Water Bottles

Look Ma No Hands!

It is possible that this only happens to me:

Scene: park/ballgame/day camp/pool/beach/hiking trail/race/friends house/front yard/kitchen….you know only a few times has this happened…..one of my children….all of whom I love and I am sure have asked this equally, has a very nice cold sweaty water bottle, and they very nicely ask “momma can you hole this?”…me (=sucker): sure.  Guess who ends up holding 4 water bottles like Alice the camel…she now has 4 humps.

OR

Scene: 2 minutes before we HAVE to leave for a ballgame/birthday party/day camp/play date/appointment….one of my children….all of whom I love….is digging in the drawer that could be named plastic pit of despair for a water bottle AND matching top and looks up and says “Momma can you help me make a water bottle?”  Me: Sure.  Of course it is important to stay hydrated, that is why we have 26 water bottles and 24 tops….its like the hydration jigsaw puzzle…takes patience and time.

We have as many water bottles that we have gotten from fundraisers and races and camps as we have reusable shopping bags.  Both we have been politely refusing for awhile now, we just do not need anymore and I can’t be alone in wondering how helpful these are to the earth in the reducing part of the 3 R’s when they are being mass produced for so many events.

Back to my point.

I have a water bottle, it is a Klean Kanteen, I LOVE it, and it has a sling, I can wear it….no hands!

So this year for each child and the hubby I ordered a Klean Kanteen water bottle and sling, it is now the ONLY water bottle they have….big responsibility, however as I write this, no one has lots any parts at all, and the pit of plastic despair is packed up to be donated.

These were their end of school/welcome to summer gifts and they were all really excited to have a bottle like mine…Yeah!

I had to tie Avalons’ straps up a little, but her and hubby both modeled them:

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I bought all of the kids the 27 ounce size, and Jon and I have the 40 oz. size.

Long ago, I bought a handful of peel and stick patches from Old Navy for 97 cents a piece, I just LOVE when I find things at this price point, does any one else find these great deals? I have found less of these deals lately.

Anyway, they fit perfectly onto the canteen “sling”!!  I wasn’t sure about the pink skull/poison looking patch, but maybe no one will want to take it?!?

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Patches from Old Navy

Viola! reusable, wearable, carryable, hands free and cute, I still need a patch for Solomon, I think he will find one on our road trip this summer.!!  And  for Jon and I, should have a patch too tight ?!? Maybe I should put a camel on mine..no wait I am no longer the water bottle camel!

Custom patched water bottle slings.

This post was not sponsored.

Shreddin’

Really it could go either way….slopes or crafting right??!
We are actually doing quite a bit of both around here. It is cooold still and school continues to be cancelled on random weekdays due to the cold, we were off yesterday and today for temps that were in the -30’s with the wind-chill! Luckliy every Friday the mercury climbs up to perfect temps for hitting the slopes, in MN we have great hills no actual mountains, but we don’t mind!
So we are bumming and skiing/snowboarding, it is polar (ha ha) opposite of the California version of boarding and bumming since we aren’t getting tan, but I could not have planned it better myself.
Mostly we are spending times off the slopes inside, so I am trying to keep a balance between reading, eating, bickering, and screen time…not all that easy!
Here is the project we did yesterday, inspired by this pin on pinterest.

This seemed like the perfect cold day craft….we have cardboard boxes and magazines laying around so we set to work.

I was not sure that I would be able to free hand draw a large shape that would resemble anything better than an amoeba, so I got our the overhead projector that comes in handy at the most wonderfully random times, I posted about it before here!

The kids got out their large bin of “figurines and animals” and chose the one that they wanted.  It worked best to lay the object on its side, and then we adjusted the projection to fit on the cardboard which was propped against the wall and then the kids traced the shape onto the cardboard in pencil.

Overhead scrapping

At first we were going to just rip the paper or cut it into thin strips, however with small hands it was looking chunky and not as uniform as we wanted.

So we employed the help of a paper shredder (which only momma was in charge of!), we borrowed from a kind neighbor, and shredded up old magazine pages.

The kids spent truly spent 2-3 hours gluing down the strips onto their shape…I mean quiet craft time is like silent gold am I right?!?!

At some point we ditched the white glue bottle and got out modge podge which is why some spots on the finished project are shiny…I would recommend this, it seemed to secure the paper better, and not leaves any loose spots that may tear off.

Ta da!

A Goat (by our 11 year old, completely independently):

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An elephant ( by our 9 year old again independently) I just love the hair-do:

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A panda bear (by our 6 year old, mostly independently, she needed a little help gluing and staying on task at one point, but you can see she came back with vengeance and a black crayon for the background):

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And who else? Pocahontas (by our 4 year old, she may have had some momma help;)):

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Really an easy craft with what materials most of us have around the house, if you do not have a projector you can certainly free hand a shape, I am sure most of you out there have better art skills than I!

And just one more…proof that the sun does shine on MN hills!

A bombski

Teacher gift workshop.

I saw this block calendar project on another site and was smitten , that’s a great winter time word isn’t it. My mind instantly thought “we can do that”.
So we set to work, I  even asked the amazing man at Home Depot to cut a 4 x 4 post into squares for me…. There are about 30 in a post. THANK YOU!!

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I have tons of paper scrapbook supplies from when I had time to encapsule photographic memories and notations on expensive paper to archive into even more expensive “books”, and a jar of modge podge. So we set to work:

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Finished late on the last night before the last day of school for 2013. I hope her teacher likes it. Because we do.

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These photos are from my phone and may not be the best, but I am thinking we will make this project again very soon and I will post a tutorial with some better photos and instructions.  The kids really liked making this.

 

Landing in Fall

Hi all!
This has to happen fast because Halloween is my Hubby’s favorite holiday, well all of ours truthfully, and I wanted to take a picture of the front landing, or porch, (it is too small to be a porch?)… front step I guess, but its a BIG step. Anyway prior to the life sized coffin, yes he built one, and all the spooky Halloween displays hit the front yard I wanted the front landing/step to look inviting and comfortably fall-ish.

Fall Front Landing

I took out all the spring and summer flowers, that had mostly withered away in August while we were in California and put in mums, I got them at Lowes for 42 cents a pot, they were the small ones but it is perfect for the terra cotta pots I had on hand and the space.

Fall Front step

I left the trailing potato vines, they seem to do well in this weather and a few wildflowers that are obviously living on just air, because they still look amazing, I added a few small gourds and pumpkins in the planters which the kids brought home from their school garden.  Then I hung up that uber cool orange metal owl that I thrifted for $5.99 at Savers a few years ago, adding a little more color.

Fall

I also hung up a wreath I mde last year from out from strips of fabric I cut out of the kids old Halloween pajamas, shirts, pants and boxers, year boxers;)  Gymboree makes some very cute Halloween boys boxers briefs, and I could not just toss them out, don’t worry they are clean.  I saw how to make this wreath on another blog, but after my last computer died I lost some links so when I find it I will add it., or make one for you. It is really easy.  I also like that the fabric is meaningful, I can remember some of those jammies on my little chubby ghouls.

DIY Halloween wreath

I will share the spookier version when it is complete, you can come back if you dare….ahhahhahahhhaaaaahahaha

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Super Sib Cape – Birthday Gift

Santanna’s best friend has an older sister, who is battling a brain tumor with all the energy she can muster. I know I have briefly written about this before, and I ran my last marathon for team Ana.

Elsa and Santanna have an extremely special bond. We are a place that E can come and escape some of the burden of chemo and pills and sadness that is detected even when I am sure it is trying not to show itself. She is a “super sib” and has been praised as that in many aspects and events. Not enough in the shadow of cancer, but she knows she is loved and valued.

Santanna and Elsa have know each other since they were 3 and now that they are both just turning 6, that is like forever!

All Elsa wanted for her birthday according to her mom was Santanna.

What do you give as a gift to a girl who adamantly prays for a cure for her sister’s cancer? For normalcy?

I can’t tell you….

But we did make her a super E cape, a reminder that she is amazing and wonderful, and as many other little girls would love…one for her American Girl Doll.

It was really an easy project, and E loved it!!

Here is Tanna modeling it with our own AG doll  Lucy:

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If you have it in you, whatever your persuasion or belief, even though you do not know their family, will you please take a moment and use your heart to give a beat for Ana.  They really are an amazing family.  I know they will feel and appreciate it.

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Upcycled Jewelery Oraganization

Is it May already…and almost 1/3 over. I am still pushing foward on the NYR to become more oranginzed.

Organization in our house is a constant battle, a good one, but hard-fought non the less.

With 3 girls, the princess accessories are at an all time high, but I am sure it is just the tip of the iceberg.

At her recent campout birthday party, Raiven received a few new special accessories, she has pierced easr, has been acquiring necklaces and bracelets from relatives and friends, and thrifting. Until this project she was hanging them on a wooden drawing doll, is that what it is called?

I accidentally deleted a whole card full of photos…ugh! So the before shots are none existent..but here is what we did:

I had 2 black picture frames that were thrifted or the glass has brokern out of, I was tired of tripping over them but knew I would find a use from them….eventually.

When I saw this I decided to upcycle the old frames to organize our oldest daughters jewelry.

We spray painted them in Raiven’s color choice.

Then Hubby cut, he is the type A to my relaxed type B, and attached chicken wire to the frame.

He attached them to the wall with hallow all sinkers, since they were not on a stud, we wanted them securely in place.

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WE added these hooks to the chicken wire, we crimped the top set closed so they are fixed in place, but we left the others uncrimped so she can move them around as she likes.  These are from Menards, but I am sure any hardware store has them.

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The other side we did not put any hook on, we left this one for earrings so she can just loop them over the wire.

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I made the yellow beautiful art on her wall, inspired by one I saw on Zulily.

She is thrilled with this new addition to her room, and is really lets her showcase all the special jewelery she has, as most of it has been gifts.  It also gives her the independence to choose what she wants to wear and gives her the ability to easily care for her special jewelry.

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Appliqued Turkey Shirt Tutorial

Happy to update from yesterday’s post that the Turkey shirt has made it through BOTH the washed and the dryer!!

Here is what I now have for Santanna:

 

I am very happy with the way it turned out, I really like the raw edges on all of the appliqué, it gives it a bit of a feathery feel…if you make a shirt like this you can use a product called fray check on the edges and it should prevent this from happening, it may make the edges a little more stiff though so keep that in mind.

Please keep in mind that I am in no way experienced in the art OR science of sewing, especially with a machine, that being said here is how I made this shirt:

1. Grab a shirt, this black one was for sale in my ebay store, it was a new with tags Target cast off that set me allllll the way back 49 cents….so really if you are a novice like me, just take a shirt that you already have or thrift one, just in case…..

2. Gather fabric, I recommend getting material that is not very stretchy, it will make this much easier when sewing onto the T shirt that is stretchy itself, I am pretty sure the fabric I used was quilting fabrics that someone had donated. If you have old sheets, tablecloths etc, these would be great

3. Grab templates for a circle, and feathers, our local bread store gave the kids these “feathers” to color and return for a free cookie, and the circle is a trace around any round object that you have at home. I know some of my directions might not seem super concrete but I think that any artsy/craft project should be more of how you like it with guidelines than solid have- to’s..

4. Cut out all your templates, I free handed the eyes, the fabric I used dictated the eyes, you might want circles or layers, play around with what you have until you like them the I had a few different styles before I decided I has them right. For the beak I cut a triangle and for the snood (the bacon looking thing, yes I had to Google that) I cut a free hand bacon shape. I cut different size circles for the body which was dictated by the size of the shirt. So you have a circle (body), arrow shapes (feathers), triangle, (beak), and a bacon shape (snood).

5. Now lay out your feathers on your shirt, move them until you like how they lay, I did some at different lengths to give it a natural abstractness, then lay your circle over them and carefully pink the feathers to the circle but NOT to the shirt. Sew around the circle to set feathers in place, do not forget to backstitch. Continue these steps, continuing with the beak, eyes and snood (are you comfortable with this word yet?…not sure I am :))

 

6. Now you should essentially have a turkey patch or an appliqué, lay it out on your shirt, and pin it into place, after I did this I found there were some feathers that needed a little trimming here and there. Now here comes the trickiest part, sew around and up and down your circle and feathers to completely secure your turkey into place. Here is what I learned: the first shirt I made I actually just went whole hog and stitched the turkey parts onto the shirt like above, but I found it got very bulky and was hard to keep all the feathers straight. I did complete my first shirt by sewing right onto it so if you feel like this will work for you please do not let me discourage you. I just think it works better especially for the eyes and smaller parts to already have them sewn on prior to sewing on the shirt, otherwise it gets to be quite thick, and this starts in the T word….tension, I am not there yet. I appliquéd my turkey one feather at a time, and then laid my shirt back out to make sure all the parts were where I wanted them. I did end with some puckering some pieces moved a bit, but I really like the originality of the way it looks.

 

 

7. Decide if you want legs, or any other special details, a little fabric bow would be cute if you want a girly turkey. Snip any loose threads, turn the shirt inside out and wash in cold in and dry as you would any cotton T shirt. ENJOY your Turkey shirt!!!

The kids are really having fun with this, I just finished Solomon’s shirt tonight and he decided his needed legs, Raiven has decided that she would like hers appliquéd on with dark aqua thread. What better way for us to all hang out and be creative, then THEY get to wear it!!

You can see it is not perfect, but I can tell you that I have less than $6.00 invested in each shirt, if even that. I will post a picture of all of us at the Turkey trot.

Thanks for looking!

Gobble gobble:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before washing

Turkey Trot Appliqued T-Shirt

I do not want to prematurely claim this project to be awesome since at this very moment I have it in the washing machine with my fingers crossed that is will not crumble 🙂

My family is participating in a local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving with some friends and when I saw this shirt on Pinterest, I though how cute it would be for the kids to have a Turkey shirt:

The tutorial for this shirt can be found  at  cookinwiththejohnstons.com

Super cute right, it got my mind turning, then I remembered all that fabric I had thrifted last year and posted about here, and thought, ooh I can make one of those.

Lets segway for a second; I think there are two kinds of people, those that go to craft shows and buy cute things and artfully decorate their home, then there people like me that go to shows, and scour Pinterest and think, I can do that….. although this is not always true, and it is in no way is a discredit to original ideas and artists, I think we just really think we can do it. We are literally in the mindset that if you can do it so can I.

Ok back to the shirt, I can make one of those……with my 5 previous hours of experience on my sewing machine, of course I can make a Turkey appliqué shirt, hellooooo I have a Pinterest account….geeez.

Well, I did it, and I love it, however, it was not as easy I thought and I definitely had to separate myself and the sewing machine (she is going to need a name) me to reassess my strategy and the machine for poor behavior.

I will post the steps as to how I made my shirts once I have pulled it out of teh dryer and I am certain that it survived.:)

Repurposed Puzzle Snail Mail Letters

It seems to me like all we ever get in the mail are bills, magazines, political propaganda (which I think is over now, thank goodness), and an occasional party invite.

In my sometimes old fashioned nostalgia I encourage our kids to send letters to friends or family.  Santanna is especially fond of making letters and pictures for her little friends.  Who does not like to receive a fun piece of mail personally addressed to them in ink??

Our friends daughter,  who I wrote about previously  who is battling brain cancer, is getting an overwhelming amount of mail, letters and packages, guess who feels a little left out/angry about not getting any mail?  Little sister Elsa.  So, her mom grudgingly asked if we could help a girl out and send some snail mail Elsa’s way.  I think we all know how hard it can be to actually ask for help when you need it right?!

This got me thinking, we needed to blow up this girls snail mail box, how many pictures was Tanna willing to color?

Then it came to me, a puzzle letter:

Here is what we did:

  1.  Went to savers (you might have one of these not being used at home as well, we recycled this one, you might be able to repurpose your own),  bought this puzzle.

2.  We put the puzzle together upside down. This is harder then you think wihtout picture clues.

3. I helped Santanna write a letter and she drew whatever and decotared whatever she wanted in Sharpie and Crayola markers.

       4.     I included instructions with the first envelope.

       5. Then we took the puzzle about, mixed it all up and I got out my postal scale for mailing packages and we weighed each one equal to/less than an ounce.  For this puzzle it was about 5 pieces per envelope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I am so excited for her friend to get this, she is going to be thrilled, plus it gives her something to look forward too.

I think I am also going to do this when the big kids are at camp for the summer.

Valentines’ Day Heart Crayon Craft

This is such a fun and easy craft to do with all ages.  These are great to give as little Valentines’ tokens or to make and bring into your child’s school, they are also really cute to fill a vase with and then put flowers in.

Anyway, this is very easy and does not require reaaly strict instructions.

You will need: Crayons, heart shape pan/muffin pan,  a cooling rack and patience

First gather all your broken crayons, these work best, but if you need to buy some that is fine also, you will just need to break then to fit in the pan.  We divided them into colors that I thought most fit the Valentines’ theme, pink, red, white, but a heart crayon can be any color you choose.

Heat your oven to about 200, this is again not a strict temp, it needs to be warm enough to melt the wax, but not hot enough to cook  it.

Peel all the paper off your crayons, here is where the patience is needed this can take a bit.

Break your crayons into pieces that will fit into your pan.  Put the pan into the oven, check in about 3-5 minutes, this will all depend on the size of your heart pan and then number of crayons that fit in each space.

Once all the wax has melted and congealed (love that word;) we found it was best to pop the pan on a cooling rack into the fridge to let the was reharden, and they popped right out quite easily for the most part.

Then grab some paper and try them out, or give them away or do whatever your little heart desires:)