Friday, July 20, 2012

Epic Organizer

My husband (and mother and father and brother and sister and brother-in-law and cousins and uncle) will be competing in an Epic Relay in a couple of weeks. Just think 12 runners, 2 vans, and 205+ miles from Cache County Utah to Jackson Hole Wyoming. They did this race last year and it was AMAZING! Unfortunately, last year we didn't do a very good job prepping for the race- the night before we were up late, didn't really have things packed, and my husband came down with a nice cold (I know, great for running 20+ miles- he would have tested positive for lots and lots of cold medicine and cough drops). I was volunteering at the start and ended up leaving the house planning to come back and get ready, but ended up not. Let me just say I don't recommend sleeping in contacts.
This year I am determined to be more organized. As such, I made my husband this car organizer so that he can have the things he is most likely to need right at his fingertips without taking up much space in the van.
I know, it is hard to see in the photo, so I shall describe. At the very top in an elastic enclosed strap is some chapstick. Along the top row is a loop for a pen, and pouches for a phone, camera, gum and breath mints, Cliff Bars, and some chocolate dusted almonds. On the far side is another loop for the sunglasses. The middle row has pockets for his wallet, allergy medicine and ibuprofen, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and blister stuff and band-aids. The bottom row includes Fabreze (extra strength- very important), tissues, head lamp, and baby wipes. It is even harder to see in the picture, but that little bit of white poking out by the pen is a pocket on the back that holds the leg maps.
I made it up as I went along, and I just used things that I already had on hand (if you know my husband, you know that his favorite gifts are ones that don't cost anything- that is why my bias tape is different colors). Hopefully it works out well for the race.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gone to the Dogs

My decorating has come full circle again. Once upon a time, when I had two little girls in separate rooms, I decided that Monkey could have a nice jungle themed room, and Kitty was in love with puppies so she got the dog themed room. Kitty and I picked out some fabric and I even made her a sheet and pillowcase. But then I took over one of the rooms for a craft room (yes, I am a selfish mother like that) and the two girls got put together. For the longest time, I thought that I was going to decorate their room with the jungle print, but as I was sketching out a window valance, I realized that Monkey was in love with puppies too, and so we are back to the dogs. Since I had only made one sheet before with the puppy print (it has a bunch of sayings relating to dogs like WOOF), and I had a bunch left over, yesterday I made the second sheet so the girls could have matching mattresses.

I used the McCall's M4328 pattern basically. It is pretty easy, just cut some fabric 69" long. If your fabric is more than 45" wide, you would need to trim it, but otherwise there is your base. You fold each corner to a point (45 degree angle) and measure in 9". That is your sew line- 9" up to the top of the triangle. I cut my fabric at the 8 1/2" line and sew with a 1/2" seam allowance. After sewing your corners, hem your bottom edge, leaving a gap to run 3 yards of 1/4" elastic through. Sew elastic together and close hem, Finished. Not difficult, but it does take a little time to hem the whole bottom edge and then to tread the elastic all that way. I am sure there must be tutorials out there with pictures of every step. Mostly, I just wanted to post the measurements that I used so that if I make more I can find it quickly. :)

I already have an idea for the window valance. Unfortunately, it involves a trip to the fabric store, so we shall see how long that takes to get done. Taking children to Jo-Ann's is NOT my favorite activity.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pop goes the Marshmallow

 How is that for a chocolaty smile? Some of us have a sweet tooth and were craving a snack. I had seen pictures of marshmallow pops online and figured they would be easy. They were. What I didn't figure was how much tastier they would be than they looked. It is a good thing that I only made a few.
For mine, I cut some skewer sticks in half and put one in each marshmallow. I dipped the marshmallow in some melted chocolate candy melts, and then rolled in toffee bits. I set them in the fridge for a few minutes to harden, and then passed them out to the happy children. Seriously, it is a good thing that I didn't make more. And now I have another quick treat idea for when it is scout night and I haven't gotten around to making the cub grub yet.

Stroller Make-over

This is my double wannabe jogging stroller. Like how it now has three seats? They individually recline as well. And are a little more ventilated in the back so that it doesn't get quite so toasty.
 It is still a tight squeeze, but it is manageable.
 I forgot to take a before picture, but if you look, you can see it sort of pictured here (also note that Tiger occasionally will share with his sisters). 
 This is a really lousy photo, but it was the inspiration for the stroller make-over. We went for a family jog one evening (because any earlier is way too hot, instead of just hot). Since we only have one jogging stroller, all three kids are just stacked in. Unfortunately, there was a seat divider that made it so the child sitting in the middle had to basically sit on the front edge. Not the most comfortable for sleeping, although Tiger tried it. By the time we got back they were all out.
A couple days later I went to Jo-Ann's and found some mesh and some sturdy looking fabric, not to mention some straps and buckles. I used the original seat as my inspiration, just made the seats narrower, and added an extra one. I just made it up as I went along. Hopefully, it helps, although I still anticipating bickering, especially in such close quarters.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Travel Doll House- 2nd attempt

 This was my second attempt (1st attempt) at making the dollhouse from here. It turned out much better I felt. Pardon the lack of interior and exterior decorating- I gave it to a little girl who was leaving for long travels and didn't have time to add any embellishments.
This time I went with 1/8" clearance all around the plastic (with 1/2" seam allowance on sides that were sewn). Because I was in a hurry and forgot it in the beginning, I also just wrapped the batting around the plastic canvas and put it in that way. 

Stuffed Animal Zoo Cage

 Inspired by this pin, I finally got around to making a storage area for all of the many stuffed animals that my children have collected over the years. And I confess, it probably still wouldn't be done, except all of my laundry baskets had been stolen to hold their stuffed animals and my clothes pile was starting to rival Mount Everest.
I had some help.  They went with me to Home Depot to pick up the boards. They helped me screw them together, and they had fun playing in it until I evicted them all so I could stain it (I wanted it to match the girls' bunk bed cause I am like that). I think I am going to like it. Now, off to do some laundry.

*UPDATE*
or "How I Built My Stuffed Animal Cage"

Materials:
2:2x2x8- cut in half, for a total of 4 2x2x4 (actual measurements of a 2x2 are more like 1.5x1.5. Lumber is silly like that)
3:1x2x8 furring strips- cut 6@1', 6@2'
Wood screws (as soon as I find the package, I will tell you what size they were. They were probably around 1 5/8"". I got them in a pack of 100 at Walmart for just under $5. They just need to be long enough to securely attach the furring strips to the 2x2 supports without going all the way through.
50' of rope (will have left over but that was the size the package came in. I bought a 1' nylon rope that was a pain to tie off, but it was the least expensive way to go- it was also the most expensive part of the project at around $13 at Home Depot).
at least 24- 1" cup hooks (this would have been better if I could have found full rings to run my rope through, but all the full rings I saw would have run clear through my furring strip. Because they are not, the ropes can come out. If it bugs me too much I may take some twist ties to it, but so far it hasn't been a huge deal)
sanding paper, wood filler, paint of stain, etc.

The guy at Home Depot was nice enough to cut my boards for me. I brought them home and screwed them together (I predrilled my holes to make sure they wouldn't split out on me). I started with the sides. For each side, I took two of the support posts (the 4x2x2's) and three of the 1' boards. The bottom and top I lined up with the support post, the middle one I measured 2' up from the bottom and then measured .75" down from that so that my board was centered. After I had my sides screwed together, I then attached my front and back boards, this time lining them up not with the support posts, but with the side boards (you can sort of see how in the pictures above- sorry, I didn't take pictures while I was doing it). Make sure to off-set your screws so that they don't run into each other. After I was all done with this part, I ended up putting in a second screw on the front and back going into the side boards (as pictured in the unfinished photo).

Then I started sanding. And did some more sanding. And then some more. This is where I wish I had invested in one of those little hand sanders. I think I have heard they are only like $20 for a cheap one. It might have been worth it. I rounded all the corners a little so that if a child bonked their head it wouldn't be quite as painful. I also filled in my screw holes and any other knots and dents with some stainable wood filler.
After it was all sanded down yet again (and my arms were good and sore), I stained it. Let it dry. Stained it again. Let it dry. Touched up some spots. Let it dry. Varnished it. Let it Dry. Varnished it again. Let it dry. Decided that was good enough.

The next step was to put the cup holder hooks in. Using a highly technical measuring method (I took my flexible sewing tape measure because that was the only one I could find at the moment, measured the distance on the inside between my boards, and folded my tape measure in half to get my center point) I found the center of all the boards and screwed the cup holders. Using that same measuring method on the front and back boards, I put in another cup holder centered between the center and the edge (that was a confusing sentence. Basically, it means I had three hooks in each board on the front and back, evenly spaced, and only one in the center on the sides).

The last step was stringing the rope. Because I didn't want to deal with cutting and tying my rope, I just ran it in a continuous loop (I started so that my knot would be on the bottom). At the top, I used some more hooks to tack the rope in the corners so that it would be open, but didn't bother doing the same for the bottom (see picture below). Then the only thing left was to toss all the stuffed animals in. 
It has been nice, because even the littlest one understands how to put the animals back. Sure they still get strewn around the room, but I can say "put the stuffed animals back" and they do. Now if I could only get them to do the same with the rest of their toys...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Floofy Cake

I was at the store, quickly looking for food for a get-together that I planned at the last minute, and I ran in a friend who told me about an easy tasty dessert that she had made the day before. The best part- it was only two ingredients- an angel food cake mix and a can of pie filling. Mix them together and pour in an ungreased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream if desired.
It sounded easy enough and I already had an angel food cake mix, so I grabbed a can of whipped topping and a can of raspberry pie filling. For fun, when I got home from the store I googled the ingredients to see if I could find a more "official" looking recipe, so if you are interested in more pictures, click here
While I was throwing it together, it occurred to me that this would be a great dessert for food storage. Cake mix, cans of pie filling, and boxes of Dream Whip, and you are good to go for a quick, easy (did I mention only two ingredients- unless you are counting the topping, and then it is three, but still....) and very tasty dessert. I think it would even work out in a dutch oven if you wanted a slight change up from cobbler while camping.
This recipe is definitely a keeper.