Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello again.

I found some cute Easter and just fun crafts on
They are so cute!

DIY: Monogram MugsDIY monogram mugDIY monogram mugDIY monogram mug- The sketchy strokes look best if they’re all one direction.
- The pen didn’t produce very smooth lines for us — which was fine because of the sketchy nature of the lettering. But later, I tried a red Porcelaine pen and produced very smooth strokes. So, I’m thinking my black pen was an old, dried out one. Who knows? This was my first experience with Porcelaine, so I’m not sure.
- It helped to have a blank paper handy where we could test the paint pen.
- We definitely got better at it as we practiced. So plan on it. Until it’s baked, the paint will scrub right off in soap and water. We redid mugs at least 4 times.DIY monogram mugDIY monogram mugDIY monogram mugDIY monogram mug hot cocoa packagingDIY monogram mug
DIY: Mini Bunny Pillow-Printer Transfer Paper
-White Cotton Fabric
-White Thread
-Sewing Needle
-Fabric Stuffing
-Pom pomEaster Plansbright easter eggspastel easter eggscolorful easter eggs
bright easter eggsDIY: Flower Seed Pockets
1/3 yard Burlap (coffee or rice bags will work too)
Gardening string
Organic potting soil

DIY: Little Farmer Easter BasketsMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design MomMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design MomMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design Mom- Weatherproof wood stain. I used Behr solid stains in slate and ponderosa green to get a dark, opaque green. A sample sized can (about $2) was more than enough.
- PaintbrushMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design MomMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design MomMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design MomMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design MomMake a Little Farmer Easter Basket this year. It's candy free!  |  Design MomEaster TreeDIY: Adorable Felted Spring Chickswool roving in the color of your choice, and contrasting color for the beak
2″ foam balls
felting mat (I use a hunk of upholstery foam)
sharp knife
super glue
two beads

NOVEMBER 22, 2010
DIY monogram mug
Friends! I’m so pleased to share our first gift DIY of the season. Maude made these fantastic monogrammed mugs over the weekend. Don’t they look terrific? The idea came when we saw these fun initial cups at Anthropologie and remembered our kitchen was lacking in hot cocoa mugs. We decided to create a whole set.
It’s a very doable project. Inexpensive. Eco-friendly. And family-friendly too — these mugs are dishwasher safe. I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
1) We started with a trip to Goodwill, where we collected 8 plain white mugs. Enough for the entire family. There was even a little one without a handle that we thought would be perfect for baby food for June. Mugs were 50 cents each and we had dozens and dozens to choose from.
DIY monogram mug
2) Then we gathered supplies. Scissors, pen, tape, graphite transfer paper, Black Pebeo Porcelaine Pen in Fine Point ($4 at Michaels, also available here) and a print out with the family’s initials.
For the font, I had something very specific in mind. I love the look of this Sketch Block Font and had it mentally filed away as the sort of thing a kid could replicate well — because it’s inherently imperfect. For this project, it worked like a charm! Since we were adding our own sketchiness, I started with a similar, but non-sketchy Rockwell font. Look for any slab-serif font (with names like Egyptian or Glypha) and they should work equally well.
3) Cut out an initial and a piece of transfer paper. Tape the initial and the transfer paper (dark side down) to the mug.
DIY monogram mug
4) Trace the initial. Any pen or pencil will work and you’ll want to experiment with different pressures to see what’s best. You’ll just need a light outline. If you want, you can make your own transfer paper by rubbing a graphite pencil all over a sheet of plain paper.
DIY monogram mug
5) Take your Porcelaine pen and trace over the lines of the initial. Get the edges nice and thick then fill in with diagonal sketchy strokes. A few notes:
DIY monogram mug
6) Once the lettering is done, let the mugs sit for 24 hours. Then bake them at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. It’s fine to bake them with graphite residue. The graphite will wipe right off even after they’re done baking.
DIY monogram mug
7) And that’s it! Once they’re baked, they’re done. We pulled them from the oven, wiped them up and they were ready to go. For fun, we filled cellophane bags with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows and put them in the mugs.
The project turned out so well that it has my mind spinning with other possibilities. Maybe we’ll make a monogrammed mug for their teachers with a Starbucks card inside. Or a matching 2-cup set for Grandma and Grandpa. Fun for Christmas, but equally fun for other events too.
What do you think? Is this a project your kids would enjoy? Are the mugs cool enough that you would buy one in the store if you saw it for sale?

Text and images by Gina Vide for Design Mom. Edited by Amy Christie.
Pull out your needle and thread! You’re going to want to make a dozen. These little pocketed bunny pillows are incredibly versatile. Tuck a small gift or treat in the pocket and use them as a mini Easter basket. Or add some spring cheer to the house and hang them on a door handle. They make a welcome guest for teddy bear play, or why not make a Bunny Pillow Tree?
With the free bunny image download, our little pocketed bunny pillows multiplied quickly! And we’re so glad that they won’t hop away — they’ll continue to be adorable long past Easter weekend.
Are you ready to hop to it?
-Bunny Image Downloads – BlueBrown or Pink
Step 1: Using one of the Bunny Image Downloads, print 2 Bunnies onto the Transfer Paper, following the manufacturer’s print instructions. Each pillow will need 2 matching printed bunnies. Once you have printed the bunnies, trim them, leaving about 1/2 inch around the edge of the image.
Note: you may change the direction of the bunny by choosing to print as a mirror image if you would like variety. To make this exact version, I fit 4 bunnies onto a letter sized piece of transfer paper. If you print 4 bunnies, you will be able to make 2 pillows. 
Step 2: Moving to a cutting surface, cut 3 rectangles for pillows from cotton that are about 3 inches larger than the outer edge of the printed bunny.
Step 3: Preheat your iron to the transfer paper specification. On your ironing board, place 2 of these pillow pieces face down. Place the printed bunnies, face down, on top of these pillow pieces, keeping their images centered. Carefully iron the bunny transfers, following the transfer paper instructions.
When the ironing is complete, remove transfer and let cool.
Step 4: Returning to your cutting and work surface, gather all 3 pillow pieces, 2 of which now have the bunny transfer. Place one of the bunny transfer pieces, image side up, on the work surface. Fold the second pillow piece with transfer in half and place it on top of first; matching the image to form one complete bunny. As you can see, the second folded piece will become the bottom area of the pillow and the pocket. Pin this into place and carefully cut around the contour of the image approximately 2 inches from the edge of the image. Turn it over so that the images and pocket are face down.
Step 4: Place the third pillow piece (rectangle) on top and gently turn it over again so that you can see the bunny image. Pin into place and trim off the edge of the third piece along the same contour. At this point, the image will be on the inside so that right sides are facing in.
Step 5: Now, it’s time to sew up the edges. I used my sewing machine, but the kids sewed theirs by hand. Starting at the bottom, sew the edges, leaving a small gap at the top (for the ribbon) and at the bottom for stuffing.
Once the seams are complete, clip the curves and corners.
Step 6: Then turn the pillow, right side out. Carefully pressing all seams and corner flat.
Cut desired length of ribbon, slip both ends into the top gap and close the seam with ribbon, by hand.
Step 7: Stuff the pillow to desired thickness. If you plan to fill these with Easter goodies, do not over stuff so there is plenty of room for filling the pocket with goodies.
Final step: Finish the bottom seam by hand, and attach the pom pom tail by hand as well.
Happy Easter!

APRIL 4, 2011
Now that April Fool’s Day is over and done with (I’m still laughing!), my mind has turned to Easter. I’m really excited about it. The first thing I said to the family when I saw our yard was that it would be the perfect spot for a giant Easter Egg Hunt. So we’re hatching plans to host one.
It’s only been 2 months, and we’re still making friends, but hopefully we’ll be able to gather a fun crowd. The invitations are almost done, a huge box of plastic eggs have been shipped to me, and now I’m ordering ribbon to hang in the garden.
These photos show the eggs we dyed last year. I posted photos of the gorgeous dye baths, but never shared the actual eggs. Didn’t they turn out wonderfully? We used NotMartha’s dyeing instructions. The more intense colors stayed in the dye longer.
I’ve asked around, and it sounds like decorating hard-boiled eggs is not really done here in France — trying to find more info on that little detail. It’s one of my favorite parts about Easter, so we’ll probably decorate eggs either way.
What are your April plans?
P.S. — I put more fun Easter links in the sidebar.

MARCH 27, 2012
Now that it’s warming up, my kids want to be outside as much as possible. So when Helen of Curly Birds told me about her idea for mini seed pockets, I thought they were a perfect activity to get our whole family’s hands dirty in the best possible way. — Gabrielle
Flower pockets are a fun spring project and provide plenty of blooms all summer long. The pockets look sweet, and get buried directly in the soil! Better yet, even the littlest of hands can help make them. And I know these same littlest of hands will love giving them to teachers, grandparents, neighbors and friends. They make a great little gift-for-no-reason.
Step 1: Cut burlap into 6.5” squares.
Step 2: Put a small handful of potting soil on each square.
Step 3: Liberally sprinkle seed mix onto potting soil.
Step 4: Gather the edges of the burlap up and tie shut with string.
Step 5: You are done! Bury the whole pocket in the ground and the seeds will grow through the burlap.
Warning: These little pockets are addictive to make. Happy planting!

APRIL 2, 2012
I love the idea of “alternative” Easter baskets! Something fun to switch things up from the usual plastic grass and hollow chocolate bunnies. So I was delighted when Elisabeth of My Growing Home suggested a Little Farmer Easter Basket. Isn’t that the cutest idea? And it’s super easy to put together, so you have plenty of time if you want to pull this off by Sunday. Yay! — Gabrielle
As Easter approaches, we always try to talk to our boys about the signs of new life in nature. In the past, I’ve tied this theme into our holiday celebration by including a packet of seeds in their Easter baskets, but this year I decided to go farther by transforming their “baskets” into personal mini gardens to be planted for spring. I used wooden wine boxes to make little raised beds and filled them with veggies, flowers, and kid-sized gardening essentials. And what’s a garden without a sneaky bunny?
Not only are these boxes easy (and inexpensive) to put together, but they provide a project for the little ones that will last all spring and summer. Happy Easter!
- Wooden wine boxes. I purchased mine for a few dollars from a local liquor store.
- A variety of spring plants. I went to our local garden store and purchased two combinations that (according to the gardeners’ advice) would grow well together and be fun for the kids. One of our boxes holds two marigold plants, one chocolate mint, and a Roma tomato. The other holds a flowering strawberry plant and a variety of herbs. Pay attention to the full-grown size of your plants — if there are too many, they’ll crowd each other out as they grow.
- Gardening “essentials.” Of course, this is up to you. I added a kid-sized trowel, shovel, and spade, a pair of gloves, a homemade gardening “tool belt,” garden markers, a package of seeds, and a few paper pots for starting the seeds. I also included garden-themed children’s books (Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith, for my older son, and And Then It’s Spring, by Julie Fogliano, for my youngest).
-Treats to hide among the foliage (I used candy and handmade bunnies).

Use paintbrush and wood stain to paint the sides and entire inside of your wooden box. Stain dries quite quickly, so by the time you’ve finished the inside, the outside will be ready for a second coat.

Cover box with a second coat of paint. If using two colors, as I did, use your top color for this coat. Let dry.
Stuff your box! Start with the plants and then nestle the other goodies among them, so that they appear to peek out from the leaves. Hide little treats inside the plant pots and leave the basket in the sunlight for your little ones to find on Easter morning.
And once the surprise is over, it’s time to prepare the gardens! Place your sprouts in a mixture of potting soil and mushroom compost, being careful to position them according to the specifications for each plant. Leave the boxes in the sun, water regularly, and wait for the magic to begin!

MARCH 26, 2012
We don’t usually put up much in the way of Easter decorations — spring flowers and colored eggs are plenty festive. But I found these tiny wooden ornaments at a bargain price (about $3 for a set of 10) and was drawn to them like a magnet! So I thought it would be fun to put together a simple Easter tree this year.

Over the weekend we cut a few branches of forsythia, secured them in a vase with pebbles and water, and hung the little ornaments among the blossoms. The kids loved it! June especially. She’s at that age where every new activity is mind-blowingly wonderful.
Have you ever decorated an Easter tree before? Do you put up other spring decorations? Have you decided how you’ll dye your eggs this year?
P.S. — My one and only other Easter tree was a wonderful gift from my friend Megan, right before we moved from New York.
MARCH 7, 2012

I’ve got a bad case of Spring Fever, so I asked Miranda of One Little Minute to come up with a project that would remind me the new season is just around the corner. I love what she came up with. Excited to try felting! — Gabrielle
Look out the window, spring is coming! Here in Virginia the daffodils are blooming along the highway, cherry blossom buds are beginning to pop up along the branches, and the sunshine gets a little earlier, brighter, and warmer every day. My little row of felted spring chicks is one of my very favorite home decorations, and today I’d like to help you create your own!
I actually originally made these little birdies as bright, cheery ornaments for my mom’s Christmas tree a couple years back. My mom and sister and I sat at the kitchen island, surrounded by wisps of wool and foam balls, listening to carols and laughing as my mom repeated “Don’t get your finger, those needles are barbed!” over and over. (Of course that didn’t stop me from piercing my finger clear through!)
These birds are so fun and simple to make, we finished about forty in an hour or so. I brought a few home with me after the holidays, and discovered that they are also perfect decorations for spring and Easter! I leave them perched year-round in my home to cheer me up and make me smile. Now, let’s get started!
Before you begin, you’ll need to gather up some supplies (all of these, excepting the knife, can be found at Michael’s or a similar craft store):
wool felting tool with several needles
First, cut one edge off of the ball. This allows the bird to sit flat, and also provides him a head!
See how cute he is already?
Next, spread a thin layer of your wool roving across your mat or foam. Spread another layer, fibers perpendicular to the first, on top of it.
Then, spread one more thin layer of roving, fibers perpendicular again. The cross, hatch pattern allows the wool to matt better. You have no idea what I’m talking about? Read on, you’ll get it soon!
Using your felting tool, pierce the layers of wool repeatedly. Don’t get your finger, those needles have barbs! The more you pierce and poke, the more matted and intertwined the wool becomes. After a couple minutes, you should have a pretty well flattened rectangle of felt.
Peel the felt off your mat, and lay it over your foam ball, head and all. The head doesn’t need to be attached with anything, because we are going to hold it in place with the wool itself. (I tried to glue it once, but it just gummed up the needles, and didn’t hold it any more effectively.)
Wrap the felt all the way around the bird body, tugging it a little in places to allow full coverage. It’s no biggie if you have a thin spot or two, I’ll show you how to cover those up soon.
Now you get to go to work felting the wool right onto the styrofoam. Don’t get your finger, those needles have barbs!
The more you pierce and poke, the more matted and tight the felt will become. It’s a pretty cool process, and I get some satisfaction out of having very tightly felted birds. Try it, I think you’ll agree.
Do a little examination of your bird. Any little spots where the foam shows through, you can simply felt over with a small little bit of roving. Make sure you separate it a little bit, and cross the fibers before laying it down, so it felts nicely.
Watch out! Those needles have barbs on them!
Ahh, beautiful.
Now that the body is covered well with felt, we need to make a tail and beak for the little fella.
Begin with the same process, just a lot less wool. It’s not an exact science, so start with a smaller amount than you think you’ll need and add roving as you go.
This time, we’re actually creating the tail shape as we felt by folding in the edges, so that the wool begins to form a felted triangle. This is where you can allow your creative juices to flow, and make whatever size, shape and color of tail feathers you can imagine!
You are done when the shape you’ve got looks good to you. This is what I ended up with.
Next, use your beak roving to do the same thing, even smaller, for the chick’s beak. It doesn’t have to be a perfect triangle, or a triangle at all!
Here are my tail and beak ready to be felted onto the bird’s body.
I’m going to use the very same technique. Place the felt where I want it and pierce and poke with the tool until the tip of the tail is felted completely in place. I’ll leave the end to poke out a little.
On the beak I like to begin felting underneath, so that it ends up sticking out straight.
I come back on top just a bit to even out the felting. When you are holding these smaller pieces in place and felting with that tool, you really should remember to be careful of the barbs. Now that you’ve come this far, it would be a shame to ruin the bird with blood stains!
And, there he is. A healthy spring chick. I love these birds without eyes, and if you do too, just leave him at this stage and call him a beautifully finished project.
If you want to give him that little extra personality, simply dot a bit of glue right onto the felt, press the bead into the glue and hold in place for a couple seconds. Do the same for the other eye.
After you make one and see how easy fun and easy it is, you’ll want to make a whole row of them…
…a little family, even!
Finally, you can perch them in your home to prepare you for the upcoming wonder of springtime. Mine live on top of the dining room cabinet, where they can oversee the comings and goings of our own little brood. I can’ t wait to hear the real birds chirping outside, but for now these spring chicks will do.