Monday, March 29, 2010

To Infinity & Beyond!

Spring in finally here, which means that it's time to (maybe) put away those winter things and start thinking about bringing out fun skirts, shorts and t shirts. But if you are like us, those well-worn t shirts from last year could use a little pick-me-up with a cute accessory. And we have the perfect solution: an infinity scarf. This is basically a long loop of fabric that can be worn in any number of ways. Many stores are selling them, but they are charging about $40 or more for one! Madness! So here is our method for making one yourself for practically nothing (we made this up as we went along, so if you have any questions or if something isn't clear, please let us know!):

What you need
  • fabric of your choosing (since we're talking spring here, we chose a lightweight cotton).
Lay out your fabric and cut out a long (the longer the better, since a longer scarf will give you more options) rectangle, making sure it is twice the width of what you want your finished scarf to be.

Next, fold your scarf in half lengthwise (right sides together) and pin. Then sew the edges two halves together up the length of your fabric, so that you end up with a long tube.

For this next part, we're afraid we don't have any pictures. We were making this up as we went along and weren't sure how it was actually going to work! Turn your tube right side out and tuck the edges of one of the open ends inside itself. Then place the other, unfinished end inside the folded end, creating a big loop of fabric. Pin this section together and sew.

Ta-da! You now have your finished scarf! As you can see from the pictures below, you can wear it anyway you'd like! So have fun with it!
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bunny Cupcakes

Happy Spring.

We were inspired to make these cute fluffy bunny cupcakes from a recipe we got from McCormick. They were really cute, but the heads were too complicated for our little ones to help with. Our 5 year old, Jonah said, "Just use peeps!" What a brilliant idea! They whip up in a snap and all the kids can help.

What You Need:
  • mini cupcakes
  • bunny peeps
  • vanilla frosting (we put ours in plastic bags with the tip cut off to make frosting easier) tinted to match the peeps
  • shredded coconut tinted to match the peeps
  • mini marshmallows for the tails
First we frosted out cupcakes
Then we (ouch!) cut the heads off our bunnies. We left them a little neck. The kids were happy to eat the bunny bottoms!
Then we dipped them in their matching coconut.
We glued the heads on with a blob of icing.
Then we "glued" the tail on with icing.
Now our fluffy friends are ready to eat!
We also recommend saving a few peeps out to cook in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Let the kids watch them grow 2 or 3 times there normal size. Then watch them eat up the warm gooey bunnies!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Felted Easter Eggs

With Easter just around the corner, we figured it was time to get going with making some fun decorations. This project was found in the book Quick And Clever Felting and it really couldn't be easier! With a few basic felting tools, you can have some pretty eggs in no time!

What you need:
  • Styrofoam eggs
  • wool roving
  • fine point marker
  • felting needles (we used a tool that had 3 needles)
First, wrap a piece of roving around the middle of your egg and jab it repeatedly with your needles until it begins to felt to the foam. Add more roving to spots that seem a bit sparse as you see fit.

Once that section is completed, add more roving to completely cover the rest of your egg and continue jabbing until your wool is adhering nicely and your egg is taking on a firmer texture.

When your egg is finished, you can leave it plain (where's the fun in that?) or start thinking about decorating it! Using your fine point marker, draw a design on your felted egg.

Then add thin sections of wool in complimentary colors using the design you drew as a guide, being sure to jab it with your needles to secure it to your egg.

Once that is done and you are happy with the results, you can make a few more to display in a bowl or clear vase...

or attach ribbons and make hanging ornaments...

or even make hanging decorations for your door!
You can be as creative as you want! Happy Easter!
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Homemade Hair Detangler

Hair detangler is new to us (we only have boys). Our one little guy has decided to grow his hair long. Combing his long curls have become increasingly difficult. Detangling sprays work great at removing tangles and keep his curls looking great, but they can be pricey. So of course we had to look into making our own. Can you imagine how shocked we were to find out all it is is water and a little hair conditioner. We found many recipes on the web. Most were just water and varying amounts of conditioner. We played around with them until we found a combination we liked.

First we took an empty detangler spray bottle (we liked the fine mist it made). Then we mixed 1 part of our favorite conditioner with 9 parts warm water. We gave it a stir then poured it into our spray bottle. Shake well before using.

Now no more tears or fusses about combing hair. Kids are happy and so is mom!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Gel Medium Transfers

We first saw this technique back in October on Lil Blue Boo, and just had to try it! It's one of those projects that pretty much seems like magic! And it is so easy! With only a few materials, you can create interesting art in no time at all! One thing to note when choosing an image with words on it, the image will transfer as a mirror image and will be backwards.

What you need:
  • Golden Gel Medium (we used gloss)
  • canvas or wood
  • acrylic paint
  • paintbrush
  • photocopied image (using an image off your printer will not work. The image must be photocopied)
  • brayer
First, paint your canvas with the acrylic paint and allow it to dry.
Once it is dry apply a generous coat of the gel medium.
Then lay your image face down on the canvas and smooth out any air bubbles. This is where the brayer - and a little helper - come in handy.

Let your canvas dry for an hour or so. Then wet your photocopy with water and start to rub off the paper with your fingers. And like magic, the image will remain! We found that after we rubbed off the paper, we let it dry and had to wet and rub again since a thin layer of paper still sometimes remained.

Maggie loves this project so much, that she and her husband have begun to do a series of these using images from Día de los Muertos! Hope you have as much fun with this project as we do!
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pot O'Gold Pancakes

Although our family isn't Irish, we LOVE to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Leprechauns have been visiting all week leaving chocolate gold hidden around the house. The kids are sure they have seen leprechauns peeking out at them. We are dressing in green. Even our pancakes have shamrocks on them! The rest of the year we call these pancakes Pirate Pancakes. They are small and gold with a little treasure inside, and of course made with a little rum extract. A favorite of all pirates. This time of year we think they look more like leprechaun's gold. Your family will love them all year round. We use a box of complete pancake mix. We use Fiber One., but you can use your favorite. We make a basic recipe using 2 cups of mix and 1 1/3 cup of milk (instead of water). Follow your box's directions for time and temperature. Then we add:

  • 1 t of cinnamon

  • 1/4 t nutmeg

  • 1 t vanilla

  • 1 t rum extract

  • 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

  • you will also need regular chocolate chips to make your shamrocks

Then we use a tablespoon to make small silver dollar pancakes.

Then we add chocolate chip shamrocks to some of the pancakes before we flip them. Whoever finds one has good luck the rest of the day! The pancakes are delicious with syrup or a little powdered sugar. Your family will love them. You might want to leave one out for a leprechaun that might be hiding nearby!

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Spice Jar Bud Vase

If you liked our tic tac bud vase, you will love our spice jar bud vase.After finishing this jar of garlic powder, we knew we had to find something to do with it. It was too cute to just throw away. We decided it would be a great bud vase.
We realized the holes in the shaker top of the spice jar would hold a single flower or two just where we wanted. You could cut off the lid and leave only the shaker, but we thought leaving the lid on was fun.
Like our tic tac bud vase, we found a pretty piece of paper from a magazine and wrapped the top of the jar where the label had left some glue marks. We secured it with some craft glue then added some water and pretty flowers!
You could cover the paper with polyurethane, or leave it and change the paper when you want a new look.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cookie Stencils

Our boys love baking, especially making cookies. They recently wanted to bake some, but all we had was some plain store-bought sugar cookie dough. Hardly exciting. So on a whim we decided to make some stencils for the boys to use to help decorate the otherwise boring cookies. All we did was draw some basic shapes on some parchment paper (we made a star, heart, smiley face, flower and of course the letter J for Jack and Jonah), then cut them out with an x-acto.

Then we sliced up the dough and let the boys lay a stencil on the dough. Then they sprinkled like crazy! When they were satisfied with their masterpiece, we peeled up the stencil to reveal their tasty creations.

We then baked them according to the directions that came with the dough. When they were done, we had sparkly, tasty works of art!
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Fused Plastic Bib

Many of you have been wondering what in the world we were going to do with the fused plastic we have been making. So we wanted to share the first of several projects we are working on: a bib made from fused plastic grocery bags! This are practically free to make, and would be great to throw in your diaper bag. And if you accidentally leave it somewhere, no big deal!

This is a super-simple project and takes very little time to make. Using fused plastic made from our earlier tutorial, we first traced a bib that we had on hand and cut it out.

We then also made a pocket for it. This is totally optional.

Finally, we added bias tape to the pocket, attached it, then sewed bias tape around the entire bib! We then finished it off my adding some Velcro to the ends.
Realistically, you can make this project as simple or as involved as you wish. As we mentioned before, you don't have to add a pocket or the bias tape. These bibs are very durable, but we don't recommend putting them in the washing machine. Just hand wash them or wipe them off and hang them up to dry! They are a fun way to recycle all those bags you have and can make a great statement! Enjoy!
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