Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

  • An Early Valentines Project!

    Date: 2015.01.25 | Category: crafts, parenting | Response: 0

    Ah Pinterest… I have a love hate relationship with it.  There are so many great ideas, but sometimes these ideas get out of hand.  Last year when JT’s kindergarten teacher told us to send in some kind of decorated bag or box to collect Valentines, I handed JT a paper lunch bag and told him to decorate it however he wanted.  Apparently I was the only one who didn’t get the memo that Valentines boxes are A THING now!  So many kids came in with adorable boxes that clearly took a lot of time and energy to create.  This year I started thinking ahead and I saw these darling little boxes made out of tissue boxes on Pinterest.

    Super cute and super easy, right?  So of course, I open up my Pinterest page to show JT and what does he see?  This awesome Ninjago box!  And that was that.

    I mean, I can’t blame him, it is super awesome… but it looked like WAY more work than I was planning on.  Anyway, he was really excited about it, so I reluctantly agreed.  Of course, I don’t happen to have a roll of black paper, but I do have a roll of red wrapping paper… and isn’t a red ninja more Valentine-like anyway?  Thankfully, he agreed and was happy with that plan.  I followed the tutorial on Just a Girl and Her Blog and it really wasn’t so bad.  I found an image of Kai (the red ninja) on google images that JT liked and downloaded it and blew it up to the size I wanted to trace for our box.

    I did the cutting and the outlining and JT did all the coloring with a gold sharpie.  He also added some extra flames, once he grew confident in his coloring!  He drew and cut out the arms freehand, I did the face and mask freehand.  JT also asked for a black belt, and he drew a design on it, once I cut out the strip of paper.

    While this project did take a couple of hours, it was really easy and he and I had a lot of fun planning and implementing our design.  We are both thrilled with how well it came out too!

    Now lets just cross our fingers that this box actually survives the two weeks until Valentines Day!

  • A spot (or four) for our eyeglasses!

    Date: 2014.05.09 | Category: crafts, home improvement | Response: 1

    I got my first pair of glasses about a year and a half ago- 40 is creeping up on me faster than I can believe!  I actually like wearing them, my headaches have decreased… and hey!… I can see!  Unfortunately, my kids have not been gentle with my new glasses- I’ve taken them in at least 3 times for repair because the kids have a way of mangling them.  The last time I brought them in the optician warned me that they would probably break the next time (they can only take so much abuse) and he recommended I go for spring hinges with my next pair.  Chris and I discovered Coastal.com several years ago and he’s gotten several cheap/free pairs of glasses through them, so that’s where I ordered my first pair.  I didn’t invest a ton of money in those- free with $17 shipping- and didn’t want to invest several hundred dollars in my next pair either… so I started researching cheap options again and found ZenniOptical.com.  I ordered a pair of everyday glasses and a pair of prescription sunglasses (with the upgraded coating) for $56 shipped!  But now I have two pairs of glasses and I wasn’t sure where to store them.  I had just been keeping them on my bathroom counter, but the kids tend to mess with my stuff and now that there was always a pair sitting there, it was becoming a problem. I was just asking for scratches and more bent hinges.  I did a little etsy and pinterest searching for a good way to store and display them, but couldn’t really find anything like what I was envisioning.  I wanted some way to keep them safe, easily view them, and quickly tuck them in or pull them out as needed.

    Finally, inspiration struck- use a picture frame and some fabric to make a wall mounted spot for them!  I popped into Michaels and found that they were having a huge frame clearance sale.  I wavered between my favorite frame (mirrored) and a more practical option that was deeper and would help protect the glasses (they would be set back rather than sticking out from the frame).  In the end I went for practical… I brought my frame home, popped out the glass, cut up a pair of flannel pjs that had ripped after years of wear, and hot glued a piece of batting under the flannel to the cardboard backing.  I decided to sew pockets into the pouch to help keep the glasses separated- my 8×10 frame could easily hold 3 pair- so I still have room to grow!  I didn’t even have to add that cute contrasting fabric- the jammies already had it.  Yay for easy projects that turn out great!

    I hung it on my wall- and I loved it!!!  A couple of days later Chris casually asked if I would mind making him a couple of frames to hold his glasses.  I asked him how many pair of glasses he wanted to store, so he counted how many he owns… 9 pair!  What?!?  That is so typical of my hubby- he has several pairs that are scratched, out of style, outdated prescriptions- that man holds on to everything!  In the end we decided to make 3 holders for him, and I wouldn’t sew in the dividers so he could maybe fit 4 pair into each frame.  I ran back to Michaels and discovered that they only had two more of the frames I had used for mine.  Oh well, that just meant I would swap mine into the mirrored frame- which I had secretly been kind of wishing I had chosen anyway!  I came home with 3 more frames and set to work- I moved my flannel into the mirrored frame and then made three frames for the hubs.

    Isn’t it so cute?  I’m so glad I ended up with the mirrored frame in the end, it’s much swankier, just like me.  😉

    I love this little “dressing area” in my closet where I keep all of my jewelry and a mirror for last minute adjustments.  The glasses fit in perfectly here!  Now my kids can’t reach them and mess with them.  They are still at risk while they’re actually on my face, but at least no one is grabbing them off the counter anymore.  And isn’t that sign up above the glasses just perfect?  My girlfriends call me “Make it happen Melody” because I tend to get things done.  I love this gift from a friend and I love that I see it every day.

    We hung Chris’ holders out in the hallway- one for sunglasses and two for everyday glasses.  They are right between his closet and the bathroom, so he can easily grab a pair as he’s getting ready in the morning. (sorry, it’s an awful spot to take a picture!)

    I cut up two more pair of flannel jammies for Chris’ holders.  I used the elastic waist band for the shorter front piece and contrasting fabric from the legs for the back piece.  I think they turned out super cute!  And I love how practical they are.  I ended up hotgluing a dot of glue to the bottom of each of Chris’ frames to help hold them level- when you put glasses in or took them out the frames tended to move alot- a nice dab of hot glue between the frame and the wall holds them steady now!

    Feel free to use my idea to make your own… and send me a picture. I’d love to see how they turn out!

  • Getting ready for Easter

    Date: 2014.04.14 | Category: crafts, parenting | Response: 1

    The kids are getting old enough that they REALLY enjoy doing messy crafts and seasonal crafts and crafty crafts.  And I’m always dragging my feet thinking… I hate messy crafts!  Easter isn’t about eggs and chicks and bunnies!  The prep work… the clean up… I’m too lazy!

    Anyway, this weekend we did two (yes!  TWO!) Spring/Easter crafts and it actually wasn’t even awful.

    The two older kids and I dyed Easter eggs- they particularly enjoyed the trick where we drew on the egg with a crayon first and then the picture was revealed when we dyed it.  We made an egg with each kid’s name, I drew a few bunny faces, Katie made a happy face and some polka dots.  They turned out cute!  Once the eggs were dry, all three kids enjoyed adding stickers to the eggs.

    All three kids also really enjoyed making little pretzel chicks.  We had some orange colored “chocolate chips” leftover, so we melted those and then I poured them over pretzel twists.  We added orange and black sprinkles to make beaks and eyes and legs.  This little endeavor turned out messier than I expected, and the chocolate hardened too fast to decorate them all, and James kept picking his up before they were hard and dripping orange goo everywhere, and blah blah blah.  One or two turned out cute and the kids were happy and they were pretty yummy, so I guess in the end it was a success.

    PS- happy April 14 from sunny Colorado!

  • belated Christmas greetings

    Date: 2014.01.02 | Category: Christmas, crafts | Response: 1

    Well hello!  Even though I’m the most erratic blogger E V E R, I thought I’d get a post up with the details about this year’s Christmas ornament… mostly because the story behind it makes me happy.

    When my dad died this past April, we spent time a lot of time reminiscing about our favorite dad quirks and sayings… my dad sure had a lot of them!  He was always saying things like “Mess with the bull, you get the horns” and “I’ll give you something to cry about!”  Or when he’d come into the house he’d shout “Don’t pay the ransom, we escaped!”  One of his funny quirks was that he hated pennies… he thought they were worthless and would sometimes go on about how he wouldn’t bother to bend over to pick one up, or how when he got a handful of change he would throw away the pennies on his way out the door.  This, of course, led to a general sense of outrage by the rest of his cheapskate family, and resulted in several practical jokes involving pennies- glued into jars, covering a box containing a gift, an April Fools Day penny tree, over the years there were many.  On the day of my dad’s burial we each placed a penny on his coffin before it was lowered as a way of sending him off.  So I knew early on that I wanted this years Christmas ornament to somehow involve pennies in his honor.

    I started trolling Pinterest and came across these two ideas, and decided to meld the two together…

    Penny Wreath on Etsy

    Tutorial for a penny pendant

    I ended up with this!

    front of penny wreath ornament

    back of penny wreath ornament

    I am very happy with how they turned out… but man, it was tricky to get them to come together!  It took several different tries before I found a glue/circle size/orientation that was sturdy enough to stay together.  I ended up using Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to cover the green wrapping paper circles- I liked that it didn’t require time in the oven to set, but did find that it took well more than 24 hours to fully cure.  It also kept lifting off with the E6000 glue I used to assemble the wreath, so I finally made the ornaments reversible (I originally envisioned two layers of green facing up with a plain penny back side) so I was only gluing metal to metal and not metal to Dimensional Magic.  I think that ended up turning out nicely anyway, since you often see the backs of ornaments.

    It makes me happy to have a Christmas ornament in my dad’s honor and makes me laugh to think of what his reaction would have been to receive one.  Of course our first Christmas without him just wasn’t the same.  We missed you, dad!

    Since I’m on here posting I thought I’d attach a crummy photo of our Christmas card…

    and a copy of the actual picture since the card came out so dark…

    Happy New Year to you and your family… make the most of your time together this year.

  • Christmas recap

    Date: 2013.01.28 | Category: Christmas, crafts | Response: 0

    Hello friends!  I know, I know… I’ve fallen off the face of the earth.  Frankly, this past year I’ve had to cut WAY back on all non-essentials.  And blogging just didn’t make the cut.  Now that James is almost a year old I’m hoping I’ll have a little more time for writing.  We’ll see.

    I decided that today was the day to write a quick post to show you the Christmas ornaments I made this year as well as the card we ended up sending out.  I can still blog about Christmas in January, right?  Good, because I’m so pleased with both projects! I have to say that it is SO GREAT having Pinterest to turn to- both my ornaments and cards were inspired by pictures I found on Pinterest.  It’s so nice to have hundreds of other’s ideas to inspire me and a place to keep them to refer back to later!

    For our Christmas card I combined a couple of cute photo ideas into one card.  You can see my inspiration here and here.  I thought that this pose was so sweet and this was the year to do it, with a baby in the house!  It also helped that JT took ownership of it and really wanted to act out the nativity.  He can be pretty tricky to capture photos of right now (he loves to turn his back to the camera and give a stinky face) so I tried to get him excited about the photo shoot and let him contribute ideas and be a big helper.  We also bribed the big kids with the promise of a candy cane before dinner if they cooperated- I’m not above bribery!

    All we did was round up a few brown and tan and blue blankets, wrap them around the kids and set them in front of the tree before we put the ornaments on it.  They really enjoyed being Mary and Joseph and seeing James as little baby Jesus.  I think that part of it’s charm is it’s simplicity- it gets the idea across without actual costuming.  I was thrilled that one of the cardstore.com templates included the phrase O Holy Night with a bible verse- it was the theme I was planning to use and I thought I was going to have to design it myself.  Turns out they did all the work for me!  (Please excuse the cellphone pics- our camera is on the fritz again and we’ve decided to make due with our phones.  It’s hard to complain about not having a working camera when we both enjoy the luxury of new iPhones!)

    When it came to the message on the inside of the card I went around and around about what I wanted to say.  I try to be real and don’t want people to think that our kids are always sweet and “holy”- we took 40 some pictures and only got the one that I was happy with!  Plus I was taking advantage of an awesome deal from cardstore.com- by having them send the cards directly, each card cost less than the price of the stamp, but it also meant that I wouldn’t be hand writing any messages on them this year.  So I ended up using one of our funnier outtakes and writing a short message about how most of our pictures weren’t picture perfect.

    I am really pleased with how they came out.  What do you think?

    For my ornaments this year, I had been pinning every idea that I liked for months and months.  Nothing really spoke to me until I saw this ornament in late October- I knew instantly that it was the one!  I ended up using 4 different fabrics that I had on hand and a variety of trims- no two are alike.  Unfortunately, I seem to have given away all of the ornaments with green fabric!  I didn’t realize it until I went to take pictures and discovered all of ours are white!  (When I make ornaments I always keep one for Chris and I and one for each of the kids.  When they grow up and move out each kid will have a nice little collection of ornaments for their new home.  I also make one for each of my nephews for the same reason.)

    I found the little trees and the salt shakers online and then used fabric and beads and trim I already had.  I tried filling them with regular table salt first, but it didn’t have enough sparkle, so I ended up using a mixture of half table salt and half epsom salt.  I think they turned out darling!

    I ended up making a second batch of ornaments this year.  My group of girlfriends loves to celebrate with sprinkles and when I saw this idea I knew I had to make it happen!  When I ordered the trees I also ordered a package of clear glass ball ornaments.  I already had a big jar of sprinkles, so all I had to do was fill them up, hot glue the tops and tie them with a cute length of ribbon!

    I was glad that I made these this year, because the gifts I ordered for the kids’ teachers didn’t come in time.  I ended up making four more sprinkle ornaments at the last minute and tucking each one in a pair of Christmas socks for a cute little teacher gift.  Of course the gifts I ordered came the next day… so I’m keeping them in reserve for the next time I need a teacher gift!

    So there you have  roundup of my December creativity.  I hope it inspires you!

  • Rock Star Jeans

    Date: 2012.01.02 | Category: crafts, parenting, saving money | Response: 1

    While wasting time online several months ago, I stumbled upon this idea for adding a guitar patch to holey jeans.  I thought it was pure genius, and perfect for my 3 year old who is obsessed with all things music.  I pinned the page on Pinterest and then when I came across two pair of jeans with holes in the knees in his laundry I knew it was time.  I am not artistic AT ALL and I am so pleased with how these came out!  I used her guitar and amp as inspiration for the first pair, then I decided to go crazy and come up with my own pattern to make drums on the second pair.  I searched google images for drum sketches, but really ended up coming up with my own design on paper which I then used to freehand the actual patches.

    JT opened up the box with these on Christmas morning and he was so thrilled!  Of course I couldn’t get him to stand still for a picture for anything- he was literally jumping around with them.  I did get a picture of him wearing the drum pants the next day.  Please note the glow drum sticks in his hands and the fake smile!

    Here are some close ups of the patches-

    Sadly, the ironed on edges have already started to come up after only 1 wash, so I’m going to have to stitch all of the edges down to keep them on tight.  I was hoping to avoid that since I can’t fit those little legs over the arm of my sewing machine and will have to do it by hand.  Ah, the price we pay to keep our kids happy.  And looking like a rock star.

  • Nativity Ornaments

    Date: 2011.12.27 | Category: Christmas, crafts, friends, saving money | Response: 0

    I love making handmade ornaments every year for family and friends (and for my tree too!)  It’s a tradition that I started years ago thanks to my friend Heidi- I think that means I’ve done it 13 years in a row now! (Hi Heidi!)

    This year, thanks to Pinterest I had some great ideas rolling around in my brain.  Of course, when I tried to make my first idea it totally flopped.  So back to Pinterest I went where I found this cute ornament and this cute ornament.  I decided to meld the two ideas into my own creation.  I’m allowed creative license, right?  I loved how they came together, and I loved that I only had to buy the wooden balls for the heads, I had the felt and yarn on hand.  Since I made 24 this year I needed them to be inexpensive and fun to put together.  These were perfect.  (It doesn’t hurt that since I’ve been pregnant 3 of the past 5 Christmases I seem to have babies on the brain either!)

    Aren’t they so sweet?  It made me happy to make an ornament this year that honored Jesus on His birthday.

    Happy birthday, Jesus!

  • Memorial ornaments

    Date: 2011.12.24 | Category: Christmas, crafts, friends | Response: 0

    Last year after our friend Robb died I received an unexpected gift in the mail from one of my good friends in CA.

    I literally burst into tears when I opened it.  Isn’t it so thoughtful?  I knew right away that I wanted to make similar ornaments for Tricia and the other girls who have walked through this year together for this Christmas.

    I messaged my friend for directions and was able to put 6 of these together easily.  The only problem I encountered was that we don’t have an ink jet printer.  After debating how to get Robb’s information on the fabric I finally settled on Sharpie.  I don’t think it’s quite as nice as the printed version, but it’s what I had.  I am so pleased with how these turned out.  It adds a meaningful touch to each of our trees.

    Here are the directions that I followed-

    Here’s what you’ll need
    -Iron
    -Twine or ribbon
    -Paper hole punch
    -Fabric (Patterned fabric for the heart. Plain fabric the size of a sheet of printer paper)- You can also buy this pre-made it comes in white fabric sheets 8.5 x 11 ready to place in an injet printer. It costs like $10-$15 at Jo anns, but you can usually buy it with a coupon. I just took a scrap piece of plain fabric and applied heat n bond by the yard.
    -Ink Jet Printer (DO NOT use a Laser printer)
    -Cookie cutter or stencil for the shape you desire
    -Pinking shearers or edging scissors
    -Heat n Bond Lite (comes by the yard at fabric store for $1.25)

    Step 1: Lay out 1 yard Patterned fabric and Heat n bond.
    Iron on Heat n bond to the fabric to the non-patterned side.

    Step 2: Remove heat n bond backing. Then Iron to another 1 yard of fabric (its like making a grilled cheese sandwich)
    The pattern fabric should be facing out on both sides and the heat n bond should be in the middle.

    Step 3: Cut out a piece of plain fabric and cut out the same size of Heat n bond lite the size of printer paper. Then Iron
    BUT LEAVE THE PAPER BACKING ON. This is how it will feed through the printer and the printer will detect it like a piece of paper.
    I suggest making 3-5 of these sheets of paper b/c sometimes it gets jammed or inked in the printer b/c the fabric soaks up loose ink.

    Step 4: Personalize. In Word, I use the settings for return address labels. Simply select font, color and center. Put fabric with paper backing on in the printer. Print

    Step 5: Cut out the printed labels.

    Step 6: Trace and cut out the hearts.

    Step 7. Iron on the lables to the hearts.

    Step 8: Paper hole punch a heart.

    Step 9: Tie ribbon or twine. (I added a dab of hot glue to keep the bow in place)

    Thanks Tash- you’re the best.

  • Christmas Jewelry

    Date: 2011.12.21 | Category: Christmas, crafts | Response: 1

    I went on a jewelry making bender this Christmas.  Several months ago I got hooked on glass lampwork beads when I went in to use a groupon at a local bead store.  I ended up making myself a Christmas cluster necklace, a bracelet and a pair of earrings.  I had enough beads left over to make several extra pair of earrings.  So fun!

    See the little snowmen and the Santa hat and the other fun details?

    This is the set I made for myself.  Then I started making extra earrings!

    How cute are those little striped “scarves” I made with the peppermint stick beads?

    Oh, I love these little hats!

    I also bought myself this cute little pendant which I just strung on a chain I already had.  So cute, and I can wear it with either side out, depending on my outfit!

    So that was my jewelry making this season.  I love all of them!

  • Super Hero Capes!

    Date: 2011.12.12 | Category: crafts | Response: 0

    I saw this idea on Pinterest and decided it would be a perfect gift for the kids this Christmas- especially since I had all those huge tee shirts from my brother.

    I made 4 capes- one for each of my younger nephews and for my kids.  Cutting them out took only a couple of minutes (literally less than 5 minutes), so I decided to embellish them with an emblem and each kid’s initial from the scraps.  And of course that is when my sewing machine decided not to work.  Oh yes, my brand new, 3 month old, I’ve hardly used it but I love it, new sewing machine.  So after a frustrating few hours I decided to iron on the embellishments.  (I plan to go back and sew everything in place as soon as my machine is repaired- under warranty, thankfully!)

    Ready for the big reveal?  I think they turned out so fun!

    Here’s an up close look at the detail- I just freehanded everything, so they’re not perfect.

    We celebrated an early Christmas yesterday with my brother’s family, so here are a few pictures of the kids with their capes.  They were a hit!

    Of course it was IMPOSSIBLE to get a picture of all four kids in their capes.  Maybe someday… when they are all grown?

    Happy crafting!

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