderful job.

My daughter is also a great hostess. She was just tickled to assist me with pouring the "tea" and giving me "sugars". She also made sure I always had a cookie on my plate, so I can't complain about her taking good care of me :)

Hope you had a chance to have your own little indulgent party!

1.04.2013

Project for the Day: An updated jewelry box

Do you happen to have any treasures from your childhood you just can't bear to part with and hope to hand down to your child? I have one that I have treasures for as long as I can remember. I think I got it when I was 6 or 7, but I know I got it from an older cousin who I admired. We were visiting her family in Seattle for her sister's wedding and I was a candy girl (I handed out little packets of candy at the reception - it was the first wedding I was in). My cousin gave me her jewelry box that she had as a child. It is a music one with the little ballerina that spins around and plays a cute little tune when you open the drawer.

The only part of this jewelry box that showed any sign of wear was the little ballerina. The paint that was on it was chipping pretty badly...and it was looking a little creepy anyway. I think the eyes were always a bit large on it. The rest was gold paint I think and frankly her back side was a bit revealing...

So it was time for an update. Here she is before her makeover.

I decided she needed a bit more clothes and while I was at it something a bit fancier. Also decided to fix the eyes...Only issue with that of course was I wasn't able to scratch off the blue eye color from before...So I started by painting over the whole dancer with white Martha Stewart craft paint. This paint is great as it will indeed work on anything.

After I had a base I painted a blue lacy looking leotard and new ballet shoes. Then I painted new brown hair and eyes, as well as some brows and the red lips. I then used a bit of gold paint to highlight the outfit and added hair decorations.

Then I painted a skin tone on the arms and face...I am glad I did it in this order as I was able to cover up any mistakes on the face by painting over. Worked great. Here she is, all dolled up. I decided to leave the legs white as I think they looked nice as tights. It also looked cute on the feet area to have the tights showing.

After she was completely dry, I put her back in her music box, but something was still missing...so I added a new little skirt made out of tulle and some twine.

See, isn't that an improvement?


1.03.2013

Another project for my daughter

So I had stated I did a bunch of organizing for my little girl yesterday. In addition to the new shelf, I also reorganized her closet so all her toy bins would fit and be easy for her to get to. So she has been having a blast today playing with everything (and putting it away...I know this will be short-lived, but I'm enjoying it while I can).

As a treat, we decided to paint our nails to match (I also know her wanting to match me will be short-lived as well :) ) She wanted ladybugs. I'm amazed at how well she can sit still while getting her nails done. It is unparalleled by any other activity. The ladybugs ended up looking pretty cute, so she was thrilled.

In other projects, I don't know if I've mentioned that my daughter asked Santa for paints. She was thrilled Christmas morning to received both paints and an easel from the big guy. She has been demonstrating her prowess for watercolors since then.

I was particularly fond of one of her paintings which she informed me was of a mommy, daddy, and {her name} flamingo standing in the water. It's fun and I can definitely see the flamingos in it (which is something for a 2 year old). I decided we needed to frame it. I already had an old frame with a torn mat. To fix the mat, I took some nice paper and recovered the top. Then I painted some extra color on the edge. This was a slight disaster.

First, I managed to cut the paper slightly too small. This was going to be covered by the paint so it was fixable. Then I used frog tape. This stuff is awesome if you are painting on walls...totally tore up the paper though so then I had to do patching. So it didn't look as wonderful as I would have hoped. Probably should have done normal painters tape or drafting tape instead, but Can't do anything about that now.

From further away than 2 feet you can't really tell that the paper has been patched, so it's ok (or at least good enough). Once that was done I taped the painting my daughter did to the back of the mat. As the painting is a standard easel pad size, and the mat is a standard frame size (and they aren't the same, I was lucky enough that the length of the fixed mat covered the very edge of the painting. So I had to tape it if I hoped to not have the edge move or show.

Then I stuck it back in the frame, fixed the edges and wha-la! A new masterpiece. My daughter was rather tickled that her painting was "on the wall like the art museum". Isn't it charming! It's so fun and colorful. I adore it. Now all I need to do is find a place to get custom glass for the front so it can stay perfect forever!

Hope you're finding time to craft in this New Year!

1.02.2013

New Year: New Goal

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are going to be blessed with the best year ever!

I must say, I am slightly pessimistic about the upcoming year...which is generally not like me, but I know what caused it, so that's half the battle right?

My husband and I had been commenting on Thursday the 27th how laid-back and low-key 2012 was (this was our first mistake- never discuss the previous year until it's over). We didn't have any huge personal milestones or big bills and were steadily plucking away at our financial goal of becoming debt free...then on the 28th, my daughter wakes up in the middle of the night gasping for air. This of course, resulted in a mini-panic attack, a visit from paramedics, trip to the ER, and some impressive steroids to control a very bad case of croup for my daughter! I am thrilled that she is ok and only has a mild cough and some congestion, but I am not looking forward to that bill. (Does it make me a bad mom that now that she is totally fine, I am annoyed that I will be getting a bill? I hope not.)

As you can imagine this won't help us get out of debt anytime soon...especially since one of the major reasons for a previous debt was health bills, so our goal has shifted slightly on that to just not spend anything we don't have to while we continue to chip away at the mountain of bills. This is a rather disappointing turn of events for me as I am a worrier and I can't start saving for that much longer. Obviously I can't do anything about it so, I shouldn't worry... SEE totally pessimistic! Must stop that.

So, as it is a new year I feel I should re-assess things and determine what I would do differently. Sure, I have the financial goal I am going to continue working on, and the always useful "get in shape" one everyone has. But the big one for me was focused on my daughter. She is a huge part of my daily life, but with me working at home I feel like her childhood may not be as fun as I would want. I want her to have a fun and enjoyable childhood that she can look back on with tons of fond memories (since I know mom working will be part of it, I want all the time I'm not working to be more fun for her). I have a feeling this goal stems from some deep-seated guilt, but oh well :)


So with this in mind, I started new years eve off right with a cute snack for her. See- isn't that adorable? I happened to come across some mini cookie cutters. She was thrilled.

Then on the first I managed to do a few things for her. One was converting her room from the baby one to a big girl room. She had long ago changed from the crib to a toddler bed, but now the changing pad is gone. In addition I reorganized the closet to store all her toys and converted an old TV stand we had into a shelf for her toys.

First I started with the old stand. I took off the casters, and legs on the bottom (as I don't want it to move and be sitting height). I added rubber pads to the bottom as I also don't want it to scratch the floor :)

Once that was done I fixed the middle center portions of the console so that I would have 8 equally sized areas. These actually are exactly the right size for sterilite bins for when she is older, but currently it works great to organize all the large toys that just didn't fit on the book shelf she used to have in the room.

I was originally planning on painting the outside white, but when I put it in the room, the pine wood blended nicely with the rest of the room to where it nearly looked built in, so I decided it wasn't necessary. I did however decide I will be painting the dresser in the near future. I wish it had come in chocolate or white (as I would have selected those when getting it, but I can fix that easily enough).

Because I removed a bookshelf there were several displaced books laying around. My little girl loves books and has to have at least 4 in her bed whenever she is in there. On many occasions we have peeked in on her in the middle of the night and she is sitting with her glow seahorse (similar to the old school glow worms) reading a book by it's light. I rather admire her dedication... anyway, since she doesn't have a changing table anymore her dresser was open on top, so that became a book storage area.

Well, my little girl has woken up from her afternoon nap so it's time to go play! Have a great day!