Pompom Sorting

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest, the same way most people do. I love getting ideas for new activities with my kid, but some of those blog posts have to be built on a house of LIES. There is no way your 18 month old built a Christmas tree out of playdough and wrapped garlands around it like that, Smothery Mothering!! THERE’S NO WAY. So take Pinterest with an enormous grain of artisan, organic, hand-harvested, pink Himalayan sea salt. OK, rant over. (maybe).

I saw this idea for sorting Pompoms by color as an activity for 2 year olds. Well, I just happen to have one of those at my house, so I thought, why not entertain him? I used construction paper, and plastic cups I had laying around as the basis for this project. Look at all the random junk you’ve accumulated since having a child (I mean, who has time to take out the recycling any more?!?!) and find a few containers that are roughly the same size. You’ll also need scissors, tape, and a pencil. You could probably paint the bottoms of the containers instead of using construction paper if you’d like. I’m not your boss. (But if I am, GET BACK TO WORK, GAYLE!)


Trace the bottom of the container onto the paper. I cut one out, and tested it in the cup until it fit, then used that as my template for the others.


Tape the circles into the bottom.


Boom! Ready to play! This only took me 10 minutes or so.


I was making this in the bathroom while my son was in the tub. You guys got to see my counters while they were clean! Oh, I mean, they’re always clean. I’m like, Martha Stewart mixed with June Cleaver, but super hot and witty like Tina Fey, all in one.


For younger kids, or when just starting to learn colors,use fewer containers and colors. I would also start with colors that are distinctly different from each other, like red and green, or yellow and blue. Orange and red can be a pain to differentiate, so start out simply.

“Why are there no pictures of this mystery toddler playing with this toy his mother so lovingly crafted?” you’re asking. Well, because he immediately wanted to play with the circles in the bottoms of the cups, and cried until I pulled them all out for him. Then he shoved each one into my dresser through a tiny gap in the drawer. Maybe I should have just made that the game? Now I have a new idea…

But you can see why I have a vendetta against Pinterest. It would have been so easy for me to snap a picture of the back of baby Nacho’s head “playing” with this toy while he desperately tried to pull the circles out of the bottom. So don’t feel bad if you make something, and it doesn’t go as planned. All kids are different, and all kids are weird. I try to pay attention and participate in the way he plays with something, rather than trying to guide how he’s “supposed” to play with something. Above all, have fun!

pompom cover


March 4, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts, Kid Stuff. Leave a comment.


We are planning to travel for Christmas with my two year old because A) I’m insane, and B) Someone gifted me lots of Austin Beerworks beer, so I can tolerate more aggravation (Note: I do NOT mean drinking and driving. That’s an absolutely terrible idea. Just drink at home, so you can play video games at the same time!).


Since we’re traveling with a toddler, I am planning as many activities as possible that are lightweight, easy to carry, pack, and play with, and are cheap, so I don’t have to freak out if bits get left behind. To that end, I made some simple, free winter printables that you guys are welcome to. You can use these as coloring pages or just decorate with cheap stickers!

Christmas treehousesnowman
You’ve got your basic Christmas tree, and a snowman and house to decorate, since not everyone celebrates Christmas. The house can be made into a gingerbread house, or a monster house, whatever the kiddo’s tiny heart desires. And you can print dozens of them. Dozens!!!

Everyone be safe during this insane travel and shopping time. Remember that you don’t have to shop if you don’t want to! Whatever you’re up to, have fun and be safe!

Love, That Clever Chick

December 16, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , . Kid Stuff, Uncategorized. 2 comments.

DIY Magic Wand

It should be no surprise to anyone that I, and most of my friends, are giant nerds. We love everything from Star Wars, to Harry Potter, to Doctor Who, to obscure, terrible sci-fi B movies. Some of them even profess to like Star Trek, although I really don’t believe anyone can actually enjoy it. In the spirit of nerdy friendship, I decided to make a magic wand for Kornberg. She made me this fantastic cross stitch to give to my surgeon after the Giant Fibroid of Doom. (Kornberg even sells the pattern on her Etsy, so you can make your very own uterus!)       

Uterus Cross stitch

Uterus Cross stitch

Being the wonderful person I am, I made her an awesome gift, AND recorded the event for all of you wonderful minions. First, get a stick of appropriate length. Try to find one of durable thickness, with as few twigs coming off of it as possible. I used a knife to whittle down as much of the twigs stumps as possible, then sanded the lumps down viciously. I also peeled off all the bark. It helps to find a dog to pose with your future wand.


We had a tiny bottle of gel wood stain laying around the house (it was like $2 at Hobby Lobby), so I used that to stain it. I like that look because the wood grain shows through, but you could easily paint it instead. It also took awhile to dry.


Once it was dry, I used some shirt paint to draw magical symbols and incantations on it. Actually I just made pretty designs. I don’t know anything about magic or magick, and I was too lazy to research any runes or other legit stuff.

IMG_1902 IMG_1905

Before starting that step, make sure you have a way to prop the thing up to dry, so you don’t end up just holding it like a jackass. Which I did not do. I held it like a lady.


There’s the finished product! It was a fun project that took an hour, plus drying time. If you’re going to do this with kids I recommend preparing the sticks ahead of time, because that was the most time-consuming part. I love getting to trade crafts with my buddies!

December 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . Arts and Crafts, Nerd Stuff. 1 comment.

Hang Stuff Up

I am just covered up with jewelry I love. I have filtered through and gotten rid of some, but the rest is mine, and I’m not sharing. One of the downfalls of jewelry is that we rarely get to see our own; when you’re wearing it, everyone sees it but you, and the rest of the time it’s in a jewelry box, purposely tangling itself up with all your other jewelry. Well, no more! I decided to make a necklace holder, not for charms since I already have one, but for necklaces and bracelets.

I went to Home Depot and bought a pretty piece of wood that was 6 feet long, 2 inches wide, and a half inch thick. It was about $3. I measured it into 1.5 foot segments. I also bought nails, which apprently only come in boxes of 18,000 nails. Fortunately, they were about $3 also, although it was slightly embarrassing asking if Home Depot had any “prettier” nails.

Fortunately, we have a saw, and I have Hubby who protects me from my own clumsiness. Now I have 4 short boards, and all my fingers! Hooray! I marked where I wanted holes drilled in the corners to hang these up:

You can see again, my sweet Hubby does quality work. I was literally headed outside to do this myself when he saw me with the power drill. He gave me his “disapproving look”, and said “Where are you going with that?” I said “Outside. I just need to drill holes in the corners”. He sighed and took it from me, and said something about accidentally drilling through my own hand, and how he didn’t have time to drive me to the hospital today, and then he did it in about 4 minutes.

So you can see I tried to do it myself; he just has more first-hand experience with my clumsiness than anyone else on the planet, other than me, and he prefers to prevent trouble before it starts. My brain seems to be in denial about the constant injuries I inflict on myself. And Hubby. And the pets, sometimes. And friends standing nearby.

I used a measuring tape to space my nails out evenly.

I space mine 1.5 inches apart. When measuring this out, take into account what you’ll be hanging on this rack. For necklaces, fairly close together is fine. For belts or purses, not only should you get longer nails, spacing them further apart makes them easier to use.

Look! I hammered a nail in! By myself! Because Hubby wasn’t home to protect me from myself. Let’s all pretend I didn’t smash a two fingers, then swear like a sailor. Let’s also pretend I hammered that nail in securely, and it didn’t fall out when I hammered the next one in, and this did NOT happen repeatedly, like a freaking cartoon.

Finally! Success! Although it took awhile to find an angle for the picture that wouldn’t show how horrifically crooked my nails are. They appear to be doing the wave.

I spray painted it glossy black to go with the frame it will be hanging next to. There are lots of design options, though, to make it match your style and tastes.

You could glue beer tops to the end of each nail!

You could use tops from your favorite brand! Here I have several varieties of Shiner Bock. You could use all the same kind, or use only tops of similar colors, or whatever you like.

I don’t know about you, but I have buttons and pins galore at my place. You could glue some of those bad boys on there, or use ticky tac if you don’t want them on there permanently.

Here’s an idea of what this would look like with beer tops. You can see that they make the space between the nails rather small. If you were making this to hold ties, belts, scarves, or purses, you should probably space the nails out some.

Here it is, in all its sparkly glory! You can see I very cleverly hung bracelets on the left, so I still have access to the outlet.


For kind of a country, quaint look, you could either leave the wood as is, or paint it white and sandpaper the edges a bit. You could glue buttons to the ends of the nails to “class it up”.

This one I completed as a necklace holder. I plan to make the others into a tie/belt holder for Hubby, a key/leash rack for the front door, and a scarf holder for the hall closet. For all of those I will space the nails out further than I did on this one. I definitely won’t decorate the nails on the key rack, since that will make it hard to get the keys on and off.

When you are making something like this for yourself, think about what your needs are, and plan accordingly. If you’re going to take the time to make something for yourself, you may as well make sure you’ll want to keep it. Don’t make something a specific way because you think you should, or because that’s what you’ve seen before. You can just get a piece of junk at Wal-mart if that’s your goal. Make something that will meet your needs, be nice to look at, and that you’ll be proud to show off to people.


September 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts. 4 comments.

Survive the Heat

One of my friends on Facebook, Katherine Fan, who took these magnificent pictures of Hubby and me, posted a quandry that made me think. In her home, her bedroom catches all the afternoon heat, and ends up sweltering. If she was to turn the thermostat down to make her room bearable, it would freeze out the other occupants of the house, and cost a ton.

Mine and Hubby’s bedroom has a similar issue, so of course, being the helpful person I always am, I offered her a couple of solutions. These can work for that one room in the house or apartment that never seems to cool off, or, like Hubby and I experienced, if the AC dies and you have to wait for a repairman until the next day.

Fans are always great for cooling you off. We have a ceiling fan, but an additional box fan can be really useful in especially hot areas. You can amp up your box fan by placing something cold, like a jug of frozen water, in front of it. Rinse out a used coke bottle or milk jug, fill it with water, and put it in the freezer. Place it on a plate (to catch condensation) in front of the fan, and let the cool air blow over you.

If you are horrifically hot and desperate, like the night Hubby and I spent waiting for the repairman, you can keep an ice pack on your head or neck. It can make a big difference, especially when it’s over 100 degrees outside, consistently, and with no end in sight.

Curtains can make a HUGE difference. We have these really gorgeous red silk sheets my Dad got somewhere, and I wanted to use them as curtains. Silk and sunlight don’t mix well, however, and they wouldn’t block much light. I hung up one full-size white sheet, folded in half, over each window. The white fabric reflects a ton of heat and light, and will protect the silk. Just hanging these up alone made a huge difference in the temperature of the room.

I have been crafty since time began (in the 80’s), and I converted these shirts to curtains somewhere around six years ago. Instead of using this method with the curtain clips, I sewed loops of ribbon to one end of each sheet. I measured out the loops ahead of time to make sure they were all equal, and spaced them about 4 inches apart. This shows how I sewed it along the back:

And you can see on the front there is only a small hint of the sewing I did. These bad boys have been hanging up for 6 years with no problems, and they still look great.

Here’s the finished product!

I even put up a curtain-hold-back-thing. I put it up high so I can put the curtains out of the way without rearranging the top of the curtains. I hate having to spread it back out and make sure it’s all even and everything.

My sis, Beans, had these tie backs laying around and didn’t want them. They totally match our decor!

The whole project took me maybe 30 minutes, and cost me ZERO dollars. I got a new look and a cooler room with little effort and for free! You know I love it!

September 3, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . House Stuff, Thriftiness is Cool. 1 comment.

Flip Flop Revamp

For some reason, I have a weird love for those flip flops that have the cane or whatever woven for the bottoms. I usually own at least one pair, and I prefer black ones. My current pair had gotten worn down to the point where my big toes were basically on the bare ground when I wore them.

This sent my sis, Beans, into fits of laughter. She happened to have these extra flip flops laying around, and took pity on my poor feet by giving them to me:

They’re fine, and fit great, but plaid? No thanks. I think that’s why Beans never wore them. You can’t really tell from the picture, but there’s red glitter thread running through the plaid. I decided to revamp them into what I will actually wear.

You will need black shirt paint (it’s waterproof, and acrylic isn’t) a small paint brush, and the flip flops. I very carefully painted only the plaid areas. That’s a challenge when your small dog decides it’s play time in the middle of one flip flop. I painted the thong part last, and wore them while they dried to make sure they dried in the right shape for my feet.

The big reveal! I think they came out pretty good. Now I can finally retire the previous pair, or just save them for beach shoes. I am praying for winter to end. It should not be this cold here!

February 17, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts. 3 comments.

How to make a dog bed

Look at my precious little baby dog! Would I ever let him sleep in a cold, bare crate, especially with the way the weather has been? Banish the thought! I am not dumb enough to spend $80 on a pillow for my dog to lay on, so I decided to make my own, crafty chick that I am.

He’s already laying on some of my homemade pillows, so I’m sure he’ll love any bed I make him.

These are old mattress covers that have been in my garage. We used them for padding things while we moved, and for covering plants when it frezzes (before all my plants died because I’m terrible with them). So these were laying around, useless. They are all lightly padded, so I could fold them into the shape I needed, but it would still be cushiony for my sweet precious baby, Flapjack.

You can see the dismal blankie he’s been stuck with up until now. I measured the width and depth of the crate so I could make the bed fit. I left a few extra inches at the front for his food bowl.

I folded the matress pads as evenly as possible into the right size. I tried to make sure the bed was an even thickness all the way around. I used 2 full size mattress pads, because that’s what I have on hand. My sis, Beans, used an old sleeping bag once, and her dog loved it. My mother’s dogs stole her yoga matt, so she just let them have it.

I used a big huge needle, like the kind for crocheting, and I used crocheting yarn, and I ended up needing pliers to pull the needle through. I would stab the needle through as far as possible, and use the pliers to pull it all the way out. I used the really simple tie method to attach all this stuff to itself. You can do this in lazy quilting also. You just sew down, then up, very close together, then tie a knot. Leave the ends dangling, an inch or so, then move onto the next spot. I made sure all the dangling ends are on the bottom, so Flapjack doesn’t try to eat them or anything. Somehow this whole process made me forget to take pictures.

Once the bed was done, it fit snuggly into the crate, and I have to actually wedge his food bowl between the crate and the bed. This is actually a good thing, because it prevents him from flinging his food all over the place, which is what he has been doing. So far it’s working great. I wrapped him blankie around it, so I won’t have to wash the whole bed, just the blankie.

You can use whatever stuff you have laying around the house for this. For small dogs you can even just stuff a pillow case, sew it shut, and throw it on the floor. You can also get great stuff for this at thrift stores. If you plan on having the bed on a floor, rather than in a crate, you can use an old rug for the bottom to keep it from sliding around, and to make it more durable. You could sew a ton of old towels together. The possibilities for recycling are endless!

February 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Arts and Crafts, Thriftiness is Cool. 1 comment.