April 19, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt Bag and Tee

We went egg hunting today for the first time ever. We don't have this tradition in Romania, where Dan and I grew up, so we haven't experienced it as kids but, hey, we get to live it now through our boys. It was such a nice day to be outside and spend time with friends while our children were tracing down the eggs and bunnies. It wasn't a typical egg hunt, we had to look for numbered wooden eggs and bunnies and get a prize after finding them all. 

The nature center where the egg hunt took place put together several kid activities and had also a small petting zoo. Victor got to touch a snake and frog (yuck!) and pet a few rabbits (his favorites).

I wanted to buy Victor an egg hunt bag , many nice bags to choose from if you have a girl...but not so many for boys...So I decided to make one myself.
I also made a tee to go with the bag. I used the same pattern as for raglan tee but went for a long sleeve version this time.
Happy Easter!

April 4, 2014

Toddler activity: color painting on snow

It may be spring where you live but here, in Minnesota, we're still covered in snow. Today is April 4th and we're expecting up to 10" by noon. Spring has shown its signs for the last couple of weeks and got everybody excited but now: boom! The only one who doesn't mind it is my son as I introduced him to color painting on snow.

When my oldest  woke up from his nap last Saturday these three bottles were waiting for him to play with. I had filled them up  with water and food colors: red, blue and green. 

Painting on snow got my toddler sucked into immediately and I must say it was fun even for me. Our neighbor's kid also joined us and Victor didn't mind at all. (He's at that age when if someone else toys with his stuff a tantrum may be on its way).

Trying to stay positive: more snow means more canvas for our art. (though I would gladly give it up for chalk drawing)

March 12, 2014

sewing for boys

Sewing for boys never crossed my mind when I started this hobby of mine. It's true that at the time I didn't have my two little trouble makers. Nevertheless  I have selfishly sewn almost exclusively for myself until the beginning of this year when I made PJs for my hubby . Next on the list: boy clothes. 

If you feel intimidated by sewing for boys, like I was, I would recommend getting this book: 

The book contains 24 projects for beginners to advanced. Most patterns are for sizes 2 through 7 but there are some for 0-18 months as well.

I started with these comfy pants:

Buying pants for my tall and thin Victor is usually a challenge. The 2T's are a good waist fit but too short while the 3T's are loose but the right length. Adjustable pants do the trick. Making some myself seemed like another good solution.

I made the pants in size 2-3 but longer as in size 4-5 so Victor can wear them for a long while.

Next project: short sleeve raglan tee

The instructions are for a seam-on-the-outside, raw-edged tee but I prefer a finished look. 

This book makes sewing for boys seem so easy and I will definitely try some other patterns.

February 1, 2014

Sisal rope covered storage box

Toys. Lots of toys. The older kids grow, the more toys they own. Big and small. Noisy or not.
We have two little boys (8 and 27 months) and our place is already packed with toys! Some we buy but most we receive from family and friends. After all toys are the go-to gift when it comes to Christmas and birthdays. 

They invade our world (There was one time when Victor pulled his rocking horse to our master bathroom as it rocked better on tile than on the carpet in his own room) and we fight back, we do our best to keep the situation under control: rotate the toys, buy more storage furniture, get more baskets. In the end it's just an illusion as there are still as many toys as before but tucked away in several places.

I made this basket to store some of the the baby's stuff: bibs, a change of clothes (to have at hand ) and toys. Can you tell it's made from a diaper box? Lined with fabric and covered in rope it looks stylish enough to make it the the family room.

 You can use this fancy looking box for any sort of storage:

or you can even let your kid have some fun playing with it :

If you're looking for creative ideas on how to use sisal rope, please take a look at these wonderful 10 projects. Some even have tutorials (just click on the numbers to go to the original posts).

1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  10.


January 18, 2014

DIY World Map Shirt - with tutorial

When my hubby was genuinely impressed with the Urban Outfitter inspired t-shirt and asked for a similar one I knew right away what to make for him: a world map shirt. He likes globes and maps and part of his office decoration consist of a world map and a nice 6 (and counting) globe collection.

His t-shirt was part of my handmade Xmas present series but didn't include it in my previous post as I wanted to put together a little tutorial for this one. 

All you need to create your own world map tee is: freezer paper, craft knife  and puffy fabric paint.

Start by printing out a world map photo on regular print paper. I wanted my image to be big enough to cover the whole front size of the tee and if you want the same you'll have to tile your photo using two sheets.
 I'm not sure if the image can be printed directly on freezer paper - I'll have to give it a try next time!

Place the freezer paper on top of your printed image (shiny side of the freezer paper down) and trace the image onto your freezer paper.  Keep it as simple (only the continents) or as detailed (continents and islands) as you wish. It helps if you staple the two sheets together.

Place the freezer paper on cardboard  and cut the image using a craft knife but don't take the pieces out! Iron the entire freezer paper sheet onto your tee (shiny side of the freezer paper down) and afterwards  peel off the paper leaving on the t-shirt all the pieces you've previously cut .

This way you make sure all the continents and islands are in place and at the right distance from one another.

If you plan on a simplified version of the world,  you can also choose to cut out the continents and iron them one by one onto the shirt.

Trace a fine line along your stencil using puffy fabric pain. Don't draw your line too close to the stencil but leave a small break between the two.

I did half of the painting and let it dry before starting on the other half.


Once the paint is dry you can peel the freezer paper off and enjoy your elaborate work.

January 6, 2014

The Top 100 Crafts of 2013

What a nice way to start the new year! 
I got an email from one of the editors of Favecraft letting me know that my Funky Jeans Bag had been included in the roundup of the top 100 crafts for 2013!

The top is made based on readers interest in the crafts on Favecraft: everything from recycling and jewelry making to knitting and crocheting.

Recycled Crafts Ideas

DIY Jewelry Ideas

Christmas Craft Ideas


DIY Home Decor Crafts

Easy Crochet Patterns

Easy Knitting Patterns

How to Tie Dye

Have a creative new year!

December 31, 2013

Memory making with Xmas presents

Now that Christmas is behind us and our parents have already opened their presents I can share the handmade presents with you without the fear of spoiling anyone's surprise.
When you live in a country so far away from your home country as we do (Dan and I are both from Romania but live in Minnesota now) creating a grandkid - grandparent bond is a pretty challenging task. The boys get to see their grandparents every weekend on Skype but this doesn't substitute a live contact. My parents came to visit us twice, for the birth of the boys and Dan's mom saw the boys for the first time at the end of this year. How do we replicate the bond Dan and me had with our grandparents?

Oh, well....we will never be able to do it but nevertheless we'll still do our best to create some sort of a long distance bond. And here are some of our little tricks:
creating personalized shirts for grandparents with the kids' names on them:
 for my mom
 for my mom-in-law
for my dad

or transferring kids' art onto kitchen towels
or transferring kid's handprint
or even better grandma's and grandkid's handprints

I wish you all a happy 2014!

December 18, 2013

felt Santa hand puppet

My 2-year old son has discovered Santa this year. It started way before the season, when we checked out a Christmas book at the library. Now he sees Santa everywhere: X-mas tree decorations, malls, cards, my decorative pillow (You may say that there is no Santa on my pillows but Victor would definitely contradict you as both Santa and snowman are Santa for him. Snowman is a more difficult word to pronounce than Santa so every winter-related figure goes under the name of Santa.)

One day, while Victor was napping I made him this felt Santa hand puppet:
 Here is a profile photo so you can notice his big fat belly.
Victor acknowledged Santa's presence once he woke up but that was it, he hardly played with his new toy.

December 8, 2013

easy DIY Christmas card holder

In case you're looking for ideas on how to use the branches left after cutting off the bottom of your Christmas tree, here is one: card holder.
I used a few bows and colored pine cones to decorate the branch
But you can also use glass ball ornaments, ribbons, winterberries, jingle bells...the possibilities are endless.
Tie up ribbons on the branch, punch two holes at the top and two at the bottom of each card and pass the ribbons through the punches.

December 6, 2013

Despicable me party - party favor bags

I must start by telling you that the title of this post is deceiving : there was no Despicable me party going on in our family. Sure I've been planing for one for weeks for our oldest son who's born on Halloween (that's why the Despicable me costumes and pumpkins) but just the night before the party  the birthday boy came down with a cold. We had to cancel everything: party, food and cake.
 My only comfort was that Victor was too little to realize what was going on, otherwise he would have been crushed. He spent the entire day in his PJ. I got a family size cake and we sang "Happy birthday!" several times (He preferred the Romanian version and kept asking us to sing it to him).
One of the things I created for the party is the party favor bags.  Cute little bags I'd like to share with you. They have Gru's black silhouette for which I used the freezer paper stencil technique (see here a tutorial).
Here is what was inside the bags:
The rulers were ordered from VistaPrint: personalized with a minion photo and the message:
Thank you for celebrating with me!
October 2013
(With the use of a groupon I practically got them for nothing)

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