Monday, November 30, 2015

A Train Backpack

Another project from the fabric my cousin gave me. I wanted to use the fabric for stuff to send back to her. It's free crafting time for me and fun gifts to send back to her- a win, win in my book!

Since I figured her two year old didn't need a hundred Pj Pants, I'd make a little Backpack out of the train fabric. I didn't feel like making a front pocket for this one, mostly because I haven't liked how they've turned out in the past. So I stayed pretty simple with the design. The backpack might be a little big on a two year old, but at least it's not too small. I paid my kindergartner to model it for me to see the size on him.

The inside is a robot/ train fabric. 

I think the straps are a little long and I didn't end up making them adjustable. I'm awfully excited about how cute it is. I just hope it fits him and is functional as well.

Monday, November 23, 2015

My youngest is off to Kindergarten

With my youngest off to all day kindergarten, I have a lot more time on my hands. I like to go into the school to help teachers out with their misc projects so they can focus on the kids or getting home at a decent time. Some of their projects involve a little craftiness. But mostly it's my stay at home days where I can really get crafting. I've even been able to finish a whole project, start to finish, before kids get off the bus in the afternoons. Exciting.

Here's a few I've finished lately. All the fabric I recieved from my cousin and I decided to make stuff to send back to her. First up a train Pillow since her youngest REALLY loves trains.

Then I made a fun blue flannel color block pillow. Here's the front and the back sides (same pillow).

It's always nice to have a few gift bags or bags to collect random kids stuff into. So I made two adorable raccoon bags. One to send to my cousin and one to keep for myself (cause it really is too cute).

A bigger Train gift bag or toy storage solution.

Another couple short fat gift bags... They're an easy project what can I say. (The orange bag is from my fabric stash, just couldn't resist making a few extra bags for myself while I was crafting).

And a couple train Pj pants with fun knee patches. I totally hope her son LOVES them as much or more than I do.

I made a few more things with the Fabric my cousin gave me... but I'll share those another day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pow: a hoodie or two...

I recently found this cute Hoodie Pattern on Pinterest. I really want to make one with this exact fabric, but I'm trying to use up my Fabric stash before running out to get more. So I used what I had on hand to try the pattern out. First I made a Hoodie for my cousin's youngest who loves trains.

I followed the pattern to make it a size 2-3. Of course, I had no three year old to try it on to see if it fit, so I ran to the neighbors house to steal one of her kids. It fit perfectly, so cute. But then I forgot to take a picture. So I grabbed my almost 6 year old and asked him to try it on. I was shocked to see that it fit him pretty well- except the sleeves were a little short. I'm excited that my cousins son will be able to grow into and wear this hoodie for a while. 

Since my youngest had tried it on, he asked if he could have one "just like this one". I didn't have enough of the train fabric so I grabbed some grey knit fabric in my stash. I had to alter the pattern to be bigger (size 7-8) so that it fit him. Of course once the hoodie was done, he didn't like it. Thankfully, my older son did! I threw it on one day before school and I got these fun photos of him in it... smiling a REAL smile, instead of his fake ones.

Who doesn't love a good comic sound effect print inside their hoodie?!

Now I'm excited to have the pattern ready whenever I feel like making more.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Organizing the art piles

Last Spring when my oldest was finishing first grade, there'd been a lot of worksheets & art projects that had come home over the course of the year. Each day when he came home from school, he'd empty his folder and I'd dump the worksheets and artwork into a box. After a year with both him and his younger brother bringing papers home, the box was nearly overflowing. I recently started organizing it all, attempting to keep some of each of their work, and trying to part with the rest.

I started by sorting out the worksheets from the artwork. That got the pile down quite a bit. Then I started looking at their artwork and thinking what was best to save and which pieces I wasn't as attached to. Again, that helped cut the piles in half (almost). It's still a lot, but it's far more manageable.

Now then, I needed to find a way to store those treasures nicely. Good old Pinterest to the rescue. I found pretty labels, just the right kind of art box to store things in and a way to organize memories & school photos. Awesome!

It's so nice to have it all in one place now. Especially when they never stop creating fun art pieces.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Projects for a Wedding

My cousin got married in the middle of September and I'm just now posting pictures of a few projects I did for her Wedding. My oldest was asked to be her junior groomsmen and she wanted the guys in jeans. My son does not prefer to wear jeans but compromised for her. One: because he'd do anything for her and two: she said he could wear something pink (which just happens to be his favorite color right now). So I made him a pair of suspenders and a little coral bow tie.

Then I heard the ring bearer would love a pair of suspenders and a bow tie to match. Of course, I couldn't refuse making another little man handsomer. So a blue pair was also made. Aren't the two of them adorable!

My cousin and her new husband enjoy fishing year round. She had heard someone else's ring bearer walked down the aisle with a fishing rod and wanted to make one for her nephew, the ring bearer. Unfortunately, she ran out of time and was going to shelf that idea. When I heard that, I told her I'd make it for her and I'm so excited I did because it turned out fantastic. The wooden rod really works too.

Loved seeing this little guy walking down the aisle with it over his shoulder. So cool!

photo credit: Ben Berndt photography

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Other Little Free Library Projects

There were a few other fun projects I did to add a bit of charm to our new Little Free Library. Both projects I found ideas on pinterest and they involved working with cement. One was cement letters that would spell out the word books. The DIY instructions I followed are written out here.

I think they turned out pretty neat. Though I don't think I mixed the cement all too well. The letters had far more small rocks and weren't as wet as the stuff in glass bowl. 

The next project was to make a cement ball using a glass ball. The instructions are here. Pretty simple: find a glass bowl (My sister had a huge 12" glass bowl from her wedding center pieces that she let me buy from her.), fill it with concrete, wait for it to dry and then break the glass bowl. Super fun breaking the glass and seeing the end result!


The reason for the cement ball? I used it for the leg of a reading stool. That big wooden circle is from my other sisters kitchen remodel a few years ago. They took out their corner cabinets lazy susan thing. Somehow it made its way to my parents house and lucky for me, I got to put it to good use in their front tree.

There were two circle pieces of that cabinet and I put the other one higher in the tree as another spot to sit. My boys and all my parents grandchildren should have years of fun in this big tree at their grandparents house. 

And now with the Little Free Library out front they make terrific spots to sit and read a good book.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

a Little Free Library (continued)...

If you missed the first part of this story- it's right here.

Once the weather got nice enough, work continued. Of course, our spring was warm one day and super chilly the next so this process of installation of our Little Free Library took almost three weeks. First I dug the post hole 24 inches deep, then measured to make sure we had the post & boxes at the right height.

Once we had the heights right, we filled the hole with some cement and waited for it to dry. 

Next step was to attach the circle boxes to the post. Again, a lot of measuring, drilling, and screws. But after that I had one ready to receive the metal. (Oh, I forgot to mention before I put the metal on I screwed down a few book ends to keep the books from falling over and denting the metal).

I've never worked with metal before. I found this heavy flashing at the hardware store and thought it would work just fine. My sister happened to have nice tin snips to cut it to the right length which worked pretty slick. I had planned for the circles to be 13 inches deep from outside to outside, which meant there would be a half inch over hang of metal on both the front and back sides. 

I wrapped the metal around the box, measured and cut around the post, and screwed the metal to the wood with self tapping short screws. I think it worked out great. Once it was assemble all I needed to do was coat it with a ton of spray paint. A couple coats of white primer, three or four coats of the main color and then a few coats of clear to keep it looking pretty for years to come. 

And then do that same process to two more circle boxes. This was a lot of waiting, waiting and more waiting. Paint drying is not the most exciting. I did add clear sealant to fill any gaps between the wood and metal making it watertight. That also took some time to dry.

I used my exact-o knife cutting skills to cut out some sticker letters out of sticker paper to make a "Little Free Library" sign on the side of one of the boxes. I hope as people walk down the street that can then see what this thing is before they get to it.


During the three weeks of installation and assembly we sure had quite a few neighbors stop by to ask what we were building! It was fun to get to tell them about it and they all seemed very excited. They wondered when it would be open to use. I wasn't certain when all the little pieces would be done, so we made a sign:

It took a few days to get the clear edging we ordered. It would cover the exposed edge of the metal to protect people from getting scraped. Eventually we had all the pieces and we were able to complete our Library. Hooray!

To celebrate I hosted a little Story-time Grand opening with a few friends. It had been raining off and on that day, but the rain cleared as they people came. Right away we filled our Library with books that everyone had brought. There's a box for kids picture books, another for young reader chapter books, and the tallest one for adult books. It'll be exciting to see them change out as the books come and go. We even got our official charter sign in the mail that very afternoon- how exciting.

At our Grand Opening I read two of my favorite picture books about BOOKS. The first one is "My Pet Book" by Bob Staake, the second is "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore" by William Joyce.

**how I made the stool I'm sitting on (that's me with the big blue rain boots) will be another post**