Thursday, April 26, 2012

So you don't feel abandoned...

I am crazy busy this week!  We've got some life changes coming up and I've been trying to keep up with the sudden rush of things that need to be taken care of.

But, I am still working on some projects.  I've got to keep a hold of what sanity I can, you know.

So, here is a sneak peek at some things to come:

Oh, so exciting!  

And, that's not all!  The ideas have started to pour out of my brain again (that is the beauty of sparks more creativity)!  Woohoo!  Lots of fun to come!

Have a great day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Brave Buddy

I would like to say that this project served it's purpose beautifully.  It didn't.  But, I had fun making it, so I'm sharing it anyway.

O: She is a sweet girl with a sweet face.
And, yes, she is wearing a hat with a headband on top.  One can't be too prepared when going out.

Now, imagine that sweet face at 3:00 in the morning waking her mommy up because, "I'm scared in my room."

Every night for a week.

Ok.  It's still a sweet face, but I'm tired.

Something had to be done.

So, I took her to the Ugly Doll website (because I've always loved them and I've always wanted to try making one) and let her pick out her favorite.

Then I put aside all the chores calling to me and set to work.  Remedying a lack of sleep takes priority over dishes...just so you know.  So does chocolate.)

I drew out a sketch of the doll she liked and grabbed a good-sized piece of fleece and some felt.

Please note, I am going to show you how I did this, but don't expect much exactness.  This was a figure-it-out-as-you-go kind of project.

First, I folded the fleece in half so I could make sure I was creating 2 matching pieces.  

For the top half, I traced a plate.

For the bottom half, I turned the plate over and ran the pencil around the inside bottom. 
You can kind of see the shape...I could see it, so I cut it out.  Remember, I had my fleece folded in half so I was cutting through 2 layers and ended up with 2 matching for the front, one for the back.

Now the face.

With the felt, I made 2 big white circles for the eyes.
This was the bottom of a cup that I traced.  It was perfect.

For the blue in the middle, I free-handed it.  Again, I folded the felt in half so I could have 2 circles that matched in size.  

Now I sewed the blue pupil to the white eye.  

Here is a picture of my stitching...nothing fancy.

I also embroidered the mouth directly onto the fleece (We decided to make it a happy mouth.) and pinned the face in place to make sure I was getting it on straight before I sewed it on all willy-nilly.

Then I sewed all the facial features into place.
And, yes, we turned the nose.  O decided she liked that better.

Here's another close up of the stitching.  Just a simple running stitch (I think that's what it is called).

On to the limbs.

I free-handed the shapes on paper and then traced them onto the fleece and cut them out (2 pieces of each appendage).
I sewed those together (wrong sides out), flipped them right side out and stuffed them.

Then I laid out the front side of the body and figured out where I wanted the appendages to be.  I pinned them in place, but on the this:
So the doll kind of looks like it has assumed the fetal position.  

Then I laid the back side on top, right side in.  
I straightened out that bottom part and then sewed the two sides together, making sure to leave a big gaping hole at the bottom to turn it and stuff it.

Then I turned it and stuffed it.  =)  While you are stuffing, be sure to add some extra mom love and hugs and cuddles.  That is, you know, what sets this doll apart from any other.

I stuffed him pretty full so he would be soft and cuddly.

Now to sew that hole closed, I started with matching thread and watch the magic of stitching fleece closed.

Pull the needle through so the knot is on the inside.  Take the needle to the opposite side and place a smallish stitch and pull it through.

Then go to the other side, almost directly opposite of the first stitch, and do the same thing, pulling the two sides together.

Do this back and forth stitching until you reach the end.

I was in a hurry (read: it was bedtime) so I didn't worry too much about hiding the end knot, but I kind of like how nice and clean that seam looks!
You can barely tell he's been through major surgery!

And here's the end result!
I think he's cute.

I took him upstairs to O, told her he was filled with every bit of braveness Mom could give, and watched as she cuddled up to him and happily went to sleep.  

Then at 3:00 a.m., as she stood next to my bed crying that the doll wasn't working, I wondered what else I might be able to do.


p.s. I'm linking this one up!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Be gone, wretched ants!

Disclaimer: If ants make you squeamish...move on.  Just look away and come back later.  

You've been warned.

I hate ants.

When I see them in my house, I get so angry!  I've officially declared war on any ant that dares cross my threshold.

This year, though, they came with a vengeance.  And it wasn't just the little itty-bitty sugar ants; it was those great big carpenter ants.  Have you seen those suckers?!  They're huge!...and, yes, I've told my landlord.

Anyway, I was losing the battle...big time.  For every 1 I'd stomp out, 5 would come back.

Then, I found this on Pinterest: 

(Here's the link.  You should know it makes A LOT!)

I used Borax instead of boric acid. 

Now, I did this right after dinner.  I poured the mix onto some cotton balls in the lid of a jar.  I set it up by the kitchen sink (where kids can't reach it) and set about cleaning up the daily mess.  I kept a close watch on it, though, but no ants partook of their special drink.

So, I put my girls to bed and started my work, trying my hardest to put the ants from mind.  

A few hours later, I walked back into the kitchen and turned on the light and saw this:
This picture doesn't do it justice, especially since they all started to scatter once the lights came on.  But my counter was covered with ants and I could follow 2 distinct lines from the places they were apparently coming into the house and back to the bait.  

They fell for it!  It was beautiful!  

Here's a close up...gross, but, still kind of awesome. 

They were all over those cotton balls!  That stuff must taste like chocolate to them!

So, I quietly turned off the light and left the kitchen for the night, leaving those huge ants to their huge party.

In the morning, they were gone.  

And they haven't come back.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Garden and a visitor

I love Spring.  

I love when the cold weather just can't stick around because Spring is pushing its way in.  No more freezing nights, please.  

I love watching the little flowers pushing their way out of the ground and the buds sprouting on the trees.

It's such a nice time of year.

I love that it is warm enough to go outside and play without bundling ourselves up in millions of layers. 

I love Spring.

Spring came with a bit of a vengeance this year.  One morning we woke up and it was suddenly too warm to have our heaters on!  We had a few weeks where it was close to 80 degrees every day!  It was fantastic! (Of course, now that I say that, it hasn't gotten near that warm in the 2 weeks since.  Winter puts up it's own little fight.)

I watched the 2 little tulips and 2 daffodils I have in my garden start to grow and I also watched the weeds come out of nowhere!  I was super excited to plant my garden.

Now, when I talk about my garden, let's be clear that it's not much.
See.  It's basically just a strip of dirt in front of my house.  I couldn't stand to leave it just dirt, so I try to prettify it up every year.

So, I took my shovel to those weeds and tried to clear out some room for my tulips and daffodils and for whatever other flowers or plants I may choose to plant.

I ignored a lot of the debris and stuff.  That was too much work for me.  But I did try to break up the big, hard dirt clods.  One of them gave me a bit of a start.
Do you see it?  It's pretty well uncovered in this picture, but when I hit it with my little shovel it honestly looked like a clump of mud.

Here's a closer picture.  
Little Toad didn't like being shoveled much, but he was very patient with me.  He moved out of the way and then watched me get rid of the weeds all around him.  Because he was so nice, I decided to let him stick around and eat all the bugs.

So, here's my end result.

These are some wild onions that I found growing in the corner by the porch.  They may or may not stay.  I haven't decided yet.

These are O's pansies. 

And L's next to the tulips.
I also planted some lilies, but I don't expect them to make an appearance until summer.

And here is one of my favorite sprouts.
She can't seem to help posing when I pull out the camera!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Artsy-Fartsy Mama Quiet Flip Book: Tutorial Featured

One of my very favorite blogs (and bloggers) is Lindsay over at Artsy-Fartsy Mama.  She is very talented and I enjoy spending time at her blog.  There is so much there to be inspired by!

Last summer, she introduced this fantastic little project she had just finished.  I fell in love completely and instantly!  I knew (with every ounce of my soul) that I wanted to make one too.  I e-mailed her and asked her if she would be willing to send me a copy of the pictures she used.  She is such a talented designer, I knew I wouldn't be able to find something else I loved as much.

She was kind enough to write me back and tell me she was working on a pattern.  YIPPEE!  So, I waited patiently for the pattern (which is now on sale for $10 on her blog) and bought it as soon as I could.

It is a great pattern.  I had absolutely no problem following it.

Here's my cover:

I love embroidery, so this project was perfect for me!  
Here is a sampling of some of my pages:

Fun, right?  
I followed her pattern pretty exactly without changing much.  I may have changed a color here and there, but then I got nervous and went back to the pattern.  =)

I have never tried the coloring technique before, but I think it turned out great!  Seriously, I loved this project.  

(Can you tell?)

So, head on over to Artsy-Fartsy Mama and enjoy the inspiration available!

Thanks, Lindsay!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Magnetic Activity Book

Ok.  I know, I know, I just posted a project.

But, seriously, I've been so excited to get these finished and show you that I'm just not going to wait.  =)

Here are my sheets of steel from Mindy Mae's Market all laid out and shiny.
Don't they just give you tingles?

Here is another project I used them for:

This is an idea that has been in my head for a long, long, long time. Really long.

I just couldn't quite figure out how I wanted to do it.  I'm still not sure if this is what I wanted, so there may be some tweaking later on, but for now, this is what we've got.

It's a book.
It looks pretty ordinary, right? 

Except you can't really tell that the green closure flap there, is magnetic.  woo!

Now, if you open it, this is your first glance...

Keep opening, though.  There's more.  (And this is where it gets really exciting!)
It is an activity book!

There is a big pocket to hold big things and, of course, the fancy magnetic page.
That's where the action would happen.

Then, of course, 4 smaller pockets to hold even more magnetic fun!

Here now, is where I need some advice.  I am trying to figure out what activities to fill those beautiful pockets with. 

I've already started working on some magnetic paper dolls (which are awesome, by the way...keep watching for that post!), but what else might a 3 (almost 4)-year-old and 2-year old enjoy? 

What would you do?

Thanks, friends!

P.S. This is also being linked up at Embracing Messy.

I'll be linking up with my normals as well!

Organizing my Pantry

I'm so excited about this project!

I have spent the majority of this week reorganizing the shelves in my kitchen/pantry.  I've been aching to do it for months, but haven't had the energy.  Yay for nesting!!

One of my most anticipated projects was inspired by this pin: 

This is such a great idea and it sent my mind spinning in all sorts of fun and organized directions!  I got myself some simple baskets, but then I couldn't figure out where to go from there.

Then I discovered Mindy Mae's Market.  Awesome place, by the way!  Lots of great supplies at great prices!  There, I found these 4 x 6 sheets of steel.  
You know I love all things magnetic, right?  You did know that, didn't you?  

Well, you do now.

Oh boy!!!

Here's what I did. 
I spent way too much time looking through my masses of cute scrapbook paper and finally picked out the designs I liked.  I cut two 4" x 3/4" pieces and two 6" x 3/4" pieces.
(can you see me?)

I Mod Podged those around the borders of the steel sheet.  

insert picture here...
(heehee, just kidding.  Someone forgot to remind me to take a picture of that.)

While those were drying, I dug out these cool glass marble rock things...
...and more cute scrapbook paper.

I cut the paper to fit on the flat side of the rock... 

...then Mod Podged the life out of them. 
Prepare to get messy...and prepare for the 3-year-old in your house to be worried about that mess and your fingers getting stuck to everything for the rest of your life.

Let them dry and DONE!  Almost.

Next, I took my itty bitty, super-duper strong magnets and hot glued them to the paper side of the rocks.

While the hot glue gun was out and smoking, I also glued my sheets of steel to the baskets (and, once again, no picture...but I'm sure you can picture that one)

Put your fancy magnets on the pretty steel and look at what you have! 
Oooo, pretty!

Here's what I am going to do with them:

For each recipe I have planned, I will make a list of the ingredients and print it out.  (The ingredients in the fridge or freezer is in italics...side note: I think I need a basket in the fridge.)
I may or may not glue them all to scrapbook paper.  That all depends on my mood.

Eventually I will have a nice little collection of recipes and their ingredients, which should make my menu planning easier.  I can even sort them into categories!  Slow cooker recipes, favorite recipes, chocolate recipes....Oh!  I'm so excited.

Anyway, once I have done my shopping, I can put these little cards on my baskets...

...and then load my baskets with the ingredients I need for the week. 

This should help with a few things:
1) Now the Mister will know what food is claimed, so he won't eat something that shouldn't be eaten.
2) I am hoping this will help me keep better tabs on what I have in my help prevent waste.
3) I'm going to feel super awesome when I go to prepare dinner and pull my little basket out with all the ingredients ready to go!  Super Mom, what?!

Seriously, I'm so excited!

By the way, Embracing Messy is holding a craft competition that I am linking this up to.

I'm also linking up with my usuals.