Thursday, May 31, 2012

Introduction to tie-dye

On Memorial Day we went over to my friend Alison's house, and she invited us to do tie-dyes.  We might just have to make this a Memorial Day tradition, I LOVE how they turned out.  A great way to give old shirts with stains a face lift.


The older kids all huddled around as Alison demonstrated how to make them.  She bought her dyes from Dharma Trading Co. and followed the instructions on their website.


John and Dan were more than excited to wear their shirts.  They wanted to put them on as soon as they had been washed and dried.  Then they insisted on wearing them to bed, and Dan even pleaded to wear his the next day.  We might have to make some more of these.


Tie-dyed onesies could make a fun baby gift.  But we'll be keeping the ones we made for Will :)


I was super excited how my Moosejaw shirt turned out.  Pete had just recently bought this shirt for me, and I went and got some bleach on it the first time I wore it when I was cleaning the sink.  I was so mad at myself.  So it got the tie-dye treatment in an attempt to cover up the bleach stain.  And now I think I like it even more than before!

Tie dye-Joe and Jess

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Family Home Evening board using transfer paper

This has been on my list of projects to do for more than a year now.  And I finally got around to it!  A Family Home Evening board.  We'll no longer be scrambling around come Monday night deciding who is going to do what.  You can buy these, but they're much cheaper to make.

I started with a piece of wood.  My friend was getting rid of this and asked if I wanted it.  While I didn't need another Christmas decoration, I knew I could use it for something else.  Perfect!  Any old piece of wood will do.


I have yet to use vinyl letters.  I'm sure they would have worked well for this project, but I didn't want to spend any money if I didn't have to.  So I decided to layout everything on the computer and then trace it on to the board.  This made it so I didn't have to measure anything and saved a lot of time.

FHE board

Then I printed this out, taped it on to the board, which I painted white, and slid some yellow transfer paper between the printout and the board.

Then I traced the letters with a pen.

And they showed up as a light yellow on the board.  So simple!

From there I painted over the large letters with black paint and drew over the small letters with a thin permanent marker.  Then I screwed some hooks into the board, drilled a hole in 8 small circles, and wrote our names on the circles.  I was going to paint the circles, but I couldn't decide what color to do.  So to keep it from sitting there for who knows how long unfinished, I did a quick job with the names, knowing that I could paint over them later if I wanted to.

I'm looking forward to more organized family nights!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day gift: homemade bookmarks

I knew I wanted to get my mom a book for Mother's Day.  I recently read The Pearl by John Steinbeck (has anyone read this?).  Not really a fuzzy, warm, feel good book, but a great story with a great message.  So I got that and decided to have the kids help make some bookmarks to go along with it (kind of a repeat... oh well... these are new and improved!)


The kids each designed one bookmark.  Then I scanned them into the computer and printed them with colorful borders.


I got them laminated like I did last time at Kinko's, then cut them out.  This time I cut out a little hole at the top and tied some embroidery floss on.


For some reason having cute bookmarks makes me want to read that much more :)


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Mother's Day gift... garden markers

Living away from family forces me to be on the ball with things like Mother's Day gifts.  Normally I would be whipping something together the night before, but now I have to actually plan ahead so it has time to get there.  This year I tried to think of gifts that were thoughtful but also useful.  Gifts that the kids could help with but that wouldn't just clutter up the house.  My mother-in-law loves spending time working in the yard, so we came up with the idea to make garden markers for her vegetable garden.


I wanted to keep it as simple and natural looking as possible.  I cut the wood and nailed the pieces together, John wrote the letters, Pete used a wood burner to trace the letters, and Dan stained the wood.

garden markers-prep IMG_5730

I think they turned out pretty cute!  I love little kid handwriting.  I can't wait to see how they look in her garden.

IMG_5751 IMG_5743 IMG_5758

Now I want to make some for our garden!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The reinforced knee patch

I don't know why all little boy pants don't come with reinforced knees.  Daniel got some pants for his birthday in February, and a few weeks ago I noticed they were getting a hole in them!  Two days later, the hole had grown to the size of a golf ball.  It seems little boy pants rarely last long enough to be passed down to the next child.  So I decided to try to stretch the life of a few pairs of the kids pants by reinforcing the knees.


These were all pants that already had holes in the knees.  They were in the pile of pants waiting to be turned into shorts.  But how many shorts do the kids really need??  Thankfully I noticed we were running low on pants before I cut these off.


I found an old apron I had that was made of thick, durable denim.  Perfect.  I cut it into squares to fit each pair of pants, ironed the edges under, pinned in place, then sewed a zig zag stitch all around it.


With the warm weather here, these pants will probably spend the next few months sitting in the drawer.  But hopefully come fall we won't have to buy anymore pants.  And hopefully these knee patches will keep the holes away... at least for a little while.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Peanut butter chocolate chip bananas

I thought I'd share what the kids love to snack on these days: banana slices topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips.  We have it probably every other day.  They'll never turn it down, and you won't hear me complaining when they request it.  It's a snack I can feel good about!

Peanut butter chocolate chip bananas
I recently came up with a much easier (and faster) way to put on the peanut butter than using a knife.  Put a spoonful in a plastic bag, cut a corner and squeeze it out.  Brilliant, I know.
Peanut butter

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Color change

For the winner of the Essential Swimwear Giveaway, see the previous post.

My mom recently passed this wool sweater from J. Crew along to me.  I can't ever turn away hand-me downs... even if I won't ever wear it, it's free fabric!  I have a tub full of old shirts, pants, sweaters and skirts, all waiting to be turned into something new.  

This sweater fit well, but after wearing it for a day I decided I just really did not like the color.  At least on me.  I was almost about to toss it in the fabric bin, until I remembered this post I saw on MADE about dyeing fabric.  Of course!  I could dye this sweater to a color I liked!

Sweater before being dyed

So that's what I did.  I purchased some dark brown liquid dye from Amazon and got to work.  The additional tips for dyeing from MADE were also helpful.

Sweater in dyeTa duh! A new dark brown sweater, all for $3.49.  Not bad.

Dyed sweaterI wanted to show a close up of the buttons and stitching.  I was surprised that the buttons were dyed along with the fabric.  And interesting that the thread was not.  I guess you never know what's going to happen when dying, but I quite like how it turned out!

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