Disclosure

I am an Amazon Affiliate and Safari Ltd Campaign Blogger. Read my disclosure policy for more information.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Free Craft Room Printable

In between parenting and packing boxes, I've been creating stuff for the new house.  Here's a poster that I made tonight.  I think it will be a fun addition to my craft space and yours as well.

To download, click here.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Knit Baby Doll Bed

Note: This post was written in November to be posted after Christmas (so as to not ruin the surprise).

Dragonfly has been doing more pretend play lately, especially "mommy" pretend play.  It think she might finally be ready for some baby doll accessories.

The baby is the Melissa and Doug "Gabrielle" doll (here).  The hat came with the doll but the sleep sack was sewn by me.  I bought a newborn onesie from Goodwill, cut the snaps off the bottom, and added an elastic casing.  It's just long enough for this 12" doll.

To Knit a Moses Bed:
Unfortunately, this is going to be more of a "suggestion" than a pattern.  Start with some yarn and some needles.  I used a pair of straight and a pair of cabled circulars.  They could be the same needle size but they don't really need to be- I used a pair of size 8 straights and a pair of size 10 circulars.  Using a provincial cast-on, pick up the number of stitches you need to get the length of bed you want.  I did multiples of 10 because I wanted to do a specific pattern for the sides of the bed.  I chose 50 stitches.

Base of Bed:
Rows 1-4: Knit across
Row 5: K1, knit front and back into the same stitch, knit until last 3 stitches, knit front and back into the same stitch, K1 (increase row)
Row 6: Knit across
Rows 7-13 odd rows: repeat increase row
Row 8-14 even rows: Knit across

You should now have 10 more stitches then when you started (for example from 50 to 60).  You can do more increase rows if you wish.  Then, knit every row until the base is as wide as you'd like.  I think mine is about 5 inches.  Begin decrease pattern.

Odd Rows: K1, K2tog, knit across, SSK, K1
Even Rows: Knit across

When your numbers are back down to the original, knit across for 3 rows.  On the 4th row, knit stitches onto the circular needles.  At the end of the row, begin using your extra needle to pick up stitches along the edge and knit them onto the circular needle.  With my bed, I aimed for 30 stitches per side.  After the sides, start on the provincial cast on end, undoing those stitches and knitting them.  At the end of that row, pick up the stitches on the last side, which should bring you to the beginning of the circle.  My bed had 160 stitches as I began the bed's walls (50+30+50+30).  It's time to start the basket weave pattern.


Basket Weave Pattern
Row 1: (K10, *K1, P1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Row 2: (K10, *P1, K1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Continue pattern for 10 rows.

Row 11: Knit all stitches
Row 12: (K10, *P1, K1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Row 13: (K10, *K1, P1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Continue pattern for 10 rows.

Row 22: Knit all stitches
Row 23: (K10, *K1, P1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Row 24: (K10, *P1, K1* for 10 stitches) repeat 20 stitches in pattern
Continue pattern for 10 rows.

You've finished with side one of the bed.  Either bind off all stitches or place active stitches on a spare cable or length of yarn.  Cut yarn.

At the base of the bed, pick up 160 (or whatever number of stitches you used before) and place on cable needle.  Begin working basket weave pattern for the second side.  Your "wrong sides" need to be facing each other.

Knit side two to match side one.


Accessories Pocket
If you desire to add an accessories pocket to the inside of the basket, pick up any number of stitches on the edge (I chose 30) and knit them in the basket weave pattern for however long you desire.  At the end of each row, pick up a stitch from the wall of the basket and knit it into the pocket stitches.  Cast off with an i-cord or normally.  Weave in your ends.

Finishing
Using the 3 needle bind-off, either bind off all stitches.  When the majority of the bed is cast-off, insert plastic canvas between the walls to stiffen them.  Continue binding-off and weave in all yarn tails.  Declare the project finished or add handles by picking up stitches (I used a much smaller needle than I used for the main part of the bed) and knitting good length before casting-off.  Sew the loose end to the bed (I chose to catch the canvas in hopes of making the handle more durable).  Make two handles, find a cute dolly for the bed, and gift it.

OR

Using 3 needles, knit the front and back together.  When you get the majority of the way around the bed, insert plastic canvas between the walls.  Continue to knit the sides together.  To make the folded-over blanket/decoration, knit every stitch until the blanket measures the length you chose.  Use a picot cast off to make the decorative edge.

Picot Cast Off
1- into first stitch, cast on 3.
2- bind off 4 stitches.
3- slip stitch back to left hand needle.
Repeat steps 1-3 until only one stitch is left.  Cut yarn and weave in ends.

Add garter stitch handles using the method outlined above.



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Printable Travel Journal


One of the DIY gifts I made this year was a travel journal for a sister who is hoping to take a trip to Scotland next year.  I designed these printable pages to go in the book I made for her, and I've decided to share them on here too.

The pages were designed to fit in a half-sized binder (I ordered this one), which I thought would give my sister a lot of freedom to rearrange the journal to her liking.  The pages can be cut apart on the line, and the left-hand pages can be hole-punched and placed directly in the book.  The right-hand pages can be put in page protectors (here) and the backside can be used to store memorabilia.  You can also use pockets like these or this for memorabilia or make your own out of envelopes.  A mini 3-hole punch can be found here.  I'd also recommend adding a pencil pouch for pens and such.  The free journal file also includes 2 possible journal covers.  You can use mine or make your own.



So, here's what I did for my sister's journal:

Here's the complete gift (minus the Disney "Would You Rather" book which wasn't done yet).  It was a lot of fun to make.  The pink thing is a passport holder that I stitched out of felt.  Everything else, I'll detail below.

(Sorry about the bad pictures- I need a better camera)  Here is a peek inside the journal.  I bought some zippered pouches from Staples, which will work well for catching all those little pieces of memorabilia.  Right now, the pocket has some fun travel stickers that I bought from the craft store.  The blue thing is a pencil pouch that encloses with velcro.  I've filled it with lots of colored pens and fancy writing tools.  From Staples, I also bought a package of subject dividers that have pocket on them for brochures or whatever.  I've also included a mini 3-hole punch so my sister can add the maps and stuff directly to the journal.

I made these travel games inside small tins (the links are below).  The Farkle game is an Altoid tin that I lined with sticker-back felt.  The dice were bought in bulk, and the rules were printed off the internet.  The tangram game is magnetic and comes with lots of puzzles for her to try.  I'm hoping she enjoys them.

I designed the checker game myself to fit in a card tin.  The pieces are magnetic, so the tin can be closed and packed away and then the game resumed later with every piece in place.

To round off her homemade travel supplies, I made her an oversized sleep mask out of felt.  I'm hoping it will help my sister sleep on all the airplanes, trains, buses, cabs, etc, that she will be riding in while she's on her grand adventure.

So, there it is.  I trust you found something helpful.

Resources I Used:
- Scottish prayer and dictionary
- travel photo challenge
- Farkle game
- Disney "Would You Rather" game
- passport envelope (resized)
- tangram challenge
- Tinkerbell tic-tac-toe
- oversized sleep mask pattern

To download my free printable travel journal, click here.

Follow Melissa's board Travel/Road Trip on Pinterest.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

k is for king (year 2, week 16)

Merry Christmas!  I thought we'd spend this week focusing on the Wise Men (who visited Jesus) and add in a bit of fairy tale fun.  With that in mind, here's what I had planned on for the week.

Printables:
- King Me file folder game
- ruler of the ruler math activity
- key match math
- medieval printables

Ideas:
- orange pomanders
- gift wrapping practice
- clipping clothespins on a gift box
- styrofoam ball ornaments
- make-your-own-perfume activity
- smelling bottles
- grating cinnamon
- patterns with jewels
- sorting jewels
- covering the letter with jewels
- gold sensory bin
- Christmas smells sensory experience

Even though Mommy did very little school with them this week, the kids did their own activities.  One of their favorites was "gift giving."  They would find a random box, stuff some toys into it, and gift it to a family member.  It was a great chance to practice grace and curtsy in the giving and receiving of gifts.  Sometimes, the child would give the gift to him/herself and pretend to be surprised when they opened the gift.  "Oh, thank you!" they would exclaim again and again.  So sweet!

Follow In Our Pond's board "k is for king" on Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How Does the Four Gifts Rule Work?

Our family does "the four gift rule" for Christmas presents- "something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read."  I really enjoy this way of organizing presents, because I feel it makes the gift giving simple and easy to track.  Mainly for our benefit, but perhaps for someone else's enjoyment, here was our list for the year.

*Prices to show items bought on sale*

Bullfrog
Want- Star Wars bathroom supplies
Need- 500 count sheets (reg $75, sale $23)
Wear- Sriracha t-shirt and beanie
Read/Watch- DVD
Stocking
- toothbrush
- spicy snacks
- candy
- coffee bar

Dragonfly
Want- Melissa and Doug doll and DIY moses bed with blanket
Need- DIY circle skirt, DIY hat, and sippy cup
Wear- foot pjs
Read/Watch- Polar Express Blu-Ray (reg $27.98, sale $7.99)
Stocking
- doll bottle
- pink dress-up mask (DIY)
- Frozen characters
- toothbrush
- princess fan w/candy
- candy

Skimmer
Want- stuffed Olaf (reg $17.99, sale $8.95) and DIY Olaf blanket
Need- DIY fleece hat, sippy cup, and massager (for sensory needs)
Wear- footie pjs
Read/Watch: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs DVD
Stocking
- planes fan w/candy
- toothbrush
- blue dress-up mask (DIY)
- candy

Tadpole
Want- Green Toys helicopter
Need- fleece hat and sippy cup
Wear- foot pjs
Read/Watch: John Deere Action
Stocking
- star wars fan w/candy
- toothbrush
- candy
- blue dress-up mask (DIY)

Hummingbird
Want-
Need- coffee mug
Wear- Croc slippers (reg $44.99 , sale $22.49
Read-

Monday, December 21, 2015

Free Star Wars Printable

In honor of the new Star Wars movie and my house move, I've made the free printable.  It prints as a 8x10.  I prefer to print it on cardstock at a copy and print center such as Staples.  I plan on using this printable in my new master bathroom (yes, I'm that nerdy).

To download, click here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Free Laundry Sign

Preparations for our new house continue.  I've been cleaning, organizing (more on that later), purging, and crafting.  I designed this free printable sign to go in our new laundry room.  I love this quote because it reminds me that thankfulness is a choice.  The second half of the quote, which I chose not to include for spacing reasons, says that someday the laundry baskets will be empty because the family will be grown.  It's a reminder to enjoy the days I have now- they won't last forever.  To download it, click here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

c is for cookie (year 2, week 14)

We're still busy with the move (of course).  Even still, we've done a few things this week.  Our theme was "c is for cookies."

Tadpole enjoyed stacking the pink tower this week.  He learned that he could stack them better if he started with the bigger blocks and then added the smaller ones.  He hasn't placed them biggest to smallest yet.

He really enjoyed putting them back in the storage bag when he was finished.  The blocks are packed now for our next house.

I found these 18" felt gingerbread men at the dollar store.  They came with cut out pieces of felt to decorate them with.  We ended up having to hot glue the pieces on.  The kids have enjoyed playing with them.

I loved how each of the kids wanted to decorate their gingerbread men in their own way.  They were so proud of their work.

Dragonfly has been tying knots in everything lately.  This is the medical tubing for my nebulizer.  At least it's easy to pick out.  Perhaps she'll get some rope for Christmas.

The kids are always eager to help me clean the house.  The other kids have made Tadpole (2) brave and he now loves to vacuum as well.  He loves to help them push it around.

Books:
- Gingerbread Girl Goes Animal Crackers
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Printables:
- cocoa/cookie shop spelling/math game
- cookie counting game
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Spelling Game
- cookie bump game
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie preschool pack

Ideas:
- decorating large foam cookies
- runaway cookie pattern
- How Flour is Made video
- hot cocoa sensory bin
- cookie shop pretend play
- life size gingerbread house
- bake C shaped cookies

Follow In Our Pond's board "c is for cookies" on Pinterest.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Family Brain Binder (free printable)

I'm starting to organize the items on my to-do list.  I've made the "Family Brain Binder" top priority, mostly because it's easy.  I started with a $1 "Better" binder from Staples and a few packs of half-size page protectors from Walmart.  I designed my binder cover, which you can download here.  I also printed a few handy things from other blogs, like a calendar (here) and a birthday tracker (here).  Both blogs have lots of planner printables to satisfy even the most OCD person.

I don't usually cook with recipes, but I have a few baking ones that I like to have on hand.  I was able to print them from a cooking website by setting the margins so the text was as wide as a half-page.  It's not beautiful, but it's good enough for the couple times a year that I need those recipes.  I still need to type up a few other recipes, but those can be done later.

I also need to update our family emergency information and phone number lists.  I'll probably start on them soon, but they won't be ready for the binder until after we move.  A new town means new doctors, pharmacy, dentist, emergency contacts, etc.

To me, the best part about the family binder is that it is expandable.  If I decide to add more information later, I can do it!  If I want to make a separate recipe binder, I can just slide the recipes I've already made into the new one.  Even though the binder will never be "done," I'm calling it finished and checking it off the list.

Organizational To-Do List:
1- DVDs
2- Devices
3- Launch Pad
4- Craft Supplies
5- Coffee Station
6- Mason Jars
7- Toys
8- Kids Clothes
9- Command Center
10- Coats and Shoes


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ten Things I Need to Organize


As we're preparing to move houses, I have quite a few organizational projects on my list.  Look for posts in the near future detailing how I've solved my issues.

Issue #1- The DVDs.  Right now, they're in a bunch of zippered cases.  The problem is that no single disk has a specific home so *you* must search through every case to find the movie you want.  Our most frequently used movies are in a pile on top of the DVD player.  It's always a mess.

Issue #2- The Devices.  I recently labeled the cords to match the devices.  For now, the devices sit in a wood box on top of the microwave.  When we move, the same set-up will probably not work any longer.  My hope is to find an enclosed system that will protect our devices from gross things (if we locate it in the kitchen) and keep them out of sight.

Issue #3- The Launch Pad.  At this house, our launch pad is a basket by our main door that hangs on a little shelf.  The shelf has cup hooks for our keys, and the basket holds the wallets, cell phone, etc.  I'm sure we won't be able to have the same system in the new house.  I'm sure this will be on the top of our list after we move.

Issue #4- The Craft Supplies.  Right now, my craft supplies are in three different places.  My sewing machine and fabric are in our "Apple Room," because I sew at the table.  The majority of my craft supplies are in our bedroom closet, but I also have a stash in a kitchen cupboard since I usually craft at the kitchen counters.  At the new house, I'd love to have everything together, possibly in the adult bedroom where I can (theoretically) protect it from the kids.

Issue #5- The Coffee Station.  We have a regular coffeemaker that we pull in and out of a cupboard every time we want a cup of joe.  It's inconvenient.  My dream for the next house is to have a "coffee station" where all the coffee supplies can be kept in a pleasing and organized manner.  I'm also feeling drawn back to the "coffee shop" decor.

Issue #6- Mason Jars.  I like to buy my spices in bulk, and I store them in mason jars.  At the current house, they're in a jumble on the counters, organized but not pretty.  I'd love to have a couple build-in shelves for the jars or possibly even mount them under the cupboards.

Issue #7- Toys.  Is there any family that doesn't have toy organization on their list?  Right now, we have a good system for the kids' toys.  We converted the entryway closet into a "toy closet" and have all the toys stored in bins.  When the kids want a set of toys out of the closet (for example, the dublos), then they must pick up the living room to make room to play with the new toys.  If they want another box, then they must pick up the one that's already out.  This child-led but parent-directed method has worked very well for us.  Our house is still very messy, but the toy control helps it not be a dumping zone all the time.  We're going to need something similar at the new house.

Issue #8- The Kids' Clothes.  To reign in the chaos a little, the kids' clothes are not stored in their room.  Instead, we keep the clothes in other closets with child locks.  At the new house, the hallway near the bathroom has built in storage.  I think we'll probably use that but I'm not sure.

Issue #9- The Command Center.  Another thing I need to figure out is where the landline phone jack is in the new house to see where our command center needs to be located.  The move has also prompted me to rework our "family brain book," updating all the phone numbers, emergency numbers, and calendars.

Issue #10- Coats and Shoes.  In any family, the question of where to put the coats and shoes is a big deal.  Our old house has the "Apple Room," a combination eating area, office, craft space, and mud room.  The new house doesn't have an obvious mud room, so I'm going to have to make one.

As you can see, I have lots to do.  So, what's on your organizational wish list?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

b is for babies (year 2, week 13)

For our first week of Christmastime learning, we're focusing on babies, human and animal, with a touch of mammals vs non-mammals.  We also started our "Countdown to Christmas" with a story a night from the Jesus Storybook Bible.

We've been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible.  The cards are free.

So, um, this week didn't go at all like planned.  I've been packing and organizing and purging for our upcoming move.  We've been working with our realtor to put an offer on a house.  Since I've done all the planning, here's what I've found (and the books we read this week).

source
Books:
- 15 Things Not to do with a Baby
- Father and Son: a Nativity Story
- Little One, We Knew You'd Come
- The Life Cycle of a Human
- Song of the Stars

Printables:
- path to Bethlehem game
- mammals vs non-mammals sorting game
- miniature matching cards for mammals
- fetal development 3-part cards
- mommy's and babies around the world
- animal families matching
- Nativity learning pack

Ideas:
- baby care with a baby doll
- baby doll washing sensory bin


Follow In Our Pond's board "b is for babies" on Pinterest.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Christmas Cookie Printable

I wish I had something amazing to write about this printable.  It's pretty straightforward.  Print the two pages and attach a paper clip to the pie graph to use as a spinner.  Have the child spin the paper clip and graph how many times the spinner selects a certain cookie.  Count up the results.

To download, click here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

One Quick Organizational Project

I have run into this idea on Pinterest several times.  Every time I saw it, I thought that it was a good idea, but I never did anything about it.  With the move coming up soon, I've finally done it.


It was so simple to organize my cords with washi tape.  I taped charge cords, electronics, and wall chargers with matching tape.  It look me probably 20 minutes to round up the majority of our devices and cords and tape them.  I really wish I had done it earlier.  The cheerful tape patterns make me smile every time I look at them and the tape means that finding a charge cord is now a 15 second problem instead of a constant headache.

The power strip I am featuring in my post is one of my favorite things in our house.  It has both regular electric plugs and USB plugs.  Someday, I'd like to add the USB wall outlets, but this power strip is working very well in our rental house.  You can find it for purchase on Amazon.

I hope to do a few more organizational posts in the next few months.  Keep checking back.