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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I Felt Like It

Pirate Road Trip Ideas from In Our Pond
Yesterday's post was about how our road trip has turned pirate.  In writing it, I had forgotten the other thing that helped me change my mind toward pirating- this Disney Pirates of the Caribbean personal CD player.  I bought it during the Christmas season because it was only $5 and I thought it would be convenient for our road trip.  I really like that it has a hanging piece, that the door to the CD chamber has a "lock," and that it has two "jacks" already on it (no need for a headphone splitter).

Felt Road Trip Activities from In Our Pond
Today, I'm featuring some of the felt projects I've been working on for our trip (I didn't make them all today).  First is the car play mat I made for the boys (primarily).  The track fits a micro machine.  I got the design from this maze and used freezer paper to cut it out.  Everything has been hot glued down.  I wanted the boys to be able to make up their own ideas about the buildings on the mat, what they were or who lived/worked in them.  The pink flecks are flowers and the blue blob is a lake/pond.  I still need to add the car, which I intend to tether to the mat.  The whole thing can be rolled up and stored in a tin (eventually).

Felt Road Trip Activities from In Our Pond
The next project was a lot of fun and pretty simple to make.  The base is a cake board that I cut down so it would fit in a gallon zip lock bag.  The colors are cut from felt and hot glued to the base and the clothespins.  It wasn't until I was photographing that I realized I was missing the orange "paintbrush."  The idea for this project came from here.

Felt Road Trip Activities from In Our Pond

All the pirate pins (Pinterest) got me in the mood to make this treasure map/small world mat.  I'm hoping to buy the Safari pirate toob for it.  The idea came from here.  I wanted to leave this play mat open to the kids' imaginations too, so I didn't add a lot of details.  I wasn't even going to put the "X" on it but my husband talked me into it.  The free-hand "x" looks much better than my "sea creature" so what can I say?

Felt Road Trip Activities from In Our Pond
Marble mazes are all over Pinterest right now.  This one was created by sewing over a free printable (here).  I'm working on making one for each of the kids to have in their personal car bags.  So far, I've finished the pink one and the blue one.  Now, I just need to get the green one done.

The "marble" inside is a flat glass stone from the Dollar Tree.

Felt Road Trip Activities from In Our Pond
Here's another non-original idea- the button snake.  It seems like every blogger/Pinterester is making one these days.  It was a really good way to practice cutting felt before I started on the harder pieces for the play mats.  I intend to make at least one more "snake," this time with a small button on one end and a larger one on the other.  Then, the felt pieces will be smaller and so will the holes (for more realistic buttoning practice).

Check out this other fun pirate-y idea I found- gold coin cookies (ok, these are not edible- but they could be!).

Well, that's it for today.  Perhaps my crazy crafting is done for a while (or not).

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pirate-Themed Road Trip

The kids got a bunch of pirate dress-up items (hats, treasure, hooks...) for Christmas from one of their aunts.  They've been having a lot of fun wearing the accessories and fighting with the swords I made them.  All the while, I've been obsessively planning the road trip.  Then, I ran into this post on Pinterest and the pirate themed road trip took on a life of it's own.

In my typical fashion, I've been pinning all sorts of treasures.  Like these adorable (and printable) peg people for small world play or these Safari toob figures.  I've even found a free audio book version of Peter Pan and lots of Youtube videos of read-aloud books.  Of course, a pirate ship (across the unrelenting prairie) needs vittles like these fruit skewers.  And, we can't forget costumes!

Dragonfly has already been telling everyone that we're having a pirate-themed road trip, even though she didn't even know what a pirate was until a few days ago.  We'll have to see what becomes of this idea in the next few months.  Either way, perhaps I've helped inspire you to plan a themed road trip for yourself.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Crafting There is Half the Fun

The motto for road trips is "getting there is half the fun" but I'd say that "crafting there is also half the fun.  Our road trip is still 9 months away, but I can't seem to stop crafting for it.  I have at least six things in progress right now.  Today, I'd like to share three projects that I've finished, two originals and one slightly less original.

I have seen empty chapstick cases used for many things on Pinterest, but I haven't seen anyone make a first aid kit with them.  This one has a few ibuprofen in it.  It will go in a larger, child-proof bottle with a few more tubes of medicine.  The "stick" of medicines would be perfect for a day outing or even a vacation if one didn't need to worry about children accessing it.
 I first wrote about this game here.

I think this might be an original idea (at least I haven't seen one like it on Pinterest).  The game is velco, which I chose because it is safer for little kids.  The case is a card box from this year's Christmas cards (very strong).  I modge podged the paper onto the box and sealed it with another layer of modge podge.  Then, I added velcro to the wooden game pieces and the board (make sure they're opposites).

One side of the box is tic-tac-to (mater).  The outside of the lid looks like the picture on the left and the inside looks like the above picture.
The other side of the box has another Pixar game- Finding Nemo themed tic-tac-toe.  The inside of this lid has a blue velco board for playing with the Nemo and Dory game pieces.

Everything can be velcroed to their game boards and then the two lids go back together.  It ended up being a cute little project.

This is a bucket for our road trip pulley system (original idea here).  It will be used to send snacks, etc, from the front of the car to the back.  The knit fabric is wrapped around a plastic container for rigidity and cleanliness.  This, too, is going in my bin of road trip projects.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dress-Up Rack Reveal

 The rack itself is made out of 1" PVC pipe.  It's just a rectangular box.  I created the hooks by adding metal hardware (key rings and such) to colorful chip clips.  I'm hoping that the design and wider "squeezy-part" will mean that the kids will be independent at getting the clothes down and put away again (a mom can only hope).  I like how colorful and inviting they look on the rack.
The first side has a clear plastic canister (from the Dollar Tree) zip-tied to the left corner.  The canister holds the insulation and duck tape swords (tutorial here).  Next to them hangs two Dollar Tree superhero capes (with breakaway velcro fasteners).  The boy's tie (with an elastic neck band) and his "just like Daddy" apron are in the middle.  The apron has a button down dress shirt and black dress "pants."  This is not what "Daddy" usually wears- just in case you were wondering.  The girl's "just like Mommy" apron dress is next.  The apron has a flowered bodice and skirt and a white apron (written about here).  This is not what "Mommy" usually wears either- this is just a "non-princess" dress-up outfit.  Toward the end is the doctor's coat and stethoscope.  I bought the stethoscope on Halloween clearance in the accessories section.  We were surprised today to find out that it really works!  I think the kids are really going to have fun with that.  We'll have to add these neat x-rays to our light box doctor's office play.
 Coming around to the right, there is this funny looking cover.  Why Cars fabric?  Because that's what my son is obsessed with.  I was also hoping to tone down the "girly-ness" of the rack by adding that "boy part."  On the left is a Snow Queen cape (tutorial here).  It's made from some snowflake (glitter!) fabric that I found at Halloween time.  The pocket on the Cars fabric is full of shoes, dancing ribbons, and gloves.  Not really boy stuff- so I'll have to work on that.

The "front" side of the rack is also full of treasures.  The left side has a jedi robe for the boy (tutorial here).  It wasn't made very well, since it was one of the first things I made.  If he plays with it a lot, then I can make a better one for his birthday (besides, I fully expect him to outgrow this one in a year).  Next to it is a ribbon skirt (tutorial here).  I'm hoping it will last longer than a tulle skirt plus I love the way the ribbons feel.  One of the dancing ribbons matches it, which adds a bit of fun.  In October, I picked up the other dancing skirt from the thrift store.  It's just a simple, classic one.  I need to by a leotard, but it didn't happen this Christmas.  On the end is a few accessories: two knit crowns, a bead necklace, and a feather boa (which we already had in our house).

It's been months and months of work, planning, sewing, Pinteresting, and knitting, but it's finally done.  I can't wait to see how the kids will respond to it.  And, Dragonfly still gets to open her "Rapunzel" apron dress and wig as a separate gift.

Mini Sensory Bottles

In my road trip preparations, I've started making sensory/discovery bottles again (I wrote about them first here).  The pink bottle is composed of mostly baby oil, a bit of water, food coloring, and glitter.  The clear one is corn syrup with floral beads.  Both bottles are hot glued shut (super glue didn't last long, in our experience).  I can't open them so I'm hoping that the kids can't open them either (especially in the car).

As I previously wrote, we love the 3oz travel bottles for this project.  They're just the right size for
my toddlers' hands.  I also like how light and transportable they are at this size.  Hopefully, they'll buy us some time on our road trip.

I've made a few more since I took these pictures.  A green one with "watered-down" corn syrup (to change the viscosity) and lots of glitter.  It's a nice "calm-down" bottle.  I've seen them made with glue but I didn't have any the house.  The corn syrup was in the back of my cupboard, so that's why I've been using it.

The other bottle was baby oil and straight pins.  I was hoping that the pins would float around a bit in the oil but they just fall as if they were in water.  Unfortunately, I had already glued the lid on.  Fortunately, the bottles are cheap enough that it doesn't hurt too badly to start over.  I fully intend to make a few more of these bottles.  I really enjoy making them.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Sneek Peek 2

Introducing the second Christmas sneak peek- a Rapunzel wig!  I've seen tutorials on Pinterest for yarn wigs and decided to risk my sanity making one.  I started with nearly 3 skeins of yarn and stretched them out between a fireplace hook and our play kitchen.  It looked something like this:
Learn a lesson from my mistakes- tie your yarn together into hanks when it's still taught on the hook instead of waiting.  It took me until the 3rd skein to do it right.  I tied spare yarn around the hanks about every foot, which greatly reduced my frustration as I braided.  If your going to add ribbon in the braid, it would be a good idea to tie it in with the rest of the yarn, instead of the way I did it which was a mess.  Here's a picture of the yarn ready for plaiting.

Then, just start braiding from the center outwards.  I did about one foot on each side of the middle and then joined them.  This created a very natural-looking braid.  I also chose to twist my braid a bit so that the middle was flat and fat instead of narrow (like a fold).  Observe:
 Add the ribbons (if you haven't already) and separate the six hanks of yarn into three plaits.  Begin braiding again.  This is the hardest part.  Braid and braid and braid forever.  Until, at last, you get to the end.  Then, rubber band the braid strands together.  If you weren't prepared for this step, wander around the house with the braid around your neck and the ends held in one hand, while looking for one.  Plug in the glue gun.  Here comes the fun part!

Hot glue the rubber band in place.  Use an entire stick of glue, then add a ribbon to hide the mess.  I had made a bunch of felt flowers (tutorial here), so I glued those all over the braid.  The hardest part was making sure that the center of the flower was on a "joint" of the braid for a more realistic look.  Realistic for yarn hair and felt flowers.

When you run out of flowers, run around the house, showing everyone your creation.  Wrap with the dress and wait for Christmas!

For other wig inspiration, click on these links:

Elsa Wig

Adjustable Wig

Tangled Wig

Rapunzel Wig (most like mine)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pixar Games

My kids (3, 2, 1) love Pixar movies!  Skimmer's favorites are the Cars and Planes ones, while Dragonfly prefers the Toy Story series.  With their favorites in mind, I've created these two games in preparation for our family road trip (still 9 months away).

For Skimmer, I made this tic-tac-to-Mater game.  The game features Lightening McQueen and Mater in a friendly competition for 3-in-a-row.  I made the car pieces to fit on 1.5" wood disks (found here).  As you'll soon see, I'm a bit addicted to these wood disks.  I love that you can print something (like the Advent calendar), modge podge it to a disk, and create a decent, enduring game.  With 3 toddlers in the house, everything has to be durable or it just doesn't last.

Anyway, here is the free printable game for making your own set.

For Dragonfly's love of Toy Story, I made a character matching game using these cupcake toppers from Over the Big Moon.  I printed two copies and modge podge them onto more wood disks.  I still need to add a fun paper on the "backs" of the disks to make them coordinated.  My intention is that we could play this game in the hotel or with our relatives at the reunion.  For playing in the car, I'm going to print off a third copy of the cupcake toppers for her to use with one set of characters in a simplified matching game.

Then, because I'm obsessed with the wood disks, and because my kids' other favorite movie is Finding Nemo, I also made a set of Nemo and Dory tic-tac-toe game pieces.

Be sure to check back often for more road trip idea.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Road Trip Activity Planner

I've just found out that we're going on a road trip!!!  I'm super excited.  Road trips are one of my favorite things.  Unfortunately, the trip isn't until Sept.  Fortunately, that gives me lots of time to plan and craft.  And, boy do I have a big list! (these are all links to the original)

- magnetic treasure bottle
- marble sensory bottle
- static electricity sensory bottle
"Let it Snow" sensory bottle
- jingle bell ribbon pull
- printable road map for cars
- velcro sticks
- geo boards
- printable coloring sheets
- magnetic dancing ballerina
- printable Tangled Pre-K pack

- lacing cards/sewing kit
- velcro tetris blocks
- foam sticker sorting
- clipping mat
- printable "road trip" games (and here and here)
- tangram puzzle
- doll house
- hexicards puzzle
- velcro block puzzles
- PBJ game (planning to use this bread template)
- marble maze (or the cloth kind)
- button snake
- printable Mr Potato Head
- popsicle sticks puzzles
- swaddle baby
- magnetic fishing game

I plan on packaging my activities in metal tins in hopes that they'll survive the journey.  Some of the activities will be self contained, while others will require additional pieces.  Also, who knows how many of these I'll actually do.  So far, I've made a few sensory bottles, the swaddle baby, two tic-tac-toe games, and one matching game.  I'm crafting crazy.

In addition to the activities I hope to make, I'd also like to sew several items for the inside of the car to make the journey more pleasant.  These include:

- center console (mine)
- car pillow
- car seat footrest
- road trip timeline (and here and here and here)
- Kindle headrest holder
- divider (or here)
- emergency toilet (we'll have at least 2 potty-training toddlers)
- hanging basket
- lap desk (and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7)
- DVD player holder
- neck pillow
- seat belt pillow

As you can see, another long list of craft-abilities.  So exciting!  I've already made the hanging basket, the binder travel board (lap desk 7), and most of the center console (been working on it for a long time).  I told my sister-in-law that if I can craft my way to the road trip, then I'll be pretty happy.  Now, off to the fabric store!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Devotions

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them. It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers His name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle- the piece that makes all the other pieces together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.”

Instead of doing 24 separate posts about our Advent devotions in the Jesus Storybook Bible, I've decided to do just one.  Our family has really been enjoying the stories.  We're using the ornament set from Joyfully Weary this year.  Eventually, I'd like to add more to our study - something like this:

Title: The Story and the Song
Verses: Psalms 19 and Hebrews 1
Symbol: puzzle piece
Name for Jesus: ?

Title:The Beginning- A Perfect Home
Verses:Genesis 1-2
Symbol: globe
Name for Jesus: Creator

Title:The Terrible Lie
Verses: Genesis 3
Symbol: fruit
Name for Jesus: Seed of Woman

Title: The New Beginning
Verses: Genesis 6-9
Symbol: rainbow
Name for Jesus: ?

Title: The Giant Staircase to Heaven
Verses: Genesis 11
Symbol: ladder
Name for Jesus: ?

Title: Son of Laughter
Verses: Genesis 12-21
Symbol: ?
Name for Jesus: The Promise

Title: The Present
Verses: Genesis 22
Symbol: cross
Name for Jesus: Savior

Title: The Girl No One Wanted
Verses: Genesis 29-30
Symbol: heart
Name for Jesus: Love

Title: The Forgiving Prince
Verses: Genesis 37-46
Symbol: crown
Name for Jesus: Prince of Peace

Title: God to the Rescue
Verses: Exodus 1-13
Symbol: lamb
Name for Jesus: Lamb of God

Title: God Makes a Way
Verses: Exodus 14-15
Symbol: ?
Name for Jesus: The Way
Title: Ten Ways to be Perfect
Verses: Exodus 16-17, 19-40
Symbol: tablets
Name for Jesus: Righteous Judge

Title: The Warrior Leader
Verses: Joshua 3 and 6
Symbol: sword (?)
Name for Jesus: ?

Title: The Teeny Weeny True King
Verses: 1 Samuel 16
Symbol: branch
Name for Jesus: Shoot From Jesse

Title: The Young Hero and the Horrible Giant
Verses: 1 Samuel 17
Symbol: ?
Name for Jesus: ?

Title: The Good Shepherd
Verses: Psalm 23
Symbol: staff
Name for Jesus: Good Shepherd

Title: The Little Servant Girl and the Proud General
Verses: 2 Kings 5
Symbol: bandage
Name for Jesus: Healer
Title: Operation No More Tears
Verses: Isaiah
Symbol: ?
Name for Jesus: Rescuer

Title: Daniel and the Scary Sleepover
Verses: Daniel 6
Symbol: lion
Name for Jesus: Lion of Judah

Title: God's Messenger
Verses: Jonah
Symbol: tomb
Name for Jesus:?

Name for Jesus:

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Sneek Peek (princess apron)

I'm very excited to share this dress-up apron with you!  Dragonfly's favorite princess, and the only one she knows by name, is Rapunzel.  She watched Tangled 3 times with her Aunties over Thanksgiving and the princess era was born.  I'm not completely comfortable with buying/making costumes that only apply to a certain character.  Therefore, when I set out to make this dress-up apron, I wanted it to be reminiscent of Rapunzel, but not a clone of her dress so completely as to rule out other "pretends" and characters.  Whether I have succeeded or not has yet to be seen.
The apron was built from a yard and a quarter of sparkly purple fabric and a scrap of dark purple fabric.  Additionally, you need 1/2" elastic and basic sewing supplies.  I started with the skirt, a full yard of fabric folded along the bias (?), and rounded the corners a bit before sewing it together with the wrong sides out (don't forget to leave a hole for turning).  Turn the skirt right side out and sew along the edge all the way around to flatten the seams.  Next, sew the 1/2" elastic about an inch from the top edge, stretching the elastic out as you sew to make an even ruffle.
For the bodice, create a template for the sweetheart neckline on a piece of cardstock (one regular sized paper is about the right size for the bodice).  Cut out two pieces of fabric to match your template.  Before you sew them together, make the neck piece (don't know what it's called).  I did mine by sewing a piece of dark purple fabric into a tube about 4x longer than I wanted my finished piece to be.  Then, I threaded a piece of elastic through it and sewed it about an inch from each end.  Pin the neck tube in place on the bodice, with the tube sandwiched between the layers.  Sew the bodice pieces together (right sides together), leaving the bottom open.  Turn the whole piece right side out (and hopefully your neck strap will be on the outside of your piece), poke out the seams, and top stitch the sides and top to make it lay flat.  Center your finished bodice on the skirt and sew in place, maintaining the ruffle.  Lastly, either put some ties on the ends of the skirt or some velcro (which is what I did) to finish the apron.

Hopefully, what I have written makes sense.  Here are a few of my inspirations and tutorials which explain the methods better.

Elastic Apron Bands
Bodice (also, she has aprons for all the Disney princesses)

c is for cookie

This week, I feel like I've done well with sticking to the theme.  We made chocolate cookies and played with chocolate play dough.  I added some sugar to my regular play dough recipe and liked the slight difference it made to the texture.  We have also been watching Christmas movies and talking about "c" words (like cup and cocoa).  There were many other things we could have done like making cookie cutter ornaments or gingerbread houses.  Our songs this week were "C is for cookie " (Cookie Monster) and "It's Called Christmas- with a capital C" (Go Fish).

C is also for:

candy canes

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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sewing Up a Storm

I thought it would be fun to share all the sewing I've been doing lately.  I got the machine last Christmas, and am only now feeling confident enough in my skills for sewing to be enjoyable.  I've been sewing dress-up costumes, gift bags, things for the kitchen, and random things I saw on Pinterest.  Here are a few examples of the "kitchen things":

 First, a classic, simple hanging towel.  Nothing interesting about the way I made it.  Just some cuteness for this Christmas season.
 This was our old method of storing extra plastic bags.  It was convenient, but (as you can see) it didn't always work well.  This particular bag has been shred by the cat, who decided a plastic bag full of bags was the best toy ever.  It needed a better solution.
 Tada!  The solution- a cloth bag holder made from an "extra" kitchen towel.  I stretched elastic out as I sewed to give the opening a stretchy, ruffled top.  I also made "buttonholes" for the first time for the "hanging holes."  And, in case you were wondering, the bag is held by the child safety cabinet lock and a nail (we're renters and it was already in the door).  I'm excited that the bag is also washable and should last a long time.
 When my mother-in-law visited last Feb, she started this apron for me.  She left before she had finished it, figuring that I could handle the sewing.  It took me up until this week before I had the confidence to put the ties onto this apron.  It seems very silly but- TADA- it's finished.

I also used a spare, matching blue towel to make an apron for Dragonfly (age 3).  She was pretty excited about it; although we haven't had a chance to test it.