Works in Progress

As usual this December, I’ve been slammed with work. Last minute projects that everyone wants finished up before the holidays, but I think this year has been even worse than last . . . thanks to being on Elance. I’m still finishing up a couple of projects and Christmas is just a few days away.

We ended up finding some awesome deals on some games for the boys this year, so they’ll be getting several. I’m very excited because I actually found a copy of Candyland for them to play. They’ve been obsessed with it since they found a mod for Candyland in Minecraft and have asked to buy the game for months now. Well, I found it and cheap, so there will be some very happy little boys on Christmas morning.

However, we do like to give them some handmade stuff, too and despite working so much (Irving has been working nearly every day, as well) we managed to come up with some fun ideas. I designed these dragon heads to become hobby dragons and Irving cut them out of wood.

Irving took the boys to his band’s Christmas party today so I could work and while they were gone, I put some paint on the dragons. They’re far from being finished, but I think I’ll make it.

We are also making a wooden cookie matching game for Dominic, since many of the games are a bit too old for him yet. I saw it on a Montessori website and figured we could easily make them. Irving has cut out 24 wooden circles and sanded them, so now it’s up to me to get them painted by Christmas! I figure I’ll sew up a little bag to put the cookies into, though a cookie jar would be more appropriate.

Are you handmaking any gifts this year?

Art Classes!

Dante is my little artist, though Dominic is showing a lot of interest, as well. Dorian gets bored with coloring and drawing, but he likes to sit down and turn out pages and pages of comics. I’ve been pinning tons of art projects on Pinterest for the past few months, but haven’t actually many of them.

Today we had some extra time, so after schoolwork was finished, we did a little art project. All three boys got in on it, so that was fun. I had to help Dominic a bit, but he did most of it on his own.

The end result was pretty cool! The original inspiration for the cat on a fence can be found here.

Fleece Monster Jackets

I did a lot of sewing before Christmas. I already showed you the hat that I made for one of my nieces (I made a second for the other baby niece). Here is an action shot of one of the hats:

The other huge project that I took on was this:

I made one for each of the boys, using fleece found in the market. It’s thinner than the fleece I’m used to, but it worked for these cute jackets.

The pattern I used was this one. I made the 116 cm version for the older boys, but lengthened Dorian’s by about 2 inches. Dominic’s jacket is the 104 cm version. I cut out the monsters and appliqued them to the backs of the jackets before sewing the garments. It was a bit difficult, particularly with the spines on Dominic’s.

Here’s a closer look at the designs.

While the jackets were a lot of work (the actual jacket was really quick to whip up, it was the applique that took so long), I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. And the boys love them, which is the whole point!


Did I Say I Was Caught Up?

Sure, I got my Christmas shopping done nice and early, but it’s now the 23rd and my to do list is still insanely long! Oops. There are a few reasons for this, including a friend in need and news that threw our family for a real loop. I will blog more about that in January, once it has been better processed. The end result, however, is that I’m very, very behind.

I did get some little hats done for my nieces. Here’s one of them:

The second one came out cuter, but I forgot to take a photo before I wrapped the gifts. The hats came together very quickly, so I suspect that will be a go to last minute gift in the future. :) I can change them up to make puppies, cats, bears, etc.

I still have hats to do for the boys and Zanelle, plus, I decided to make the boys new jackets for Christmas Eve, to protect against the chill when we go out to set off firecrackers. Yeah, because I needed a new project a few days before Christmas.

The advent calendar is finished, thank goodness. I ran out of ideas early on, so it was a struggle to get all the ornaments done. It’s looking pretty cool though and the boys are thrilled to hang a new ornament each day and count off the ones that are left. I’ll have to get a picture when all the ornaments are up.

There is still a stocking to be made for Dominic, since his from last year is a mini one and, well, he’s already at the age where he will notice that his stocking is smaller and therefore “not fair!” Not to mention, the things I have for his stocking are too big to fit in that bitty thing.

Today is a day of making tamales, sewing jackets, hunting down a turkey and wrapping gifts. It will be hectic, but I know the boys will love it all come midnight tomorrow!




Baby Shower Goodies

Two of my sisters-in-law are pregnant and one is almost ready to pop, so she had a surprise baby shower on Sunday. Since she’s having a girl, it was a fun opportunity to make pink, girly stuff!

When Dominic was born, she loved the little top-knot hats that I made for him, so I made three for her daughter.

I looked on Pinterest for ideas involving diapers, since I wanted to give her some, but didn’t want to just give her a bag of diapers. There were some adorable ideas, including a diaper trike and diaper cakes, etc. However, since my patience is running at 0 these days, I decided to do diaper cupcakes instead of risking a huge amount of newborn size disposables flying all over the place if the curve didn’t hold.

Then I made some little hair clips, grabbed some socks, headbands and ready made clips and some baby washcloths to finish the whole thing off.

The cupcakes were tucked into cupcake papers and set in a cake box that I covered with girly wrapping paper and then I sprinkled them with heart sequins as a finishing touch.

It was so nice to craft again! It didn’t take long to do these at all and I love how they turned out! Best of all, the mother-to-be was thrilled, too.

Since Squidoo no longer exists, I’m adding the tutorial for these diaper cupcakes here.

First, you’ll need some diapers, preferably white ones  (not like I used!), elastic bands, a hairband and a baby washcloth, plus a decoration (like a hair clip) for the top and some cupcake wrappers. I added socks to mine, which I just rolled up inside the diaper so the edge stuck out.

diaper cupcake

Open the diaper up and fold it into thirds, lengthwise. Roll from the front to the back to make a tight spiral.

diaper cupcake tutorial

I found it worked best to leave the middle slightly sticking out.

diaper cupcakes

Fold your washcloth so it is the same height as the diaper and wrap it around. Secure with an elastic band or two.

diaper cupcake tutorial

Cover the band with a hair tie and use a bit of tape to attach the decoration on top.

how to make diaper cupcakes

Pop into a cupcake paper and serve at a baby shower.

Frosty the Snowfridge

Obviously, there is no snow around here at the moment, but that doesn’t stop my boys from pretending there is. They found these long L shaped pieces of cardboard at the in-laws’ house and brought them back to our place. All day, they were “skiing” around the house. They even cut the pieces in half so they could both “ski” at the same time.

So, when I saw a friend on Facebook had decorated her fridge to look like a snowman, I knew they’d like it. And they did. Though they fought over who got to put which pieces on, of course.

Here’s the end result:

snowman fridge

This is super easy to replicate with a bunch of construction paper and some tape!

Balloon Fidget Tutorial

A while back, I mentioned that we use fidgets to help the boys stay focused during school. Dante in particular is very hyper and needs to move. He’s constantly hopping on and off his chair and running around the room during school, so it’s good to have something he can handle and play with while listening to lessons. One of the fidgets we use is this balloon fidget, which is super easy to make!

To start, you’ll need:

2 balloons in different colors
Corn, rice, salt, flour, or other filler of your choice
A funnel

balloon fidgets

Take one balloon and blow it up, then let the air out. This stretches it out a bit.

Cut the ring off the balloon.

Stick the funnel in there and funnel in about 3/4-1 cup of whatever you’re filling with. You may have to push it in once gravity stops helping.

Now cut the tube part of the other balloon off. This doesn’t have to be too precise, but you don’t want too much narrowing of the balloon here.

Now put this balloon over the other one, making sure that the first balloon’s opening is at the back of the second one. It will be a tight fit!

Presto! A fidget that is fun to squeeze and mash and twist in your hands while listening to a lesson!

Finally, Some Sewing!

Last night, I ignored work emails (after hours, of course) and focused on what I?m supposed to be doing, according to my doctor, resting. Except I?m not very good at just being still. So, Irving and I watched Contagion (do NOT watch that movie if you don?t want to be avoiding touching doorknobs and wearing a mask for the rest of your life) and I worked on some sewing.

I have one hat for Dominic. One. In a country where hats are mandatory if you don?t want your baby to die. So it was obviously time to make a few. I had a couple of tutorials that I?d been dying to try, so I got to work and made a couple of hats last night while watching the movie.

This is the first one I made, from this tutorial.

The pattern was dead simple, but my machine didn?t have enough space for the hem, so I was sewing all scrunched up and the hem turned out wonky. Oh well. I?m going to make a half dozen more of these, since they are easy to whip up from old T-shirts and I figure I?ll adjust the hem slightly so it will fit better in my machine. it can always be turned up for the baby.

The second hat is my absolute favorite. I?m addicted to this hat. I found the tutorial a while back and bought a men?s shirt in the pacas ages ago and even had it all cut out, but didn?t get around to sewing it until last night and it was love at first sight.

This cute little cap is made from ONE sleeve of the shirt. Which means I have tons of fabric left to make other stuff. I?m thinking a matching little jacket and some booties would be perfect. It?s just so . . . BOY. And I was surprised at how easy the hat was to make, albeit a little time consuming. It has lining and a buttonhole, which I wasn?t looking forward to, but it came out fine and even the tricky bits weren?t tricky after all.

I have a couple more shirts that I am going to turn into hats now . . .