Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Turquoise and Pink Country Wedding

June was a busy month for my family. My sister was married at the end of the month. I spent a good portion of my free time helping prep for the wedding. I was so excited for my sister, and of course very eager to help craft and create wedding decorations.


My now brother-in-law is a cowboy through and through. He is always in boots, jeans, and a hat. He and my sister go out hunting, fishing, and motorcycle riding. Naturally, the wedding was country themed: mason jars, burlap, lace, cowboy boots, and guns. The colors my sister picked were pink and turquoise, nice and bright for a fun summer wedding.

Let me share with you what kept me so busy helping plan this wedding. Besides helping with set up and food prep in the kitchen, I put my computer and crafting skills to work. When you procrastinate and do most of the work just weeks (or the night) before the wedding, it makes for jam packed days. Not that I did that..

To start the wedding month off, with some help from my mom and aunt, I hosted a bridal shower. Here is the invitation I made. Nice and simple.


When I throw a party I really don't go all out. I like it to be nice, but not over the top. I don't decorate much or do anything real stressful or elaborate. Keep it simple. Corinne did request to play one game she had spotted on Pinterest: Who Has the Groom? I thought it was a fun idea, so we went with that.
The idea of the game is that each guest is given an envelope with a card inside. Most cards hold a celebrity, one or two others hold the groom. Whoever has an envelope with a picture of the groom wins a prize. Pretty basic. We played this game as we went around the room introducing ourselves.


To make the cards I searched online and found an image of a model wearing a tuxedo. I also searched up different male celebrities and used Photoshop to place their heads onto the tuxedo body. I had so much fun making these cards! I included a few of Corinne's favorites, like Steve Irwin (who she loved as a child) and Spiderman.


I sized the cards to be business card size (2" x 3.5") so they would fit inside a small coin envelope.  I rounded the edges of the cards with a corner punch. For the envelopes, I used a template found on Everything Mary Beth and put the text on using Photoshop (or Illustrator) and then printed it all out on cardstock. To seal the envelopes I found a glue stick that was repositionable. It worked great! Follow the instructions, wait a minute or two before sealing the envelope, otherwise it will just stick like regular glue. If you wait, you can open and close it over and over and it will continue to stick and unstick. 

Now, onto the wedding. I designed the wedding announcements. I am really happy with how they turned out. They were double-sided, information on one side, pictures on the other.



At the reception, for centerpieces among the burlap and mason jars, my sister requested I make some fact sheets about each the bride and groom. I made a little table tent that had a picture and a few facts about each of them on either side.


Another requested idea were signs greeting guests as they made their way into the reception. The signs read a welcome message, the bride and groom's names, the date, and a few other fun messages like "The hunt is over!". To make these signs we cut some plywood into rectangles, I think they ended up being 8 x 16. I made stencils on the computer and used my silhouette to cut them out of cardstock, we taped them in place and then painted with acrylic paint and foam brushes. Then the plywood was glued to wood stakes that were found at Home Depot. The signs turned out even better than I had imagined (especially considering we finished them at 10:00 pm the night before the wedding).



The last item I helped with was a quilt. My sister had seen the idea of using a quilt as a guest book and wanted to do that. That's fitting for a country wedding, right? So just a few weeks before the wedding my mom and I got down to business and busted out a quilt top. There were a few times when we were together cutting squares all afternoon, or sewing with both of our machines next to each other. With the two of us working hard we got it done.


The quilt pattern I found is called a Siggy Block, I found it over at Sparrow Quilts. This pattern was perfect for the guest book idea. We did size it up a little bit, so the blocks were a bit bigger. It worked out great. Now Corinne and Taylor will have a guest book they will actually look at. Once we get it quilted that is... :)


That is a small bit of our summer craziness. Now to focus on completely reworking our backyard. Yay!

So tell me, what is keeping you busy this summer?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Create: Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Where has the time gone!? Seriously, anyone else feel this way? It seems to be that this time of the year gets busy, busy, busy for us. Nearly non-stop busy. Preschool is out, swimming lessons are in, and the park is calling our name. Besides that we have a wedding coming up, (My little sister is getting married and I have been trying to help out with preparations as much as I can. Some of which I'll share with you another day when I have a few more extra minutes.) family from both sides coming and going over the course of the next month and an entire backyard to tear up and redo.

We've been playing where we can, but nothing super structured. Come fall we'll start up again with fun activities. :)

In the meantime, while I'm trying to slow down just enough to catch my breath, let me share with you the tutorial I shared over at Someday Crafts back in March.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

The crafting series for the month was Crafting for Baby.  My brother-in-law and his wife were due with a baby boy, so I chose to make a gift for them. I have been wanting to make new hooded towels for my girls (and still haven't done it!), so I thought I might try it out and make one for baby boy.

I know I haven't posted much sewing on here recently, but I really do love it. It is my happy place- sometimes it's just hard to get myself there. Besides a love for sewing, I also love monsters. I think they are adorable and just plain fun!  Once I spotted this monster fabric at the store, it was pretty much a done deal. The hooded towel became a monster hooded towel. You can use this same pattern to make a non-monster hooded towel, just skip over the applique parts.

Ready to get sewing!? (Just FYI: This tutorial is for an infant hooded towel (ages 0-18 months)

You will need:
  • 1 yard terry cloth
  • 1 yard cotton fabric
  • scraps of white fabric
  • scraps of black fabric
  • small pieces of  fusible web (like Wonder Under)
  • pattern (found here)
All seam allowances are 3/8" (the edge of the presser foot for me).

Step 1: Print out the pattern, cut out the pieces, and assemble the hood piece (labeled A, B, and C).

Step 2: Cut the terry cloth down to 30" x 30". You will have some fabric left over, save it, you'll need it for the hood pieces. Also cut the cotton fabric to 30" x 30". Take the excess terry cloth fabric, fold it over lengthwise and pin and cut out the hood pattern piece (like in the image below). 

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Using the scraps of white fabric, and the white of eye pattern piece cut out the eyes. Use the white fabric to cut out the teeth as well. Do the same with the scraps of black fabric and the pupil pattern piece.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial
All cut and ready to sew! (This image is missing the teeth, they were an after thought.)
Step 3: Following the product instructions, iron the fusible web to the back of the eyes, pupils, and teeth. Peel off the paper backing.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Step 4: Lay out the eyes and teeth on one of the hood pieces. Make sure the eyes aren't too high or close to the edge, remember the seam allowance (3/8"). I placed the eyes approx. 1 1/2" from the top of the piece, and approx. 2" from the side. See the image below:

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Iron in place.

Step 5: Applique around the eye and teeth pieces. I used a zig-zag stitch. I set the sitch width to 2.5 and the length to 1.5. The scrap fabric I used was knit, which doesn't fray, so a small zig-zag works fine. If you use a fabric that fays easily, like cotton, you may want to tighten up the stitch width.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

If you haven't ever done applique don't be scared off by it! I hadn't either until this towel. It really is pretty easy, just go slow. Take your time and it'll turn out great! Around the curves, if you need to, don't hesitate to leave the needle down, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric slightly. Tight curves can be tricky, doing this helps a lot!

Step 6: Now take both hood pieces. With the right sides together, stitch along the bottom of the hood. Turn right side out and press.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Step 7: Use the corner rounding piece to round the edges of the 30" x 30" pieces of fabric (both terry cloth and cotton). Either pin the piece in place and cut around it, or use a pen with disappearing ink to trace around the pattern piece. 

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Step 8: With the right sides together, pin all pieces in place. Sandwich the hood between the terry cloth and cotton fabric.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Step 9: Starting in the middle of one edge, sew the towel together. Be sure to leave a 6 inch gap so you can turn it right side out.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

It is helpful to mark the gap with double pins, so you don't accidentally sew it closed.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

Step 10: Turn the towel right side out and press. Topstitch around the towel, closing the 6 inch gap.

Monster Infant Hooded Towel Tutorial

You're done! I know it looks like a lot of work, but it really is pretty simple. The most time consuming part is cutting out the fabric and assembling the monster hood.


Do you share my love of monsters? Check out my zipper mouthed plush monsters (or Munsters) too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Cook | A Quick and Easy Lunch for Kids

Spring is here! (And has been for a little while now.) At our house that typically means that life begins to pick up the pace. When the weather is nice I feel guilty spending the day inside. We have found ourselves at the park, on walks, jogging, bike riding, and hiking the beautiful landscape we live in. Spring also calls for yard work, cleaning and organizing, weddings, graduations, and trips to the local amusement park.

Seriously, I have been finding it difficult to find time to sit down, relax and just breathe. There is always something to be done! I love it- but boy can it be exhausting!

One of the ways I have found to help make the day run smoother is to have quick lunches ready to go. A lot of the time that we decide to go to the park it is a last minute decision. It is typically nearing lunchtime, so of course we have to pack something to take with us. It usually takes twice as long as I think it should. If I have something quick I can grab, then we can get playing quicker and for longer, and then I can also limit the amount of time I have little people at my knees asking if it's time to go yet. :) 


One of the quickest lunches we have are lunchables. Hailey loves to get them from the store, but they can be expensive! Instead of buying them I make my own ahead of time and leave them in the fridge ready to grab and go. Really, it's pretty intuitive, but I have step-by-step pictures for you anyway. :)

Start with a block of cheese, some lunchmeat (I prefer thicker cut meat, it works better) and crackers.


Cut the cheese. (He, he... Not like that! So immature. Cut the cheese... he he...) I cut the block along the long way, so the pieces are short, and then cut those pieces in half. 



If you want to get fancy, to easily cut the meat into circles I have found that my TBSP measuring spoon works great. Press it in and voila- circles! It's ok, you don't have to be fancy, just slice it up into small rectangles. It tastes the same, right?



To avoid being wasteful, I cut up the excess meat left over from cutting circles and save it to put on salads or in eggs.


Bag up the cut meat and cheese and now you have a quick lunch to grab and go.


It makes my kids happy. Making your own little sandwiches is so fun!



Monday, April 21, 2014

Kids | Paper Bag Dresses and the Paper Bag Princess

We love the library. Just about every Thursday morning you can find me and my girls enjoying storytime at the library. While there, we check out a new stack of books each week. Hailey can hardly wait the 5 minute drive home before digging into the new books. She usually asks to look at one or two on the way home.

One book we have checked out a few times is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert MunschThe Paper Bag Princess is about a princess whose castle is destroyed by a dragon. The dragon carries away her prince, who she plans to marry. Everything the princess has is burnt by the fire of the dragon, including her clothes. The only thing to survive the dragon was a paper bag. The princess makes herself a dress from the paper bag and sets off to rescue her prince from the dragon. At the end of the book, after outwitting the dragon and rescuing the prince, the prince is no longer interested in the princess, because she is a dirty mess. The princess doesn't care,  and leaves the prince, no longer intent on marrying him.


What I like most about the story is the idea in the end that the princess knows the prince is wrong. She has a good sense of her own self worth and knows that how she looks is not an important part of who she is.

One afternoon Hailey asked me for an activity to do. We ended up making impromptu paper bag dresses, just like the Paper Bag Princess. You can too!

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

We started by ripping open the bottom of the bag.

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

After Hailey tore the bottom open, I used some scissors to cleanly cut away the paper. You should have a tube to look through after the bottom is cut open. (Yes, Keira has marker on her face. That girl loves markes, but she always makes a mess!)

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

Then we decorated. We used crayons, markers and stickers. I think paints or stamps would be fun too.

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

Hailey decided to practice writing and traced the letters on the bag.

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

After we decorated, the dresses were nearly ready to wear. Hailey complained that the top of the bag was digging into her arm pit, so we cut holes in the bag so it would sit more comfortably.

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com

That's it. Easy peasy, but fun. So go grab some large paper bags, art supplies, and a copy of The Paper Bag Princess and craft away! 

Make a paper bag dress to go along with the story The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch | hillmade.blogspot.com


Monday, March 31, 2014

Kids | Exploring with Non-Newtonian Fluid (Oobleck)

Kyle is the cool kid at our house. He has one of those brains that is constantly dreaming up something new and fun. He loves to see how things work and experiment. Of course, he loves to share all of this with our girls. After dinner one evening, Kyle led us all in some fun with science. 


Kyle and I have seen videos of people walking on what looks like liquid. Walking (running really) straight across it. What these people have done is made a large quantity of what is called a non-Newtonian fluid (also known as Oobleck). It is a fluid that when at rest acts as a liquid, but when force is placed upon it, it acts like a solid. It is crazy cool stuff. It's a mixture of water and cornstarch. That's it! 

We played with this stuff for an hour, and only quit because it was bedtime. Hailey would have kept going and going and going... Seriously, if you need to occupy your children for an hour, make them some Oobleck. Or if you would like something fun to do with your children, make some Oobleck. :)

You need:
1 1/2 cups water
16 oz. cornstarch

To make it, grab a large bowl or tub. Pour in the water.  


Add the cornstarch. Start with a little, mix. Add some more, mix. We didn't follow any recipe, we just experimented until it turned out. We used almost the entire 16 oz. of cornstarch.


When the mixture is the right consistency it will pull away from the edges of the bowl.


Now roll up your sleeves, dig your hands in and play!


Try pushing down with your fingers and see how the fluid resists them.


Now relax and watch your finger sink into the goo.


Roll the goo into a ball and watch it ooze out of your hand when you stop rolling. (Sorry the video is choppy, I made it from still images I had taken.)



This stuff is serious fun. I even got into it and had a blast with it. Yes, it's messy, but it cleans right up with water, no scrubbing. Just wet a towel and wipe it away. Now, that's my kind of mess.


If you do just one messy activity with your kids, make it this one! They will love it. You will earn major cool parent points for it. I'm thinking we need to have some friends over and do it again. Anyone want to come play with us!?


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