The boys and I made some personalized tea towels for gifts and had a lot fun in the process. Actually, Daddy helped too. He was the Transformers expert. My five year old really got into it, creating Transformers designs. I would love to take credit for this idea, but I saw it on a favorite blog, I Can Teach my Child
To make these towels, you can purchase finished kitchen towels and attach the handmade design or make homemade towels. I made homemade towels since I had lots of fabric on hand.
Tea towels or fabric to make towels
Cotton fabric for artistic design
T-shirt (fabric markers)
I bought two natural colored fat quarters and cut them each into 4 sections with pinking shears. I needed 7 pieces of fabric for the boys to color. I used pinking shears to help prevent raveling.
The boys had a lot of fun coloring the fabric pieces. Make sure to use t-shirt (fabric) markers so that the drawing will not wash out of the fabric.
I used one of my towels as a pattern and cut the new towels out with pinking shears.
I folded the edges over once and hemmed them. I figured by cutting the fabric with pinking shears, I would reduce raveling so I didn't turn the edges under. If you have time, I would turn the edges under.
I pinned the artwork fabric to the tea towel and sewed it in place with a simple straight stitch.
This week is teacher appreciation week. Parents at my oldest son's preschool have organized something for each day. Today we brought in food for the teachers. I made homemade tortilla chips
. Tomorrow, everyone is supposed to bring in a small gift that the teachers will enjoy over summer vacation. I completely forgot to pick something up today and started trying to think how we could manage to stop in the morning and still get to school on time. Then I realized that I could probably come up with something suitable that we already had. I found some coffee samples (we don't drink coffee) and individually wrapped specialty tea bags. I decided this could work. What says relaxing summer vacation more than coffee and tea? Maybe alcohol - but we won't go there.
Now that I had gifts for my son's three amazing teachers, I had to make them look pretty. I rummaged through my sewing tub and found some scrap fabric and ribbon.
I trimmed the edges of the fabric with pinking shears, then tied the fabric up around each gift to create these simple little bundles. I think this is the perfect teacher gift and it is frugal because I did not have to buy anything.
We really love our flannel sheets during the cold winter months. We had flannel sheets on every bed in the house except our toddler bed. I searched online and in several stores for toddler bed flannel sheets with no luck. Finally, I decided to try making them myself and it was much easier than I thought it would be. I am by no means an expert seamstress and I managed to put together a pretty good set of sheets. If you have access to a sewing machine and can sew a straight line, you can handle this do-it-yourself project.
To make this sewing project even easier, I purchased a flannel crib sheet on Amazon for the bottom sheet. All I had to do was make a simple top sheet and a pillow case. I already had some flannel I had purchased for baby gifts on sale a couple of years ago and never used, so I put it to good use. I didn't take any notes as I was making the sheets, but I think 3 yards of fabric should be plenty for a top sheet and a pillow case.
Top Sheet Instructions:
I used a toddler bed sheet as a pattern and left room at each end to turn the fabric under and make a nice hem. I used the entire width of the fabric b/c I needed all of it to make the sheet wide enough. This was nice because I only had to cut one end of the fabric.
Next I turned under each side and pinned them in place. My hem is very small here so that I could get as much width as possible.
Then I sewed the hem in place removing the pins as I went.
I sewed the sides first and then the ends, leaving a larger hem on the ends. Top sheet complete.
I used a standard pillowcase as a pattern to cut the fabric for the pillowcase. Fold the fabric before cutting and you only have to cut and sew three sides of the pillowcase.
When you cut the fabric for the pillowcase, cut it slightly larger than the pattern pillowcase on three sides and a lot larger on one end so that you can make a nice hemmed edge on the open end.
Turn under and sew a nice wide hem on the end of the fabric where the pillowcase opening will be.
After you have made the hem for the opening of the pillowcase, pin the side and end that still need to be sewn. Make sure to put right sides together. Sew the end and side. Turn pillowcase right side out and then you are done.
Cozy Toddler Bed Flannel Sheets
This is the easiest homemade laundry detergent. I have been using it for a couple of weeks with great results. Don't forget to enter my giveaway for 20 Mule Team Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
1 Fels-Naptha laundry bar
1 capful of Purex Crystals (optional for added scent)
1. Grate on a fine grater a bar of Fels-Naptha laundry soap.
2. Then mix in the super washing soda, borax, and optional Purex Crystals. That is all there is to it. Use 1 to 2 Tbsp. detergent per laundry load depending on size of load.
I made the boys homemade trick or treat bags this year. They have already used them a couple of times for Halloween parties and they have held up well. I found some templates for pumpkin carving
and used them for stencils to make the Halloween designs on the front of the bags. I bought pre-cut felt letters to make it easy. I love this owl. I am going to make an owl trick or treat bag for our youngest (next year - he's still young for candy so I didn't stress out trying to get three of these done).
I used a stencil to cut out the design for the front of the bag then I used felt glue to glue the design down.
I bought pre-cut felt squares at the craft store. I used a whole square for the front and back. I cut a square in half legnthwise for the sides. Then I placed the cut side piece on a pre-cut square to cut the correct width for the bottom piece.
I cut two full legnth strips for the handles.
Once you have all of your cut pieces you are ready to begin sewing. First sew the handles to the inside top portion of your front and back panels.
Next sew the sides together leaving a little room at the bottom to sew on the bottom panel.
Sew on the bottom panel and you are done. Happy trick or treating!
Recycled Milk Jug Hen Easter Basket
You can make an adorable Hen Easter Basket out of a recycled milk jug.
You will need:
Clean milk jug
Single hole punch
Small piece of felt
Wiggly eyes or sharpie marker
1. Trace the outline of the shape of the hen basket on the milk carton. Shape it so that the handle becomes the hen’s face and the top of the jug becomes a bonnet.
2. Cut out the shape then use the hole punch to cut holes around the edge of the hen basket.
3. Glue the bonnet onto the top of the handle. Cut a slit into the handle and push a small diamond of felt into the slit to form the beak. Glue wiggly eyes onto the handle or draw eyes with a sharpie marker.
4. Lace ribbon through the holes in the edges of the basket to give it a smooth finished edge. Your children can actually do the lacing. Smaller children might need some help. Make curls with the curling ribbon to decorate the bonnet and tail.
You can save your hen basket and reuse it year after year by storing it in a plastic bag. Mine is several years old and has made many appearances at Easter.
These were really easy to make and my boys loved helping. They will make a great addition to Valentine goody bags. If your crayon box looks anything like ours, you already have a great start.
1. Spray non-stick cooking spray in a sylicone candy mold or metal mini cupcake pan. Use a heart-shaped pan or whatever pan you have that will work. It needs to be oven safe.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees.
3. Peel broken crayons and break them even smaller if needed to fit them into your mold.
4. Bake in the oven 10 - 15 minutes until melted. Let cool.
5. Put mold in the freezer until crayons are solid. Push crayons out of the mold. They are difficult to remove. Just push hard and they will come out. A metal pan may be easier.
My son has a couple of birthday parties coming up for his pre-school classmates so I have been on the lookout for some nice but inexpensive wrapping paper. I experienced sticker shock in Meijer last week when every roll of wrapping paper was $5 to $6. I would never pay that much for one roll so I decided to wait and see if I saw a good deal elsewhere or get really creative. My parents sent the boys a Radio Flyer wagon for Christmas and it was packed in a huge box with a lot of brown packing paper. I rolled the paper and kept it for future use in the garage.
I cut a big piece of paper and let my two year old color while I stenciled with some cake stencils. We added lots of scribbles and colorful swirls.
We made a card that looks like a crayon box and attached it to the front of an actual crayon box and taped it to the present. This was a lot of fun and we reused some of our packing paper. I think the present is pretty adorable too.
The other day I noticed a draft by the front door so my oldest and I decided we would make a draft snake. We used materials we already had and recycled some of my husband's old jeans for fabric. I always save his old jeans when he is done with them so I can reuse the fabric for sewing projects. This was a fun project to complete with my son. He helped me measure the door and the fabric. He also helped fill the snake with beans and fabric scraps. Then my husband drew scale patterns on the snake's back and they both colored them in.
Small piece of felt for the tongue
Two buttons for eyes (I save the extra buttons that come with new clothes)
Long piece of fabric for snake body
Dry beans and fabric scraps for filling
T-shirt markers if you want to draw scale patterns
1. Measure your door to see how much fabric you will need. Then measure and cut the fabric adding a few inches. I measured my door at 32 inches and added 4 inches making my fabric legnth 36 inches. I did not measure the width of the fabric. I just cut as wide as I thought would work for the snake. You only need to cut one piece of fabric because you can fold it to make a tube for the snake's body.
2. Fold your cut fabric so that the wrong side is out and sew along the bottom and side. Then turn the fabric so that the right side is out and you have a tube with one open end. Trim the open end so that it has a curved shape like a snake's mouth.
3. Sew two buttons onto what will be the snake's head. Cut a tongue shape out of your felt and sew it into the bottom of what will be the snake's mouth.
4. Fill the snake with dry beans and fabric scraps. The more beans you use, the heavier it will be so add some fabric scraps unless you want a 10 pound snake.
5. Leave a little room at the top so that you can sew the mouth shut. You may need to have someone hold the snake for you if you sew this part on a sewing machine. I sewed the mouth shut with a zigzag stitch twice to make sure that it was very secure. You could also hand sew this part.
6. If you would like to make a scale pattern on the snake's back draw a simple pattern with t-shirt or other fabric markers. Color in the scales or let your children have fun coloring.