clothespin dolls

Bridget found some clothespins I had recently bought and wanted to do a craft with them.  I bought them specifically to make clothespin dolls.  This is not that different from the princess wooden spoon, but just as much fun and you can make an entire family!

The directions and inspiration was from the book Green Crafts For Children.

Bridget enjoyed drawing the faces on the dolls

After drawing faces with markers, we cut strips of fabric for dresses and used yard to wrap around to secure the dress and make a top.  We used a dab of hot glue to secure the yarn.  We then made yarn hair and used hot glue to secure.  For the boys, the instructions call to wrap the “legs” with yarn, but that takes a little time and I had to do it.  We found we could color the legs with markers to make pants for two of our boy dolls.  You could also use paint, but I did not feel like a paint mess that afternoon.

We also snacked on this delicious mix:

  • 1 part pistachios (we like Trader Joe’s dry roasted/salted nutmeats)
  • 1 part mini chocolate chips (we had these left over from our walrus cupcakes)
  • 1 part raisins (cranberries or cherries would be yummy too!) our family: daddy (it was B’s idea to make a tie for him),  mom, Bridget, Paddy, Gaga and Papa

Princess Spoon

My daughter is a very crafty girl.  Most days she says, “let’s make a craft!”  She told me that her teacher calls her “craft girl” at school.  I try to keep simple, inexpensive ready-made craft kits on hand for days when my creative juices aren’t flowing. 

However, I am currently all out of craft kits, so I said “let’s go look in our craft room and see what we can find.”  Somedays half the fun is selecting a craft to do.  We have a rather large mudroom that we use as a craft space for the kids. 

I broke out our “I can cut and stick” book in search of ideas and found the page where you take a wooden spoon and turn it into a princess. 

It met our qualifications of being simple and we have all the supplies on hand.

  • We simply painted one side of an extra wooden spoon.
  • We then cut yard for hair (Bridget loves to cut anything) and of course we used red yarn
  • We then hot glued the hair on (the book calls for regular glue, but hot glue sticks better and dries quickly)
  • Bridget glued sequences on a doily for the crown
  • We drew on a face and added googly eyes (another favorite craft item)
  • We then simply wrapped the handle of the spoon with fabric and secured with a rubber band and tied a tulle bow around it to hide the rubber band.

You could make several of these and use as puppets.  Bridget also suggested we make a pirate spoon next time. . .Finished princess spoon

House Pouch

I finished the little house pouch purse for my niece today.  Another present that is going to Argentina with my mom on Sunday.  The pattern and instructions can be found here from the long thread.  This is my third one that I have made.  The instructions are great, and I pretty much follow them exactly, but I have made a few of my own tweaks.  I added the strap to the back, making it more of a little girl’s purse. 

To add a strap, simply pin it behind the roof piece in step 7, before you sew it all up.   I also added a little button embellishment on the back. 

I love this project because it can be done in one night or easily broken up over a week (which is how I like to do it).  It also is a great one to use up any cute scraps you have lying around.  I used wool felt for the door, windows and flowers, which worked well. This is the one I made for my daughter and gave it to her the day we closed on our new home. 

A little info about where I sew:  The lovely thing about moving from a larger more expensive city to a smaller more affordable one is that you can get a larger home for less money.  This has resulted in me having a room all to my own.  We have only been in our home 4 months, so the room is not pretty yet, but it is amazing to have my own space to sew in, even if it is on top of an inexpensive fold up table from Wal-Mart.

I sew on a Brother Innov-is 40 Project Runway edition.  Like most hobbies, the equipment you have makes a difference.  This is a great machine that while not cheap, is not over the top expensive either, and I love that is pink.   I previously was sewing on an old Kenmore from the 70’s.  Old machines are great if they work, but when mine started to go, I found it was not that much more money to replace it and having to only press one button to make a button hole makes all of the difference to me!

Another thing I bought for myself was personalized embroidered tags to put on the things I make.  I bought mine from namemaker where they are loomed in Europe. 

I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob

Today is my husband, Patrick’s birthday.  The kids and I decorated these ridiculously cute cupcakes for him.

We got the decorating idea from my daughter’s Your Big Backyard magazine she receives from the National Wildlife Federation.  We started getting Animal Baby for her when she was two, and now Paddy gets Animal Baby and Bridget gets the “big girl” magazine.  The quality of the magazines is top-notch and the kids LOVE getting mail.  I even caught Patrick reading Your Big Backyard, and when I teased him that it was for 4-7 year olds, he said, “I like pictures of animals too!” 

Also one of my most favorite items is this cupcake carrier. It used to be such a pain to store and transport cupcakes, but not anymore!

In the spirit of all things domestic, I snapped this photo of my 18 month year old son vacuuming with his man bag.  My husband loves to vacuum and so does Paddy.

Snow, Snow Globes and Scones

I love snowy days when we have absolutely nowhere to be or go.

Today was one of those lovely days where the kids stayed in their pajamas most of the day.  We lounged around the house, our next door neighbors stopped by for a bit, and I tried to bask in the yoga pant/sweatshirt/dry-shampoo hair day glory of being a mom of young children.

I have always loved to bake, and I already see that love in my daughter as she measures and talks about what ingredients go into a recipe.  I really love to bake on cold winter days when there is no immediate need to wash the dishes.  (Dishes are the only reason why I don’t bake every day.)  Today we made these delicious scones.  This recipe was given to me by a dear church lady that attended the moms Bible study I used to go to in Oak Park- it is super yummy and super easy to make, and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.

Cranberry, Walnut and Lemon Scones

  • 1 cup, plus 2 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
  •  3 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) chilled butter, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup (or more) chilled half and half (I have used milk and it turns out fine)
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and line baking sheet with parchment (you can also spray with no-stick spray if you don’t have parchment)

  3. Whisk together 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp lemon juice for the glaze and set aside.
  4. Blend together flour, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and 1 cup sugar in large bowl.
  5. Add butter and using fingertips, rub until a course meal forms. Mix in cranberries and walnuts.
  6. Add half and half and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Toss with a fork until dough comes together, adding more half and half if dough is dry (sometimes I add a little more lemon juice).
  7. Gather dough into a ball, divide in half. Press out each half on a floured surface to 6-inch diameter (1-inch high). Cut each round into 6 wedges. Transfer to baking sheet and brush with glaze.
  8. Bake until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes.

Makes some hot tea, turn on Pride and Prejudice and enjoy!

Snow Globe Fun

Bridget and I also made a snow globe today.  I originally got the idea from a parenting magazine email.  Their site has lots of great craft and recipe ideas that are pretty easy.  I googled how to make a snow globe and there are lots of sites that list how to do it, and I found this video on YouTube that was pretty helpful.

Baby food jars are perfect, but we were using a larger Tinkerbell cake topper, so we used a slightly larger glass jar.  The white glitter I had on hand was flaky and you could not see it in the water, so we used gold glitter (so not really snowy, but more fairy dusty).  I found the liquid glycerin in the face moisturizing section at the CVS and I used super glue to glue the figurine on the lid and let it dry overnight.

The key things to remember (especially when making with small children) are to glue the figurine on ahead of time and to also make sure you have distilled water (we used boiled tap water).  I forgot to make the water in advance, so Bridget had to wait for the boiled water to cool in the fridge.

A really fun, super quick and easy craft that can be customized many different ways . . . so save those baby food jars!

Happy Birthday

Today is my nephew’s fourth birthday.  After taking a basic applique sewing class last year, I decided to practice my new skills and applique a few t-shirts for Bridget’s birthday with the number 3 and a robot (last year’s birthday theme). B loved her t-shirts so much, I decided to do it again this year.

Both my nephew and B love batman, so this year I made this t-shirt for both of them .

Custom made t-shirts, especially for birthdays are fun and the kids love them, but they can be very expensive.  I simply buy a pack of Hanes white t-shirts  and use whatever scraps of fabric I have lying around. For this t-shirt, I simply used felt and cut out a batman logo that I found online.  I used a straight stitch and outlined the logo first and then the number to secure them to the t-shirt.

Also because this blog is about cooking too:

 Favorite Cake recipe

(seriously that is the official name of the recipe!)

This recipe is from an old cookbook that my grandmother and mother used.  I never remember my mom ever using a cake mix when I was growing up.

Makes: 2, 8-inch round cakes  (because 8-inch is so hard to find, I usually increase the recipe by half for 9-inch rounds, see increases in parentheses)

Baking Time: about 30 minutes @ 375º F

  • 2 cups cake flour (you can use AP) (3 cups)
  • 3 tsp baking powder (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup oil (3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp salt (1-1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (1-1/2 tsp)
  • 2 eggs (3)
  • 3/4 cup milk (1 cup + 2 Tbsp)

1. Sift Flour and Baking Powder together and set aside

2. Cream Oil, Sugar, Salt and Vanilla.  Add Eggs one at a time until will mixed.

3. Add  Flour mixture  to Oil mixture, alternating with Milk, flour first and last, until well blended. In other words, add a little of the flour, then a little of the milk, then a little flour, than a little milk, etc.  (this prevents the cake from being tough from over mixing the flour)

4. Pour into greased pans (I prefer to spray mine with a  non-stick spray with flour, like Baker’s Joy) and bake at 375 ºF

5. Test with a toothpick or this cute cake tester to see if it is done (it should come out clean).

I usually bake with my children, they love to measure, mix and pour.  It usually makes a bigger mess and sometimes there is a little extra of an ingredient, but it is always worth it (at least most of the time anyways).

I finished the Wonder Pets cape- see pictures!

A few more notes about this project

  • This is a fun, fast, inexpensive cape (not the heirloom quality you see on other blogs or for sale on Etsy)
  • I got the idea to use a t-shirt from my girlfriend who made capes for all 14 children at her son’s superhero party.
  • You can also outline the logo with sparkling fabric paint for a fun look

A  general note about what you will see on this blog

I enjoy sewing and craft projects that can be accomplished fairly quickly and still will look cute even if not perfect.  For those with small children who spend their day repeating the exact same tasks they did the day before, I find there is immense satisfaction in completing a project that won’t become undone or need to be redone shortly.

This is also why I am always looking for a new fun project, I find it is more fun to work on new projects than repeating the same ones over and over (not that I don’t ever remake projects- I do, I just don’t want to feel like I am running a cottage industry.)

Very little, if anything I do is completely made up by me.  My inspiration comes from many places, but a few of my favorites are below

Something you won’t see on my site is amazing photography- I use a point and shoot camera, I do the best I can, but I don’t really have any interest in using an SLR, but really admire everyone who does and their beautiful photos.

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