Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dolls for My Daughter

I made my sweet daughter a doll from a "Wittle Whimsy" pattern when she was very little.  How she loved her blue-haired doll!  It was the perfect size for her little hands!

But this little doll needed a big sister...

For her first birthday, I made my daughter a new blue-haired dolly from the "Jean" pattern.  

Now we have a new favorite doll in our household!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Something special for Daddy on Father's Day

My three-year-old son likes "activities". Father's Day - what a perfect opportunity to make something special to say, "I love you, Daddy!"

I poured the concrete. My son embedded the colored glass and marbles.

Mommy added Daddy's favorite quotation: "Nil Amplius Oro" - "I wish/pray for nothing more".

My son was excited to work with "pomcrete".

A perfect way to celebrate Father's Day, a fun activity for a toddler, a sweet memory for Mommy, a unique gift for Daddy, and the perfect addition to my son's new treehouse!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rainbow Sun Catcher

At an educational store last fall, I located these strange colored discs. What are they for? Bingo? I have no idea. But I knew that I could make something fun with them.

A friend of mine who scrapbooks suggested using a very small hole punch to make holes in the discs... It worked perfectly. At first I made jewelry with them. They felt very "disco"!

Then, I decided to make a sun catcher! I used jump rings to connect the discs in a random order. The curtain of color is attached to eye screws in a squared off piece of balsa wood.

In the morning, we can even look at projected circles of color on the wall as we eat our breakfast!

My son likes to take it out of the window and lay the sun catcher curtain over his face to look out through the colors!

I told my son that I had made it just for him. "Not his sister?" Nope, this one is just for you! "Mommy, how did you make me this rainbow?"

It makes me smile that when my son walks into a room with me, he doesn't ask, "Mommy, what are you doing?"... instead he asks, "Mommy, what are you making?"

Why, I've made you a rainbow!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A custom-designed quilt for a special little girl

For my daughter's nursery, I used the Penelope pattern from Pottery Barn. I fell in love with the adorable little birds on the crib sheets. Eventually these sheets inspired my sweet girl's whole room. What would we do when our baby grew up and needed a big girl bed with big girl sheets and quilt?

Around that time, held a contest to design a "cheater quilt". (A "cheater quilt" is fabric which appears to have been quilted together, but it is actually a patchwork design printed onto a single piece of fabric.) I decided to collage different elements from my little girl's nursery into a patchwork design. The result: 2 yards of quilting weight fabric formed the center panel on a twin size quilt!

I picked up an adorable pink floral fabric to surround my custom-designed fabric on all four sides. The back is a single piece of bright pink fabric. I used 3/4" quilt binding and a zig-zag stitch to bind the edges, and the edges of all center squares are "quilted". In other words, the squares are not pieced together, but I sewed on all of the lines.

My design incorporated sections of the green rug in her room, a collage I had made for her wall with birds made of scrap-booking paper, a polka-dot design from flower pots I painted for her room,... of an origami mobile my husband and I made for her room, a stylized photo of wavy lines I painted on a dresser drawer pull, and a photo of her minky fabric changing table.

Perfect!!! Now my baby can grow up in style and still enjoy her little birdies!

If you are interested my fabric is available for purchase here.
I am also hoping to use the crib sheets someday to make her twin-bed-sized pillowcases, using a pillowcase tutorial from, available here.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tutorial: Place Mats to Teach Place Setting to a Toddler in the Montessori Tradition

I've been wanting to teach my newly-three-year-old how to set the table for some time. Although I sew and could make the place mats myself, I found some place mats I've had FOREVER (and not used in over 10 years); they were just "begging" to be re-purposed! I've also recently discovered the joys of freezer paper stencils. What a great technique to create the outlines of a plate, cup, and utensils to guide the child in learning the placement of these items!

How can you make a set for your toddler and empower his/her independant spirit? It is so easy!
First, I made a template of 2 forks, a knife, and 2 spoons. I printed out the high-contrast template, placed the freezer paper over the template (shiny side facing down), and traced the utensils onto freezer paper. I traced around the actual plate and cup to create the circular stencils for those objects. I then cut the designs out - five sets of them for my five place mats. In the end, I decided we really weren't fancy enough to require 2 spoons and 2 forks at our meals!

I ironed the freezer paper stencils (shiny side down) to my place mat, checked that the edges were adequately "sealed", and the place mat was ready to paint!

Finally, I painted the silhouettes of the place setting, using a foam brush and fabric paint purchased at Michaels. I used navy blue to match the blue place mats.

After the paint was dry, I removed the stencils by simply peeling them off the surface of the fabric place mats! (The freezer paper does not leave a residue on the fabric.)

TA DA!!! My three-year-old sets the table for himself & our family!

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