Monday, December 31, 2012

roll-up road

I still haven't quite been able to grasp that Christmas is over and passed, and the year is too! Maybe it's because this past month has been so hectic, but I just don't feel quite ready. I don't feel like I was really able to soak up all the Christmasy goodness, savor all the fun moments, eat all the Christmas treats (ok, I probably did more than enough of that...) But here it is, the last day of the year already! So I guess I don't really have much choice but to keep going and welcome the new year.

But before I do, I wanted to share one of the Christmas presents I made for my little boy. He is obsessed with anything with an engine and/or wheels. I mean obsessed. When we asked him what he wanted Santa to bring him this year for Christmas, he decided (all on his own) that Santa should bring him hot wheels cars. And he stuck to it. Every time we asked him, we got the same enthusiastic response: "Hot wheels cars!"

Of course, we're thinking, "Sweet! They're like $1!" So we got him some new hot wheels cars, and I decided to make a little something to store them in and drive them on.

A roll-up road made of felt, complete with little "garages." Some of my favorite things about this - it's easy to store, easy to take with you, and it's quiet! It's like a quiet book, but just for his cars.

If you're interested in making one of your own, it's pretty easy. I got a big piece of green felt - about the size of two sheets of paper side-by-side. 

Then I got a piece of gray fabric a little wider than his cars are long, and glued it down at the bottom of the green felt. I laid out five cars, and just glued the gray felt in between each one to make a "garage." Then I glued it down at the back of each garage, making little puckers or pleats so it would lay flat. This was the hardest part of the whole project. And I'll probably go back and stitch it down, because knowing my boy, the glue won't hold for very long with as often as he's taking his cars in and out.

Then I got a piece of black felt about the same size. I used fabric paint to trace the shape of the road (about the same width as a hot wheels car) on the back of the felt, cut it out, and glued it on. Then I just cut and glued the other pieces. Get creative! I did railroad tracks and crossing, a stop sign, traffic light, lake, and trees. You could add buildings, animals, anything you want!

Sorry I don't have pictures of how to make it... I wasn't thinking about a tutorial post when I made it! But hopefully you get the idea from the finished product. Just be creative and have fun with it!

You can see the cars in some of the garages here, and one driving on the road. My little man has already put his new road to good use! It's provided lots of great (quiet!) entertainment!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

footprint Christmas trees

I had a fabulous pinterest-inspired idea for Christmas presents the boys could make for their grandparents. We would make handprint wreaths on plates! They would be so cute and a wonderful keepsake for their grandparents!

Unfortunately... I have rather uncooperative children. After a 15 minute tantrum from the two-year-old about wearing one of my old shirts so he didn't get paint on his own clothes, and gloppy smears of green paint all over the first plate (which I then washed off) I decided to try it with the baby. He can't make nearly as much of a mess as his brother, right? Wrong. Once I got paint on his hand, he balled it up into a fist and refused to open it, even when I just took him to the sink to wash him up.

Craft FAIL.
(I really wish now that I'd gotten pictures of the green globs all over the plates and the children, and me!)

So then I had another idea: footprint Christmas trees!
The baby can't really ball up his feet (although he did keep trying to curl his toes, which made things rather... smeary. And it took me and my husband to get his feet properly placed) and then the two-year-old can "decorate" the tree by jabbing dots of red and gold all over.

Still turned out not quite as nicely as all the cute pictures I've seen, but I guess I should have known better with my crazy boys!

So there they are, one for each set of grandparents.

We made one for us to keep too, but it turned out even worse. Rather more lopsided and smeary. And we haven't put the star on it yet.

Well, there's our Christmas craft of the year. If any of you try it and have better luck, please send me pictures and/or tips! :)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

fairy tale finger puppets

This holiday season has been crazy! Good, but crazy. I got to participate in an awesome boutique a few weeks ago, I've had lots of orders from my shop, I've had several weddings (I do wedding flowers too) and we moved! Whew!

Needless to say, I've been busy busy busy making tons of finger puppets lately! Not only have I been making lots of finger puppets, I've been designing some new ones too! I think these might be my favorite ever set that I've made.

Of course I've always loved princesses and fairy tales. I'm kind of a girly-girl when it comes to things like that. But I'm just really happy with the way these little guys turned out. It's the little details that really make them work - the princess's crown, the dragons tiny ears, the knight's shield, and of course turrets on the castle... I think I'm going to be making a lot more of these! And probably in different colors.

Dragon, knight, and princess puppets

They're not currently listed in the shop (I sold this set already and haven't had time to make any more!) but after the craziness of the holidays slows down, I'm planning to list several new sets I've been working on!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I'm super excited for the opportunity I have to participate in a local boutique this weekend! I dropped off two big bags full of puppets, ornaments, and hand warmers this evening, and got a sneak peak at some of the amazing items that will be available. If you're in the area, you should definitely go check it out!

Traditions Boutique
445 North 900 East American Fork Utah
November 30 and December 1
10 am to 6 pm

Prepping for the boutique was a little bit crazy... I had piles of felt, stacks of puppets, scraps and threads everywhere, and at one point I think six different pairs of scissors...

Here's a glimpse of the mess and the madness! So many puppets!!

But in the meantime, go check out the boutique! There will be lots of amazing things there!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Happy Thanksgiving! I should be making pies... but decided to take a little break and write a quick post letting everyone know about my Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale.

From November 23 to November 26, I'm offering free shipping to all orders shipped in the U.S.! Just enter the coupon code FREESHIPPING at checkout.

And here's just a few items from my shop that you can get free shipping on Friday through Monday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! And good luck to anyone brave enough to actually venture out on Black Friday!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

one year

I realized a few days ago that it's been just barely over a year since I opened my etsy shop and started this blog!

It's been a great adventure so far. I've learned so much, had a lot of fun, and grown my skills and my business. I'm still not entirely sure where I want this all to go, but I'm figuring it out along the way, and enjoying the ride in the meantime.

So today I say thank you to those of you who have ever read this blog, visited my shop, been inspired by my ideas, and shared your own ideas. Here's to more great years to come!

And I'll leave you with few of my favorite Thanksgiving projects.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Daniel in the lion's den

I did another set of Bible story finger puppets - Daniel in the lion's den! It's always a favorite, and such a fun one to have puppets for.

I decided to test out the puppets with my two-year-old today to see how he liked them. So I told him about how Daniel prayed, and the king put him in the den of lions, and Daniel was scared the lions would eat him so he prayed and was safe. What did my toddler get out of it? "Lions eat him!" Hmm... I think I might need to tell it a little differently. (see Daniel chapter 6 for the full story) :)

 The king, Daniel, an angel, and two lions

I'm working on a bunch of new sets that I'm trying to get finished and listed for Christmas sales, so look forward to (hopefully) lots more posts and lots more puppets!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

thanksgiving puppets

A few weeks ago I started on some Thanksgiving finger puppets. I was feeling so ahead of things! But of course I didn't finish them when I started them, and realized the other day that if I didn't get them finished and listed in the shop soon, I might as well just wait until next year! So I actually got them finished and listed.

Pilgrims, a turkey, and Native Americans Thanksgiving finger puppet set

I love the way this little turkey turned out. The colors are just so fall! I also love that my two-year-old runs around saying "gob-gobbo" whenever we talk about turkeys.

Native American finger puppets. (Is it ok to call them Indians? Is that offensive, or just not PC? I never know with these things...) I actually braided the felt for the girl's hair. I think that's my favorite thing about her.

Pilgrim finger puppets, with a buckle on the hat for the boy and apron and bonnet for the girl.

The whole set

I'm getting so excited for Thanksgiving! I absolutely love making pies. I might have to start trying out a few recipes now to decide which ones to make for the big day... :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

green hummus

Have any of you seen the Brian Regan bit about how cranberries are getting into everything? Well, first of all, it's pretty funny, and second, I'm kinda feeling that way about spinach. But you know, I'm ok with spinach getting into everything. It's so good for you, and it's one of the few vegetables I can sneak into my two-year-old's diet.

So I came up with another way to sneak in some spinach this week: Green Hummus.

And it was actually really tasty, really healthy, really easy to make, and my little guy gobbled up his "green sauce" and asked for more!

One of the reasons I decided to experiment a bit with food this past week is that we took Jack off dairy to see if that was the cause of some tummy troubles. And let me tell you, taking a kid off diary whose favorite food is cheese is quite a task! I had to get pretty creative, especially getting protein and calcium into him. Hence the green hummus.

One other thing that's nice about this recipe - in addition to being very healthy and fresh, it's also dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free, which I know is a big issue for a lot of people.

I looked at a few different hummus recipes, and then (as my mom constantly teases me for) mostly ignored them and came up with my own recipe. So here it is!

Green Hummus

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1-2 cups spinach leaves
salt and pepper to taste
water (if needed)

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor. (I didn't measure the spinach, I basically just filled the rest of the food processor with as much as would fit.)

2. Blend all ingredients until smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed. If it seems too thick, add a little water for a smoother consistency.

3. Serve with pita chips, crackers, vegetables, etc.

You could also add roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, or fresh cilantro for a little variety.

Update: I recently decided to start a separate blog for recipes and food/cooking tips. You can see this hummus recipe and a whole lot more over at Modern Mommy's Kitchen!

Monday, November 5, 2012

tricksy little hobbitses

The good news is: I actually finished all of our Halloween costumes in time to wear them for Halloween! The bad news: It's hard to get good pictures of a two-year-old and three-month-old wearing their costumes. But they did look incredibly adorable, and I think we'll probably have to use these costumes again at some point because they really were pretty awesome.

So here we have Galadriel, Samwise, Frodo, and Gandalf.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any witch hats that weren't covered in feathers and other nonsense and require too much work to make a proper Gandalf hat. And I certainly didn't have time to make an actual hat. So that meant that everyone thought my husband was Moses. Costume FAIL. But really, if you look at all of us together, it's pretty obvious who he is. Right? Right? Apparently these costumes were about a decade too late. Or we just live somewhere with people who clearly aren't awesome enough to appreciate LOTR.

Little Frodo ready to go trick-or-treating.  He looks so happy about it! (He was actually incredibly excited about trick-or-treating, just much less excited about taking pictures.)

I managed to make all four of our costumes for about $35, which considering how complex some of them were, I think was really quite cheap.  (I probably should have spent a few more dollars and gotten Gandalf a hat...Oh well.) Here's how I made them on such a small budget:

For Frodo's costume, I made him a cloak (check out my pattern and tutorial), and a shirt and vest (from a Simplicity pattern), and he wore a pair of 9 month pants that were very much too short, but could still stretch over his skinny waist. I was able to get the felt for the cloak on sale, the fabric for the vest on sale, and use some muslin scraps from a previous project for the shirt. That's one of the nice things about making clothes for little ones - a lot of times you'll have enough fabric in scraps from other projects to make something!

I also made the "leaves of Lorien" with some leaf buttons and silver jewelry wire, and a safety pin on the back. They're pretty small, but it was ok since they were for some pretty small hobbits! I used the same wire to make my headpiece - not nearly as fancy and pretty as Galadriel's, but it worked and it was cheap!

My little hobbits! Frodo and Samwise. Looking tired post trick-or-treating

For my little Samwise, I made the same cloak just a smaller version, and made the leaf pin, and the rest was clothes we already had. He just wore an off-white onesie, brown pants, and an old vest of Jack's that I took in a bit because it was way too big.

For Galadriel, I stole my sister's old angel costume. It was HUGE! So I did what I could to take it in a bit, altered the neck line, added a lace applique, and and found a lace ribbon to tie around my waist so it wouldn't be completely enormous. Oh, and I already mentioned the headpiece, but I also used the silver wire to turn a pretty flower button into Galadriel's ring.

Extra bonus: When I bought the buttons, they were buy one get one free, so the leaf buttons were free!

I actually spent more on the gray fabric for Gandalf's robe than on any other one item. The fabric was actually on sale, I just needed a lot of it! My husband is rather tall... But then we borrowed the wig and beard from his dad, who has a Santa costume, so that was free!  

So here are the keys to doing awesome Halloween costumes cheaply:
1. Use clothes/costumes you already have and just alter them if needed
2. Use scrap fabric
3. Shop sales
4. Borrow things

Some day I hope to have enough money to make more authentic and elaborate costumes... but until then, I think we did pretty well with these!

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Cookies

Have I mentioned that I love Halloween? Cuz I do! The costumes are all done (except my husband's...), and we're carving pumpkins tonight! We took the boys to this huge Halloween party at a local shopping center on Saturday, and had lots of fun.

We also made some Halloween cookies!  Jack loved it! He always likes to "help" Mommy cook. Mostly he wanted to steal the cookies and chocolate chips... But he was incredibly cute telling me that the Jack-o-lantern cookies were for Jack, and the mummy cookies were for Mommy.

Here's what you'll need if you want to make these cute and easy Halloween treats:

Wilton candy melts in orange, green, and white (or white chocolate chips and food coloring)
Mini chocolate chips
Regular chocolate chips
Red hots/cinnamon imperials
Plastic sandwich bags
Wax paper

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper, or just lay it out on your counter so it's ready for the cookies.

To make the Jack-o-lanterns:
1. Melt the orange candy melts in a bowl.  A whole package is about enough for a whole package of Oreos. I usually do about 30 seconds in the microwave, stir, and then a little more to finish melting.

2. Dip Oreos into the orange candy, coating as evenly as possible. Let some of the candy drip off, then lay it on the wax paper. If there's a spot where you were holding the cookie that didn't really get covered, just drip a little off a spoon.

3. Use mini chocolate chips to make a Jack-o-lantern face. Make sure the orange coating doesn't set too much before you do this, or the chips won't stick. I'd recommend either assigning one person to dip and one to do faces, or just dip a few at a time.

4. Melt a few green candies in a ziploc bag. Just leave the bag open, microwave it for 20-30 seconds, then knead the melted candies. If they're not melted enough, put them back in the microwave for a few more seconds.

5. Knead the melted candy down to one corner of the bag, and cut the tip off the corner. Be sure to cut just a small opening!

6. Pipe the melted green onto the top of the jack-o-lanterns to make a stem, leaf, and curly vine. Or any combination of those.

Jack-o-lanterns complete! Just let them sit for a little while so the candy sets.

To make the mummies:
1. Lay out Oreos on the wax paper. Place regular size chocolate chips in the center of the Oreos for the eyes.

2. Melt the white candy in a ziploc bag (see #4 above). Knead the melted candy down to one corner. Cut the tip of the bag. This one you should cut a little bigger than the green, but not too big!

3. Pipe white candy over Oreos, partially covering chocolate chip eyes. Be sure to pipe in several directions so it looks like overlapping bandages.

4. Let them set for a little while, and then break off the pieces of white candy that got drizzled past the edges of the cookie. (See how messy they look in the picture above compared to the one below?)

Mummy cookies are done! If you don't like that some of the Oreo shows through, you could dip them in white first, then add the eyes and pipe on the bandages.

To make the monsters:
1. Melt green candy in a bowl. (See #1 on making the jack-o-lanterns)

2. Dip Oreos into the melted green candy. (See #2 on the jack-o-lanterns)

3. Place mini chocolate chips along the top edge of the cookie to make spiky hair. Place two red hots/cinnamon imperials in the middle for the eyes. Use mini chocolate chips or one regular chocolate chip (I put them pointy-side-down) for the mouth.

Monster cookies finished! Just let them sit until the candy is set up.

Now all you need is a glass of milk!  I thought of doing a few other Halloween-themed Oreos, but didn't get the chance. What other monsters and such would you make with Oreos (or other cookies)?

Update: I recently decided to start a separate blog for recipes and food/cooking tips and ideas. You can see more ideas like this over at Modern Mommy's Kitchen!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

easy baby or toddler cloak

I am so excited for Halloween! I've always loved it, but it's even more fun now with kids. Especially now that Jack is getting old enough to start getting excited about and understanding holidays. And what's better than dressing up a little kid in an awesome costume? Dressing up TWO kids in awesome costumes!

So let's just say I've been more than a little excited for our family's Halloween costumes this year ever since I came up with the brilliant idea a few months ago. And since I came up with the idea a few months ago, I should be long done with all the costumes, right? Of course not! But I am making pretty good progress.

The first items to be finished were the hooded cloaks for the boys. After looking at (and even purchasing) several patterns, and deciding I didn't like any of them, I made my own, which ended up being way better and easier and anyway. So here I present to you:

(These aren't their full costumes... Also, what's harder than taking a picture of one kid? Taking a picture of TWO kids!)
The Super Simple Baby/Toddler Cloak

What you need:
- Felt* (approx 1 yard of 72" felt)
- 1/2" ribbon (about a yard to be safe)
- thread
- fabric marker
- typical sewing supplies (scissors, tape measure, pins, etc.)

*You could use other fabric, but I like felt for a few reasons - 1. It's cheap 2. It's warm (and sometimes it's pretty cold on Halloween!) 3. You don't have to finish the edges. And I'm lazy.

1. Determine how long you need the cloak to be. Measure from the top of the child's shoulder to the desired length of the cloak. (When in doubt, go a little long - you can always cut some off the bottom later.) Now add 3" for a baby, 6" for a toddler. (This allows you to cut out around the neck and maintain the desired length.) For my baby, I wanted the cloak to be 15" long, so my magic number was 18". For my toddler, it was 36" - perfect for 72" felt! (In fact, if your magic number is any bigger than 36, you'll need more than a yard of fabric.)

2. You're going to cut out a half circle from your felt. Lay out the felt on a flat surface, and mark the center point with a fabric marker. Now use a tape measure and measure straight out along the edge of the fabric the number of inches you calculated in step 1. Repeat on the other side of the center mark. Now measure and mark straight out at 90 degree angle. Think of your tape measure as a protractor, and continue moving and marking so you have a dashed line marking out a half circle.

3. Using the same center point, you will now mark the neck line. For a baby cloak, measure out about 3". For a toddler cloak, measure out about 6". Measure and mark just as you did in step 2. (You can adjust this as needed, just remember this was the number you added to your length measurement in step 1.)

4. Cut along the outer dashed line, then cut along the inner line. You now have the main piece of your cloak!

5. Cut out two pieces for the hood. You can use my pattern below, or adapt it to your own size and liking. (I adapted it from one of the patterns I bought. That pattern made an absolutely enormous hood! So I used the basic shape/dimensions and scaled it down a bit.)

(To adjust size, just add on or cut back the center back seam. For example, just measure out 1" all the way around the center back seam to make it bigger.)

6. With right sides together, stitch the two hood pieces together along the outer curved edge, forming a seam up the middle of the hood. You can either clip the extra fabric from the seam allowance at the front of the hood, or fold it back and tack/stitch it in place.

7. Time to attach the hood to the cloak! With right sides together, line up the center seam of the hood with the mid point of the neckline. Pin it.

8. Now continue pinning each side of the hood, creating pleats as you go to make the hood line up nicely with the curve of the neckline. I did two pleats in the baby cloak, three in the toddler cloak. The hood should not come all the way to the front of the cloak. It should end 1-2" back from the front edge.

(You can also see the pleats in the previous picture for step 6)

9. Stitch the hood to the cloak.

10. Cut two lengths of ribbon, each at least 12" long. (Better to be too long and trim them later!) Pin them to the inside edge of the front of the cloak, just below where the hood meets the cloak. Stitch along the ribbon to secure it to the cloak.

11. Try it on your little one, see if you need to cut any length off the bottom, and you're done! (If you want a more finished look, you can stitch around the front edges of the hood and cloak, and the hem.)

The finished product, looking slightly creepy without a little person in it!

Baby cloak! And of course he's making his awesome gnome face. I was just glad to get a picture in which he wasn't trying to eat the cloak.

Toddler cloak! In typical toddler fashion, he was throwing a tantrum about wearing the cloak and taking pictures. He kept crying "Jack come out!" (meaning out of the cloak...) This was the best I could get.

Friday, October 12, 2012

the 12 apostles

I just finished up a fun custom order for finger puppets of Jesus with all 12 apostles.  I have a set in my shop with Jesus and a few of the apostles, so I started with those and then designed and made a whole bunch more!
(This is the set already in my shop)

It was fun,  though slightly challenging to come up with 12 different puppets wearing Biblical-looking clothes in neutral colors.  There are only so many neutral colors of felt, and so many combinations, before you start feeling like they're all going to look the same!  But I had three basic clothing designs, and between those, and the different colors for clothes, hair, beards, etc. I think I managed to come up with 12 unique apostle puppets.

Now I'm just trying to finish up my Thanksgiving puppet set, and our Halloween costumes!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

excuses and new addictions

I've been a bit negligent in keeping up with the blog lately.  I have a few reasons (meaning excuses)

1) The husband's been out of town, so I haven't had much time for crafting or blogging

2) I've been much better at making lists of ideas for new puppets and other crafts than actually making any of them

3) I also do wedding flowers (wanna see?) and I have my first post-baby wedding this weekend, so I've been getting things ready for that

4) I did something I probably shouldn't have.  I created an account on Polyvore.  And now I'm addicted.  Are any of you on there?  It's lots of fun, and very addicting, and now I want to get rid of approximately 80% of my wardrobe and go on a shopping spree!  Who's in?

But I do have some new puppet designs in the works, plus some awesome Halloween costumes I've started working on (seriously, they're going to be epic!) and some other projects I'm hoping to get done and listed in the shop before the holiday season hits.  So maybe I'll pull myself away from Polyvore and actually get some things done!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

halloween puppets

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  The crisp fall air, the fun costumes, the candy (of course!), the colorful leaves, the spooky decorations, carving pumpkins, and eating all sorts of pumpkin-flavored goodies.  I love it.  Which is kind of weird, because I really dislike being scared, or even most scary movies.  I have to cover my eyes during anything gross in a movie or show. But I love Halloween!  Maybe because I avoid the haunted houses, and instead make costumes and delicious treats.

And this year to get ready, I also made some Halloween finger puppets!  I shared a sneak peek a few posts ago, but now they're finished.  I love the way they turned out.  Very Halloweeny (I know, it's not a word...) but not at all scary!  My kind of Halloween.

10 Halloween puppets and a haunted house that's a pouch to hold all the puppets

My favorite thing about this set is all the little details - the fishing line whiskers on the cat, the googley eyes on the monster, the scar on Frankenstein's forehead, the spider web in the window of the house... It was so fun to come up with the little details that really make this set feel complete!

All the puppets in the house pouch

Here's a few close-ups

Frankenstein puppet

Dracula puppet

Monster puppet

I'm so excited for Halloween!

And yes, they're available in my shop.  :)

Now to start on the awesome costumes I have planned for this year!