Monday, August 5, 2013

Children's Art Group Kickoff Event

I'm so excited with how the first event for my Children's Art Group went. We had 15 moms (and a couple of dads) come out with a whole bunch of children! They ranged in age from babies up to about five years old.

Our first activity was painting without paintbrushes. Each family brought a couple of bottles of washable tempera paint and a few items from around the house with interesting texture. We painted with feathers, pine cones, potato mashers, spatulas, flowers, a metal basket, dryer balls, toilet paper tubes, and lots of other fun things!

The kids had so much fun! I have a few other projects in the works for our local art group. I can't wait until the next one!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Children's Art Group

So... I finally did it. I've been playing around with this idea for several months, and I finally jumped in with two feet and it's happening! I have officially started a children's art group here in our area. If you live near me, check it out!!

I've set it up on It's a pretty easy-to-use social tool to create events in your community.

Anyway, it hasn't been announced to the meetup community at large yet (it will be tomorrow), but I already have 18 members. Our first event is this Sunday. We're having a No Paint Brush Painting event. At the moment, there are 11 mamas and 14 children attending.

I'm planning to spread out some old sheets or drop cloths on the ground for the kids to paint on. I got some paint trays at the Dollar Tree for washable tempera paint. Each parent will supply 1 or 2 bottles of paint and some items with interesting texture to paint with. It should be a blast! And probably a little bit messy too.

I'm hoping to plan about 2 events per month. They will primarily take place on the weekends so working moms and dads can participate too. I have 2 events up on the calendar for August, and I've already planned September and October. I still have some thinking I need to do as far as location during the winter. The next few events will take place outside at local parks. I'm hoping maybe the art center or a church might donate some space to us at least once a month. Otherwise, I might have to clean out my basement and limit the number of attendees.

Anyway, I'm really excited about the group. And you'll definitely be seeing some more posts as the events take place.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Companion Dot & Floral Ruffle Dress

I just finished the companion dress to the Floral & Dot Ruffle Dress I made earlier this week for Baby R. This one is for her big sister, Little H. Their mom picked out the fabric. I just love the colors. And I've always loved flowers and polka dots together. I'm giving both dresses to her tomorrow when we meet up at gymnastics class.

Here are some more shots of this dress.

Here are the two dresses side by side. The girls are going to look so sweet in them. I love that they coordinate, but because they are inverse, they're not too matchy-matchy.

And, I apologize for the crappy photos. It's after midnight and I'm giving them away first thing in the morning, so I didn't have an opportunity to take any photos with natural lighting.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Floral & Dot Ruffle Dress

After finishing the romper I made for Little O, I had some time to make another ruffle dress for a friend's daughter. What a breeze compared to the romper! I'm actually planning to make her two dresses (one for each of her little girls), but I only had time to make one today. This one is for Baby R and the second one is for Little H (one of Little O's closest friends). The other one will be the inverse of this one, so the main dress will be dots, and the sleeves and ruffle will be floral. I can't wait to see the girls in them. They're going to look so cute!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Adelaide Vintage Romper

Today I finished one of the most challenging sewing projects I've ever attempted. And I have to say, I am quite proud of myself!

I found this pattern for a cute little girl's romper online. It was so cute, that I got over my fear of making clothes from a pattern. Yup. I've never done that before. The dresses I made before  (here and here) all came from an online tutorial (no pattern needed).

I learned so much making this little romper, and I'm excited to put my new skills to work on future projects.

First of all, I learned how to add piping. What a pain! But it's so cute it's worth it. I didn't think so at the time, but I do now.

I also learned a new technique for making bows. I see a couple of new hair bows in Little O's future.

Before this project, I had never made a collar before. Or straps, for that matter. I love the sweetheart neckline. I think it turned out pretty well.

I've always been intimidated by patterns that have shirring on the back. It looks so cute, and makes the clothes so stretchy and comfortable, but I was sure it was really complicated. I was so wrong! I just put elastic thread on my bobbin and regular thread in the needle, and voila! For some reason, I always thought you had to shirr by hand. I love that I did this with my machine, and it only took a few minutes.

I experimented with one final technique for this outfit: applying snaps with a snap press. Thank to a friend for loaning me hers. I practiced on a piece of scrap first, but it turned out to be really easy. I kind of want one of my very own now... Hmmm. Amazon wish list?

I think the most complicated part of the whole pattern was attaching the interfacing where the snaps go. It was so tiny.

Here it is! All done and ready to wear.

Too bad it's so late. I can't wait to see Little O in it. Of course she's going to wear it tomorrow. Pictures to come!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Another Ruffle Dress

I just finished sewing another ruffled dress for a friend's daughter. She picked out the fabric (and it just so happens to be the same as the second dress I made for Little O--the sleeve/ruffle fabric is just a little bit different).

This pattern is so easy. I found the tutorial here.

I'm having a little girls' night in tomorrow night, so she'll see it then. I can't wait to see her little girl in it!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A little breather...

I've taken a little break from blogging lately. Not really on purpose. Just because I've been so crazy busy!

I did finish the dress(es) I made for Little O. And I've got a few more in the works. But now that her Morning Out program is over for the summer, I'm just not sure when I'll find the time to sew!

I know, this isn't the best picture. Sorry. It's the only one I have! Turns out, a 2-year-old isn't the greatest model.

I'm still involved in a monthly whole-foods supper swap. All the meals have been AMAZING! And it is so nice to have one or two meals a week that require no thinking and very little effort. And since they are all made with whole foods, I can feel good about feeding them to my family. We got an upright deep freezer for the garage. So that's where we store our freezer meals. And we also went in on a half of a locally raised cow. So we keep all our meat out there too. And the massive quantities of chicken stock I've been making.

In other news, Little O broke her leg. On Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day! She fell off a piece of playground equipment (while trying to turn over onto her belly to slide down). She fell less than two feet. We wound up in the ER for several hours, and she wound up with a pink cast up to her mid-thigh. Good thing I got those dresses done because getting shorts over her cast is a bit of a chore. Although some days she insists that's what she wears.

She's in good spirits. And the cast will come off in just three more weeks. In the meantime, we're keeping busy with lots of sensory bins, sidewalk chalk, the library, and play dates with friends. And the Toddler Busy Bags from the exchange I hosted a few months ago are really coming in handy! She spent the first day snuggled up on the couch watching Sesame Street and reading books. But by the second day she was crawling around all over the place. And yesterday, she started walking on it again.

It hasn't really slowed her down much. We even took her camping last weekend with some friends.

The wagon came in really handy while camping! We found it used for $25 the day before we left for our trip. SCORE!

We kept her cast clean with a large men's sock pulled up over it. She actually really liked the look and wanted to wear one on the other leg too.

Anyway, hopefully I'll find some time to get back to crafting soon! I've been missing it. And my craft room has been lonely.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ruffled Dress for Little O (Part 1)

I went to the Modern Quilt Guild meeting on Tuesday with my mom. We decided to try out the afternoon meeting instead of the evening one. After the meeting is time to open sew for a few hours before the evening meeting. I think next month, we'll attend the open sewing and then stay for the evening meeting instead. We seem to fit in better with the evening crowd for some reason.

Anyway, after the meeting, we realized we were the only two who were staying to sew. Oh well. I didn't want to go home. I can't sew there (except on Thursday mornings when Little O goes to school). And my mother-in-law was babysitting. Didn't want to waste that opportunity! So we stayed.

I showed you the inspiration and pattern for a dress I wanted to make Little O for the summer. It seemed really easy to put together And for the most part, it was. (We had a little measuring/cutting snafu because the cutting mat and ruler were smaller than the pieces I needed to cut.

I found the fabric in the pile of donations at the guild meeting. It cost $1 each. So, the materials for the dress cost me a total of $2. The pattern was free!

I got all the cutting done. And I attached all four pieces together (front, back, and two sleeves). I also managed to overcast the edges of the seams to prevent fraying. This step wasn't in the pattern, but my fabric was already starting to fray, and I knew it needed to be done before washing and wearing.

Here's what it looked like when I had to pack up to head home:
I still need to add the elastic to the neck and sleeves and sew the ruffle on the bottom. I can't wait to have Little O try it on!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Modern Quilt Guild Pin Cushion Exchange

Here is the pin cushion I received as part of the Modern Quilt Guild exchange project.

At first, it looked like I was going to get my mom's, and she was going to get mine. We attended the afternoon meeting today (instead of the evening one). Our guild has a meeting in the afternoon, followed by open sewing, and then an evening meeting after that. Usually we go to the evening meeting, but this time, we wanted a chance to sew (remember the dress pattern I shared yesterday?).

Well, it turns out, the leader of the afternoon meeting didn't tell those members about the exchange project, so we were the only ones who did one. (I'm a bit irritated at how this exchange thing is being handled, or not handled, but I'm hoping it will get better).

After open sewing (where I worked on the dress), we ran into two of the other leaders for the guild in the parking lot as we were on our way out. They invited us to stay for the first few minutes of the evening meeting so that we could participate in the exchange. And am I glad I did!

I just love the bright blues and green of the pin cushion I received. And it's filled with crushed walnuts, so it has a nice weight to it. Next time I make a pin cushion, I think I'll give that a try rather than use poly fill.

I think next month, we're going to attend the open sewing after the first meeting and stay for the evening meeting instead. The evening meeting members just seem more lively for some reason.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Modern Quilt Guild Today

I'm headed out to the local chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild today. My mother-in-law is going to babysit Little O so I can sew all afternoon!

I'm going to attempt to make Little O a cute sundress for this summer. Maybe I can will warm weather our way with cute couture?

Here's the one I want to make.

Create Kids Couture
I'll let you know how it turns out!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prairie Point Pin Cushion

We haven't made swap projects for the Modern Quilt Guild for the last few months (here is the potholder I made for the last one, and here is the one I received in exchange), much to my dismay. I really like doing them because it forces me out of my comfort zone, and I always learn something new. This month, the guild finally assigned another swap project: Prairie Point Pin Cushions. I've never made a prairie point before, so it's definitely something new.

I used a collection of fabric swatches I won as the door prize of one of our guild meetings. I love how it feels like Spring.

I cut nine strips 1-inch by 4-inches. I also cut seven 2-inch squares (to make the prairie points). And finally, I cut one 4-inch by 5-inch rectangle for the back.

I folded each square in half and pressed. Then I folded the corners in to make a triangle and pressed it again to hold it in place.

I sewed two of the strips together and pressed toward the darker fabric. Then, I laid the prairie point where I wanted it to go and pinned it in place, placed the next strip on top (right sides together), and sewed. I opened it up and pressed the seam so the prairie point pointed the right way. I repeated this, alternating the prairie points (middle, left, and right), making sure to keep at least 1/4 inch away from the edge.

When I finished sewing all the strips and prairie points together, I pressed it one more time. Then I placed the back on (right sides together) and sewed all the way around, leaving a two-inch gap for stuffing. I turned it right side out, stuffed it with poly fill, and hand-stitched the opening closed.

I'll be swapping this pin cushion for a new one tomorrow night at our Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I'll share it with you later this week.

Here's the back!

The pattern for this pin cushion came from Quilter's World in the February 2013 edition if you'd like to make one for yourself.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Homeschool Preschool: Butterflies

Little O just turned two last month, and I've started some homeschool projects with her. Nothing really organized or overly adventurous. I just want to help foster her natural curiosity and desire to learn about everything around her.

We did some winter playdough, winter painting, and Valentine's Day playdough cookies earlier this year.

Since Spring is in the air, I thought it would be fun to do a unit about this season. Then I was inspired by Shaunna over at Fantastic Fun and Learning to focus on butterflies during the next week.

We started the week off by browsing our bookshelf and the library for butterfly-themed books. We read these books all throughout the week.

Books We Read:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta and Shennen Bersani
Caterpillar Spring and Butterfly Summer by Susan Hood and Claudine Gevry
Goodnight, Sweet Butterflies: A Color Dreamland by Dawn Bentley

Little O is starting to learn to count. Her favorite number is two. And she usually counts by touch each object and repeating two, two, two. It's pretty cute. I kind of like that she's learning the concept of counting individual objects rather than just memorizing the order of the numbers. It makes me feel like the concept is there. Maybe it's just me. :)

I know there are other areas of math for toddlers besides counting. Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with what they are. However, with butterflies, it was easy. Symmetry. Butterflies are the same on both sides.

So, I created this Color Matching Butterfly Printable to help Little O learn about symmetry. I cut each butterfly in half, and her job was to match each side to its mate. I added the letters for use at a later time. I think she's still a bit too young for letter recognition.

I also found these fun Butterfly Matching Cards from PreKinders. For Little O, we just matched a few of the butterflies to their twin. Down the road, we'll add more or even play a Memory Game with them.

We took the idea of symmetry to our artwork this week. We made these Butterfly Blotter Prints.

And, because Little O loves to craft, we had to add in just one more craft project! We took scraps of tissue paper (leftovers from random Christmas and birthday gifts throughout the years) and glued them to a picture of a butterfly. This project helped Little O work her fine motor skills, using her pincer grasp to pick up each piece of tissue paper. And she got to use glue for the first time. Fun!

The obvious choice here would be to go on a butterfly hunt outside. However, it's still a bit cold for butterflies in our neck of the woods. I thought about planting seeds for a butterfly garden (and I still might), but I didn't think Little O would make the connections since it would take too long for the butterflies to actually show up.

So instead, we put on some costume wings that I found at the Dollar Tree, and pretended to be butterflies flying around our backyard. Woohoo! Gross motor skills!

We didn't get a chance to take a field trip up to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to check out the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. We're definitely going there in the next few weeks. (I had no idea it was there, and we get in FREE with our Children's Museum pass). I wish we could have made it there this week, but it just didn't work out.

I hope you enjoyed our butterfly activities! I love comments, so please tell me what you think and what you're doing with your little one.

Butterfly Color Matching Printable

Little O has been fascinated with colors lately. She likes to name the color of everything she sees. "Blue shirt." "Black car." "Green grass." And on and on.

Keeping her interests in mind, I created this Butterfly Color Matching Printable to go with a homeschool preschool unit on butterflies. It's perfect since Spring is making its appearance known around here.

I printed the butterflies out on white card stock and cut out each square. Then I followed the dotted line to cut each butterfly in half. She's a little young for letter recognition, but I plan on using these butterflies in the future when she's ready (and of course adding other letters as well). For now, the goal is for Little O to match each side of the butterfly with its mate.

While we played, we worked on naming each color. I included the colors she knows (red, orange, blue, black, and purple) and a few she doesn't. I also added a variation on blue and purple (aqua and lavender). I thought it would be nice for her to see different shades within the same color family.

During play, I set out three halves at a time. I asked her to name each color. Then, I held up one of the matches, and she placed it with its mate. She did great matching the colors. The most difficult part of the game turned out to be figuring out how to place each card to make it look like a butterfly. This became especially challenging if I switched which side I placed on the floor in the first place.

I hope you and your little one enjoy this activity.

I absolutely love comments, so I'd love to hear from you about how you used this printable!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Unplanned No Sew Day

I can't believe it. I lost the power cord to my sewing machine. My machine has NEVER left my craft room. How does that happen?

Little O is at Morning out for Moms, and I had plans to work on our new exchange project for the Modern Quilt Guild. Oh well. Guess that's not happening today. I think I'll work on designing my quilt for my bed instead.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter Sensory Bin

Little O really loves sensory bins. We made one for Easter last week. I dyed rice in four different colors. It's really easy to dye your own rice or noodles for sensory play. I found directions over at Play, Create, Explore.

After making the rice, I added plastic Easter eggs (two different sizes) and some plastic serving spoons. I got both the eggs and the spoons at the Dollar Tree.

Little O just loved playing with this sensory bin. She scooped the rice with spoons and filled some of the eggs. We closed the eggs and shook them to hear the rice rattle around.

Because this is a messy sensory bin (the rice has a tendency to exit the bin) I placed a sheet under the bin. It caught most of the rice, and when she was done playing I just used the sheet to pour the rice back into the bin for later.

I know it's over, but this colored rice could be used for so much more than just Easter. I hope everyone had a nice Easter. We sure did!


We had a really nice, low-key Easter here. The day before... not so much.

On Saturday we went to our town's Easter egg hunt. We've never been before. It was a madhouse. Never again. A friend described it as Hunger Games Preschool Training Camp. Picture 200 under 2-year-olds running amok trying to gather as many plastic eggs as possible. And the candy inside: Jolly Ranchers. Yes. My 2-year-old just loves to choke on those. Little O found about 4 or 5 eggs, but some of the younger toddlers didn't get any. I'm pretty sure that 4-foot-tall kid isn't 2. Oh well. Live and learn.

 At least she looked cute, right? It was pretty chilly and windy, so she had to wear long sleeves and tights under her Easter dress. This is one of two dresses she had for Easter. Her Nana and Yaya each bought her one.
You really can't tell from our pictures how crowded it was. This is after the hunt was over, and everyone was leaving the field.

Saturday night we dyed eggs with Little O. She enjoyed placing the eggs gently dropping the eggs into the dye and watching it splash all over herself and the kitchen counter. She did not enjoy waiting 5 minutes to see the eggs when they were finished.

On Sunday Nana and Yaya came over for Easter brunch. We had fresh fruit, mimosas, and Monte Cristo Waffle-wiches. Yum-O.

After brunch we went outside for our own Easter egg hunt. Here's where things got a bit dicey for a moment. At this point Little O has had two egg hunts this year: one at school and the one we went to on Saturday. Both used plastic eggs filled with candy. We used our dyed eggs. They also contain something inside. A hard-boiled egg! Little O was a little disappointed when she discovered our eggs didn't open and there wasn't candy inside. Because she's two, things could have gone downhill quickly from here. But luckily, they didn't. She decided that collecting the eggs in her little basket was a lot of fun. And she enjoyed wandering around the yard finding where the Easter Bunny hid them all.

The week leading up to Easter, we read a bunch of books from the library about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts. And the teachers at school did some Easter crafts. I also created an Easter sensory bin, which Little O loved.

I wanted to make some really cute felt Easter bunnies. I started them, but they will remain unfinished until next year.

I hope you all had a great Easter weekend with your families. I'd love to hear how your egg hunts and Easter crafts turned out. Anyone else have unfinished Easter projects that will just have to wait until next year?

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