Saturday, April 30, 2011

{Portable Growth Chart}

This idea is just genius in my opinion! (So no...not my original ha!)  After living in the same house for over 9 years, we've had 2 moves in the last 3 years. They turned out to be for the best, but one of the things that bothered me when we left our first house was our primitive growth chart. That sweet strip of masking tape that we used for a growth chart for the first few years of my daughter's life seemed to be at an end. When we moved from that first house 3 years ago, I painstakingly pulled that masking tape off of the linen closet door and ever so carefully placed it on a long piece of newsprint to lovingly store in her baby book.
Then during the first move I thought I had lost it, and cried for 2 days. Then I realized I had stored it safely and from then on tried to think of something that would allow us to keep a growth chart (I have such a soft spot for them, can't you tell?), but still make them mobile.
About a month ago I came across this WONDERFUL idea over at Moda Bake Shop. This is such a terrific idea! I thought not only of our family, who is hopefully in the same place for many years to come, but also my sisster-in-law, who is military and moves every 2 years. I also have never worked with a jelly roll before, but thought this was a good excuse to try one out!
Then I saw the price of a jelly roll...$40. WRONG-O! Soooooo not making a growth chart for $40+. So I thought on it for a few weeks and came up with my own solution, using scraps and some slight changes. The original tutorial is here, but I did complete mine differently with a few steps altered. I'll try to pass my changes along, but if you have questions, please email me! :)
Here's how mine turned out:
-72" from top to bottom, but you would make this according to your child's potential growth
-Center strip is 5" x 72" - I used leftover lining that I had from curtains I recently made. I had to piece about 5" onto the bottom, but otherwise, it was one long strip
-Side pieces are cut scraps, 3 sections on each side measuring 4" x 24" each
-My backing is the same fabric as the center strip, 13" x 72" to cover the whole back
-I used heavyweight fusible fleece in between, about an inch or so smaller on all sides.
-I used a strip of heavy grosgrain ribbon for the hanger. My only mistake here was that I should have placed the ribbon out farther to the ends.Not a biggie, but I did end up tacking the corners down when I hung it up, so they didn't fall forward a little. I will change that on the next one!

*You can make your side pieces any size you want, depending on what scraps you have or what fabric you are using. I came up with my side strip measurements based on what I had.

1. Sew the 3 pieces for each side together to make 2 long strips (mine were 4" x 24" ea.). - OR- however you choose to make your side pieces.
2. Sew those 2 long strips to each side of the center strip, completing the front side of the chart. Press all the seams down (my least favorite part!).
3. Iron the fusible fleece to the back of the front piece.
4. Cut your back piece to size, about 13" x 72" for mine.

Here is one way I altered the original tutorial... by eliminating the binding for the edges. 
5. Place front and back pieces right sides together. Pin your strip of ribbon where you want it, making sure the ribbon is lying between the pieces when you sew. Sew the chart on three sides, leaving the bottom open.
6. Turn it right side out, fold under the edges on the open side, and top stitch it closed. Then top stitch around the rest of the chart for a finished look.

 Done! :) Then I carefully laid out my original masking tape growth chart and transferred the markings/dates to the new fabric chart with a fine black retractable Sharpie. We can now take this easily with us wherever we might move (hopefully many years from now!), just by rolling it up. It's something that we can keep always, and that's my favorite part. (Wait...not spending $40 on the jelly roll is my favorite part!) Don't get me the jelly roll look and the idea, but I needed something a little more budget friendly.

Is this possibly my first tutorial? I'm not sure, but it feels like it. :) If you have any questions about how I made this, please email me and I'm happy to clarify! I'll be making 2 more of these in the coming for my SIL who is military and has a 3 year old son, and one for my little sister who is expecting her first child this summer. It only took a couple of hours at the MOST, and this one actually cost me nothing since everything I used was on hand.

How do you like it? I'd love to hear what you think!
Thanks for dropping in!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

{Greeting Card Organizer}

I generally make many of my own greeting cards, although of late my stash has been dwindling as I work on other things. BUT...I still need an organized place to keep them all! So all the cards in my storage box are handmade, but if I bought greeting cards, I'd put them in here, too. It's so much easier to find everything, and hey...let's face's another excuse to make something! :)

I use cut up food boxes from my recycle bin, scraps of patterned paper, and my tab punch from Stampin' Up. You can just cut a small tab also if you don't have the punch.
I got a really general idea of the size, then cut them from the cereal boxes. I used glue stick to add the scrap patterned paper (you could Mod Podge, but really for this project I just didn't think it was necessary). Then I sanded the edges a bit to get them the right size. I punched a tab for each one from scraps, added the titles, stapled them on, and voila! Cards are organized and even cute. :)

My box is one of those photo boxes that are always 50% off at Hobby Lobby.
Check in a little later this week for some re-org on the little one's toys/dress-up things. I feel a relief with just a few small changes!
Thanks for stopping by,
I'm linking up to these parties:
Junkie handmade projects

Sunday, April 24, 2011

{Baby Shower Tidbits}

My baby sister is prego with her first, and although it's the 10th grandchild for our family, we haven't had a baby in the family for nearly 7 years. Our immediate family lives about 7 hrs from each other respectively, with many friends even farther away, so we decided to have a long-distance shower for her at my oldest sister's house. (Are we getting confused on sister's yet?) So we coordinated it between my oldest sister, my Mom, and myself. No one was actually able to attend (they all lived too far away!), but we had a great time and she got some wonderful gifts shipped to the house.
Here are a few of the things we made/did/decorated with to try to keep it within a budget.

I made my first diaper cake, and can I say, I could make these ALL DAY! So fun and cute, and soooo much cheaper than buying one. It took me maybe an hour at the most, and that was really just because I was being extra cautious and careful since it was my first attempt at one of these.
My older sister was in charge of getting the "cake topper" ADORABLE stuffed goat. But..since we're 3.5hrs apart, once I arrived with the cake we realized that the goat was just too fat to sit on top. We found this in her closet and it worked just fine, although not our first choice. Sometimes you have to improvise! :)
(Before our cupcakes.)
Older sis made the cupcakes, but I was bringing the toppers...another collaborative effort. :)
I found our theme/decor online and copied/pasted the train image into a Word document. Once I had them sized right, I printed them on white card stock. I used my circle punches to punch the trains and coordinating textured paper, then adhered them to long toothpicks.
Each person we invited was given two 4x6 cards included with their invite. I printed them on white card stock in a cute font, then distressed the edges. Each guest was asked to complete the card and mail it back with their gift.

Of course we know that new mothers rarely take these little tidbits of advice (I know I didn't!!), because let's face it, they have NO idea what they're in for, but one day she will look back on these and say to herself, "Why didn't I listen to that?" , just like we all do. :)
I assembled all the cards into a small baby-themed photo album. Then I embellished a bit by adding a few pages here and there with baby boy themed patterned paper (love K&Co.!!),a few baby quotes, and headers for each section of questions. I used the same font and distressed those as well.

My Mom likes to make candies, so she added these adorable chocolates. You can imagine how long they lasted with a pregnant woman, her sisters, and her Mom together for the afternoon!
We knew going in that most likely we wouldn't have any guests that were actually with us in person, but we still wanted to have a fun little game that wasn't too cheesy. I honestly don't know where I found this, but it was a hoot, especially with a small group of "us girls". It's a game called "My Water Broke!"
I purchased Wilton baby favors at Michael's and we froze them in ice cube trays. The idea is to give everyone a frozen baby and see who can get theirs out first without a)putting it in their mouth or b)stepping on it. Once your baby is melted from the ice, you have to shout, "My water broke!!!" It turned out to be interesting to say the least. A piece of advice: putting it in your armpits or cleavage doesn't work. My MIL dropped hers in her coffee, which took approximately 3 seconds to melt, so she ended up winning. We couldn't decide if that was cheating or not. ;)

Maybe one of these ideas will grab your attention for the next shower you're a part of. We had a great time, on a budget. (The best part, because I know I would rather spend my $$ on cute things for the new little one!)

Take care,
I'm linking up over here!

Friday, April 22, 2011

{Easter Project for Kiddos}

I know it's soooo close now, but you can probably still squeeze a few of these out to hang in your own home or send to grandparents! Just use what you have around and it's so simple but cute! I deliberately used my flash so you could see the "whiskers"!
2 paper plates (we doubled ours)
cotton balls
photo of your kiddo
fishing line
scrap of black or pink paper for a nose
paper for the ears

We glued 2 plates together for stiffness, then cut out a large photo of my kiddo in a circle to match the plate.
We circle punched a nose, and trimmed some short pieces of fishing line to be the whiskers. Try to make your paper nose cover the whole nose in the photo. Glue those on, then start gluing your cotton balls all around the edge of your paper plate. (You could also use colored pom poms.) Cut out 2 ears and color their centers, then glue them on from the back. You can add a cotton ball to the back for a tail if you want, but we didn't.

We mailed these to grandparents, and I kept one for myself.
I love kid crafts that are TOTALLY kid-made! They're the best to give and receive.

Happy Easter!!!
I'm linking up to:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

{A Little Bit of Easter}

Things have been so busy around here and I've had to put my blog on the back burner for a week or so. My creative juices are always flowin' though, and I've been busy,busy,busy working on our Disney scrapbook from our December vacation and trying to make a few new-to-me Easter projects I found in blogland. 

With Easter just a hop away, here are a few of our decorations around the house. A couple of them are new ideas that I've just made in the last couple of weeks. (See? I have been doing something!!)

I found this easy and fun tutorial for Polka Dot Bunnies and it's adorable! I've had a chance to make only one so far, but I plan to make at least one more before Easter gets here. I used scraps...the best part.

I also love these Burlap Bunnies. Another quick and cute idea made with scraps and things on hand. I filled mine with beans, and tore scrap fabric to make the ties. I "pinked" my ears using a makeup sponge and a pink ink pad.

Our cheap Easter tree, which I honestly like better than any I could have purchased. My daughter's painted bunny comes out as an Easter deco as well!

I looooooove these! These little Bunny Sachets are just about the cutest things!! I filled mine with poly-fill, and only made the larger of the two. Scraps again of course...I love the denim from my old jeans for these. I would love to make a full row of these to display for next year!
We have more plastic eggs than any one family should have. It's ridiculous! So this year we used some for our Easter tree, and tossed some into our $1 store hurricanes for bathroom decor. Simple and springy.
 $1 Store egg stakes turned Easter decos for my beloved plant.

And I'm not sure why it's LAST on my list, because it's part of one of the most important things in our home...BOOKS!! Outside of the masses of overflowing bookshelves at our house, we keep this basket around just for seasonal books. Right now it's chock full of anything and everything "Spring"...including Easter & Earth Day coming up. We like switching it out as the seasons or holidays require. Here are a few of the books we have in our basket right now:
The Lorax -Dr. Seuss
The Great Kapok Tree - Lynne Cherry
Tops & Bottoms - Janet Stevens
The Tale of Peter Rabbit - Beatrix Potter
The Velveteen Rabbit - Margery Williams
The Butterfly - Anna Milbourne & Cathy Shimmen
The Little Lamb - Phoebe Dunn
The Little Kitten - Phoebe Dunn
Hedgie's Surprise - Jan Brett
Fluffy & Baron - Laura Rankin
The Icky Bug Alphabet Book - Jerry Pallotta
The Grouchy Ladybug - Eric Carle
Hope you enjoyed the little bit of Easter and Spring I attempted to bring indoors. 
Off to make more Polka Dot Bunnies!

Take care,
I'm linking up to:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

{Our "Things To Do" Organizer}

I know I'm not the only one who has a million little brochures and info packets on the cool things to do in your local area. Ours used to be stuffed in a drawer, which drove my organized little brain CRAZY. Then I put them in a folder (better but not great). Then we moved and I'm finally getting around to putting these things in a better state of affairs! There's so much to do where we live, and we're always accessing the information, so this has been really handy for us. I keep it in a drawer by my "command station". :)

Binders are too thick for the drawer, so I use a spiral bound heavy-duty folder with multiple pockets and a stretchy closure. I like the stretchy closure because it really keeps things tucked inside nicely, so if we want to grab it and go we don't have to worry about losing anything.

Our categories are:
Coupons & Food (for restaurant/pizza coupons, not groceries)
State Parks (there are lots of state areas around us and we love to hike!)
 Our City
The Next Closest Big City
Other Fun Stuff

I just printed out labels for each pocket, which are easy to peel off if we decide to change or add something.
It all turns out to be pretty thin, and with the stretchy closure, very compact.

This really works well for us! It's amazing how something so simple can keep you organized and make your next outing so much easier.
Take care,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

{A Sprinkle of Pixie Dust}

My precious kiddo is in full fairy mode with her imagination lately.  We were playing 'fairies' yesterday...along the lines of pretending we were sisters that were trying to catch fairies in our backyard. :) Of course we CAUGHT one with our fairy house made of blocks, but when we brought her inside we had to make a bed for her.
As a mom and a teacher, I love it when those imaginative juices start flowin'!
If you've got a little person in your life who loves fairies, you gotta make one of these!

(Tink is our fairy of choice at the moment.)
So fun and so easy. Literally 5 minutes and you're off again...playing 'fairies'. :)

lightweight cardboard out of your recycling (a food box)
scrap square of fabric (or a leaf - mine wanted a real blanket)
scotch tape
little pom poms (or anything else you think would make a good fairy pillow!)
scoring tool (unless you can fold better than I can)

I started with a piece of a Wheat Thins box, measuring about 5 1/2" x 4". Whatever size you want and I only measured afterward to give you an idea. It was just a guess and we started cutting!

Score your square on all sides at ABOUT 1/2". Again, didn't measure. This was an on-the-fly-we're-still-playing deal, but it was around 1/2". I darkened my score lines with a pencil so you can see better.
Snip just up to where the corner score lines meet on the long sides of the square, and fold everything inward, like this:
Fold those little flaps on the ends into the long side flap and wrap scotch tape around it to secure. Now you have a bed.
Add whatever you think would work as a pillow. My kiddo chose these little poms. We used a dot of Elmer's on each just to keep them in one place. I cut out a little rectangle of scrap fleece for a blanket. You could use a leaf, too...I hear that's more like the REAL fairies. :)
There you have it! Your very own authentic fairy bed! You know they are always making furniture, etc. out of our trash, so this is perfect. ;) 
Tink seems to be very cozy in there!
Now go play fairies, and see what other cool things you can make together!
Have fun!
I'm linking up to:

Also to Tatertots & Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party...but I can't get Blogger to take any codes or links, so I apologize in advance!