The Crafting Olympics

Why do I do this to myself?  Somebody please tell me.  So my wee girl is turning 6 in a month and is right now obsessed with two things: Trolls and Harry Potter.  Of course she decided that what she wants more than anything is a Harry Potter costume (complete with working magical wand and invisibility cloak but that’s another issue).  Well, one of her favorite components of that costume is the scarf.

Do you think I could just go ahead and order a scarf?  No.  No, I could not.  I, for some reason, have a complete road block when it comes to buying things I know I can make.  Even if making them involves spending just as much or possibly even more money and also countless hours of my time.

Next best bet: make her an easy scarf out of fleece, or felt.  Nope, can’t do that either.  Even though it would only take me an evening and be pretty inexpensive and she’ll probably lose it or get bored of it in a week, I still can’t do it.  Why not?  Because I’m crazy.  And because I’ve decided to knit one.  So here we go, I have one month to make this scarf, double sided, medium weight, while working full time, raising my family, taking care of my house, and doing the many other craft projects I can’t not do.  Check in to see if I make it in time!  Wish me luck!

Progress Pic: Day one.  I pushed through a lot today because I need to see progress to stay motivated.  This scarf is supposed to have 21 color blocks and then fringe.  one block done!

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Progress Pic: Day seven.  I could no longer just work on it when the kids were not around so I pulled it out yesterday and managed to convince my daughter that I’m making myself a blanket for my feet at night.  I think she bought it, and then she asked if I could use the yarn to make her a scarf when I’m done since it looks like Harry Potter colours.  hahaha.

 

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I did it!  It took me two weeks of obsessive knitting and I also shortened the pattern by quite a bit because it was getting very long and my little munchkin is short.  I hope she likes it!  Now I’m thinking with my spare time before her birthday, I should make a Harry Potter doll!!  Why do I do this???

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Printable Banner!

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As a bit of a DIYer, I tend to hand make a lot of birthday decorations at my place.  But since I’m also strapped for time, it helps when they’re pretty easy to do.  My youngest turned 5 recently so I decided to design a pretty simple banner to put up for her party.  Since I liked the way it turned out, I decided to make a printable.  🙂

So this can be used for pretty much any banner, it doesn’t have to be Happy Birthday, as I’ve made a page for each letter of the alphabet.  To use, simply print out the letters you need, cut them and either attach a cord to the back or hole punch them and string one through.  Voila!

You can find the template here: Banner.  Thanks for stopping by!

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Why I Ditched My Junk Drawer

I wonder when the junk drawer came into existence, and how we all manage to have one without even questioning it.  I know I did, I know my parents did.  It was filled with the most miscellaneous stuff, rubber bands, twist ties, bottle openers, magnets, paper clips.  I even went as far as getting little tray dividers and every so often would try to organize everything by department but eventually (and eventually being about 2 days later in this case) the whole thing would end up like one big mish mash of clutter.  The place where you shove everything that you don’t want to deal with.

My kitchen isn’t very large and drawer space is at a premium so I decided one day, about a year ago, to ditch my junk drawer.  I thought about it and tried to remember what was in there that I actually used more than once every couple of months.  I came up with scissors, rubber bands and pens.  Everything else I found a separate home for or tossed.  The stuff I use I just stuck in a jar and put it on a shelf.  And you know what, not once have I missed that drawer.

Now maybe my next project should be making my junk jar a little prettier.  🙂

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The Bane of my Existence

One word sums it up: Lunches.

I know you guys feel it to, or at least those of you who send your kids off during the day and need to provide some way to hold back their starvation.

The constant dilemma: do I give them a nice, balanced, healthy, nutritious lunch that costs me a fortune and a great deal of effort that they’ll inevitably pick at and eat portions of and then send half of it home for me to grudgingly compost?  Or do I send their lunch full of processed, easy, prepackaged, reusable if they don’t eat it but they will probably get colon cancer and the teachers will silently judge you behind your back foods?

So then you try to think of things that walk the line, things that they’ll actually eat and aren’t hideous for them and maybe even have a few vitamins interlaced.  Fruit.  Kids usually love fruit right?!  But for some reason the grapes that my four year old devoured yesterday came home uneaten today.  And if you cut the apples they go brown and don’t get eaten but if you don’t cut them then the kids either take one bite out of it and waste the rest or they just roll around and bruise.  But they love strawberries!  So win!  Strawberries!  Oh wait, those strawberries that looked plump and red at the grocery store on Sunday now look like they have cellulite on Tuesday.  Okay, so strawberries on Monday and Tuesday, now I just have to figure out Weds-Fri.  Oh!  Oranges!  They’ll usually eat oranges right?  Oranges last on the counter for quite a while!  Okay, so they’re too impatient and lazy to peel them, even though I bought the easily peeled Mandarin oranges.  Okay, I’ll pre-peel them.  What’s that?  They don’t like them pre-peeled because they start to shrivel and dry out by lunch?  I mean, just because NOBODY can actually tell this is happening, doesn’t mean it’s not happening right?  Because to my children, it is.  Bananas?  Oh, well, bananas bruise.  Luckily my four year old will usually eat them.  My seven year old won’t though so what should I send with her?  hmmmm… okay, she’s getting carrot sticks.  And if that little princess doesn’t like them I’m just going to keep resending that same pack of carrots every day until she eats them.  I mean, people will either say I’m emotionally scarring her and causing a future fear of carrot sticks or they’ll praise me for being consistent and teaching them a life lesson about not being wasteful of food and being able to settle in life.  Or is that being able to roll with the punches?  And do I want them to settle in life?  I don’t even know anymore, I think my life lessons are all very confused at this point.  I’m pretty sure that I’m going to screw my kids up irrevocably by their lunches alone.  Can you imagine how much I’m messing them up with the other parts of their life?  WHAT ABOUT DINNER?  I’m sure I must be setting them up for some sort of disorder!

Oh god, the pressure.  I don’t think I can handle lunches anymore.  Why couldn’t I have sent them to a school with vending machines so I could just give them some coins and then they could make their own decisions and screw themselves up instead?!

Sigh, okay, pull yourself together.  It’s not that big of a deal.  You can do this.  Only 3 more days of lunches to go…

This is maybe a slightly exaggerated version of my weekly thought process but one thing remains consistent: I start the week with the motivation of super mom and I eventually run out of strawberries and this happens.

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*disclaimer, I would never send that lunch with my kid in real life.  I would have added a granola bar.  😉

Mini Doll House

This weekend I was feeling very thankful for Calico Critters.  My girls actually played with them for hours.  They were having so much fun that I was hesitant to disrupt them for outside time in fear that I would break the magic get along spell.  The one thing my oldest really wanted though was more buildings.  Of course, anyone who’s bought these toys before knows that the critters are expensive enough but the buildings are definitely not something you buy on a whim because of a weekend worth of extensive play.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re gorgeous and well made, I love them.  But unless there’s a birthday around the corner my kids are going to have to make do.  So instead, we came up with this alternative using, as usual, things from the craft cupboard.  🙂

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This is a very simple design, you could go crazy and be elaborate if you like but I decided to keep it simple.  All my daughters requested was that the front be open so they could access it easily, sounds good to me.

For this craft you’ll need a bunch of craft popsicle sticks (I used two different sizes but you could do it with just the basic ones, the walls will just be a little shorter), a glue gun or some strong glue, some kind of wallpaper (I used wrapping paper because that’s what I had but you could use scrapbook paper or just leave them paperless if you like), paint (I used acrylic) a paintbrush or sponge, scissors and I think that’s about it…

So first you need to make these little squares out of the regular sticks.  I didn’t glue each stick together, just held them tight and glued the side sticks on to them.  These will be the floors and you’ll need 4 of them.

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Next I made these slightly bigger rectangles, the same way.  These will be the walls and the roof.  You’ll need 7 of them.

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For 4 of the wall slabs, I glued paper onto one side and painted the other side whiteDSC_3221

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Glue one of the outside walls to one of the floor pieces like so.  This is where hot glue is nice because it dries quickly so I really just needed to hold it there for a few seconds.

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For one of the wall pieces, I covered both sides with paper and then glued it in between the two bottom floor pieces.

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I then glued the other outside wall to the other side.

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To make the top floor, I took the two remaining floor pieces and stuck an extra stick in between them to make the floor a bit wider.  Then to secure it I glued another stick across the middle.  I then glued the whole slab to the top of the structure to act as the 2nd level floor.

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I glued three sticks to the back of the walls to make gluing the back walls on a bit easier.

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For the two back walls, I glued paper to one side and painted the other side white.  I then glued it to the back of the bottom floor.

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For the roof I glued paper to one side of each of the two pieces.

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I glued two sticks to the top of each end of the second floor to help keep the roof in place, and one stick on top of the roof.

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Let her dry and there she is!

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Braided Easter Basket Tutorial

My kids love Easter.  Let’s face it, they love any holiday that involves chocolate.  Since they demolished their baskets from last year by shoving everything they could find around the house inside and hauling them around, I need to start fresh.  And because I seem to love making more work for myself in the name of creating and saving money I decided to try and make them baskets using supplies I had on hand.  I actually used an old sheet and swaddle blanket but you could use old t-shirts or any kind of jersey/knit material.  You’ll also need a glue gun and as an option, some felt.

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I used two strands of white and one of pink.  I tore three strips about 2″ wide and as long as I could get them.  You can knot or pin them together and just start braiding a really long cord.

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When you run out of one of the strips, you can attach another by slitting a little hole into it and running the new strip through.  You can also use a bit of hot glue to tack it down if you like.  Then just continue braiding.

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Once you have a long cord, start rolling it into a flat disc, using a hot glue gun to attach it.  This will be the bottom of the basket and you can keep going until it is as wide as you like.

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Once it’s the size you want, angle the cord up onto the top of the outer round.  Start winding around and around to build the basket higher.  Be sure to glue it down securely as you go.

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When you’re on your last row, leave two unglued gaps, on opposite sides of the basket.  This is where the handles will go.

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You can trace out a piece of felt to cover the underside of the bottom if you like.  I did this just to keep it more secure.

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Braid another long cord to use for the handle.  Slip one end of the cord through the slot you made in the top row.  Pull it through and glue it secure to the backside of the handle.  Take a bit of extra fabric and wrap it around and glue for extra security and for a cleaner finish.  Do the same for the other end of the handle.

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And that’s it!  Happy Easter!!

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Peg Bunnies!

I admit that I have a soft spot for bunnies.  I had two growing up and they were my favorite little pets for a long time.  My husband on the other fan, is no fan of having pet bunnies so I have to settle for making my own.  I mean, of course these are for my children… so here’s what I came up with and some basic directions for making your own!  They were super easy to do and would be a sweet addition to any Easter basket.  🙂

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Aren’t they cute??  I can’t give them to my kids for Easter because there’s no way they aren’t going to know I made them.  I do plan on giving them to them tonight and I already know what they’re going to do with them, their favorite Easter game: hiding things around the house for the other to find.  Normally they draw little paper eggs to hide, but I think these bunnies will be a fun addition.

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So the pegs I used are about 2.25″ tall.  I do realize that they come in all shapes and sizes so you may need to shrink or enlarge the template I’ve drawn for the hat.

The first thing I did was paint the bodies.  I only did one coat of paint and seeing them in the daytime I probably could have done another but I kind of like that weathered look.  You can then seal them with varnish.  I use the soy varnish pictured below.

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I then traced the little hat template onto coordinating felt and sewed each of the darts together using a whip stitch.  I also went around the perimeter of the hat with a blanket stitch.  Finally I sewed the ears onto the back of the hat, about halfway up the hat so they poke out the top.

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Then it’s just a matter of plunking the hat on the top of the head and gluing it down!  I use a glue gun because it seems to keep them more secure but you have to act really quickly before the glue dries.

I hope you enjoy making little bunnies for your little bunnies!  Happy Easter!!

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