Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Quilt: Sleeping Animals

This baby quilt pattern is one of my all-time favorites.  I had this quilt made by a friend of my Mom's that had two bears appliqued like they were sleeping under the quilt, one awake and one asleep.  I've made it for two of my own friends now, and just finished the second one yesterday.

My friend Doris (best friend from high school) asked for a Winnie the Pooh quilt for her baby girl that's due in January.  I spent a really long time trying to figure out a pattern and finally thought of doing this one!  So I used my normal applique method of finding color pages and free handing very very simple shapes.  I used fleece and steam a seam so I didn't have to turn under any seams.  I did stitch everything down on my machine just to be safe.

The super cute winnie-the-pooh print is made it take so long to find a pattern.  I needed one that would show off the various scenes on the print.  Usually I do more scrappy quilts. =)  I finally decided to turn them into eight point stars to frame the print.  Pink background, as requested by the mama-to-be =)   I hope she loves it!  And know she's too busy at this point to be checking out my blog, as it's just going in the mail now.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Activity: Hand and Footprint Reindeer

Well, today was one of those days =)  We had just gotten in at midnight, and Serenity woke up sick at her stomach in the middle of the night.  Needless to say, I didn’t manage to fill the advent calendar before we got up.  On the plus side, Serenity was feeling much better by morning, and ran right to it saying, “We need to check my advent calendar!!!!!”  So I used the, “look, there’s a monkey!” tactic while sneakily slipping an activity into the calendar.  The activity was Craft!  I have a looong list of ideas for crafts that I’d love to do this season.  We’ll see how far we get, but today we did a handprint reindeer.  I saw the idea here at Oopsey Daisy. 

It turned out super cute, but I do have a few notes to add on the process.  First, she says to angle the hands more than she did, and so I angled the paper sharply because trying to position a toddler’s hand is easier said than done.  Second, I noticed that it’s important to put the heel of the foot slightly under the top of the handprints, so that it looks like the antlers are on top of the head.  Otherwise it ends up looking a little bit like Krusty the Clown, a very scary prospect.  Serenity was delighted with her Rudolphs!  She did insist that the reindeers be red, which is why our handprints are red instead of green like the example.  Everything must match in Serenity’s world!  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Advent Calendar

I have this great advent calendar I got from Pottery Barn Kids as my Christmas decor splurge last year. (I try and add one fun thing each year =)  We had a blast with it last year, and so far this year is just as much fun!  Even more so because Serenity actually asks to check her advent calendar each day =)  But instead of being all organized, I'm having to scramble every day to fill the thing =)  So in case there are any more of you out there looking for ideas, here's the list I finally assembled for the calendar, plus the activities we've already done! 

Advent Calendar List
1. Sing.  Serenity's favorite Christmas carol is Jingle Bells, so we sang that right away, plus I made a new mix cd of Christmas music for the car.  Although my cd player malfunctioned so we ended up singing Christmas carols all over town, which was a blast!
 2. Puzzle.  I got a new holiday puzzle from the dollar section of Target, my home away from home.
3. Read.  We read a brand new Christmas book, Llama Llama Holiday Drama.  Have since read it about fifty times so I declare it a hit!
4. Cookie Exchange Party.  This is an annual event for us.  Our friends and their kids come over and we each bake different kinds of cookies and trade.  Yummy and fun!  We try to do games and crafts too. 
5. Make Presents.  I got some green foam Christmas trees that we decorated with foam stickers for all the grandparents.  So far they are a hit!
6. Read.  I found the Grinch Who Stole Christmas at Kohl's.  The proceeds are donated so I always love getting those books and the toys that go with them.  This book was a little long for my two year old, but she loved the part where the Whos all sing, and sang La la la la  along with them =)
7. Decorate.  My tree is already up but we went to Grandma's house and helped her decorate her outdoor tree!  Serenity loves moving ornaments around, and ooohs and ahhhs over Christmas lights and ornaments.
8. Candy Cane Hunt.  I hid candy canes in the yard.  Such fun!  This was a new idea for us and I will definitely be repeating it.
9. Christmas in the Park (a local event with Christmas decorations and booths.)
10. Bake a Pretzel or Cannelle bouleh
11. Christmas Presents and Pancakes
12. Neighborhood Walk to see Stars and Lights, or Happy Hollow Zoo??
13. Backyard Game (Croquet?)
14. Decorate Serenity’s Room for Christmas (Posterboard Tree? Lights?)
15. See Santa
16. Watch Home Movies (I make a greatest hits dvd once a year for us to watch)
17. Make Digital Christmas Cards and Mail Them (stickers for Serenity, add stamps to envelope?)
18. Play Board Game (Hippo?  Or Tangrams?)
19. Craft (fingerprint snowmen)
20. Christmas Movie with Popcorn
21. Drive to see Lights
22. Add a Photo Ornament to tree
23. Bake and Decorate Cookies (and Sand Tarts)
24. Read Nativity Story
25. Still not sure about this, in an ideal world I'd have a nativity set she could play with and put baby Jesus in today, but we'll see!

I also have a ton of craft ideas filling up my google reader that I want to do!  This week is crazy but next week I hope to start posting our versions of those great ideas! 

hot chocolate
breakfast for dinner
see horses
make candy/cookies

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jedi Birthday Party!

Party Day! 

Well, we had one happy Jedi birthday boy today =)  Everyone had a blast, and I’m excited to share the details! 

Upon arrival every Jedi received his robe and lightsaber and prepared to enter the Jedi Academy! (The lightsabers here were great fun, but order extra because a lot of them didn't light completely.)

There were four tasks to hone their Jedi skills.  First: Lightsaber Technique.  Keep a balloon up in the air as long as possible using a lightsaber.  The kids went absolutely nuts for this game, played it on and off for the entire party.  And, as an added bonus, it kept them from hitting each other with their lightsabers too often. =) 

Second Task: Jedi Agility.  I used a red plastic tablecloth to represent the lava planet, and they had to cross it safely by touching only the black rocks.  Eric added an extra dimension of trying to cross it quickly enough to stop a balloon he threw in the air from hitting the ground. 

Third Task: Jedi Speed.  I set up a simple obstacle course of cones that the kids had to run and jump through, and then they ended by defeating a stormtrooper with their lightsabers.  (Found idea here)

Fourth Task: Aim and Accuracy.   I had been wanting to build a cornhole board game since we played it at Eric’s Aunt’s house this summer, and this was the perfect opportunity!  My dad and I built it generally using the instructions from here.  It was very sturdy, which is good as my two year old likes to use it as a slide.  I sewed the corn bags and the Jedis practiced their throwing skills.  Using the Force, of course. 

After some crazy playtime, we took a brief break for pizza.  After pizza, we took each of the kids pictures with this X-Wing that we built from cardboard.  I even made an instrument panel for the cockpit and R2D2, although tragically R2D2 fell out of the car and didn’t make it to the party. (I did get some setup pictures with R2D2 though =) We’ll play with him later.) 

Then, we had a surprise attack from Darth Vader!  Vader reveled in the opportunity to attack the Jedi Academy,  although he was soundly defeated by the Jedis. 

Finally, we had a Death Star Pinata. (You can see it in the background of the picture above, along with my daughter trying desperately to reach it because she is aware that there is candy inside) This was a lot of fun, although it was my first piñata and my first paper mache in a long time and I made several mistakes.  First of all, two days before is not soon enough to start.  Second, let the first layer dry completely before adding more.  The inside was still soggy 36 hours later.  So what I ended up with was a very sturdy outside, but a flexible structure, so all the kids got to beat on it but it just got flatter and flatter instead of breaking!  So moral of the story, piñatas need to be started first on the project list, and dry between layers even if you manage to find one single website that says you don’t have to =) 

I filled the piñata with candy and little Star Wars figurines, (I think the kids wanted the little guys even more than the candy, they left some candy behind!) 

Barrett doesn’t like cake or ice cream, so he requested Star Wars donuts!  Aren’t they cute?  

Every Jedi received a training certificate that I found through Tip Junkie's site.

Oh, and Serenity actually wore her Yoda Hat!  Here's the instructions on how to make your own.  

Follow the links to find out where I found tutorials or purchased my supplies! =)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jedi Preview!

Jedi Birthday Party!!!

Here’s a sneak preview of what I’ve been working on like a maniac for the last week!!! 

One R2D2 head: (white bowl, sticky felt and foam)

One instrument panel

One Yoda hat:

Here’s how to make your own yoda hat.  I used minkee but fleece would also work well I think.  I just had the minkee and it was one of those late night projects =)  So…

1.)  Cut two rectangles four inches by 8 inches, and then cut an angle in an inch on the top and bottom so that you end up with a sort of triangle shape that’s four inches wide on one side and two inches wide on the other side.  Then sew these up in kind of a wavy fashion, so it looks like Yoda ears.  If you want them to stand out well, add some pipe cleaners or wire, but I’m giving mine to a two year old so I kept them soft =) 

2.)  Cut four sort of rounded wedge shapes to make the body of the hat.  I used a toddler hat we already had for a pattern, but it was just about six inches from point to point on the bottom, and on each side to the top, rounded though.  Sew two sets of two together. 

3.)  Insert an ear between the two sides, about an inch from the bottom.  Sew the last two sides together. 

4.)  Add a rim on the bottom.  As I don’t have a serger, I just cut a four by about 22 inch strip, and folded it in half, and then sewed this to the top.  That way I don’t have too many raw edges to worry about.  It was easy!  Took like half an hour making the pattern and all, although I did have to rip one seam when I discovered the ear really couldn’t be right at the bottom where I put it the first time.  That inch up is very important!