Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Doll Quilts/Buddy Blankies

Let me first say that my experience with quilting is very limited, and I am not a very good seamstress. Even with my skills lacking this was still a project I could tackle. I first saw this tutorial for doll quilts over at Girls Gone Craf-T. Katherine discovered the tutorial and had whipped up a few little quilts in one weekend. If you'd like to see her results, go here (http://girlsgonecraf-t.blogspot.com/2009/01/doll-quilts.html) she made some pretty cute doll quilts for her girls, as well as one for a friend's little boy.

Katherine's boy quilt inspired me to make some for my boys. While they don't have any dolls they do have a multitude of buddies (what they call stuffed animals) that join them each night when they go to bed. I followed the tutorial and here is how mine turned out:

Don't they look all cozy in their little blankies? My boys like wrapping up their buddies in bed with them at night. I went the easy route with the binding and quilting parts and just used my sewing machine since I knew my boys would not care.

Tired of Thomas fabric, I decided to make one for my niece Lucy. The original tutorial calls for these tiny little squares that took forever to sew together and became hard to keep straight, so for Lucy's I increased my square size and quilt size and added the pillow. The quilt top went together much quicker with larger squares.

For the quilting, I used a scrapbooking chipboard flower and traced it on my squares with a diappearing ink pen, then used my sewing machine to quilt it.

Hopefully this little quilt will be keeping Lucy's dolls and buddies warm this Christmas.

You can check out the fun tutorial on Crazy Mom Quilts if you'd like to make one or two yourself. If you know what you're doing (or not really, like me) it's pretty easy to change up the quilt size to suit your needs. This is a great gift idea for any little one in your life that enjoys playing with dolls or even just pretend play like my boys. Just don't call them DOLL quilts. They're BUDDY blankets.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Play Dough and Erupting Volcanos

Have you ever made play dough? If not, it is high time you did. Even if your kids are too old for it, you have no kids, or are a kid yourself, you must experience it. My kids are experienced Play-Doh players, yet making and playing with this dough was almost a completely new experience. There's nothing like kneading warm, smooth dough and watching as the colors get worked into it. Here is the recipe I use, it is very easy and you probably have all the ingredients on hand.

1 Cup flour
1 Cup warm water
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 Cup salt
Food Coloring

Directions: Mix all ingredients except food coloring in a medium saucepan over medium heat. It will be wet and goopy.

Stir until a dough forms. Remove from heat. Divide dough into however many colors you want. Add food coloring and knead until incorporated.

Now that you've got some dough, how about you make some volcancos? And while you're at it, make them erupt as well (we've been learning about volcanos in school). Here's what you'll need, and again, you'll most likely have everything you need on hand.

Small container like an empty yogurt cup (Iused old play-doh cans)
Baking Soda
Play Dough
Food Coloring (if desired)

Tape your container to the plate. This will make it easier to form the volcano.

I used red and green food coloring when making my dough to get brown.
Form your volcano with the dough, making sure to overlap the top so that the lava will come up and over the sides.

Pour 1/4 cup of water into the cup and stir in 1 Tablespoon of baking soda. Stir to dissolve. At this point you can add red food coloring if you'd like your lava to be red. Last step, pour 1/4 cup vinegar into the cup and watch what happens.

The eruption won't be explosive or long-lived, but my boys loved it and requested it be done over and over again. And then again. Until I ran out of vinegar.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Neighbor Gifts

I know a lot of neighbor gift-giving is reserved for Christmas, but why skip Halloween? I saw this idea in a magazine long ago. It is a fun, easy, and versatile craft that anybody can do. Here's what you'll need:

Clay pots
White, Yellow, and Orange acrylic paint
Paint brush
Cellophane treat bags
Craft Sticks
Treats of course!

If you're a regular crafter you'll most likely have all the supplies you'll need for this project (with maybe the exception of the clay pots). You can find clay pots at all craft stores and they'll run about a $1 a piece (though it depends on the size you want) but you can find them on sale or use the coupon craft stores send out weekly. There's no need to draw lines or line with tape to get exact edges, though you're welcome to if you'd like. I just eyeballed the candy corn lines, and it worked out pretty well. You will have to do a couple coats of each color. Be sure to allow to dry between each coat.

I used Wilton's clear cellophane bags, though any will do. Put the bag into the dried pot first, THEN fill with candy. Trust me, it's just easier that way. Once full with treats, tie with a twist tie, or ribbon. For the sign, I simply printed out a little message on the computer, then glued it to patterned paper, and glued it to a craft stick. And you're done! Now go and make these for your friends and neighbors. We could all use a few more sweets, right?