Friday, April 4, 2014

Getting Control of the Stuffed Animals

My kids love stuffed animals, plus they're fairly cheap at thrift stores and yard sales. The downside is that a love of stuffed animals x 4 kids = one mom driven crazy. There were stuffed animals everywhere, we tried different things to gain control of them, even making them give up several, but little by little more animals entered into the home. A friend recently blogged about her daughter's b-day present, they had made her a cage for all her stuffed animals. I found several ideas on Pinterest, this tutorial was very similar to the one my friend made. I've been trying to use things I already have, so we were going to use wood we already had on hand, but I didn't have bungee cords. We decided to stop into the thrift store first on our way to town for the bungee cords. I found this tri-fold chalk board for $4. With a few modifications this could easily become the cage.  
We cut four pieces of wood, one to brace the back and 3 for the front of the cage. We were trying to figure out the best way to attach the bungee cords when I saw this post where Ana used elastic instead of bungee cords. I have plenty of elastic since I buy it at thrift stores. We cut 4 even pieces of elastic and secured them with big thumb tacks, something I had on hand from another project.
Then we filled the cage with stuffed animals. I'm amazed that my children didn't point out that there's plenty of room to add more animals.
The cost of the entire project was $5 because the wood was free from my Gpa.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


 I'm not a store bought Valentines kind of girl, nothing wrong with them, but since the kids and I are crafty it makes perfect sense to have homemade Valentines. Sometimes I come up with the idea and other times I lean on the internet for inspiration. 
Last year we made homemade chocolates. I had several chocolate molds that my 10 year wanted to use to make crayons. I knew once they were used for crayons they couldn't be used for edible things again so I figured I better use the molds for chocolate first. I had a ton of chocolate, plastic bags and labels. We made Lego men for the boys and Hearts for the girls.
 This year I wanted to go a non-candy route and use items I already had. I couldn't convince them completely so we went with one non-candy item, these hair clips for the girls in the classes. I had several patterned duct tapes and after making a couple different ones I wasn't loving the heart shape. I decided to make stars instead, which I liked the best on the rainbow duct tape. Since I knew we were going to be making a lot of them I did long strips of the duct tape probably 2ft long. I chose to paint the flat part of the bobby pin, since that's how I insert them into my girls' hair.
 We made the cards using blank business cards that I had on hand. Not sure why the one in the pic ended up printing farther down on the card than the other one, but all the rest turned out fine. You can make the font in any color or size or style. We had each child write the girls' names from their class on the blue line.

You’re a Star!!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

We first thought about making super hero capes to go with suckers for the boys in the class, but once we started the project my printer was low on ink. We looked at different options and found this tutorial. We loved the tags, but the boys weren't fans of the mustache so we searched google images for one they liked the best and scaled it down to the size we wanted.
 Happy Valentines Day!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cub Scout Neckerchief Slides

If you're a parent of a cub scout you know how many times your scout has misplaced his neckerchief slide. I've been entertaining the idea of having my scouts make a couple of different slides to have on hand and because a scout is thrifty I wanted to use supplies I already had, which I have to admit is a lot. Our Blue & Gold banquet theme is Angry Birds. I came up with the idea of having the whole pack make slides for the upcoming night. I made these three slides as examples for the boys. 
There are two main foam layers, the front and the back. There are two holes punched out the back piece for the scouts to put a pipe cleaner through. Once the scouts had their faces made out of different color foam, googly eyes, yarn, and felt, leaders hot glued the back piece to the front. 
To help speed the process along I made a stencil for each character out of old yogurt lids, making it easier for the boys to trace onto foam sheets.
For Valentine's Day I wanted to make my Webelos a fun slide. Lego men doesn't scream Valentine's day, but I know all my scouts love Lego. 
I recalled seeing a pin on Pinterest which led me to this pic below. 
 Seemed pretty straight forward, I already owned a Lego men mold, lots of hot glue gun glue and paint. Seemed like a thrifty craft for me to do. The pic didn't show how she attached the Lego man so it could become a slide, but I decided that the pipe cleaner could work for these too. I put the hot glue into the mold and once it was filled I inserted half of a pipe cleaner into each man.
I wanted to have fun with the faces so I made a different one for each boy. The scarves are made out of felt that I drew on with markers and then glued to the men.
Be mindful that these are pretty time consuming since they require many layers of paints, but they're worth it. I know my scouts are going to love their present.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Move over Paper Dolls, Hello Cloth Dolls!!

Pinterest will never let me down when I'm ready to do a new project. The kids are back in school and I'm a little bored during the day. I have thought about doing paper dolls in the past, but I know my youngest and she's a Captain Destructo and the dolls and clothing wouldn't last long. I came across this Cloth "Paper Doll" Tutorial. I decided to shrink the templates down by 25%. The finished dolls ended up 7.5" tall. I also did away with their thumbs, since the dolls are smaller I figured it would be easier to sew around a flat hand. I started out with two dolls for my daughters but because they were so easy I made some for my young nieces. 
My girls and I have made 8 dolls so far. After completing this first batch, there are a few things I would change. Next time I'll use a darker felt on the darker dolls along with black Velcro instead of white to hide the stitching. Since I reduced the template size I was able to find 2" Velcro at a local craft store that fit perfectly. The Velcro came on a spool and I was able to get what length I needed and only had to purchase the plastic side instead of both sides.
 Each niece will receive a doll that looks like them, plus two pajamas, two skirts, two pants, two dresses, three tops, and one leotard. Because my nieces are all under four years old I decided not to make shoes, I know their mothers will thank me.
This is a great project, especially if you have a tote full of scraps like I do.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lego Organization

We were struggling with the overflow of Legos, the constant battle of the Lego brick left on the floor that naturally a shoeless foot would always find. I decided during Christmas break my boys and I would tackle this problem. Before their Lego bricks were held in a 41Qt clear tote.
In the Christmas aisle we found these AWESOME ornament totes. They work perfectly for separating Legos. Of course it took many hours over two days to get it completed, but it has been well worth it. My boys are able to find parts for a particular creation a lot easier. The downside, we still have the forgotten Lego brick on the floor. 

Sleeping Bags for American Girl Dolls

I'm trying to build up my girls' accessories for their dolls. Yesterday we made two sleeping bags following this tutorial. I had seen several sleeping bags and pillows, but I really like the all in one combo of this pattern. I won't have to worry about them losing their doll's pillow. We used fleece and flannel. My girls wanted to use the flannel as the outer shell and no appliques. 
Fine by me, less work. hehe.