Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[learn] week 2: d is for dancing

Since we went to school last week, I thought I would try to remember what I learned.  Thus, I would focus on one letter, the letter D, this week.  Dancing and ducks, obvious right?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

[make] friendship bracelets

Friendship bracelets and the end of summer kind of go hand in hand.  School has started back and our lake visits have declined rapidly.  Amazing how some braided embroidery thread on a little tanned arm can take me to back to sitting in my adirondack chair by the water.

Thanks to Salty Pineapple for the inspiration!  I made a few changes, using jump rings at both ends and adding cute little charms that I acquired at Michael's. Oh, and one more pin accomplished by me!

Monday, August 29, 2011

[make] week 1: applecakes

Our last treat for Week 1: Let's Go to School were applecakes.  Inspired by these apple and gummy worm cupcakes and these "biten" apple cupcakes, we made our very own.

The girls and I made ours a little bit differently.  We used purchased cupcakes ($3 for 6) with white cake and white icing.  Then we used fine red candy sprinkles to "dip" our cupcakes in.  The girls rolled the cakes in the sprinkles until all the icing was covered.  Add a green jolly rancher chew shaped into a leaf and you have an apple.  The leaves didn't make it long but neither did the cupcakes!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

[make] week 1: bookworm

Inspired by One Charming Party and this pin, bookworms made their way into Week 1.   Complete directions and the printable apple template can be found via One Charming Party.

Our apples and bookworms turned out great and the pipe cleaners were wonderful. They kept the apple jacks from sliding back off while the little hands worked so hard to thread them.  Definitely something to remember for other beaded and threaded crafties!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

[learn] week 1: lessons learned

Lessons were learned by the girls and by me on our first class.  I learned I had over-planned.  They learned that it's fun to roll cupcakes in sprinkles and maybe even picked up that apple began with the letter A.

We started out with Meet the Barkers, Morgan and Moffat Go to School.  The girls loved that Morgan and Moffat were twins.  They liked the fact that they got to color the letters A, B, and C with their very own brand new box of crayons even more.  As we finished up learning that A is for Apple, B is for Bee, and C is for Cat we started counting snacks!

1 banana, 2 apple slices, 3 pieces of broccoli (aka trees), 4 cheese squares, 5 celery sticks and 6 carrots later, the girls not only got in some good counting practice but healthy snacks at the same time - all starting with the letters A, B or C including their apple juice.

Next came Bookworms made from paper apples and apple jacks, a perfect time for brother Jack to join the party.

(Note: At this point I realized I had way too much going on because oh yes, there is more.) Then came another story, Click Clack Quackity-Quack, and some more coloring sheets that included counting apples and a shape maze complete with a monkey looking for his bananas.

Last but not least, Applecakes complete with red sprinkles and lots of creamy white icing.  Even after all that, the girls still wanted to know what was next.

The reviews a day later were mixed, in a good way.  The cons, too many activities for mom, too many letters for the girls.  So next week will be one letter, the letter D, and not quite so many activities or coloring sheets.  We can save those for later in the week.

The pros, the girls are learning their numbers, shapes, colors, and becoming more familiar with their letters at an amazing rate.  I stayed within (and actually below) my budget of $20 even with the overplanning.  Jack and Dad want in on the action, they say it looks like way too much fun to be left out.  Even Traveler and Champ (the pups) stayed with us the whole class!  Shockingly, I'm actually accomplishing some of the activities and crafts I've been pinning.  But best of all, the girls asked me what we were doing on Thursday night!  Apparently they want to go to class every day of the week.

Posts on the Bookworm project and Applecakes will follow.  Check out my pinboard TwinBop for more ideas and sneak peaks at Week 2 or enter your email address in the upper left for automatic updates. For a more complete list of links and costs, message me!

Friday, August 26, 2011

[make] birth poster details

I managed to get the baby birth posters printed and framed and the girls LOVE them.  I had no idea they would be so excited about me putting them up in their room.  Is that a sign that I've been super slack on adding artwork to their room?  I think yes.

So some tips on recreating:

1. I designed the posters in Adobe Illustrator CS5 but you should be able to use the same techniques in other design programs, even PowerPoint for that matter.  Start with an 8 x 10 inch art board and Copperplate Gothic Bold font.  Then add the text and rotate until you get the configuration that you like best.

2. At this point I noticed that I had holes but really didn't want to fill them with more text so I went to handy, dandy, simple PowerPoint and pulled up some Microsoft Clipart.  Find the image you want, insert it into PowerPoint (or again whatever program you would like to use) and then edit as necessary. I found a lotus flower, ungrouped the image and deleted what I didn't like.  The colors were perfect so I didn't change those. Then save the image as a .png file and place it into your Illustrator file.

3. Match the colors of your text to the colors in your image.  I chose an image that had three shade of pink in it so I randomly matched the colors of the text to these three shades.  Add a box around the outside of your art board with the line color matching your text and no fill.

4. At this point, framing comes into play.  If you are using a frame with an opening larger than 8 x 10 then there may be no need to resize.  I opted for an 8 x 10 frame and full bleed just didn't look right.  For a border, select everything on the art board, group it, and then scale the whole thing by 80%.

5. Once you've scaled your poster to fit your frame size, print on card stock, trim (if necessary), frame and hang.  All done.  

Let me know if you give it a try - I would love to see other versions.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

[learn] week 1: materials

Week 1: Let's Go to School was a smashing success.  The girls had a great time and even Jack joined the fun.   Here are the printed materials that we used with links below:

1. Meet the Barkers, Morgan and Moffat Go to School
2. Clack, Clack, Quackity-Quack
3. Monkey Shapes
4. Bookworms from One Charming Party
5. Counting Apples

We also used alphabet coloring sheets and flash cards from Mr. Printables, a great source for basic letters, numbers and shapes with some really cute graphics.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[learn] week 1: let's go to school

The theme is chosen, the activities set, and ingredient and supply lists made.  With the girls starting their first week of full day preschool, Week 1's theme of "Let's Go to School" wasn't very hard to figure out.  We will be focusing on the letters a, b and c. Here's a little preview:  

Monday, August 22, 2011

[learn] twinbop

I think every mother, father, family goes through the scheduling nightmare that is extra curricular activities.  We can't complain too much.  The girls are still young and so is Jack for that matter so it's not like we are going from school to lessons to practices - yet.  But we still ran into a hiccup.  Dance.  The girls wanted to go to "ballet".  They are three so they also want to go to space but we though ballet was more doable.  So I called studios, a bunch of dance studios.  Nada. Nothing that works with our schedule in our area and nothing that's not from September to June.  

So I started looking for more options.  I found the Catawba Science Center and their programs, the YMCA programs and the Newton Recreation Center activities.  Most of the schedules were designed for someone who works outside the home (i.e., me), especially for preschool ages.  But I thought, I'll make it work.  So I started reading descriptions:

Let's Get Messy: Let your toddler’s imagination come alive in this arts and crafts extravaganza. We will use different themes each day to create artwork out of paint, feathers, paste, noodles and more. 

Edible Art Creations: If your children are at the age of wanting to eat their art supplies while you are trying to reach them to expand their creative skills, you'll enjoy these perfect and tasty projects!

Witches Brew: Join us for a spooky cooking session. We will be making fun Halloween themed treats that are sure to fright and delight you!

I looked at the photos, I looked at the outlines and jumped to a huge realization.  I can do that!  I can do it and possibly do it better!  So I'm doing it.  

Thus Twinbop was born (credit supportive husband for name).  The girls and I have an "appointment" every Wednesday from 4:30 until 6:00.  Books, crafts, cooking and learning.  I have a budget of $20 per week for the "class" since that's what I would have paid someone else.  I may not be able to teach them ballet but I can craft with the best of them.  Look for posts to follow under the tag [learn].  Let me know what you think and how I'm doing.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

[read] wee wonderfuls

I've been following Hillary Lang's Wee Wonderfuls for years now.  Her projects are amazing and her dolls, oh my.

When her book, Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love, came out I couldn't wait to get it.

It didn't disappoint.  It's one of my favorite books to just flip through and wish.  Wish I had more time to make each project she has in the book.  The directions are straight forward and the patterns easy to understand.  But most importantly, they are just really, really cute!  Hopefully there will be a couple mermaids and some spoon people in my little girls toy box soon.  If all else fails I can always fall back on Hillary's creations.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

[celebrate] a brunch for baby elijah

The shower was a huge success and it was one of my favorite that I've planned so far.

We served brunch which is SO the way to go.  Of course there was a cake, layered pound cake with chocolate icing and white chocolate stars.  The vinyl records saved the day and with a simple sticker to match the colors, they were a hit.  We even borrowed the dad-to-be's guitar case and stuffed it full of cd's loaded with "baby" songs for favors along with white chocolate star pops.  It takes more paper stars than you think to cover that sort of space even sparingly, but it was worth the scissor blisters in the end.  Brandon and Wendy had a HUGE turnout and got lots of amazing things for the little boy on his way.  Congrats again and I can't wait to see Baby E in person!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

[pin] baby birth posters

My babies aren't really babies anymore.  But seeing as I'm adding some new artwork in their room - I took some inspiration from this  Etsy shop and an idea I found via Pinterest and made my own little versions.

I thought about mixing up the styles a bit but my girls do look almost exactly alike, so I think this may work. Now to print and frame!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

[make] starry centerpieces

So what do you do for a centerpiece that doesn't include cutting a huge guitar out of cardboard when your theme is "future rocker"?  The guitar wasn't going to cut it (figuratively and literally), so I hung my hopes on the "star" part of rock star.

The key is LOTS of paper stars.  It takes more than you think so get to printing and cutting.  I used Martha's star templates.  Pulled them in and changed the background colors to match my theme. Printed.  Cut.  Cut some more.  Printed some more and then cut again!

For the centerpieces, I sandwiched a skewer between two (or four in some cases) stars until I had about 50 skewers.  I divided them between four Ikea white vases.  Then set the vases on records with simple round labels over the existing titles.

The banners over the doors and windows were quick too.  Some grosgrain ribbon, records and stars were all there was to it.  The day of the shower I took extra stars and my glue gun and covered my push pins once I got them hung.  The same thing for the little gathering of records over the gift table.  I just hung the records from ribbon, put the end of the ribbon in the wall with the push pins and then covered my pins with stars and more stars.

The cost?  The records we got for $17 for almost 30. (Note: The titles were all messed up and even if I had a record player I wouldn't have been listening to those things, so don't think I damaged priceless musical history.)  The skewers were $1 for 100 along with $10 worth of white grosgrain courtesy of the Dollar Store. I had the vases thanks to Sadie and the table cloths thanks to my insane love of all things fabric. Even figuring the card stock, round labels and printing I would guess I had less than $40 in all of the decorations. Not too shabby.

Thanks to Rachel at One Pretty Thing for featuring this post!

Friday, August 5, 2011

[make] craft fail

High hopes equaled horrible results last night.  That's what I get for crafting until midnight.  I was even being super disciplined and taking photos of each step.  I got out my external flash for goodness sake!  Ugh.  It was an utter fail.  The pillow that should not be.  Oh I will show you photos, but not today.  I'm still in mourning.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

[love] two at a time

I've posted before about the wonder I have at my girls sometimes, what it must be like to be a twin.  Every now and again I capture a small inkling of what it must be like for them.

The idea that someone will always be at your side who is so much like you. The idea that your sister is there to tell you that you will be fine, she's there to help.  I hope my girls are always at least as close as they are right now.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

[celebrate] rock-a-bye baby

He'll be here soon and he's going to rock.  Didn't the invite turn out cool?

Party posts soon!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

[pin] a summer gift

I needed some summer time gifties and I hate just handing people a gift card.  Then I noticed this on Young House Love.

I found these bookmarks on Pinterest a while ago, a long while ago.  So now to do something with them.

Bookmarks? I don't know which books to buy people - that's why I get gift cards. Enter a Target striped towel and some fabric scraps ....

Exit an inexpensive, super cute, and useful summer gift, a beach towel, a head band/wrap and some cute little rosette pins.  Oh and not to mention that a nice "happy summer" and target gift card are slid in. Sorry there isn't a tutorial yet.  I'm usually making it up as I go along.  If you're interested, drop me a note and I will get you dimensions and directions!

If you love Pinterest as much as I do and want to see what I'm pinning, here you go!

The project is part of Young House Love's Summer Pinterest Challenge.  Check out the projects from Young House Love, Bower Power, Making a House a Home, and Emily Henderson