DIY "Sun"glasses Case

Monday, September 13, 2021

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I can't believe this is my first time sharing a sewing pattern on this blog! I have been sewing all of my life, making purses and other small things. Recently I taught a lesson about sewing in my art class and I dreamed up this retro-inspired sunglasses case. I loved it so much that I decided to finish and photograph it to share on here!


 


Supplies:
Felt (Blue and Yellow)
Thread (Blue and Yellow)
Needle
Scissors
Straight Pins
Marker


  

I have included a link to a .pdf pattern I created, but I thought it might be interesting to see how I designed this! First I sketched out my ideas, then I created a mock-up out of construction paper to make sure everything would work. When I was happy with how it looked I took apart my mock-up and used pieces of it as a pattern for the finished piece. Working with felt is easy because I didn't have to make any changes for hems and such!


Step one: Cut out your pattern.
 Download and cut out the pattern (link to .pdf  can be found at the end of this post.) Trace onto your felt using a marker, or pin the pattern directly to the felt. Cut out your pieces.


Step two: Sew on your circle.
You want half of your sun to be on the blue and half of it to be off. Sew around the part attached to the blue, and sew a line along the top of your blue fabric. I left a little bit of a hole so I actually have a secret pocket! 
I chose to also sew around the half of the sun that wasn't attached to anything to give it a more finished look.


Step Three: Sew on your rays!
Arrange the sun rays so they are evenly placed and look how you want them to. Pin them down, then fold the fabric in half to make sure everything looks right. You should be able to fold the sun over like a flap and have the rays look like they are coming out of it. See the picture above for an example of how they should be placed!



Step Five: Sew up your edges!
Fold your blue felt in half and sew a seam on both sides!



I love the way this turned out. It's so sweet and a little funky. It's a perfect container for all of my fun sunglasses!



Click here to download the .pdf pattern!


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Food Truck Book Basket

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

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I first picked food trucks as our book basket theme simply because it was a vehicle type that Ro hadn't obsessed over yet. But as we dove deeper into the books I realized that this theme was a marvelous way to introduce Ronan to a variety of foods from different cultures. Food, where we live, tends to be pizza,  hamburgers,  or hot dogs, so it was fun to read about falafel and shwarma! And the added bonus of everything having wheels kept my kid interested the whole time!


We actually had two activities for this book basket! For the first activity we just had some pretend fun with a Duplo truck we built and some food I printed out. I tried to include both food that was easily recognizable and some new food as well! I had him color the food so I could say "I want the yellow falafel." We took turns ordering and serving the food, and obviously pretending to eat it!


The second activity is something you can buy online! Adam and I are always on the hunt for age-appropriate games for Ronan that are enjoyable for the whole family. I had seen Frankie's Food Truck Fiasco before and considered buying it, so when I put together this basket I decided it was time. This game teaches shape matching and uses tongs to help develop little hand muscles! A round of this game also goes pretty quickly, which is a must-have when you are working with a short attention span! The added bonus of having a board book you can also purchase (or check out from your library!) is so nice. I was able to introduce him to the concepts of the game without forcing him to listen to the instructions!

Now on to my favorite part: books! As always I curated this collection to include the best stories with the yummiest looking food and the most beautiful illustrations. Links for the books are below the pictures!







 

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Ten Things

Monday, August 30, 2021

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I love the quilts that Rachel Denbow of Smile and Wave makes. She just chooses the best colors and patterns. And she also dyes fabric naturally, which is a dream of mine!

Home Work is my current favorite show. Every single episode has some detail that I absolutely love. I think my favorite might be the peep-hole eyes painting. Or maybe the ottoman that doubles as a ball pit? A house that is filled with antiques but also created for kids to enjoy is basically the pennicle of design for me!

I think I would like to try my hand at making fruit leathers like this recipe from Lil Luna. Have you ever made anything like this? How did it turn out?

This Leather Cardholder DIY Kit from Lifearrow on Etsy is so cute! I'm into the thought of making my own leather item without having to learn a whole new skill.

Instagram keeps showing me this giant ice cream cone planter and honestly I have perfect spot picked out for it. I'm just going to have to put it on my Christmas list!

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What YA Readin? Chapter Six: Maggie Steifvater - Human or Ethereal Being

Saturday, August 28, 2021

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This episode focuses on one of our favorite authors, Maggie Stiefvater!


You can listen to this episode on Anchor.fm.



Maggie Stiefvater Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter


YA Books by Maggie Stifvater:

The Raven Cycle

Wolves of Mercy Falls (Shiver, etc)

Lament

The Dream Trilogy (Call Down the Hawk)

Swamp Thing: Twin Branches

All the Crooked Saints

The Scorpio Races


Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell


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Pretty Tile Matching Game

Monday, August 16, 2021

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I saw the game Azul and instantly fell in love with what I thought I was: a beautifully designed matching game that would be great to play with our three-year-old. Turns out it's a lot more complicated than that, offering much more gameplay and a multiplayer aspect... so great for Adam and I, not great for our three-year-old.

But I couldn't get the idea of a colorful, artistic, well-designed, and unique matching tile game out of my head. In a perfect world, I would have created hand-crafted ceramic tiles with beautiful vibrant glazes, fired in my own kiln, because how pretty would that have been? But I limited myself to the supplies I had on hand and created them out of watercolor paper and sticky back foam. 


Supplies:
Thick Paper (I used water color paper)
Sticky Back Foam in various colors
Scissors
Paper


Step One: Create your patterns.
I drew my patterns out on 2x2in squares of grid paper, then cut them out to be traced. To make things easier, label the pieces with color and how many you need to cut out.

I find that straight lines are always easier to cut out than curves, and you can make a leaf look beautiful just by adding tones to it. The simpler the design, the less trouble you will have putting it together.


Step Two: Trace your patterns and cut them out.
Trace your pattern pieces onto the back of your sticky back foam. To simplify things trace everything you need to cut out at one time. Sometimes you can nestle triangles into the gaps of each other and make cutting so much easier!


Step Three: Peel and stick your foam pieces.
This step is both the simplest and the most frustrating. Trying to place tiny stickers symmetrically can be a bit of a pain. But don't sweat little mistakes, they won't be noticeable in the end.

Feel free to copy my designs if you don't feel like creating your own! 



I was set on these looking more like art than a game. And while I didn't get the hand-glazed tiles of my dreams, I kind of love the 3D effect from using the foam. It looks clean, bright, and very poke-able. Which is a selling point for both me and my three year old. 
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Our Tricky Lemonade Stand

Monday, July 19, 2021

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We have all seen a lemonade stand. Adorable, sweet, tart, cheap. All around a good time. But you know what is better than a boring old cute lemonade stand?

A tricky lemonade stand!

We used some simple methods to add magic to the mundane. And maybe a little bit of gross to the mundane as well. What can I say? It's tricky!



Prep for this was easy, but it is something you have to plan ahead for. For our "tricky" ice cubes we filled our ice trays with gummi worms before we added the water. I have heard that boiling water will freeze clearer (our cubes were almost too smoky to see the worms) but I'm not sure what that would do to the candy.


Ronan was able to help with every part of this lemonade stand (being that it was his and all) and that included everything we prepped. He helped me put the worms in for the ice cubes, get them in and out of the freezer, and even used the tongs to put them into the customers glasses. Actually, I think using the tongs might have been his favorite part!


Let's talk about the real star of this stand: color changing lemonade. This recipe is an old library secret that we have used for years to add a little magic to our programs. The trick? Put a little food coloring at the bottom of the cup. So simple, but so genius. As soon as any liquid hits the bottom it will change color. We added our food coloring the night before. The cups I chose had a little space at the bottom when they stacked, so we could add the food coloring and then store them stacked up without making a mess. 


The reactions to the color changing lemonade were priceless. Ro and I had a bit of an act going on where I would ask him what color the lemonade was, and when he responded with "Yellow!" I would say "Are you sure?" and then pour the glass. Even the adults were dumbfounded for a second!


I am including a link to a .pdf of some signs that say "the Tricky Lemonade Stand." Feel free to print them out and color them for your own signs, and please use our ideas to make your own stand a little bit tricky! This idea might be my favorite thing we've done all summer. It's a perfect way to add some magic to a hot day!



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What YA Readin? Episode 5: Teens in... Spaaace!

Friday, July 16, 2021

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 We are fans of space. Like, as a family. Space fans. So obviously Bre and I were going to do a deep dive into young adult science fiction. In this episode, we discuss The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Bre also shares The Disasters by M.K. England and Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre, while Jes speaks of her love for Skyward by Brandon Sanderson and Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer.


Listen to this podcast on Anchor.fm/what-ya-readin!


If you like this theme and would like to read more books about teens in space check out our list on Goodreads.com: Teens... In Spaaace!


A list of links to things we talk about:

StargateStar WarsDoctor WhoStar Trek

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

Supernatural, Grimm, NCIS, True Blood

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Firefly

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Disasters by M. K. EnglandHonor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre
Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer
The Silence of Bones by June Hur
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman
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Wanderlust Puzzle

Monday, July 12, 2021

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I have a new puzzle template to share with you guys! This puzzle's design was inspired by sunrises above the clouds and 1970's vibes. We haven't been on a vacation since Ronan was born and I am feeling it. Right now it's not really feasible for us to take a big trip involving airplanes and hotels and passports, so I'm satisfying my wanderlust in little ways.


As always the puzzle itself is made out of recycled cardboard and paint. The curves were a little annoying to cut out with an Exacto, but I love the finished result. If you want to make a puzzle for yourself feel free to print out the template below!





If you like this puzzle I also have templates for a leaf puzzle and a camping puzzle available! I go a little more in-depth about the creation of the puzzles on the other two posts, so if you want to create your own out of cardboard you should definitely go check them out!
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Magnet Dominos DIY

Monday, July 5, 2021

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We are finally to the point where Ro has the attention span and skills required to play simple tabletop games. It's pretty much the best thing ever. One of the very first games we got him into was dominos. But normal dominos was still a little complicated for our attention span.

So I figured I had two problems to fix: make it simple and make it something we could walk away from and come back to later. For the first problem, the solution was pretty easy: colors. I had seen many bloggers use paint to make some beautiful dominos (like here and here.) The second problem was fixed as soon as we got our new/old set of lockers... magnets! (Why didn't I think of them before? Because our fridge isn't magnetic. Who does that!? Where am I supposed to put Ro's beautiful creations?) The process after the idea was pretty straightforward.

I like to be thrifty whenever possible, so this DIY is made of recycled materials. Cute AND it helps save the planet? That's my jam.

Supplies:
thin cardboard boxes (cereal, mac and cheese, etc)
scissors
magnets (on Amazon)
paint


Step One: Cut up your cardboard.
Cut your cardboard into rectangles that are the same size (mine are about 1 1/2 in by 3 in). If you are using thin cardboard you should be able to use normal scissors. If you use the same amount of colors as me you will need 21 rectangles to make a full set.




Step Two: Paint your dominos.
I used 5 paint colors (pink, yellow, blue, white, green) and then let one color be the color of the cardboard, so in total I had six colors. Every color should have 1 whole color piece and 5 half color pieces. So, for example, blue will have blue/blue, blue/pink, blue/yellow, blue/white, blue/green, and blue/blank. When you are done painting set them aside to dry.


Step Three: Add magnets.
Magnets usually come with a sticky side. Cut your magnets to be smaller than the domino and attach it to the back side. Then, as long as the paint is dry, they are ready to be played with!



These dominos are so fun and colorful that I put them all in a mesh drawstring bag and used a magnet hook on the side of the lockers so they would be available whenever we wanted to play. We've gotten them out a few times to play a few rounds, but we have also used them to create shapes, or just to make a giant color matching train!

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Lemon Book Basket

Monday, June 28, 2021

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I love lemons. A real, true love. The kind of love where you buy a lemon tree, kill it, then buy another one and keep it alive for three years and harvest multiple lemons off of it. I swear the lemons from my tree are better than others, but it could just be wishful thinking... 
Anyways, I knew that I would need to do a lemon book basket at some point. There's too many sweet books out there that feature the subject to not do it. I always try to include books that are well written, engaging, and have beautiful illustrations, and every book in this basket checked all of the boxes! I also included a simple little activity to practice some measuring that's perfect for a toddler or preschooler. It's an ideal book basket for the warm summer months!


For our activity I bought some cheap yellow sponges from the dollar aisle and cut them to look like lemons. Whenever we sat down to "make lemonade" I saturated the sponges and put them into a container. I also set out a glass, some sugar, and some measuring spoons. First he would squeeze the "lemons" to get all of the juice out, then we would add a measurement of sugar and stir it up. 


Books we read:







He had a ton of fun making his own "lemonade." In the end I think there was more sugar than water in the cup, and his hands were a sticky mess, but we had a great time and had a sneaky math lesson, too!

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What YA Readin? Episode 4: the Aesthetic Generator

Saturday, June 19, 2021

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Birthday Wish List

Sunday, June 13, 2021

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I have to admit, I enjoy making these lists. It's not that I get everything I link (although I think it is helpful to have a visual aid when sending a list to my parents.) I just really love combing through all of my saved posts and pins and boiling everything down to what my favorite finds of my current season of life are.



1. Lava Lamp Tee from Camp Collection

2. Rover Pack Classic (Sage) from Topo Designs

3. Porter Mug (Terrazzo Cream) from W and P Design

4. PARKS Board Game from Parks Project

5. Firewood Rack found on Amazon



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DIY Recycled Fishing Game

Saturday, May 22, 2021

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I have no idea where my kid learned about fishing. We live in a river town so it really could have been anywhere, but for some reason it still surprised me when he came up to me with a stick and told me it was a fishing pole.
The other day he specifically wanted to play "fishing," but his original poles (about 5 feet of Hot Wheels tracks) needed an upgrade. I found some dowel rods and then while I was at it I decided every great fisherman needed one thing... fish. I had seen these amazing Koi fish they had made at Art Camp Studio and figured we could easily recreate them. With the addition of magnets, the set became a full fishing experience.


Supplies:
t.p. or paper towel rolls
markers
staples and stapler
adhesive magnets (on Amazon)
small wooden dowel
string
magnetic hooks (on Amazon)
scissors
pen or marker





Step One: Cut out your fins and tail.
Make a pattern by folding some paper in half and drawing half of a fish tail (kind of a paisley shape with an added flat tab), then cutting it out. Refer to the above picture for an example. Make sure the square end of your tail fits into a squished t.p. roll. Cut down the length of a t.p. roll then lay it flat. Trace your pattern onto the roll then cut it out. You will also need two tear-drop-shaped pieces for fins. Fold your cardboard and cut two out at the same time to get similar shapes!


Step two: Staple everything on.
Fold your tube flat at one end. Insert the tail and staple along the edge of the tube. Make sure to do more than one staple so the fish keeps its shape. Pinch the fin to give it a bit of dimension, then place it about 1/3 down the tube and staple. Do the same for the other fin on the opposite side.


Step Three: Add Magnets.
Take the paper layer off of your magnets and stick them to the inside of the fish. I put them in the mouth, but the cardboard should be thin enough that anywhere will work. If you don't have magnets, you can substitute a row of staples for this step. Not as hidden, but it will work just as well!


Step four: Add a design to your fish!
The gaping mouth of these fish kinda reminds me of a Magicarp from Pokemon, so I kept with the theme and drew eyes that were a little silly. Add some scales and some lines on the fins and you've got yourself a pretty little fish!


Step 5: Make your fishing pole.
Use scissors to carve a small notch in your dowel.  Cut a length of string that is about 3 feet. Tie the string onto the stick with a knot, then test the length. When you are satisfied with your fishing line, add the magnet hooks with another knot at the other end of the string.


Now all you need to do is put out your "gone fishin'" sign and go have some fun!

 

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