Thursday, April 30, 2009

Make your own Stroller Sun Shade!

I take my son, Ari on walks almost every morning and afternoon. Some days, I'm exhausted by the time we get back because I've been fighting with the blanket we drape over the front to try to keep the sun off of his baby skin (now that he's bigger, he also pulls the blanket and thinks it's really funny!). I searched for sunshades on the web, but wasn't sure if any of them would work for our jogging stroller (no, I've never jogged with it). I also didn't want to spend a lot of money on one more plastic, vinyl, mystery material baby accessory. So, I came up with a plan to make one and I think you can adapt it to any stroller. I'm a very beginner sewer, so you can probably make a better one than I can ( don't look too close to my seams:)

Here's what you need:
*A sew machine, or patience to hand sew
*2 wooden dowels
*An old/used placemat or flexible cutting board (the polka dot rectangle on the right)
*An old/used rectangular baby blanket. You need a pretty big blanket so that you can fold it in half and have it still fit the top of your stroller with some overhang all around. The blanket I used was a gift we always liked but could never figure out how to use. It's too big for a baby blanker really, but it's too thin for a playmat. You can also take 2 or more blankets or burp clothes and sew them together.

Step 1:
Fold the blanket in half longways and sew one of the shorter ends closed.

Step 2:
Measure the width of your placemat or cutting board and then sew two seams down the longest sides of the blanket.

Steps 3 & 4:
Slide the placemat or cutting board into the pocket you've just created. Then, sew a seam just under the placemat to hold it in place.

Steps 5 & 6:
Now you need to sew pockets to slide the wooden dowels into. You've already sewn a seam down both of the longest sides, so you just need to measure the width of the dowels you've bought and sew another long seam to make the pocket. Slide the dowels in both sides.

Step 7:
Next, I decided to sew a seam across the bottom to keep the dowels in place, but I'm not sure you have to do this. It was tricky and I have no idea how to make it easier (I actually balanced the front of the shade on a window sill while I sewed the bottom seam.)

Step 8:
This step is optional. The sun shade should balance over the top of your stroller because of the structure from the dowels and placemat. Because our stroller has a grommet on either side that holds the shade onto the base, I decided to sew some ribbon into the shade I made so that I could really crimp it down tight. I simply cut two lengths of ribbon, pinned them into a pocket in the fabric, and then sewed over them until they seemed really secure. I think I went a little crazy, but oh well--they won't come out at least!

If you try this out and adapt it to make it better, please let us know!
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My sister's Vision Board

This is my sister, Erin's collage that she wrote a comment about under my collages. I love it!

Collage Art!

I thought I'd share with you a simple craft idea for making your own childrens' room art. Start with art canvases of any size and paint on a layer of Gesso. Then, paint a decorative edge using acrylic art paint. Sometimes I just paint the outer edge (like in the first collage below), and sometime I have a little fun with painting on the face of the canvas itself.

Next, use any pictures you have around the house--especially in the recycling bin! I've used magazine pictures for both of these collages because the weight of the magazine paper is easy to work with. You can use anything, though: old greeting cards, used books, even junk mail.

Instead of layering all of the pictures at once, I use Modge Podge to glue down the largest pictures first. If a picture has a difficult edge (like a sunflower, for example), I'll just glue down the middle so that I can easily slide other pictures under it later.

I don't always know what pictures will go where when I start. In other words, I don't try to lay out the design all at once. I find that wanting the collage to look a specific way from the beginning is too hard to achieve. Instead, I just design as I go. To help fill spaces that occur between larger pictures, I use wax paper to trace the shape I need. Then, I put a little glue on the wax pattern, place it over the image I'm using, and cut out the desired shape. (Look at the bottom left under the turtle for an example. This space was blank for awhile until I found a little piece of "plaid". I traced the area onto wax paper and was able to fill in the space with the plaid)

When the collage is done, I seal it with a new product my mom found for me called "Triple Thick Brilliant Brush-on Gloss Glaze." I really like it. The first collage you see here is actually sealed with resin, which has a wonderfully thick, glossy finish, but is toxic and hard to mix. I'm not sure what possessed me to use a toxic material for kids art in the first place, but thankfully I'm not doing that anymore! (For a debate on resin versus triple thick glaze, check out this thread on etsy.)

I hope you try some of these ideas out. Don't feel restrained by the way I've collaged here. The beauty of this project (in addition to creating recycled art that is lightweight and doesn't need to be framed) is that everyone will make something different. Find your own collage style and encourage your children to do the same!
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Doll Project Materials

Even though we have until June 13th to get our dolls done for the Craft Hope doll project, I feel like that date is going to get here fast. I found some beautiful fabric remnants yesterday at a vintage shop here in Lexington that I'm planning on using for the dresses and I'm waiting for the felt for the dolls' faces. I went ahead and ordered wool felt from Magic Cabin. I love the "mocha" color, but there are other beautiful shades of colors to choose form for the dolls' faces. It was really hard restraining myself and only getting the felt! I'm planning on cutting out the dresses and legs tonight when Ari goes to sleep. Even though I'm a beginner, the sewing instructions for the apple doll are very simple, so we'll see...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Summer's Here!

I love this picture of my 10 month old, Ari enjoying the first really warm day of the season. My husband, Matt and I spent the day at the Red River Gorge here in Kentucky and ended up at Miguel's, a local pizza joint and very well-known camping spot for rock climbers. Since Ari spent the day in his car seat and then on daddy's back in his pack, we decided to let him roll around on a blanket. You can see how that went--no interest in the blanket, just wanted to play in the grass and dirt. I love his chubby little dirty knees!

Our day outside made me think about this summer and how much I want to get Ari out of our little house. Since he can't walk quite yet, and everything goes in his mouth, I'm thinking maybe a water table would be good for him. He loves to hold on and stand up and he loves to splash in the water. The only problem is that water tables are expensive. So, after a quick search, I found an inventive mom and dad who built a water table themselves. I love that I can customize the table to fit my little guy instead of buying one that he wouldn't be able to reach. You'll also love the cost--$14! You can find the how-to along with helpful pictures at the blog Tales of an Ordinary Housewife (which I already love).

I'm going to try this out. If anyone else makes it, be sure to let us know!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I just discovered this magazine and, although I am cutting down on how many magazines come into our house, I did pick this one up. The projects are very inventive. I am in the midst of organizing my desk and trying to create some kind of creative crafting space in our small house and I'm thinking about putting up the "floating" shelves you can see here on the cover. You need inexpensive metal shelf brackets, just put them upside down so the support is hidden. I need to do a little more cleaning and planning, but I'll let you see how my space turns out by next week. In the meantime, check out the website for ReadyMade--it's filled with ideas and doesn't waste money or paper!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Recipe Finds

Okay, I am guessing I will not be an everyday blogger, raising a family of 7 and all, but I really wanted to pass on these 2 great finds. #1. The Artful Parent Jean's earth day post was excellent, full of make-it-yourself recipes from body lotions and shampoo alternatives to laundry and dishwashing detergents. I have been inspired. Especially by the dishwashing detergent. I can't tell you how long I have searched for one of these. Now, #2. A Year of CrockPotting I don't know about you but I am always looking for new CrockPot recipes. Stephanie spent the entire year of 2008 doing a new Crockpot dinner everyday. What discipline!!! I like the Crockpot because it gives me more time to work on projects. My problem is I always forget to take the meat out of the freezer a couple days before to thaw. Oh well, yet another sign of my desperate need for simplification. Oh! this wasn't on the agenda but the crockpot reminds me of a cookbook I just checked out of the library. All About Braising by Molly Stevens is a great looking cookbook. I love the sound of the recipes and braising is a very healthy way to get the most flavor from your food. Obviously I have yet to try anything, but I will let you know when I do. Thats all for now, I have to feed the troops. Have a great day!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Doll Project

Hi, its me, Kandyce. This is my first post, dear reader, the first of many. I won't have any pics for a while. I am in the market for a new camera, so please bear with my visually unappealing entries. Anyway, I wanted to share a project I am doing with some friends and our daughters. It is Craft hope's project #2. We are super excited. My oldest is quite the hand seamstress and dolls happen to be one of her favorite things to make. So this project is tailor made for this Mother/ Daughter team. I love things that allow us to be creative while also giving to others. Why don't you join us?

Monday, April 20, 2009

My husband and I took this photo in a shop in Madrid during our honeymoon three years ago. A friend of ours we were spending the day with asked us what we'd call this shop in English and I immediately thought of the word "notions," although that's not really a word we use very often anymore. I loved this store--all of the colors and textures and the energy of the women busy picking out what they need to finish a project.

I thought of this picture recently when Kandyce, my best friend of over twenty years, and I started talking about wanting to learn how to sew and also wanting to start a blog together. We're both moms committing to making time for creative projects, whether that means making pillows, pinning up a pretty scrap of fabric for inspiration, or spending time on other moms' creative blogs we love for ideas and community. We hope you'll join us in making time to nurture your own creative spirit.