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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Honeybun Sweater Tutorial

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I’ve mentioned it before but my alter-ego is actually Honey Lime Designs.  Or at least, that’s one of them.  Since I don’t really have time for both blogs, I’m phasing out that one and have decided to start transferring some of the tutorials over here.  🙂  So up first, here’s a little sweater I’ve been knitting for my Honeybun dolls.

I have seen it fit similar sized dolls as well and for reference, my honeybuns are 8″ tall.  This sweater is very small, knits from the top down seamlessly using circular needles and the magic loop method.

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Yarn: Any medium weight yarn will do.

Supplies: 4mm circular needles, waste yarn, stitch markers, a small button and thread, a sewing needle and a yarn needle.

Abbreviations:

K-Knit

P-Purl

sm-Stitch Marker

kfab-knit into the front and back of the stitch

yo-yarn over

K2tog: knit two together

 

Instructions:

Cast on 28 stitches using a long tail cast on.

1) Knit, place markers as follows: k5, sm, k5, sm, k8, sm, k5, sm, k5.

2) K2, yo, K2tog, knit to end.

3) *Knit to one stitch before marker, kfab, sm, kfab*, repeat 3 more times, knit to end.

4) K2, Purl to last 2 stitches, K2

5-12) Repeat rows 3-4

13) K to first marker, slip next 15 stitches onto waste yarn, K to next marker, slip next 15 stitches onto waste yarn, K to end.

14) K2, Purl to last 2 stitches, K2

15)  Knit

16-17) Repeat rows 14-15

18-19) Knit

Cast Off.

Sleeves:

Rejoin sleeve yarn picking up 3 stitches to close the gap under the arm.  Slip on stitch maker to show the beginning of the round.  Using magic loop method or dpns, Purl one round and then cast off.  Repeat for other sleeve.

Attach buttons.

And there you have it, your own little honeybun sweater!!

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Parenting is hard.

I was never one of those kids who couldn’t wait to have babies and snuggle them and pinch their little toes because the world would just be so much cuter and more fun.  I’m a realist.  I knew it would be something I would want eventually and that it would open up a big can of responsibility worms.  And for maybe the third time in my life, I was right.

It’s hard stuff!  I have pretty cool kids and still I worry that I’m going to do something to mess them up.  I’m going to give them cancer by not buying organic celery or they’ll have abandonment issues because I send them to daycare.  I second guess every decision it seems and it’s only getting worse as they get older and are starting to have long term memories about their childhood.

For instance, my girls share a room.  For a long time one of us would lie in the bottom bunk with them until my youngest fell asleep and then my oldest would crawl into her bed and read a little and fall asleep too.  I was fine with this.  Well, it started getting to a point where it would take a long long time for my youngest to fall asleep and my husband had had enough and was convinced we were setting her up for needy sleeping tendencies and it was making it so that we had virtually no time together.  For two months we worked on getting her to fall asleep with us not snuggled up beside her.  Some nights were great, some nights were not but we were consistent.  Isn’t that what they say?  Be consistent at all costs?  Well, that ran out and eventually we started sitting by the door to the room and then sitting on the end of the bed and now, well, I’m snuggled back up beside her while she falls asleep.  I know, people will say she’s only young once, enjoy it.  And I do.  Truly.  Sleeping kids are the stuff dreams are made of.  But then I’m back to worrying that I’m messing her up.

Then I started thinking about all of my friends and the things they do that they worry about and the fact that if I were them, I would tell them that they’re doing just fine.  So why am I so hard on myself then?  Well, I’m no psychologist but I finally decided on this.

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When it comes down to it, all of the parents out there who actually consider the implications of how they treat their children must be doing something right, because really, what else can you do?