Archive for the ‘Fun- Crafts and Stuff’ Category

Oliver +  S Little Things to Sew is great. Really. Every project in it is super cute.  I had to make this tutu immediately, and it came together in just a few hours. Then, since I liked it so much, I made another one. And the 2nd one went ridiculously fast.  So. Fun. I’ve made the no-sew tutus before, but quite honestly, these are SO much easier, SO much faster, and SO much cuter. This is my new favorite tutu. It is basically, 5 layers of varying shades of tulle, folded lengthwise, then laid on top of each other. The folded edges are all gathered and sewn onto a ribbon the size of the child’s waist, then a longer strip of ribbon is sewn on the opposite side, sandwiching the folded, gathered edges of tulle into a clean, neat waistband.

I like that it ties, which means I can borrow it. 🙂  (No way, not giving you a picture of that!!)Ring around the rosy…And we all fall down!


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So I meant to post the egg decorating on Friday, but things just got busy, you know?   I love how SouleMama’s post on Natural Egg Decorating contains this deceptive little phrase “we kept it simple…”

Ok, so, making dye, boiling eggs, decorating eggs, then dying them requires chopping, peeling and steaming beets, carrots, spinach, grapes and blueberries (which is an astounding display of stovetop acrobatics-that’s 6 pots!), straining each one, cooling the liquid, creating a space for decorating, convincing children that white crayons on white eggs really will show a visible design after the dyeing, etc, etc.

Oh, Amanda Soule.  You and your simple life… 

Anyway, the natural dyes were great, but the kids wanted more of a hands on artistic approach, so we pulled out the watercolors.  And since, in spite of the knowledge that I am not and will never be her, I did follow SouleMama footsteps once again. I found that I had a pile of raw muslin scraps and soaked them in the dyes as well. The makings of an Easter banner!

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Okawa’s Carefree Clothes for Girls delights me.

I made the headscarf for Lala last spring, and this spring I decided to try this darling blouse. (though my daughter calls it a dress. I guess it kind of is.) I made it with raw muslin and a doily I found at the thrift store. Perfect!

She loves it. And I love it. I kind of want one actually.




Bubby on the other hand, prefers to forego the shirt.

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little girl's pirate costume

I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but lately my daughter’s become obsessed with pirates.  It may have had something to do with the pirates in the gorgeous Puff the Magic Dragon picture book (more on that later). Or it may have been Cornelia Funke’s Pirate Girl from this book:

Regardless of how it happened, one day I found her in a pirate hat  and a bandana declaring herself “The Terror of the Seasons! Arrrr!!!!” and I figured her Halloween costume (or “dress-up day” as we call it) was decided.  So, here’s how we did it.

From the thrift store:

child’s button up white dress shirt

black skirt

black pleather skirt (pants would work too, just something to cut up)

red velvet ribbon

black silk ribbon (I used a strip of lining from the pleather skirt)

pirate hat (we lucked out with that one. 25 cents!)

From the closet and around the house:

elastic cord

red bandana

black boots

piratey jewelry

little girl's pirate costume

little girl's pirate costume

little girl's pirate costume

little girl's pirate costume

First, the shirt.  Cut around the neckline, removing the collar and leaving room for a 1 inch seam. Cut off sleeves about halfway up. Sew the neckline with about a 1 inch seam, leaving room to thread a ribbon through the whole way around. It’s okay if you have to gather it a bit.
Cut small openings on the outside of the seam, 2 on each shoulder (you should have 4 openings just big enough to thread ribbon through.)  Cut 2 pieces of ribbon, one to thread through the front neckline of the shirt, one across the back neckline (be sure to leave enough length to tie the ends in nice bows). Attach a safety pin to the ribbon, and thread. You should have 2 lengths of ribbon coming out on each shoulder. Tie them in bows after the shirt is on.

little girl's pirate costume

For the corset, cut out a length of black pleather. Measure it around the waist and cut to the right length and width that you want it. Leave about 1 1/2 inches on the 2 ends for a seam.Sew in the 2 ends with 2 seams about 1 1/2 inches apart (the pleather won’t fray so this is mostly just aesthetic). In between the seams, cut 4 small slits on each side.

little girl's pirate costume

little girl's pirate costume

Thread the black ribbon through the slits and tie in a bow (if you keep it loose enough, your little pirate should be able to step into the corset and you can tighten it after, saving precious squirm time).

little girl's pirate costume

little girl's pirate costume

I used some of the extra pleather for a simple eyepatch with an elastic cord. Complete the picture with a simple black skirt, a red bandana around the waist, some tights and black boots, pigtails, pirate hat, pirate jewelry and (if you have it and you aren’t concerned about your child turning it into a weapon) a hook from a hanger.
(Thanks to Threadbanger for this fantastic tutorial!)

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When we were in Honduras shooting Montaña de Luz, our new friends down there mentioned that they had close friends who were due with a baby girl right around the same time as us. That was a little over 3 years ago. The girls met last year at Ruby’s 2nd birthday party, and last week they celebrated the big 3 together.  Ruby is fun, clever, rambunctious and she sings and dances and plays tea party and doctor with Lala till their hearts content. They are best friends, and I am so very grateful that she is in our lives. And of course, it helps that her parents are pretty great too. 🙂
It was a lovely day of planting, eating, playing, “swimming” and more eating. Each little friend covered their own little flower pot with stickers and gems, helped to gently lift the marigold into the pot, and patted down the dirt around it.
Then we hit the backyard- kiddie pools, sprinklers and bubble-blowing lawn mowers. They had a blast! And since I lost so much sleep over these, I’m going to show you the birthday crowns again. 🙂 She’s almost three! Hard to believe, yet so thrilling to realize. I remember holding that tiny little body and wondering how we’d make it through the next week…

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Twirling lessons with Lala

So, I know I haven’t been updating you on our “Letter of the Day” activities, and it probably isn’t fair to skip over so many and just tell you about “P” because it really makes the whole thing sound way more exciting than it usually is. Seriously, the last few have been pretty lame.  But “P” was such a fun day I had to share it!

Pancakes: We had pancakes for breakfast, and I even made a P shaped one for Lala, who seemed somewhat suspicious and requested “a round one please.” Of course, she quickly decided that maybe she would just try this one “while I’m waiting” and ate the whole thing.

Paint: Then we read a book about painting, and the kids both had their first ever finger painting experience! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do this with Lala. She loved it! And so did Bub! He had an absolute blast.

Planting: We finally put Lala’s little flower into the ground. The poor thing has been sitting on our counter since we got back from the farmer’s market last weekend, but with all the thunderstorms we haven’t had a chance to plant it- until now!

Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf:  I brought home 3 picture books for this story, one of which came with an audio CD, and we listened to the whole thing through! Naturally, I had to do quite a lot of ‘additional’ storytelling and pointing out of things and some minor charades of which I will spare you the details (I mean, she’s 2 1/2, I had to keep her interested!). At one point when Matthew informed me we still had 14 minutes to go I suggested we just turn it off and Lala disagreed quite vehemently. Which thrilled me of course. I think we might spend a few more days on “P” just to see how well she can get at  picking out the different characters by their instruments. She’s off to a good start, and she was really fascinated by the whole concept. She kept asking about it, “Is this Peter’s music?” “Is this the duck?”

Princess and the Pea, and The Peace Book:  I’ve been looking forward to “P” for a long time, mostly because of these books. I love, love, love Lauren Child’s Princess and the Pea. It’s so beautiful and so unique and the heroine is such a refreshing change from the usual princess bit.  And then Todd Parr’s The Peace Book. It is such a perfect, vibrant description of peace and all the things I want my children to grow up valuing. I had considered making pumpkin pie, but golly, there’s only so much you can do in a day…

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I love that in the week I spent in Rwanda, I did not see one stroller (with the exception of a slightly dusty, forlorn looking number in the corner of an electronics shop). These women are incredible. And it puts my “oh-so-difficult” life in a healthy perspective. So, when I put the kids to bed and just can’t imagine how I’ll ever have the energy to clean the house and edit a wedding video tonight, what I really need is a good solid reminder of the feats of endurance these women accomplish from dawn to dusk every day. They do everything-washing, sweeping, cooking, harvesting crops, caring for goats, plucking chickens, filling water jugs-with their babies firmly attached to their backs.

And, because I was naturally burning with curiosity to see how they did it, here’s a step-by-step I managed to get after lots of hand motions and babblings and showing pictures of my own babies…

1. Take a long, rectangular piece of mid-weight fabric (I saw a lot of terrycloth or dishtowel material). I think this women is actually using 2 layers of cloth.

2. Drape sleepy baby over back, with bottom edge under his bum.

3. Pull top two corners around to the front, with baby’s head above top edge of fabric. Allow fabric to slightly fold or roll over the top edge.

4. Pull corners over chest so they tightly overlap and tuck in the ends (like you would a towel).

5. Pull bottom two corners tightly around waist, so that bottom edge is under baby’s bum. Secure by overlapping fabric and tucking corner tightly under the other (again, like you would if you were wearing a towel).

That’s it. No ties, no snaps, no straps, no rings… Just one simple piece of cloth. It baffles me. And I’d love to try it sometime, but on a baby smaller than my little Bub. I don’t think he’d hold still long enough anyway.(Some women do secure it with an extra strip of cloth like this, but most I saw didn’t)

Now that I’ve had my reminder, I really do need to get that editing done.

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