Make It a Bat Cycle

Remember how I told you there was a part 2 to the birthday gift from Monday?, and also how I procrastinated on it even more than the bubbles?

See, his big gift this year was his first ever bicycle. But that is a thing that is most definitely going to outlast his Batman phase and most likely be handed down to his brother. So he got a bike with flames on it but, through a series of random circumstances saw a picture of it and said he would rather have a Batman bike. Ding ding, birthday gift idea!

I had intended to measure the seat of his new bike (which he didn’t know he was getting yet) and all of that the day before his party so I could make a seat cover to give him the next day, but I never got around to it between laundry and lunchtime for baby brother. Luckily, I was set to stay with brother as he napped the next morning and everyone did things to get ready for the party. After everyone left I snuck in to where the bike was hidden, grabbed quick measurements and settled in at the dining room table to cut and sew a seat cover out of felt.

I had made the decal the night before, since that didn’t have to be any particular size. Then I cut out the four pieces of the seat, stitched the decal to the top, and backstitched them all together with embroidery thread to make the seams as secure as possible when hand sewing. I added a pullstring at the bottom so the cover just slips on the seat and is then secured with the string. Baby brother helped out by taking an insanely long nap and waking up just in time for us to walk down to the party and get cake.

It was a hit. He apparently wanted it put on his bike immediately and was incredibly excited about it. Mom was thrilled that he had his own logo on the bubble bottles. (And, let’s face it, at this age handmade gifts are more for mom than for child.) All around a successful birthday gift set.

How badly do you procrastinate on making things for others? Or am I the only one? Are you one of those super organized people who thinks months ahead about gifts and keeps them in a closet until the gift-giving occasion arrives?

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

Well, only a little bit while I was filling the bottles, and when testing out the solution.

What do you do when a kid is really deep into a phase of character obsession? You give in and make everything about his birthday presents reflect that, or course. Well, you do if you are me and generally terrible at coming up with gift ideas.

Confession: I like to make a good chunk of the gifts I give just because I walk into a store to buy something for a person and can spend hours wandering in circles without coming up with anything. At least with making something I can tailor something generic into something I think they will enjoy.

So, what do you give a four-year-old who has a ton of toys and yet mostly just plays with whatever his baby brother is interested in because that’s how four-year-olds are? Bubbles. Also, because that is how I like to keep him occupied outside while said baby brother naps in the mornings.

I made a home-made bubble solution using 1 part baby wash (so it won’t sting so much if bubbles get blown into baby brother’s eyes, ahem), 1 part light corn syrup (so the bubbles are more elastic), and 2 parts water. I also made them slightly more special than store-bought bubbles by creating four smaller bottles of scented bubbles. I added a teaspoon of extract to each of the 3 oz containers to make chocolate, peanut butter, orange, and vanilla bubbles. Then I poured the rest of the bubble solution into the corn syrup and baby wash bottles with the labels removed and set about making my own labels for each bottle.

I created a Batman-esque symbol using his name and then labeled the bubbles with their ingredients, just because that is always a good thing to put on a label. I love Photoshop and Illustrator. Just saying. Anyway, I printed them on clear labels (and forgot how horribly the ink smudges on those labels so my mother and I had to layer packing tape over the top before we stuck them to the bottles) cut them out and stuck them on.

Did I mention I did all of this the day before his birthday party? Yeah, I’m really bad at waiting until the last minute on things like that.

But not as bad as the other part of his gift. Which I will tell you about on Wednesday since I started out writing this as all one post and it got very long and very wordy very quickly. But don’t worry, that one has a story that is just as entertaining as this was, or perhaps even more so.

Do you have a go-to gift idea? What do you get for small children when their birthdays/other gift-giving holidays come around?

Send It Off

I haven’t posted a project that didn’t involve yarn recently, and I want to correct that injustice. Because I do occasionally do something other than sit around an knit. Occasionally. Although I do have a giant string of projects waiting in my Ravelry queue.

Anyway, back in May (I should really catch up on these things already) I had a few occasions that required cards. And most times I like to make cards, unless I find a really funny one at Target. First was a friend’s birthday:

I started with my watercolor cards I bought to make Christmas cards last year and created the purple to pink wash. Then I drew the decorations with markers. I also glued rhinestones on at the last minute, but I didn’t take a picture of it after that (of course). Gold rhinestone in the centers of the flowers, if you are curious.

Then, there was Mother’s day. One grandmother got a lovely plant and the other got a card with a picture of a plant, a week late. Yeah, I’m on top of these holidays this year.

Again, I took my watercolor card and started with washes of color. Over several days, letting the cards dry in between coats, of course, I made a layer of yellow, then slowly added light, transparent washes of the orange and purple to get the desired sunset. Then I took my trusty India ink on a dry brush and created the palm trees with just a few, sweeping brush strokes.

On the inside of this one I used lettering stamps to write “Happy Mother’s Day!” in rainbow colors. Then I signed it and sent it out. Again, a week late. In my defense…well, there really is no excuse except I guess I was just a little busy with a billion different projects getting ready to go on my trip to France. Even though those things were a month apart. Yeah.

I cannot recommend these watercolor cards highly enough if you like to make cards of any kind. They have other versions for different media as well, but I find watercolors to be the best way to make these cards.

My question to you today is: What do you do about greeting cards? Do you make them, buy them, or send e-cards? Do you go for funny or more sappy poignant cards?