Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cristmas Creations--Stockings were Hung

I made a couple more stockings today to replace the original red and green ones I made.  It's been slow-going making stockings to match my gold, copper, bronze, brown, and white color scheme, as those colors seem to be hard to come by in velvet.  I'm going to have to find some copper-colored velvet before next Christmas so I can make a matching stocking for the new baby.  Yikes.

Pocket Slings

So, my sister-in-law put together a boutique in order to raise money to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia.  So, I donated some baby slings to her boutique to sell.  I first received one as a gift from a very talented friend in Las Vegas, when I was pregnant with my first baby.  Since that time, I have slowly adapted her design to create basically the same sling, only on a much smaller scale and with fabric that breaths well (to keep me and my baby cool in the summer).  I first added a pocket to the original design so I could fold up the sling into it's own pocket for easier transportation of the sling when not in use and to hold things while I use the sling (like my keys and wallet and pacifiers, diapers, wipes, etc.).  I have since experimented with different fabrics and rings until I have come up with this "pocket sling".  I call it a pocket sling because (1) it has that pocket it folds into that can also be used to carry pacifiers, diapers, etc. while the sling is in use and (2) because it folds up small enough to fit in a loose pocket, or (more realistically) in your purse or diaper bag.  It's still the original 2 yards of fabric, but fold up very small and uses small 2" bone rings to secure it.  I use my own pocket sling all the time and keep in in the car, as I don't personally carry a purse.  But, when I have a newborn again, I will keep another in my diaper bag.  They are so convenient for not only carrying your baby, without having to lug around a bluky baby backpack, frontpack, or stroller, but also seem to work well as a quick blanket alternative when you have a sleepy baby away from home (as they are easily as big as a blankie when unfolded (and if you make yours out of the same fabric as your baby's favorite blankie, they fill that roll even better).  Anyway, here's s few pictures of some of the slings I've made so you can see how to make one for yourself.  Tricot and nylon lining fabric both seem to work great as they are soft to the touch, fold up small, keep the baby cool in the summer, and fit nicely through the 2" bone rings.  The sling can be used with newborns, infants, or toddlers--just adjust the tension to fit.  They also can be worn like a front pack, back pack, or on your hip, whichever is most comfortable.  They really are so versatile--make yourself one if you have little ones at home!

Pocketed Sling with quarter for size reference:
Unfolded Sling with quarter for size reference:
Sling secured in rings and ready to wear with quarter for size reference:
Close up of how the rings secure the sling:
My lovely sister-in-law modeling one of the slings with my 2 year old Jesse in tow (Jesse loves the sling and rides in one daily on our morning family walls):

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Creations--Bakugan Boards

For the older boys' Christmas presents this year, I wanted to make them metal boards to display their Bakugans on since they always want Bajugan stuff and we just can't afford any this year.  So, this is what I came up with in the end.  To make the boards, I took a piece of sheet metal and folded the edges over using vice grips and a hammer (it would have been WAY easier and smoother too if I had metal seamers to use, but sadly I don't).  Before hammering down the final edge, I folded the ribbon into it so it could hang from the ribbon.  Then, I found the Bakugan logo online and used photoshop to change "Bakugan" to say "Natugan" for Nathan's board and "Bakuben" for Ben's board.  Then, I cut out the logos and modge-podged them onto the boards.  Overall, I think they will do, though I'm glad the boys won't be as critical as I am.  If they use them alot, then I may buy a couple magnetic wire mesh baskets for their birthdays to add to the boards to hold Bakugan cards.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Creations--Christmas Tree Ornaments

When we got our first Christmas tree, we were so poor that after buying a rather ugly fresh tree, we couldn't afford any ornaments.  So, the tradition began to make our own ornaments.  After 9 years of marriage, we still get together as a family every year to make ornaments for our tree.  It's a great tradition that reminds us of where we have come from and how blessed we have been.  We make a new type of ornament each year along with ornaments of our favorite pictures from throughout the year.

The first few years, our tree looked rather bare, but after all this time, it has finally been filled enough that we figure we could use a bigger tree.  All our ornaments are homemade, with the exception of the pretty globe ornaments that my mom and sister got us to really carry our color theme.  Anyway, I thought I would share some of the ornaments we have made throughout the years, in case any of you like to make ornaments with your family.  Of course, they are much prettier and more brilliant in real life, but I can't capture the way they catch the light in photos.  Oh well, these will have to do.

Beaded Stars:

Wired Stars:

Glittered Globes:

Beaded Trees:

Picture Ornaments (we do a block for each kid that allows us to use 6 of our favorite photos of that child from the year):

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Creations--Ducklings Pull Toy

This year, for Jesse's Christmas present, I made a pull toy.  If you want to make one of your own, it's basically the same steps as you will find in the Puzzle Nativity Post.  I ordered the wheels and axles online, as I don't have the tools to make them, but you could make your own.  If I do another one, I think I'll use suede cord instead of ribbon, as the ribbon seems to get twisted up too easily when you pick the whole thing up.  But, I think it should still work fine, even if the ribbon is twisted.  I guess I'll have to wait and see until Jesse has a go at it to make sure it withstands the abuse of children, but Ben tried it out and it seemed to work out great for him.  I'm excited:  I think Jesse is going to LOVE it!

Christmas Creations--Wooden Puzzle Nativity

My second post about these nativities I designed and made can be seen here: http://amasterofnone.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-was-busy-little-elf-this-christmas.html

If you choose to make one of my nativities for yourself or as a gift, I would really appreciate it if you would include with it an acknowledgement that it is "from [or 'adapted from' if you make any changes] the original design by Jennifer E. Norton as found on her blog, http://amasterofnone.blogspot.com".  I put alot of my time, thought, and heart into my design of this nativity and the symbolism behind each individual piece and how they are arranged.  I would really appreciate your willingness to acknowledge my original design. Thank you.
So, I've been wanting to come up with something like this for a while, so here's my first attempt. I was really mad when I accidentally stained two of the pieces opposite to what I had intended (I had meant for the background below the star to be brighter/lighter than that above the star). But, overall, I think it turned out pretty good for my first project. I made this one as a gift for a good friend, but I will definitely want to make one for our family next year, as Cam, Nathan, and Ben have all asked me too.

It can be set up flat . . . .
Popped . . . .
Or as a traditional nativity with Mary holding the baby, or the baby in the manger . . . .

Overall, I'm pleased with the results.  If you want to make one yourself, design something to your liking on paper and then transfer your drawing to wood (I used 1" oak and white washed the lighter pieces to look more like pine) . . . .
Then, using a scroll saw cut the pieces out (I found it easiest to use a spiral blade). . . .
Then sand the pieces so they are smooth and the edges are soft (I used a palm sander and fine tooth paper) . . . .
Then stain and polyurethane each piece the color that you want (be careful not to accidentally stain the wrong piece the wrong color like I did).  And wala!  You have yourself a nativity . . . .