Sunday, August 27, 2017

Party time!

    Ella's party was a hit. She had a blast visiting with family and friends. I think next year we will be going somewhere and paying people to set up and take down the party. It is a ton of work to throw a child's party! I'm kidding, mostly. I really did have fun making the decorations and even the coral turned out looking like coral. The spray foam was a bit tricky to work with. I definitely recommend practicing if you have not worked with it before.

     The foam expanded much more than an I thought it would. It ended up with a thicker organic look which I painted to match the theme. Make sure that you spray it on wax paper. That will make it easier to remove from the surface. The water background was made by using tablecloths. It was a lot of work but it all paid off. Everyone had a good time, I think. Ella has loved playing with her gifts and eating leftover BBQ chicken.

      She loved her little cake. By the end, she was covered in blue along with the back of the chair and her bath water once she was done with her cake. She was a ball of energy until the sugar wore off. It will be a while before she has that much again. Well, I am going to finish cleaning everything up and relax for a little bit.

sugar crash

Saturday, August 19, 2017

How to Watch the Eclipse Without Glasses

There is loads of excitement about the solar eclipse on Monday. It is extremely dangerous to look at the sun directly, especially during an eclipse. You can cause severe damage very quickly without protection for your eyes. They are selling eclipse glasses but most places are selling out or have been sold out. I remember seeing them at the grocery store but haven’t been able to find them again. No need to worry. There are other ways to view the sun, like a pinhole viewing box.

              The box allows you to safely watch a projection of the eclipse. You can build the viewer with common household items. All you need is a box, tape, and aluminum foil. The box you use can be a shoe box, cereal box, or whatever you have around the house. Ella goes through diapers like mad so I used one of her diaper boxes. The bottom of the box has a large gap that I had to block. You want the inside dark so the reflection shows up more clearly.

               Once you have the box, cut a sheet of white paper to fit inside the bottom end. This is what the image will be projected onto. Tape the paper down so you can move the viewer without it falling out. 

              Cut a small square in the top corner of one side. If you are using a cereal box, cut 2 square holes on either side of the box top. You will have one hole to look into and one for the pinhole. With a larger box, you can leave the one side open view the image. I have a larger box so I left the top open and flipped it over.

                   Cover the square with a layer of tin foil and tape it down. Use a pin or needle to poke a hole in the center of the foil and that’s it. You can now safely view the eclipse. Stand with your back to the sun and point the foil at it. The image will project down through the pinhole and onto your paper. Remember, do not look directly at the sun. 

These are the filaments from the light in my sewing room. It works!
       I hope you enjoy making the viewer and getting to see the first total eclipse in almost 100 years to travel across the entire US. We are not in the path of totality here so it will only be about 89% covered but that is still pretty neat. Have fun and stay safe!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wild Wednesday!

     We have had a fun filled week so far. The birthday projects are just about done. I should have a post on the center piece up next week. I have never worked with spray foam so that should be fun. We have been getting ideas for Lala's first birthday and cake pictures this weekend. Also, Monday was Ian's birthday. It was basically his weekend to have fun so that means steak dinner with the family and man stuff. Everyone had a great time.

She barely looked up for a picture.

     Ella has officially found the kitchen cabinets. We have had the dangerous ones locked since she became mobile, of course. She thinks the pots and pans are just amazing. It's really adorable. I have been saving different kitchen utensils to give her as a birthday present but I broke down and gave them to her early. She was having such a good time and I can be a bit of a softy.

     It has really been a life saver. My mom said we loved our little utensil cabinets and that is the reason I was collecting things. She played with them while I was able to get a few things done. Teething has been rough lately and she has needed loads of mommy time so I hadn't been as productive as I should have been. I really wish I had given them to her earlier because she really enjoys them. She has become a fabulous little sous chef.

     We had a drawer of bibs and fabric shopping bags that we made her own little space. There was no keeping her out of that drawer anyway. If your little one likes to play with your pots and pans or you want to give them a fun activity while you are getting things done, make them a spot. You can give them old things that you do not use anymore. If you don't have any already just run over to your local flea markets or goodwill. You can find some great deals and the older pots that I found aren't as heavy as mine.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Jellyfish Party!

     I'm still working on the decorations for Ella's amazing mermaid party. This week has been slow since Ella is working on cutting her latest tooth and it has been a beast. We were able to get a few things done. The only big thing I have left to make is the coral center piece, which I was able to start painting the base and wooden pieces. We still have 2 weeks so I'm in good shape.

     To go with the underwater theme, I want to have a few sea creatures hanging around and I was able to find plenty of great ideas on Pinterest. The jellyfish I found were adorable and I had to make my own. Here is what I did to make one for Ella.

     I wanted to use a paper lantern for the main body. It was a bit difficult to find the right size and color that matched the image in my head. I found a 10" lantern in teal that was perfect. I opened the lantern and measured about 3" from the bottom opening. I took 12" of trim that worked with the teal and attached it around with hot glue.

    The easiest way to attach the stingers is to hang the lantern to make sure they fall right. The lantern that I used had a small wire frame which I used to attach the yarn and fabric strips that make up the middle. To make the smaller stingers, I used curling ribbon. I wanted them to have a cute curl to them and I like the way they turned out.

     I was thinking about adding some spots to the top but I left it alone for now. It looks cute as it is. This is a fun little project to make with the kids even if you don't have a party to plan. There was also a version that used a paper plate instead of the lantern. The kiddos could finger paint the tops and build them while learning about the ocean. Crafts can be amazing learning tools so have fun!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Making an Up-cycled Skirt

            While flea marketing a few weeks ago, I found this fun zebra fabric and it was begging to become a skirt. The zebras are printed on cotton so I chose to do something more casual. Here is what I did to create my upcycled jean skirt.

             First, I thrifted a pair of old jeans that fit in the waist. The legs and inseam do not matter at all since they will be cut away. I chose to cut below the back pockets because I did not want to lose them or the side pockets. I didn’t worry about using my pinking shears because I kind of want it to fray a little. Denim will fray only slightly but if you do not like that look, just cut it a little longer than you want and add a little hem.  Now you have your waistband.

The zebras that I wanted to use were on the top half of the fabric panel so I cut them off. The bottom is covered in random smaller zebras but I haven’t decided what to make with them yet. I folded the top in half with right sides together and sewed a center back seam. With the fabric turned right side out, I gathered the fabric across the top by hand to match the waistband size.

Pinning the gathered section into the waistband, I positioned the seam with the back seam of the jeans. I topstitched around the edge of the jeans making sure that the skirt was secured. I have a healthy fear of wardrobe malfunctions. For the hem, I used my rolled hem foot. If you do not have that type of presser foot, you can absolutely do this hem without it. Just turn the edge in about 1/8 of an inch twice and stitch over the folded fabric.

I am pretty happy with the way the skirt turned out. The only thing I would do differently would be to use thread that matched the thread in the jeans to attach the skirt and off-white thread for the hem. The black matches the detail in the zebras so it works. I may end up changing it or adding trim later but, for now, I’m happy. That is the great thing about being able to sew. If you are not happy with the way a certain item of clothing fits or looks, you can adjust it.

As always, the sky is the limit. Happy crafting!

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