Mar 31, 2011

Flannel Board {stashbusting}

I am still 'stashbusting' over here and will probably be doing this until I literally have no craft supplies left. Might as well use what I've got! :) So, this is the FIRST flannel board activity!

My mother-in-law gave me some cute farm themed material and I knew as soon as I got it that I would use it for a flannel board activity. Well, she gave this to me probably six months ago and I apparently been lazy. Or taking care of two kids. Either one. I FINALLY pulled it out since we have our farm animal tot school theme with John this week.

Here's the deal with flannel boards...I don't actually want to make all the felt things. I know they are cute but mine will probably turn out like crap and it will take me FOREVER to put it together. And I didn't have a flannel board. However, how could I ever live with myself if I didn't provide cut flannel board activities for my son?! Well, that might be a bit dramatic since I have lived with myself for the past two years perfectly fine without flannel board stuff in my house, but I digress.

So, here is my trick: find fabric with the pictures already on it! SO EASY!

I took this fabric...

cut out the pictures and hot glued it to some craft felt...

my helper was too cute and EVERY time I glued a piece down he said 'beary beary hot!'

thanks blogger for rotating my picture! you are so sweet!

then cut out the felt around the pictures and ta da, a very cute flannel board activity!

No flannel board at your house? Here is how I made mine the same night that I was making the SUPER EASY farm pieces.

I took a really ugly (and free!) sweatshirt...

used hot glue to cover a piece of cardboard with a piece of the inside of the sweatshirt...

(the cardboard was already bent like that because it was packaging from Matthew's new car seat. BONUS!)

and ta da, a cheap flannel board!

I kid you not, John was trying to grab the animal pieces from me as I was cutting them out of the felt. This entertained him for 15 minutes solid before we had to put it way so he could go to bed. I should have made this a long time ago!

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Mar 30, 2011

We LOVE Wrap Buddies!

As some of you may have noticed, my precious baby Matthew has recently been wearing a blue helmet. He has plagiocephaly, which is just a fancy way of saying he was getting flat spots on his head. We tried to keep him off the back of his head as much as possible while he was awake by keeping him on his tummy, in the jumper, propped up by pillows, in the bumbo, etc. Even only being on his back for sleeping wasn't helping and his head was getting more mis-shapen and starting to misalign his facial features and ears. So, we decided to go ahead to get the STAR Band (similar to a DOC band) just over a month ago.

Matthew has been wonderful throughout this whole process and has not minded one bit that he is wearing a helmet. He has to wear it 23 hours a day and hopefully for only 4-6 months. One month down...5 more to go!

Here is my happy baby when he first got his helmet. Thankfully I was able to get a blue one so it matched most of his outfits. He still has to be fashionable, right!?

Well, through a friend we found out about Wrap Buddies. This is a fabulous program from a company called 360 Wraps. They make vinyl wraps for cars and recently started this charity program that wraps helmets for babies for FREE. How awesome is that?!?!? They even wrap prosthetics and wheel chairs! We were able to pick out a design and last week we attended our Wrap Party with about 10 other families. It was a fun pot luck lunch and we all sat around chatting while each helmet was wrapped in a different design, personalized with the children's names.

Here are some pictures of the party and the process of getting the helmet wrapped.

This is the helmet before getting fancy...

Brad and Matthew waited patiently for our turn.(lots of playing with other babies was going on throughout the party!)

the owner putting on the wrap...

How cute did this turn out?!

Everyone was so sweet and I can't believe they use their own budget to pay for these wraps for all our precious babies. Due to the phone ringing off the hook from parents from around the country, they even started partnering up with 70 other companies around the country, offering those companies free training and templates so other babies can benefit from having fancy helemts too. Seriously, how awesome is 360 Wraps?!?!

Please go check out 360 Wraps and if you want to donate to their Wrap Buddies program, go here!

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Mar 29, 2011

Toddler Art Tuesday {BABY edition!}

Last week I did a little art project with baby Matthew (8 months old). John did this project back when he was in day care so I thought it would be cute to do it with Matthew too!

Let's call this Diaper Picasso! I printed a picture of a diaper (should have done it black and white instead of colored, but too late!), painted Matthew's diaper, and made a cute little butt print on the paper. So easy and perfect for the baby book. Plus I love that we have a ton of foot prints and hand prints so this is something different.

Look at those chubby little legs! Don't you just want to squeeze them!?!?!

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Mar 28, 2011

Ruffle Apron Tutorial {stashbusting!}

Welcome friends from The T-shirt Diaries!! I am so excited to share how I made this cute apron using only supplies I had in my stash of crafty stuff. I think it turned out really cute and my niece will look like an absolute doll in it when she is doing her arts & crafts! I lined it with a thick cotton (or maybe it is canvas?) so that way when Bella is working on a messy project, her clothes are still protected because the cute fabric was pretty thin.

So, here's the deal. This is probably the most detailed item I have sewn so there are quite a bit of steps. I am usually a sew straight-line-projects-only kind of girl so this was certainly a bit more challenging for me to figure out as I went along. So I hope I don't scare anyone off BUT if I can handle it, then I am pretty sure anyone can tackle this little project. There are lots of optional fun frilly stuff I added on the apron so a newbie can pare down the project and make it much easier!

Let's get to it!!!!

-super cute fabric
-thicker canvas type fabric for backing
-3rd complimentary fabric for waist band
-normal sewing supplies (including a heavy duty needle)!!

1. Cutting your pieces:
Using the thick backing, I traced an apron I already had so I could use that as my pattern.

I only traced the right half of the apron, marked the half-way paint at the top and then folded the material over vertically. Then I cut both layers along the marks I made. When I unfold it, ta da!!, we now have a full (and hopefully symmetric!) apron piece.

I used the piece I just cut as a pattern to cut out the front piece of the apron using your super cute fabric.

2. Making the decorative waist band:

I cut out a strip of my brown material for the waist band. My finished band was about 2 inches so I cut it 2.5 inches wide so I could fold the edges under for a nice finished edge. You can adjust the width of this band relative to how wide your ribbon is! After folding under the edges and ironing those edges down, follow instructions on the package for the fusing to iron it to the apron. I kind of guessed where to put the waist band compared to where the ties were on the original apron (and guessed a little too high!).

I measured the original apron ties and distance across the belly of the apron and cut my ribbon to that total length. Then I pinned the ribbon across the waist of the apron, making sure the ribbon was placed evenly so the ties will be the same length on each side of the apron.

Now it is time to sew! Sew down the edges of our waist band (my brown piece) and sew along the edges of the ribbon. DO NOT sew the edges of the ribbon all the way to the edge of the apron (see picture!) because you need to save room for the seam allowance and you don't want the ribbon to get sewn into the seams. At least I don't think that will work, but I am no expert on sewing! :)

3. Ruffle Time!

I wanted for this apron to have a pretty substantial ruffle trim. So I made long strips that were about 4 inches wide. You will probably need the length strip to be 2-3 times the distance around the edge of the apron. I had to sew two lengths together since I was using scrap material! Then I folded them in half, wrong sides together, and pressed.

Set your machine stitch as long as it will go and the tension as tight as it will go. Sew along the non-folded edge of your strips to ruffle those pieces up. This was my favorite part of the project!

Now pin the ruffle onto the right side of the front piece of your apron so that the non-folded edge is along the edge of the apron. Your folded edge of the apron should be towards the center of the apron. I only put the ruffle from waist band to waist band and not on the 'chest' portion of the apron. Sew along edge.

4. Adding Neck Ties:

Cut two pieces of your ribbon for the neck ties. Each of my ties were about 8 inches, but this will probably depend on how big your child is! Pin each tie face down to the top edge of the apron.

Since we are about to sew in the lining, I took all the ribbons and pinned them to the center of the apron so they were out of the way and wouldn't accidentally get sewn into a seam somewhere.

5. Sewing the Lining:

Almost done now! At this point, you will probably want to use a heavy duty needle on your machine!

Place your front apron piece face up on the floor (or table if you are fancy and have lots of space!). Then place the lining face down atop the lining piece. Pin together. Sew around the edge, leaving a 2-3 inch opening to turn the apron right side out.

Trim excess material around the edges and clip corners. Turn the apron right side out and use a pointed item to turn out edges. Then iron to get the seams nice and neatly lined up. Pin the hole and top stitch all the way around so the hole is sewn closed and there is a nice finihsed edges around the apron.

6. Finishing the Ribbons:

Lastly, you will want to sew the edges of the ribbons to keep them from fraying. I just folded each end two times and ziz zag stitched the ends. Very easy!

Done, done, done!!

Wowee...that was a longer project than I usually do but it was well worth it! If I was more confident that this was going work out well, I would have appliqued 'Bella' on the lining to make this a reversible apron. Or I could have used a freezer paper stencil to paint her name on it. Oh well...maybe next time!

Good luck! I hope these directions make sense. If you make an apron, I would love to see how yours turned out!

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Mar 23, 2011

Lunch FAIL?

I am sure many of you have seen this fabulous lunch from Meet the Dubiens.

Jill has the best pictures and is so creative! Well, I thought I could try out this lunch for John on St. Patrick's Day. I thought I could use a grilled cheese sandwich, sliced carrots for a curly beard, raisins for eyes, and skittles for a snack. Turns out, my version is much creepier and it looks like this poor leprechaun is melting away.

The picture cracks me up everytime I see it. Thankfully John wasn't too frightened to eat! This was his first time to try skittles and he quickly spit them out and said 'Mommy, I don't like this'. Fine by me...I don't have to share my favorite candy!!

Well, at least I tried to make John's lunch more fun. I will probably have to stick to using cookie cutters for now. :)

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Mar 22, 2011

Toddler Art Tuesday

Last week I invited our playgroup over to the house for some arts & crafts. I saw the idea to make colored shaving cream from Meet the Dubiens and figured I would try it out with the kiddos. I had let John play with shaving cream before and he loved it so I knew adding color to the mix would be perfect.

I am so glad the weather worked out because this is definitely an outside activity! (How smart of Meet the Dubiens to do this in a bathtub where the kids are confined to one space!). We ended up having about 9 friends over which meant that we definitely needed to take this activity outside so my house didn't get destroyed. haha!

I let the kids paint directly onto a plastic picnic table, which was covered immediately. By the end of the morning the kids had painted the slide, scooters, tricycles, toys, their hands, and some baking pans. And I will tell you that using some cheapo house painting brushes from the dollar store worked WAY better than the small kid water color type paint brushes.

I was nervous that all the toys would be stained from the food coloring but I hosed them off and they were perfectly clean. As far as I can tell, John's clothes came out of the wash clean...and his hands finally were back to normal color after a bath that night! :)

So, do you think they had fun?!

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