CREATE: holiday handmade

the weather has been so darned cold this holiday season that we have been forced to spend a lot of time inside.  i have been trying to make the most of it by working on different holiday crafts and handmade gifts to give.  we've had some fun and have a few challenges…mostly being the attention span of a toddler.  mama usually ends up finishing most of the projects.  but, we've been having fun experimenting and creating some fun goodies! 

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cinnamon applesauce ornaments.  here are directions.  these guys were so easy to make!  especially with only 2 ingredients (we did not use glue as the recipe calls for).  channing loved playing with the dough and our hands and the house smelled good all day long! 

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birdseed ornaments.  here are the directions.  these were fun but a bit messy.  i am still finding birdseed on the floor!  also, these are best made with tall metal cookie cutters, as shown here in the photo.  i had a bunch of plastic cookie cutters that we used but they made the ornaments really thin and they broke apart easily.  also note the no sweet little birds got to eat these outside…our darned squirrels got to them first! 

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snow globes. we made some with water and some without water.  they were both a lot of fun.  one interesting little detail is that when you use green colored trees in your with water globes, they most likely will dye your water green as well.  all 6 that we made dyed the water green.  it still looks kind of fun…just don't be surprised if this happens to you!  these are such a fun little gift.  the birds and glittery mushrooms are from michael's and the trees and dear figurines are from hobby lobby. 

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gingerbread house.  this is one that i would like to continue each year, as a fun tradition. i do not have time to make a gingerbread house from scratch so, i purchased this kit from target and it came with icing and candies.  i bought a few extra candies, like the dots and peppermints and decorate christmas lights.  channing particularly liked this activity…mostly due to its involvement with so much candy.  

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alison glass fabric tour

i am truly honored to be part of fabric designer alison glass's blog tour, introducing her latest fabric collections...there are 74 new designs and they are all fantastic.  the colors are absolutely gorgeous.  an amazing list of bloggers will be part of this tour, all making beautiful items out of her newest designs.  it's all very exciting and i am thrilled to have been asked to join in.  for now, hop on over to alison's website to view the tour and enter for a chance to win a fat quarter of all 74 new designs. (how awesome is that?!?)  in late september, i will be featuring the Clover Sunshine collection with a very fun, unique project.  i will also be hosting some giveaways myself!  these new collections are so fun, i can't wait to use them.

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Here is the schedule of bloggers, featured on the tour:  

Group 1 – Feathers, Text, Party Streamer

8.19.13 - Olivia Jane Handcrafted

8.21.13 - One Shabby Chick

8.23.13 - Silly Mama Quilts

8.26.13 - Threadbias

8.28.13 - KD Quilts

8.30.13 - April Rhodes

Group 2 – Feathers Quilt Pattern

9.2.13 - The ADD Crafter

9.4.13 - Sew Sweetness

9.6.13 - I’m A Ginger Monkey

9.9.13 - Ellison Lane Quilts

9.11.13 - Olivia Jane Handcrafted

9.13.13 - Imagine Gnats

Group 3 – Clover Sunshine

9.16.13 - Crafty Fox

9.18.13 - One Girl Circus

9.20.13 - Sew Sweetness

9.23.13 - There and Back

9.25.13 - J.M.B.

9.27.13 - Modern Maven

Group 4 – Corsage, Bike Path, X & +

9.30.13 - Gen X Quilters

10.2.13 - Don’t Call Me Betsy

10.4.13 - Canoe Ridge Creations

10.7.13 - Jacey Craft

10.9.13 - Bijou Lovely 

10.11.13 - Fresh Lemons Quilts

CREATE: little succulents, fun containers

our house doesn't have a lot of room for having plants inside so, i am keeping it small and cute and adding a few to our window sill next to the kitchen.  the sill is low so i've avoided setting anything on there due to little fingers possibly disrupting them.  but, channing has been very excited about planting flowers outside this spring so i decided to take the plunge and add a little greenery to the inside of the house.  my plants of choice are succulents (very popular right now).  especially after our trip to california, where we saw some of the most beautiful cactus and succulents ever.  the ones i am planting are much smaller and basic but i hope to get a few larger and more colorful ones soon.    

my window sill isn't very deep, only 5", so i had to use small containers.  i've had these cute little cups, from anthropologie,  forever but rarely use them for drinking tea because i tend to like larger mugs.  perfect for planting small succulents in.  i also love using tins and other random containers.  here is the biggest issue with using these types of containers to plant in: drainage.  as in, there isn't any.  most pots have holes in the bottom to allow proper drainage.  in this case, i placed a few rock in the cups and tin before i scooped in the potting soil.  i made sure to use a soil meant for good drainage...it has a bit of sand and wood chips in it.

they don't need to be watered very often and make an awfully cute little sill garden.  i plan on adding more very soon! 

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CREATE: home made bath "paint"

channing loves playing in the bath and loves painting. so...what better than washable paints she can use while she takes her shower? almost every recipe i could find online (on pinterest) called for food coloring.  i am not a huge fan.  instead, i mixed shaving cream with our veggie based/edible finger paints from clementine arts.  i also tried a few colors with our regular washable finger paints from hobby lobby and they worked great too.  i simply sprayed enough shaving cream in each tin to fill it, dropped in about 1/2 teaspoon of paint, mixed and let her paint away. 

a super easy and fast project and channing LOVED every minute of it.  it also cleaned up super fast with just a quick splash of water and wipe down with a rag.

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CREATE: bleach spilled quilt

i have been searching for the right new bedding to add to our master bedroom.  i just wanted to lighten up the room with something fun and fresh. the trick is that we have a california king bed...which isn't easy (or affordable) to find bedding for.  i finally found the perfect quilt at target, got it home to wash and then promptly spilled bleach on it.  i honestly didn't even know a bottle of bleach was even in our laundry cabinet and of course, the lid was somehow loose. i was so mad at myself!!  

i sat and stewed over it for a few hours...wondering if i should try to somehow cover up the spill or if i should add more bleach to make it look like it was on purpose.  i finally decided on covering up.  my concern with adding more bleach was weakening the fabric and eventually, the bleach would turn into holes.  i even broke into my special stash of discontinued fabrics to make it work.  i am honestly thrilled with the way it turned out!  it wasn't anything like i expected to have but now that it's in our room, i am really pleased with it. i guess some accidents truly are happy accidents! 

 the actual spill was about twice this size, along the entire side of the quilt. 

the actual spill was about twice this size, along the entire side of the quilt. 

 i basically made a long, skinny quilt of the fabrics i liked and then stitched them to the existing quilt.  i added an anna maria horner ribbon along each side to finish of the edges. 

i basically made a long, skinny quilt of the fabrics i liked and then stitched them to the existing quilt.  i added an anna maria horner ribbon along each side to finish of the edges. 

 i also added a few new florals to our current felt flora piece to tie into the new quilt. 

i also added a few new florals to our current felt flora piece to tie into the new quilt. 

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CREATE: i spy bottles

i've had this project on my to-do list for quite some time now, and after seeing this post from armelle blog, i finally got inspired enough and got myself in gear to make some myself.  here is another one i found on pinterest.  i made a few at one time, to give as gifts to friends.  the directions on both blogs call for using rice.  i didn't have any but i did have some fish tank sand left over from another project so i ended up using it instead. 

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i've been making some activity bags and items, such as these i spy bottles, to take along for car rides and ventures out to dinner...any time we have to sit and wait and be patient.  these help the time pass and keep channing occupied.  so far, these bottles have been a hit!  you could make themed bottles as well, which i plan on doing for more gifts.  everything i used was either from around the house or purchased at the dollar store (except for the bottles, which i found at whole foods) making it an affordable activity.

MATERIALS:

plastic bottle (i like using plastic voss bottles because of their shape and wider mouth opening)

small items and toys

funnel

rice or sand

hot glue gun or super glue

DIRECTIONS:

- clean and dry bottles. i also peeled the voss stickers off.
- make sure all items fit through the mouth of the bottle.
- fill bottle alternating rice/sand with a few toys until bottle is about 3/4 full - you want to leave a bit of room at the top of the bottle for shaking and moving the rice/sand around the bottle
- use a hot glue gun/super glue to glue the lid on

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 channing's favorite finds are piglet and winnie the pooh.

channing's favorite finds are piglet and winnie the pooh.

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CREATE: reinvented drum set

channing LOVES music.  singing, twirling, dancing, playing piano, using her whistle and now...playing the drums and guitar.  maybe we have a lot of musical instruments lying around but i encourage it and love to see her love of music grow.  

recently, one of luc's clients put an old beat up kid's drum set out on their sidewalk for the goodwill to pick up.  he asked if he could bring it home for channing and boy, was this little bird ever excited about it.  but, if you know me, seeing how dinged up and dented it was....i decided to give it a little makeover.  all it took was some modge podge, a foam brush and some heavy scrapbook papers. oh, and, a husband who knew how to take the whole set apart so i could change it up and then put it back together for me :).

channing loves her "pretty drums".  

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CREATE: valentine dreamcatcher

this is a simple and affordable valentine's day take on the typical dreamcatcher.  although, i might be keeping this one up all year long!  it needs only a few supplies and can be finished up in an hour or so. 

MATERIALS:

embroidery hoop (i took the inner ring out and only used the adjustable ring. for this project i used a 7 1/4" diameter ring but you could make this as large or as small as you want)

variegated yarn

decorative paper (i used paper i marbled myself a few years ago but you could use any scrapbook paper)

decorative paper punch (this one is a heart shaped punch from hobby lobby)

string (i used a white and gold twine)

scissors

glue (plain elmer's works great!)

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1. punch out hearts from decorative paper.  this project took about 50 hearts.

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2. i decided to wrap my embroidery hoop with yarn.  start at the top of the hoop, where the tightening mechanism is.  tighten the hoop completely and tie your yarn off at this point.  begin wrapping the hoop tightly.  be sure each wrap of yarn is tight to the one next to it.  this is the most time consuming part of the project.

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3.  once the entire hoop is wrapped, tie the end off at the top.

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4. cut varying lengths of string and tie them in a double knot to the hoop.

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5. lightly coat the first heart with glue and center the string on top of it. then add another heart on top of the first heart to sandwich the string.  press and hold until the hearts are glued together.

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6. continue layering the hearts on the strings.

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7.  once all of the strings are covered, to your liking, tie a bow in the yarn tails and hang.  it's that easy!

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CREATE: melted crayons

i originally saw this project on pinterest and filed it away mentally for when we finally had a use for it.  after cleaning out my craft space, i realized that we finally had enough broken crayons to give it a go.  i found this cute little people silicone tray at hobby lobby and spent the afternoon peeling off crayon wrappers and breaking crayons into smaller pieces, while the bird colored along beside me.  this was really easy and quick and we are planning on adding them to our "happy mail" packages going on this week. (more on our happy mail project later.)

there was a little trial and error.  the first batch i made was from really old, big crayons.  i had to turn the oven up higher to get them to melt.  the second batch i made was from newer, skinny crayons and they melted much faster.

overall, i would saw that heating the over up to 300 degree and baking the crayons for about 20 minutes did the trick.

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 i set the filled silicone pan on top of a regular cookie sheet for baking, it made it more stable.  it took about 20 minutes for the melted crayon to cool.  you could probably put them in the refrigerator if you needed them to cool faster.  they are really easy to pop out once they are completely cooled down.

i set the filled silicone pan on top of a regular cookie sheet for baking, it made it more stable.  it took about 20 minutes for the melted crayon to cool.  you could probably put them in the refrigerator if you needed them to cool faster.  they are really easy to pop out once they are completely cooled down.

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CREATE: nail and string art

i've had this idea in my head for awhile but didn't really know where to start.  we have a narrow but tall wall above our stairwell that has needed a piece of art since we moved in and i've seen several fun string art pieces on pinterest.  so, i decided to try something on a large scale to fit on this wall!   

hearts seem to be my theme lately, "love" is just a big theme for me here in 2013 so i thought this would be a good place to start.  i created this out of my own head, without any instruction, so i am certain there are probably easier/better ways to do this.  but, here is a little tutorial on how i did it.  you, of course, don't have to make one on such a large scale.  this took ALOT of embroidery floss.  about 50 skeins to be exact!

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MATERIALS:

embroidery floss: i used the dmc brand. be sure to be extra skeins in the same color. this piece took about 12 skeins for each of the big hearts and 8-10 for the smaller hearts

nails: i used "wire brads" from home depot. this heads are pretty small, i didn't really want the nails to be predominant.  i bought zinc #18x5/8" wire brads

hammer

wood board: i had my husband cut a 30"x66" piece of particle board for me.  i wanted the exposed look of the particle board.  you could use any type of board, just make sure it is sturdy and thick enough to nail the nails into. you could also stain it or paint it

construction paper for pattern making

ruler

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. decide what pattern you want to make.  if you want letters, you can print them off from online. i cut my hearts from large felt pieces, you could use construction paper (i just didn't have any handy.)

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2. lay out your design, on your board.  be sure it is straight and even.  leave your design in place and begin hammering in the nails, about 1/2"-3/4" apart, depending on how dense you want the string pattern to turn out. i hammered the nails in about 1/3 of their length, so they are sturdy and do not wiggle. continue hammering in the nails around the entire shape.

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3.  once all of the nails are in place, remove your pattern.  for this particular heart, i laid out a smaller heart inside so, i went through the same process with the smaller pattern.

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4. once all of the nails are in place, begin by tying your string to the top nail. i started by wrapped around the perimeter first.  you have to hold the string tightly!

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5. i decided to wrap vertically, then horizontally, then randomly ... to fill it in as evenly and fully as i could.  the tops of these brads are a little sharp so you have to be careful not to snag your string.  if you get to the end of your string, just tie a new piece on with a double knot and keep going.  it is a little difficult to hold tight to your string while you tie on a new one.  once you tie a new piece on, trim as closely to the know as you can. since you are making several layers of pattern, you barely see the knots.

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6.  keep going!  i worked from one heart to the next and kept adding layers until i was happy with the coverage and even layers.  
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CREATE: finger painted fun

my little bird is really into painting right now.  i wanted to do christmas gifts that channing could make and could be really fun hanging in someone's home....not just your typical toddler scribbles.  i purchased some canvas from hobby lobby (i particularly like that they had ovals, which are unique), got out my blue painter's tape and laid out my acrylic paints for channing to get creative with.  this was a really simple project:  

i simply cut the painters tape into strips and laid them out on the canvas.  you have to rub the edges a bit to get them to stick.  then, i let channing paint away...watching that she didn't rub too hard over the taped areas to be sure the tape didn't lift.  when the paint was about half way dried, i gently pulled up the tape.  so fun!

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