28 March 2012

Taking a Break

Yeah, I'm just not feeling doing the whole crafting-blog thing right now.  It has been a lot of fun, but it's time to focus on other things.  (Like the art commission I'm working on--my first non-fundraiser commission!)  So I'll be posting very erratically for the foreseeable future.

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog, and especially to those who comment.  Maybe I'll get back to a regular crafting and posting schedule later.  We'll see.

It's been great.

Bye for now.

21 March 2012

"Sometimes Being a Brother" Nursery Decor--Tutorial

Here's the finished crafting project I mentioned in my last post.  I have a friend who's about to have her second baby--another boy.  I made this as a present for her, and so I wanted to give the gift to her before I posted about it.  Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise!

I've barely used my Silhouette since I got it for Christmas.  Shame on me, I know!  I was (and still am) excited about all the many things the Silhouette could help me make...but choosing exactly what to do has been a little harder.  That and my pregnancy-induced tiredness and lack of crafting motivation for several months that is just starting to abate, plus wanting to focus more time on my art and on Mommy School...  But with this friend giving birth early next month,  I had motivation, inspiration, and a deadline!  Deadlines are always very helpful for me.

I wanted to make a sign/wooden wall hanging/whatever with a quote on it so I could use my Silhouette to cut the vinyl.  I also wanted to make a present that was kind of for the mommy and kind of for the big brother, so I was excited when I found this quote:

Sometimes being a brother is better than being a superhero. 
--Marc Brown

How cute is that?  Of course the three-year-old big brother won't care about it now, but I bet he will like it when he is older (and wanting to be a superhero...and is able to read).   

The sign was really easy to make, so much so that I didn't think there was a point to have in-progress pictures.  I'll just explain quickly what I did.

I asked Mr. MadeIt to cut out a 7 1/2" x 9 1/2" rectangle out of some scrap wood we had hanging around.  (Actually, it was a shelf from a wall unit we decided to get rid of.  Let's hear it for recycling!)

Then I spray painted the wood with primer.  I don't think this part is necessary, but I do think I wouldn't have gotten the subtle texture I liked if I hadn't primed the wood first.

Once the primer dried, I painted the wood with tole paints.  I bet whatever acrylic paints you have on hand would work just as well.  Since I wanted the sign to have a subtle texture, I applied the paint unevenly, letting some areas be darker, and others areas lighter.  Because of the primer, the paint didn't soak into the wood, allowing me more time to push it around with the paintbrush to get it just how I wanted it--smooth, but with tonal variations.  (I used Hunter Green + Charcoal, by the way.  For the edges, I had more Charcoal in the mix, so they would be darker.  For the back I mixed the green with black, to make it darker still.)

(So you can see the edges.)

And, of course, I had to make up the design so my Silhouette could cut the vinyl.  If you'd like to use my file, you should be able to download it here.  (This is my first time using Google Docs.  Let me know whether or not this link and the download work!)

If you'd rather make your own file, I used the font Haettenschweiler.  (Goodness!  I'm glad I don't have to actually pronounce that!)

I suggest using transfer paper when applying the letters--I did it without and it was a ROYAL PAIN.  It took forever to get those words on straight!

After that, I though the wood needed to be sealed and the vinyl stuck down permanently.  (No need for inquisitive little fingers to take my hard work apart.)  So I coated the whole thing with my homemade Mod Podge, which is just school glue watered down a little.  (Apply with a paintbrush, and be sure to wash the brush out really well afterwards.)

And that's it!  Except for spending forever getting the words on straight, this was a really quick and easy project.  (I'll have to get myself some transfer paper for next time.)

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

Happy crafting!

17 March 2012

Mommy School--Shapes

I have been crafting, really!  I've slowed down lately, though.  (I blame being pregnant, mostly.)  I even have a finished project to show you...but not right now.  Today's post is about the two main things I've been doing lately:  Mommy School and enjoying springtime.  First, Mommy School.

Boo and I usually just hang out around the house, sometimes coloring, sometimes playing with her toys (Buzz, Mike, and Jessie are by far her favorites--mostly Jessie), and all-too-often playing on the iPad.  Frankly, I was getting bored, and I bet Boo was, too.  I wanted to add a little more learning, structure, and just new-ness to our daily routine.  Enter Mommy School.

I got the idea from this awesome blog, where a former first grade teacher/current mommy to a toddler posts Mommy School packets.  I look through her packets and pick what I think will work the best for my little munchkin, and add my own ideas so that we have one Mommy School game each weekday morning.  I hope for the activities to last about half an hour, but we just go as long as Boo still wants to play.  Here's what we did our first week...

For this week, we focused on shapes.  On Monday, we played the Jumping Game.  I cut shapes out of copy paper, laid them on the rug, and told Boo different shapes to stand on, and then "One, two, three, jump off!"  So she was practicing identifying her shapes while jumping all around.  And at the end, she colored all she shapes and we put them up on the freezer to show Daddy when he got home.  (Repetition + reinforcement = good!)  In this picture, Boo was playing her own variation on the game by putting her toys on the different shapes.

(Sorry the picture's not really in focus.  But you still get the idea.)

The next day, we played the Throwing Game.  I used masking tape to mark off different shapes on Boo's bedroom floor, intending that we would throw beanbags/soft toys into them.  But Boo just wanted to put Jessie, Mike, and Buzz in their own shapes.  On the plus side, though, I left the shapes on her floor, and often she'll just walk across them reciting, "Diamond, rectangle, triangle, square" and then go on with whatever she was doing.  So, even though the game was a bust, Boo is still learning her shapes.

We also did the Picture Game.  I cut out shapes from colored paper and stuck tape on the back.  Boo stuck her new "stickers" all over a sheet of butcher paper and colored everything.  It's up on our freezer, too.

Another game Boo LOVED that I didn't take any pictures of was the Finding Game.  I cut diamonds and circles out of copy paper (and Boo colored them, of course) and then we went outside and "hunted" for the shapes.  Never underestimate how much fun two year olds have finding things in obvious places.  We played several rounds of this game.  (I had Boo tell me what shape she found each time, so we were reinforcing the shape names.) 

And lastly, we made sugar cookies and cut circles, hearts, and stars out (because those were the most applicable cookie cutters I have).  Boo got to learn about shapes, since that was the theme of the week, but she also got to learn about rolling out dough and cutting out cookies--good life skills.  :)

I was going to share more, but I don't want this to be the post that never ends.  I'll just leave you with one picture of us enjoying my favorite season of the year.  

Ah, I love spring.

Hope you all are enjoying your St. Patrick's Day!

07 March 2012

Ah, the Second Trimester! (Also: Maternity Stuff I Love)

Look!  Little tiny baby bump!

I am LOVING the second trimester!  Finally, I don't need a nap everyday!  Okay, it's not that I mind nap-taking, but Boo's nap times are my crafting times, me-times, and cleaning times.  Yes, by the end, I even missed being able to clean.  

So what have I been doing with my newly-regained couple hours of quiet?  Well, I've made two and a half of the skirt I showed you last week.  (I now have a green skirt, too, and a waistband for a black/white skirt.)  And I've spent hours scouring the web for great maternity tutorials.  (If you're interested in what I've found, I've pinned them here.  Not everything on this board is for maternity, but currently most of it is.)

I also made a maternity band (from this tutorial), which I love.  You can see it poking out under my shirt in the picture above--it just looks like a cami, right?  But no, that wonderful invention is holding up my unbuttoned non-maternity jeans.  Because I'm still in the awkward too-big-for-regular-clothes-but-not-big-enough-for-maternity-clothes stage.  So I love this little guy.  And it was really super easy to make, so be sure to check out the tutorial--it's definitely worth your time.

And speaking of things I love during maternity time, these are my favorite summer maternity shoes:

You got it--$2 flip-flops.

Because who wants to have to deal with tying shoes or buckling straps when you're 9 months pregnant?  Not me.  And it's (soon-to-be) summer, so flip-flops are totally appropriate.  When I was pregnant with Boo, I wore flip-flops almost every single day.  Those poor sandals have gone to Shoe Heaven (may they rest in peace), so now I'm looking forward to breaking in these new guys.  Come on, warm weather!  I'm ready!