Sunday, May 22, 2011

Simple Super Hero Cape

I originally came across this tutorial on the Southern Institute for Domestic Arts and Crafts a few months ago, and knew it would be something my two year old would love. Plus it's super easy and requires zero sewing (unless you want to), so I knew it would be something I would love! Little boys and girls alike will love pretending to be a super hero, or super villain!, with his or her very own cape! All you need is a t-shirt and some felt and you're good to go.


The first thing you will need to do is cut the sleeves off of your shirt. Then you will cut up each side of the shirt so that you can open it and lay it flat.

Next, cut the front of the shirt off, making sure to leave the ribbed neck and part of the shoulders in tact like so:

Flip the shirt over and trim the back so that it's the shape of a cape you want, and then trim the ribbed collar to fit your child's neck. Make sure it's not too tight of course!

Now you can start on your felt design! For your design, you can use a template or freehand it. I chose to use a template for mine. I don't trust myself enough to just go all willy nilly on the felt! This particular cape was made for a little boy named Jack, so I did a basic triangle for the design and a capital letter "J" for the initial. Simple!

Trace your design and initial onto pieces of paper then cut them out. Flip them over and trace them the wrong way onto your felt. This will ensure that the pen marks are on the side of the felt that will be attached to the cape.

Once you have all of your felt pieces cut out grab your felt glue (or glue gun if you don't have felt glue), and glue them together. If you're using felt glue you will need to let it completely dry for 24 hours before completing your cape.
When the glue is dry, flip the decal over and add velcro to the back. Then put velcro on the cape. You can skip this step if you'd like and just glue it onto your cape, but trust me...use the velcro. I learned that the hard way. Felt starts to get pretty nasty after a few washes!

Do the same for the ribbed neck of the cape. This helps make it easier for little people to put it on and take it off.

I decided on a whim to make a little felt piece to put on the closure of the cape. I felt that it really completed the whole look!

And you're finished! The first time you make a cape will take you a little while, but the more you make them the faster you get at it! This one took me about 45 minutes to make because I had to take pictures of each step. It's also a great project for the little ones to help out with. They can choose the colors they want and the design to go on the back. If you're feeling brave, you can even let them help you cut the designs out!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vegetable Soup

Lately I've been trying to come up with supper ideas that will feed us for more than just one meal. The first thing that popped into my head was soup. Soups are great for meal stretching. Vegetable soup is a delicious, economical way to not only stretch a meal, but your budget as well. It's also a great way to use up those veggies that are wilting and have seen better days, but aren't ready to be thrown out yet. I didn't really follow a recipe for this, so I don't have any links to share. I kind of made it up as I went. It was delicious! It had great flavor. I'll definitely be adding this to my rotation.

You will need

1 carton of chicken broth
3 cans of tomato juice (or v-8)
half of a head of cabbage 
4 medium sized potatoes
2 medium sized carrots
3 stalks of celery celery
1 can of corn (do not drain)
1 small bag of frozen veggies
2 cups of water (not pictured)

Wash and peel your potatoes and carrots. Then roughly chop your celery, potatoes, carrots and cabbage like so:

In my opinion, a vegetable soup should be a hearty rustic looking meal, and I love having chunks of veggies in each bite.

Next, pour your liquid into a large stock pot. I call mine my gumbo pot :)

Add all of your vegetables to the pot and season with salt and pepper. I also added some granulated garlic because I can't cook anything without it!

Bring your soup to a boil and reduce your heat. Let it simmer until everything is cooked through and tender. I let mine simmer for about 2 hours then left it on low until it was time to eat.

And you're finished! Serve it with a nice hunk of French bread or another nice crusty bread and you've got a cost efficient, delicious meal!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Layout!

Sorry I've been MIA, I've been working with my friend Becca, the lovely owner of Jumping Jax Designs on a brand spankin' new blog design! I absolutely LOVE IT!!! What do you think? Awesome huh? She totally captured exactly how I wanted the blog to look. She's fabulous, not to mention one of the sweetest people I know! Thanks Becca, you rock!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Diaper Box Revamp

As you know, I have a two year old son. We haven't started potty training yet, so we always have an empty diaper box lying around. Or is it laying around? Laying and lying always confuses me. But I digress... I've been in desperate need of storage boxes in my craft room, but buying several boxes (about 6) at once just isn't in the budget. Last night I was poking around in Parker's closet and I came across three empty boxes. It was like a light bulb went off! I could make my own boxes! I had a roll of wrapping paper in the guest closet, so I grabbed the boxes and paper locked myself in my craft room for a little "me time" and got to work. It took about 30 minutes from start to finish to make one box. This is a great nap time or bed time project. Or even a "Husband (boyfriend, significant other), you watch the kids, Mama needs a time out!" project!

Supplies needed:

The first thing I did was cut off the flaps of the box with my exacto knife. Then I cut the the two small flaps where the handles are.

Your box will look like this when you're finished:

This next step is highly scientific. It involves unrolling your wrapping paper and placing your box on top. Then cutting. Whew, that's some hard stuff right there! Make sure to leave some overlap. you'll be folding it over your edges. Do this for all four sides.

You'll end up with four (possibly different in size if you're not big on measuring like me) rolls of paper.

Now here's the part where I tell you to do as I say and not as I do. Had I paid closer attention to the back of the label on the adhesive, I would have seen the part that says "do this is a well ventilated area." My craft room is NOT a well ventilated area. By the time I was finished I felt funny. The fumes definitely got to me. I suggest doing these next steps outside. Your lungs will thank you. Plus, the adhesive gets everywhere! Your clothes, body, hair, etc will thank you as well. :)

Following the directions on the back of your can, spray an even coat of adhesive on the side of your box.

Very carefully place your wrapping paper on top of the adhesive and rub out any air pockets or creases.

Continue doing this for the remaining three sides. Then grab your scissors and cut slits along the paper so that it will fold over the edges of the box. You want your sides to look like this:

Grab your exacto knife and cut around the paper where the handle opening is so that you will have something to grab onto when handling your box. I forgot to take a picture of that step, but you can see what I did in the picture above.

Follow the same steps for the bottom of your box that you did for the top. It should look similar to this when you are finished:

And you're finished!

Or are you? I loved the box the way it was, but felt like something was missing. So I added some ribbon going lengthwise down the box. I think it made a big difference!

I know several of you probably have empty diaper boxes just waiting to be turned into something pretty and useful! It's a good way to reduce waste as well.

Now go make some storage boxes of your own!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Five Minute Brooch

I was browsing around Hobby Lobby the other day (I know big shock there) when I came across an adorable owl pendant. I knew I wanted it, but I didn't want to use it for its intended purpose of going on a necklace. I scooped it up because it was the last one they had and continued looking around. Then I saw a package of feathers formed into a circle and knew exactly what I was going to make with my cute little owl pendant. A brooch for my sister. She's been on a real owl kick lately, and this is perfect for her.

This project was a cinch to make. I call it the five minute brooch because that's exactly how long it took me to throw together. It's a fast and easy (not to mention cheap!) way to make an impact or spice up an otherwise drab outfit. The best part about this owl brooch is that it can be used on practically anything. Let's get started shall we?


The felt circle is optional if you don't want to use it. I used it just to have a little extra reinforcement on my brooch. 

The first thing I did was cut off the little loop at the top of the pendant for a necklace to slide through. I didn't feel it was necessary for it to be there. I just hacked away at it with a pair of scissors until it came off. :)

Take your pendant and add a generous amount of hot glue to the back like so:

Now place it onto your feathers. It would be a smart idea to figure out your placement BEFORE you start gluing though. That way you don't ruin your pretty little feathers!

Let your glue set for a minute, then flip your brooch over. Grab your pin and decide where you want it to go, then slap some glue on the back of it and put it on the back of the brooch like so:

Here's where the felt circle comes into play if you decide to use it. Put glue on the back of the felt and place it over the inside of the pin (the three circles). I don't have a picture of this step, but it's pretty self explanatory.

And that's all she wrote folks! You now have a one of a kind brooch that you can wear on basically any article of clothing or even put it on a bag. And you can whip it up during a commercial break of your favorite TV show. ;)

Go forth and craft!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Edible Birds' Nest...aka, Last Minute Easter Dessert!

What a crazy week we have had! Last Saturday we had to take the little man to urgent care because he had a high fever that just wouldn't go down with medication. Turns out the poor dude had tonsilitis *sad face*. THEN it was back to urgent care Sunday morning because I somehow managed to strain a muscle in my shoulder going to bed the night before *double sad face*. I got some awesome pain meds and a snazzy new sling out of it. Thankfully we are both back to our old selves again!

Today's tutorial is actually a recipe, and an easy one at that. There is absolutely no measuring! Hurray! I've seen these little edible nests all over the interweb this year and figured they would be a cute and fun Easter dessert for the kiddos. They took about 30 min from start to finish. (Just enough time for me to watch a DVRed (DVR'd?) episode of Extreme Couponing.) Just a warning before you get started though! Your hands will be extremely messy! If you let the kids help out expect a nice big ol' mess. I did mine while the boy napped. My nerves can't handle another mess today ;)

Supplies Needed:

Chow Mein noodles. These can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.
Chocolate that melts well. I used Wilton's candy melts.
Wax Paper
Cookie sheet (or a pizza pan if you're me)
Candy to use as your eggs (jelly beans, mini chocolate eggs, whatever!)

The first thing you will do is melt your chocolate. I just threw mine in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring each time. It's very important to not overheat your chocolate! Overheating it WILL ruin it.

Combine your chocolate and chow mein making sure to evenly coat the noodles.

Now comes the fun part! Take a handful of your noodle/chocolate mixture and put it onto your wax paper. Form it into a nest, and make sure you leave a decent sized opening in the center.

See! I told you it was messy!

Once you've assembled all of your nests, pop them in the freezer for about 5 minutes so the chocolate can set. When that's all said and done you are ready to place your eggs. I used the Cadbury mini eggs. You can use whatever you want though.

And here's the finished product: