среда, 30 марта 2011 г.

Kid's Craft / Mommy Craft: Hot Air Balloon Mobile

Sooooo this started out as a kid's craft, but the further along I got it really became a Mommy craft :)  Depending on the ages of your kids, they may or may not be able to help with the whole process.  On Mondays and Fridays I watch two other kids for a friend - one is a 3 year old girl - Charlotte's BFF, and one is a sweet little 3 month old boy.  So I've been trying to conjure up activities for us to do, especially on rainy days like we had on Monday.  Since the girls are 3 and 2 1/2 the only part they could really help with was the finger-painting.  But that was great fun. 
So here's how you and your kiddos can make your own hot air balloon mobile!

Supplies for one mobile:
2 pieces of white cardstock
1 piece of colored cardstock  
finger paint
yarn or string
2 long, thin dowels or skewers (I just cut the pointy ends off)
hole punch
stapler, tape.....glue possibly

Step 1:  Cut the pieces of cardstock in half, so you have four pieces 8.5" x 5.5" inches.  Finger paint both sides of all four pieces of paper.  Let them dry.

Step 2:  Cut the painted pieces of paper into 1" x 5.5" strips.  You will need 6 strips for 1 balloon.

Step 3:  Stack all 6 pieces and punch a hole through one end.  (you may have to do 3 at a time).
Step 4:  Lining up the holes, fan out the strips so they make a star shape.  Staple or tape them in the center - just don't cover the hole. 

Now bend them so that the other ends all meet - forming a sphere shape.  Tape/staple/glue/whatever to get those to stay in place.  ( I only have a tiny stapler, and it wasn't cooperating so I used tape.  If you have a large stapler I would suggest that.)

Step 5:  Make the "basket" by cutting a 1"x4" strip from your colored cardstock.  Roll it into a ring and tape in place.  Punch a hole in each side of the basket. 

Tie the string into a knot on one side of the basket.  Feed it through the balloon and tie it onto the other hole in the basket. 

Step 6:  Feed a piece string through the top hole you punched in the strips.  Use a small piece of tape to secure the string on the inside of the balloon.
Step 7:  Once you have made all the balloons you can begin to hang them on your dowels.  Cut one of the dowels in half so that you have 1 long one and 2 short ones.

{Optional step:  you can wrap the dowels in yarn - I thought it softened the look}

Hang one balloon from the center of the long dowel.  Hang a short dowel from each end of the long dowel.  From each end of the short dowels, hang one balloon.  On one of the short dowels hang the last balloon in the center. 


вторник, 29 марта 2011 г.

Demystifying Feng Shui

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now, ever since having a conversation with my sister about what Feng Shui is.
(pic from here - a good post about how to feng shui your bedroom)

Here's wiki's definition:  an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. 

The part I want to focus on is the "improving life by receiving the positive".  When applied to the home, it means that your home should be a positive place. It should make you feel positive.  Not annoyed.  Not exasperated.  Not stressed...........good luck right?  But it doesn't mean your home has to be perfectly clean.  It means your home should work for you.  Many of the aspects of Feng Shui are spiritual and claim to help you be more profitable in your money-making endeavors.  I'm not going to focus on that - the best way I know how to explain how I use Feng Shui is to give examples.  So here are several ways I have "Feng Shui'd" my home lately.

1.  The ironing board.  I was storing it in the laundry room.  Logical place in my mind.  However, every time my husband opened the door, the ironing board fell over on him.  (this never happened to me....must be his masculine muscular structure that forcefully swings the door open...)  Anyway, it bothered him.  Your home shouldn't bother you.  So I moved it.  Now it is over by my crafting area - which works well for me anyway.

2.  My sink.  In our bathroom, we have his and hers sinks.  For about 3 months now there has been a small piece of plastic in my drain that I stare at every time I brush my teeth.  It grosses me out.  Why have I left it there?  Because I am lazy.  But every time I use my sink I get an annoyed feeling.  Bad Feng Shui.  So the other day it took me about 3 seconds to reach in there with a pair of tweezers and take it out.  Now I have positive feelings instead of negative when I use my sink.

Is this starting to make sense?  You might think it seems silly - but start noticing around your house - what is annoying you?  What doesn't work for you?

3.  Last example:  Coffee.  My sister noticed that every morning she had to walk across the kitchen to get the sugar for her coffee.  And every evening she had to move the coffee beans across the kitchen to the grinder.  Not a big deal - but why not have them all together in a common place?  So she rearranged some things and now has a happy little coffee station. 

Again - not a big deal, but those little annoyances of life add up.  You should not get annoyed in your own home. There are plenty of other things to annoy you "out there".  For more information you can go here.  You can find lots of other resources by googling it - just try not to get bogged down with all of the "extra" stuff - just keep remembering YOUR HOME SHOULD WORK FOR YOU!!!! 

(pic from here)

your feng shui guru for the day,

p.s.  If you have more tips for how you feng shui, please tell us in the comments!

среда, 23 марта 2011 г.

Decorating for the Seasons

So....guess what decorations are still up in my house.  St. Patricks?  nope.  Valentine's Day?  nope.
Snowy wintry snowman?  nope.


That's right.  Christmas.  I would like to tell you that I forgot to take it down because it was adorning some out-of-the-way corner - but it's not true.  It is hanging above my entertainment center. 

I stare at it every day.  When we sit our tired bums down in the evening we are greeted by this:

Cute for December.  Not-so-much for March.  I don't know why I haven't changed it - or at the very least taken it down.  BUT in the spirit of good Feng Shui (more on that tomorrow) I decided it was time.  Seize the moment.  Just do it.  blah blah blah.

So I took it down.  Now what?  Gotta be something cute...I write a blog about homemaking.  So it was off to the Dollar Tree to see what I could find.  Here's what I emerged with:
plus two mermaids, a bunch of play grapes, and a pretend baby bottle ;)

I wrapped some neutral yarn around the moss stones, gathered the flowers into a bunch, and added one of my floral eggs

Then I glued these flowers and moss stones to a piece of cardboard.

I cut around the cardboard so you can't see it from the front. 

I taped it to the window pane.   Lastly I taped a picture of Charlotte's first Easter onto the window, and wrote the word Spring with a dry erase marker.

There.  That's much better. 

So tell me...what's the longest you've left decorations up after the holiday has passed?

пятница, 18 марта 2011 г.

Pretty Flower Easter Eggs - Pottery Barn Style

While shopping with Beverly, from Flamingo Toes, last week, I found some easter eggs at Pottery Barn covered in little hydrangea blossoms. (sadly I could not find a picture online of the inspiration eggs, so you'll just have to take my word for it)  I love hydrangeas, in fact they are my favorite flower. 
We had them at our wedding in our bouquets, on the cake, and on the tables.

My great-grandmother used to grow huge bushes of hydrangeas, and my mom and dad have one of the plants transplanted from her old home. So, I'm really happy that they seem to be "in" right now.  I'm not really sure the silk flowers I used are actually hydrangeas, but they looked close enough and were only $1 for a bunch of 3 at Michaels.  The eggs at Pottery Barn were $6.00 each, making the cost for 6 eggs, $36.00.  I spent $10.39 on the supplies to make my own.  Here's how you can make some for your home!

6 paper mache eggs (I got mine at Michaels for $2.50 
- I thought they would withstand the hot glue better than plastic ones)
silk hydrangea flowers ( I bought 2 bunches of each color, $1 a bunch)
hot glue/glue gun

Step 1:  Heat up your glue gun and snip all of the blossoms off the stems.
Separate them by color,

then by size.

Step 2:  Cut 6 pieces of ribbon about 6" long.  Put a dab of hot glue on the top of an egg.  Gently press one end of the ribbon in the glue.  Loop the ribbon around and glue it to the secured end.  Now you have a pretty little loop to hang your eggs.  

Step 3:  Begin gluing the blooms on.  Start with the large blooms.  Just experiment with the gluing method - I got better as I went along.  You might have to put a dab of glue in the center of the flower first - stick it on - then add some glue to the petals.  They don't have to lay flat - in fact it's better if they don't - but you don't want them sticking out in every direction either.

Step 4:  Once you have a nice coverage from the large blooms, begin filling in the spaces with the medium and small sized blooms.  Just keep going until you can't see any of the original egg.  

Then you're finished!  Hang in a lovely spot or on some branches in a vase.

Happy gluing and have a great weekend,

понедельник, 14 марта 2011 г.

DIY Fresh Fuchsia Cami - Anthropologie inspired

Do you ever feel like your loungy clothes are blah or frumpy?  How does that happen?   
I promise I buy cute p.j.’s – I just really really want to be super comfortable….so I guess I end up in baggy t-shirts and the same black yoga pants.  Not too cute.  SO for my trip to San Diego, I wanted something cute AND comfy to wear while lounging around the hotel room.  I found this cami on Anthropologie, and I liked the shape and detailing.  

 I had bought a basic T-shirt for $2.50 the other day and decided to turn that T into a cami.  The result was comfiness embellished with cuteness.  Wouldn’t you like to make one?  It could also be a lovely gift for a bridal shower.  

Here’s what you will need to make your own.
1 standard T-shirt in your size.
Scraps of fabric
Sewing machine/thread/scissors
Pins/water soluble pen/yard stick
1-2 yards of cute embellishment – I used tiny velvet rick-rack

Step 1:  Cut the T-shirt straight across from armpit to armpit.  Hold on to that top part – you will use it later.

Step 2:  Measure the front center of the cut top.  Make a mark.  Then make a mark 4” to the left and right of the center.  To make the first right tuck, fold the shirt at the right 4” mark all the way down to the hem. 

Press well.  Sew along that pressed fold at about ¼” all the way down. 

Open it up.

Make a mark with a pin about ½” to the right of the first tuck.  Fold it at that mark all the way down to the hem.  Press and repeat the stitching. 

Do this one more time.  You should have 3 tucks on the right side.  Now repeat this process starting with the left marking.  When you finish it should look like this:

Step 3:  Using a basting stitch, sew along the cute edge from the last tuck on the left side to the last tuck on the right side.  Gather this stitch slightly and tie off the ends.  Press it well.  

Step 4:  Find the center at the top of the back.  Measure 3” in each direction from the center.  Sew a basting stitch from mark to mark – gather, tie off the threads, and press.  Great!

Step 5:  Lay the top out flat, and cut a slit along both sides – stopping about 8” from the top. 

Now is the time to have your first fitting.  Try it on to make sure you haven’t gathered it too much or not enough.  When you slip it over your head, it should sit right under your chest and flow comfortably over your hips.

Step 6:  Make the bodice.  Lay out the top of the T you originally cut off.  Using a cami that fits you well, trace an outline of the top. 

Cut it out – just one layer – and when you get half way through, fold over what you have already cut onto the uncut portion and use it as the rest of your pattern.  That way both sides will be symmetrical. 

Set that piece aside.  Using another piece of the top of the T, cut out a strip 2 1/2”x the width of the shirt.   Lay this strip right sides together with the bodice front and stitch along the sideseam using a 3/8” seam. 

Step 7:  Slide it down over the tunic – so that the bodice and tunic are right sides together.  Pin well – making sure the bodice sideseams are lined up evenly with the side of the tunic. 

Sew around the top using a 3/8” seam.  Flip the bodice right side out and press well.  

Step 8:  Add the fabric panels on the side of the tunic.  Lay a scrap piece of fabric underneath the split on one side of the tunic.

Spread the split so that it is comfortably open – slide the fabric down so that it is about ½” longer than the bottom of the tunic.   Pin  the knit to the fabric. 

Topstitch along the edge of the knit - about ¼” from where it meets the fabric. Fold the bottom edge of the fabric under twice and press – making it even with the edge of the knit.  Top stitch to finish the edge.  Trim away any excess fabric on the inside of the tunic.  (I trimmed mine before I stitched it, but I think it would be easier to stitch it first)

 Repeat on the other side.

Step 9:  Cut two strips off the remaining original top of the T – 1”x the width of the T.

Stretch these strips so that they roll up – essentially creating two pieces of knit yarn.  These will be your spaghetti straps. 

Again use a tank that fits you well and measure the length of the straps and the placement.  Pin your straps in place. 

Very carefully slip it over your head so make sure the length and placement is correct.  If not, make adjustments.  Use a stationary zig-zag stitch to sew the straps onto the bodice.  

Step 10:  Add the embellishment!  You can be creative here – add whatever you like wherever you want it – I stitched the rick-rack along the top of the front bodice, and along the bottom edge of my fabric inserts.  You could of course put trim all the way around the top or bottom – I just didn’t have enough so I improvised ;)
Your sweet little cami is now finished!  Try it on to make sure it fits – and embrace the comfiness that equals the cuteness.
Happy Monday!