Thursday, May 17, 2012

DIY Baby Instruments

Lately, I've been racking my brain for ways to keep my 14-month-old baby entertained during the late afternoons--you know, the witching hour. Basically, between the time she gets up for nap until Daddy gets home from work, she's generally crabby, fussy, grumpy, or just plain bored. I thought that if I could present her with some fun crafts or games in the late afternoon, it might help us survive until Daddy gets home.

Some things I've tried over the last week or so include edible (though not tasty) playdough and finger paint.

I thought we were full on messy crafts (although they were tons of fun), and I decided I wanted to involve some of her other senses. Since this was the last week of Kindermusik until the fall, I thought some homemade musical instruments would be fun.

I was inspired while cleaning out my pantry. Yeah, I know. But I had three almost empty, expired cardboard cylinders. They used to contain grits, bread crumbs, and chow mien noodles.

To make these, you will need:
cardboard cylinders
pretty paper
rubber cement (or any glue you like)
a hot glue gun
an assortment of sound makers (I used little jingle bells, Styrofoam balls, and split peas)

First, I measured the height of each tube. I cut out a piece of scrapbook paper that size, and then I wrapped it around the tube, gluing it down with the rubber cement. I used a thin bead of hot glue to make sure the end of the paper was secure as I didn't want Little O to peel it off.

Once the glue dried, I placed the noisemakers inside. I used hot glue to secure the lids to the tubes to prevent choking hazards.

That's it! Now I am just waiting for her to wake up from her nap to show her the new instruments I made for her.

I was featured on Carrots Are Orange!

150 Kids Co Op Link Up   Come & Play

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

"Thank You for helping me grow!" 
Today was the last day of Baby O's Morning Out for Moms program. This school year, she's been attending the program for a few hours every Thursday morning. She had two wonderful teachers in her classroom, and I'm sure she's going to miss them over the summer. I am going to miss having a few hours each week dedicated to crafting and sewing. I sure hope nap time gets longer so I can have a few hours in my craft room to myself each week. 45-minute naps are not conducive to creativity.

Baby O (in the middle) with her teachers and a classmate.

Anyway, to show my appreciation for all their work and love O's teacher's have shown her this year, I wanted to make them something special. So of course I scoured Pinterest. There I found links to these other very creative bloggers: Love Grows Wild and Giggles Galore.

Here's what I did:

First, I gathered my supplies and made a list of what I needed. I had craft paint and brushes, chalk, Sharpies, ribbon, a tape measure, scrapbook paper, dowels, and dirt. I needed acrylic spray (to make the paint more durable and to keep the chalk from wiping off), flower pots, flowers, and gift cards.

Once I gathered all of my supplies (and of course, like my mother before me, and my grandmother before her, I waited until the last minute to REALLY gather all my supplies--I didn't have the flowers or gift cards until the day I was going to give them to her teachers), I got down to business.

First, I painted the base of the pots (and the little saucers) black. Then I painted the rims yellow. It took two coats of black and three coats of yellow. In hindsight, I would have painted the yellow first and then the black to get a crisper line. The black kind of showed through the yellow a little bit, but since it was under the rim of the flower pot, I didn't think anyone would notice. The craft store did have chalkboard spray paint, and I thought about using it instead of black craft paint. I decided against it because I didn't intend for the pots to be written on and erased over and over again.

After the paint dried, I taped the measuring tape around the bottom portion of the rim. Using a fine tip Sharpie (the regular-sized one), I marked off each inch mark. I had to fudge the last one because it didn't line up exactly. But I don't think anyone will notice (unless they get out a tape measure and check it). Then I removed the tape measure and marked the half-inch and quarter-inch marks with an extra fine tip Sharpie. In the examples I found online, they marked the pots to the 16th inch, but I liked the clean look of marking to the quarter inch instead. And since I waited until the last minute (6 a.m. on the last day of school), I was running out of time.

Next I used white chalk to write "Thank You for helping me grow" on each pot. I also wrote Baby O's name and the year on the saucer (which will get covered by the pot, but the teachers know it's there and will remember who gave it to them). I used the acrylic spray to set the chalk and make it more durable. Now here is where I ran into a problem: the spray dissolved a little of the chalk, so it didn't look as "chalky". I let the acrylic dry, and then I traced over what I had already written with a second coat of chalk. I sprayed it again, and this time it came out looking like I wanted.

While I wanted for the acrylic to dry, I made paper pinwheels out of scrapbook paper. I found the tutorial here. I didn't use brads. I just hot glued each corner down to the center and hot glued a button on top to hide the glue. I know they don't spin, but I was OK with that. It was more for the look. I just love the school days paper I found. Since my paper wasn't double sided, I glued two pieces (right sides out) together using rubber cement (I didn't have spray adhesive like she used in the tutorial). They turned out great, though. Then I glued each pinwheel to a small dowel using hot glue.

After the acrylic dried, I planted red impatiens in each pot. I tied the gift cards I purchased to the dowel using green grosgrain ribbon. I planted the pinwheels in the pot behind the flowers.

Here are the finished flower pots!

See where I've linked up!
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