Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Geo board and popcorn experiments

I will be doing lots of kid stuff this week with both children home for school holidays.  We spent all morning making and playing with a geoboard (I got the idea from these wonderful people).  I have been meaning to do this for awhile so we went and dug an old piece of chipboard out of the crawlspace (we have access from the basement) to use.  I divided the board up into three spaces with a Sharpie and then the kids drew their own dot patterns while I did a grid in the middle.  I didn't have enough nails so not all the dots got covered.  I have to say, don't use chipboard for this!  It was too hard for the kids to do any of the hammering and that was going to be part of the activity.  I would look for some old pine next time so the kids could hammer as well.  The kids really had a ball playing with this for ages.

The other thing we did this morning was popcorn experiments.  I figured that if the popcorn pops in a paper bag why wouldn't it pop in a covered bowl?  Well, I will have to look into the science behind it now as it didn't pop very well at all.  Then we tried a covered plate.  Then a plate with no cover.  You can see our dismal results.  I did get more popped corn than this photo shows but the kids had already retrieved most of it.  They really enjoyed watching it pop and ping all over the microwave though!  I haven't given up on my experimenting in this arena though.  Can oven bags go in the microwave?  I will have to check...

Berry lovely

Take some dead branches (I have been saving them from our autumn pruning)....

Grab a bowlful of mini pom poms and willing children....

Use tacky glue to stick them on said dead branches and voila!  I really like how these turned out.   They look super cute in person and will be decorating a table somewhere for me for awhile.  I kind of wanted just red, orange and yellow pom poms for a more authentic berry look (but really how authentic are pom poms going to look??) but Michael's didn't have them.  So I bought fall themed ones and added red and white ones to it.  They still look cute.

Although, I have to say, the kids tired of it pretty quickly and I was left to do a lot on my own (not that I mind) while they made Christmas cards instead.  I think scrunched up bits of tissue paper might have been easier for them to handle and they might have stuck with it longer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Basket case

Remember those little baskets I found at the thrift store for mere cents?  Well, I finally found time to bestow some mod podge love on them and have turned them into stationery organising central.  I just stuck strips of scrapbooking paper around the rim and am now using the one on the right as my Christmas card organising centre (in there I have cards, stickers, mailing labels, stamps, a pen, sticky tape, scissors and also some writing paper that I needed a place for).  The left one is holding all my leftover note cards and envelopes.  I need to start writing letters again!  Maybe I will search for ideas of how to use up copious numbers of envelopes instead....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carrots on the windowsill

Have you ever done this with your kids?  My Mum used to do this for me and my siblings when we were young and we loved it.  I just remembered it the other day when I was cutting the tops off carrots whilst making dinner. All you do is take the top, put it in a little bowl (or on a saucer or whatever) with some cotton wool and keep the cotton wool moist.  It doesn't take long for the carrot to sprout.  Every morning at breakfast my two ask to check on its progress.  Cheap, easy fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homemade microwave popcorn

This has been a very popular activity around our house for the last couple of days.  Thanks to Maize Hutton, we have been making our very own microwave popcorn and I give it a huge thumbs up for super easy, super yummy and for making Lord A think I can do magic.

Here is a quick rundown of the process (not that you really need it but for all those other visual learners like myself here goes).

Grab a paper bag and some popping corn.  I am recycling a paper bag some takeaway soup came in but you can use any paper bag I would think.  Like Maize Hutton did, I will probably buy some lunch bags and make a bunch for the freezer.

Throw a handful into the bag (I worked out that two tablespoons in the bag was right for my microwave).

Fold over the open end a couple of times (you can tape this end shut if you want but this bag was big enough that nothing was going to be falling out).

Pop it in the microwave and put it on for about 2 mins (longer than 2 minutes and they start to burn - trust me).

Declare yourself a magician to the under 5 set and throw some melted butter and salt over them in a bowl.


Monster in the house

I had this cute little milk bottle that I thought I would recycle by cutting little windows and doors into it (as per the idea here at Filth Wizardry) and maybe we could make a cute little mouse from pom poms or something to live inside after the kids decorate it with stickers and Sharpies and so on.

Lord A had other ideas.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Back in the game....

Yessirreeee, I am back now.  My computer is fixed (yay! 1500 malware, spyware and adware files later.....) and is working better than ever.  So, how did I celebrate?  I dragged my family to a thrift store for a spot of fun trawling of course!

This is most of my bounty.  I bought a few of those old decorative tins as my Mum collects them so I can use them as gift boxes for a double gift.  I always find it hard to pass up cane and wicker baskets (so I don't!) especially when they are all less than 90 cents.  I like to do basic embroidery with my kids so I am always on the lookout for hoops and I was thrilled to find these little packs of vintage buttons for 20 cents.  I got these hand knitted mittens for Lord A.  I am assuming that one of the volunteers knits them up to help with raising money.  I also got a cute striped runner that is the exact length of our dining table for $2.80, a couple of board games for the kids for less than $1 ea (and all the pieces are there) and a small basketball that fits Lord A's new hoop perfectly.  I did also pick up some owl ornaments that I was going to spray paint white as a gift but the kids nabbed them for their rooms.

So, I will have to show you what I do with the cane baskets and tins.  I am thinking the larger basket will be my greeting card one stop organising centre.  Anyway, I will show you what I come up with later.

Oh, and Happy Halloween everyone for this Sunday!  (by the way, what is with the adult female costumes for sale???  does every adult woman want to look like she is in a very questionable dinner theatre production at the local 'gentleman's club'??  harumph..)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sound matching game

Woo hoo!  I am managing to do a quick post.  I still haven't had any luck getting my computer fixed and I have a bunch of comments waiting for moderation but I can't access that page right now.  I am just happy I can do this quick post.

Here is a very quick idea and one that I am surprised with the popularity of it with Lord A (he just turned 5).  I made these awhile ago but forgot to mention them.  They are the little plastic 'eggs' that Kinder Surprise toys come in.  I kept a bunch of them, thinking they could be useful, and came up with this classic sound matching game.  Lord A and I gathered a bunch of items to put inside (in pairs) and then we just sealed them up with some hardware store tape.  We have them sitting in a cleaned out ice cream container although I am keeping an eye out for a nice little wicker basket from a thrift shop.  I think that would look nicer. And that is very important of course.  ha ha.  Lord A goes back to this again and again.  They just pick up one of the eggs, shake it and then try to find the other one that sounds the same.

If you are interested in some ideas, here is a list of the items we used.  Well, the ones I can remember anyway.

- sand
- little tubular beads (from those large Ikea bead jars)
- coins
- rice
- tiny metal nuts (from nuts and bolts)

It was a little tricky with the last couple to get different enough sounds to distinguish from the others.  These would be fun to have a bunch of them just filled with the beads or sand as little maracas also.  Those items make a lovely sound.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Computer problems

I will write this quick (before the page disappears!!).  I have been trying to post for the last week and have to finally admit my computer must have a virus of some sort.  I will be sorting that out and then back with a vengeance!  I have some great projects coming up!  See you all soon.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wha?? It is October already??

Oh my gosh, how time flies when you are busy.  Ok, well we are settling in nicely to our new home.  The house is great, the kids are happily ensconced in school and I only have my craft/sewing stuff left to unpack.  So, here is my question everybody.  I need to buy a new sewing machine and I am having a hard time deciding which one.  I mainly sew easy clothes and even easier homeware type stuff like cushions and I will be delving into the area of sewing for dolls soon (my daughter has acquired a passion for American Girl dolls).  Basically, I don't need an industrial type machine anyway.  I want to know what you all use and what you like/don't like about it.  Also, where is a good place to buy them in the US?  Do they sell them at Joann's?  Can you believe I have only visited a Michael's store twice and have never even visited a Joann's since being in the US (we arrived way back in June)??  I haven't dared go near them when I can't actually do anything yet.  What self control!  Ha ha.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home.....

At last!  We are moving into a house tomorrow (southwest part of Minneapolis).  Anyone have suggestions on which shops would provide the best price/value for things like heavy curtains (blackout ones for the bedrooms)?

Friday, August 6, 2010

I am still around....

Wow, I am quite impressed I still have Followers!  Thank you for your patience everyone.  Things have been a tad hectic, a tad stressful and it isn't over quite yet.  To give you an abbreviated version of what has been happening since we left Uruguay, well, we moved to Boston and were frantically house hunting (this is a full time job in the market here right now - it is brutal!) only to have circumstances change and be told two weeks ago (I think it was then - my memory is blurring now) that we need to relocate to Minnesota instead.  Ugh.  Boston is like my dream location to live so I was pretty upset but, after having the appropriate mourning period, I don't believe in dwelling on that.  So, onwards and upwards to Minnesota!  Lucky we hadn't unpacked our boxes yet.  Anyway, we are heading over there next Tuesday and will be frantically searching for a house.  We will have to find one fast as our shipping container has finally cleared customs and is on it's way!!  Wish me luck!  Boy, do I have some projects planned once my stuff is unpacked....

Meanwhile, we managed a weekend trip to New York last weekend and that was a dream come true for me too so I will leave you with a photo of our weekend in New York.  This is my two kids on Liberty Island with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

No news is good news....

I knew this photo I took of a funny looking little piece of cereal would come in handy.....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

'Familiar' book (with activities)

As you know, we are moving this week from Uruguay to the USA.  My children (ages 7 and 4) are not the super relaxed types who don't really care about such things (neither are we so surprise, surprise) so, to help ease the transition, I made each of them these little 'familiar' books.

I had this stack of plastic envelopes (they are approx. 20cm x 16cm) that we had DVD's in.  The kids have 15 sleeves each that I have connected with small rings.  I think they might be curtain rings - they open with a hinge - I can't even remember where I got them.  I designed the front cover and printed out the pattern in the middle of the page (this neatly wrapped around a thick piece of cardboard for stability).

For the first half of the book I added photos (and simple words for reading practice for Lord A) of themselves, family members and familiar items like their beds, toys, etc.  All of the toys and items pictured are things they won't see for 2 months so they love to look at them and anticipate their return.  I did the page layout in Powerpoint.

For the last half of the book, I copied images of mazes and connect the dots off the internet.  In the second photo you can see a small face washer (face cloth, face towel - whatever you call them) inside the front cover.  I had these teeny little face washer's left over from when the kids were babies.  They are much smaller than normal but are the perfect size to use as an eraser with dry erase markers.  This way the kids can do the puzzles over and over if they want.  I have a little drawstring bag full of dry erase markers in different colours for each of the kids to have with their book.

The back cover is the same as the front without the title.  I used a really nice thick cardboard for the covers so they will be sturdy enough to hold and write on if they don't have a table handy.

I am really happy with how these turned out.  Sporty Girl has seen hers and has been carrying it around already but I am waiting to surprise Lord A for a moment when he really needs it (or when I really need him to be occupied! - hello, Customs lines anyone?).  Anyway, my quick break hiding away from the packers is over so I had better get back to it!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Aaarrrgghhh, the removalists are nearly here.....

Well, things are pretty frantic here of course.  The removalists are coming tomorrow morning at 8.30am to commence packing.  Oh, this is so not my favourite part about moving.  I just have to keep in mind that in one week we will be in our new city (and country).

Well, I did complete most of my 'meaning to finish' projects but I don't have time to put them all into a blog post with this very loud clock ticking in my head.  I will leave you with just one.

This is my second little sock owl (number one is up there in my banner right now) which I made for a dear friend who just had a baby.  I changed his eyes a little bit but that is about it.  He is sitting on a little blanket I was going to make but, as I don't have access to the correct needle etc. (and I am scared of sewing interlock), I took the fabric I bought to a 'merceria' (a tailor/haberdashery place) and had them make it up to my measurements etc.  I really love that soft coloured spotty pattern.  I am so happy with how this gift turned out.

Ok, well that is it from me for awhile, I will be busy probably most of this week with packing and relocation stuff.  Wish us luck (and speedy ships to get our stuff to the US)!

Friday, May 14, 2010

'Meaning to Finish' Project Week - day whatever

I barely even know what day it is, let alone keeping up with project days right now!  ha ha.

Ok, well, I am making some progress.  I haven't exactly been powering through mod podge land yet but I have completed a few things to show you.

The kids did more of the Sharpie Softies (Lord A did one too - so cute!) awhile ago and I hadn't finished them off for them so they were happy to cuddle them finally.

I covered a plain little craft box to make a gift box for the girly hair bow for my friend.  My little box went from this:

to this:

I really love that effect of the two different patterns for the box and lid.

Next up is a DIY padded mailing envelope.  I can't buy padded envelopes for posting gifts and so on at the moment (this is a veeeeery long story....) so I made my own using a regular office supply envelope.....

some bubble wrap cut into two rectangles and made into a pocket by using clear packing tape to seal 3 sides....

and then pop them into the envelope and bob's your uncle!

Love it.  Oh, I forgot to take a photo of my snazzy label I made.  I will do that another day with another parcel I have to send.

I also bought one of those plastic organiser boxes (like the ones for beads) to organise my stationery but I am pretty sure you don't want to see a picture of that (although I do have very cute squirrel clips and penguin paperclips!).  Have a good weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another free printable invitation - Snails and Mushrooms

I actually designed this one before the butterfly one (before I thought to ask what the birthday party theme for my friend's daughter was going to be - d'oh).  I really like this design too.  Enjoy!  Download below:

Pink Snail invitation - A4
Pink Snail invitation - Letter

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day

I would have posted this sooner (like actually on the day) if I didn't have trouble getting the images off my camera card.

This gorgeous little leather apple purse was given to me by my kids.  I love apples so much so this is perfect.  I was going to use it as my main purse but it really is just too small for that because I can't fit any cards in.  I think I will use it as my 'shove in my pocket' purse when I am out flea market shopping or something.  I forgot to take a photo of the beautiful cards and pictures my kids made for me too.  Like every Mum, I truly think they are the best part of the gift.

This is what I bought myself for Mother's Day (what? you don't buy yourself a mother's day gift?  well you should!).  I love 'my' jeweller.  These are so cute and I have worn them every day since.  Apparently peridot green goes with everything!  Well, even if it doesn't, too bad!  I love them!  I might use another exclamation mark!

A belated Happy Mother's Day everyone.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Giveaway results!

The winner of the giveaway is...... (drumroll please)
Christine from the blog My 2 Monsters!!

Christine chose the blue kids oven mitts so I will be emailing you shortly to get your address (and giving my kids the red polka dot ones so they can finally play with them!).

Congratulations and thanks for playing!

p.s.  I used for this but can't work out how to get a picture of it to put on my blog.....

Friday, May 7, 2010

'Meaning to Finish' Project Week - day 3

I had such a busy day doing Very Important Things (like reading stories to and playing animal snap with Lord A, lunch with good friends and visiting my favourite jeweller - yay!) so only got one little thing finished.  This super cutesy over the top girly headband.  I have a friend here with a beautiful daughter who has the most adorable blond mop of curly hair and I am going to miss saying goodbye to them before we leave.  So I am going to leave this for them.  I hope she likes it.

Meanwhile, mod podge land is waiting for me....hopefully Sunday!  We are having good friends over tomorrow and our friend's Spanish husband is making paella for us all!  Yum!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

'Meaning to Finish' Project Week - day 2

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Carrying on with my theme, I made this felt flower at the same craft group I mentioned in the previous post.  I saw a tutorial somewhere on how to do that lovely little 'bud' centre (sorry, can't remember where - let me know if you want to know how to do it and I will document the process for you) and had been 'meaning to try it'.  I love this flower but it didn't turn out quite how I imagined (not the centre - just the overall flower effect) so I will try another one and see if I can get it (on my 'after the move' list).

My row of scrapbuster patchwork tins is coming along nicely.  I have a few more (ok, 8) smaller tins to do as well - they are on my dining table right now awaiting their mod podge.

Also on my dining table are a bunch of jars awaiting their mod podge paper makeovers.  They will be joining this lot soon.  I will have quite the collection when I am done!

I also finished up some fabric covered notebooks last week - I took a bunch of photos but haven't written up the tutorial yet.  Let's see if I get that done 'before the move'!  I am really looking forward to this tutorial - it is kind of like a slipcover for your notebooks so you can change out your notebook when it is full/finished or whatever.  I can't wait to get my hands on some more modern patterned fabric (after we move, of course) for these.

Here is something I hope to get done tomorrow.  I inherited these (thanks Emily!).  These little babies are headed for mod podge makeover land too.  Will I patchwork them or just use one pattern?  Only time will tell!  I am sure you will all be perched on the edge of your seats waiting to see.  :-)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

'Meaning to Finish' Project Week

We are supposed to be moving in a few weeks (this is a long story and one I will tell once it is resolved...ugh) so, seeing as I need to be getting things ready to be packed, I thought I would make this week 'let's finish up all the half finished projects lying around the house'.  I think my shorter title up top might be a bit catchier than that one though.

So, first up, last week I attended a craft group that I have been 'meaning to attend' for ages and finally completed a stamp that I have been wanting to do for a long time.  I love this style of flower (kind of a cross between a zinnia and dahlia) and am pretty happy with how it turned out.

Secondly, here is a simple little garland that I did with Sporty Girl and one of our favourite friends (hi Emma!).  I started making this for our easter stick tree and hung it up with only half the mirrors done, so this is finished.  I have no idea what to do with it now.  It will go in the box with all the other seasonal decorating things I guess....or Sporty Girl's room after we move maybe.  This is so easy and it really did look very pretty as a garland in our stick tree.  Plus it is easy enough for relatively young crafters to make. Just tie on your beads (they need to be a decent size) using whatever thread you want (I used inherited waxed twine - thanks Emily!) and leaving a gap in between.  Then I lay it out on the table, lay a little mirror square face down, put a blob of glue on it, lay the thread in the glue and squished another mirror square on top to sandwich the thread.  Because the waxed twine has some thickness to it, the mirrors didn't sit flat with each other but it all dried fine and securely anyway.  The effect is pretty with the light bouncing off the mirrors.

Here is a detail of how we tied the beads on.  Just run the thread through and secure it with a simple knot.

Lastly, this isn't a project, but I forgot to tell you that my fabric from Spoonflower arrived!  So excited!  I think it turned out great (if I do say so myself) and I will be ordering some yardage to make up (after we move - everything is now postponed to 'after we move').  If you like it, I am pretty sure you can order yardage through Spoonflower now that I have done the test swatch.  I think I will use this test swatch to make a little zippered purse (after we move, of course).  Cute!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!!  You have until Saturday, noon, Uruguay time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Giveaway is here!

Yay, the planets have finally aligned and I have my giveaway ready!  These little play oven mitts are not difficult to make but to explain the whole process I have put together quite a lengthy tutorial which you can download below.  These would be so cute for any little kid that loves their play kitchen or it might encourage them to play with it like it does mine.

Kids Play Oven Mitts

Here is a quick overview of how to do it for more confident sewers.  I am sure you could work it out yourself anyway.  Like I said, they are not hard, nor particularly time consuming if you have access to a sewing machine.

When we lived in Malaysia a few years ago, the hotel we stayed at had a children's play area with one of these little mitts.  All of the kids went straight for it and I kept on meaning to make some for my children after we left there.  So I finally have.

Now, this is where the giveaway part comes in.  I have made two sets so tell me which one you would prefer (out of the two pictured at the top of this post) and I will send it off to you!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (and make sure I can contact you).  This giveaway will close on Saturday, 8th May 2010, 12 noon, Uruguay time.  This is open to all readers - I will post to anywhere in the world.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Free printable - Pink Butterfly Party Invitations

One of my best friends back in Australia has her youngest daughter's 1st birthday party coming up soon so I offered to design some invitations for her.  I thought I would share it with you all too!  These were so much fun to do.

Butterfly invitation - A4
Butterfly invitation - Letter

There are two to a page.  Enjoy!

May Calendar page - wha? Is it May already??

Whoops!  Thought I had put this up already.......  Note: For some reason, in Scribd, it looks like some of the lines won't print but I tested them and it prints fine.

May Calendar page


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