Monday, July 8, 2013

Car Playmat

I love when toys are able to be stored easily.  You show me a toy that comes with its own storage bag/container, I'll want it.  So when I saw some DIY playmats made from either sheets, shower curtain liners or tarps, I knew it was something I wanted to try.

Here are some of the playmats I used for guidance:
*Toy storage mat tutorial from Sawdust Girl

For a long time now Mark has been going to yard sales each weekend to sell things for us for extra cash and has had great luck with selling the pieces to the game Monopoly.  Who would have thought that people would pay more for the houses, game pieces and cards separately than they would pay for the whole game?  Well, people do apparently.  So we have several monopoly boards laying around that are not being used and they were calling my name to do something creative using them.

Combine the desire to make a playmat with the Monopoly boards and you have this car playmat I made.  Before starting this project I scoured the internet looking for ideas for what to include on the playmat and how exactly to go about putting it together.  Should I draw the places and roads?  Should I print logos and glue them onto the boards? Should I only include houses of people we know or should I also include places we go on a regular basis?

Eventually I decided to draw the playmat and include the houses of those close to us and also a few places we frequent.  I was worried Natalie would try to peel off anything I glued to the board and figured drawing was the better of the two ideas.  I also took into consideration that we have several Fisher Price and Littlest Pet Shop playsets that would be cute as add-ons so I included areas where using them would work well.

In the end I included the following places:

*our house
*grandparents' houses
*my sister's house
*close friend's house
*fire station
*Dollar Tree
*a park
*a zoo
*a farm

I had two game boards that I was using and connected the roads between the two so that if Natalie were only using one board it wouldn't be obvious.  I started by sketching the layout onto easel paper cut to the size of the boards (sorry no pic).  Then I drew the layout onto the boards with pencil and went over it with a black sharpie.

By this time I was pretty confident that I was going to like the way this turned out because (in my mind) the hard part of drawing the pictures was done.  Now all I had to do was color!  I colored the houses the favorite colors of those who lived there and our house was Natalie's favorite color, pink  Some of the buildings I colored a light brown and some I colored grey.  In the end, it looked like this...

I debated whether or not to put dotted lines on the roads but decided it helped designate where the roads were as opposed to each landmark.

When trying to find ideas for this project I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures that I saw, but I wished that there were more detailed parts to some of the places.  So, I am going to post close-ups of each picture I drew for those of you who are like me and like to see details and get ideas from the details. :)

First up, the houses...

This is my sister's house.  Her favorite color is turquoise, though you can't really tell because of the blue background (one of the downfalls of coloring on a monopoly board?).

My parents' house.  Their favorite colors are orange and red.  The roofs on all the houses are brown, but, again, it's hard to tell because of the blue background.

This is my in-law's house.  It's supposed to be yellow with a purple door. :)  You may have noticed that there's not much diversity in the house style of this little neighborhood.  It's the only way I know to draw a house, so they're pretty much the same.  This is another reason I tried to color them the favorite colors because Natalie knows all their favorite colors and would, therefore, know whose house is whose (since she's only 3 and can't read yet).
This is the house of Natalie's best buddies, Landon and Kaiden.  Their favorite colors are blue and red (obviously).  Not sure why they have a demented slide in their yard.  I guess I got tired of drawing trees? LOL I tried to personalize their house (besides the slide) with the curved window above their door since they have one at their real house.

The final house is our house.  It's Natalie's favorite color, pink.  I made it centrally located so it's easy for her to find.

Up next are the stores--Target and Dollar Tree.  These are two stores Natalie recognizes so I made sure to include them.

Next are the public service buildings, the hospital and the fire station (The fire station picture came out blurry but is basically a rectangle with "Fire Station" written on it).

And finally are some areas I thought would be fun to play with using some other playsets she already has.

She can put her Fisher Price barn near the playmat next to the farm...

Her Fisher Price Zoo Talker toy can go near the zoo part of the mat.  In addition she can place her plastic zoo animals in the grassy areas on the mat...

Finally, she has a Littlest Pet Shops playground that can go near the park...

I also drew a pond with some ducks to take up some space in one area of the playmat.  Maybe she could use her doll house to put near that part of the mat.

Since she saw me working on it she couldn't wait to have a chance to play with it.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out and I love that it folds up easily and travels well.

I highly encourage anyone interested in making one to try it.  If you don't feel your drawing skills are up to par (mine look like a 10 year old drew them!), you can print pictures of your houses and/or the stores/landmarks then glue them to your playmat.  There are so many different ways to do this project, and your kid(s) will love it!  If you do make one, be sure to share a picture or link in the comments!

Thanks for reading!


Adorable Maxi Dress From a Shirt and Fabric

After seeing this tutorial on how to make a maxi dress using a shirt you already have and some fabric, I just HAD to try to make one for Natalie.  She has several shirts that fit just fine but are getting a little short.  I had picked up a pack of pillowcases from Ross awhile back and absolutely adored the grey and white pattern.  I intended to make a pillowcase dress with them, but since there are two pillowcases, I decided to try the maxi dress too.

If you'd like specific instructions, head over to Simple Simon & Company.  I'll give you a short run-down of the steps.  It really is a simple project.  And while Liz at Simple Simon & Company states she finished within an hour, it took me about three hours (I'm still fairly new at this whole sewing thing).

Here is the short, pictureless version of how to make this adorable dress:

1. Find a shirt you already have (or buy a new one in the color/design you want) and cut the bottom off about 1/2 an inch under the sleeves.

2. Measure your little one from a little under her arms to her ankles.  Add 1 1/2 inches to that length to allow for seams.  (Nat's is actually a little shorter than I expected so I'd probably add 2 to 2 1/2 inches next time I make this dress since I don't sew seams very well apparently.)

3. For the width of the fabric measure the width of the shirt you're using then multiply that by 3.  This measurement worked out really well for me, even with the gathering in a few steps.

4.  Now that the fabric is cut to the correct length and width, match right sides and sew the seam for the side of the dress.

5. Baste stitch the top of the fabric, then gather it enough so that it's about the same width as the shirt.

6. Attach the shirt to the fabric, right sides facing.

7. Hem the bottom of the fabric and voila!  You're done!

One thing I would probably do differently next time also is use a stretchier fabric.  The fabric is cotton so there isn't much give.  Natalie walked around with her legs wide apart for awhile cause she wasn't used to long dresses like this.  She eventually got used to it and even rode her bike while wearing it!

If you make this style dress, post a link to it or a picture.  I'd love to see what you made!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Baby Clothes Blanket

Wow!  Again it's been awhile since I last posted.  This having a blog thing is no joke!  In all honesty, I just haven't made time for it.  I know how much I enjoy seeing other people's crafts and activities so I feel bad when I haven't shared my own for others to try.  I've since made a list of the topics I want to post about, so hopefully in the next week I'll be caught up better (fingers crossed).  I also feel like this is a better forum to share my crafts and activities as opposed to Facebook which I've been using to share my crafts.  

So, enough of my babbling...on to the topic of this post--Natalie's baby clothes blanket.  I started this blanket back in 2011.  I was petrified to cut her clothes.  I was so worried I would cut them but then never finish the blanket.  Or I'd cut them and mess up.  Or I'd cut them and wish I had just stored them in a box.  Well, obviously none of the fears actually happened.  I did finish, I didn't mess them up and I don't wish I had just stored the clothes.

Here are some pics from this adventure...

In the beginning I chose outfits that she outgrew and I adored.  These included her coming home outfit, Christmas pjs, Thanksgiving outfit and a few other favorites that Mark and I had.

After choosing the outfits I cut out the parts that I wanted to include on the blanket.  In most cases these were the embroidered parts of the fronts of the clothes.  After cutting them to the size I wanted I arranged them the way I wanted them.  I had to trim some of them to make a rectangle.  This was probably the most challenging part of the whole project.

When the pieces were arranged to my liking, I sewed the sides together to make four rows.  Then I sewed all four rows together.

I used two receiving blankets we used with Natalie to create the back of the blanket.  I cut them in half and sewed them together so that there were four large rectangles.  That was the template I used to determine how big to make the blanket and how to arrange the clothing.

 By this point all of the pieces were sewn together so it was time to sew the front of the blanket to the back.  I thought about putting batting in the blanket but with this being Florida I decided against it.  We rarely need really heavy blankets and I wanted something Natalie would be able to use year-round.

So, I simply sewed right sides facing all the way around the blanket, leaving about six inches to turn the blanket right-side-out.

I wanted to make sure the blanket didn't separated from the back while using it, so using a straight stitch I sewed in between each piece of clothing so that each piece was secured to the back of the blanket.  Finally I went around and straight stitched around the entire outside of the blanket to make a more finished look.

So here you have it!  All done after about two years in between start and finish.  It took a back burner for awhile. :)  I'm really happy with the way it turned out.

               The back...

   One of Mark's favorite outfits.

This is Natalie's favorite on the blanket.  I like it because it reminds me of when I taught at Lake George (the mascot there is the giraffe).

The outfit Natalie wore home from the hospital.

As with most projects there are a few things I'd like to do differently next time...

*use smaller pieces of the clothes and make them a standard square instead of different shapes

*buy and use a rotary cutter and mat as opposed to just scissors

Regardless, I love it cause Nat seems to love it too and it's something our family will have for many years to come!

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope to have new posts for you to look at soon!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Jump-starting Handmade on Jupiter

When I first opened my Etsy store Handmade on Jupiter back in April, I mainly just wanted a place to share my creations with others.  I enjoy making cards and creating things for Natalie.  Why not make a little extra money on the side and share my projects with others?

Well, keeping up with the store was a bit more challenging than I thought.  I had been so busy with house stuff and Natalie stuff that I wasn't very committed to making cards.  Then my good friend Megan came up with the idea of a holiday Open House for her Mary Kay business.  A good friend of hers started a Premier Design Jewelry business a few months back, so she was joining Megan with the Open House.  I was very excited when Megan asked if I'd like to have a table of my cards at the event.  I hadn't ever presented my work in public!  Plus, having a deadline where I would need lots of product helped get me out of my rut and get working!

Over the weeks that followed I created close to 90 cards to sell at the Open House.  It was refreshing to create some new designs and I couldn't wait to show everyone!

Fast-forward to this past Saturday at the Open House...


One of my tables...

Handmade on Jupiter's Christmas Collection

Baby cards, Thank you cards and Just Because cards! Oh my!

Megan and Laura had their products displayed too...

Megan's Mary Kay display

Laura's jewelry display

I had a great time presenting my cards to new customers at the Open House.  This weekend we have another Open House scheduled in our area.  I'm really excited to see the turn-out.  

If you're not in my area to attend the Open House this weekend, but you're interested in purchasing a card from Handmade on Jupiter, have no fear!  I'll be adding the cards that remain after the Open House to my Etsy store by Thanksgiving.  

At this time, I'd like to invite anyone who's already purchased from me to leave feedback about your cards. Leaving this feedback for my store will help me demonstrate to future customers how important your satisfaction is to me.

If you haven't purchased a card from me, but you'd like to help out my store, please "Like" my Handmade on Jupiter Facebook page.  Again, this will help get my store's name out and you'll also get updates when new cards are added to the store.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me in this endeavor; whether through kind words, purchasing items or just telling others about my store.  I appreciate it more than I could ever say!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Apple Unit--Tot School

Natalie is 25.5 months old

Ok, so I'm trying to decide where to start with catching up on my posts.  Do I start where I left off in hopes that I eventually catch up or do I work backwards so at least I'm kinda up-to-date?  I think I'm going to work backwards.  Might make it easier for me to keep up.

I've got a lot on my plate right now: we're preparing to move, I'm getting items ready for a big consignment sale next month, I'm trying to find time to make cards for my Etsy store Handmade on Jupiter and I'm working with my friend to get items together for tot school.  I can't believe how quickly time goes by, and have started feeling a bit overwhelmed with it all.  I would like to keep the blog going, however, because I really like having things documented and I think it'll be great for us to look back on in the future.  Here's to keeping up with it! :)

The last two weeks my friend Megan and I worked on an Apple Unit with the kids (she has twin boys 26 months old and I have Natalie who is 25.5 months old).  Living in Florida, we haven't had much of a change in our weather, but *usually* people think of apples in September.  Hence the apple theme.

I've changed all that is included on the plans a bit since my last post, but I find it easier to include all the information about the theme on the same page as the daily plans.  I've also dedicated a Pinterest board to each theme we do since I'm working with my friend on these units.  It makes it easier for us to keep track of all the great ideas we've found online.  In case you want to look at all the resources we found...

Here's a look at some of the fun activities the kids did in this unit...

Apple sensory bin...dry beans base, cookie cutter
letters, play food apples, pom poms, tp tree trunk,
tissue paper "leaves".
Apple tree counting practice

Color sorting

Letter sorting

Playing with the sensory bin.  She decided to match up the letters in the bin to the letters on the apples.  She also used the "fork" (play kitchen utensil from her kitchen set) to take the "apples" off the tree and put them in the correct color bin.

Letting the farm animal eat the "Five Apples On the Tree".  She liked moving the animals to the living room to play with them too.

Fingerpainting an apple and the letter "A".
Love Color Wonders products!

Playing in the boys' apple sensory bin.  Megan used oatmeal for the base so it was a different texture than what she was used to.  The oatmeal is messier, but the kids really enjoyed playing with it.

The kids made applesauce to enjoy with their lunches for the day.  I'll tell ya what...having an apple peeler/core-er/slicer makes it much easier to prepare the apples!  They had a blast making the applesauce.

Reading a book about making applesauce.

Helping peel the apple...

Slicing pieces of apple (with plastic knives)
while Megan and I get the next step ready.

I think she likes it! :)
Helping Megan stir the apples.  We talked
about how the stove was HOT and not to
touch during this step. :)

While the applesauce was cooking the kids did some apple painting.  We sliced an apple in half and let them dip it in paint then stamp it on the paper.  Simple, but the kids liked it.  Nat still doesn't really care to have her hands dirty, as you can tell from her stamping picture. LOL It turned out pretty cute, I think!

This has nothing to do with our apple unit, but it was a cute picture of Natalie looking at the camera and smiling so I have to include it. :)

I was packing some things this day and gave her an empty box.  She started standing in it and spinning.  Then, to my astonishment, she looked at me and said "Mommy take picture?"  Lately she's been avoiding the camera, so I totally jumped on that chance! LOL

Coloring a tree and apples I drew.

Making a contact paper apple. Notice Baby Kitty is
close by. :)

Hi everybody!
So, there you have it...our apple unit.  Megan and the boys were sick all last week, so we didn't meet with them for the second week of our unit.  That's why there aren't as many pictures as there normally would be.  We didn't really get everything done from the second week of the theme, but Natalie seemed to have fun with the activities we *did* get to.  

Thanks for reading!  Check back for posts on our previous tot school themes as I get caught up.  I'm hoping to post about our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and BBQ units soon.

Any suggestions or questions you have for the apple unit?  Let me know in the comments below!

Take care!