Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do It Yourself Toadstool Pencils!

My toadstool pencils started selling so fast that I had to raise the price in order to keep whatever sanity I have left. Which got me thinking....this is so simple, why not make a kit? Saves you money, and me time!

I'm a DIY kind of girl and I love passing on what I learn by trial and error. Sometimes figuring a project out is a very frustrating process and I think that's why I love selling my various DIY kits so much. I love making creativity simple!

Plus, this way, you can make a simple and unique gift and say "I made it myself!"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tutorial Test Drive: On The Go Activity Mat

The Fiskars blog has a neat tutorial for a roll up play mat. I loved the ideas for the car wash and the gas station so I adapted it for our upcoming trip.

I wanted something smaller than the project called for because I know how quickly we can mess up our 3 sq feet of airplane space! I found some Mega Bloks Streetz cars at Toys R Us that are Mirco-Machine size rather than Matchbox size. They're so tiny and perfect! The finished play mat size is about 8x11".

I also used a lot of hot glue, rather than stitching everything. It doesn't look as pretty but it takes the skill level down from advanced to intermediate and was way faster! It also allowed me to leave the car wash 'open' so the car can tuck inside for a wash up.

Rather than a pond and a construction site like on the Fiskars tutorial, I made a tunnel and a house with a garage. I didn't have any tiny construction vehicles or boats, so I thought it would be more fun to have a tunnel to drive through (just a little felt rectangle stitched down) and the little garage to park in. I made the garage by snipping the corners off a rectangle, stitching that same end down and then stitching the sides the same as with the tunnel.

I also left out the pockets for the cars because I found a little container with 7 spaces that will hold the cars perfectly and take a little while to master opening. Every minute he's busy on the plane is a good thing for me!

 The Fiskars tutorial is awesome, and looks far more professional, but I am so glad I cut some corners to make it faster. I had this done in an hour and a half and I think Daniel is going to love it!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tactile Button Snake Tutorial

I've been working on a plan to keep Daniel busy during our upcoming plane trip to Florida and I definitely have the tendency to go overboard! I love toys, I love gifts, I love making things, I love Daniel and I HATE trying to keep a kid happy in an enclosed space. So, inevitably, I will have too much! But the good news is that it means lots of travel toy ideas for my readers!

This week I made a classic Montessori toy with a twist and I think he will love it. Button snakes are great for fine motor skills and learning how to button. They're usually made with all felt squares, but I wanted to add another element to the activity, so I didn't stop there. I used some wool felt, some old felted sweaters, leather scraps, crocheted cotton squares and cotton fabric.

Making your own is so easy!

You'll Need:

6 inch length of ribbon
1 medium sized button
Any combination of wool felt, fabric, felted sweaters, crocheted squares, leather scraps, paper, fabric etc
Needle and thread

1.) Cut your length of ribbon. Fold over the end twice (like a small hem) and sew your button onto the ribbon tightly.

2.) Make a template for your squares approx 1.5" square. Cut out all your pieces. Making it all out of felt is definitely easiest! If you are crocheting squares:
Row 1: Ch 7, turn.
Row 2: Sc into 2nd from hook and each after (6 sc). Turn.
Row 3-4: Ch 1 and sc 6 across. Turn.
Row 5: Ch 1 and sc in next 2 stitches. Ch 2, skip 2 stitches and sc in last 2 stitches to make button hole. Turn.
Row 6-8: Ch 1, crochet 6 across.
Row 9: Ch 1, sc all around the edge to finish.

3.) Fold each square in half and cut small slits (button holes) in the center.

4.) Choose a square for the bottom of the button snake (you could also use a large button to keep the squares on). Fold the end of the ribbon under to hem and zig zag stitch it on like it's about to endure a nuclear war. Or hand sew if you have no machine!

Simple, right? Depending on your child's interests, you could do shades of the same color, black and white, shapes, patterns, make it seasonal, different sizes of squares etc.

Hopefully he'll have fun and learn something useful. And stay busy on the plane.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dying to Create!

I'm working on a major craft room overhaul right now, so I've been out of my normal routine of creating! So, I've been living vicariously through some talented bloggers. Here are some fabulous projects and tutorials that I can't wait to try out!

Vintage Linens Apron

Little Boy's Retro Duffle

Basic Kid's Pants (In pinstripe seersucker, no less!)

Toy Bags (perfect for our upcoming flight)

Play Mat in a Messenger Bag

Plus, I really want to learn how to sew zippers and needle felt. Can't wait for things to be organized!

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