Thursday, April 10, 2014

Penguin Party: Games

My little lady turned 4 over the weekend! Time sure is flying by. Much to my surprise she requested a penguin themed party. She loves penguins and I love that she didn't request a princess party. 16 kiddos ages 6 and under RSVP'd for the party so I came up with a few games to keep them busy.

1. Musical Icebergs. I wish I had a picture to share! Unfortunately, I was managing the game so I was not able to take pictures. I cut out 16 circular-ish shapes out of white felt (icebergs) and placed them in a big circle. Each child started the game by standing on an iceberg. When the music started they walked in a circle around the icebergs. Each round I removed a couple of icebergs. When the music stopped they had to stand on an iceberg (one kid per berg). We had two winners each round to avoid two kids fighting over one last iceberg. Big and little kids loved the game. In keeping with the theme, I played the following songs during the game: 
  • Your Personal Penguin, Davy Jones
  • Doin' the Penguin, Sesame Street: Hot! Hot! Dance Songs
  • Penguin, Tiny Tweeties
  • Penguin, Smart Books: Best ABC Phonics Songs

2. PINGO (like BINGO). I bought three of these sets (Penguins, Ocean and Arctic Creatures) 
I photographed a bunch of the "creatures" and used Picasa's collage maker to make PINGO cards. To keep the game simple I used 3 X 3 squares vs. 5 X 5. I used the extra creatures as decor and piñata prizes.

I put all of the creatures I used on the cards in a bucket. When I pulled an animal out the bucket I said its name then passed it around. The children used a marker to "X" off animals as they found them on their cards. You can download your own set of 18 PINGO cards here. 

3. Penguin Bowling. I made 6 bowling pins out of the following supplies: black felt, white felt, orange felt, empty gatorade bottles (20 oz size), and rice. First I sewed two black pieces of felt together to make the penguin body. I turned the body inside out and used hot glue to apply the  rest of the pieces (white front, eyes, and nose). Click here to download the PDF pattern

I filled the bottom of the bottles with rice (~1/4 of bottle) then screwed the top back on each bottle. I slipped my felt penguin over the top of the bottle and used hot glue to around the base of the bottle to keep it from sliding off during play. The Kids used a small soccer ball to try to topple the penguin pins. When the pins were not in use, I had them on display through out the room as decoration. 

We also had a piñata . I'll post about it later this week -  the DIY instructions require a standalone post. 

Other party DIYs I'll be sharing next week include a penguin fondant cake, party signs & banner (with down loadable PDFs), and party favors & prizes. 

Anyone thinking about throwing a penguin party? There are lots of links to other great penguin party ideas on Pinterest

Friday, March 21, 2014

A New Crafting High

I'm kind of obsessed with the Washington Post Annual Peeps Diorama Contest. Every spring the Post invites it's readers to create dioramas depicting news, current events, pop culture, etc. with Peeps. For the past 4 weeks I've been pouring all of my creative energy into this year's submission - thus the lack of posts.

I uploaded my entry, entitled Rocky Mountain High, on Sunday night. I'll let you figure it out for yourselves.

No matter where you stand on the issue of legalizing marijuana, you can't deny those little enterprising peep girl scouts are adorable. My kids were also pretty obsessed with this project. I told them the girl scout peeps were selling cookies outside of a broccoli store.

My goal is to be a finalist, but I'll be happy if I make it into one of the slide shows on the Post website.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Granny Style - Afghan Turned Pillow

I love a mix a color and texture. I think its the key to achieving that well curated cozy look. Although we are currently living in a rental while we search for our next home, I still want our living room to be inviting and cozy, not temporary feeling.

We've made a few tweaks to the living room in the rental. We are using the yellow rug from our old dining room and we had the rattan chairs reupholstered (something I'd been planning to do for a while). I've been wanting to add some yellow pillows to the mix but hadn't fallen in love with anything - until the other day...

After my daughter's ballet class we went to lunch and to our favorite thrift store. One of the most overlooked aisle thrift stores is the linen aisle. You can find great vintage fabrics, pillow cases, and crocheted afghans. They had quite the assortment to chose from  and not a single one was more than $4.99!

While sifting through the racks of fantastic afghans I got the idea to make pillows out of one. I settled on this one, 

I picked it for its colors (esp. the yellow and black), the chevron pattern, and its 70s vibe. I also liked that it has a tight weave - I don't want my pillow form showing through. After washing (delicate cycle followed by low temp drying) I set out to make my pillows. 

I've never re purposed an afghan and I  was nervous that it would unravel if I cut it - so I sewed my pillows before cutting them out. First, I pinned a pillow cover I had on to the folded afghan. With the sewing machine, I sewed one seam close to the edge of my "pattern" pillow cover and a second seam about 1/2" around it. I left ~ 6" open along the finished edge of the afghan.  

"Pattern" pillow pinned to afghan 
Finished edge I used for my opening
I cut out the pillow by cutting between the two seams. This worked and kept the afghan from fraying - this was important as I wanted to make more than one pillow. Once my new pillow cover was cut out,  I stitched over my seam a second time to ensure it wouldn't come undone. 

Second pass over my seam. This foot worked best (not sure what its called) 
When I was done sewing, I turned my creation inside out and sewed Velcro along the inside edges of the opening. Adding a zipper would create a cleaner finish but I didn't have a zipper that worked in my stash. If you don't need your pillow cover to be removable, you could also stitch the opening closed with thread or yarn. 

I really like the way the pillows look in my living room. I also have enough afghan left over to make a few more pillows for my Etsy shop :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Bee" My Valentine?

So I am one of those Moms who goes a little nuts on Valentines Day. I can't help myself, I just love making Valentines. Each year I try to come up with at least one original Valentine project. Two years ago I made "You're Dino-mite" sticks and last year I made pirate themed "Will you be m'eye valentine" eye patches for my son.

This year I made these for my daughter.

Its the first time that she will get to exchange Valentines at school and I wanted to make something really cute for all of her little friends.

To make your own you will need:
- Sticky backed craft foam (flower colors)
- 1 sheet of white craft foam
- Card stock (white or assorted colors)
- Single hole punch
- Ribbon (nothing fancy required)
- Yellow crafting pom-poms
- Sharpie marker
- Sticky backed googly eyes
- Glue gun
- Pencils


  • Cut out a card stock square (approximately 3X3").
  • Punch two holes in the center of the square about 1-2 centimeters apart, string a piece of ribbon (about 4" long) through the holes.
  • Cut out a piece of foam (same size as the card stock and attach it to the card stock as pictured above (4 and 5)
  • Cut out a flower shape. Tulip shapes are very easy to freehand. 
  • Set aside your flower while you make your bee. 
  • Using a sharpie (I used a fat tipped marker) Draw a black line around your yellow pom-pom. I found that dabbing the marker at the pom-pom worked well. 
  • Cut out little wings using white foam (non-sticky backed) and attach the foam to the bee with hot glue. Tip - put your line of hot glue on the edge of the wing then attach it to the pom-pom. 
  • Add another dab of hot glue to your flower and attach your bee. 
  • Use the string on the card stock side of the flower to tie the flower on to the pencil. Add a green leaf to write a note to your valentine. You could also omit the string and pencil all together and simply write a note on the back of the flower. 

Aren't those pom-pom bees the cutest things? Here's hoping my little one actually gets to give them to her friends this week. We are expecting another big snow storm here tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Finding Time for a First Love

One of things that has been most surprising about my transition to staying home with my kiddos full-time is how quickly the days go by and how little time I seem to have to get anything done! At this very moment I am staring at a messy kitchen that I didn't have time to clean up before getting everyone out the door this AM. As much as the mess is bothering me, I am not going to let it consume all of my time. Some how tidying up the kitchen can quickly turn into cleaning out and organizing the pantry - then before I know it, its time to pick up the little one from pre-school.

In addition to spending more time with my kids, one of the reasons I decided to leave my job was to figure out a more creative path for myself. In college I studied Art History and Arts Management. I also took a lot of studio art classes. I used to paint all the time, but I haven't done much (other than painting murals) since the kids were born. This weekend my son's school is having a winter festival and silent auction. When the letter came home seeking auction items I volunteered to donate a custom watercolor painting of the highest bidder's home or pet. I decided to paint a couple of samples to show bidders the "product." I thought I'd have lots of time to paint but I ended up doing most of it at night or on the weekends. I finished both pieces and dropped them off at the school yesterday.

Even though I am pretty happy with the way they turned out, I am really nervous that I'm not going to get any bids. Its always nerve wracking to put yourself our there. As long as they get a couple of bids and the school ends up getting some money out of my donation, I'll be happy.

Sorry for the poor picture quality of the paintings. I took pictures after I had framed them and was having lighting/glare issues. The house is the one we just sold and the dog is my sister's. Happy early birthday Lindsay!


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