Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Holiday Card

We had a super fun time making our super hero themed Christmas/New Years Card. Here's the story and the finished product.

First I made the background from blue paper, stuffing (for the clouds), and painted buildings. (More details here)

The toughest part was arranging the kids. In hind sight, I'm glad I took a picture of just the background by itself. In the end, there wasn't one picture where both kids looked great, so I used photoshop to combine several images.

Here are the best pictures if PJ and Lydia.

PJ had to take my picture!

My original idea was to create one image of the four of us with the caption "Have a SUPER New Year"!

We did use that image, but it went on the BACK of our card.

When I looked at Shutterfly's cards, the ones with just one picture seemed too plain. I fell in love with this template that looked like a comic strip. It let us have a picture on the back, and still have some room to write a personal message.

And there's our card! From our family to yours, may 2013 be more fun than you can imagine!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

DIY American Girl Doll Bed

My daughter asked for a bed for her American Girl doll for Christmas. I got so tied up with finding the princess castle from Santa, that I forgot about the doll bed until two days before Christmas.

I refuse to pay around $100 for the actual AG beds and even one you assemble yourself from the craft store was a whopping $40. In less than 24 hours, my husband and I were able to make the beautiful bed pictured above using less than $20 in materials. (Ours actually cost NOTHING as I had all the supplies already!)

It all started with the pink plastic bed shown above. I found it at Walmart for $20 and decided to buy it just in case no better options presented themselves. As I looked at it in my cart, I noticed how simply it was constructed. It was just two equally sized and shaped pieces for the head board and the foot board.

I thought of some of the wood plaques that I have seen in the craft department at Walmart. The one I liked best for this project was an oval Marquis plaque made by Plaid. It's the same plaque that I used for the Elephant Growth Chart.

My idea was to cut it in half for the head board and foot board. My husband had the brilliant idea to cut one part larger than the other for a bigger head board than foot board. The plaque was $13. If you were really trying to cut costs and making multiple beds, you could cut it in half and just make it into 2 head boards and not have a foot board. (I already had a plaque from another project that I wasn't happy with, so my cost is ZERO)

My hubby cut the plaque and also some scraps of plywood to make the bed. He made the mattress support twenty inches long (to hold the 18 inch doll) and as wide as the plaque. He cut four rectangles for legs. They are about 2x3 inches, but could be any size. He just screwed everything together and didn't worry too much about the details because I was hiding it all in the bedding. (Everything was wood scraps, so the total cost is still ZERO)

For the mattress, I had a foam square that I cut to fit. If I didn't have that, I would have used cotton batting that I also had on hand.

I covered the foam with a scrap of fabric and hot glued the fabric to the underside of the bed so the fabric holds the mattress in place.

Next I used the hot glue to attach a bed skirt. This covered any weird spots on the mattress and also the screws and rough edges of the headboard and footboard.

Finally, I made a simple quilt and a little pillow. (All the fabrics came from my scrap stash, so the price is still ZERO) it still needed a few more coats if white paint at this point, but you get the full effect of the bed here. Below you can see the finished bed, less than 24 hours and ZERO DOLLARS after we started it!

My daughter LOVES it and I love that it isn't a pink plastic mess. This bed is sturdy and beautiful and worthy of even the ritziest American Girl Doll!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Eat, Drink, and be Cozy: Quick and Easy Christmas Gifts!

This all started with these peppermint striped silly straws. I found them at a huge bargain and bought what seemed like a class set. I figured they could be a treat for my daughter's preschool class. I ended up not having enough but didn't want them to go to waste. (I also didn't want to store them until I could decide what to do with them)

So I used them to make a cute gift for the kids teachers and some family friends. I started with a cup. Depending on your price range, it can be just a cheap cup to hold everything (less then a dollar) or one of those double walled insulated cups that are popular right now ($5 - $10). I did like using a clear cup so that the rest of the gift was visible.

I dropped a few candies into the bottom of the cup. When we made the ones for the teachers, I got my four year old to count the out and put exactly ten in each. Again, depending on your price range, these can be more or less expensive. I also got several fun and funky thick and chunky socks in Christmas colors. These are the kind if thing I expect the recipient to wear around the house so I wasn't too worried about who got what color. These came in a two pack for about $3 at Walmart.

I folded the socks in half and placed them in the cup so the folded end was down and the open ends were at the top. That was helpful in having a place to insert the straw. Some gifts I finished with shredded paper on top (kind of like foam) and some got sprinkled with more candy. I inserted a gift card into the loop of the straw (choose the type and amount to fit your recipient). Most of mine were to Starbucks.

As a finishing touch, and because this gift contains candy, a coffee card/cup, and a pair of socks, I added a tag saying "Eat, Drink, and be COZY!" I hope the recipients enjoyed it. We had fun making them and I enjoyed that the TEN that I made were quick and easy and not terribly expensive.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"Home is Where the Heart Is" Easy Wall Hanging

I love it when a project comes together in an absurdly easy way, especially when you have an absurdly short amount if time!

I wanted to make something for my brother and his wife for Christmas, but I have been so busy with the baby and returning to work that everything was left until the last minute.

I wanted to make a sign or some type of wall art because they just moved and bought a new house. I saw these wooden three part frames and Walmart and they gave me an idea.

My brother and sister-in-law have now lived in three places since they got married. So I decided to use three maps to create this piece. First I painted the frame.

Next I cut three maps so that the cities they have lived in were centered in the frames.

The frames came with a plain wire hanger. (Mommy Dearest says "No more wire hangers!") So, I unhooked the wire and strung some beads.

I hung a few heart beads on the top and bottom frame. I thought about adding more embellishments or the words "Home is where the heart is", but decided that I liked it just the way it is. Besides, at this point it was 2 days before Christmas and I still had a long list of projects to finish!

If you are making this for a couple that haven't lived in three places it could be fun to do something like this but with a picture of the couple in the center and a map of where each person was born. This frame could also be used for pictures of each parent and a picture of their baby in the center.

The possibilities are endless, but the time you will spend decorating this frame is absurdly short!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Bow Tie Bib for a Dapper Drooler!

Baby boy is teething and drooling through everything! We are putting bibs on him most of the time, which means his cute outfits are being hidden. Not cool!

I have had an idea for some type I'd up cycled shirt bib and decided Christmas Eve was the perfect time to test it out.

I had an old sweater that I used on other craft projects. It was wool and had been washed so it became felted and really easy to cut and sew.

I cut it in a shape similar to the flannel bibs that I make. I just left the sweater collar in tack.

I had a square of toweling left over and sewed that to the sweater so it has a nice finished edge AND the back is super absorbent. I need to play with the shape a little more because I don't like how that flat bib edge meets baby's neck.

For the tie, I sewed a wide rectangle of fabric into a tube. I just rolled the raw edges on the ends into the tube. That way I got a finished edge but not a seam. I tacked it in place with a little sewn stitch.

I tied a simple knot and the bow tie bib was ready to go! I have a few improvements in mind if I make more (maybe I will finally get an item up on that etsy site!) but Little Man seems to like it and his Christmas outfit stayed drool free!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Cuteness

Here is a random selection of the cuteness that this Holiday brought to our house.

Lydia in the pajamas that I customized for her from a thrift store find.

Joshua looking a little unsure about one of his gifts.

Lydia acting very sure that it can be her toy for a while.

My family being silly in Star Trek pajamas that my mom made.

Joshua trying to eat all of his gifts.

Lydia played and played and played with the castle from Santa Claus. Baby brother got two Imaginext knights with horses and, since he wasn't using them, Lydia played with them too.

Mostly, we were blessed to all be together with most of our families to celebrate this special time of year.