Paper Rings Advent Calendar

Friday, November 30, 2012

Making this brought be back to my childhood!  I use to make this every year and my impatience to get to the last ring was as bad then as it is now.  Cindy isn't old enough to help with making the rings so this year I made it myself and starting tomorrow we will pull off one ring at a time.

I got this poem from a MOPs meeting I went to last year where they shared different ways to bring Christ back to Christmas.  I love what the rhyme says and want to read it every night.  I want Cindy to grow up knowing that the reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus was born to be the savior of the world.  Not the presents or all the other stuff.  

The colors aren't that festive but I  think it turned out okay.  I do love the yarn star though!  Another thing you can do with this simple advent is to write a verse on each ring.  Each ring telling a little more about the story of His birth until you get to the last one.  I plan on doing that with her next year when she understands it more. 

There are so many other Advent ideas out there!   Another one we are going to do this year is the 25 books until Christmas.  I surprisingly have a hefty lot from my teaching days.  Check out Dana's post on this.  She also gives a great list of Christmas books!

I have already started my advent book wishlist for next year.  Hoping to replace some of the okay ones from our collection now.  It is a family tradition of ours [one my hubby and I started our first Christmas married] to read the Nativity story after breakfast before opening gifts.  This is a great way to continue the tradition with Boo Bear.  Each morning we will read one book and on Christmas morning we will read a book telling the story of His birth.  I ordered The Christmas Story for the last book.  I haven't read it yet but it got good reviews.  Will let you know when it comes in!

But I think her favorite Advent will of course be the candy.  Being guaranteed a piece of chocolate everyday is a kids dream come true.   Thanks Titi! 

We are keeping it simple this year.  A book after breakfast, candy after lunch, and taking a ring off before bed.  The countdown starts tomorrow!  Are you planning on doing an advent calendar this year? 

Santa, Reindeer, Tree Hand Print Ornaments

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

As I mentioned before, I got really creative with the hand print ornaments this year.  My mom just got hers in the mail and couldn't stop raving about how cute it was.  She said she hung it up right next to the one I made her when I was in first grade.  The kiddos can play with the dough, but this craft is really for the mamas to have some fun.  Aren't they darling?!

A friend of mine on facebook posted a picture of the Santa one and I just had to have one.  So after I made some of the regular ones, I made a new batch of dough[recipe here] and cut around her hand print.  If you are making Rudolph you will need two holes on the palm to string the bow and one on the top middle finger.

Baked it to a crisp.

And then painted it.  I am going to show how I did the Santa since the other ones are kind of self explanatory.  This time, instead of a Sharpie, I used a toothpick and paint to write her name.  

For those of you who are art challenged, here is the step by step on how to paint the Santa.  No need for special tools or brushes.  I did use a brush for the white and areas where there are a lot of color but you can really get away with just using a ear swab and tooth pick.

1.  Paint Santa's eyes and nose using a toothpick like a pen and some paint.
2.  Outline part of his beard and draw in his mustache. 
3. Outline the bottom portion of his hat.
4. Outline the top portion of his hat in red and the end part.
5.  Paint the hat red.
6.  Use a ear swab to dab in his face with cream.  It's okay if you get it on the black outline. 

Once Santa's face dries, you can go over the black again.  Then add some Modge Podge just like in the regular hand print ornament.  

I added a bow and bell for Rudolph and only thought of making him because my sister wanted an ornament that matched her tree.  For the Christmas tree, just add Modge Podge to the painted tree portion, sprinkle glitter and Podge over it.  Add some ribbon and there you have it.  Ornaments for gifts. 

I still can't decide whether I like the plain hand print one or the fancy ones.  What do you think? 

Tutorial: Updated Hand Print Ornament

Monday, November 26, 2012

Remember that hand print ornament I made for my hubby when he was deployed during Christmas last year?  Well, I decided to make some for family back home as gifts this year.  Here is the updated version of that tutorial.  The second time you make something always seems to be better.  But if you think these are cute, just wait a few days because I have some even more darling hand print ornaments to share! 

Here is the recipe again:
2 cups of flour 
1/2 cup of salt
3/4 cup of warm water

**Tip** if you want your dough to be a certain color [I made mine green] add food coloring to the water.  
Mix the salt and flour mixture up really well.  Slowly add the salt water and stir. Knead the dough and let those little fingers have some fun!  I rolled out little awkward circles onto wax paper so it is easy to transfer to a baking sheet.  Push her hand print on it, the thinner the better, but of course not too thin. 

Then, I found a bowl that was about the size of her hand and used it as a cookie cutter.  Poke holes using a straw or a pen.

Last year I had some trouble with bubbling.  To prevent the dough from rising, cook it at a much lower temperature for longer.  I cooked it at 200 degrees for a few hours.  Pretty much until they got hard as rocks.  Once they are cooked, get the paint out and all you need a cotton swab to paint.  I used cheap acrylic.  You can use a toothpick and paint to write the name on the back.  I used a Sharpie.

Once the paint is dry get the Modge Podge out.  Last year I used clear spray paint.  It came out nice and glossy.  Either one is fine.  The proper gloss to use is an acrylic spray gloss.  Modge Podge worked just as great though.  And if you have never used this amazing stuff before be sure to apply only a thin layer.  Let it dry completely and then apply another layer.  If you apply it too thick, it will dry white and sticky.  

See the difference?  Before Modge Podge and after.  I put two coats.

String with ribbon and you have a great and sentimental gift for the grandparents. 

Now, don't rush off and decide to make these just yet!  I got creative and made a Santa version, Rudolph, and Christmas tree version.  So stay tuned!  

Felt Christmas Tree

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ever since I saw this on Pinterest I knew I had to make one for Cindy!  We have to wait a little bit to put up our tree this year so this helps me wait a little longer and she gets her very own tree.  I hope this will divert her from touching the real one when it is up but I doubt it!  I do love it though! 

I bought a yard of green felt to make the actual tree.

I bought a ton of little color square felt to make ornaments.  The snowman one is surprisingly her favorite. These are 3 inch circles.

I decided to also make 2 inch ornaments too.

She woke up the day after Thanksgiving and noticed the tree right away.  It was so cute!  She just whispered......  Treeeee and started putting the ornaments on.  They all end up clumped at the top, but it's a tree just for her. 

Tutorial: Baby Doll Bed

Friday, November 23, 2012

After making that doll bed in September I was debating about whether to do a tutorial.  Well, thanks to one reader's request you all are going to benefit because I buckled down this past week and got busy.  I made some tweaks, but it is essentially still the same doll bed.  The fabric isn't as cute though because our little craft store is so limited on prints.  As with all big tutorials be sure to read it through once before making. 

I will include the measurements I used but these can easily be changed according to your needs.  If you want it bigger, the walls to not be as high, the bias tape to be smaller, maybe longer handles, then make the adjustments.  This tutorial is the backbone.

You will need plastic canvas like this cut 43 by 4 inches.  I had to sew together a few pieces to get the length.  

You need an outer print [dots] and inner print [teal] that is 44 by 6 inches.   You will also need four strips of quilting batting this length.  The straps are 22 by 2.5 inches long of outer fabric, inner, and batting.

The shopping breakdown: 1/4 yard of outer print, 1 yard of lining, 1/2 yard for bias tape, batting, two sheets of canvas, lightweight interfacing [optional].

Turkey Craft Turkey Sandwich

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We had a play date today and my very crafty friend from The Crunchy Lion brought the girls some crafts to do.  Her creative little brain thought up this really cute turkey craft and I just have to share it!  Isn't it adorable?  I love all the different elements and textures it has. 

She drew and cut out her hand print from cardboard.  We glued colorful Popsicle sticks on the fingers and added some sequin to them.  For the beak, I cut out a triangle from a piece of orange Popsicle stick.  The gobble gobble chin is a piece of pipe cleaner!  She is so clever. 

We also added some leaf stickers to the "grass".  Cindy's friend got really into it.  I love that her mommy lets her be free with her project.  Three eyes and all. 

For snack, we had turkey shaped sandwiches.  They were really just peanut butter and jelly with apples, craisin eyes, and cheese legs.  Isn't it so cute?!

But I think my Boo bear's favorite part of today was feeding the ducks.  She was mesmerized and loved it!  Such a fun Turkey themed play day. 

Baby Shower Games

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The time seems to be getting ahead of me again because I can't seem to keep up.  I have a million and one things going on from crafts, to decorating, organizing, potty training and the list goes on.  For those of you anxiously and patiently waiting for the baby doll bed tutorial, it should be up by Black Friday.  And of course, following that will be a heap load of Christmas goodies we have been brewing the past few days.

But to back track a little, I didn't fully get to share all I wanted to about the baby shower.  I really really wanted to share this fun and easy game my friend Jen put together.  I have never played this one, but it was a big hit!   It is your basic matching memory game.  You go in a circle one person after the other, to try to match two pregnancy related words.  The fun part for everyone was trying to guess the prize for the word.  For example, when someone found water breaking they were rewarded Gushers [gross I know].  Or breastfeeding was the Milka bar.  This was also a neat little game because I think everyone walked away with a little gift.  

And of course we played the dirty diaper game where you melt candy into the diapers and you try to guess what candy is inside.  It grosses me out but it was a hoot. 

And thanks to Pinterest for providing this fun little activity.  We set out some diapers for everyone to write on and people got pretty creative.  This would have made changing diapers so much more fun at 2am.  

And instead of a guest book, I screen printed Nadia's name onto a onsie and everyone signed it.  To get the name on the onsie, use the Freezer Paper Stencil tutorial.   I thought this was a little more special and if she ever decided to make a Baby Clothes quilt, this would be a perfect addition. 

So it was an afternoon full of food, fun, and games!  You can find more games and ideas on our pinspiration board HERE.  

Review of Mpix Prints

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I was just telling you all about Mpix a week ago, about how I gave them the hefty responsibility to print my Christmas cards.  What I didn't mention was I also order prints for a frame I am filling and both packages are already here!!  Actually they have been here for a few days, but I have been slacking on posting.  Processing and shipping in less than a week [and we are overseas].   That is impressive.   

The prints came out gorgeous!!  No weird tints.  The colors and vibrancy are very true to the original pictures thanks to an option which allows you to choose to have auto color correct.  I had to get a bunch of different sizes because of the matte that came with the frame.  So glad Mpix prints 4x4's because they fit those awkward smaller than 4x6 slots perfectly!  I also have to mention, the wallets came out so pretty and they even die cut them so they look professional.  Will for sure be mailing those extras to my sisters.  

I know you can't fully see the quality of the prints because it is a picture of a picture, but I am really impressed with Mpix and dare I say I love their prints better than my leading printing place.  These two were probably my favorite of the bunch.  They really look professionally printed.  The price of the prints are slightly more expensive [than Costco, Walmart, or Target] but for the quality, it is totally worth it.  Seriously. 

 I compared them with other pictures in my house and you can see and feel the difference.  I chose the E-surface [matte paper] because I didn't want the shine of gloss and I wanted the prints to be fingerprint proof.  The paper quality and weight is as close to professional that I have seen.  I was so excited about the photo paper quality I have to oooh and ahhh about it here.  It's not a great picture of the texture but you can actually feel the texture of the print like in professional printing.  I can't wait to try printing in their true black and white photo paper.  Very impressive Mpix.  

Guess I will be a frequent flyer at Mpix because I am the most indecisive person.  I have a few more slots and a few more frames to fill....  After all, why have professional pictures if you are going to print on bad quality photo paper?  Now I know why professional photographers always encourage clients to print the pictures with them.  Professional quality is just not the same as those regular store prints. 

If you think I am excited about a few prints, wait until you see our Christmas cards!!  Oh me oh my, they are so cute!  I really want to share them, but want to make sure family and friends see them first.  But you won't have to wait too long because they are going in the mail this week.  

Tutorial: Little Ballerina Bag

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This is very long overdue.  I kept putting it off and putting it off and now, we are almost to our winter recital and I haven't even posted this tutorial!  Shame on me.  Better late then never I guess.  Please excuse my pictures, I had to finish the project at night and changed the design of the bag while I was making it.  I can tell you it has been a god bag and now little miss wants to carry it even though it is as big as her!  It's adorable!

 You will need
lightweight interfacing [optional]
fabric for lining
fabric for pockets
and ribbon of your choice

You are going to start with four pieces.  The size of the bag is really up to you.  You can make it wider or longer than mine.  It is just preference.  Two shorter pieces for the top and two longer pieces for the bottom. 

Kids Art T-Shirts with Sand Paper and Crayons

Monday, November 12, 2012

We made these darling shirts for the kids at pre school today that I just couldn't wait to share it.  They are so stinking cute!  The idea came from Pinterest of course and it was so easy to do I will be making them in the future.  My friend Natalie is the clever one who came up with this hand print tree design.

All you need is sand paper, crayons, and an iron.  We all sat around and traced the kiddos hands on the  rough side of the sandpaper, one for each shirt.  We let them color it until they couldn't stand sitting any longer.  Natalie colored strips of brown for the trunks of the tree.

Then, we cut out the hand prints.  Place a piece of paper towel inside the shirt to prevent any transfer to the backside.  Put the design on the shirt, put a piece of fabric or paper towel on top and iron it on.  You will have to leave the iron on for a little bit so the crayon design will stick really well.   

After the shirts are made you want to heat set the design by tossing them in the dryer for about 20 minutes so it doesn't wash off when the shirts are washed.  They came out so stinkin cute and even more cute on the little ones!

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