Monday, August 30, 2010


Ever heard of Fireflies & Jellybeans and their Iron Crafter contest?  Each round they give a "secret ingredient" and then crafters create something using that ingredient.  You link up your craft, and then the top 10 crafts are chosen by a judge, and then everyone gets to vote for their favorite.

And, if you couldnt tell by the title, my craft is in the top 10!  Woot Woot!

Yes, this is a shameless plug for y'all to VOTE FOR ME!!!! (Mine is the Toddler Game with Paint Samples, in case you didnt see this post.)

Vote here!  You can only vote once, I think, and voting is open until Friday, September 3rd at midnight (CST).

Seriously, I bet it'll take less than minute to vote.  Just click that link, then click the little "vote!" underneath the craft you want to vote for...which hopefully is mine.  ;)

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Toddler Friendly "Board" Game using Paint Chips

My little Munchkin loves to "play" Candyland.  (When I say "play", I mean she takes the little guys and bounces them all over the board.  It keeps her entertained for at least...5 minutes.)

Of course, being only 2 years old, she's a little hard on the game.  Since I'd kind of like to see the board game survive until she's actually old enough to play it the real way, I decided I needed to come up with a more toddler friendly version.

As you can see, its a very simple game.  But I think thats best for my kids right now; simple yet durable!

Here's how I did it:

First, I stole a stack of paint chips from Fred Meyer's.  I felt so guilty!  But, I figure I'm a pretty loyal FM shopper (they're the closest store to us, so we run there for "one little thing"all the time!) so its not exactly stealing.

I chose 5 colors and grabbed 6 paint chips of each color.  I SHOULD HAVE DONE 6 COLORS, AND GRABBED 5 OF EACH COLOR.  You'll see why later.

Setting aside one of each color, I laid the paint chips out in a kind of path, then cut out a rectangle of felt that would be big enough to lay the path on. 

Next, I used a little blob of Tacky Glue to secure the squares exactly where I wanted them.
I only put it in the very middle of the card. 

Then I held the card down for a bit, and let them all dry for a bit.
I admit, I was sorely tempted to just leave the cards like this, but visions of my Munchkin and Monster peeling them off one by one and throwing them all over the room popped into my head, and I knew I'd need to do something a little more heavy duty.
So, I sewed them on.  Each and every card.  (Kind of tedious to me just sewing squares, which is exactly why I'm not a quilter!)

For the "start" and "end" pieces, I took a paint sample that had two shades of white and cut it in half, then wrote with a fine point sharpie, then sewed them on.

I decided to back my "board" with fabric from an old knit sheet.  I cut a rectangle the same size as the felt and then pinned them with right sides together.  It was a fitted sheet, so I also cut a length of the elastic edge and folded it in half, pinning it in the middle of one of the short sides with the 'loop' part being down between the felt and the sheet.

I sewed around the edges, leaving a gap about 6 inches long.  I turned it right side out (the reason for the larger gap is so to make it easier to get the cards through without bending them) and topstitched around the edge.

For the tokens, I made a mini Munchkin and mini Monster (shown below, although I guess my Monster actually has blond hair, hmm...).  I cut out a cardboard figure (from a cereal box), then covered it with felt to make it look like a person. 
I used the lid from a baby food jar, turned upside down, for the bottom.  Here's a close up of the feet:
I cut a slit in the feet of the figure, then took a strip of cardboard and slid it in crosswise.  Both the figure and the bracing strip fit very snugly into the lid; to do this I made sure to cut them too big to start with and then trimmed it down a little at a time until they fit just right.

Instead of using a deck of cards like Candyland (although that would be easy to do, just steal take all the paint chips the store has), I decided to make a cube to roll.  Kind of like a die, but bigger - perfect for little hands.

This is why I should have done 6 colors....because a cube is 6 sided!  DUH!  Not quite sure where my brain was...but anyways.  Instead, I took another white card and cut it down to the same size as the colored squares.  I wrote "Roll Again" on it...we'll see how that goes over with my Munchkin.
I used the biggest zig-zag stitch my sewing machine had.  The cards are lined up side by side, no overlaping, so that once you stitch it they're attached together, but can still bend.  Make sense?  No?  Well, my camera really wasn't cooperating, so this is the best pic I have:
If you've never made a cube before, then this may not make sense, and again I dont have a pic because my camera refused to turn back on.  But when you sew the 6 cards together, you make it kind of like a cross.  4 of the cards are lined up vertically, and then the other two are on the left and the right of the second card from the top.  I'm so sorry I couldnt take a pic!

After I finished sewing them into the cross, I realized I would have to hand sew the other sides.  You should be grateful about the lack of pictures at this point, because I am a TERRIBLE hand stitcher!  Oh, it is rather ugly...but my toddlers wont care.

And, truth be told, I'm thinking I might go get more paint chips and make a spinner-type thing instead.  We'll see.

(here's the game, rolled up for storage...thats what that loop of elastic is for, in case you're wondering)

So, there you have it.  I know its a pretty terrible how-to...I've got a fussy newborn that likes to make things difficult!

After naptime we'll see if it passes the real test...if it survives more than 24 hours, I'll know its a winner!!!!
mmm button
The Girl Creative
I made it to the Top 10!  Vote here!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recent projects

I was very impatient to get back to crafting after giving birth at the beginning of the month, so when my brother and sister-in-law were in town I admit I was looking for a reason to whip out my sewing machine again.

My first project was to make a bib for my 5-month old niece.  My crazy SIL was still using cloth bibs on this kid!  She mentioned she's been meaning to get one that wipes off nicely, so that night I pulled out this lovely:

A clearanced Easter vinyl tablecloth.  The only way you can tell it's "Easter" is the little bunny head at the top of the packaging.

After a few hours' frustration (newborns are less than understanding when you say "let me just finish this little part"), I ended up with this:
I used some bias tape to edge it, which was a pain in the rear but made it look nice.  As long as you dont look too close. :)

It has a lovely pocket in the front to catch all the falling food, and then it un-velcro's for easy cleaning!
Its not the most heavy-duty bib, I suggested it be one to just keep in the diaper bag in case you need it.  But I had all the supplies on hand, which makes it a FREE bib so I don't think anyone's complaining!

The other thing that I made was a camera strap cover as a late-birthday present for my sister-in-law.
She just got a nice digital SLR camera (I dont remember exactly which one), and she's starting to build her portfolio.  (She took pics of my kids when she was here, and they turned out GREAT!  If you're anywhere near Rexburg, ID, and need a photographer, check her out right here!)

Anyways, those camera straps can really dig into your neck, so I used a soft fuzzy fabric (not sure what its REALLY called) for the white, and then just a cotton for the design (didnt hurt that it happened to be on sale too!)

The best part is, I have enough left over to make a second cover for my new camera that is supposed to be here TOMORROW!  So I guess I better get on it and make one, huh?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pink Lemonade dress

My little Munchkin totally made my week.

This morning she chose to wear a recycled t-shirt dress I made for her, one I like to think of as the Pink Lemonade dress.

This evening, as I was getting the kiddos ready for bed, I told her she needed to take it off and put a night shirt on.  This was her response:

(throws herself on the ground, wailing) "NO, Mommy, I love it!!!"

Who can fight with that?!  I let her go to bed in it...its stretchy, so she'll be comfy, right?

I had originally made the dress for the Great Ugly Knit Upcycle contest, but I couldnt get any good pics so I entered a different dress.  I wish I could have made this one work; the dress I entered is great, but its black so it seems very blah next to all the other fabulous entries.  These colors would have stood out much better!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Menu Magnets

I am one of those terrible moms who only manages to make a real dinner about once a week.  Partially because my Hubby works until 8pm or later most nights and my two toddlers aren't big on fancy meals; and partially because I just don't like to cook.

But, I find if I make a menu for the week ahead of time, there's a better chance that I'll actually end up making what I've planned...about 50% of the time.

I've tried just writing it on paper, and also on a whiteboard, but neither one works very well for me.  Why?  Because I like to change things around at the last minute.  (Lots of times I'll forget to pull meat out of the freezer until the last minute, so its easier to switch meals with a different night that doesn't require meat.  Because the little Monster doesn't understand waiting for meat to defrost before dinner can be made and then eaten.)

Anyways, I came up with a different idea - menu magnets!  They're out of the way, easily adjustable, perfect for a slacker cook like me!

Here's what you need to make it:

Scrap fabric (or you could use scrapbook paper), a magnet sheet, and a print-out of all the meals you want.
*I bought the magnet sheet at the craft store awhile ago, its about 5 in by 6 in but I think it might have been bigger to start with - I think I remember using part of it for something else.  One side is adhesive.  I was thinking you could also use some of those advertising magnets, we have a bunch of credit card ones I wouldnt mind repurposing.

And, of course, our old pal Mod Podge:

First, cut out all the meals.  The less white space around the words the better.

Then cut a piece of fabric(or paper) to fit the magnet sheet.
I was able to just stick the fabric on the magnet sheet because it was self-adhesive.  I imagine if you're using the advertising magnets, or a magnet sheet that isn't adhesive you can use Mod Podge to glue the fabric down.

Lay the meal slips out on the magnet.  You want to try and get an equal amount of fabric border around the slips if you can.  (This may be tough if you're a perfectionist; today I most definitely was not.  You may consider cutting the magnet into equal size pieces and then trying to get the meal slips to all fit on there.)  Mod Podge the meal slips down.

Next, put a layer of Mod Podge on top of it all.  Let it dry.

I have to show you why I was not anywhere near a perfectionist today:
The little Monster decided he wanted to be in my arms the whole afternoon.  I cuddled with him for awhile, then tried distracting him with a snack and his sister's toys and even a Disney movie.  No dice; he stood beside my chair, sobbing, the entire time I was making this.  I felt like a bad mom ignoring him, but I had already started and needed to just get it done.  Plus, he's gonna have to get used to not always having my attention since Baby #3 will be here soon.

So, while the magnet dries, cut a big rectangle of Contact Paper.  How big?  That depends on how big your meal slips, and thus magnets, are.  Also, how many weeks you want to plan...I did three just for kicks and giggles.  I probably won't plan more than 2 weeks at a time.

Then, using a sharpie, you draw out your table however you want it.  I used the edge of a magazine (because it was laying on the table) as a straight edge for the lines. 
Also, don't be DUMB like me and let the Sharpie dry a big before, oh I don't know, dragging a magazine on top of the freshly drawn line to draw the next line.  It'll smear and look a little ugly and you'll have to go back and re-trace the lines.

Almost you just have to put it all on your fridge! 
Peel off the back of the Contact Paper, and carefully apply to your fridge (start at one point, the top for example, and slowly roll it down, smoothing as you go to avoid bubbles.  If it gets crooked or it bubbles, you should be able to pull it up and try again.)

I put mine on the side of my fridge, so its not visible to everyone but its right by my oven and counters where I cook.  And, its not where little hands can mess with it!
*note: I tested a piece of Contact Paper on the fridge for about an hour, and it peeled off just fine - it actually left a nice clean swath behind!  I have no idea what would happen should you leave the Contact Paper on there for a longer time, like months or years even.  I'm taking the risk here, because our fridge is already covered in blue crayon on the other side (it didnt clean off very easily).  And the seal is kind of bad, so we're saving to get a new one anyways.  So, apply Contact Paper at your own discretion!!!  Another option is to just use normal paper, and the magnets should keep it on the fridge well enough.  Or maybe you could use vinyl...hmmm, that might look good, the lettering would be nice at least!

Once the Mod Podge has dried, cut out your magnets. 

Then throw 'em on your fridge, and start planning!
(See how I left Friday empty?  That's cuz we're actually going to get a DATE NIGHT this Friday!  First time in the last 6 months I think.)

And, yes....the little Monster was still crying at this point.
Life is just so tough when you're short.

(PS Yes, he is only wearing a diaper...we live in the desert, and we try to minimize our air conditioner use.  So our house is PLENTY warm, I promise you.  Plus he had yogurt for snacktime - he just holds the spoon in his right hand while dipping his left hand in the yogurt and sucking it off.  It gets a little messy, as you can imagine.)

Print meals on colored paper that coordinates with the fabric.
Use a pretty font for the "Menu" and days of the week - I hate my handwriting.
Do a better job at cutting straight lines!
Make the magnets all one size - customize meal slips to fit on the magnets, not the other way around.
Add space/magnets for things like Veggies or Dessert.