Saturday, January 26, 2013

Things to Make for Preschoolers to Do

Whatever crafting I do typically involves sewing. Clothes or quilts, by hand or by machine, little felt things, that's what I do. But once in a while, I like to try something different.

I found these cute little boxes in the unfinished wood section of Michael's. I can't remember what I was actually there looking for, but did you know they have all kinds of different sizes and shapes of boxes available? I had no idea. This particular one has a drawer, and a lid that flips up to reveal a small mirror. 

It's probably intended to hold jewelry, or hair accessories, but I thought it would make a cute portable dollhouse.

I kept the outside natural, and Lissie helped me paint fun colors on the inside, like a little surprise when you open it, then we sealed everything with beeswax polish.

Max loves it. The people basically seem to hang out and eat a lot of mushroom soup.

I also found some unfinished wood flower pots, and had these flat wooden spoons--you know, the kind that used to come with the little cups of ice cream from the ice cream truck? I hated eating ice cream with those. It always reminded me of being at the doctor's office.

I've seen a million variations on this, but the spoons came in a pack of way more than I needed for anything else, so that's what I used.

I sanded the flower pots, but the idea of sanding 24 tiny wooden spoons didn't sound appealing, and I left those as they were. I used watercolor paint to paint the bottom sections of the flower pots, and then painted four spoons in varying shades of each color I used for the pots. 

Some of the colors could have used a little more variation (I'm looking at you, yellow and orange!), but Maxine doesn't seem to mind. She likes to use them for counting "one, two, three, four, SEVEN! One, two, three, four, SEVEN!"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our New Additions

Our family has grown, by two. Two cuddly, snuggly, adorable little rescue dachshunds.

Greta, on the left, is three, and Lotte is four. They are both retired breeders who were rescued from a puppy mill. They were at the same puppy mill and knew each other well, so although we got them a month apart, there was no real adjustment period. In fact, Greta was immediately happier and more relaxed with another dog in the house.

When they came to us, they had never lived in a house before. They didn't play with toys, or eat food off the floor (which, let's be honest, is half the reason we even wanted a dog!). They'd spent their lives in cages, and even had to be taught how to go up and down the stairs.

They are the absolute sweetest though. They love the girls and are great with other dogs. They are still learning to walk on leashes, but I'm thinking they might enjoy that more once the weather is nicer.

They are happy and healthy here.

And they love pooping on the rug in the living room.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pinterest: Sometimes Good, Sometimes Bad

Are you on Pinterest? I love it. You can see my boards here. My favorite thing about it is having a place where I can find and collect all of the things I see that inspire me. I've been "collecting" bedroom images since I opened my account last year, and now that we are (finally!) getting around to redoing our bedroom, I love that I can just go to that board and see everything in one place.

But this post isn't supposed to be about my bedroom. This post is about how many of the boards I create on Pinterest turn into giant "to do" lists. I already blogged about making these cute little dolls, and the pouch babies inspired by these that Lissie and I made here.

I didn't blog about the mash up of these and these that I tried to make. I tried on three separate occasions, but I couldn't get the wrapping right, and it drove me crazy. I'd like to try these again sometime when I have more time and more patience.

More recently, we tried making "calm down" jars. We've had the book Peaceful Piggy for a couple of years, and it's a much loved favorite of both girls. In the back, they give vague instructions for filling a jar with sand and water and watching it settle. But, we don't really have a good source for sand nearby, and I knew the water would get scuzzy after a while. So I went looking for alternatives, and it turns out that the book Moody Cow Meditates (which we don't have, but is in my wish list) has a glitter version. And you know how we love our sparkles!

Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I turned to that treasure trove of crafty things, Pinterest. I found a few recipes that looked promising, but this post on Momma Owl's Lab was my favorite. It was six different recipes! With notes! They already did all of the work! What could possibly go wrong?

We gathered our supplies:

We mixed, then we shook, and

all of the glitter floated up. To the top. Very fast. We used two variations of the recipes I linked to above, so I assumed the glitter was the culprit.

So we tried again, with different glitter, and

got the exact same results. Thinking maybe it was the corn syrup we used, I went to the store and got glycerine to try. By attempt number three, I was not happy, and poured out the glycerine-glitter mix before I took any photos, but it looked just like this:

So, that was frustrating. I am still not sure what went wrong, but I definitely needed a calm down jar for myself after that! I think we'll try a completely different recipe next time. I have seen some that use glitter glue. It seems like a lot of people had clumping issues (which was why I went with a plain glitter recipe), but we'll see.

Of course, sometimes things do work. Maybe it's not a craft, but just a good thrift store find (or this case, Estate Sale Warehouse find). I pinned this art supply caddy a year ago, but old soda crates aren't that easy to come by around here. I finally found one though, and for a cool $12.50, it was all mine!

It doesn't quite erase the sting of failure, but it helps.