Category Archives: Crafty

"Summer" garden

These photos are from a month ago, but we were still harvesting okra and tomatoes as of this week. I think it’s petering out, finally…


Marble Painting

WHAT: Marble Painting – yet another fun idea I saw on the internet somewhere, this time on Teacher Tom, the inspiring website of a co-op preschool teacher in the Pacific NW.

HOW: Put your paper in a box or pan with walls, drop some paint puddles onto the paper, and roll the marbles around. Since Noah doesn’t have his own marbles yet, I scrounged up some that I made back in my lampworking days. (Oh, how I miss melting glass!!!) We also used a knobby rubber easter egg that made fun polka dot patterns as it wonkily rolled about. A ping pong ball turned out to be too light and got mucked down in the paint. We did most of the rolling by tilting the pan, but in the photo, Noah is rolling with his fingers. It works either way.

WHY: Here are Noah’s marble paintings, in chronological order. He told me which colors he wanted on the last two. Hence all the purple. I love them all, but the last one is my favorite.

Happy 4th!

To celebrate the holiday weekend, I made this:

It took a little more time than standard Jello, but it wasn’t hard at all. I’ve seen something similar in Family Fun, with just red and white, for Valentine’s Day. How about green & red for Christmas?

The recipe:

Two 3 oz boxes red jello
Two 3 oz boxes blue jello
4 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin (one box)
One 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3 mixing bowls
something to boil water in, a cup at a time
9×13″ glass casserole pan

For each colored layer, mix one box of red or blue jello with ½ envelope of unflavored gelatin, add 1 cup of boiling water, and stir to dissolve. For the white, mix sweetened condensed milk with 1 cup of boiling water. In a separate small bowl, sprinkle 2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin over ½ cup of cold water. Let stand a few minutes and then add ½ cup of boiling water to dissolve the gelatin. Add to the milk mixture and stir to combine. You should have 3 cups of this, so measure out one cup for each white layer.

The trick is to make up each batch of jello, let it cool in the mixing bowl to room temperature !!! , pour it into the 9×13 pan (onto any previous layers that have had a chance to set up), and let it refrigerate for 15-20 minutes between each layer. Cooling the liquid to room temp is crucial so that it doesn’t melt into the previous layers. At the same time, liquid jello can’t sit out forever… my last blue layer tried to set up in the mixing bowl, but a zap in the microwave fixed that. Also make sure your pan is level in the refrigerator, so that your layers are level!

Next up I want to try Rainbow Jello:

I think it’s super-geeky-cool how just the 3 primary colors, stacked and translucent, can make the whole spectrum appear! (photo courtesy of Do Better)

An Artful Morning

Noah started it. He’s pretty neat and independent, so I didn’t know what a big project we were about to undertake this morning.

But then Mia wanted to get her hands in everything… so we got out the fingerpaints.

It didn’t take her long to figure things out!

Why is NOAH the one wearing a smock?

He does eventually get his hands dirty, but that’s about it.

Where the paints say “washable,” they should remind me that cleanup might require a head-to-toe bath!

Of course, bath made Mia sleepy, so during her nap, Noah had fun with some tracing and dot-to-dot activities that Tara helped me find here.

All this before breakfast. Well, before MY breakfast. Moms don’t need to eat, though, right? 🙂

Amelia’s 1st masterpiece:

Feeling Crafty

Apparently, when holidays roll around, I get on a kick to make things. And one of the perks of my internet addiction is exposure to all kinds of new projects, ideas, crafts, recipes, and tutorials. I figure by linking back to some that I’ve especially appreciated, I can let the other sites know how much they’re appreciated and inspire someone else to try something new.

One of my long-time favorite sites is No Time for Flashcards. I couldn’t even imagine attempting crafts (beyond “here’s some crayons and white paper”) with my two-year old, but Allie’s tutorials have taught me that a little bit of adult prepwork with scissors and glue can go a long, long way. Her Puffy Paint Ghost inspired these Snowmen on a particularly cold morning last week, and the wreath and tree were similarly inspired by her site.

I have Babycenter moms to thank for a yummy toffee recipe those ladies like to call “Christmas Crack.” If you’re lucky enough to taste some, you’ll know where it got its name. In the directions of the recipe I linked, I’d modify “boil for 3 minutes” to read “Heat slowly until soft crack stage, or about 275 degrees on a candy thermometer.”

And even though I will never be as artistically gifted as Bakerella with her fancy cupcake pops and cake balls that were featured on the Martha Stewart show, …

…my humble snowballs were gobbled down pretty quickly at our family Christmas gathering! These beauties start with a mixture of crumbled cake and frosting, so one of my sisters had the brilliant idea of making them out of an already decorated (i.e. leftover) cake. I made a batch before and after David’s birthday, and while the consistency might have been a little different, my voracious nieces and nephews didn’t seem to notice the difference.

Oh, and I almost forgot the homemade baby leg warmers, made from ladies knee-high socks. I’m a little late to jump on the BabyLegs fashion trend, but it was cold when I wanted to start potty training Noah, and it’s not like we were leaving the house or anything. 😉 Just don’t tell his fiancée down the road that he wore Mia’s pink ones too. Conceptually this project was really easy, but I found it difficult to keep all the edges lined up when stretching the socks over my sewing machine, so using a huge seam allowance (and hence a narrower cuff) worked for me.

There were a couple of other projects caught my eye, but now that Christmas vacation is over, chances are slim that I’ll be adding to this list anytime soon. Heck, it took me a week just to put together and post this wrap-up!

Snug as a Bug

I promised I’d post a photo of my latest sewing project, a pouch sling. I found the pattern at KarmaBaby, and I can’t believe I didn’t make one sooner for Noah. This one fits a lot better than my trusty New Native, and the fabric has a wee bit of give, which makes a world of difference. Plus, I learned to sew a “French seam,” so I feel all domestic and stuff now.

I never love pictures of myself, but I love the closeups on each of the kids’ faces here.


Speaking of crafty blogs, someone (Tara?) linked to this pattern on Make It and Love It for a reversible nursing cover, and I just had to try it out. It was so much fun I made two! (Blame the nesting bug, this was back in mid-May.) I never used a cover with Noah, but it is pretty convenient in restaurants and such. I’m not terribly modest about breastfeeding, but I hate to show off my belly!
Photobucket Photobucket

Next time I’ll show you my more recent project, the pouch sling I sewed after a pattern from KarmaBaby. I love the way it turned out; I can’t believe I didn’t make one sooner!