Rainbow Striped Hats and a Lego Cake

Little Sir is turning seven this week and we celebrated yesterday so Grandma and Grandpa could join us.  I decided to make him a Lego cake.  I have never made a “fancy” (as in not just left in the pan and frosted it) cake.  It was quite the learning experience!  I had a hard time getting it out of the pan and, once it was out, frosting it was quite an ordeal (there may have been cussing).  I’m going to need some practice making kids cakes, but Little Sir thought it was great, and that is really all that matters.lego cake I was happy that it was at least identifiable and it was very tasty!
Also, unrelated, I crocheted Little Miss a hat.
rainbow tam A rainbow striped, brimmed tam, I found the pattern at Vallieskids, she always has the cutest kids hats!  It looks really cute on her, but she likes to pull it down to her nose, I imagine it’s because that really annoys me.
How was your weekend?


Giant Dry Erase Calendar Tutorial

I finished up my calendar and now that I am 100% happy with it I’m going to share how I made it.giant calendar 1The basic supplies:
  • 24” X 36” poster frame, get one with chip board backing (instead of cardboard) Hobby Lobby half price $9.99
  • 2/3 to 1 yard of fabric, I bought a remnant and had extra that I used for the table cover
  • 5 sheets of 12” X 12” scrapbooking paper to coordinate with fabric, plus scrap or 1 sheet for number circles
  • basic craft supplies, white glue, glue brush, scissors, glue dots, ruler, bulldog clips
Some extras:
  • printable window clings
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • 1” circle punch
I took my frame apart and set the frame pieces and Plexiglas top aside.  I laid the backing on my fabric and cut it to size.giant calendar 2I applied a bead of glue around the edge of the backing board and spread it thinly with a brush and then applied the fabric, stretching it slightly and holding it in place with the bulldog clips while the glue dried.  You don’t want to saturate the fabric with the glue, you just want to tack it down.  Once the glue it dry trim off any excess fabric from the edges.
Cut your scrapbooking paper, you’ll need 35 - 3 1/2” X 3 1/2” squares, 2 – 3 1/2” X 10 1/2” rectangles, and 1 – 2 1/2” X 12”  rectangle.  The easiest way is to use a paper trimmer or rotary cutter, but scissors can be used in a pinch.  I also punched 35 – 1” circles for the dates.giant calendar 3On my first attempt I rounded the corners of the squares, but the second time I did not, it made lining up the grid easier.  I used glue dots to affix the circles to the corners of the squares.  Then I started arranging the squares that I also tacked down with glue dots.   I started in the lower left corner, 2” in from the left side and 1” up from the bottom.  Working across the bottom row, I positioned seven of the squares 1/2” apart.  At the end of this row I added one of the 3 1/2” X 10 1/2” rectangles 1/2” from the final square.  The next row of squares was 1/2” above the first row.  I used a clear ruler to make lining up the rows easier.  I added all five rows this way and also added the other 3 1/2” X 10 1/2” rectangle 1/2” above the first one.  The title rectangle ( 2 1/2” X 12”) was positioned 8 3/4” from the left edge and up 1/2” from the squares.  Lining up all the squares was the most time consuming part of this project.
giant calendar 4 Now you can put your poster frame back together.  Remember to remove the plastic coating on the Plexiglas, mine had a coating on both sides!  The calendar is finished, just start filling in you numbers and appointments OR we can make it a bit fancier.giant calendar 5I opted for fancier.  I used printable window clings to make the months, dates, and some standard things that I would have on my calendar (like Doctor, No School, etc.).  I used a basic word program to type everything out, picked out a fun font (Beyond Wonderland) and printed the clings according to the package instructions.  Everything had to be cut out, but my paper trimmer made that quick.  I stuck all the dates on, the extras are stored on a page protector that I have stuck on the back of my calendar.  I used Velcro fasteners to stick my calendar on the wall, so I can take it down and lay it flat to fill it out for the month. 
The printed clings make the calendar so neat and tidy.  I followed Bonnie’s suggestion on the Facebook page, to hide the clutter, I can’t afford a new piece of furniture right now, but I CAN cover the piece that is there.giant calendar 6 I barely had enough fabric to make the top match the calendar (there is a small stripe of brown at the back, I was about 2” short).  Yes, hiding it is much better.  The same stuff is under there, but it really looks a lot better, thanks Bonnie!  Now I need to organize that organizer :P and work on the matching paper organizer that is going to hang under the key rack (that is why the table and calendar aren’t perfectly centered on the wall).
Have a super crafty weekend! and if you need any clarification on this tutorial just ask.


WIP (Work in Progress) Wednesday

There is so much going on around here, Summer is officially here and we have been super busy.  I have so many ideas I can’t write them down fast enough and having the whole crew home makes producing crafts slow, but this is our quality family time (they are already whining about how bored they are and that we never do anything).
mantelet restart 2 I have managed to get a little more knitting done on the mantelet, I am almost back to the point where I had to frog it last time (fingers crossed that it will fit better).
lbb tunic number 3 I’ve finished another Pieced Tunic, seriously this is my new Mom uniform.  I’m going to need some more leggings, STAT!
My giant calendar is almost finished and later today I’m going to tear down the white board and the cork boards.  I’m am soooooo excited, I can’t wait to share the tutorial with you.  I had to do MATH, but don’t worry, I took notes so you’ll just have to follow my directions.
So while I feel like nothing is getting done, really I’m making progress on various projects.  What are you working on this summer? and how do you find time to craft independently with kids around?  I’d love some suggestions.


Giant Dry Erase Board In Progress

I was brainstorming what my command center needed and one of my biggest needs is a master calendar.  I have a regular one hanging on the door, it’s like a laminated place mat.  It’s functional, but not very pretty and I have to write really tiny to fit everything on it.  On the plus side, it is easy to take down and redo each month and when I had it all set up it made my life a lot easier.  So what I need is bigger, pretty, and easy to take down to redo each month.  Here is a peek of my work in progress, I am only about 70% on this, when I get it to 100% I’ll have a tutorial to share.
I really like the fabric in the background (pretty), it is big (24” x 36”), it is very light weight and it will be installed with Velcro hangers, so I can just peel it off the wall each month.
The velum doesn’t diffuse the pattern enough and it is too busy to easily read.  I want to add some solid color squares instead and I want them to line up better.  The slight wonky-ness of the squares drives me bonkers, I need everything lined up!  I have also had a wonderful idea:  window clings stick to Plexiglas just like they stick to glass, I have some print your own clings, and I can make them for reoccurring events and maybe numbers for the dates too!
I think I am off to a good start, I am anxious to keep momentum on this project.  Maybe tomorrow I'll take the old marker board and cork boards down.


Decorating Help, Please

I have been needing to redo my command center again, it looked okay (when it is was clean), but it’s not functioning well.  I’m not using the marker board at all, the cork boards are just collecting crap that needs to go somewhere else, and that basket, I love it, but it collects a lot of random crap.command center messWhat does work is the paper shredder, the filing system and the key hooks.  You’ll notice that the command center seems to be oozing over onto the door too.  It just looks so junky and it’s our front door :(command center middleSo even when I tidy it up a little it still looks tacky.  BTW, I love having a purse hook to hang my purse on, sadly the handles on the turquoise purse are really to long for it to be effective.
Here’s what I know, that basket, the cork boards, and marker board need to go!   I want to get the door cleaned off.  The file box, paper shredder, key hooks and table need to stay.  I need this area to be where we keep our calendar (I want big, but nice to look at), the bills/mail, library books, purse and keys.  Basically a mini office and where I keep the stuff I need when I walk out the door.
Help, I need ideas, links, and pictures.  I also need to be able to keep this very low budget.  Leave suggestions in the comments or post them on the Facebook wall, I know you guys will help me figure this out, Oh and I need it up and running before the kids go back to school!


Finger Print Self Portrait

So its been two weeks since my Wishful Wednesday post and this is the second project from that list.  Yay for getting stuff done.  I really liked the idea of a thumb print with journaling, however I ended up using a print of my index finger.  It was more interesting, there is a scar.  I used a pencil to trace all the print lines of my enlarged copy of my index finger.fingerprint 1I used a very fine pen to add all the journaling, I started out with the date and the “who am I” prompt and just did free writing.  It went by quickly, but it did take me about an hour to do all the journaling.fingerprint 2  Once I had it all filled in I erased all the pencil lines, they are visible in the picture above.fingerprint 3 Here it is all finished with the pencil lines erased and next to the original.  Now I need to figure out how to incorporate it into one of my sketchbooks.  If you want to read more about the “Holley portraits” check out this link, there are also more examples of this type of self portrait.


The 80’s Called and Said Make Barrettes

Too bad the 80’s didn’t check the stores first to see where I could find the special barrettes.  For the record I went to W-mart, Dollar General, Hobby Lobby, Walgreens, Russ’s Market (grocery store) and Ben Franklin’s, the only place that had this particular style was Ben Franklin’s.  woven ribbon barrettesI followed this tutorial from Wrights ribbon, nice and straight forward.  I have two tips to make it go a little faster:  first use darning needles on the ends of your ribbons to make the weaving through easier and second, on step 3 arrange the ribbon across the bar before you pull it through the center, this helps keep it nice and flat.  I also tried gluing the ribbons together, I wouldn’t recommend that, it was a sticky mess and really didn’t make it any easier.
This project was a hit with Little Miss and with all the “hair bling” I’ve been seeing I’m sure these will fit right in.  I think I might need to add some beads to the ends of the ribbon (that’s why I’ve left them longer).  I also think that shaped beads for holidays would be super cute, like red, white and blue stars for the 4th of July.  What do you think? 


Back In the Knitting Saddle

Because it’s like that old expression, “if you get bucked off, get right back on that horse”, when you have a knitting fail and have to frog you need to get right back to knitting?  I don’t know where I’m trying to go with this, but anyway I had a rough week and knitting is helping me get through it.  mantelet restarted sleeve 1I restarted The Enelya Linwëlin Sleeved Mantelet pattern.  This time I cast on 6 extra stitches and added a full repeat of eyelets.  As you can see, the sleeve is quite a bit bigger.  The fit is better, close fitting, but not stretched.  Sleeve one is finished, sleeve two is started.  I expect to get a lot knitted on this this weekend.  What crafty stuff will you be working on?


Tutorial: Crayon Monoprinting + Faux Batik Paper

batik paper 7This is a great technique to get some “fancy” papers for card making and collage.  This is a fun project to do with you kids, just remember to carefully supervise them.  It is also a great lesson in mixing colors and it involves one of my favorite things: melting stuff!
  • Warming tray (vintage from the thrift store, pretty common and usually in almost mint condition)
  • aluminum foil
  • crayons
  • exacto knife
  • oven mitts (not your good ones, the ratty old ones in the drawer)
  • paper towels
  • white paper or cardstock
  • black water color paint or extremely watered down black acrylic paint and brush
Plug in the warming tray and it will immediately start heating up.  Cover the top of the tray with a sheet of aluminum foil, smooth the foil down, the flatter the better.  Once the tray is hot start drawing designs with your crayons, I used my exacto knife to cut the wrappers off.  Draw slowly, you want a generous amount of wax on the aluminum foil.  batik paper 1 For a solid print with no white from the paper showing through you will need large pools of wax.  For an open design (we’ll talk more about that in a minute), a heavy handed scribble is perfect.  batik paper 4 For splotches of color use your exacto knife or an old pencil sharpener to shave off small bits of wax from a variety of colors.
batik paper 2 Once you are happy with you design put on you oven mitts and smooth the paper down on top of the hot wax.  Be careful, that tray gets hotter than you would think, I can’t imagine using it to keep food warm, can you say scorched?  You will be able to see the design absorbing into the paper, you can rub the back of the paper with you oven mitt to make sure as much wax as possible has transferred.  Carefully peel paper off of tray, starting from a corner.
batik paper 3 Set paper aside to cool, it won’t take long.  I like to make another print to help remove the leftover wax and then I use a paper towel to clean the rest of the residue off of the foil.  I found that I could reuse the foil for about three designs before the colors just got too muddy.  When that happens, just peel the dirty foil off and smooth on a new sheet of foil, don’t forget to put those oven mitts on!
batik paper 6 The printed paper is finished, I liked how the solid colored pages looked, but I wasn’t so excited about the ones where I could see the paper peeking through and although I liked the crayon shaving prints they really didn’t pop.  The answer is to turn these papers into faux batik paper.
batik paper 5 Load a wet brush up with black watercolor or thinned acrylic and start painting.  The black will cover all the white peeking through and the wax resists the paint!  I loved the results and now we have two different, but similar, beautiful papers to craft with.


Kids Unisex, Inexpensive, Lounge Pants

When you have a boy and a girl there are very few hand me downs, maybe a coat or Halloween costume, but the regular daily clothing is so different and color specific that there is virtually no cross over.  These pants aren’t like that (unless you make them in pink or something) and they are so easy, I whipped these four pairs up in an hour and a half, including pressing, cutting, and sewing!!!  The key is using bandanas, the edges are finished which cuts out a lot of work and bandana prints look cute on everyone.bandana pantsThere are tons of tutorials on making these pants and they pretty much are all the same, stack your bandanas up, fold them in half, cut a “J” shaped crotch and sew up (more detailed instructions here).  It is easy and inexpensive to buy bandanas, I bought the red/black and the yellow at Hobby Lobby (on sale) and the other two at Wmart, all were less than a dollar each.  The Hobby Lobby ones feel stiff and might be scratchy, I think they are starched.  I am hoping that after the first wash they will feel a lot nicer.  The printing is really irregular on all of them, which makes it impossible to match things up, but I don’t really think that is going to be too big of a problem, they’re lounge pants, not formal wear :)  I also think that when they are being worn by children who rarely stand still no one will notice.
They are sooooo cute, I’m thinking there are only two problems, deciding who gets what color and not going overboard making a ton of these.


The Pieced Tunic from Lilblueboo Review

After looking at all my wishes Wednesday I decided it was time to get working on them.  First up the Pieced Tunic from Lilblueboo, I am a huge fan of her patterns, but this one is her first adult sized pattern, would it be awesome too?  I love all of her sample garments, I wonder how she decides what t-shirts to use?  Maybe she just throws them all in a heap and randomly grabs them.
After taping and cutting out this pattern I decided to alter it to be a bit bigger.  I really like the fitted, body skimming look.  I did not want to look like a sausage stuffed into this top.  I used the slash and spread method to add to the front and the back.  The great things about this method is that the arm and neckline stays the same length, so I didn’t have to alter the bands length too.  This pattern was super easy to alter, no darts or other shaping to redraw.  I also added some length to the top pieces, I hate when my empire waist hits mid-boob.lbb tunic alterationsAs you can see, I added a lot, but too much fabric is way better than not enough.  I did error on the side of too much, but the finished garment is still very wearable.  It is sooooooooooo comfortable and flattering too, this may be my new uniform.  The pattern went together quickly and the instructions were very thorough.  If you like the pieced look this is the pattern for you.  I think I will be using up some of my hoard of $1.00 shirts.lbb tunic front I will have some modeled shots up on Facebook later (after my new dryer gets delivered and installed and I have time to get my tripod set up).lbb tunic back When I make this pattern again (and I will be making several more of this top) I will be changing up some of the alterations, taking the back in a tad, taking a little off the length, topstitching the neck/arm bands, and sewing the armbands on a little differently.
This is the kind of pattern that makes me wish I had a serger, I would churn these out at record speed.  So, in conclusion, I LOVED the finished results, you should definitely get this pattern!!!


Wishful Wednesdays

These are my top five want to craft projects right now:6-1-11 collageHobo Drawstring bag on MADE, it’s a cushion cover from Ikea!!!!!
Laundry basket dresser, the answer to the forever mess that is my laundry room, now I just need some power tools.
The pieced tunic dress from Lilblueboo,  I have the pattern and it’s printed out, now I need to tape it together and cut out.  I want to screen print some fabric for this too.
Star stenciled lawn from Pink and Green Mama, this is going to be sooooo much fun, and the kids are going to love it!
Suitcase Display, I love this idea for shows and easy to pack up at the end of the day.  The whole article is loaded with great display ideas.  I have a collection of interesting vintage cases just waiting to be freshened up (I hear kitty litter works miracles) and decoupaged.
Thumb print journaling/self portrait, I have made the photocopies, now to find the time.