Tuesday, November 22, 2011

[learn] ice cream and igloos

We fit it in, almost two weeks late - but here is what we learned about the letter I, which actually ended up standing for icing more than I think anything else.  

Since we've had a busy couple of weeks we stuck to crafts and snacks this time around.  We started with an igloo.  A very special igloo made of icing and tasty marshmallows.

Inspired by this igloo, we opted to start with a bowl covered with a simple icing made of some water and powdered sugar.  Coat the bowl, put the bowl on a plate and start with your oreo 'door'.  

Then came the marshmallows - easy peasy, stack them up (the ones you don't eat of course). For our bowl size and stacking, we used a bag and a half of the standard sized marshmallows so buy that extra bag just in case!

Then some polar bears to hang out at the igloo.  I had pinned these little bears made of foam and sold at Platypus Crafts.  The pattern seem simple enough although mine weren't quite as polished.  I cut out heads (with pink marker ears), black noses, scarves and the front and back halves of the body.  Then I long strip of paper to fold accordion style to attach the two body halves.  After using a marker to make eyes and a little mouth, we got to gluing them together.  

We did figure out one very important fact - if you want them to stand up, run your accordion folded paper sideways.  

For our follow up snack - ice cream sandwiches rolled in sprinkles.  Because why wouldn't you roll them in sprinkles?  

Now for what else we learned besides the fact that ice cream and igloo start with the letter I?  When you include a 6 year old boy, he will question why we are making polar bears which do not start with the letter I and those polar bears will not live in the igloo.  They will be on top waiting for the Eskimos to come out of said igloo, also known as polar bear snacks. 

And then this happened because again, why not?  

Another successful and fun TwinBop, regardless of the fact that they are no longer weekly and we've gained a member and non-twin in the 6 year old.  Now for the Letter J and hopefully sometime this month!  Keep an eye on the TwinBop board for the upcoming ideas.  Any suggestions or ideas for J?  Leave me a comment!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

[make] waiting room crafts - part 2

So technically I did these in a hospital room proper.  Sis had been admitted by this point and since I was the designated overnight watch, enter felt leaves and flowers.

My inspiration were these little roses, this looped up flower from Infarrently Creative and the straight cut version. I also found these really neat leave headbands J Market sells on her Etsy shop.

I started with the leaves and found that I preferred the more narrow (orange) version.  I so love the combination of felt and a plain stitch with embroidery floss.  It was as simple as cutting the base, a few leave shapes, and then sewing them on.  Easy peasy.

Next came the roses and yet again, I preferred the smaller orange version.  Instead of sewing these I hooked up the hot glue gun.  We were in a room after all and I had my hot glue gun of course.  I followed the tutorial and despite having to fold the bigger yellow one over several times, I really like the result.

My favorite out of the bunch though had to be these little beauties.  They were super simple and with some hot glue in lieu of the heat tape, felt and scissors they take no time at all. Mom's favorite was the tri-color little one in the center of the photo which was even easier - same technique, no fold and honestly, it was made out of the leftover scraps from the other flowers.

Now, what to do with them.  I'm open to ideas.  Hair bow, wreath decoration, scarf pin?  Yea, no clue here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

[make] waiting room crafts - part 1

I recently spent a great deal of time in a hospital waiting room.  My sister had a scheduled surgery, so I came prepared with a bag of what I hoped could keep me occupied for at least eight hour stretch.  I started with pom poms because I had seen these super cute pom flowers on Pinterest.

I tried the fork version to no avail (the baby teal ones pictured below).  Either I put too much yarn or I didn't get it tied tightly enough.  They came out all sideways and weird. So then I went to the hand method, also pinned, but then they were loosey goosey and so again, craft fail (more weird but larger teal ones).  At this point I've gathered the attention of my mother, brother, father and niece who are all giving me advice on what I'm doing wrong.  This is not to mention the rest of the people in the waiting room and the fact that I've commandeered the waiting room trash can.  So because "she said so", I tried Mom's version.

(1) The piece of "tying" yarn is threaded between your middle and ring finger and then them you close your hand tightly and (2) wrap until you can't feel the ends of your fingers anymore from lack of circulation.  (3) Tie off the yarn in the middle as tight as you can, wrap the yarn around and tie it one more time for good measure and then (4) cut the ends.  Trim and trim some more.

So Mom as usual, completely and utterly correct - see the nice shaped cream colored poms?  I guess you should trust the person who made all those pom poms for your skates so many years ago.  Now to put them on stems for my flowers!  I did pack my glue gun but I finished up the pom flowers when I got back home with these results.

 Thanks Mom!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

[learn] igloos and ice cream

I suppose the weather lends itself more to igloos than ice cream right now, but they both start with the Letter I so why not?  Here are some ideas for the upcoming lesson.

All these nice images have been pinned on my twinbop board, so for links on these and more ideas check me out on Pinterest.

Friday, November 4, 2011

[celebrate] red wolf farms

Red Wolf Farms is a working family farm located in Maiden, North Carolina which opens once a year to the public in the fall.  It just happens to be sort of across the woods from our house.  So naturally, it's one of our favorite and by far the most convenient fall activities.

The farm has become one of our favorite pumpkin patches and they made lots of improvements this year.  The corn maze was bigger and better.  Not only were there chickens, but you were able to go in the enclosure this year.  And, they added the cutest little calves to the pigs and goats.

Two more giant tubs of grain added to the corn "pools" which my kids LOVED jumping around in.  I will make a suggestion here though, some of that grain is going to come home with you so you may want to double check pockets and socks before you stick their clothes in the washer!

A giant wooden pirate ship was added to the playground along with a neat helicopter and airplane.  Everyone thought the ship was awesome.

Of course we walked down the trail to the creek this year, too.  Oh, did I mention pumpkins?

We got some of those too with a ride up and back on a very nice trailer pulled by the nicest gentlemen.  It's a great place to visit and definitely something to add to your Fall to do list come October.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

[make] scrappy skirts

I found this scrappy skirt on Pinterest and my Halloween costume plans for the twins took a very sudden turn from girlie robot to rockin' cowgirl.  First I found the boots at Target.  Pink.  I was going for brown, but the girls  voted pink.  They always vote pink.

Now to raid my fabric bins.  Since the boots were a pretty rosy pink, might as well go shabby chic.

The cutting begins.  I really dislike measuring so I let the fabric do the work for me.  I folded the fabric in half, selvage sides meeting and started strips 1" to 2" wide.  I cut those in half at the fold.  So, if my math is correct, on 48" fabric, my pieces were approximately 24" long by 1" to 2" wide.  I angled each end and cut all the strips with pinking shears.

Step 1, basically cut a lot of strips.
Step 2, the elastic.  A length that fit around my little one's waist sewn together at the ends to form a circlular waist band.

Steps 3 and 4, tying the strips on.  Just like with other tutu tutorials, I simply folded the strips in half and slid the two end over the elastic and through the loop made at the fold to secure them to the elastic.  Repeat and repeat and repeat.  I used five different fabrics and tried to scatter them randomly around the elastic band.

Step 5, tying the final fabric. I used was a very lightweight cotton.  These I tied in a simple knot, just like in the Ten Minute Tutu, to make the skirt a little fuller and to fill in the holes.

The twins love it and it has such a different look than the standard tulle tutu.  A couple of notes to keep in mind.

1) The heavier the weight of the fabric, the thicker the knot around the elastic is going to be.
2) The elastic is going to stretch a lot more while you are tieing the knots than with  tulle.  Apparently the cotton doesn't let the elastic slide through as easily which meant I had to add a fabric strip laced around the knots to tighten the skirt a bit and make sure it didn't fall off the twin's hips.
3) To give the skirt a little more length but not have to cut your fabric different you can just vary the lengths of your ends. In other words instead of folding the fabric in half and knotting it, you can fold it off centered and not only get some more length but make the skirt a little fuller with the varied lengths of your ends.

To complete the outfits, I added some suede roses that I picked up at the Dollar Store to a natural straw cowboy hat.  Then I cut out two 24" x 24" squares for the bandanas out of some of the leftover fabric from the skirts and two cowgirl costumes are done.

The cost?  $22 each for the pink boots at Target, $6 each for the hats also at Target, $2 for the suede roses and fabric that I had in my stores.  Since I figure the girls would have gotten a pair of boots this season anyway, I'm claiming that the girls' costumes only cost me $7 each.  Not too shabby, just shabby enough.

I'd love to see your versions if you give it a try and maybe you will even get a little help like I did. The little monster that happens to be in all my tutorial photos is my new "helper" according the the girls.  The twins help a lot with cutting and "sewing" my scraps but apparently the little monster is the scrappy skirt spokesperson.

Thanks to Sherry, Katie, Erin and Ana for hosting the fall edition!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

[learn] halloween fun

We kind of learned.  Does talking about the letter H count?  Okay, we probably celebrated a little more learned but we did cook and craft.  We started with snacks to eat while we watched It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

Trail mix is always super fun with the kids.  We used this mix from Munchkin Munchies as a starting point and put our own twist on it.  The key ingredients were Honey Nut Chex cereal, Honey Nut Cherrios, Cocoa Puffs, honey roasted peanuts, mini marshmallows, Cheeze-Its, and candy corn.  We threw some goldfish in there because we wanted to and they were orange.  It's a great mix and I was especially surprised at the Cocoa Puffs.  I'm not a big fan of the cereal but added to the trail mix, it was great!  Then came candy proper in the form of Hersheys chocolate mummies and Blow Pop ghosts that doubled as treats for the kids classmates.

We also made the ghost lights pinned earlier out of paper cups, google eyes, and some twinkle lights.  The idea is a great one from All You and you could make so many variations from ghosts with just a little more effort.  I think next time we will stick with one light per cup though because otherwise it makes the string of lights get very short, very quickly.  Then it was time for clay.  I stole the white clay and made some ghosties with black brads for eyes.

The kids were much more creative.  Jack's is a halloween gnome of some sort and I'm not honestly sure what the girls were.

Then it was time for Trick or Treating.  Jack was a tropical chimp and the twins were cowgirls.  Artic cowgirls thanks to the temperature dropping 40 degrees in less than two days.

Downtown Maiden and the churches on Main Street do a wonderful job on Halloween.  The streets close down and between Trunk or Treats and Halloween Festivals you will get all the candy you want.  Not to mention that you can go house to house too, almost all of which are decorated.

So maybe this lesson was as much of a lesson as it was a party, but we still have lots and lots of fun.  Happy Halloween!

Now onto the letter I.  I'm thinking ice cream although igloo may be more appropriate with our current weather conditions.