Yummy DIY: Rugrats Bouncy Ball Cookies

After watching this Nerdy Nummies episode, I have been determined to make Lego Piñata cookies.

Unfortunately, I’ve been having a ridiculous time trying to find rectangular shaped cookie cutters. They were completely sold out at Michael’s this morning, so I finally just let the baby decide what shape our cookies were going to be and what shape we should put on top. He picked circles for the main cookie and stars for the topper, so what popped into my mind was Tommy’s bouncy ball:

I still made all four colors of the cookies:

(See, I’m even watching the Nerdy Nummies playlist in the background.)

And I set the out in groups so I could alternate the colors.

Unlike the original ball, I tried not to repeat any colors in each cookie. Due to my inability to divide the dough correctly, I ended up with three cookies worth of blue and yellow, but only two cookies worth of red and green. So some colors got repeated.

The filling suggested in the video is mini M&Ms, but we found candy covered sunflower seeds to go in the centers of these instead. I just didn’t take any pictures of that part.

The two cookie cutters I used to make the center cookies were really close in size, so the center rings were a bit flimsy:

(Hey, is that the O from the Nickel-O-Zone? Anyone else even remember that? Just me? Yeah, pretty sure that’s just me.)

To fix them a bit, I put the cookie cutter onto the baking sheet and sort of pressed the O back into the right shape so it would fit well in the middle.

I don’t know that any of the kids I’m feeding these cookies to would get the reference if I explained it to them, but I’m sure there have to be at least a few people out there who still get it. 🙂

DIY Birthday Present: CD With Label and Sleeve

Home-made gifts are always the best, right? I had a flash of brilliance when the four-year-old went on a field trip to the recording studio. (Side note: Where were these awesome field trips when I was in school? Pretty sure we took the same trip to the zoo on the same day every year as our field trips. With the occasional trip to the botanical gardens thrown in every few years.) He was slightly disappointed because he wouldn’t be able to sing “Rainbow Connection” during the class recording session because it was too long. So I made a mental note to revisit that idea for his mom’s birthday.

I got a lucky break when they went out of town on a surprise trip last week and we had four days to record. But even if you don’t have the equipment (or desire) to record the recipient’s favorite songs, you can still make a mix CD. Yes, I said CD. I know you can just email them a playlist, but isn’t it more fun to give a physical gift? That said, you know your own friends and relatives and you know who will just give you a funny look as if they don’t remember how we purchased music before smartphones.

I’ll leave you on your own for the burning of the CD, since every computer and system and program handles that differently. But I don have a few tips to make it even more personal:

1. Make a paper sleeve.

There are all kinds of tutorials for all different kinds of paper sleeves, but I used this one to make a sleeve similar to ones I’ve bought CDs in at the store. That gave me more room to add things like pictures of the kids recording, a track list, “liner notes”, etc. It’s got a space for the CD and a flap that folds over. I used Photoshop to create the case, using the downloads from the tutorial as guidelines. To keep the finished product free of lines, I made the template “layer 1” and just set it to invisible before printing on cardstock, then printed the templates out on plain paper and used them as cutting guides.I also made two of the folded cover, one to be the inside and one to be the outside.

2. Create your own cover art.

I tasked the four-year-old with coloring a picture to be the front of the CD cover, scanned that picture in, then resized it into the outer cover layer. You can also just take a picture and use it the same way.

3. Make a label.

I just grabbed a pack of Memorex CD Labels which have two labels per page, plus jewel case labels and downloaded this Illustrator template which I used in a manner similar to the CD case templates, except I didn’t have to print a copy of the template since it printed directly on the labels.

There you have it: Three easy steps to a one-of-a-kind (or however many you want) birthday gift. Or graduation gift. Or Mother’s Day (which is Sunday!) gift. Or…you get the picture. Have fun with it. Be creative. Especially if you are giving a mom a CD of her children singing her songs. She will love it. And possibly cry.

Happy Easter Eve!

Which snuck up on me like a ninja. Seriously, until last week I wasn’t aware that Easter is tomorrow. Maybe I do miss out on things by not watching broadcast TV. Except I was watching TV last week and didn’t see anything about it…

But, I’m rambling. What I’m really here to say is, “Happy Easter-is-tomorrow, fellow procrastinators!” That’s right, I spent all afternoon making Easter surprises for the boys because that is how on top of it I am. And because I know there have to be at least a few people out there in the same boat, here is a quick tutorial of what I did today. Well, quick if you actually have the right supplies on hand.

Do yourself a favor and start by clicking that image to download the template for all of the pieces of the egg and chick. That will save you a lot of time. If you want to also cut out the name of the recipient to glue on, the font used is American Typewriter set in bold at 72pt.

Now, gather some paper in the colors you want to use. You know, pick one color for the eggshell, one for the stripes, one for the dots (which I used as eyes because putting the double stick tape on each one was going to be really annoying to use them as shell decoration), one for the letters, yellow for the chick’s body, and orange for the beak. You will also want glue of some sort, but double stick tape will work in a pinch. And don’t forget the scissors or X-acto knife.

As you can see, I didn’t have colored paper on hand. I made some instead using some Strathmore Mixed Media Paper in the 6×8 size and my Prismacolor markers. It took a few coats, but I came up with these:

Now it’s time to cut out all of the pieces using whichever color you choose. Note: The beak pieces, wings, and chick body need to be cut out for each side but were not included twice on the printout. Sorry. Also, the print out makes one set of pieces, but the pictures show it doubled since I was making two at a time.

Working from the inside out, first glue the beak pieces together to make two double-sided triangles. Set them like a slightly open beak inside the body pieces and glue the body pieces together. Next, set the chick in the top opening of the egg and glue the egg together. Decorate the egg with the zigzags and dots, then attach the wing to the body overlapping the egg. Finally, put the letters on the front, add an eye to the chick, and you are finished!

See how easy that is? The most time-consuming part (assuming you are using pre-colored paper) is cutting out all the pieces. If you choose to make one, leave me a link in the comments. I’d love to see them.

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Quick DIY: Mini Heart Pillows

One would think it would be impossible to forget a holiday that is advertised everywhere for the month and a half leading up to it, but one would be wrong. That is how I found myself desperately making four Valentine’s at 8:00pm Thursday night. At first I attempted to knit some little heart pillows. I found the perfect tutorial and had set about on the knitting, when I looked at the clock, realized it was 9:00pm now, and saw that I was only about a quarter of the way through Valentine #1.

Change of plans, and quick. I don’t have much in the way of craft supplies just lying around. Sure, I could draw up some cards in no time, but these are for little people who are pre-reading and would really rather have something tangible. So I dug through my meager closet stash and found a piece of purple, a piece of yellow, and a large piece of green felt in my “leftovers” basket.

With just the felt, a pair of scissors, some embroidery thread, and a minuscule amount of supplemental yarn to add to the padding, I managed to whip up some cute little love pillows.

Mini Heart Pillow DIY

Materials

  • Colored Craft Felt
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery Thread
  • Stuffing (can use fiber fill, left-over fabric/yarn, basically whatever you have on hand to fill the pillow with)

Instructions

  1. Cut two matching heart shapes from the felt. This can either be done with a template you create on paper or, my favorite method, by folding the felt in half while cutting to keep the hearts as close to each other in shape as possible.
  2. Using all six strands of embroidery thread (to make it stand out; use less if you want a more subtle effect), back-stitch the name of the recipient or your desired message onto one of the felt hearts. This tutorial from wikiHow can help if you have never done a back-stitch before. Note- I don’t knot my thread, i just leave a bit hanging at the beginning of my work on the wrong side of the fabric.
  3. Holding both hearts wrong sides together, take all six strands of thread and a running stitch around the edges to hold the pieces together. Be sure to stuff it as you go so you aren’t trying to push a whole pillow’s-worth of stuffing through a tiny hole at the end.
  4. Bring the end of your thread through the middle of the pillow, putting the needle in between the felt pieces at the edge and taking it out the same way at the opposite edge and cut the thread close to the pillow.

And that is it. You have a nice little gift to show your love and appreciation of a loved one in a very short amount of time. I think each of these took me around ten minutes from start to finish. It may take you more or less time depending on how proficient you are at sewing and embroidery, of course.

What kinds of gifts did you give for Valentine’s day?

Quick DIY: Patch Your Skinny Jeans

Everyone has that one pair of favorite, worn-in skinny jeans. Unfortunately, those are usually the ones that get torn up beyond “fashionably distressed.” That is where my pair ended up a few weeks ago, with the left leg ripped halfway from the knee to the ankle.

The main problem was the high spandex content in my jeans. The rip happened from my knee poking through the original hole, so I didn’t want to patch it with something stiff. I was fairly certain I had seen spandex/cotton patches at the store. Apparently, that was something I imagined.

For those of you in the same situation, I’ll give you a simple solution. Go to the thrift store and find a cheap pair of jeans with the same fiber content. That’s the most important part. Seriously, you need to check the tag in your jeans, right down the exact percentages of fiber, and then search through your store for a pair that is the same. You want it to stretch the same amount.

Your next step will be to find a part of the thrift store jeans that are in tact and the same width as the area you wish to patch. I had a pair of jeans about three sizes smaller, but with a slightly flared leg that worked perfectly below the knee to reach slightly longer than seam to seam.

Flip your jeans inside out and lay your patch on the space you need to cover, wrong side facing up (like above). I wanted to leave the original hole open, so I set it just at the edge. Sew the vertical edges of the patch to the seams of your jeans, then flip them inside out again.

Starting from the top, use an elastic stitch (it usually looks like a dotted zig-zag stitch on your machine) to create horizontal lines about 1-1.5 inches apart. It also helps to start and end each line with a few straight stitches (and backstitch them).

Try to match your thread as much as you can. The elastic stitch helps to hide it a bit, too. Or, you could always use a very different color of thread to make the patch a design element. Another tip, you don’t have to sew directly along the top or bottom edges. Your first and last lines will hold the piece in place well enough, along with it being stitched along the edges, that it won’t fold over when you put your pants on.

Mitts (Perhaps a Bit Late)

I had the grand notion of making mitts for all the kids for Christmas. You probably know where this story is going by now. Had the yarn, didn’t have the time, continued making them now. I started the first, smallest pair on December 22, and then left them to sit in a drawer until about last week.

Once I actually got started working on them, it took less than a day for the baby size. I don’t think it was much longer for the bigger ones to fit a small child. These are just basic mitts, 2×2 rib on the bottom and top, stockinette in the middle with a slit thumb worked back and forth.

Exact recipe for the baby mitts (ages 2ish-3ish):
Materials:
– Knit Picks Stroll Sock Yarn
– Size 1.5 (2.5mm) and 2.5 (3.0mm) circular or double point needles
Gauge
9 stitches x 10 rows = 1 inch in Stockinette Stitch
Instructions
1. Cast on 52 stitches. Join to work in the round.
2. Knit 2 Purl 2 rib for 1.25 inches.
3. Change color and work 3 rows stockinette (Knit all stitches).
4. Switch to knitting flat, slipping the first stitch of each row (knit one row, turn at end and purl back, turn again and knit, etc.) for 1 inch.
5. Rejoin in the round and knit for .5 inches.
6. Change to ribbing color, knit 1 round.
7. Knit 2 Purl 2 rib for .5 inches.
8. Bind off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off or any other bind-off that will stretch with the ribbing.

As you can see, the big kid’s (ages 4ish-6ish) version isn’t much different, just larger proportions:
Instructions
1. Cast on 60 stitches. Join to work in the round.
2. Knit 2 Purl 2 rib for 1.5 inches.
3. Change color and work 5 rows stockinette (Knit all stitches).
4. Switch to knitting flat, slipping the first stitch of each row (knit one row, turn at end and purl back, turn again and knit, etc.) for 1.5 inch.
5. Rejoin in the round and knit for .75 inches.
6. Change to ribbing color, knit 1 round.
7. Knit 2 Purl 2 rib for .75 inches.
8. Bind off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off or any other bind-off that will stretch with the ribbing.

As always, if you make these, leave a comment with a link to pictures. I love to see everyone else’s take on things like this. Also, do you have a favorite glove/mitten pattern? What is your policy on Christmas presents that don’t get finished/given for Christmas? Do you just give it whenever, or do you hold it over until the next Christmas/gift-giving opportunity?

DIY Friday: Arm Knitting?

Okay, before I get into my real topic for this post, I just have to share this Lucy Neatby provisional cast on video. I was listening to old (2009) episodes of the KnitPicks Podcast where someone suggested this video, so I went to check it out. I seriously don’t know why it was so difficult before, but she explains it perfectly in this video. If you are confused as to how to provisionally cast on, watch it immediately. Or when you have a spare moment.

Now, on to today’s real topic: arm knitting. I’ve seen finger knitting before with yarn, but never one that uses your whole arm. I’m still not sure this is something I will be trying, but for those who want to try (or if you just want to see how this works) here is a good instruction video I found by Audra Kurtz of The Kurtz Corner. Here are her instructions for arm knitting:

Has anyone tried this before? Or even heard of it? Because “wandering” around YouTube was the first time I had ever seen it. I think. I may have seen it before and just forgot about. That does happen from time to time.