Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pop Rocks!!!

There I am, finally getting to the check out aisle at Wal-Mart, and what do I see? My kids are picking up a candy package and asking me, "What is this?" I see "POP ROCKS," and all I can do is pause and smile. Do you remember Pop Rocks? I sure do. They were so fun, but were also special. We did not get to enjoy this slice of heaven very often. Of course, it was for good reason. :-)

My kiddos see my smile and ask louder, "WHAT IS THIS?" I tell them it is a special candy that touches the saliva on your tongue and begins to make popping noises and funny feelings on your tongue. They are instantly interested. I then try to remember how OLD I was when I had these. I am the type of mom that is reluctant to give my kids certain things because you can't go back. Well, not very easily. My kids did not chew gum until they were 5 years old. I dare I?

Anyway, I tell them it is a special candy that they will have soon. I am now trying to figure out a special way to introduce them to this fabulous candy, but at the same time, ensure that they know it is not a daily intake food group. Maybe we can build a volcano and watch it explode while they experience their first pop rocks adventure. Maybe we can pull out some sparklers when they go on sale again. Hmmm, any other ideas? Maybe more simple?

Have a great Friday!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Disney Shirt #1~Camo Mickey

The grandparents are making an awesome gesture to our kiddos by helping them experience Disney World. I want to help make the experience a little more fun...tough to do concerning Disney World (AND grandparents), I know. I am brainstorming shirt ideas for the 6 of us to wear to the Parks.

This is idea #1. The Camo Mickey
Step 1: Materials needed: Heat n Bond, design outline, scissors, sharpie marker, iron, shirt, material for design.
The purple package is better if you are
going to sew the outline... I need to go shopping
I used Google images/outlines and changed the percentages
 in my printer settings
Pieces from one of dear hubby's retired uniforms.
Step 2: Trace design onto the matte paper side of the Heat n Bond. I traced 4 "adult" Mickeys and 2 "kiddo" Mickeys. The shiny side should be faced down. IF you are going to be using a design that has a "wrong" side, trace the image backwards/the wrong way.

Step 3: Cut out each image with room to spare.
Step 4: Iron onto appropriate sized material. It is okay if the heat n bond overlaps, as long as the actual images do not.

Step 5: Cut out the design.

Step 6: When the heat n bond is peeled off, the shiny side is what is ironed onto the shirt. When ironing cotton to cotton, you do not need to use a "protective" layer as opposed to this ironing project. Reminder: if your image needs to be "faced" a correct way, you should be cutting out the reverse image, so the shiny part lies on the shirt in the correct way.

Step 7: Be done if you used the red packaged Heat n Bond, or reinforce image with a straight or zig zag stitch if you use the purple packaged Heat n Bond. I personally prefer the straight stitch overall because it is faster, and I kind of like the frayed look on the edges which are still contained by the straight stitch.
Step 8: For us "Minnies" in the group, I add the best bow I can muster.
 I have some 10 inch red ribbon with great white polka dots that I cut into 3 strips. I fold each ribbon into a "circle" and flatten it with my finger. If you are a perfectionist, use a pin, but I like to live on the edge. :-)
I line up my completed camp ears and hold the ribbon underneath the needle. When the needle drops into the fabric, I backstitch it and sew down the middle and back stitch again.
Here are the completed looks.
Easy, peesy. I look forward to our cheesy, group shot taken at Disney World in August.

PS: Any other easy group Disney shirts out there? Please show me!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Felt Paper Dolls

I have been updating my blog and am excited about some of the changes. The most obvious are the tabs at the top of my blog. They are under construction, but look out. I am most excited about linking up all the tutorials to a picture in one place AND my upcoming series on "Pin~busting". More to come on that tease.

Family Crafts via About.Com has wonderful free templates for Printable Paper Dolls as developed by Sherri Osborne. My kiddos and I begin our craft session printing out outfits/bodies and coloring them.

When the paper clothing did not stay on the paper doll as well as my daughter wanted, I turned to my multi-colored felt pack. I take the paper cut out templates she makes & colors, pin them to felt and use my fabric only scissors to cut out the images the best I can.

I cut out the bodies the same way and use permanent marker to draw faces. The one thing I do a bit differently when cutting the bodies is to double the felt, pin through both and cut out two bodies at once.

Here are a variety of images we start with during the end of today's (extra long) craft session. A Susanna mentions using weather indicators for kids to use, as well. I do want to find an extra large piece of felt to make bigger scenes. The kids start to draw pictures on paper, cut them out and then have me cut them out. That part is fun. They added grass, a tree and round apples for the tree.

When done creating, I simply grab a gallon sized reclosable bag to store our completed felt pieces and another for our paper templates.

This is going to be a great project to add pieces: pets, umbrella, food, etc. Any more ideas?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How I Organize my Weeds...

 {Here's to you, Uncle John. Thank you for all your support.  :-) }
Anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I am pretty Type A and organized. I realize how bad it must seem when people see my back yard.
You see that "tree line" where the weeds line up? Well, that is me trying to control them a bit.
Here is a closer shot to show the height on some of them, but to also show (& rejoice) that I only have a small patch left to attack.
Here is the rest of my backyard. It has been a lot of work, but it has been a slow process. I typically pull weeds when I am already outside: playing with my dog Rosy, waiting for her to do her business, playing with the kiddos and sometimes as a stress reliever (strange, huh?).
If I am going to pull more than 5, but don't want to be out for 20 minutes, I take our back patio trash can and set it near the current tree/weed line. All I do is pull weeds around the trash can. Notice the before and after. Not a huge task, but definitely one I can do in a short time, and the results pay off when these small sessions add up.

I like when the ground is moist/wet, so the root comes up more easily. You HAVE to grab the weed from the lowest point possible. If you pull and see roots....woo hoo!

Do NOT stress if you do not get the root. Will it grow back? Most likely. Will it be as intensive as a yard full of weeds? No. Will it grow back tomorrow? No. Will you get another chance? Heck yeah!  Before I mow the part of the yard that has been worked on, I look for stragglers. I would rather try to pull it again than to keep mowing it and ignoring it. Have I ignored some particularly frustrating ones sometimes? Yep!! So, I pull some stragglers and then mow.
Granted it does make my yard look a little silly, but I would rather have a good chance at pulling the weeds without using weed killer. Because I move a lot with my AF hubby, I do this at the start of moving in to each house. Here is my cut lawn.
Here is the more defined area that i have left to pull. Not too bad.
How do you tackle your weeds? Mow over them? Use a weed killer? Put a picket fence around them and call it a garden?

Party Ideas: Homemade Bean Bags & Games

Here is another craft I used for the birthday party. I like to make easy things for parties..okay, easy things for anything. I am not Martha Stewart, but my kiddos love me anyway. Since my daughter's birthday theme is PINK, I need ideas that can use that color easily..... pink homemade bean bags.
The Bean Bags:
1. I cut 5 inch pink squares from old fabric & sheets.
2. I sew them back to back leaving a 1.5-ish inch opening to turn later.
3. I turn them right side out and insert beans with a paper funnel. [due to running out of time, I enlist two moms to help AT the start of the party...Can you believe that? How awful of me, but SUPER, AWESOME of the 2 moms. Thanks Michelle and Kelly!!]

4. I sew up the holes.
5. and tah-dah.. homemade bean bags.

The game:
Stand on the grass and try to toss your very own bean bag into the pink bucket. Stand politely in line to get a turn. They got MANY tries. :-)
The birthday girl goes first with such concentration.
How about overhand?
How about underhand?
How about overhand?
There are so many varieties of bean bag games out there. This is a simple, fun one. Any other simple bean bag game ideas?
The girls put their own bean bags into their thank you buckets and take them home after the party.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ruffled Ribbon American Tee

I saw this simple tee from a blog I love: Brown Paper Packages. I have to craft-lift it for the 4th. Because I have a ruffler foot and LOVE it, I choose to go that route instead of folding by hand.

Materials I use are a simple tee shirt from my daughter's closet, a ruffler foot, and left over ribbon.
My first attempt at copying her ribbon tee was this one. Not so pretty. Hubby says, "Can you add another red/white row?"
 Up close you can see that there are two seam lines on the ribbons. I personally like to ruffle the ribbons first, so I have a more accurate idea of the length of the ribbons.
 After the ribbons are ruffled using the ruffler foot, I change out my feet and sew a straight stitch onto the shirt.
 As you can tell, I did not pin my ribbons, so they are not really straight. I kind of like the "not perfect" look, but if you do, pin away.
 Then my hubby says,"Can you straighten the end of row #2 a little?" In comes my favorite tool: the seam ripper. Because my ribbons are ruffled beforehand, relocating them is not so much of a big deal.
 Tah-dah! My final product. Of course my little girl wears this over the 4th of July holiday and gets syrup on it. Vinegar, here I come.
If you can get past the need for perfection, you can get a lot more done. Also, kids are pretty forgiving.

Here is another simple project doing the same thing, but with her initial.

What do you do with your ruffler foot?

PS: Uncle John, I just photographed my backyard....I will post soon. :-)