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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mini Felt Rabbit

Bunnies definitely need to be included in spring crafting!  I whipped up this little stuffed rabbit out of felt.  I got the pattern here at Craft Ideas.

Download and print to whatever size you wish.  I think I did 4x6.  Then I laid a piece of white felt over top and traced the outline of the rabbit.  I pinned two pieces of felt together and cut out a front and back piece.
I used brown floss to embroider a little eye on the front.
Then I matched them up and did a straight stitch on my sewing machine, at about 1/8".  I stitched about an inch or so up the center of the legs to give them definition.  I left a small opening by the belly.  Look, a finger puppet!  You could glue this on a dowel and make a leaping bunny topiary!
I stuffed my bunny with some fiberfill, and used a chopstick thing to get it down into the narrow areas.  This was probably the hardest part of the whole project ; )  I put it back in the sewing machine and straight-stitched the opening closed.

I made a floss nose by doing some stitches around the edge and then a couple whiskers with just one strand.

I tied a sage green ribbon around the neck in a knot, and ran the edges through a match to prevent fraying.

Then I cut out a flower shape and a center for the ear, from pink felt.
I used that same pink marker that I used on my Moss Topiary with Paper Flowers and my Spring Banner, to make a darker pink center in the felt flower.  I tried drawing a teeeeny tiny circle and filling it in?  Marker doesn't go so great on felt.  It pulls up the fibers and looks all a mess.  So I just pressed and held it for a sec, and then turned it over and had the backside be the front.  A perfect little pink dot was showing through.

I used hot glue to stick on the pink flower and the pink center to the ear.  Done!  I love my little leaping rabbit!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moss Topiary with Paper Flowers

I have been wanting to make some topiaries for a long while now, and have been really inspired by all the spring topiaries in blogland lately.  So, here is mine.  There will be a pair, one at each end of my mantel, but so far I only have one completed.

I found small ceramic pots at the Dollar Tree and got two sage-y green ones.  I also picked up a few bags of reindeer moss and two styrofoam cones ($7 total).  At home I already had some wood dowels and a block of styrofoam to fill the pots with.

So I broke apart the styrofoam slab I had and put pieces into the pots to support the dowel.  Then I pushed the dowel into the pots and added the cone part on top.

I still had some of that mossy green lace trim that I had used to make a few flowers for my St. Patrick's Day Wreaths.  I wrapped the cones in that so that no glaringly white styrofoam would be showing through the moss.  Hot glue held it in place.
Then I fluffed out the moss a bit and just started hot gluing it all over the cone till it was covered.  I mushed it on there and used my scissors to trim away pieces that were sticking out here and there.  I put the handful of moss that was left in the bottom of the pot to hide the styrofoam.

Once the moss was done - and be warned, that was a messy bit.  I had to pause and get the broom and dustpan out because there were moss trimmings covering myself and about a four foot radius from my person - I used the same flower punch and pink patterned scrapbook paper that I used on my Spring Banner.  I punched, used the darker pink marker to make a center, and then pushed a straight pin through the center and curled up the edges a bit.  This part would probably look nicer with those cute pins that have the colored round ball on the end, but I didn't have any.  Boring ol' pins for me!
I stuck these through the moss and into the styrofoam of the cone underneath.  All over.  Willy-nilly.  Spring loveliness : )
To finish it off, I tied a bow of vintage ribbon around the dowel rod.  It's printed with pink, green, and yellow roses.
I love how this turned out.  The colors and textures remind me of the shabby chic bedroom I had as a teenager.  I could think of three or four things from that old room that would have looked wonderful in a vignette with this topiary...but they are long gone by now.
I got those glass balls at Dollar Tree for my St. Patrick's Day mantel, and decided to leave them out for spring - three green-hued paperweight-y things.  Good space filler.  My next post will be about that cute little felt bunny : )

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Spring Banner

If you follow Craft, Interrupted's Facebook page, you may remember seeing the link I posted to a great spring banner printable from At Second Street.  If not (and I'll say - you should!  Because I often share links to super inspiring projects there that I don't share here on the blog!), here it is again.  I decided to make this banner for my mantel : )

I downloaded and printed the banner pieces straight from At Second Street.  Love that there are creative people out there who share free printables like these!!  Then I trimmed and mounted them onto a light pink cardstock.  I selected a few other papers to embellish the banner - a subtly patterned pink scrapbook paper, a sage green vellum, and some leftover mini heart doilies from valentine's day.  I was going to use that vintage ribbon in the pic, but then found a skinnier sage green ribbon instead.
I decided to make some paper flowers.  For one kind, I trimmed out the little circle parts from the paper doilies.
I stacked a few layers together, and put a mini silver brad through the center.
Then I fluffed.  That's an official, technical term, that is ; )
I put a few little green vellum leaves under these when I glued them on to the banner.  And then also used a simple little flower punch to make some pale pink flowers from the scrapbook paper.  These I sort of curled up the edges with my fingers a little to make them more dimensional.  I added a darker pink center with a marker, which made it pop.
I hot glued a few of these paper flowers on here and there, and then hot glued the sage green ribbon across the top.  Easy peasy!  I love the pink and green theme I have developing on my mantel now.  Come see the Moss Topiary with Paper Flowers that I made to match!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Garbage Truck Cake

It's starting to bother me that St. Patrick's Day has passed and I still have St. Patrick's day crafts/decorations out all over the place.  I need the perfect sunny-afternoon-with-no-children-around to work on some Spring stuff!  However, my time this week has been sucked into various other tasks.

1) We decided to jump on the bandwagon for the community yard sale and set up a sale in our driveway.  I've only ever done one yard sale before, and that was with the experienced assistance of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.  We now live about 14 hours from them, soooo I'm on my own for this one.  Part of my job this week was to start pulling things aside for the sale.  Task #2 helped with this.

2) Spring IS here!  Now that we're in the south, we can pull out the shorts and t-shirts a few, um, months, earlier than we could in the northeast (don't throw things at me).  This also means that I have to do the seasonal switcheroo of clothing earlier as well.  Add in growing boys, and I also have to sort out who has grown out of what and who can wear which hand-me-downs.  I.  loathe.  this task.  But I got it done.  Two overwhelmingly chaotic closets and three dressers later, everything is neat and tidy.  A handful of clothing went into the donation box, a HUGE bag of clothing got set aside for handing down to a friend's little one, and some items went into the yard sale pile.  Most of these were remnants of past baby nurseries *sniff*

3) I then moved on to sorting out toys - two bedrooms and one playroom later, I now have a large pile set aside for the sale and shelves looking much more tidy.  Bonus - with things not so crowded, my boys have actually been happily PLAYING with what's left.  "Playing" used to be a game they called "Dump" which involved having their trucks load up, drive, and, wait for it - it's exciting, dump most of the contents of the playroom into a massive pile in some corner.  Said pile would then have to be sorted out and returned to correct bins, by yours truly.  Yeah, I got tired of "dump" real quick.  Lots of small items went into the yard sale pile ; )

4) Going back to #3, with past nursery items headed to the yard sale pile, I also took down the valance curtains, wall hangings, and wall decal stickers in the room that my two youngest share.  Because little man has a birthday in a few days.  He's three.  Three!!  Oh golly.  When he was two, I still pretended he was a baby.'s getting harder to do that.  I thought the cutesy jungle animals from his baby room needed to move on.  boo hoo!  They will probably be replaced with construction truck stuff....because I can't find any garbage truck decor.  That's what he's really nuts about.  Which leads me to #5!

5) My main crafty work this week was the creation of a garbage truck cake for little man.  We ran out of time to plan a full party.  Bad.  Definitely the third child, huh?  I'm taking some treats in to his preschool class, and then later that night we're hanging out with another family that we are friends with.  Saturday, we'll do some stuff just the five of us.  I was feeling a little mom guilt though, increased by the fact that I then remembered we have a psychologist appointment with my oldest smack in the time frame that I would have been celebrating at the preschool.  So my preschool birthday treat got demoted to some store bought donuts that I will share with the kids first thing in the morning when I drop little man off to his class.  Oh the shame.  What happened here!?  No party and boring donuts for school?  Hubby said "I don't ever remember having birthday treats with my class, at all.  So it's fine!"  Enter, the magnificent garbage truck cake.  You know, to make up for all that other stuff ; )

I'm not a seasoned cake decorator, keep that in mind.  I decided to try my hand at fondant for the first time ever, and made it from scratch with a marshmallow fondant recipe that I had heard was both easier to make and yummier to eat.  I tried to use my kitchen aid, as I had read on several cake sites, but I think if I had let it go any longer it would have burned the motor out.  No joke.  I ended up kneading it by hand.  A tip if you try making marshmallow fondant - grease everything!  Spoons, bowls, hands...not kidding.  It helps a lot.  The butter that's listed in the recipe?  It doesn't go in the fondant, it's just to keep it from sticking to everything it touches!

My cake layers began crumbling apart as I tried to trim and assemble them into the truck shape.  I thought it was going to be a complete disaster.  But I "glued" everything together with buttercream frosting.  I popped it in the chest freezer in the garage off and on, then smoothed the icing out as best I could.  I think it worked.  Then I rolled some green fondant (although not as dark as I had in mind, but I was starting to break a sweat kneading this stuff so I left it).  Cake covered in fondant - check.  I hid it in the freezer for a couple hours, then switched it into the cool oven while the boys were playing in the backyard.  I finished the decorating last night after they were in bed.

I didn't have any foamboard
Originally, that smaller part in front was supposed to be the whole cab, but then there was no good place to put windows, so it ended up being just the lower front of the truck instead.  I used pieces of rolled fondant that I trimmed to shapes with a knife as the details, and simply "stuck" them on by dipping my finger in water and wetting the back a little first.  Then I used some Betty Crocker Food Decorator Easy Writers, which are like brush-tipped food coloring markers made for icing.
I cut out the back after the fondant was on and it had chilled in the freezer for a bit.  I left the cake part exposed here and added some crumbled up mini reese's cups and broken pretzel sticks as the "trash."
Then some more "trash cans" and stuff decorating the tray in the back, held in place with a dollop of buttercream frosting.
Can't wait to see little man's face when I surprise him with this completely edible garbage truck!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lucky the Leprechaun Treasure Hunt

I did something new this year, and it was SO much fun!  Huge thanks to Cammie and Emily at Pocket Full of Posies for sharing this awesome print-and-go treasure hunt - because this is what I used, and it was spectacular!  Really cute little rhyming clues on festive printable tags.  I printed them, trimmed them, and mounted them all on green cardstock.  Then I planned where to place them, according to the clues, and came up with some extra magic to include with each clue. 

For the treat bags at the finale, I made some shamrocks out of sparkly pipe cleaners.  First I cut them all in half.  Then I took three pipe cleaner halves for each shamrock, and twisted each one with a loop on the end, like a number 9 or letter p.
 I put the three loops together at the base of the loop, and then twisted all three ends together down to the end.  This is the "stem."  Then I spread out the "leaves."
 Then I just dented in each "leaf" into a sort-of heart shape.  Look - a shamrock!
I came across an awesome blog called Happy Home Fairy, that had a lot of good St. Patrick's Day content.  One was this little graphic about the Trinity being like a shamrock (see here).  I saved this as a photo to my desktop, then printed it in a wallet size.  I put one little shamrock in each treat bag, with the poem likening it to the Holy Trinity.  I threw in a handful of rainbow skittles and a few "gold" rolos.

I printed off the tags that came with the treasure hunt clue set, and mounted them on the same green cardstock.  On the back, I copy/pasted a little tidbit from Happy Home Fairy, about the kids being God's treasure (love that! It's here).  I punched holes and tied the tag to the treat bag with a piece of rainbow-colored string I found at Dollar Discount (on my mad dash for supplies to pull this off, with my two youngest in tow.  Thankfully they didn't catch on to what I was up to!)  A little curly white gift ribbon, too.
More thanks to Happy Home Fairy, because I also printed off her Wee Bit of History About St. Patrick to include with the first treasure hunt clue.  Then at the last minute, I also found this adorable note from "Lucky the Leprechaun" at Busy Bees.  It's backwards!  How cute is that!?  Those leprechauns are so tricksy ; )  My boys had to hold it up to the mirror to read it.

St. Patrick Story, Treasure Hunt Clue #1, and Note from Lucky the Leprechaun, layered on a piece of green cardstock...which I trimmed, folded, and taped into an envelope.

I made out the return address from Lucky the Leprechaun, Over the Rainbow, Ireland.  Ha! Then put my boys' names and our address and a stamp on it.  I had my hubby pretend to bring it in from the mailbox with the rest of the mail and this started it : )
 My oldest has made huge strides with reading now that he's in first grade, so he read the envelope to us and then all the clues as we went along.  His face was priceless when he read it was from Ireland!
Clue #1 was in the envelope and set the stage.  It included the hint to find Clue #2, which was in one of the bins in the toyroom.  Lucky made a staircase out of wood blocks and left a trail of green pom-poms to the clue, with rainbow pom-poms up the block stairs.
Clue #3 was in the fridge.  Lucky used a long piece of "rainbow rope" to climb up the door.  The clue was tucked in by the milk.
Clue #4 was in the powder room off the kitchen.  This brought much silly laughter, because apparently Lucky used the toilet.  A firetruck was next to the stepstool, next to the toilet, which had green "pee" in it ; )  They thought it was hilarious!

Clue #5 was upstairs on my 5yr old's bed.  I used some scraps of green fabric and had whipped up a teeny quilt backed with a piece of felt.  I sewed and stuffed a matching pillow.  Lucky made more block stairs to get up on the bed.
My 5 yr old loved this so much that he took the blanket and pillow to preschool with him today to show them off : )

Clue #6 was in the boys' bathroom down the hall.  Lucky took a bath in there!  But of course, the real bathtub was way too big for a leprechaun.  He climbed on the stool and a toy toolbox to get to the sink, where he took a green bubble bath and shaved off his sparkly whiskers (aka green glitter).
Leprechauns are messy lil' things, aren't they?  He left blobs of shaving cream, and didn't bother to hang up the washcloth "towel" he used either ; )  It was a RIOT when my boy saw this one!  Oh my goodness, they SQUEALED and screamed!  Sooo funny : )
Clue #7 was in the corner chair in the living room, where apparently Lucky had been reading a miniature book to a few of my 6yr old's favorite stuffed animals.
Clue #8 was at my 2yr old's little desk in the front room.  Lucky used some more of his special "rainbow rope" to climb up the desk and leave a note.  Green markers and small paper, of course, with a little sprinkling of more green glitter.
Leprechauns like to tease ; )
Clue #9 was at the front door, with something you may recognize from a previous post, my dixie cup leprechaun hat.
"Hey! Mommy YOU made that hat!"  *pause*  "Mommy didn't you make that hat??"  *pause*  "Mommy MADE that hat."  *pause* "WAIT!  MOMMY the leprechaun STOLE your HAT!"  Well, of course he did! Ha!  How sweet is it that they so want to believe in magic.  I love it!!
The last clue was in the van, because Lucky went for a spin.  Most of the action "finding" photos I took throughout this came out blurry, because they were so excited and we were all having so much fun : )
Now it's the final stretch.  A shamrock marked a trail of glitter out the garage... a shamrock shining in the sun by the rain spout...and more shamrocks sparkling in the grass down the hill.... the gate into the backyard
....can you find the rainbow???  It's on the swingset!
Made with streamers hung from the top.
The "pot of gold" was a black plastic cauldron leftover from Halloween, with green Easter grass in the bottom, and a bunch of big, fake gem rings that I borrowed out of the Trunk-or-Treat prize bin (you can find good stuff in a pinch if you dig around the basement!).
I had their three treat bags in there, too.  What an absolutely awesome activity this turned out to be!  SO much fun, and I know *I* will remember it for years to come.  I think they will, too : )

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