Wednesday, December 29, 2010

* Coffee Filters and Watercolors Snowflake Art

Remember this little guy from my favorite things post last week?

The girls and I have been having fun with coffee filters all week. 
I bought a package at the grocery store specifically for craft-usage.

We don't use this kind in our coffee maker-
we having boring brown #4 cone shaped filters
that aren't really good for much when it comes to crafting. 

(They are, however, great for composting in our kitchen vermicomposter!)

"E" decided to make a color wheel with hers.
She said the window in my art studio, over my sewing machine,
is/was boring and needed some color. 

She cut out the center of the filter,
then, carefully drew black lines with a marker
to divide each section. Then, she carefully painted
this little spectrum/color wheel. 

I love it and it looks great with the sunlight streaming through it. 
I love that she came up with the project completely on her own!

We also cut out snow flakes,
laid them on newspapers,
and carefully painted them with watercolor. 

I like cutting them out first, 
because the watercolor paint flattens them out
and stiffens them up a bit.  

They display really beautifully 
on windows, mirrors, and bulletin boards
when they're dry. 

My new view from my sewing machine --
Thanks "E"!

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Katie's Nesting Spot

Sunday, December 26, 2010

* Homemade Gift: Wood-burning Kid Illustrated Art Keepsake Boxes


 So I couldn't post this project until after Christmas
because I didn't want Grandma's to see their gifts early.
But it's also my favorite Christmas gift we made this year
and it has been REALLY hard to not share it with you all!

I have complete directions on how to make these
wooden keepsake boxes in my Homemade Gifts From the HeART 
lesson plan PDF booklet

But here's a quickie version.

Start with some cute wooden boxes from the craft store
and some favorite drawings by your extremely talented
resident artists (your kids!) 

Transfer the drawings to the wooden boxes with tracing paper,
then use your wood-burning tool to trace over the whole drawing.

Try not to pass out from the fumes!

Don't forget to add their names (in their own handwriting)
to the project. My girls signed and dated the boxes on the bottom. 

Now for the tricky part, carefully watercolor your design/drawing. 

The wood bleeds easily.
You don't need a lot of water. 
I like nicer watercolors better (like my Yarka watercolors)
Use a tiny brush.
Some sap may come to the surface from the woodburning process-
creating a bit of a "resist" effect on the wood == frustrating!
Have facial tissues or coffee filters handy to soak up excess 
watercolor blobs and mistakes!

Close ups of the sides of the girls' Christmas box.
Both girls worked on the picture together, doing different parts. 
It really was a joint project. 

Because I copied the original drawing onto the boxes,
I was able to make two identical boxes for both sets of Grandparents.

"E" is making the snail box to keep her fossil collection in. 

You can seal the box with beeswax or clear acrylic spray,
I left ours plain. 

Happy Wood-burning! 

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Katie's Nesting Spot

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

* A Few More of My Favorite Things (and Little People!)

Okay... Just a few more shots of daily life around here. 
Will post our Christmas crafts after the holiday so we don't spoil any homemade gift surprises!

I added little jingle bells to the girls' shoes this week.
(Might have to add some to my own shoes.)

It was so fun walking through the grocery store today
with my little jingle bell elf bouncing along next to me -- she got several smiles! 

Lots of kitchen table crafting taking place here. Spoiler alert for Grandma(s)...
Don't look too carefully or you might see your Christmas gifts!

 Part of our winter village set up on the playroom window sill. 
"C" added the fiberfill "snow" yesterday from my sewing stash.
We also added peppermints as little walking stones and populated
the village with penguins in honor of my mother-in-law. 

My great grandfather's clock. 

The fireplace still works!
I have fond memories of sneaking out of bed at night, when I would sleep over at my grandmother's house as a little girl, to watch the "fire" in this clock at night.  Now my own little girls love it. 

We set up our jellybean-pooping snowman and penguin by the hearth.
It was "E"s idea to add the little presents, I wanted to make tiny 
stockings but didn't have enough time!

Christmas "dinner" set up by the girls in the playroom for their baby dolls. 

Yes those are real flowers and greens in the centerpiece.

More on this fun little project after Christmas! (Hooray for Winter Rainbows!)

 Finally took down our watercolor rainbows and replaced them with snowflakes this week!

Look closely....
 These are the BEAUTIFUL snowflakes my very talented Aunt Linda made me years ago. 
Instead of their usual place on the tree, this year they have a new place of honor over our kitchen table. 
I plan to leave them up for January as well!

 More kitchen table masterpiece-making!

"C"'s Christmas Tree and Snowman Drawing! 

We will be celebrating with both sets of Grandparents,
our Favorite Aunt and Uncle, and our favorite little cousin. 

There will be lots of silliness, giggling, reminiscing, cookie consuming, cookie decorating, and hugs. 

We wish you and your family
a very Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year! 

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Monday, December 20, 2010

* These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things (and people!)

As Christmas, out of town visiting family, and
winter break from school all arrive this week,
I'm trying to slow down and enjoy the little things that make me smile throughout the day. 

No crafts or projects to post today, 
I'm just going to share a few of my favorite things, 
(and favorite little people) around here. 

 First Snow of the Winter!
It was only about 2 inches but they still managed
 to sled in it for three days.

 New batch of re-cycled crayons
with Wilton heart pan, Ikea starfish molds and Ikea fish molds. 
We'll stick with the heart molds-- the others break too easily!

 Big sister reading Christmas books to little sister
on the couch in the morning
while I make breakfast. 

 Playing "Orchard" on the family room floor
in Pajamas. Nicely. Without Bickering. 
Best. Game. Ever.

 "C" Over the moon to have finicky Daisy Cat settled in on her lap. 

 Playing Barbies under the Christmas tree.

I think the whole world should be lit in Christmas tree light.
Wouldn't they make pretty street lights? 

 My beautiful, German, winter light from Mom and Dad
(favorite birthday present this year along with my wool felting set)
This will be up all winter, not just for Christmas.

Little girls playing under the tree...again.

"E" twirling in the Tree Skirt 
the day we set up the Christmas tree.

Dimples just like daddy!

Baskets of Good books= lots of extra couch snuggling.

Happy Favorite Things 
and Happy Holidays!

Remember to slow down this week and enjoy the little things
and little people who make your days worthwhile. 

pink and green mama

Thursday, December 16, 2010

* Homemade Christmas: Toy Kitty Cat Carrier

My little 3.5 year-old "C" is OBSESSED with Kitty Cats.
She has quite a collection of stuffed kitty friends.

They all have names and distinct personalities.
She even has a "real" (pink) kitty bed upstairs in her room
that I let her buy on sale (with a coupon!) at the pet store earlier this year.

It's a really easy way to corral all of her plush feline friends.

She also loves carrying them around the house
but that usually means that mommy has to transport
6-8 kitties up and down the stairs several times a day.

I decided she needed a little cat carrier to keep her furry friends contained and portable. 

My solution after looking at several 
overpriced and ugly "real" carriers
was to make my own with stuff I already had in the house!

I used plastic needlepointing mesh material,
I don't know what this stuff is actually called!

I used one "Whole" Sheet of Plastic Mesh (far left above) as the topper
(10 1/4" by 13 1/2"),
One Rectangle as the Bottom (approx. 6" x10")
One skinny Rectangle as the Handle (7 1/2"x 2")
and Two Curved Semi-Circle Pieces 
as the Back of the carrier and  Front Door (approx. 6 1/2" wide by 6" tall). 

I'm sorry about the wacky dimensions, this was one of those
make-it-up-as-I-go projects so I was just
cutting stuff out and using scraps I had to make it work, 
(I really didn't want to go to the store!)

Same with how I sewed it together...
I just started stitching pieces together while sitting on the couch!

I did the little front door last. 

Stitching away with pink yarn and a big embroidery needle. 

Side view of the cat carrier
(also known as a mesh mail box with a handle)

View of the front of the carrier.

Pink elastic Ponytail holder stitched to the door to be the "clasp" for the door. 

"Samantha" cat and "Strawberry" cat check out their new digs!

How many kitties can this thing hold?

Such a happy Cat Mama, she even brought her cat carrier to school for Show and Tell!

Happy Crafting!

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Monday, December 13, 2010

* Homemade Christmas: Felt Bad Guys Set!

Who is that masked bandit wearing Moose Pajamas?

Role play is a huge part of our day around here.
Especially on the weekends. 
Props like Masks, Wands, and Silk Scarf Capes
play a big role in that.

I apologize for the fact that you pretty much only see my kids
wearing Pajamas in all of my posts!
My kids live in their PJs at home
(we really do get dressed when we go out in public....
most of the time -- 
maybe it's because their mom lives in Jeans and Slippers) 

I've had this little project 
bouncing around in my head
for the past year and I finally made it last weekend.
And no...I couldn't save it for Christmas but it
WOULD make a fantastic Homemade Christmas Gift!

For the "Sack" I cut down an old
pillow case and made it not quite as deep
(It was a King Sized Pillow case and
little arms would have had a hard time with it)

Now, I have to admit I thought I was being clever
by re-purposing materials we already had
(using the pillow case) BUT....
sewing the Felt "Dollar Sign" to the pillowcase
was a giant pain in the butt
because I was trying to manipulate the whole pillowcase
through my sewing machine (ugh!)

Using a flat piece of fabric to sew the felt to first
would have been MUCH easier.

I also should have stitched down the two straight lines
of the "Dollar Sign" first then the "S" shape.
I did it in a different order and it doesn't look great up close.
(However, my kids don't seem to care.)

Pinning the "Dollar Sign" in place.

I made up my own pattern by tracing
an existing play mask from our Dress-Up Box
onto two pieces of Green Felt.
Then, I stitched it all up with a piece of elastic
sandwiched in-between as the strap.

Then, I carefully cut out the eye holes with my
sharp sewing scissors.

The finished Mask. 
We might need some more in other colors!

Of course we needed some Gems and Jewels
for our Theif(s) so we raided our gold rocks
(gravel I spray painted Gold) 
stash from "C"s Pirates and Mermaids Party
and some of our Dollar Tree Glass Stones 
and Michael's Plastic Jewels. 

Hey! Get that bad guy!

Happy Homemade Gift-Making!

pink and green mama

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