DIY Crochet Owl Blanket

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Returning to my love of crocheting today, I’ve found a super cute and fairly simple pattern to share with you all!

It’s a super bulky Owl Imitation afghan! Designed by Ravelry user MJ, this afghan is one of many designs they’ve released but one of my absolute favorites. 😀 The pattern includes instructions for Child or Adult size for only $6. Besides looking super cute and comfy though, I love how it looks when it’s all folded up.

They’ve also included lots of info about hook and yarn yardage required to make, as well as estimation for yarn substitutions. Overall it’s designed to be worked up in about a day for an advanced/experienced crocheter, with some possible extra time for working on the owl hood part. If you’re intimidated by the hood, fear not! MJ has included a video tutorial for how to sew/attach it all together on her youtube account. I’m definitely considering making some of these as gifts for my nephews this Holiday season. ^_^


DIY Kinetic Sand

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Only a few days left of holiday shopping, so I’ve got a super simple (and cheap!) DIY gift that you can mix up in a few minutes, and have it ready for play just a few hours later. Here’s the shopping list of materials you will need per batch:

  • 1 Cup of Fine Sand (can be found at craft stores in small amounts or some hardware stores in large bags)
  • 1.5 tbsp of Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Dishsoap
  • Water (amount will vary as you are looking to reach a touch consistency more then a certain water level)
  • Medium to Large bowl for mixing
  • Food coloring (optional)

First things first, make sure your hands and work space are clean to keep any foreign crumbs or debris won’t accidentally get mixed in. Then, using you bowl, mix together the sand and cornstarch with a whisk; making sure the two are well and thoroughly combined. Next, add the 1 tsp of dishsoap and some water (no more then 1/4c) and start mixing with the whisk again. This step will take some time as you are looking to evenly mix everything without adding too much water. You can always add more water if need be, so best to start small and add if needed. This is the consistency you are looking to achieve:

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It should be able to hold form, but not look soupy. This is a bit of a personal preference level as well. Speaking f personal preference, you can now add food coloring to the sand if you wish. About 1/2tsp to 1 tsp should be more then enough to get a nice vibrant color. Once your sand is the color you want, set the bowl aside to let it dry for 1-2 hours. When you come back, it will be like magic.

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Your sand should now be moldable and easy to cut and play with! Make sure to store it in an airtight container to keep it from drying out (as unlike the commercial product this has no special chemicals to keep it from happening) or to use as a container to give it as a gift! 😀


Kids Animal Coats

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In the spirit of staying warm and enjoying Halloween, I found a clothing maker who can help your child dress up all winter long. 😀

This adorable coat (and many more like it) were designed by British best friends (Naomi and Nat) to create a clothing line they’ve called Oliver and Vince. It’s all clothing specifically for children that’s made in bright and bold colors and patterns that children are drawn to. Their coats are so popular that you can only pre-order right now for coats to arrive in Spring of 2017. If you know how to sew however, there may be hope!

They’ve just released a new pattern book that you can order right here, and make your own super cute coats and clothes for your own kids! It ships world wide and you can even chose the option to have your copy signed for no extra cost. 🙂 I was already thinking of experimenting with clothing making, and now I think I’ve found some motivation!


DIY Halloween Costumes

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Everyone’s favorite dress up holiday is coming, are you prepared? I know I’m not. So to help us both out, I gathered a few DIY costumes ideas that I’ll be sharing with you! They range in difficulty, but there a few family ideas mixed in with solo ones in case you like to do a theme with your family.

This adorable Inside Out family is just great. Some of the costumes like Sadness and Joy were fairly simple, but the other two took some creative workings. Thankfully the mastermind of the group gave nice descriptions of how they were all put together, along with turning your red wagon into a “rocket ship” to help pull the little kids along a times.

Another family idea, with one lucky parent getting the easy Pirate costume. 😉 Bombshell Bling has some great tips on how they pulled this one together. (Though they had a willing grandmother to help make some parts with sewing machine skills).

Mary Costa has this great thrift shop put together outfit for a couple of Forest Gump and Jenny. Thrift shops can me your best friend when you need to assemble a costume out of real clothes for less, or when just looking for styles that don’t exist anymore.

A super simple, but classic, couple costume can easily be done by going as Wesley and Buttercup from the Princess Bride. Say Yes used a lot of already owned pieces and cheap accessories took care of the rest.

 

So, your Kid wants to be a unicorn and you’re panicking. Craftaholics Anonymus is here to help calm your nerves and show you the easy way to assemble this seemingly impossible feat, with minimum sewing skills.

The final one for today comes from Sarah Hearts with possibly the easiest one one here; DIY Sriracha Sauce Bottle Outfit. You can buy the shirt for pretty cheap, and the bottle top is easily made from green poster board. Truly a last minute costume that anyone can pull off. 🙂


A Bit of Quiet Time

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It’s a lovely Spring day out here and the sound of kids playing in the park across the street is filtering in through my windows. What a great time to be outside getting dirty and running around (especially because it wears them out), right? But  what about those times when it’s raining or you’re on a long road trip or waiting for a doctor’s appointment? I know the default nowadays is to hand them some kind of electronic device but if you want an alternative to that quiet books are just the thing! What is a quiet book? Generally it is a bound bunch of felt or cloth pages with themed learning exercises to entertain and maybe even challenge those young minds. There are plenty of great examples out there, the largest resource I’ve found for ideas is actually an entire blog devoted to the subject: The Quiet Book Blog.

The apples and the spots on the dinosaur are moveable!

The apples and the spots on the dinosaur are moveable!

I love the ones that make learning fun and interesting that may also work on fine motor skills. There are plenty of examples for quiet book pages that teach kids to use buckles, zippers, and zippers. Many of the books targeted to the younger children feature games to help them learn numbers, shapes or colors in cool ways like sorting socks!

Look at that cute little dryer, the sock devourer!

Look at that cute little dryer, the sock devourer!

Once I started searching for page ideas, I couldn’t stop and you know me, I need some geeky versions, too. I was NOT disappointed. There are plenty of amazing fandom based quiet book patterns out there!

QuietBookStarWars  QuietBookHarryPotter

The details and difficulty levels on creating these awesome books are all up to the creator. I have to give mad props to some of the sewing skills and ingenuity on some of the ones I’ve found, though. Many are like miniature cloth works of art!

All the best to help Mario get past that wiggler!

All the little details plus a slight challenge for motor skills!

I assure you that there are plenty more where these came from! Just think of all the possibilities…maybe a Hobbit based one with a Gollum fish counting page? How about a Doctor Who one wherein they have different hats/jackets/scarf/bowtie to dress up the Doctor? What a great gift these would be for that budding little geek!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through quiet books as much as I have. I think my to-do pile just grew another ten feet!

Have a great week and stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


Add a bit of Fantasy to your Reading Time

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In my late teens, we moved to a house with no heating in our basement. Not a huge deal until you take into account that that was where the media room ended up being. As a result, all the the kids at the time (myself and 4 siblings) fought over the only blanket we had down there in the winter. It’s also the reason I taught myself how to crochet. So I wouldn’t have to share a blanket I made. True story. If only I knew about this pattern I would have had less worry as I doubt my brothers would’ve bugged me so much afterwards.

CrochetbyJennifer may have designed these to be used as reading blankets, but I think kids would enjoy them as just general anytime blankets….not to mention using them as dress up items. 😉 While she makes a pattern set just for such an occasion, her specialty is really just creating patterns for adorable children’s clothing (and occasionally adults too).

All of her pattern are for sale as she only creates them, not sell the finished product. As such, she has this to say about selling work created with her patterns:

PATTERN COPYRIGHT:
You are welcome to sell your finished items however you like, but do not copy and/or redistribute this pattern, or alter it in any way to claim it as your own. Please provide a link to my website if you are selling your finished items online. If you change the name of the item when you sell it online, please provide the pattern name in the link so other customers can find the correct pattern.

Great news if you want to expand your crochet clothing line but aren’t the best at making pattern. 😀 If you are a crocheter I highly recommend giving her store a look through. The holidays are coming after all…

~Nicole


Ripleys Room

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I am of an age where lots of my friends are having babies, which has meant that I have learned more about baby accoutrements than I ever thought I needed to know. But some of them have been less of a chore to learn about than others. Some companies have learned that my generation of parents have a high geek quotient and are catering for our tastes, which makes seeing all the baby things on my feed a lot more pleasant for me.

One such company is Ripleys Room which is a business that are, in its own words, a “fine art, baby wearing accessories and home decor store.” They make bespoke accessories to go along with your baby carriers, slings, or what have you. They work to make their accessories compatible with many of the major brands out there, which means you can get them to create matching accessories. Or you can get them to create beautifully geeky options.

Land Before Time adorableness

I have to admit, this Land Before Time-esque dino hoodie made me almost wish I had something to go with it. But the piece de resistance was a commission they did for a friend of mine.

This is the hoodie for the lucky little Hawkeye who was the recipient of the baby quilt I made last year. Taking the same Matt Fraction based artwork that I worked from Ripleys Room created this beautiful hood to go with Hawkeye’s Tula carrier. How amazing is that?

I love the creativity Ripleys Room shows, and clearly other people do too, as they have closed their basic shop and are working on commission now. But if you want the perfectly matched accessory for the geekdom you’d like to induct your little one into, Ripleys Room is worth checking out.

~ eliste


Baby Clothing Embroidery Tutorial

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My sister just had her first baby this week! 😀 In honor of this exciting occasion in my family, I’m gonna do a simple tutorial on how to embroider baby clothes. I’ve used a onesie/bodysuit in this tutorial, but the method can easily be applied to any fabric clothing. For this project you will need: Waste Canvas, Sewing Pins, Embroidery Floss, Tweezers, Embroidery Hoop, Baby Onesie, and a Sharp Pointed Sewing Needle (I was a gauge 14, but use the size that fits best for you.)

 

First thing you’ll want to do is decide what you will stitch and gather your materials. the pattern I’ve decided to make is a nice happy Kirby. I made this pattern in a free program called KG-Chart, but you can also use PC Stitch for a some enhanced color accuracy. If pattern making is not your thing, your lovely friends over on the sprite stitch forums are always happy to help make patterns for those in need. 🙂

KirbyNow that we have our pattern, we can see that it needs to be at least 26×26 stitches. I recommend adding another 4 stitches on as you’ll need this area to pin your waste canvas to your material.

051Where you place your embroidery is completely up to you, but make sure to leave at minimum an inch (3cm) between your design and edge. You’ll need this space free so you can place your embroidery hoop around the area. This will keep your design wrinkle free and somewhat tight while you work. I say somewhat because clothing will typically have some stretch/give -especially baby clothes- and if you pull it too tight, it will make the fabric pucker and keep your design from laying flat.

052Everything is set up and we are ready to stitch! Just like any other cross stitch project, you want to work from the inside out, and light colors to dark colors. This will keep your design at an even tension, while also making sure your dark strands don’t show through your light colors from behind. Unlike most other cross stitch projects, you’ll want to use 3 strands of floss as you work instead of 2. The extra strand assists in keeping the background material from showing through as it makes your design nice and dense. My last recommendation is for those who still use knots to start their strands. You cannot do that with baby clothes. Knots in general aren’t recommend, but if you try to use them on baby clothing it will make the back side bumpy and possibly irritable for infants. You’ll have to practice holing the starting tail underneath your work and then stitch over it, using the stitch tension to keep it in place.

 

Once you’ve got your piece all stitched up, it’s time to remove the waste canvas! I forgot to take a picture of this step, but the beauty of waste canvas is that it’s designed to come apart. Thoroughly wet your design and then take your tweezers to pull out each strand one by one. Tedious, I know, but the results are worth it. 🙂

050Wash and dry your finished piece like normal and, ta da! You now have a custom piece of baby clothing for that special infant in your life. 😀

~Nicole


Spring’s right around the corner…for mamas!

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So I was searching around Etsy for the perfect new purse to celebrate the coming spring and I found the CUTEST bags.  What I didn’t realize until after was that they were diaper bags!  Mamas get all the cute things!  🙂  They get the babies and the cute diaper bags…  Geez Louise!  🙂

Maranda Lee makes the “original hot mama handbag”!  What more could you ask for?  Even though I don’t have babies of my own, I couldn’t stop myself from looking through some of her products.  Here are my favourites!

The Emma Chevron Diaper Bag grabbed my attention first.  Surely I could use this for non-diaper bag purposes?!

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The Stella Diaper Bag is cool with its grey and light teal!

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Looking for something bright and cheerful?  How about this Stella Morning Glory bag?

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Now…what about accessories for your bag?  Every girl needs accessories!  Maranda Lee also makes changing mats and mini bags for your wipes, called Deluxe Wipee Dipee Bags!!

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Have I got you hooked yet?  Check out her Etsy store for more!  You can also go to her Facebook or website for more updates and peeks into her awesome products!

– Lindsay


Crestline Creatives

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Happy Monday everyone!

So, I’m not generally a kid person but even my cold, black heart can sometimes be melted by what people make for little babies!  Crestline Creatives makes the most adorable outfits for a baby’s first birthday!  It’s all about their first birthday, right?  🙂

How about a Cookie Monster birthday outfit?  Complete with bowtie?  Squeee!!

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Or when you don’t want to get the official outfit dirty come cake time, there’s this Sock Monkey cake smash outfit!!!  This comes with a diaper cover, suspenders (OMG) and a bowtie!

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Finally, decorating the high chair is a must!  The Mini Mouse high chair garland is the perfect fit!

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Are you with me?  Isn’t this all “squeeee” worthy???

– Lindsay