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My New Hobby – Knitting and Crocheting

3 Dec

When I was a kid, I did a LOT of cross-stitch. I think one year my sister and I cranked out Christmas ornaments for a huge list of people. I had always thought about learning to knit or crochet, but the time or opportunity just ever presented itself. Last year, my daughter joined a knitting club at school, and I decided it was time to time to try to learn. I used the sheets she was given and watched some videos on YouTube, and learned how to cast on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, and the stockinette stitch. I started with scarves. I figured those were easy enough! I played around with the different stitches to get different looks and had fun doing it.

My first scarves Close up of my first scarves

Then, my daughter lost interest, and life got busy with other things, so I didn’t work on anything for about a year. We recently had some new babies born in our family and circle of friends, so I got the urge to start working on some new projects to give as gifts. I had to watch the videos again, but was able to pick it back up. Then, my mom came to visit, and she was working on crocheting granny squares for Christmas stockings. Again, I watched a few videos and watched her work, and learned how to do chain, slip, single, double, half-double, and treble stitches. Then, after posting a few projects on Facebook, a friend from college let me know about a forum called, Ravelry.com, which is free to join, and has a TON of free and paid patterns for both knitting and crocheting. It was a whole new world opened up for me, and I have been busy creating since.

I’m hoping to be able to keep it up, and over the next few weeks, I will share my finished projects. As I work on more, I will share those too. I’m starting my younger daughter on knitting, and my older daughter has been knitting again and wants to learn to crochet as well. I’m excited at the opportunity to work with them on this as well!

Finger Puppet Valentine Hearts

17 Feb

It’s been a crazy start to the month in our house, and Valentine’s Day crept up on me. I had wanted to make Valentines with both girls for their classes, but hadn’t really looked at ideas. I had seen a few variations of heart finger puppets on Pinterest, and decided that would be what we would make.

So, I got out a few cutting tools that I have, a Fiskars Portable Scrapbooking Paper Trimmer, a heart template, and a Fiskars Circle cutter.

Tools to make finger puppet valentines

Here are the steps I followed:

  1. Use the template to trace the big heart on the left onto colored cardstock, and cut each out by hand.
  2. Use the circle cutter to cut two 1″ holes towards the bottom of the heart for the finger holes to make the “legs” with.  Keep the circles.
  3. Cut a different color cardstock into 1″ thick strips that are 4″ long. These are folded accordion style for the “arms”.
  4. Use the 1″ circles that were cut out for the finger holes to glue on the ends of the “arms” to create “hands”.
  5. Write message on back side of heart, such as “From Your Friend, Jenny”.
  6. Glue “arms” onto back side of heart.
  7. Glue googly eyes on front side of heart, or draw eyes.  Also draw a smile and cheeks.

Here are how they all turned out:

Finished Finger Puppet Valentines

I did all the cutting, but my 4-year-old wrote her name on all of them, drew on the faces, and helped with the gluing.  She loved making them, and was so excited to show them to all of her friends.  And, her friends all had fun with them too!

PVC Bike and Kid Wash

20 Nov

It’s been a while since I made this, but I wanted to make sure to still share it.  After making the PVC bike rack, which has been awesome to have in the garage to keep the bikes organized, I wanted to make something else.  A friend of mine had found this project, a Kid’s Car Wash Sprinkler, on the Lowe’s website.  After looking over the plans, I made a few changes to use a little less PVC pipe and to not make it quite as big for storage purposes.

bike wash plans

 

Now, from my original plans, I was not able to locate a grass skirt, so I improvised and used a folded and cut disposable tablecloth from the dollar store.  Here is a picture of how it turned out:

Completed Bike Wash

 

The kids really enjoyed it!  My water feature part wasn’t quite perfect.  I don’t think the front section got completely sealed off, so water was flowing throughout the entire system instead of just the section with the holes drilled in.  That made the water pressure a little low, but, it was still enough to get the kids wet!  The hose I got was just long enough to make it to my sidewalk, thankfully.  I only used PVC cement in the section for the water, so the rest can come apart and go back together for storage or transport.

Since it does come apart, now that it’s cooled off and too cold to get soaking wet, I made a slight modification for the current weather:

Bubble wash

 

I removed the water section, and just used the part with the tablecloth and sponges.  Then, I put our bubble machine in front to have bubbles in place of the water.  This way, we get use out of it more of the year, even in the more mild weather in AZ.

I overbought on PVC pipe on this last project, so I have some in my garage, just waiting for the next project.  Let’s see what I can make next!

Note: Prices of supplies may vary by where you decide to shop.  I provided the prices just as a rough estimate for the project cost.

Table Makeover

26 Jun

My friend has been cleaning out and re-decorating her kids’ rooms.  In her daughter’s room, there is a space where she had her doll cars and other doll accessories, and wanted something the cars could slide under and then put things on top.  I had my old coffee table in the garage that had seen much better days, but thought it would be perfect for her need.  I did have to take a couple of pieces off one side for the doll car to fit underneath, but it was still steady enough without those pieces to be used.  The top also had a lot of scratches from my kids playing on it and banging their toys, so we needed to come up with a way to fix the top.  Here are pictures of pieces removed from the one side and the top with the scratches:

Side view of table, with removed  bars from top and bottom Top view of table with scratchesSo, what to do with the top?  I decided it might be fun to get the kids involved.  We used the following supplies:

– 2 16 oz bottles of gloss finish Mod Podge ($7.47 each at Walmart)
– 1 can of Mod Podge gloss clear acrylic sealer ($5.97 at Walmart)
– 1 package of foam brushes, various sizes ($1.50 at Walmart)
– Scraps of paper in various shapes and sizes
– Scissors to cut different shaped edges (optional)

Start with larger pieces of paper.  Spread Mod Podge on the table where you want to place the paper, then press paper down.  Brush over paper with more Mod Podge to keep in place.  Repeat with each piece of paper until table is covered.  Allow to dry.

Cover entire surface with Mod Podge.  Allow to dry.  Repeat this 3-4 more times to get a good seal.

Spray on a couple of layers with the acrylic sealer, allowing to fully dry between each coat.

Our finished result was this:

Table with paper Mod Podged on

And, the table has new life, with a project cost of about $24 after tax!  Once I can get a couple of pictures of the table in her room, I will add in those pictures.

Reading Hideaway

20 Jun

Last year, we got a really cool loft bed for my older daughter.  It’s got all kinds of storage and is really sturdy.  The first thing we did was enlist help from one of my husband’s co-workers to update the ladder and add extra rails on top.  He did a fantastic job!  We also put my younger daughter’s twin size bed in the opening to help save on floor space.

Loft bed before extra rails and upgraded ladder

Loft bed before extra rails and upgraded ladder

Loft bed after extra rails and upgraded ladder

Loft bed after extra rails and upgraded ladder

But, the loft bed has shelves built in the underneath part, so my younger daughter rolled into the shelves a couple of nights while sleeping.  Also, it was dark and enclosed, and she really didn’t like her bed in there.  So, I decided to move her bed on the other side of the room again, and move the bookshelves underneath the loft bed.  They don’t fit perfectly while still allowing room for the shelves built into the loft bed to be able to be used, but I think it still works out well.  You can get to books on the shelf still as it is.  I also bought a clip on desk lamp at Walmart for $8.97 that I clamped onto the shelves to give a little light to the area.  Then, I bought a spring tension rod at Walmart for $2.97 for some purple sheer curtains that I used to have as window coverings before switching to all thermal backed curtains (ah, the joys of living in AZ with the hot, hot sun!).  The curtains are a little long, but still work for the space.

Bookshelves in reading hideaway View of lamp in reading hideaway Reading hideaway with curtains closedThe girls both love it, and I love that I was able to convert the space using an item that was going unused (the curtains) and I only spent $12 to do it!

Teacher Appreciation/End of Year Gifts

10 May

This year, we were very blessed to have amazing teachers for both of our children.  Our younger daughter started in 2-day preschool, and was enjoying it so much, we moved to 3 days a week after the Christmas break.  Her teacher and teacher-aide have been really good with her, making her use her words more since she is so quiet and shy, and we have definitely seen a great change in her through the school year.  She is very much looking forward to going to pre-K 5 days a week, still half days.  Our older daughter started in kindergarten, but moved to 1st grade after the 1st quarter (she has a late birthday, so didn’t make the cut off last year, but was over-ready this year), and her teachers (one in the morning, one in the afternoon) were really great with helping her transition into the class and help her learn and grow throughout the year so she is all set to head to 2nd grade next year.  We have many things to be thankful for, and decided to show our appreciation with a Get Ready for Summer by the Pool or at the Beach themed gift.  I got the inspiration from Lori at My Kinda Rain, she posted a picture on Facebook of some items she was buying at Target for a similar theme.

Teacher Appreciation/End of Year Gift

 

Here is what each gift had:

  • Woven bags: Found at the dollar spot in Target for $3 each
  • Beach towel: Found at K-Mart on sale for $4.99 each.  I folded the towel in thirds, then rolled up leaving part unrolled to come up the back of the bag and stick out of the top.
  • Puzzle book: Found at Target in the magazine section, $3.99 each
  • Pencils: Found at Dollar Tree, pack of 4 for $1
  • Large plastic water cup: Found at the dollar spot at Target for $1 each
  • Flip flops: Found at the dollar spot at Target for $1 each
  • “Fun” drink glass: Found at the dollar spot at Target for $1 each
  • Bag of Flipz pretzels: Found at the dollar spot at Target for $1 each
  • Box of  10 Crystal Light lemonade On-the-go packets: Found at Target for $2.49 each
  • Neutrogena SPF 55 sunscreen with bonus lip balm: Found at Target for $7.99 each
  • After sun aloe: Found at the dollar spot at Target for  $1 each

Total: $27.71 each

Then, we also used construction paper to cut out hearts and they each wrote notes to their teachers.  Well, my older daughter did her own and my younger daughter dictated hers to me to write, but she did write her own name.

My goal had been to spend about $25 for each teacher, and I was just over that.  But, trust me, they deserve it!  Both girls have enjoyed their teachers, and we wanted to make sure to show them that.  The gifts were well received, one is headed to San Diego soon for a trip, and said she will be taking it all along with her.

Christmas Traditions: Gingerbread House

24 Dec

The Gingerbread House tradition in our family dates back to 1995.  It was a craft project that my Aunt Paula brought for my cousin, siblings, and I to work on at my grandparents house.  Making a gingerbread house continued throughout the years off and on, sometimes a kit where you had to put the house together with frosting, sometimes a pre-made house that just needed to be decorated.  There have been 2 story houses, houses with an animal barn in back, neighboring houses, and a whole variety of candies and treats used to decorate.  My sister also has quite a gingerbread house and gingerbread man collection of Christmas decorations.

So, this year, we again made a gingerbread house.  My part was to keep my nephew occupied while they worked on the house this year. It turned out really cute, and it’s something my girls look forward to doing each year with their Aunt Kimmy.

S & K working on 2012 Gingerbread House

K & K with the 2012 Gingerbread House

 

 

Candy Cane Reindeer

22 Dec

Candy Cane Reindeer

 

Every year at Christmastime, my Aunt Paula, cousin, brother, sister, and I would do crafts together.  We continued that tradition today with my kids!  She brought over all the supplies, and my girls both enjoyed putting these together.

What you need:

Candy canes
Googly eyes
Pom poms
Chenille sticks (sometimes known as pipe cleaners)
Glue (we started with glue sticks, which wouldn’t work on the pom poms, so then used tacky glue)

How to make them:

On the shorter, top portion of the candy cane, glue eyes in about the middle and a pom pom for the nose at the end of it.

Take a chenille stick and center it around the curved portion of the candy cane.  Bring it up and tightly twist twice on top of the candy cane.  Bend the ends to form antlers.

Once glue dries, add to Christmas tree or wherever you choose to decorate.  Would also make a cute favor for child’s classmates at school.

Hot Cocoa Cone Gifts

20 Dec

Hot Cocoa Cone Gifts

 

Last year, I had found and  bought some cute hot cocoa gifts for the staff at my older daughter’s school.  After buying them, I figured I could make them the next year….as if I’m not busy enough with everything I do!  But, I did find time to make them, and they turned out pretty well!  Not professional by any means, but still made with love!

What you need:

12-inch cake decorating bags (I bought Wilton disposable bags, which do have their label on the bag, but I turned it towards the back)
Cocoa mix (I bought 2 large cans of Swiss Miss)
Marshmallows
Plastic wrap
Candy Canes
Large Dining Spoons
Twist ties
Curling ribbon
Heat sealer (optional)
Stickers for decorating
Labels

How to make it:

Open bag and add cocoa.  For the Swiss Miss I bought, it is 3 tablespoons cocoa plus 8 ounces water for 1 serving of hot cocoa.  I put in enough for 4 servings, so 12 tablespoons, which is 3/4 cup.

Put a handful of marshmallows in a piece of plastic wrap and wrap into a ball.  Add at top of cocoa in the bag.

If desired, use a heat sealer to seal the top of the bag.  I used my FoodSaver for this.  If you don’t have a heat sealer, use a twist tie to gather the top and put it on tight.  After heat sealing, I did still use a twist tie to gather the top and keep it together.

Next, use curling ribbon to tie a spoon and candy cane to the top.  This also adds some decoration.

Use stickers to decorate and add a label with the instructions for the servings.  Mine said “Mix 3 Tbsp cocoa mix with 8 oz hot water.  Makes approx 4 servings hot cocoa.”

DIY PVC Bike Rack

13 May

I was tired of the bike and scooter mess in my third garage.  I had been shopping around to see if there was any kind of small bike rack I could use in my garage, but they were a little out of my price range.  So, I searched on the internet some, and came across a few plans to make a bike rack out of PVC pipe.  I recently used PVC pipe for a sign project for Bountiful Baskets, and it was really easy to work with, so I decided to give it a try.

I used these sites to help with my plans: Project #4 – DIY Bike Rack Made from PVC Pipe, Make your own Bike Rack, and PVC Bike Rack

My supplies that I purchased at Lowe’s:

40′ of 3/4″ Schedule 40 PVC pipe, cost $8.12 for 4 10′ sections of pipe
34 Tees, cost $8.74 for 3 10 count bags and 4 single tees
6 90 degree elbows, cost $1.86

Total = $18.72, plus tax

You may opt to use PVC cement to hold it together, but I did not use any at this point.  It is staying together well, plus, I want the option to adjust, add, or take away as we get new scooters or bikes.

You also will need a way to cut the pipe.  There is a pipe cutting tool available, shown below.  This one was $9.97 at Lowe’s.  I bought it, but will probably return it since I was able to use my tree cutting tool, also shown below, with success.  You can also use a small hacksaw to cut the pipe.

How you cut your pipe will depend how many items you want to store, and on the size your bike tires and scooters.  For the scooters, I made it wide enough so most of the scooter could fit in.  For the bikes, they have 2″ wide tires, so I cut the pipe to have a 2″ wide section in those parts.  Here is a picture with my dimensions:

I ended up with the following:

20 8″ sections
10 12″ sections
12 10″ sections
3 5″ sections
6 3.5″ sections
6 1.5″ sections’

If you decide to use 1″ PVC pipe instead of 3/4″ PVC pipe, you may need to adjust the measurements slightly, and the cost will be a little higher, but shouldn’t be too much more.

This was a really fun project for me.  It took a little trial and error to get the openings the right size, but after that, it went pretty smoothly.  This turned out to be the perfect size for the opening of my third garage, so we can easily open up the garage and get the bikes and scooters out right away.  I also made sure to get my kids involved.  My older daughter counted out the number of tees and elbows from the plans I drew up, then both my daughters helped me count out the items we needed at the store.  I did all the cutting, but they were able to help with the assembly.  I have found some other neat PVC ideas online, so we may be doing more projects like this in the future!

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