Monday, April 30, 2012

First Lost Tooth and a Tooth Pillow

This isn't just Laurel's first lost tooth, it's OUR first lost tooth. Like every first it seemed so special, so exciting. When she was getting close to prying that tooth out she started putting on the pressure for me to make her a tooth pillow.

(I did promise, I just kept forgetting)

Stepping into the sewing room I wasn't sure what I would make, but then I saw the scraps of blue left over from the crib-sheet-skirt. And then it came to me---WHALE! Laurel loves whales, so it was a perfect fit.

I freehand cut the whale, made a quick pocket, appliqued a heart onto the pocket and sewed the pocket onto the right-side of the whale. Then I sewed the whale right sides together, leaving an opening, flipped it around, stuffed it and sewed it up by hand.

Voila! Cute whale, tooth pocket, happy girl. Life is good.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Choose Joy...and a New Blog on the Blogroll

I've been working with my daughter for the past few weeks on a new motto for her...CHOOSE JOY. My lovely little lady has a tendency to take after her dad with a little bit of a doomsday attitude towards things. (look she's already perfected her gaze of disillusionment)

I was raised with a "face it head on" kind of lifestyle, and I generally do. A little rock'n roll music, a few air punches and I'm ready to face anything (yes, apparently I am Dwight Schrute).

Today on Pinterest I ran across this cake

which took me to this blog

and now I'm hooked. Her style, her graphics...I love her already. She's my bff and I've never met her (shhh...don't tell her that, she might think I'm crazy)

Check it out man, she summed up my Choose Joy motto with one cute picture.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bird Masks at Totem Bight

What better place to make a bird mask than the totem capital of Totem Bight Park? This is one of our favorite parks in Ketchikan, and usually our first tour stop when visitors come to town. In less than a mile you can see rainforest, ocean and totem poles. The view is gorgeous, the walk is easy, the totem poles are awesome...and if you're super lucky you might see a whale or two.

But today we weren't looking for whales...we were looking for birds. We're heading towards the end of the month-long Hummingbird Festival, and this was our last stop. The State Park was hosting a Breakfast with the Birds. This included a walking bird watching tour through the park, a pancake and sausage breakfast and a kids craft.

The kid craft came courtesy of Pinterest...shocker. I didn't know what to bring for an easy bird-themed I typed "bird craft" into the Pinterest search bar, and up popped Martha Stewart's paper mache bird masks. Now, I certainly wasn't about to do paper mache for this...but why not convert her more complicated project into one where I can use paper plates, construction paper and a glue stick?

The morning was gray and rainy---but don't feel too bad for us, that's just a normal day in Ketchikan---so despite the weather we had a good turn out. Everyone saw birds, got some good food and those that brought their kiddos made a mask. There were chickens, red robins, peacocks and so much more.

The project doesn't really need explanation, but just in case, I just cut the paper plates in half and cut out a slot for the nose. Then I used a hole punch to make the opening for the elastic band and also to make holes where the eyes would go (then I used scissors to open them up). Tie on the elastic, and then you're ready to decorate. There is no template to follow, the size of the beak depends on what you want, and the same goes with the feathers. The older your kids the more able they are to cut out their own pieces and decorate to their taste. But really, no matter how they decorate them they come out SO cute.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Upcycled Ruffled Skirt (from a crib sheet!)

Ok, I love this skirt. It made me smile every time I passed it by this afternoon. I've been playing around with the idea of this for a few days.

Generally my ideas start from random sketches, like this. I pick and choose what I like and modify it until I have a final project. (rarely does the original sketch look like the final product...each project takes it's own twists and turns)

I liked the idea of the cloud on the skirt, but I wanted a pretty blue fabric for the sky. I knew the exact shade, but I didn't have any fabric like that. So I began to go through old clothes for inspiration...suddenly I realized that the old blue crib sheet in the closet was the perfect color. Since I'm not having any more babies, and since it's faded after years of drooling and leaking diapers and washing, I didn't mind using it. Plus because of all the washings it's also a very soft, well worn fabric. Perfect. Upon first cut I figured I'd just use the fabric, till I realized that the elastic on mine wasn't in a casing, it was sewn directly to the fabric...I could use the elastic as-is and save myself some work and materials. (don't worry if yours IS in a casing, if you want to use it as-is you'll just need to stitch it in place before you cut so that it won't slip out)

First I took out the scissors and cut through the elastic at the corners, I also cut the seam at the corners so the fabric would lay more flat. Then I fitted the elastic around my daughter and cut the skirt width and length roughly to measure. (really roughly, this is a forgiving project) My daughter is a size 6, the elastic on the long side of the sheet fit perfectly with no additional trimming.

At the same time I cut the strips of fabric for the ruffle, since there is limited fabric on a crib sheet I cut the two strips out from below the skirt and pieced them together (like a quilt binding) to have enough fabric to ruffle around the whole skirt.

If you use the elastic on one whole side the sheet will have been folded in half, leaving only one seam to sew. So I sewed up the seam from top (elastic) to bottom first. Next I added the ruffle. Everyone has their own way they like to ruffle, I doubled the fabric over and used the folded edge for the ruffle bottom. Next I did a big zigzag stitch along the rough-edge side and ran a thread along the length of the whole strip. Then I pulled the string to ruffle it, pinned it on and sewed it in place.

Typically I would do the applique before I sew the piece together, but in this case I wanted to see the applique on the finished project to decide the placement. I freehand cut the cloud and raindrops and placed them on one at a time, zigzagging around each piece before putting the next one. With that done I hand embroidered the eyes and the word "hope." (If you've never done this part before, don't be afraid, just give it a's super easy)

I have a few more sheets left, which is good because once you see the possibilities it's hard to resist...I've got a peasant top and harem pants lined up for the next two sheets.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Knitty Fish Hat

Another Pinspiration...made by me...but inspired (obviously) by Pinterest. I did not follow the free pattern, and chose instead to wing it. I also simplified it a bit, choosing not to do the shaping around the mouth. This hat is actually SUPER simple. If you can knit in the round, you can make this hat. The only strange thing I did was at the tail, and it was just because I didn't want to stop and look it up.

So here's my non-pattern...

Figure out the size of hat you need to make based on your yarn and needle size. Once you've done that cast on the lip color and knit until you get enough to roll up nicely (see how it looks like lips?) Then switch to the next yarn (keep them both attached) and alternate the colors any way you like.

Somewhere about halfway down the fish start reducing every once in a while. I knit-2-together every 8 stitches for a full round, then I just knit a few more rounds and decreased the same way again. It doesn't have to be exact, the point is to reduce slowly so that it looks even.

Once you've made it as long as you want, and decreased it enough, split the stitches evenly onto two smaller needles (or stitch holders); the front half of the hat on one needle, and the back half of the hat on the back needle. Then alternating one stitch from the front and one from the back place them on needle the same size as the circular. Once this is done you knit a couple of rounds and you'll see the increase for the tail (it sort of self increases since you "doubled" the number of stitches by going from circular to linear) Strange I know...I was just sort of winging it...but it worked.

After a few more rows you'll want to take half the stitches and put them on a holder. With half the stitches still on the working needle you can increase and decrease to your hearts content...every fish in the sea is have some fun. But if it helps I increased 1 stitch on the right and the left on every knit row, 3 times, then I began to decrease 2 on the inner side of the fin while keeping the outer the same. Then towards the end I decreased 2 on the inside fin and 1 on the outside fin until I had just one stitch left, voila. Fin finis. (ha ha)

Tie on the yarn to the other half of the fin and repeat (or forget what you did and wing it like I did)...zoiks...what kind of knitter AM I?!?!

For the fins, this part was easy, I picked up 15 stitches for the top fin, then knit the front and back of every stitch so that the 2nd row has double the stitches. Then do a k1p1 rib until you like the length of the fin and bind it off. Easy Peasy. For the side fins I picked up 10 stitches, and the rest was the same. Now...once I did this I did not like the way the fin waved around, so I took the loose yarn ends and weaved the edges of the fin to the hat. Since there was an increase it naturally fans out to a rainbow shape, and holds it's shape better.

I liked the dead fish eyes from the original pattern, but Luke wanted a LIVE fish and requested button eyes (what can I say we LOVE Coraline). So button eyes it is. He loves this hat.

This pattern is super changeable so that your fish can be any color, length, size, etc etc. There is more than one fish in the sea you know! This is a fun knit, a quick knit and one that will delight the recipient (even if it's yourself). You can also use up your old scrappy yarn stash and make a rainbow fish. See how much fun this is...and you haven't even started yet!

Here is the original hat, click on the picture and it will take you to the original pattern.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A-Line Pocket Skirt: Pinterest Copy

I love Pinterest. I know I've said it before, but I do. I believe social media should be a positive sharing of ideas. (and without delving too deeply I find Twitter and Facebook to be used very negatively both in time wasted and information not gained) Pinterest on the other hand is rarely negative, and I have gathered more helpful ideas, craft and kid inspirations and recipes in a week than I would have otherwise gotten in YEARS of searching on my own. YEARS...and I stand by that.

(click on the pic to go straight to the tutorial on Whatever Dee Dee Wants)

But this isn't about my beliefs...this is about a skirt. An adorable skirt that I saw on Pinterest. I followed the link to the tutorial, gave it a quick browse and then decided to make my own. The project was very fast and very easy. I used an old pair of shorts as the measure for length and width and then I made my own pattern using some old coloring sheets that my kids had already used (they're huge, like 12 x 24...don't toss them, they make great kid patterns).

Notice I used the same fabrics as the Ugly Apron...but without the store bought teal binding it looks SO MUCH cuter. Unlike the tutorial I went with a pop of color on the pocket...she's 6...why not? And I love the look of the binding on the pocket edges...I already have several other dress, skirt and apron ideas based on this very simple pattern.

Once you have the knack you could make 2-3 in an hour if you wanted. I'm going to modify it further to make a t-shirt dress with the bottom looking a bit like this skirt. Seeing as I have more time on my hands this week (since it's National Turn off the TV week) I've started several projects...I'm also working on a knitted fish hat for Luke (also a Pinspiration), and guitar straps for the kids' guitars and a camera strap for me...and if I have time I'll finish up the projects from March that I still haven't finished (of course I should have done those first, but what fun would that be?).

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Ugly Apron

Not every craft is a winner. I've learned that lesson over and over. (and I learned it again today) As I was driving to get a last minute present for a last minute party for Laurel's friend I started thinking about the apron/baking kits I used to sell. Why spend $10+ on a gift that I could make for free with things I already have? So I turned around the car and headed home.

Once I started looking at all my new fabric I should have realized there would be a problem...I didn't want to use any of them on this. (So I used my less than favorite) Then I decided to try a new design, and because of the new design I decided to bind the edges of the raw fabric. BUT...I didn't want to stop and make binding in the same I used a store bought one I already had. (In my defense I thought the contrasting colors would be cute) Then I cut out the letters from a piece of fabric that already had bonding on it...but it wasn't bright enough to show much beyond the background fabric. My last mistake, I kept running out of the right color thread, so there are several parts that just don't look right. Sigh. It's too late now...I'm not about to go back to the store after I've spent the last hour making this one.

I hate giving something that feels cheap. And the truth is the cost in money and time is about the same as my normal apron (below), but instead of looking like something from a boutique it looks like something from the dollar store.

I should have gone with better fabric. I should have stuck with my usual design. I should have listened to my gut when it was telling me "you're not gonna like this."

Sigh...maybe if I'm lucky this Ugly Apron will grow up to be a beautiful swan.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Going Daisy Crazy

I'm a Daisy Scout leader? What is the world coming to? Seriously.

So I just had my first official Daisy scout meeting. I decided we should do some kind of craft, because lord knows I'm all about the crafting. With the sun shining, the flowers starting to blooom...and plenty of inspiration from Pinterest I came up with these.

Super cute, right? I love it when a kids craft is not only cute, but potentially something you want to keep. Unfortunately not every picture or craft that comes home falls into that category, right? (Admit it moms...sometimes you wait until the kids go to bed and then throw the ugly crafts away, right? You don't? neither.)

Thanks to my over-obsessive compulsion to see every DIY & Craft pin on Pinterest I was able to find this idea. (I knew my laziness and obsession with Pinterest would pay off somehow)
Here is the pictu-torial from Pinterest, I just added two more petals and a yellow button to make it a daisy. Daisy headbands...I want one!! It's even better because they could do it themselves (with a little help from the leaders).

The girls were able to finish them over two weeks, and most of them wore them to school the next day. (I was pretty proud to see my little Daisy-girls wearing them)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

Our Easter gave us some of the best weather...wait no...the best weather we've had since we moved here. (It couldn't have come at a better time either, I was really starting to begrudge our Southeast Alaskan "spring") But it was gorgeous. We've gone to the beach everyday (sometimes more than once a day) since the sun came out late last week.

Easter was no exception, the kids had an Easter egg hunt in the sun overlooking the gorgeous mountains and ocean below. Then we went home and made a simple dinner and then off to Settler's Cove for hours of hiking, exploring and a bonfire. (We learned our lesson the future if the weather is THAT good we should alter lunch and spend the whole day outside) What could be better than an Easter brunch a la Alaskan splendor? We won't make that mistake again.

Regardless we had a wonderful time. There was egg dye-ing, chocolate bunny eating, hiking, beaching (a couple of injuries) AND lots of fun.

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