Signature Baby Quilt

This little baby quilt is long overdue, in a number of ways. The blocks for this quilt were made at the orange and monster truck baby shower. I finally stitched them together and quilted it up about 3 or 4 months ago to give to baby D… but then it didn’t make it to their house. It was going to make it to D this weekend (for his first birthday), but he got sick… so it didn’t happen!

The blocks are “signature blocks”. All the kids at the shower were given fabric crayons and asked to draw on the blocks. Some of the kids drew a lot, and pressed hard with the crayons. Some didn’t draw much at all, and drew very lightly. Most of the kiddos were under the age of 5, which makes for some really fun artwork!

I stitched the whole thing together with orange sashing. There were only 8 blocks, so I decided to leave the center plain, and wrap the blocks all the way around. Another option would be a fun focus fabric in the center.

I just used a plain solid orange fabric for the sashing and borders.

orange signature baby quilt

I quilted it with orange cuddle on the back (to make it extra snuggly). I folded it up and tied some tulle around it. Because a quilt doesn’t really need any extra wrapping – does it?

wrapped up baby quilt

Baby D… one day your blankie will come! I promise!!

Pixel Art Sprites with M&Ms #fueledbyMM

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client. mario mm sprite #FueledByMM #shop

Last week, I got crafty with the boys and M&M candies making 8-bit sprites. These are super fun and easy to make! First, I headed off to Walmart to buy big 42-oz bags of M&Ms. While there, I bought tubs of frosting, aluminum foil, and foamcore board.

You can, if you like, just use M&Ms on a table… but knowing I was going to be putting these together with two little “helpers”, I knew that bumps, knocks, and other accidental movements. All the other supplies prevent “oops” from turning into “OH NO!!” And when working with kids, that is a must!

I looked online for patterns to use. You can make up your own, but searching for cross-stitch patterns and Perler Bead patterns gets great results. I then printed out my patterns so we would have them handy while creating.

I measured out my M&Ms so I would know how big to cut my foamcore. (19 MMs for every 10 inches is what I came out with)

measure candies

I cut the foamcore a little larger than needed for each pattern, then covered with foil.

foil covered cardboard #FueledByMM #shop

I did a test with my youngest on a scrap of foamcore – we made a “candle” from his favorite game for Xbox – Minecraft. The foamcore was coated with a light layer of frosting before starting. This frosting acts as an edible glue to keep the M&Ms in place. Perfect for my little helpers!

minecraft sprite #shop

Once we got the hang of it, we all worked on our pieces…

baby sprites #FueledByMM #shop

…even my husband got involved, making a racing helmet.

j making his sprite #FueledByMM #shop

 

making as a family #FueledByMM #shop

We made sprites based on our favorite games. Here is the finished Angry Bird:

angry birds sprite #FueledByMM #shop

A racing helmet, perfect for a Forza 5 fan!

helmet sprite #FueledByMM #shop

And also to honor the launch of the new Forza 5 game… a classic racing game… Mario Kart!

Mario 8 bit sprite #FueledByMM #shop

… he looks a little jaundiced.

L also made this creation, which he says is his “house” in Minecraft. We all really got into this project!

placing mms #FueledByMM #shop

We had such a blast doing this as a family… and the best part is that we will be posting our pictures on Instagram and can WIN an Xbox One! Here are all the details:

Get creative with M&M’s® and win an Xbox One gaming with M pack! (and everyone can get $10 back on their M&Ms and Forza 5 purchase with the Buy-Snap-Redeem promo – details below)

Create your own Pixel Art using M&M’s (R) candies and snap an Instagram Photo. Tag your image with #FueledByM AND #Contest and post the image on Instagram and Twitter.

One lucky Pixel Artist will win a new Xbox One and Gaming is better with M pack including the Forza 5 Motorsport game and a 14 oz bag of M&Ms(R).  Contest runs Dec. 4th – Dec. 18th and winner will be chosen at random.

Find full legal rules here.

Buy, Snap, Redeem Details

  • Buy Forza 5 game
  • Buy participating M&M’s products
  • (Participating products include: M&Ms Peanut 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Milk 42oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Peanut Butter 38oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Pretzel 30oz Stand Up Pouch, M&Ms Peanut 19.2oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Milk 19.2oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Peanut Butter 18.4oz Large Laydown Bag, M&Ms Pretzel 15.4oz Large Laydown Bag.)
  • Snap a photo of qualifying items on the receipt on your phone and text it to 811811. Include the code M&M with the picture of your receipt. Game and M&M’s must be purchased on the same receipt.
    Redeem:  You will receive a text back with a reward code valid for a $10 eGift card to Walmart.

Too Much Candy? Call the Great Pumpkin!

If you have kids and have never heard of the great pumpkin, then you’re in for a real treat. And not the sugary chocolate-covered kind. The Great Pumpkin is like the Tooth Fairy of Halloween. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a third cousin (twice removed) of the Tooth Fairy. He picks up candy to keep kids from getting a stomach ache, ruining their appetite, and all the other bad things copious amounts of candy are known for.

How the Great Pumpkin saves kids and parents from too much candy

Here is how the Great Pumpkin works at our house:

My kids get to Trick or Treat as usual.

When they get home, they get to pick THREE pieces of candy that they can eat right then. If they’re smart, they’ll pick the full-sized candy bars… but it is up to them.

The rest of their candy goes back into their trick-or-treat bag, which is left by the back door.

While they are sleeping, the great pumpkin will collect their candy, and trade it in for a toy! (I have it on good authority that the great pumpkin will be trading in their candy for Lego this year).

When they wake up, they can come downstairs to see what the Great Pumpkin left for them!

The candy mysteriously makes its way into our pantry… but the kids are still to young to notice this coincidence.

This set-up is actually a fun twist on the way my mom traded us for our Halloween candy when I was a kid. We’d get a toy in exchange for the bulk of our Halloween treats. The benefit of getting the Great Pumpkin involved is that the kids need to go to bed in order for the Great Pumpkin to come! And anything to help over-tired and sugar-infused kids get bathed and in bed is a bonus!

Hope you have a happy (and safe!) Halloween!

Tips for Donating School Supplies (scissors, craft supplies, and more!)

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

My son started Kindergarten almost a month ago. It doesn’t seem possible. I’m now trying to juggle Mommy & Me events for my little one, and PTA meetings for my oldest’s new school. The school is fairly new – it has been around for 4 years – but much of the staff this year is new. Brand new. My son has a freshly-minted Kindergarten teacher. This man (yes, he’s got a male teacher), not only has to navigate a morning and afternoon class of 25 Kindergarteners each, but also 50 sets of parents!

Not only does he not come with years of experience, but he also doesn’t come with a classroom loaded with supplies collected across decades. It was important to me to let him know that I’m a parent who wants to support my child, and my child’s school. That’s why I was super excited to be selected to participate in this Fiskar’s Champions for Kids Campaign. Fiskars sent me money to buy school supplies that I could donate to my son’s new classroom!

tips for donating school supplies

From this experience, I want to share with you some tips for donating school supplies.

1. Ask – Ask the teacher what they need. For a new teacher like ours, the answer might be “everything!” Ask specific questions. Maybe the teacher has a project coming up that could use certain supplies? One of the things we picked out was a class set of Fiskars safety scissors. There are 25 kids in a class, so we picked out 28 pairs (you always need a few extras) of scissors. This will last our rookie teacher for years! We also picked some Fiskars wooden rulers that were both inexpensive and will stand up to a room full of Kindergarteners, year after year.

classroom set of scissors

2. Variety – Some things we know every teacher needs – pencils, paper, erasers. Think beyond the everyday. We chose a set of colorful dry erase markers. Our classrooms are equipped with large dry erase boards, and there is nothing as wonderful as having a nice, fresh, dry erase marker to write with!

bin of school supplies

3. Storage – Especially for a new teacher, storage is important! Though a teacher will never turn away a grocery bag filled with school supplies, it helps to think ahead. Once those 28 sets of scissors are taken out of their packages, where will they be stored? Giving the school supplies in plastic bins means the supplies will have a place to go after they are opened. Using clear bins means that it is very easy for the teacher to see what is inside, and find what he needs.

 

4. Duplicates – At the beginning of the school year, each student was sent home a list of basic supplies. Things like glue and crayons that they will need this year. If a student wasn’t able to bring these in, or if they run out, having duplicates on hand will help the teacher focus on the more important things – like the lesson he is teaching. I made sure to include extras of things like markers and crayons.

two bins of school supplies

5. Specialty Items – Do you remember being in school, and there was something special you couldn’t wait to play with? So you’d finish your work as fast as possible so that you could go play with that toy? Think of fun extras you can donate. I chose a giant set of 50 Crayola Pipsqueak markers that telescopes into a tower. The teacher can set these on a table for kids to color with after finishing their work, as a fun reward.

6. Get others involved – Do your part, but then encourage others to join in as well. Set an example for the community, and your family. I made sure my son was involved, so that he could see the impact these supplies have on his classroom.

get kids involved

7. Have fun! – Donating school supplies is giving a gift that will continue to have an impact in the lives of children, potentially for years. That makes it fun. But, I chose to have a little more fun, and I picked up a few things for myself to make a little fun something for my son to bring to school. I’ll share that with you here below.

 

When L goes to school, he misses us. It is only for 3 hours a day, but he’s still adjusting to the new building, the new kids, and the new routine. And it is hard. When I saw this little “lucky” book on the Fiskars website, I was inspired to make something similar to attach to my son’s backpack, so that he could bring a little reminder of his family to school each day.

supplies for photo tagsSupplies:

Tags
Photos
Fiskars Trimmer
Fiskars Scissors
Elmer’s Glue Stick
Elmer’s School Glue
Elmer’s Glitter Glue
Elmer’s Boarders
Metal Ring
Assorted Ribbons
Paintbrush

 

Start by trimming your photos smaller than your tags. The original album uses chipboard, but I wanted something smaller and lighter to hang on my son’s bag, so I went with the tags. Put a border on each tag, trim off the excess with scissors, and then glue the photo in place with the glue stick.

prepare tags

Put school glue on top of the photo, and brush an even coat with the paintbrush. This protects the photo, and seals everything in place.

coat in Elmer's School Glue

I did the same thing with glitter glue.

coat with glitter glue

Put everything aside to dry.

sealed with glue

Tie the ribbons onto the metal ring. To help keep the knots secure, add a couple drops of school glue to the knots.

glue knots in place

Then just hang it on your child’s bag, so they can take a little love with them to school each day!

backpack love tags

For more information, check out Champions for Kids and  Champions for Kids on Facebook.

#cfk  #Fiskars4Kids #shop

The Best Last Day of Summer EVER

We just celebrated my son’s very first last day of summer. He officially starts school on Monday, but with events going on this weekend, this was his true last day of “freedom” before he starts Kindergarten.

the best last day of summer ever

I thought that this was a fun milestone, and that celebrating the last day of summer in a blow-out fashion would be fun for the whole family. So I planned a day of fun, out-of-the-house activities for us to do. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some of the fun we were up to. I used the hashtag #FirstLastDayofSummer to keep track of all the photos.

We actually started the day off the night before. We set up the kiddie tent in L’s room so that he could spend the night in the tent. He’s been wanting to sleep in a tent all summer, so what better time to let him sleep in a tent than on the last day of Summer? This way, he got to wake up on his last day of summer in a tent!

wake up in a tent

We got in the car. There was a fair amount of driving, so I let L watch movies in the car as we drove around town. I don’t usually pull out the movies unless we’re on a long trip, so this was a special treat.

watching a movie in the car

We headed to our favorite pool. We call it “the Beach Pool” because it has a beach inlet on one side. Great for my youngest, because he can walk right in and play. And they both love the sand.

at the beach pool

After spending the whole morning at the pool, we grabbed lunch at McDonald’s. Like most kids, my son has a passion for chicken nuggets. This was not the McDonald’s close to our house, this one has a different playground that L caught a glimpse of through the windows one day and had asked to go. I had put it on our “someday” list, and this was the perfect day to go.

playing at the play place

Dad got off work right as we were finishing lunch, so we met up with him at mini golf. I got some work done on my phone (yay for smartphones!) while the big boys played a round of golf.

playing mini golf

The baby was asleep at this point (a big day at the pool will do that), so the boys hung out in the arcade for a little while.

playing at the arcade

Then, of course, we had to pick prizes. This was the hardest part. So many choices (and only so many tickets)!

pick a prize

We went by the bookstore so that L could pick a new book, and then went to the grocery store to grab a much-needed item for our next step in our blow-out last day of summer. While at the grocery store, we grabbed donuts. Yum!

getting a donut

We went home and filled the bath with as many bubbles as we could manage! Bubble baths are more fun when they are EXTREME bubble baths!

lots and lots of bubbles

We had L’s favorite dinner (Orange Chicken and Garlic Bread), and then sat down for popcorn and a movie. L was asleep before the movie ended… it was a great day!

I’m looking forward to celebrating the last day of summer every year… hopefully we’ll find some new things to add into the mix, but I’m sure that several of the things we did yesterday will stay part of the tradition.

Simple Wizard Hat

wizard hat and wand

When I found out my son needed a Wizard Costume to wear to Summer School, I looked up pictures of Wizards online, and he and I studied them. We decided that what he needed was a hat, a wand, and a robe. We headed to JoAnns to get our supplies. I wasn’t quite sure what we would use, so I got a variety of things:

What I ended up using for the hat was:
supplies for wizard costumePellon Peltex 71F (fairly stiff, and fusible on one side – not shown in photo)
Satin in blue and green
Phoomph (a double-sided adhesive felt/foam)
Copper colored ribbon (this one was like a netting or lace)
Some Gear Embellishments (I wanted to make sure the hat looked more Wizard than Princess)
Large Bead
Glue Gun
Coordinating Felt
Copper Chain (optional)
Needle & thread

I started by cutting the Peltex to make a cone for my son’s head.

check hat for fit

Once I had my cone shape, I unpinned it and laid it flat. I ironed my blue satin to the fusible side of the Peltex. Follow the instructions on the Peltex to make sure you get a good fuse. Be careful not to melt your fabric if you are using a synthetic fabric like I did.

iron satin to wizard hat

Roll the cone back up and stitch in place. You could hot glue, but I thought that adding a few stitches would be more secure. I then ran the copper ribbon down the seam to cover it up, and secured it with a couple dabs of hot glue.

stitch up wizard hat

Then it is time to make the band at the base of the Wizard Hat. I cut the Phoomph into 2″ strips. I cut my green satin into 3″ strips – 4″ strips would be better, though. It took 3 strips of Phoomph (cut from one sheet), and two strips of fabric for a hat to fit my 4-year-old.

I started by joining up the Phoomph strips. I cut each end at an angle, and lifted up the paper on each section to attach them together. Putting the joints together in this way prevents a big crease or bulge in one section of the hat band by distributing the seam over a larger area. Measure and cut the Phoomph strip to size to fit around the bottom of the hat.

connect phoomph

Once I had the Phoomph in one long strip and cut to size, I started “ruffling” the fabric with my fingers. Pushing the ruffles down on the Phoomph was fast and easy, much easier than trying to ruffle it with a sewing machine or by doing a running stitch by hand.

ruffle fabric onto phoomph

Once I ruffled it all the way to the end, I flipped it over, pulled off the paper on the back side, and folded over the raw edges of the fabric to adhere them to the Phoomph on the backside. My strips were 3″, but because of the ruffling, 4″ strips would have been better.

I cut strips of coordinating felt in 1 3/4″ widths, and glued it down on ONE edge with hot glue, securing the raw edges of the satin between the Phoomph and the felt. Once I had the felt on, I wrapped the hat band around the Wizard Hat, putting the felt on the inside and the satin covered Phoomph on the other side. I then glued both sides in place with more hot glue.

inside of hat

I pushed in the top point of the hat in, and glued a bead in place.

Finish tip of Wizard hat

My finishing touchs – where the two pieces of fabric met on the hat band, my ruffling wasn’t so great. I made this the “front” of the hat, and glued on a couple gear embellishments. I wasn’t sure they would hold up to a day with a 4-year-old, so I added a few stitches for security. I added a little copper chain around the edge and tacked it in place as well.

gears on wizard hat

Paired with the Wizard Wand I made, these were some great accessories. Tomorrow I’ll show you how I made his Wizard Robe

Wizard Costume

This week was brought to you by: the letter V

V is for Vacation. We just had a 3-day weekend, and I’m about to create another 3-day weekend for myself! The boys and I are having some fun this weekend… I’m sure I’ll be posting about it here soon!

I think I’ve earned it, considering all that I’ve been up to. This week the boys both needed to go to the doctor for a check-up (and shots!). Poor kids…

Remember all that work I did in the yard? Well, it is finally paying off! The Home Depot sponsored this campaign, but you can feel like a sponsored blogger by signing up for their e-mails! Just by signing up, you get $5 off your first $50 purchase, plus $300 of savings year-round! Sign up here with the Code GCSweeps  http://pages.homedepot.com/joingc

Earlier this week I created some fun stackable, squishable fabric blocks that are featured over on the Art Gallery Fabrics blog. You can see them on the AGF blog!

I also took their new Urban Mod line, and created the quilt Urban Sprawl. You can see it here, and get the instructions on how to stitch one up yourself. PLUS, I’m giving away a FQ pack of the fabrics I used for my Stackable, Squishable fabric blocks, so check out the bottom of the post for details. Giveaway ends on Monday – so enter soon!

I’ve been doing a TON of sewing. New sewing projects include my circle clutch, hexagon quilt, and a half-square triangle project I’m working on. Yup. Lots of fun stuff.

Did you miss the wreath videos I did with my friend Angie last week? I created a fun patriotic wreath, a kids submarine porthole wreath, and a fun no-sew fabric wreath. All have different techniques you’ll want to check out.

Oh – and I have a great Washi Tape Giveaway going on over at 30 Minute Crafts as well – pin a few images, and you could win 25 rolls of washi tape!

Hope you have a great week!

Parachute and Landing Pad Toy Craft


My husband just had his birthday. I was badgering him for weeks to find out what he wanted for his birthday. He didn’t have an answer. Until the day before. The day before his birthday he told me, “I’d really like to go skydiving for my birthday.”

I wasn’t completely shocked. Skydiving has come up before… but not in an uber-serious way. I’m not completely thrilled with the thought of the love of my life jumping out of an airplane… but he really wanted to go, and without resorting to extreme hypotheticals – why not?

As a fun way to actually GIVE this gift to him, I made him some parachute super heroes and a drop zone. The drop zone was on the bottom of a box that opened up flat, so that it was easy to fold back up and wrap with the parachute men inside. And it was a fun thing for him to pay with the boys as well.

If you want to make your own drop zone parachute toy, here is what you need:
Box that opens flat
Pencil or Pen
Several sizes of plates
White paint (I used DecoArt Patio Paint)
Red paint (I used DecoArt Patio Paint)
Paintbrush
Plastic grocery bags
Small toy men
String
Black paint pen or marker (I used a DecoArt Glass paint pen, which is great on glass, but worked well here as well… I love getting multiple uses out of products!)

Start by tracing your plates on the flattened box.

Paint the entire circle white. Let it dry. Paint every other ring red. You should be able to see your pencil lines through the white paint. Allow to dry. (You can see I like to pour paint into disposable cupcake liners – they work great!)

While the bullseye is drying, lay out your bags. I used these plastic bags from target. Lay them out flat, and cut squares as large as possible from the plastic. I used squares from both the front and back – one side has the bullseyes, one side is plain white.

Cut two lengths of string each 3 feet long. Tie one end of a string to one corner, and the other end to another corner. Repeat with the second string.
Line up the corners of the parachute, and pull the strings so they are parallel, then tie around your toy. Trim any excess string.

To store, I folded the plastic parachute into thirds, and then wrapped in the string so that they wouldn’t get tangled.

By the time I finished making the parachutes, the paint on my drop zone was dry. I used a black paint pen to trace the circles, and then added the words “drop zone”.

The parachutes were a hit with the boys! This is the least blurry of all my photos of them playing – they had a ball!

And skydiving was a hit with my hubby!

Ice Cream Pizzas

My 4-year old loves Team Umizoomi. If you don’t have small kids, you don’t know that Team Umizoomi is a team of 3 tiny cartoon characters (4 if you count Umi Car), who run around Umi City helping their friends by using their “Mighty Math Powers”.

Team Umizoomi has helped to teach my son math issues like units of measure, identifying patterns, and shapes. They also reinforce proper social behavior like sharing and helping friends. One of my son’s favorite episodes is about Ice Cream Pizzas. The ice cream truck has broken down, and can’t get down the street to bring ice cream treats to the neighborhood children. The ice cream treat of choice is the ice cream pizza. My son asked me if we could make ice cream pizzas together, so of course I said yes!

We had to start by getting our ingredients. Large sugar cookies, vanilla ice cream (which I allowed to soften) and gummy candies. In the show they use a striped candy. Since we couldn’t find the right color striped candy, I went with these gummy candies that are the right color, but weren’t the right size. I cut them down to size for our pizzas.

I spread the softened ice cream on to cookies. I had softened the ice cream so that it was about the consistency of margarine.

I cut up the gummy candies and then let my son put them on. Team Umizoomi used 5 candies on their ice cream pizza, and so did we.

All that was left was to chow down! Nom!

Dinosaur Party Wrap-up

At the end of April my baby turned one. And suddenly, he doesn’t look like a baby anymore. He’s grown tall and lanky. His baby chubbyness is slimming down as he runs around the house and yard. He climbs up anything his legs can reach.

To celebrate his first birthday, we threw a dinosaur-themed party. When my oldest turned one, we used the theme from his nursery for his first birthday. It was an easy transition. So we did the same here. My baby has a dinosaur themed nursery, and so we threw a dinosaur themed party for him.

You might have already seen the dinosaur invitations with washi tape, the dinosaur wreath, and the tissue paper pennants. I had fun creating handmade items for the party.

I spent the day before prepping food for the party. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I had a smash cake for the birthday boy, and a chocolate cake on the side, but also cupcakes for the kids at the party. Cupcakes are so much easier than a large sheet cake when you’re expecting lots of people.

I got a little help putting up decorations for the party… sometimes streamers end up like this when you have a 4-year-old involved!

Instead of getting a heavy helium tank, or schlepping to a party store early in the morning for helium-filled balloons, I hung regular balloons from the ceiling. This also kept them out of the hands of small children during the party.

Before the party, my brother and sister-in-law helped me cut out dinosaur feet for the kids to decorate. We used this template from Make and Takes.

Once they decorated them, they could wear them.

I made several batches of homemade playdoh the day before for the kids to play with. We also had a pinata for the older kids – at the request of big brother.

The birthday boy didn’t know what to do with the dinosaur smash cake he was offered…

And although he loves cake, he hasn’t ever been a big fan of frosting. After we pushed his hands into the cake, he wasn’t a very happy guy.

After a change of clothes and a nap, we opened gifts.

I can’t believe how big he is already! Happy Birthday, little man… I’m looking forward to so many, many more celebrations with you!