Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easy Nancy Drew Lampshade

Pin It

I am still having fun with my cutting machine. Last week I made a Sherlock Holmes pillow using freezer paper. I had to follow up with my other favorite detective! To make this I used my Silhouette cutting machine but you absolutely can do it with scissors if you are a careful cutter. I printed out multiple copies of Nancy Drew's silhouette on black craft paper and cut them out. Then I took a Dollar Store lampshade and glued them on using matte Mod Podge. I added trim and pom poms and the shade was ready.  The base was clear glass and I covered with with black tissue paper and Mod Podge. I think the texture looks pretty good but it would be easy to find a base that doesn't need to be altered or to alter it in a different way like by painting it.
I actually was in such a hurry I didn't do a very good job placing the figures. It would be worth your time to use a ruler and mark off where you will put the cut outs. I also should have marked where the pom pom and trim would be placed as I will confess these are a little haphazard as well. However I am still pretty pleased with this cute little lamp and am already thinking about other shades I can make people like a Virginia Woolf shade for my mom or a Beethoven shade for Annabelle's music teacher. You can pick any image and see how easy it is!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Freezer Paper Silhouette Stencil

Pin It
I recently bought myself a Silhouette Portrait machine. I am usually the last person to find out about anything cool and I think in this case I once again have missed years of fun I could have been having using this amazing electronic cutting machine. I thought it was for scrap booking and never really paid attention to the other things it is good for. Anyway, one thing it does really, really well is cut intricate designs onto paper. This is good news for me because I like to make fabric stencils using freezer paper and it is pretty hard for me to cut freezer paper with a lot of accuracy using an x-acto knife because it tends to tear. Having said that, you can do this project without a machine if you have a lot of patience and are a careful cutter. I decided to have my first project be the man very close to my heart: Sherlock Holmes. You could pick any favorite silhouette or outline to stencil. It would also be really cute to make stencils of your children's silhouettes. For an easy way to get a good silhouette from a photograph see our old Christmas post Tiny Silhouettes.

  • Freezer paper
  • iron
  • Cricut or Silhouette machine or tiny sharp scissors and x-acto knife
  • fabric paint
  • fabric to apply the silhouette to. I used a square of cotton.
  •  image that you want to use
  1. Trace your image onto freezer paper and cut it out or use a cutting machine. The shiny side will be facing down when you iron it on but up when you print it out so you may need to reverse your design.
  2. Iron the freezer paper stencil onto the fabric. It tends to be curly so I tack down edges and work slowly, making sure it is totally flat. After it is on then I go over it a bunch of times to make sure it is totally adhered at every edge.
  3. Fill in the stencil with fabric paint. 
  4. Let it dry according to the instructions that come with the fabric paint. Mine had to stay untouched overnight, then I heat set it with an iron.
  5. Now you may use your stencil. I made a patchwork pillow with mine.You probably have all sorts of other fun ideas!

You may want to check out another silhouette project featuring another detective.
Easy Nancy Drew Lampshade

Friday, March 21, 2014

Little Fimo Chocolate Bunnies

Pin It

Easter always brings to mind the images of chocolate bunnies!
I have to admit, I rarely find any of the giant chocolate bunnies to taste very good, but I feel they
need to be included every Easter for some strange reason. 

Well these little bunnies look cute and chocolatey but are not edible, they are for play!

 They are very easy and quick to make too!

Here is what you will need;
  • +Fimo clay in shades of brown and dark brown, white, and pink
  • +a toothpick
  • +small knife (like pearing knife) or sharp clay tools

 So first, you see all the shapes you will need to make. The final bunny is just over 2" tall.
Roll your clay into the following shapes, just molding with your hands
  • Brown oval shape for body, about 1" tall
  • 2 brown flat circles for legs, about 3/4" tall
  • 2 brown small rolled ovals for feet
  • 1 brown perfectly rolled ball for head, about 1/2"
  • 2 brown 1" flat ovals for ears
  • 2  lighter brown/white flat ovals for inside ear
  • 1 lighter brown/white 1/2" long flat oval for belly
  • 1 pink tiny little triangle for nose
  • 1 pink rolled ball for tale, about the size of a pea
When the pieces are ready, take the two brown flat circles and attach to sides of the main body shape.Position the feet on bottom, facing front.

 Using the knife or flat tool, smooth the edges across the back of bunny, so they look like one surface. Leave edges on sides and front, to make legs.

Next, position the lighter brown/white pieces on the ears and belly. Flatten them a bit so they become more flush with the surface.
 Get the head and attach the ears side by side to the back. Use the same technique with the knife, so flatten the edges smooth on the back of the head.
 Then get the head ready to attach to the body. Rough up the "neck" area and the bottom of the head, so they  attach better.
I curled one ear slightly, just because it is cuter.
 Again, smooth out edges in back of head, so it becomes one surface.
Add the pink triangle nose to center of face.
Use toothpick to poke an eye on either side of nose.
Roughen up the areas where the tail will attach to bunny, then attach. I gave the tail a little more texture just using my finger nail, so it was not a perfect ball. 
Use the knife again to lightly add "hairlike" texture over surface of bunny. 
Also, the toothpick along the paws, for toenails.

Then bake in the over, following directions on the clay.

Now they just need somewhere to live! 
Bunny house coming soon!

Pin It

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fable of the Day Refrigerator Magnets

Pin It

Do you like to regale the people in your life with useful advice? I do, whether they want to hear it or not! I love this project because it allows me to combine my love of Aesop's Fables with my interest in discussing morals and ethical dilemnas with my children. What you do is use the spinner to find the Fable of the Day. (or week, or whenever.) Then you can use the magnets to set up the fable on the refrigerator or on a magnet board. Then if you want, you can talk about the moral. I picked 7 fables that happened to appeal to me. Some have straightforward proverbs, like "don't count your chickens before they hatch." Others are more equivocal like "a tree that is unbending is easily broken." I am looking forward to springing this project on my family as soon as Corinne finishes taking pictures for me. (The poorly composed, badly lit photos are mine and the good ones are hers.)
You might find the 7 fables I picked to be not to your taste but fortunately there are over a hundred fables to choose from. Here is a convenient list of morals at the angelfire site. After you find a moral you like you can search for the fable and find it pretty easily online by typing the moral into Google with the word "fable" attached. Then there are numerous sites that feature fables. Of course, you may have a book of fables to read and mull over, which would be even better.
Here are the 7 that I chose.

The Farmer and the Stork
Moral: Birds of a feather flock together                                                The Olive Tree and the Reed
Moral: A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

The Hare and the Frog
There is always someone worse off than yourself 
The Serpent and the Eagle
One good turn deserves another

The Tortoise and the Hare   Slow and steady wins the race                                                      

The Milkmaid and her Pail
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

The Lion and the Mouse
   No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

To make your own magnetic fables you have to decide which fables you want to use and how you want to make the characters. I cut mine out of felt. You could draw them onto paper and laminate it, use clip art from the internet, or come up with your own original way to illustrate the fables. You also need to write or type the name of each fable and the proverb that goes with it.

  • Artwork to accompany each fable ie animals, props, title of fable, moral
  • Magnetic printer paper
  • Craft glue
  • scissors (It would be good to have both big and sharp and tiny and sharp.) 
  1. Take each fable and decide what you will need to execute it. I tried to keep things simple. For The Lion and the Mouse I only have the animals and a net. This is the same net that is used for The Farmer and the Stork. Many items like trees and roads can be used for multiples stories.
  2. After you have your list make the items and glue them onto magnet paper.
  3. You can hand write or type the title of each fable and the accompanying moral.
  4. I made my spinner out of blank shrinky dink paper. I punched a hole in it before baking so that I could insert a brass fastener. If you have any old board games laying around with spinners it would be really convenient to just repurpose an existing spinner, or at least dismantle one and use the arrows.
  5. The bag that holds everything is just a piece of felt folded in half and sewn up the sides. I bought two magnetic clips so it can hang on the refrigerator too.  
  6. Now, spin the dial and discover some words of wisdom to guide your day!



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Greek Goddess Paper Dolls

Pin It

 I just made my kids something I wish I had had as a young girl. Magnetic, Greek Goddess Paper Dolls.
I am aware how nerdy this is.

We went to the library, pretty much weekly when I was a kid, and each got to pick out our own selection of books, and movies. One day I discovered this book,  D'Aulaires Book of Greek Mythology  and I never forgot it. I poured over all the information inside, and studied the illustrations.  I would return the book, and quickly check it out again. This is where I learned all about Greek Mythology and really, never forgot it. 

So, I really enjoyed coming up with these dolls and finding the right distinctive items to showcase each goddess with dress and hair.
 The doll is a simple Greek maiden with braided, pulled back hair and simple white dress. 

 Artemis-goddess of the hunt, archery, children, animals, virginity, the moon.
(she was my favorite, when I first read about them)
 Athena -goddess of Wisdom and defense, handicrafts, strategic warfare.
(she is my new favorite!)
 Hera - Queen of the gods, marriage and family.
 Aphrodite-goddess of love, beauty and desire.
 Hestia -goddess of the hearth and family.
Demeter-goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, the seasons.

Here is the link to the pdf if you would like to print out and make your own paper dolls. (not for resale!)
Just print them onto a sturdy paper like cardstock and then cut them out. Glue thin magnet paper onto the backs and you are ready to play.
I will be making a set for the gods too, the goddesses were just more fun to make and came first!

If you want to learn more about the Greek Gods and Goddesses online, here is a start. Although I prefer the book I mentioned above.

I came across this quiz too, and just for fun had to take it. I got Athena! (although it was pretty easy to manipulate that, I thought)

Which Greek God are You?

Pin It