Friday, October 29, 2010

10 Tutorials for Handmade Preschool Christmas Gifts

1:56 PM
Memory Game

Can you say charm packs?  How great is this idea.  I know a few little people who will be getting this this year.  What a great idea.  I have always hated the paper memory games.  The pieces and small and always get lost or swept into the trash.

This tutorial is from fishsticksandfries.  Great Idea!


Car Caddy
This tutorial from handmade by jill takes a pages from the oh-so-popular crayon rolls.

This is a great idea for anytime of the year, especially little birthday parties.  Perfect for eating out entertainment. 

Felt Food Christmas Cookies

I have used this same idea for little Easter and Valentine's Day gifts.  Plus, this is a great idea for letter learning.  You could make the "cookies" in the shape of letters.  Whip up a couple of these sets for all of the little preschool friends.  It is cheap and easy.  It you don't sew, you could easily fuse or glue this together with great results. 

Elf Slippers


If you don' t think that you can make your own pattern, Lisa & I have several super easy slipper and booties patterns in the shop. 

Soft Doll Monster

I think that kids love stuffed animals in equal proportion to how much mom's despise them.  Maybe it's just me, but they have a way of taking over a room.  Yet, somehow, my kid and every kid I have ever know has in insatiable thirst for stuffed dolls.  This great tutorial is for a plush monster doll.  I'm thinking DVD + Doll = great gift for niece/nephew



Also, we have many soft doll and monster patterns in the shop for $2.95 this holiday season. 


Dress Up Tutorial
This is a nice tutorial for a simple and easy to make cape.  I don't know any kid who doesn't like dress up clothes, boy or girl.  As I am totally lazy, I would make this cape from felt or fleece and applique an initial or something for personal onto the back. 


This tutorial and more can be found at Yours 'til Niagra Falls.


Crayon Roll Tutorial

Skip to my lou has this great tutorial for making your own crayon rolls.



Felt Board Tutorial

This is a nice tutorial for making a felt board with a picture frame.  Lisa & I did a previous post so look in the archives about creating felt board pieces with your die cutter machine.



Felt Play House

This isn't really a tutorial, but you seriously should not need a tutorial to create this. 

There are so many options with these little card table play houses.  I also want to say for the record that 4 years ago, before these things became all of the rage in the crafting world, I made basically the same exact thing for my niece.  Instead of making something that goes over a card table, I made it on a hula hoop and hung it from the ceiling. 

Zhu Zhu Pet Clothes
Yes, I actually am serious.  Kamille has been asking for these since her b-day, when she got 4 pets. 


 This is a simple and fast project that can use up loads of little scraps.  Plus, if you are going to a birthday and gifting one of these little things, the kid will be thrilled to get some clothes to go along with. 

Girls in White Dresses did this tutorial.


Happy Crafting!



A Couple of Last Minute Costumes

1:07 PM
Well, I decided that I was guilt ridden over Maggie constantly wearing Kamille's old Halloween costumes, so I wanted to make something for her. 

I picked up a fleece remnant for about $2.50 and turned it into a purple hippo costume. 

The dress is your basic pillow case dress pattern.  You cannot get any easier.  I was out of pink ribbon, so I used some pink tulle.

The hat, which you don't get a very good view of,  is essentially a rectangle that I stitched eyes and ears onto.  The back is an oval, about the size of the back of her head with an elastic channel across the bottom to help keep it on. 

Kamille was a ghost for her preschool party.

It's a t-shirt with a ghost face stitched down in felt, a tutu, and the crazy striped pantaloons.


Maybe, someday, she will actually smile in one of the photos. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scrapbook Altered Vintage Lunch Trays

1:45 PM
A while back I picked up about 50 of these square metal lunch trays.  I didn't have an special plan for them, but I figured that I would be able to do something with them.  I came up with this little scrapbook project.   

First, I painted the trays because some were a little rusty.  Then, I used clear varnish to seal the paint on.  Next, I cut down the scrapbook paper to fit and cut a couple of mats.  Finally, I used prima flowers attached to magnetic strips to hold down the photos or notes.  If you wanted to make this for a locker organizer, which would make a great teen/tween gift, you could also add the self adhesive magnet strip to the back.  I actually just clipped binder clips onto the top of the frame so that it could hang on the wall. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DIY Break & Bake Cookie Dough Tutorial

6:04 AM
I love making cookies with Kamille, but I always seem to be throwing away most of a batch of uneaten cookies.  So, I decided to try making my own break and bake style cookies so that I could have the convenience of refrigerated cookie dough, but have all natural ingredients.

I started with my favorite cookie recipe.  I usually just use the recipe off of the nestle morsels (then I substitute whole wheat flour and flax seed meal for the white flour).  Plus, I like to make without eggs, so I substitute milk for the eggs.  It makes a chewy, delicious cookie.

Once I finished making my batter, I refrigerated it for 2 hours, until the dough was really stiff.


   
Next, I lined a small pan - I think that it is about 5"x5" with wax paper. 


Then I filled the pan about 1" deep with cookie dough.  I pressed it flat. 



Next, I cut it into sections, cutting about 1/2 way through the dough.


Finally, I wrapped the wax paper around the cookie dough, lifted the whole package out of the pan, and sealed it into an airtight gallon Ziploc freezer bag. 


You can keep cookies in the freezer for up to 3 months (the store bought kind last longer in the freezer and fridge because they are full of preservatives).  The dough will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

To use, you take them out of the freezer and let them defrost before baking. 




Monday, October 25, 2010

Green Organic Health & Beauty Recipes

2:36 PM
If you haven't looked up our post on green cleaning products, you should.  It was by far the most popular post we ever did.  So, I was inspired today to put together a green, organic health and beauty post.

Shampoo

Love to Know has loads of organic shampoo recipes for all hair types.  Here is one of their great recipes:
  • 2 cups strong, hot chamomile tea
  • 3 tablespoons grated castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin
  • 5 drops of essential oil of choice
Place the grated soap in a bowl. Pour the hot tea over it and let stand a few minutes. Whisk in the glycerin and the essential oil. Pour into a bottle and keep in a cool, dark place.
Place the flowers in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes, and then strain into the other bowl. Clean the first bowl. Combine the soap and hot infusion in it. Let stand until the soap softens -- a few minutes. Beat in the glycerin and food coloring until well blended. Pour the mixture into the bottle. Keep in a cool dark place.
  • For brunettes a tea of rosemary or sage can be used.
  • For redheads a tea of calendula will bring out the highlights and shine.
  • For gray hair a rinse made of betony will take any yellow out.

Conditioner

Making your own conditioner is a bit harder.  You really have 2 main options, eggs (which are cheap) or yogurt.  I would rather die than stick a raw egg on my hair, but that's just me.  So, you can make an organic yogurt conditioner by combining yogurt with essential oils. 

Another option is to combine ¼ cup olive oil,¼ cup vegetable oil, ½ cup water, 2 tbsp honey and boil on stove. Immediately remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer into a spray bottle. Spray on wet hair and wrap hair in towel for 15 minutes. Remove towel and rinse. Store conditioner in a cool place between uses.

If you want to get more complicated, you can use this great recipe to make your own traditional style conditioner.  Plus, easyaromatherapyrecipes tells you exactly what types of herbs and oils to use based on your hair type to make this recipe custom for your needs. 

Basic Natural Hair Conditioner Recipe

natural hair treatments

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Carrier Oil (i.e. olive oil) for your hair type
  • 1 tablespoon (3-4g) Emulsifying Wax
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) Vitamin E (or 2 capsules)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) distilled Water or Herbal Infusion
  • 5 drops Grapefruit Seed extract
  • Essential Oil Blend for your hair type

Directions

  1. Stir together the oil and emulsifying wax in the top part of a double boiler, warming slowly over a low heat until the wax is melted. Remove from heat and pour in the Vitamin E.
  2. In a separate pot on the stove or in the microwave, gently warm the water or herbal infusion just until lukewarm.
  3. Slowly pour the water into the oil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until the mixture is thick and smooth.
  4. Stir in the essential oils and the grapefruit seed extract. Pour the natural hair conditioner into a clean, sterilized 8oz (250ml) dark glass or PET plastic bottle and allow it to cool before putting the lid on.
  5. Shake the bottle occasionally as the conditioner cools to prevent the ingredients from separating. Store in a cool, dark place.
A whole lb of emulsifying wax is only $6.50.  So, making your own organic conditioner is a huge money savings. 


This would make a great Christmas gift to give sisters or moms.  You can even make up your own custom labels. 

Shower Puff


Joy 2 Sew created a great tutorial on this crocheted shower puff. 

You may also want to check out this post from Salihan Crafts to see how to reuse your old netting shower puffs. 



Skin Care

Sugar Scrub - this stuff is great for moisturising skin and exfoliating. 

The basic formula is:
1/2 cup sugar and enough cold-pressed oil (olive, wheat germ, peanut, corn, or sunflower) to dampen the mixture


Healing Scrub
Basic formula + aloe vera, vitamin E oil, or vitamin c crystals, essential oils for aroma


Holiday Spice Scrub

1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, oil to moisten (try a nut oil), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg


Coffee Lover Scrub

Basic formula + 1/4 finely ground coffee - plus this one will wake you up!

For all of the sugar scrubs, you want to store them in an airtight plastic or glass container.

Moisturizer

There are lots of great moisturiser recipes out there.  Ezines has a great article with some super simple moisturizer recipes.   

Super Simple Moisturizer
With only 2 necessary ingredients, this one is a breeze. Mix 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel (directly from plant) and 2 tablespoons organic vegetable glycerin. This amount is for use over the entire body. Use immediately because aloe vera gel begins to lose potency immediately. For added effects, you can add 3 or 4 drops of your favorite essential oil or you can add 1/2 teaspoon of active royal jelly for anti aging effects. Active royal jelly must be kept refrigerated to remain active and can be found in refrigerated sections of health food stores.


Make-up Remover

2 tbps aloe vera + 1 tbsp jojoba or olive oil

2 cups non-fat dry milk + 1 cup oatmeal - grind this into a powder in the food processor or coffee mill.  Save in a glass jar.  To remove makeup, mix in water to form a paste.  This mix not only removes makeup, but is an acne fighter as well. 

Also, I saw a girl on etsy selling organic cotton non-disposable make-up remover pads.  Basically, she crocheted little circles to use over and over again.  How simple and fun of a gift for someone.   So, you can click here to get the directions for crocheting your own circles to make permanent make-up removers. 



Organic Nail Polish
If you mix a fine powdered henna with water to form a thin paste (not runny) you can use it to make your nails light pink.  Apply with a brush being careful not to hit your skin.  Let it dry and then rinse away with warm water.  It will not chip, but just fade away after several days.


Natural Nail Polish Remover

Vinegar + Lemon Juice = a natural nail polish remover.  It takes longer to remove the polish, but it will break down the polish and you will be able to wipe it off.  You can soak your nails in the mix or apply to a cotton ball.

Homemade Lip Balm

  • Small Glass jars with lids (or containers of choice)
  • 4 Teaspoons Jojoba Oil
  • Beeswax
  • Essential Oil of Choice (For Fragrance)
  • Cheese Grater
  • Piping Bag

    The Recipe

    1. The first step is to grate the beeswax, take the cheese grater and the beeswax and grate until you have approximately three teaspoons.
    2. Heat the jojoba oil and the beeswax together until melted. Stir occasionally until it has reached the desired consistency.
    3. Remove from heat, still stirring so all of the ingredients combine as they should.
    4. Add a drop of essential oil(s) of choice.
    5. While the mixture is still warm, pour mixture into piping bag so you will be able to evenly and cleanly distribute the lip balm mixture into the containers.
    6. Evenly pipe the mixture into containers and let sit for an hour so the lip balm will set evenly.
    7. After your homemade lip balm is set and no longer has the jelly consistency you may attach the lid, and enjoy your homemade creation.
    Read more
    
    Toothpaste

    I’ve made adjustments to my homemade toothpaste recipe. We had used the old recipe for awhile, then switched back to Tom’s of Maine until I finally got off my butt and experimented with new measurements and flavors. There seems to be a short adjustment period with stinky breath when making the switch; I haven’t quite figured out why. Anyone know?
    Homemade Toothpaste
    Here’s the new recipe I’ve settled on for now; “parts” equals teaspoons for me:
    4 parts baking soda (Or was it six? Dang!)
    2 parts hydrogen peroxide
    2 parts water
    1 part aloe vera
    1 part vanilla extract
    I’m storing it in a small jar that used to hold yeast, cuz how else can those tiny jars be reused? And yes, I really am using vanilla extract. The peppermint flavor from the last toothpaste recipe was a bit blech for me. In all honesty, I don’t taste much vanilla at all. I might increase it next time. Or I might skip it all together. I only wanted to use it up so I can start using my homemade vanilla extract!
    
    Another option is:
     
    Homemade toothpaste3 tbs baking soda (bi-carb soda)
    1/2 tsp salt
    approx. 1 tbs water
    20-30 drops peppermint extract or peppermint essential oil

    * Mix the bi carb soda and salt thoroughly, then add the water a little at a time to form a paste. Add the peppermint extract and combine well. Store in an airtight container.

    Click here to see more of this great blog.
     
    Also, please do not leave comments about your personal feelings about using baking soda or peroxide on your teeth.  People should discuss the recipes with their dentists. 

    PS - If you are wondering what Castile Soap is, it's soap that is made from 100% or nearly 100% olive oil. 



    Homemade Herbal Shampoo

    10 Tutorials for Things to Make For Babies for Christmas Mega Post

    6:54 AM
    I have Christmas crafting on the brain.  I don't really mean making ornaments, but making all of the gifts.  I try to give at least 1 handmade gift to each person on my list.  I find that even among my friends, the handmade items are more treasured than just things that I pick up. 

    This mega roundup is dedicated to things for baby.  I will be doing a few roundups each week for different groups of people.  The next one will be a toddler/preschool roundup.


    Free Baby Booties Pattern & Tutorial





    from Just Tutorials









    Personally, I like to make my burp cloths from scratch, but this tutorial is very nice.  It also occurred to me that because she uses receiving blankets, you could actually make the burp cloths to match the registry items by using receiving blankets from the registry.



    Baby Blanket tutorial




    BONUS 11th Tutorial


    Now that you have 11 free tutorials on things to make for baby this Christmas I am going to do a little section I call

    Tutorial Fusion

    If you want to take these freebie patterns to a new level and make some really high end looking items, you might need to combine a couple of different techniques.

    Bib + Bow

    +







                              Fancy Bib


    Diaper Cover + Bow





    Chemo Cap Pattern + Feather Spray

    If you don't want to make this, then your can purchase it from http://ifthebowfitsboutique.blogspot.com/2010/01/posh-zebra-cotton-baby-beanie-hat.html

    Chemo Cap + Flower
    Again, you can purchase this item if you are not into making from www.ittybittyprettybaby.com.


    Chemo Cap + Iron On Applique



    Baby Booties + Embellishments


    These sweet booties are available at www.claudiasbowtique.com.


    Baby Booties + Applique
    (Try Printable Coloring Pages for Patterns)

    
    

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