Mar 31, 2011

He Did It

These are my adorable nephews (yep they are twins).  I hardly get to see them because they live in Canada but a few weeks ago my brother and his wife came to Utah with their boys for a super short visit.  I took my girls and met them and we played.  I wanted to take a gift for the boys. 
This is what I came up with.

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Mar 30, 2011

Camo Skirts

Last week the school my husband teaches at had Dads and Doughnuts in the morning where dads come with their kids to school to eat breakfast and then read with their kids.  They also combine it with camo day where everyone is supposed to wear camoflage.  It became apparent to me about 2 days before the event that my girls had no camo to wear so I asked my husband if he had a shirt he would donate (he has at least 30) and using this fabulous tutorial by Make it and Love it I made these:

The skirts are super easy to make (took about 10 minutes) and they are perfect for dancing...
 and strolling.
T-shirts beware: you are no longer safe in my company.
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Mar 29, 2011

Simple Solutions -Towels and Tantrums

Maybe having towels hanging from your oven door is way old fashioned or something but I've got em.  They are super handy right here for drying hands after washing dishes or in between food prep steps as well has the perfect height for Small Fry to dry her hands.  They are also perfect for my two darling daughters to pull down everyday and drag to unknown parts of the house.  I found myself getting frustrated because I would go to grab a towel and it was either on the floor or in some toy bin.  Plus as I cooked they were always getting pulled off.  It's small stuff I know but it was driving me crazy.  So I came up with this:
This is my before:
 Now I used 3 new dish towels (though they don't have to be new), a piece of ribbon (3 inches for each towel) and a package of shower curtain hooks (got mine for a $1.00 but there are lots of cute ones out there).
 I cut my piece of ribbon and folded a 1/4 inch under on each side.
 I found the center of my towel (it was easy on new ones cause they still had the crease mark in them) and pinned my ribbon.  Then I sewed over the ends of the ribbon.  This creates a little loop hook.
Put 3 (or more or less if you like) hooks on your oven door handle, open them, thread on the loop, lock em closed and problem solved.  I was worried they would become a pulling toy and risk pulling the door open (which some of you may have kids that can do this so beware) but actually my little pumpkin pulled on them the first time and realized they weren't coming off so now she likes to just slide them back and forth.  Everyone is happy!!!  I took an extra 10 minutes and added hooks to my already existing towels and we are set!!
Cautionary note:  Just remember if you have kids that are climbers, grabbers, pullers or really strong for their age they could use these to pull on your oven door-so beware.  This isn't a project suited for household.

 Now for my simple solution to tantrums (p.s. this has not eliminated tantrums from my house-only helped cool some of them in the heat of the moment).  In February we were getting ready to go to the State basketball tournament.  We had told Small Fry if she was good she could ride on the bus with daddy.  The tournament was 2 days away.  Every time she started having a melt down or attitude we would say, "Do we need to take away your chance to ride the bus?"  I felt like it was really hard to distinguish when she had gone over the line or when we needed to give her another chance (I mean she is only 2).  So I quickly whipped up this smiley face chart.  I found a picture of a bus and laminated it and stuck it to the bottom, then I put up two rows of smiley faces.  I told Small Fry that if she lost all of her smiles she would also lose the bus.  This became really effective because as she was acting up or melting down I would give her a warning and say, "do you want to lose a smile?"  Sometimes she would stop and sometimes she would continue-in which case I would take off a smile.  What worked so well is that she could visually see how many smiles she had left and actually she was devistated when she lost her first smile. 

I have continued using this chart and have made various pictures to put on the bottom.  I have park, tv, ice cream, a bike ride, a ride in dads sidekick, bake cookies, library and trampoline.  She gets to choose what she would like to do if she doesn't lose all her smiles.  I like this because there are always those times in parenthood that are unclear whether they warrant a time out or if you should just ignore them or what.  I still use time out for major offenses like kicking, hitting, major tantrums but this is perfect for things like not listening to instructions, not sharing, not getting her coat on when asked for the 4th time.  You know how it is when you are trying to get out the door quickly-there isn't always time to stop for time out but a warning that a smile will be gone can help get things back on track.  When all the smiles are gone she can try again the next day.  If she keeps her smiles and we do the thing at noon or something then I let her choose another reward for the afternoon.  It has been really helpful in our house (and helpful for me especially since I no longer have to give warning after warning and chance after chance). 
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Mar 28, 2011

Makeahead Monday: Grapefruit Slush

You are going to love this one people.  I happened to come into a HUGE box of grapefruits (more than one can normally eat in a month).  I had no idea what to do with all of them, but being my mothers daughter I also knew that I could not throw them out.  So when I was talking to my mom I asked her if she had any fabulous grapefruit recipes.  She said she did.  She had a recipe for a grapefruit slush that Grandma Katherine used to make.  She didn't have any measurements but this is pretty much a no brainer.
To make this you need:
-Grapefruit (lots of them because grapefruit are one of those wasteful fruits that don't provide you with many edible pieces when all is said and done).  I used about 10 per batch.
-Strawberries or raspberries.  They can be frozen or fresh.  You will want the amount to match the amount of cut grapefruit.  These need to be cut up (if you are using strawberries).
-1 can of crushed pineapple (don't drain it)
-Sugar (as much as you would like).  SIDE NOTE: the other night small fry told me that she loved me like sugar-how cute is that.
 Cut up your grapefruit.  (I have included a mini tutorial for any one who is not sure how to go about doing that).  Drain off all the juice once you are done cutting up all your pieces.  Mix all of the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl.  Pour into freezer containers and freeze until firm.  When you are ready for a slush, chop out a chunk of the frozen fruit mixture (I say chop because you literally have to chisel it out of the container).  Put it in a glass (fill about 1/2 of the glass) then pour some type of lemon lime soda pop over the top.  Stir to break up chunks and you have a DIVINE slush.  I won't let you know how many I have had in the last few weeks.  Perfectly perfect for summer.
 Now in case you are not grapefruit inclined let me show you an easy (though tedious) way to get out the edible sections of grapefruit.
 Begin by cutting off the outer peel and white pith part all the way around the grapefruit.  Leave a little bit at the top and bottom to hold it all together.
 Now using a serrated knife cut in between all the inedible skins (the ones on the sides of each segment) to remove your grapefruit sections.  Toss all your scraps.
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Mar 26, 2011

And the winner is...

I love the owl onsies :)

Congratulations!!!  Ms. Mae please send me an e-mail with your two choices as well as contact information. 

Thanks everyone for entering and thank you so much for your sweet comments.  I want to do a giveaway everyday just to read all those great comments.
You guys are the best.
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Mar 25, 2011

Peekaboo Carseat Cover from a Baby Blanket

In case you missed my guest post at Someday Crafts, I thought I would share it here on Small Fry.  For my guest post I shared a tutorial on how to make a easy peekaboo carseat cover from a receiving blanket.

I know we are approaching spring and summer which are not exactly carseat cover weather but this tutorial would be great for people that are expecting babies in the fall, or to make as a gift for someone else.  For those who live in places where the weather is still chilly this might be just what you need right now.  So here it goes.
To make this you will need:
1 receiving blanket (it needs to be either a thick fleece one, or one that is made from two layers of flannel.  You want the material thick so that it will be warm.  I guess you could make one out of something more light weight if you wanted it for the spring).
3/8" elastic (52" long or slightly longer or smaller depending on the carseat)
2- 3" pieces of 1/8" elastic
Ribbon if you want to add the ruffle to the opening
1. Begin by measuring your carseat.  All carseats are not created equal so if you are making this for yourself or someone you know it would be a great idea to measure the carseat to be sure you make it fit.  If you are making this for a gift and are unsure you can use my measurements.  My carseat is a larger model so you should be safe knowing that it won't be too small.  You want to measure from the top, down (keep it snug).
Make sure you start your measurement down under the edge of the top of the carseat because this is where you want your cover to start.
You want to end your measurement down and under the edge at the bottom too.  For my measurement I got 32".
2.  Now measure across the widest part of the carseat, again curving around the edges.
My measurement was 21".
3.  Now take a large piece of paper (I used two pieces of freezer paper taped together) and mark from the top of the paper down your first measurement (the length of the carseat-which I got 32").
4.  Take your paper and fold it in half and mark on the side half of your width measurement.  I had 21" total so mine would be 10 1/2".  Now draw a line that goes from your top mark out to the side mark and back down, forming a half oval.  Cut on this line.  This will leave you with an large oval pattern.
5.  Next take the blanket you are going to use and spread it out.
6.  Pin the pattern to the blanket.
7.  Cut out around the pattern.
8.  Lastly, before you can start sewing you need to find the circumference (basically) of the carseat to cut your piece of elastic.  I did this by stretching my elastic all the way around the carseat, stretching fairly tight (as snug as I would want it to be on my cover).  My measurement was 52".  If you got something much higher than that, you probably weren't stretching your elastic enough.  Trust me.
It is hard to stretch elastic and take the picture at the same time, but make sure you allow the pieces to overlap slightly.
9.  Now begin by first stitching the ends of your elastic together (make sure one piece is not twisted).  I used a zig zag stitch.
10.  Place this elastic on the edge of your cover piece, on the wrong side if there is one.  NOTE:  if you are using flannel or a fuzzy material that frays, then you will want to either serge or zig zag stitch around the edge first before adding the elastic.  Take a couple of stitches in the elastic (again using a zig zag).  When you stop make sure that the needle is down in the fabric.
11.  Now as you continue sewing you will want to hold and guide the fabric with one hand while you stretch your elastic with the other.  I don't pin before hand because it is much too difficult.  Stretching and sewing is the way to go, just make sure you are really stretching your elastic. Anytime you have to stop just make sure your needle is down otherwise you will pull the whole thing out when you start stretching your elastic again.
12.  You will know you are stretching the elastic enough because the edge of the material should bunch.  Stitch all the way around and backstitch where you started.
13.  It should look something like this when you are done.
14.  When you put it on a carseat it looks like this.  It should fit snug and not sag in the middle.
15. Now you will cut out the peekaboo hole.  To do this you will need to draw a guide for your cutting line.  You can eyeball this if you like or measure in from the sides and make a little mark.  Mine measures in about 4 inches from the side of the carseat, when the cover is on the carseat.  Draw a curved line from one mark to the other.  Don't make it too big because the idea is to "cover" the baby and keep him or her warm.
16.  Cut on the line.  I start by poking a small sharp pair of scissors through the material (you could use a seam ripper too) and take one snip.  Then finish off with your regular fabric scissors.

17.  Now to keep the peekaboo flap closed most of the time you will want to add some way to fasten it.  Before doing this, if the material you are using frays or sheds then you will want to serge or zig zag the edges of the flap and the opening.  To create a way to hold the flap closed I used to 3" pieces of elastic.
Fold the elastic in half (to form a little loop) and sew to the under side of the flap about 2 1/2" down from the center on either side.
18.  Sew small buttons on the cover piece to correspond with the loops.
Now it can close like this.
Or you can have one side fold down if you wish.
Now technically that is it.  But it wasn't very cute so I decided what it needed was a ruffle.  This is a simple embellishment.  I made mine using a piece of ribbon that was about 6" longer than the opening and a second piece about 6" longer than the flap.  I sewed a basting stitch down the center of the ribbon, pulled it to gather it into a ruffle, folded under the ends, then pinned and sewed it with a regular stitch.  (HINT: don't use too thin of a ribbon or you will have a tough time sewing it without all the ruffles folding under.  Use at least 3/4" ribbon) This can be done before adding the elastic or buttons, but honestly I didn't decide to add it until I had the fasteners on.  I love how it looks with the ruffle.

Then if you wish you can add an embellishment to the cover as well.  I felt like it needed something so I cut 3 flowers, in varying sizes and sewed them in place and added a yo-yo flower to the center.  You could do all kinds of things though.

Here is a second one I made.

Now I realize ruffles don't exactly work for boys, but don't worry I have an idea for a boy cover as well.  Join me on my blog on March 22nd to see the boy version of this carseat cover.  Until then, happy sewing and repurposing.
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