Monday, December 21, 2009

Recycled castle gift or goodie bag

Here is a fun little gift bag I created. My son loves it so much that he took it off my craft table and ran off with it. He occasionally reappears swinging it by the top string. I think it is perfect for a small gift or make multiple for a goodie bag.

4 empty toilet paper tubes
1 paper lunch sack
hole punch
about 2 ft of ribbon
cut top notches of paper tubes, be sure to have an even number of cuts
fold down every other tab
cut a vertical line 3/4 way up each tube
turn 1/4 turn and make parallel cut
draw castle walls, windows and drawbridge on bag
keep in mind about an inch out from the corner will be covered with the
cut 1 inch in from each corner where there is a natural horizontal fold in the bag
thread the paper tubes through the holes
fill bag
fold upper corners of bag down so the overlap
fold top corner down
punch 1 or 2 holes through overlap
1 hole - feed the middle of the ribbon through the hole then bring the ends through that loop creating a closure for the bag
2 holes - string each end of the ribbon through a hole and tie closed

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

paper beads

My son wanted to make a necklace for his stuffed animal. He wanted to use my glass beads. I compromised and we made these lovely paper beads and strung them together for his stuffie.

paper - magazines or newspaper ads work well
round chopstick
glue stick or white glue
paintbrush is using white glue
wax paper

cut paper width way in about 3" lengths
use a length of wax paper as a place mat to keep from gluing paper to table
start rolling 1 corner or edge onto chopstick
spread glue on rest of paper. I used watered down white glue. that was too hard for my son so he used a glue stick.
continue rolling, be sure edges are well glued
slide paper tube off chopstick
let dry
when all tubes are dry, cut in 1/2" - 1" lengths
string together for necklace or garland

This would be a fun activity to do during winter break. Also could string together a garland to decorate the tree.

Friday, December 11, 2009

organic u-cut tree

Braved the freezing cold to cut our tree this year. I was grateful that the ground was frozen instead of ankle deep mud. But my new daughter was confused and grumpy. I think this is her first experience with freezing weather. She would hold out her hands or a foot scream like she was being stung. So we picked the 3rd tree cut it down, strapped it to the top of the car and were on our way. Oh yeah we paid for it too. Last year we got a funky tree for a very good price. This year we got a normal noble.
We went back to the organic u-cut tree place we got our tree from last year

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

orange display

One of my favorite things about winter are Satsuma Oranges. The fragrance sprayed when peeling reminds me of the wonder and joy I felt as a five year old pulling a satsuma from my stocking.

I fill my vase and by the end of the week it is empty and ready to be filled again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

recycled castle

When I finished up this castle my son grabbed it and ran off to decorate it himself. He had been begging me for a week to make him a castle. So when I finally gathered all the supplies together today, he was bummed that the cardboard was too hard for him to cut. Once it was assembled he was thrilled.
(Sorry, my son and his friend won't let me have the castle to take a decent picture!)

smallish cardboard box - I used 11"x14"
4 cardboard tubes - we don't use many paper towels in our house, so I used some wax paper and such. I had to cut them all to the same length.
exacto blade
pen or pencil

With box closed, draw the top notches, windows and drawbridge door.
Using the exacto blade cut out the windows and the top of the drawbridge door. (Do not cut bottom of door - so the door will open out.)
Cut off the upper flaps of the box.
Remove all the tape on the body of the box. Leave the tape on the bottom. Glued boxes work the best.
With scissors, cut lengthwise along notches.
With exacto, score bottom edge of notch.
Fold notches in.
Take one of the removed lengthwise upper flap and cut two corners off along the same length.
Glue it along folded notches with notch underneath and cut corners at corners of the box. You can tape it in place to secure while glue dries.
Cut off remaining exposed folded notches.
Starting at the bottom of the cardboard tube, cut a lengthwise slit the height of the castle.
Cut a parallel line 1/4 turn away.
Cut notches on top, folding over or removing.
Repeat with other 3 tubes.
Slide the cut edges of the tubes over each corner of the castle.
Decorate as desired.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sweater Boots - Upcycled

I made these for my models to wear. They got more attention than the clothes. I got several offers to sell them is some wonderful boutiques. I considered becoming a cobbler but just don't have the time to source materials.
I hope you enjoy this simple easy way to upcycle your favorite scuffed shoes to become one of the hottest items this fall.
scuffed up old shoes (helps to have a clear division between top and bottom)
old sweater
hot glue gun with glue
ribbons or other trim (optional)
buttons or other accessory (optional)
cut the sleeves off the sweater at the shoulder seam.
Embellish the cuff or body of sleeve as desired. I like to use buttons.
slide sleeve over shoe with armhole at heal and cap at toe to check angle of boot top. Should be about 40-45 degrees from floor.
pull toe forward or heal down until get desired angle.
Trim excess.
heat glue gun
glue toe between shoe and sleeve about 1" along bottom edge. Carefully press down. be sure to avoid hot glue on your fingers.
Glue 1" at heal. press down.
glue slowly 1-2" at a time until whole shoe is connected.
run a bead of glue around raw edge a couple of inches at a time. press ribbon over glue to hide raw edge.
If sweater was felted this step is optional.
Sometimes the ridge of the shoe is large enough to tuck the raw edge away, also making this step optional.

repeat with other shoe.

Friday, November 6, 2009

clothes swap

I attended a clothes swap organized by my sister. She has them a couple of times a year. It was a great way to swap out the clothes you don't wear with different ones. This was the first one I managed to attend. It was fabulous. It was like a trunk sale, without having to pay for anything! I even got some really great shoes and a pair of boots. I have never been able to find boots that fit me. So I was pretty ecstatic.
The low down on a clothes swap. Each gal brings her treasured clothes that she doesn't wear anymore. Then sorts the clothes in stations by type, pant, skirt, dress, fancy, tops, sweaters... THEN DIG IN. We had an area to keep selected clothes (and the ones worn to the party since we were all running around in our undies). This is very important. I did overhear someone say she had to find a pant that fit because hers went home with someone else. Leftovers are donated.
The organizers also made a party of it and provided food and mimosas! You can do potluck also.
I was so impressed by how much fun being frugal and sustainable can be.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

salvaging jeans

Have you ever splurged on something and it shrunk in the wash?
I have this pair of $200 jeans (I got them at a going out of business sale for 30% off) They are organic and made in the USA. So I splurged. They shrank. Been sitting on my shelf for almost a year, making me sad. Never worn.
Then a friend cleaned out her space and gave me a bunch of vintage remnants. SCORE! One from around the sixties inspired me. I thought it would look really retro cool on these jeans. So I spliced them in. OOOhhh bad idea. I now had $200 clown pants... So I sadly set them aside.
After a few days I decided to paint them. I put a wash of navy blue fabric paint to tone it down. I am pretty happy with the finished product. I think I brought it back to retro cool.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

fall leaf stockpile

I spent a lovely afternoon with my son gathering fall leaves. It was a little late, many leaves were rotten already, but we had fun sifting through them. His favorite were the bright red maple leaves. He said they looked like starfish.
We then pressed them in a book for later use.
Thinking leaf printing, collages or decoupage. Will be fun to have this many stockpiled for the winter crafts.
My son wanted this post to be named "I collected 600 leaves"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last minute harvest festival - pumpkin bean bag toss

Last week I learned that my son's school is not allowing costumes for Halloween. I was so upset, I offered to plan a harvest festival for his class. So this week I am scrounging around to put together a party for 20 first graders!

Here is my first activity - pumpkin bean bag toss

old coffee or formula can - clean with sharp opening taped over
pretty scrap paper - size of can label
sheet of printable fabric
computer with clip art
8 1/2" x 11" scrap fabric
sewing machine with thread
2 cups dry beans

Tape or glue pretty paper over can label. Can will be target.
Print 6 - 2 1/2" clip arts of pumpkins (I image searched on line) on printable fabric be sure to leave at least 1/2" between images. the more space the better, for seam allowance.
Trim images leaving the most amount of extra fabric as possible.
lay on scrap fabric face sides together.
cut around printed fabric.
sew together with 1/8" seam allowance. Leaving a 1 1/2" opening. be sure to back stitch at start and finish.
turn right side out.
stuff with dried beans. I used some garbanzos that had been in my cupboard for years.
turn opening edges in and stitch shut.

Now you have a bean bag toss game. I am thinking of dividing the bean bags, making another can and having two games going.
Other activities:
face painting - we have several nontoxic face painting sets. I am thinking of printing out stencils so a parent can easily make images on faces for those kids who don't want to draw on their own. Otherwise I will bring a mirror and let kids draw their own. after all it washes off.
The old stand in, Bobbing for apples - a big tub of water and 20 apples, what could be simpler?
Roll the Gourd - our farmer's market is the day before the party. I plan on getting a nice round and bumpy gourd or squash. then we place a target on the floor and have the children try to roll the gourd into the target.
Guess the monster parts-have a bowl with various slimy or textureous foods in them representing monster parts inside a box with front covered with craft paper strips. Have children reach in and guess what is inside.
Hopefully these plus a snack with use up the hour allotted for the party.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

nice dream

I dreamt last night that I overthrew a corrupt monarch. All I did was challenge him. Because he got defensive instead of confidently laughing it off, the people/guards sided with me and took him away.

My first order of things was to be sure all the people were fairly compensated for their work. I was starting to survey the people and compare to the ledger when my daughter woke up.

End to that lovely dream.

Speaking of lovely dreams, here are some pictures from the fashion show. It was fun. Though I got more attention for the boots than the clothes...

Friday, September 18, 2009

sustainable fashion show

I have been busy preparing for the Sustainable Ballard Festival fashion show. I got an invitation last week and the show is next week! Making Upcycled jeans skirts and repurposed t-shirt dresses among other things. I am thinking of making sweater shoes from repurposed sweater arms and thriftstore shoes. If they work out I will post instructions later. Wondering if I have time to make jewelry...
If you are in the Seattle area and a size mediumish woman and want to model in the fashion show I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mason Bee house

I saw this in a magazine while waiting at the dentist. I thought it looked really easy and since my neighbor has an out of control bamboo patch along our boarder it would also be free. We just pulled a 2” round stalk that was growing under our siding. It went under a cement path, up our foundation and under the siding.
Mason bees are great pollinators and don’t sting. I placed this home in our plum tree.

2 stalks of bamboo (6-8 feet)
Clippers or sharp saw
Twine (I used some twill tape)

Cut the bamboo into segments. The magazine said every 6 inches. But I cut it just above the joint so the bee would have somewhere to nestle. So the segments are different lengths. I also used clippers when I should have used a saw on the larger parts. So mine is a little raggedy.
Bundle the bamboo together, wrapping the twine two times around before tying off.
Place bundle in crotch of a tree, somewhere it is protected.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fruit fly trap

I accidentally left the rind of a melon on the counter over night. We must have had 100 fruit flies on it the next morning. I tried to carry it outside with all the flies, but they just scatter. So I made this fly trap and my son and I watched and counted the carnage…

Used, clean food tub
Plastic wrap
Rubber band
Cider vinegar

Pour ½ inch or more cider vinegar in bottom of the container
Cover with plastic wrap
Secure plastic wrap with rubber band
Poke a few holes in the center of the plastic wrap
Set on counter and leave alone

The flies like the cider smell. They can get into the trap but not out. They eventually tire and drown. Clean out as needed by emptying washing and repeating. You can reuse the plastic wrap.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Melon Balling

Rainy Sunday holiday weekend… What to do?…
Here is great (time consuming) activity. I have fond memories of sitting balling melon and chatting with the Nanny as she made dinner. I think my son will have fond memories also (minus the Nanny). We chatted and took turns trying to make the roundest ball.

Ripe Melon
Melon baller
Large bowl

Cut melon in half
Remove seeds
Place baller against melon flesh and twist handle
Gently tap utensil against rim of bowl to release

Monday, August 3, 2009

keeping cool

Unseasonally hot weather has me eating my son's reuse popsicles. I make them for myself with organic concord grape juice (naturally sweet but not too sweet frozen) and no stick. I leave a cup out while I eat and then take a metal spoon and mash it up. Depending on how long i left it out, sometime it is like sorbet other times a nice cool slurpy. My daughter loves begging tastes of it too. Though sometimes her tastes take most.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Up-cycled Jeanskirt

Up-cycle that great pair of jeans that never fit right. I have a stack of jeans that I can’t bear to throw away. Most of them shrank the first time I washed them (including that $200 organic pair…) The others are from my larger days. Here is a great stylish way to wear them again.

Old jeans
Matching thread (match the existing topstitch or the jean color)
Sewing machine
Seam ripper

Cut leg at ½ the inseam or higher (depending on length you want the skirt). Remember to leave at least 1 ¼” for hem. Also keep in mind too small pants will sit higher on the waist than the pants did.
Carefully open inseam.
Open rise (crotch seam) ½ way up in back and to 1” below zipper in front.
Open inseam of cut off piece also.
Lay open overlap rise and pin cut off piece between legs, one in front and one in back.
Try skirt on to be sure you can sit and walk. Move legs farther apart if you can not.
Stitch in place.
Turn up and up and secure hem.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Berry picking bucket

The berries are in at the farmer’s market! That means its u-pick time. This recycled bucket is perfect for picking berries. I sling it over my wrist so I can hold branches with one hand and pick with the other. Fill it part way and then dump into the over sized container provided by the berry patch. Simple, efficient and easy

Clean takeout food container
Ribbon (I use ribbon from presents I have received)

Wrap ribbon around top of food container
Tie tightlyCut length for handle
Tie each end to other ribbon

Can also stitch ends down for stiffer ribbon

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thank you cards

I finally got my thank you cards done. They should be quick and easy but I tried to sandwich them in 1 hour naptime along with my other chores and work. So they ended up taking several weeks.
One week to select and print photo. One week to cut paper. One week to glue… Really 5 minutes at a time.
Now all I have to do is write a quick note in each and send them off!

8 ½” x 11” cardstock
2 – 4x6 photos
Paper grocery sack
Glue stick

Slice ¾” off one end of each photo (measure 4” x 5 ¼”)
Cut cardstock in half lengthwise
Fold in half widthwise (measure 4 ¼” x 5 ½”)
Glue photo in bottom corner of cardstock along folded edge

Slice open grocery bag along seams.
Follow this link for envelope. Only use grocery sack with blank side out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stepping Stones

I am a little late with this one. These are the stones we made for Father’s Day. We usually make them for Mother’s Day but this year we were too busy adjusting to our new daughter. They are a lot of fun and can use up items that would otherwise go to the dump, like broken pottery, bottle tops and the bubble blowing sticks. We also sometime put leaves in them for a fossil like effect.
I started doing this project with my son when he was 2 years old. We make a couple every year. I try to get him to do a hand print every year so he can compare them later. I hope to cover the whole front yard and maybe a path around the north end of the house someday.

Moulds – you can buy some or use plastic serving plates or other found items, just be sure you can twist them slightly to pop out the finished stepping stone
Cement – enough to fill your moulds 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. I found the 25lb. box made 4 stepping stones
Bucket - exclusively use for cement
Old paint stirrer
Stuff to decorate top – flat marbles, tiles, thrift store or broken china, tiny dinosaurs, old party favors, toy meal toys…

Place tiles or china in a bag. Child can use hammer to lightly tap until cracked into about 1 inch pieces.
Adult mix the cement with water in the bucket as manufacture recommended.
Pour into mould
Spread out evenly with paint stirrer
Child can arrange decorations on top and gently press in. Be careful with sharp edges. When my son was young we used mostly flat marbles and store bought mosaic tiles. Last year, we had him were garden gloves. This year we used a plastic fork for him to stir the box of broken pottery to pick his perfect item.
Be sure the item is at least halfway submerged but not touching the bottom of the mould. If items fall out later you can glue them back with cement adhesive if desired.
Leave room for a hand print. Cover cement with single layer of plastic (to keep cement off little hands and out of eyes and mouth). A produce bag cut open works nicely. Press hand until clear depression appears. Remove hand. Remove plastic.
Decorate around between fingers and around hand print if desired.

Leave stones flat overnight to dry (some cements dry in hours – follow manufacture recommendations – ranges from 2 hours to 2 days to dry)
When completely dry, turn stone over. Gently flex mould until stone pops out.
For walking path, bury stone so only surface shows.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Banana toast dippers

I was surprised by how well my son ate these. He has extremely sensitive taste buds and usually won’t eat something the first time he tries it. But these he gobbled down. It's also a fun play date activity that gets busy (picky) boys to eat before they melt down.

1 large ripe banana
Two heaping scoops of Organic whole vanilla yogurt
2 eggs
Two tablespoons of water
Sprinkle of cinnamon
6 slices whole grain bread
Olive oil for frying

(can substitute the yogurt and water for ¼ cup whole milk and a dash of vanilla)

Various dipping items like syrup, honey, jam, applesauce, yogurt, whip cream…

Blend yogurt and banana in food processor until smooth
Pour into large shallow bowl
Add eggs water and cinnamon
Whisk until well blended
Dip both sides of bread in egg mixture
Fry in well oiled pan over medium heat until both sides are browned and egg is thoroughly cooked
Slice ¾” widthwise strips

Serve with fresh fruit and various dipping items.

My son loved trying combinations and kept eating and asking us to try his inventions.
Sorry, he ate it so fast I didn’t get any pictures.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Up-cycled cereal box - box

I am still playing with this box I saw on craftstylish. I thought it would be a great birthday party booty bag. I could have the children decorate the boxes at the beginning of the party. While the children were doing something else, I could put them together with a surprise inside for each child.

My prototype is made from a cereal box. We recycle a couple in a week in our house. I thought it would be nice to up-cycle them instead. My next birthday party isn’t until October (though he is already planning it!) I think I will have time to make enough…

I used the pattern provided on craftsylish and sized it up on a copy machine. I sized the top up 25% and the bottom %20 so they would fit together. I got one box from a medium/large sized cereal box.