Saturday, August 31, 2013

Handmade for the Handmakers.

Ever at a loss for what to handmake those crafty friends of yours?  How about their super creative kids?  What do you make the DIY pro that they can't make themselves?  If you've got handmade in your blood, but your recipient does too, you might want to check this out!

22 fun, creative, CRAFTY gifts you can give those unique and creative people in your life!

Gifts for kids:
Toddler Sewing Basket - Childhood 101
Play Dough Kit - Probably Actually
Finger Puppet Kit - The Craft Nest
Beginner Sewing Kit - Childhood 101
Button Rings (either already made OR the supplies for them to do it themselves!) - Meet the Dubiens
Melted Crayon Art - 52 Kitchen Adventures
Paper Doll Kit - Grey Luster Girl
Child's Sewing Box - Chez Beeper Bebe

"Grown Ups":
Spring Flowers - Freckled Nest
Yo-Yo Wall Art - All People Quilt
Traveling Art Kit - Everyday is a Holiday
Peanut Butter Button Cookies - Charcoal & Crayons
Shrinky Dink Buttons (personalize them for the recipient and attach them to cards like store bought) - Scissors, Paper, Wok
Jars of Buttons Gift Tags - Live, Laugh, Rowe
All-in-One Travel Journal Kit - Jennibellie Studio
Embroidery Hoop Wall Pocket - Sew Daily (free pattern download)
Make Stuff Plaque - Make and Takes

Travel Sewing Kit - Lots of Pink Here!

Button Jewelry - Kitty Cats and Airplanes

I don't know about you, but I've got tons of Christmas ideas for my uber crafty family members now!  Phew!

Did you catch the news that Gift it. is extended into September?  Woo hoo!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Buttoned up gifts - from Sophie

Hope you didn't miss me much yesterday... the gift I wanted to post just isn't quiet ready yet, and it's best not to rush these things, right??  I know I don't need to explain to you what crazy is like when you're running around to back to school shopping and open houses and registration and you're totally new to the public school parent thing because your kid is just starting kindergarten (eek!) and the school he's going to was just completely rebuilt, ground up, so everything is totally chaotic and crazy and disorganized as they try really hard to make sure everything is actually ready to open by September 3rd, and of course you're 8.5 months pregnant as well and OH! Did I mention mr is in CHINA AGAIN?!?!  Plus you've just gotten your second respiratory infection of the summer.  Yea!  Anyway, you know exactly what that's like, right?
I knew it.

SO.  Today is our last guest post for Gift it, which makes me sad.  BUT it's Sophie, from Cirque du Bebe, which makes me exceptionally happy.  If you haven't stalked her blog, it's high time you go do it, it's one of my faves.  She can sew like nobody's business.  And her tutorial today?  It's so prettily versatile!  

Hello and thanks for having me! I'm so excited to be taking part in the 'Gift It' series and sharing a super easy, super fun DIY for cover button hair pins. Since taking up the sport of cover button hair pinning I've made and gifted, hmm, probably close to thirty sets and to all different ages. Every time the 'WOW!' has come before the 'did you make that?' which we all know is the best case scenario for a hand-made gift. And that's the best part, for a less than five minute project, they look so un-handmade when you're done. Plus you get to do some scrap-busting in the process. Make them kitsch, make them pretty or funny or yummy but I must warn you...once you pop... won't stop! 

Getting set up
For this easy project you will need flat back self-cover buttons (regular buttons have a shank back and won't stick to your pins). Each button is made up of a round smooth piece which becomes the front of the button (bottom right) and a flat piece which presses into the back (bottom left). A range of sizes work well for this project, these buttons here measure 28mm in diameter but I have also used the slightly small 23 mm (cute for small florals). If you were making earings / studs you go smaller still. The tool you need to make your buttons (top left) is made up of a 'pusher' and a 'holder'. Depending on where you source your flat-back buttons, the tools may come included or can be bought separately. The easiest way to get started, in my opinion is to buy a 'kit' with the buttons and tools included. Etsy is a great source of all the self-cover buttons you could ever want for and I picked up all the buttons / tools / glue / pins you see above from here.

 You will also need hair pins with a 'glue pad' and you can choose between silver, brass or bronze. I've used both the brass and the silver and they both add something different. Once again, Etsy is a mecca for 'hair pins with glue pad'. Now, a word on glue. E6000 is the BEST and you could be lucky enough that your local craft dealer otherwise you can get it online. Which is the case for me and I ran out after the last button making festivities so here I'm using some regular craft glue, which does the job but E6000 it gives the best results and the strongest hold. This is the perfect project for using up those scraps, small prints work well and if you are low on those you can started out buying scrap bags just for this purpose on Etsy. 'Kawaii scrap bag' wields awesome results!

Find a little spot of magic on your fabric with cover button potential.

Cut a rough circle around this part that is approx 3/8" bigger than diameter of the self cover button. 

You can see here the size of the fabric circle in relation to the button...and no biggie if it's not a perfect circle, we will trim later.

Place the fabric circle face down over the 'holder'.

Put the smooth round side of the button face down on top of the fabric.

Press to the bottom and let the fabric curl in around itself.

If you have any extra long sections you might want to re-line the fabric up and try again (only important if trying to center a print) otherwise just trim of the longish part.

Grab a flat piece and place over the top, tucking all the fabric in underneath.

Place the 'pusher' over the top and press with all ye might until you feel a little 'pop' (hopefully not you).

Push that baby out...

Naaaawwww! It's a dog!

If you're making a pair of hair pins, follow all the steps again up to this point. You could even play with a little narrative and pair a girl and a dog, a cat and a bird cage etc.

Place a dab of glue onto glue pad and press firmly onto back of button.

 Leave to dry.

Poke some holes in a piece of card, wack them on, gently, and admire your perfect hand-made gift, made with love and scraps.

And if you feel the urge to make a few...

...hundred more, best not to fight it.

Thanks Sophie!  I am in LOVE with covered buttons and have used them for earrings, but never bobby pins.  I'm going to have to try it.

Guess what?  Due to Gift it.  Gift it good.  starting a little late this year (whoops) I have decided to extend it into the first week of September because 1) it's my blog and I do what I want, 2) it's my birthday on the 9th!  And that'll be the wrap up day, and 3) then it'll be a whole month.  ish.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Fun Toddler Gift For MOM.

No, that's not a typo.  This is a fun toddler gift.  It's also a gift for mom!  She's going to love it as much as said toddler.  Why?  Because it's guaranteed to keep toddler happy and busy, it's portable, and it's cute.

It's a:

You've probably seen quiet books before.  You've probably also seen busy bags before.  This is a combination of the two!  It's super easy and inexpensive to do, too.  (and wouldn't you know it, anytime you think you've come up with something so very GENIUS, you do a quick search and find a million other moms who've come up with the same thing...)  BUT.  I've got free printables!

Ok.  So.  Here's what we're making:

Except yours will very likely not be for Zo-Zo.  I've got some printable covers at the end of the post you can use, or you can create your own with the gift recipient's name.

And here's what you'll need:
1. A HUGETASTIC binder... I don't know how big that one is, because I had it in my stash - something my mom gave me forever ago.
2. Binder pouches.  I got mine at Walmart for around 85 cents each.  You'll need one pouch per activity you create.
3. Busy Bag Activities!  

Now.  A few notes about GIFTING busy bag activities:
You want them to be age appropriate, so keep your recipient in mind as you decide.
You want them to be engaging, but NOT expensive.  I mean, the most expensive part of this present should be that giant binder.
You want to personalize the gift, so think about what the kid likes to do - interests, favorite colors, favorite characters, whatever.

I'm going to show you the activities I decided to put in my book for my daughter (though, truth be told, I think my son will play with it just as much).  I will own up to something right now:  Ready?  I did not make all of these activities.  I (like many of you, probably) went to a busy bag swap.  It was organized by a mom I go to church with and I didn't know most of the people there, except for the friends from church that came, so I can't really credit a lot of these activities by name or anything, but where I could, I've listed links to tutorials and such for you.

This was created by my friend who organized the swap.  It's all the animals from "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" printed on cardstock, cut in half and laminated -  as seen on Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.  For any child that loves to read and is familiar with the book, this will be a fun treat - they may even start quoting the book, like my kids did.

I didn't know the person who made this fun kit, but it's just felt cupcake shapes - cupcake, paper wrapper, frosting and extras - in different colors.  You can find this on Alphamom.  The kids put the cupcakes together however they want to.  Bug likes to pretend that big red piece is licorice.  Think of the variations!  Mini loves cupcakes, so it's perfect for her, but if your child likes snowmen, or a specific animal or ice cream cones you can easily personalize this one!

This one was also made by the mom who organized the swap.  I cannot send you to the link where she got this, because I can't find it.  Sorry.  It would be easy to make, though.  You have three picture "mats" - one with a caterpillar (the longest), one with a fish (medium) and one with a dog (short) - that you print on card stock, cut out and laminate.  Then you also print out three "rulers" with the same pictures and a bold mark across the top for measuring against (laminate that too).  Finally, you cut different things - yarn, ribbon, pipe cleaners, fabric, felt - to the three different lengths.  The kids hold the items up to the ruler and then place them on the appropriate mat.  While bug got a little bored with this game, mini loved it.

A church friend brought this one, and I thought the numbers were adorable.  You know how to play memory, right?  This game is just numbers printed on cardstock and laminated.  Unfortunately, I have no idea where she got these printables.  BUT, there are a million DIY memory game ideas out there.  I like this one.  And this one.  And this one, too.  mini was so excited every time she found a pair.

Also made by the organizer.  You sew felt popsicle shapes in different colors, then use markers to color the tips of popsicle sticks.  The kids match the sticks to the popsicle.  Found on Planet of the Apels.

I love this idea.  Each puzzle is a 4x6 photo, spread with glue, with popsicle sticks stuck on the back, then cut apart.  The girl who made this used generic photos of toys, but if you know the kid you're making these for, you can use photos of family members or favorite animals or the like.  Both bug and mini love these.  Also, she put them in tiny snack-sized ziploc bags, which were the PERFECT size.  You can see a full tutorial for this at Empowering Mommy.

This was one of my contributions.  You can find the full tutorial at Craftiness is Not Optional.  This was a really inexpensive idea since I already had clothespins (you can get them at the dollar store, though!) and the paint chips are free.  You need two matching paint chips for each color strip you want to make.  Again, you can customize this according to favorite color!

This isn't something I made for the swap, but something my kids and I did together.  We made family stick puppets.  Given mini's love of small dolls and creatures, I thought she'd like these a lot.  Unfortunately, the "Zoe" puppet has gone missing already.  These are so easy to make - just draw the recipient's family with crayons and cut around, OR take pictures of the individual family members (full body, not close-ups).  Make sure to make them out of sturdy card stock.  You can laminate them, too.  Then we just used strong tape to secure them to the popsicle sticks - sticks.  The kids love playing with their own little mini puppets.

Again, I didn't make this for the swap, but for a little "home school" I was doing with my own kids.  I created the two charts (one is a picnic blanket with the numbers across the top and the other are fishing boats with poles out the back).  The kids place the correct number of ants or sea creatures along the chart next to the numbers.  I got the little plastic ants online here.  I got the plastic sea creatures at the dollar store.  We use them for other games I've made up, too.
Here are the printables for the picnic/ant counting and for the fish counting:

A while ago, online, I saw a felt busy book with a car page that had a figure 8 racetrack on it with an accompanying car.  I don't know where.  Sorry.  BUT.  I thought to myself, what a fun way to have kids start "tracing" their numbers.  mini needs some practice with that, anyway.  I couldn't find any large numbers that looked like roads or tracks, so I made my own.  I printed them out on cardstock and placed them front and back in page protectors.  There are numbers 0-9.  I included small cars in bright colors to drive around the numbers and dry erase crayons (not markers!) in matching colors to the cars so they can write on the numbers and erase them.
Here are the printable number roads for you, so you don't have to make your own (I won't lie, it was a pain):

Phew!  That's a lot of ideas!  The best part about the activities I included, is that you really don't need anything expensive or super special to create them.  Mostly you need felt, card stock/computer/printer, contact paper OR access to a laminator, popsicle sticks and a few odds and ends like clothespins and scrap ribbon.  No biggie!  

So, let's put our busy bee book together so you can give it away!  
All you have to do is put each activity in its own binder pouch, then slip them in the binder.  Here's the order I put it all in the book, though it's up to you.

Basically, I put all the activities first, then the ants and fish, the cars and dry erase crayons, a few normal crayons, the ant chart, the fishing chart, the number roads, and then blank paper in the back so they could color with the normal crayons.

As you can tell from the photos, I needed the kids to try it out for me so I could write this, otherwise, this would totally have been a birthday present.  I'm definitely planning versions for my nieces and nephews for Christmas though.

Now, all you need are the cover pages I promised!  So here you go!

And here are about a billion more ideas for busy bag/book/box activities:
My Small Potatoes - Busy Bag Round Up
Second Story Window - Preschool Busy Bag Activities
Second Story Window - Toddler Busy Bag Activities
The Princess and the Tot - Busy Bag Ideas
Josh, Laura, Brynlee and Mya - Busy Book Felt Page Ideas

And if you want a million more search "busy bags" on pinterest.  Whoa.

And now, the longest post in the history of the world is done.  I swear.  Over.  Finished.  Oh, wait.

Now it is.  But there will be another one tomorrow.

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