Rainy days, blah blah, kids trapped in the house, yadda yadda, mom’s out of booze, we need an activity. My son can’t get enough of playing with balls, so I thought I’d look at the resources I had on hand to craft an activity for him.
What does every crafty mom having laying around? Cardboard tubes! Whether from paper towels or toilet paper, we know there MUST be a use for them, and we hoard them like canned goods in a bomb shelter. I have these things falling out of cabinets when I attempt to put dishes away, so I figured it was about time to use a few up.
You will need: paper towel tubes, a cardboard box, strong tape, scissors, balls.
I had this Costco yogurt box laying around, and it is the perfect size for this. You can use something bigger or smaller, it’s up to you. I’m going to show you the basics of how I made mine, then you can adjust according to the materials you have on hand.
I started out laying the cardboard tubes in the box to measure how many I would need. I cut the tops off, long ways, just using scissors. I didn’t cut them directly in half, but if you have a shortage of paper towel tubes (Ha! Yeah, right) then you can do that and use each half.
I used pieces of toilet paper roll to add extra support to the paper towel tubes, with double stick tape. Important note: make sure the balls you’re going to use for this will fit through with those supports on there. Mine did not. I used whiffle golf balls and had to remove my beautiful supports.
I used big loops of masking tape to stick the tubes into the box. You can also use duct tape, or whatever you have laying around that’s fairly tacky. Again, test this thing before you hand it to your toddler so you don’t have to frantically rip pieces off while they run off to play with power outlets.
Success! He played with it!
Disclaimer: it does not work with kangaroos. I apologize for this huge oversight.
If your local stores are anything like mine, they’ve had Halloween candy out since April. You may have become so inured to the sight that you’ve forgotten Halloween is actually happening, and SOON. You have to start getting your costume together NOW. Fortunately, I’m a huge fan of Halloween, so I’ve built a huge collection of useful info for you!
Need more simple costume ideas? How about:
There are so many options that don’t require you to go get a plastic costume from one of those Halloween stores. Just your natural assets and some random thrift store finds are all it takes for a unique costume. As you can see, I really just freaking love Halloween. It’s the greatest holiday ever! It’s all fun and creativity, with no obligations. It’s creepy and dark and wonderful.
On my previous post about altering baby clothes, the most common comment I got was “You know there are these things called onesie extenders, right?” Yes, yes I do. Remember how I told you to keep your onesie scraps for a mystery project? Well here it is! DIY onesie extender!
Take the scraps from your onesie-turned-t-shirt, and pin them together. Make sure you pin it so the snap parts are facing the right direction, and will actually snap onto a onesie.
I simply trimmed off a little extra, folded the raw edges under, and sewed it together. It’s a little wide, and round, but it doesn’t really matter. I made another one later that came out much nicer, now I have two!
As you can see, my son is now enjoying an outfit he’d grown out of! He looks terrified, but that’s because the camera makes crazy lights and noises he can’t understand, yet.
So with these two tiny sewing projects, you gain another baby t-shirt, and a way to make several outfits last longer. Pretty damn clever, if I do say so myself!
Kids have an annoying tendency to grow out of things before they wear them out. My sweet baby Nacho is no different. He had these two adorable pirate onesies:
And of course he outgrew them. But they’re so cute! So we’re going to alter one of these into a t-shirt! I opted to use the longer one for this, so there’s enough fabric to roll up and hem.
Cut the onesie as low as you can, as shown above. Retain the pieces for an upcoming mystery project! Now roll the extra fabric up as little as possible so you can hem it. You want to leave as much fabric as possible for the t-shirt, but you need to cover up that raw edge so it doesn’t unravel.
Once you have everything pinned in place, just sew the hem down. I did it by hand since my sewing machine has forsaken me, and it didn’t take much time at all.
And now your little rugrat can look awesome for another few weeks, until his next growth spurt!
I finished a couple crochet projects, and I just want to brag and show them off. The thing is, I finished them both literally just in time for summer, and just now uploaded the pictures. I guess having a kid kind of fire bombs the blogging schedule…
Here we have a little scarf I made for my BFF. I started it AGES ago, before either of us had kids. I hoped to finish it for her last Christmas, but failed. I DID, however, finish it in time for her birthday this year! But then didn’t see her for a couple of months…and then gave it to her on a blazing hot summer day. Great. Hopefully, Kay enjoys it this winter!
And for myself, I finally completed my hoodie scarf! It’s a scarf with the hood built in! When I was modeling it for pictures, though, I guess it didn’t occur to me that my jammies would be visible. Here, let me fix that real quick…
There, now I’m a princess! My awesome hoodie scarf is covering my crown. And you’ll just have to ignore the dirty mirror. MS Paint can’t do anything about that. I’m not posting a pattern for the hoodie scarf because A) I want to have the only one, and I know how ya’ll copy me, and B) I just made it up as I went along. I don’t know if I could ever recreate this, even if my life depended on it. But I make a dazzling princess, right?
Our corgi, Flapjack, has been a bit neglected since my son, Nacho, was born. Neglected as in “no longer receiving endless attention”. To remedy this, his Aunt Lis brought him a new toy! Star Wars themed, no less! Unfortunately, Boba Fett is strong enough to withstand the Great Pit of Carkoon, but not the Mighty Jaws of Corgi. But Flapjack still loved his busted bounty hunter, even bringing him up to bed each night. I had to perform some armor repair.
You can see I very crudely wrapped denim around the torso, and sewed it shut. The denim is way tougher than the initial material, and has not lost a single thread yet. So maybe Boba Fett seems to be wearing a bath towel…and one arm is still attached a bit tenuously. Flapjack is happy, and Boba’s guts are protected.
I basically wrapped the fabric around, tucked the raw edges under, and whip stitched the whole thing. I mean, this is going in my dog’s mouth. I love him, but not enough to hand him a work of art.
See? He doesn’t care. He’s just happy to have Boba back where he belongs: begging for mercy from a giant beast.
Sometimes a well-meaning friend or family member will get you a gift of some kind that really doesn’t reflect your aesthetic ideals. But maybe you still want to keep said item around for when this person stops by. There are ways to alter the item in question so that it fits into your decor, but it still recognizable by the Gifter. For example, if someone gives you a hideous throw pillow, you can simply recover it, and remove the cover when the Gifter comes to visit.
It obviously took a lot of skill to create this, but since I’m going for more of a pirate/pin up/Bohemian look in my house, it really doesn’t match. This particular piece was not a gift, it was thrifted, but I’m just using it as an example.
Step 1: Turn it over and screw in picture hooks:
I have no idea what these are called. They came in a “picture hanging kit” I have. They’re little squares with a short screw shaft. I just screwed them in by hand, no drilling or anything.
Step 2: I then painted the whole thing black. It’s best to do a uniform color as the background so that you don’t have any weird shapes or colors showing through the front painting. If you’re worried about the colors showing through, coat it with white first and let that dry.
Step 3: While that was drying, I sketched out what I wanted to paint (and took a blurry photo of it). If you’re a great artist you can probably skip this step, but there’s a reason I didn’t complete a degree in art.
Step 4: Cut out the main shape and use it as a stencil. Mine was very simple, but you can see a more complex stencil here. Trace it in pencil.
Step 5: I filled in the whole thing with white. I’ll be painting the other colors on top of this, so the white underneath them will really make them pop, as opposed to painting directly on the black. I tried to free-hand my little scroll at the bottom, and you can see that didn’t work out great. I was able to fix it, however.
Step 6: And you’re done! Just kidding, I hate it when “how to” shows do that. They show the first, easy steps in minute detail, then the host says “next you simple recreate the Sistine Chapel ceiling in 1/8 size on the wall, and you’re done!” And you think “I hate that lady, but now I’m compelled to do this!”
I used my original drawing to sketch pencil guides onto my big white blob, then painted that. I used shirt paint for the eye lashes and script, because I find it much easier to use for fine lines than paint brushes. It’s just my personal preference. I use Liquitex paints, but again, that’s just a personal preference. They come in all kinds of colors, or you can get the basics and mix your own. They aren’t paying me or anything, but I would TOTALLY take it if they would.
A couple things to remember about painting: acrylic paint dries slightly darker than when you mix it, so if the shade is really important, mix some, let it dry, then see if it’s what you want before you use it on the final product. Also, I used glitter nail polish on the lips, but nail polish WILL melt acrylic paint if you aren’t careful. Dab it on, don’t run it around, and DON’T touch it once it’s in place. Let it dry for a disgusting amount of time.
I added some fake flowers I had laying around, and then added this to our wall of artwork. If this were an actual gift, I could just flip it over on the hook when the Gifter stopped by. This was a fun project that only took a few hours (with drying time) to complete.
The concept of ugly blanket is simple: take all the leftover bits of yarn from other crochet projects, and make them into on glorious, hideous blanket. I started out trying to make it like a quilt, but there were many flaws in this strategy, mainly my lack of skill. The squares were all various sizes, and everything was stitched too tight, so nothing would lay flat. It was too ugly to exist:
I ripped the whole thing out (including all the tiny squares I had made) and started over. I don’t actually have a single crochet project I haven’t ripped out at least once and started over. Maybe I should try to learn some basic skills…. Anyway, here’s the finally finished product:
Complete with muppet-like fringe (which turned into dread locks once washed). I used this opportunity to use up small bits of yarn from my own stash, plus the generous donations of several friends and family members. I even ripped out projects that were complete, but I didn’t want anymore. So basically it’s a cannibal blanket.
And here we have Kornberg (featuring Roscoe) enjoying her gift. This was a housewarming/Christmas/Thank you gift, (basically all the events that went by while I was making it) and she and her pets all love it. I’m currently taking donations for the next one, if you have extra yarn laying around.
If you’re like me, your significant other is about your same size, and likes to steal all of your pajama pants. Even the fairly effeminate Mr. Bubble pants, that are mostly pink. “His name is MISTER Bubble. That’s not effeminate!” is Hubby’s defense, but I still need something comfy to wear.
Enter the navy blue yoga capri pants. You think they’d be safe, right? Nope. My Hubby values comfort way over dignity. I had 3 pairs that are all identical, so I decided to make one pair into shorts. Sure enough, that was enough to keep him from adopting them! I used pink thread to hem them up, just to be on the safe side.
The best way I have found to do this is to cut off roughly how much you want cut off, leaving a generous margin for error. Then acquire a helpful friend or family member to pin them while you’re wearing them. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been overly blessed in the booty department, so if I try to sew things without trying them on, I end up short-changed in the rear. Just remember you can always make it shorter, but not longer.
Have your helpful friend fold the edge under once, and then once again to make sure the raw edge is contained in fabric. If you absolutely have to do this yourself, I recommend pinning with safety pins while the clothing is not on you, then try it on to see how you did. You may have to do this several times to get it right.
I hand sewed two rows simply because I thought it looked cute. I wore these CONSTANTLY while pregnant because they are so stretchy and comfortable. Now it’s winter though, and it’s ridiculously cold for Texas. I don’t even think I own enough layers to be outside in. I’m starting to doubt Canadians actually exist, because no human should be able to survive this.
And here I am writing a blog post about shorts when it’s less than 30 degrees F out. But, if you’re like me, you better start summer crafts now, or they’ll never be done in time. I’m still working on a scarf I started in June and I doubt it will be done for this winter. So many craft, so little time.
Once they’re completely dry, you can display them again! I put them in this vase my sis Beans made for me, next to the fairy statue she got me.
You can also press flowers to dry. I’ve found it works best to let them get fairly wilted first, so there’s less moisture in the petals. I love having these dried roses, because I don’t have to worry about watering them, and I get to see a reminder of my loving Hubby every day.
The fun/burden of being crafty is getting together to do crafts with all your crafty friends. When the craftiest of them all, Kathy Phantastic, is getting married it is all hands (with scissors in them) on deck. Our job was mainly to create mountains of fringe:
Kathy Phantastic knows that proper crafting requires fuel and bribes. They were provided in the form of Topo Chico and pizza.
All that fringe was totally worth the final product: personalized pinata letters!