Saturday, March 27, 2010

Goop

Mr. T and I made goop the other day while Miss B. was at school. He gets so bored when she is gone all day, and we needed something to do. I just love Family Fun Magazine. They have such fun and cute ideas. This month they had a recipe for goop. I showed my little man the photos and he was sure that he did NOT want to make it. I kept trying to convince him, but to no avail. Finally I told him I was making it for me.

The recipe is SUPER simple!

1 c. cornstarch
1/2 c water

Mix.

It does not mix well at first, but keep stirring. Of course once I started mixing and playing he joined in the fun. It looks solid-ish until you pick it up, then it becomes a liquid. We added some food coloring for more mixing fun.

He and I played with it for a while, and then he played by himself for a while. It looks uber messy, but honestly, one of easiest clean-ups ever!!! Because it solidifies and the dries out, its all just crumbly powder. This was much easier than even cleaning up the table after dinner!

By the time my daughter got home from school (with a friend) it was pretty solid, so they wanted to make a new batch. They are both 7 years old, and made it without my help. They added food coloring as well. The food coloring can be more messy, since it stains, but you don't have to add it either.

This was a very inexpensive, fun, sensory activity, and easy clean-up too! We will definitely be making this again!!!

More jean recycling

After making the shorts and hair bows, I decided to do some more jean recycling. :) My daughter has had this cute pair of jeans with holes in the knees for some time. I did not want to just cut them off, because they had such cute embroidery on the calves. I decided I would try converting them into a skirt. I found a few tutorials online, all basically the same. This is the one  I followed.


Basically you cut the inner seams out, and sew the legs in.

My tips after completing this project:

Almost all the tutorials said to rip your seams out, and so I did, and it was a lot of work. The tutorial I followed said to not worry about ripping them out, just cut them out because you do not need the seam allowance. I completely agree. I ripped them out, and ended up cutting them some anyhow. So DO NOT waste time ripping the seams out, just cut them.

I like that I got to use the embroidery in the skirt, but it did make it look a bit different than if I had not had to use the outside leg seam.

It is difficult to sew through in some spots. I still need to sew just below the zipper by hand, because it was too thick to even get under my presser foot.

I think leaving the bottom of the skirt to fray looks the cutest. You could sew a hem, but eh, its easier not to!

The jeans I had were a bit stretchy. I don't know if that made them easier or harder to work with, but it still was not a difficult project.


But all in all it was a fun, quick project. When my daughter got home from school she said, "Oh cute!" So it was worth it. Does it look perfect? No, but that gives it more character. Besides, when the skirt is on a body you really cannot see all the flaws. :)

Then I had just a tiny flower from the embroidery, so, of course, I made a bow!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Recycling jeans

I have two kids that are hard on their pants. Seems like their pants always have holes in the knees. I think Mr. T. wore out 5 pairs of pants in about two weeks. Thank goodness I buy pants on sale, and for the gift of hand-me-downs!

I have had a growing pile of pants to convert into shorts for sometime. I recently decided to tackle it. So I cut off all the legs and then thought they were too good to throw away. Blame it on all the fun crafting blogs I have been viewing lately. I just could not bring myself to dump them.

I did some googling for ideas. I found a few cute ideas, but still not exactly what I wanted. I have recently discovered my best thinking time is in the middle of the night when nursing a baby. With two nursing infants I have a lot of great thinking time! Its great really, its quiet and completely dark, so I have no distractions. Anyhow, I digress. I thought they pant legs could make some very cute hair bows for my daughter. So the next day I did some more googling (while nursing, since its hard to much else while breastfeeding, and it just forces me to take a minute for myself). I looked on etsy as well for inspiration, and really, what I found was not that cute. I then remembered making hair bows with my sister as a kid. We used fabric scraps and hot glue. It was easy and fun. So I went out on my own and tried a few things. I hot glued each bow on an alligator clip.

Here is my first attempt.

I thought it would be cute to use the seams in bows, but decided after that it wasn't. The bow is too big, and I don't like the big loopy holes.




Attempt #2
I decided to start with a rectangle and hot glue each edge. Then I pinched the middle and used a skinny scrap to wrap around the middle.
This bow looks more finished, but also quite plain. At least the size is better.



Attempt #3 (now we are getting somewhere)

I started with a rectangle, 2x5 inches.

I frayed along the long side by pulling threads.

Then I folded over one end, and put glue along it and folded the opposite edge to meet it.



(I found you do not want the glued part exactly in the middle, or it does not pinch off as well, hence why it is off to the side.)

Pinch the middle

I then used the cuff from the pants (I did cut off some of the really frayed strings)

I used the cuff to cinch the pinched middle.


Then I made another to "match". Notice they aren't really the same size/shape, but when in the hair, you cannot really tell. It's times like these that its a very good thing I am not a perfectionist!


I then decided that the cuffs themselves could make for some very cute bows. These were super simple to make. I did not line the alligator clip. I just hot glued the cuff right on, just slightly bigger than the clip itself. Because the clip is not lined, I did stick a small scrap between the metal to keep them from sticking to each other. What good is a clip that you cannot open.



Then added a little embellishment.

I love the frayed look to them. I think all of the bows look very 1980's, so its a good thing that look is coming back in.



The longer I kept at it, the more ideas came to me.

Back to this step,

I added an X of ribbon (hot glued where the ribbons meet)
And hot glued it onto the bow
Then add your cincher to hold the pinch. You can use either the cuff, or a scrap. And of course it needs just a little more to pretty it up...







Add a little more color,

and for Miss B, a little glam!


I got lucky that day, the twins were super sleepy (because of a cold, not so lucky there) and contented enough to let me create. Then Grandma was visiting from out of state, so she was more than happy to hold one of the boys while my sister-in-law and I went to "work" (Hard to call work when you are having so much fun!)

I was able to get all the bows pictured here (and 4 more for my little niece Miss M) done in one day. Even more impressive, I got 8 denim bows made, and 8 cuff clips done from one pair of 4t cut off pant legs! Not too shabby!


I obviously did a few bows besides the denim ones. Miss B. needed some St. Paddy's clips. And a while ago I saw some cute pom-pom caterpillar clips somewhere, and knew my daughter needed some of those as well.

These are just too fun! I used silk leaves from silk flowers I previously pulled apart for flower bows. Hot glued the leaves onto the alligator clips, and then hot glued the pom-poms on, added some tiny googly eyes, and pipe cleaner antennas. I am so ready for Spring!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Well, it has been a while since I have updated here. Being pregnant with twins, complete hospital bedrest, and caring for and nursing two babies puts a damper on the blogging. :)

Sorry this is posted so close to St. Paddy's Day, but I did want to share a few festivities that the kids and I have had fun with in years past.

I have had hosted two different St. Patrick's Day Parties as a preschool teacher. The students favorite activity, and my own children's as well is this:
(idea found here: Perpetual Preschool)
The End of the Rainbow: We go searching for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! I run a very long length of ribbon throughout our playground. It weaves around trees, under large toys, around corners, etc. Actually, it is several long pieces of ribbon tied end to end...first red, then orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and gold . The kids follow the rainbow path to find treasure -- a leprechaun's pot of gold coins, small toys, stickers, gold rocks, or whatever you want to hide!

My daughter actually reminded me of this activity a few months ago. She is very excited for St. Patrick's Day this year, so we can do it again.

Here are some photos from this year's festivities!




For snack we usually do this (idea found here: Preschool Education )
Magic Powder On St. Patrick's Day, pour three boxes of instant Pistachio pudding mix into a plastic airtight container. Label the container "Magic Powder." Leave the container in an obvious place with directions from the leprechaun for making pudding.
Note:
Dear children:
*Open the lid and take a whiff of my magic powder, What does it smell like to you?
*Add 6 Cups of cold milk. I left some in the fridge!
*Put the lid on tight.
*Take turns shaking the bowl while the whole class says:
Leprechauns, Leprechauns
Shamrocks seen
Magic powder
Green, green, green!

The kids love shaking it up and watching it turn green. Some kids try it, some don't. The ones that try it usually like it. ;)

For an art craft for 3-4 yr olds (though my six year old quite enjoyed it too) we did this:
(idea found here: Hummingbird Ed)

Depending on the age/skill of children, you can precut circles, or have the children cut the circles themselves. You want circles in the following sizes and colors. I did not do those exact sizes,
I just made sure to graduate the sizes, with red being the largest.
CIRCLES
Red-12"
Orange-10"
Yellow-8"
Green-6"
Blue-4"
Violet-2"
Have the children glue the orange circle onto the red circle, the yellow onto the orange, etc. Before the glue (which will be thick in some areas) dries, fold in half-colors out- any way the colors look best or however the child chooses. We punched a hole in top and hung them from the ceiling in the room. We added a little gold glitter glue to ours as well.

Here is my son's hanging, and my daughter's with glitter (the boy didn't want glitter lol)




In the past we have also painted our own blarney stone. I found some rocks and painted them green ahead of time, so
they would be dry. The kids added all kinds of green
embellishments, glitter, pipe cleaners, foam stickers, etc. We
also added eyes to them. The kids had fun, and they turned
out adorable. Unfortunately that was 4 years ago and I was not
the photo nut I am now.

Another fun art project we did was torn paper shamrocks (idea found here: Free Kid Crafts)
What You'll Need: Green construction paper, Large sheet of contrasting paper, Pencil, Glue. What to Do: Tear green construction paper into small pieces. Half inch squares work pretty well, but you can go a little bigger if you're working with a very young child. Draw a large shamrock shape in the middle of the sheet of contrasting paper. Spread glue around the inside of the design. Try to cover the entire surface of the shamrock so that covering it will be easier. Put the torn green paper on the glue to create the shamrock design. Let the glue dry completely.

We also danced an Irish jig. The best music I had available was from the dancing scene in Titanic, but the kids loved it.

And the best St. Paddy's movie to watch, is of course,

I love any excuse to make a cute craft with the kids, and these are the ones I think worked best. What things do you like to do for St. Patrick's Day?