Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coloring Book Pages!

This craft is courtesy of a post I saw on Photojojo, a cool site for digital photography tips and tricks.  I thought it looked like so much fun, and something The Boy would totally be into.

You take this:

Use Photoshop to turn it into this:

OK, so this part took a lot longer than I anticipated.  It will go faster as I get used to it though!

And let your kid at it!  The Boy was so excited.  This is a depiction of The Boy and Little Sister, made of juice.

Here's the link to the post with the easy-to-follow directions.  It was fun--I can't wait to make more!

photojojo coloring book tutorial

Friday, April 22, 2011

Walking Belt! Updated with the verdict :)

A friend (thanks Kristina!) pointed me to this awesome website, Make It and Love It, that was so full of projects I couldn't wait to try.  So many of them were right up my alley--I especially love the repurposing tutorials.  This project can be found here, in the baby and toddler tutorials.  I seriously couldn't quit rummaging around through this site--so many great ideas!

Anyway, this is the first project I decided to tackle.  I had all the materials on hand, it sounded simple enough to complete in one evening after the kids had gone to bed, and I had been killing myself walking all hunched over while holding Little Sister's hands, since she doesn't have quite the balance to walk on her own yet (and ALL she wants to do lately is practice walking around!)  And I did get it done in one evening, and I am very happy with the results:
The directions say to use a sturdier fabric, and this corduroy was all I had, so I dressed it up
with some of the hubby's grandma's quilting scrap fabric.

It would have been even quicker to make if I hadn't wanted some pretty :)

the back view--you can see the velcro closure here and
the loops for the tall person's hands.  My only suggestion
would be to put on more (or heavier-duty) velcro--it feels
like it could pull apart, even though it hasn't.
So the only question left was, would it work?  Would Little Sister go for it?  This is how she usually feels when practicing walking:
Pure joy.  Photo cropping due to extreme view down my shirt.
So the first go with the walking belt was...less than joyful.
This doesn't quite capture how upset she was with me.
I was having trouble getting the remote to snap the picture
at precisely the most dramatic moments.
But, as with most things, if I let Little Sister take her time and get used to something, she adapts pretty darn quickly.

Whoa there!
She doesn't hate it!  And I'm standing up straight!
 (thanks for snapping these pics, Jess, so I didn't have camera remote control problems.)
So all in all, I would say it's a success!  She'll probably love it just as soon as she doesn't need it anymore.

EDITED TO ADD:  After only a couple of days, she loves it!  And what's more, I love it.  If your kid is on the verge of walking, it is totally worth the time to make this thing.  Even if Little Sister only uses it for a few more days, I do not regret it.  Not only do I love being able to stand up straight while I help her walk, I feel like she's balancing a lot better on her own using this rather than holding my hands.  And she likes to hold something in her free hand while she's walking, which she couldn't do while grabbing my hands.  So, verdict:  LOVE!  Make one!  (Jill, you can have mine when we're done with it :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Crafty Friend! (UPDATE--GO JILL!)

No, this is not a post in which I tell you how to make a crafty friend, or even where I show off a crafty friend that I have made.  Although, wouldn't that be great?  No no, this is all about a crafty friend who exists of her own volition, lucky for me!

I just had to show off what arrived for Iris in the mail yesterday.  It's a first birthday present from my dear friend Jill.
Iris knows how to work it!  Even though she didn't feel like smiling.
The fabrics come from Jill's great-grandma's flour sack stash.  SO COOL!  I love the vintage prints, and you just can't find modern fabrics that have that same feel.  Iris also has a sundress that is still a little big (hence no pics yet) and a blanket made from the same stash that Jill made when she was born.  Iris and I trudged around San Francisco for 2 hours when we dropped that blanket in an undisclosed location, but we found it in the end, and if it wasn't enough so already, that thing is destined to be a VERY! SPECIAL! BLANKET!

Anyway, I just had to brag about my wonderful friend, and I also have a favor to ask on her behalf.

Jill has entered a contest with a social media company that writes product reviews and posts fun video reviews for kid stuff.  It's an incredibly family-friendly progressive company to work for, and the finalists in this contest get an interview for one of five reviewer/editor positions.  Jill would be so perfect for this job (she studied theater and writing in college), and it would give her some amazing work/life balance with her beautiful daughter.  She made a hilarious video for the contest, and if you watch it and vote for her, that would be awesome!

All votes must be received by midnight THIS FRIDAY, 4/22/2011, so hop to it!  Edited--voting has been extended until Monday, 4/25, so you can get your vote on this weekend too.  Tell your friends!

Check it out here:

Jill's hopscout video entry

Thanks so much!

Hey you guys!  She did it!  Jill not only made top 20 (you can view her finalist video here), but she got the job!  She will be joining the Hopscout team, which seems like a seriously great company to work for.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not Crafty (hence no exclamation point)

Dang it, this was not going to be a mommy blog.  And yet, here I go, not even a month into this thing, and I'm already writing a post about my baby, unrelated to anything crafty.  But I just can't help myself--I want to get this down, and since I have this blog, I'm putting it to use.  Feel free to skip this one--I've got some more craftiness coming soon!

I have to say, putting Little Sister down for her nap is one of my favorite times of day.  It's such a relief, because it was never this way with The Boy (still isn't, as a matter of fact).  When it's Little Sister's naptime, 90% of the time she's sleepy and sweet, 7% of the time she's silly and playful (and then crashes), and only 3% of the time is it a struggle.  When I hold her in the rocking chair, feeding her a bottle as her eyelids flutter, I hold on to her babyhood for just a few moments.  I always stay a little longer than I need to--sometimes because I want to escape another game of Candy Land for a few more minutes, but usually, because I can't tear myself away from staring at her lovely little sleeping face.  I swear, she's a cute kid anyway, but there's something about that utter relaxation of a baby in repose that is indescribably beautiful.

Sometimes I think about Little Sister almost a year ago, just an infant.  Other times I look at her and imagine the little girl she will be in two years.  I even get carried away sometimes and imagine holding Little Sister's own baby someday, if I'm given the opportunity to be a grandmother.  I can't help myself--this is my last baby, and every moment like this counts.


Wow, I wrote this just over a week ago.  I was waiting to post until I got some pictures of Little Sister sleeping.  Then something happened.  Little Sister is totally, totally fine, but the day after I wrote this, I got distracted and she took a tumble and I have been reliving the moment I found her crying at the bottom of the stairs the whole week.  It puts a whole new layer on what I was thinking about before; how precious she is, how amazing. We could have had a tragedy this week, but instead, I have a million new opportunities to appreciate this wonderful little person in my life.  I admit, I've been using it as a reason to linger even a little more in the rocking chair before resting her sweet little body in the crib.

I took this picture the day after the fall.  That scrape on her nose was the only injury.
I have been so thankful for my friends this week.  Their honesty in sharing similar moments with their own (or other people's) children has been such a balm for me. I know that these things happen. I have stopped punishing myself, but I hope I can hold on to this feeling of appreciation for all of the tiny moments I have with my children, because they are so fleeting and so fragile.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Headband Display!

Last week, I was contacted by a children's consignment store via facebook who told me that they wanted to sell my headbands.  Flattering!  I checked out their website and asked some questions, and I will be bringing some inventory over there later this week.  Once my stuff is officially there, I will post details--but good news for you west-siders--you won't have to come over the bridge to buy my headbands any more!

SO, I needed to make a display for the new store.  I made similar displays for the headbands for sale at Piccolina.  Criteria?  Shows the headbands, costs me next to nothing.  Here's what I came up with.

EDITED--I still think these displays are cute, but after having them out in stores for a while, I realized that they make it hard for customers to get at the headbands, since they have to work them over other bands to get them off.  I think they may actually hold people back from buying.  I'm using a different display I made out of thrifted materials and spray paint now, and it's working much better!

 Supplies:  Oatmeal container, bamboo skewers, felt, hot glue, and a display card. (cost about $1 to get the color copy on cardstock.)

Here's where I started to worry that it looked like a roll of paper towels.

I think it's okay once the bands are on though, right?
So, what do you think?  Keep the white?  Recover with black?

Also, I'm considering doing craft shows in the future, so if you have old oatmeal containers lying around, send them my way!

Monday, April 11, 2011


Quick project--I should have taken pictures as I went to show the process, but alas, I threw this one together with my son in the 10 minutes we had before naptime.

1.  For the cylinder, I used an old roll from gift ribbon I had been holding onto, because it was similar to a TP roll but much sturdier.  We've made these out of TP rolls before, and it doesn't take long before they're crushed. They still rattle, though.

2.  I let The Boy choose a main felt color, and cut out a piece large enough to roll around the tube and hang over by about 2 inches on each end.

3.  I glued the felt to the tube with hot glue, then folded the overlap down on one end, gluing as I went.

4.  The Boy dumped in popcorn kernels out of our old crushed shakers (the inspiration for this project when he was cleaning out his music drawer yesterday) into the new shaker.

5.  I hot-glued the other end down.

6.  The Boy chose colors for the ends. I used the tube for a rough pattern and cut out the two circles, then glued them over the rough foldy-looking ends.

--You could totally stop here if you wanted to.--

7. He also decided he wanted "train track" decoration so I found some white rick rack in my kit and started by gluing to the seam.  The Boy made most of the design decisions here--he wanted the "track" to wrap all the way around the ends and then a train on top.

7.  I actually stitched the pieces of the train together, but you sure wouldn't have to do that.  Once you've cut out (and sewn, if desired) any decorative pieces, hot glue to the shaker.  All done!

It's Thomas, of course.  Face coming later.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Recovering Kitchen Chairs!

We have been very lucky to have been passed down furniture from both sides of our families, much of it very cool (if somewhat shabby) antiques.  We have actually purchased very little furniture, which is nice because we actually really like most of what we've gotten.

This kitchen table and chairs is the exception.

It's an early '80's vintage oak rectangular table and four chairs.  It has lived in my childhood kitchen, the back room at the orthodontic clinic where my mom worked, my first college apartment, and every subsequent dwelling I have inhabited.  I remember recovering these chairs with my mom when we were getting the set ready for me to take to college.  We picked out the upholstery fabric and went to town with the staplegun.  This fabric remained on these chairs until last week.

late '90's fabric update.  Sweet chairs, huh?

What I didn't expect when recovering these chairs was the virtual time capsule of upholstery fabric that lurked underneath.  It seems that when my mom and I worked on these last, we did not remove the old layers, thereby giving me a glimpse into upholstery fashions of the past.

Oh, you think it's time to get rid of this, do you?
Underneath the stained pastel diagonal floral/stripe was a boring layer of flecked beige in the style of early '80's office-furniture.  I didn't take a picture.

So here's our new finished product.

It's a little darker in person.

While not much can be done about the table and chairs, at least they now blend a little better with our rug/paint combo.  And of course, the high chair.

 We'd love a new kitchen set, but for now this is totally sturdy, functional, and constantly splattered with kid spills/etc so it doesn't really make sense to replace it. And if this upholstery gets ruined, it was only a $20 fix to begin with, so I feel like we can reupholster after the kids have slowed down in destroying household items.

Plus, the cat likes it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Birthday Crown!

My little girl is one, you guys.  ONE.  As in, it's been an entire year since the last time I will ever give birth. An entire year since her little 7 pound, 8 ounce self joined and completed our family.  Luckily, she slipped in right at the end of March and narrowly avoided a lifetime of being an April Fool's Day baby.

To commemorate the occasion, one of the regular headbands just wouldn't do.  And I didn't want to make a shirt, since those priceless cake-eating photos involve a bib covering all of my handiwork.  So, a crown it was.

 It's comfy, so it's useful in a variety of situations.  For example,

Grabbing at fire.

Cake eating

Laughing maniacally

Cake flinging

Cake observation

Gift opening
Telling people how old you are

Showing off your teeth

So there you have it!  I made Little Sister wear this crown everywhere we went on her actual birthday, so that strangers would ask me, "Is it her birthday?" and I would say, "Why yes, in fact it is."  Only one person asked me how old she was.

If you are interested in a crown for your child (or yourself, what the heck!) let me know!  I'd be happy to make one in the colors of your choice!