The Thankful Mama

Make It Yourself Party Banner

 

I just completed a super cute fabric party banner for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. It is Thomas the Tank Engine themed. I have been inspired by some of the cute fabric banners and buntings I’ve seen on Pinterest, and I decided to give it a go. I have very limited sewing skills and this is definitely a beginner friendly project!

I followed a couple of online tutorials here and here. I found some remnant fabric in solid blue and bought one yard of Thomas fabric for contrast. I cut 7″x9″ triangles in each of the two fabrics using a template I made from scrap card stock. I also cut corresponding triangles out of matching felt scraps to back the Thomas fabric. It gives the triangles some stability and you don’t use as much of the fabric. I did, however, make the solid blue triangles double sided. It was a remnant piece and I didn’t care how much of it I used!

Tracing the Triangles

On each triangle, I sewed a straight stitch along the outer edge, creating a nice seam. Then, using pinking shears, I cut close to the seam creating a nice clean edge. My shears need a good sharpening, so I was only able to get through the sturdier Thomas fabric. I would definitely suggest using this technique, though, on all of the fabrics triangles to keep the edges from fraying. I found some 1 1/2″ wide matching ribbon in my craft supplies to use for the hanger. I folded it over the top edge of the triangles and pinned them in place. Using a zig zag stitch, I carefully sewed them all to the ribbon and finished off each edge to prevent fraying. It really looks nice and very festive!

Finished Edge Using Pinking Shears

Zig Zag Stitching

This project took me just a few hours to make. It is easily accomplished in a couple of afternoons and a great way to use up scraps! I love the handmade look it adds to the party decor and I think I’ll have to make some more just for fun!

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Little Flowers Skirt

Well, after a crafting hiatus, I am back with a completed project. I finished the Baby Jaquards Floral Skirt by Bernat Design Studio. This cute little pattern is written for the use of the Bernat Baby Jaquards Floral yarn. The free pattern is available on the ball band and here.

My hubby got a couple of skeins of this as a birthday gift for me and he picked well! I love the color, a bright and happy mix of oranges and cream. The self patterning flowers are so fun to see appearing as you knit. It’s very girly and perfect for my little girly girl! It’s an a acrylic/nylon blend, but it is soft and I haven’t noticed it irritating my daughter’s skin. I also had no problems working with it as far as it being overly rough or squeaky on the needles.

I had to do a little adjusting, since the sizing was too small. I just kind of winged it and made increases evenly until the skirt was the width I needed. Not the most intricate of designs, but it worked…and it’s a toddler skirt…no need to get too mathematical here.

The addition of elastic in the waistband it great and it worked better than I thought. It gives the skirt a much better fit. I found it easy to sew in the finished piece and well worth the extra time it takes to add this little detail.

Now that I have completed this pattern and fumbled my way through altering the size, I really want to knit more skirts for my little girl. The overall construction is simple enough to work on when I have the time and great for car rides. And because it’s a relatively small project, you get a completed item pretty quickly!

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Make Your Own Magnets

I have been meaning to share this project for a while. I heard about a neat idea from my friend about a DIY travel size magnet board for car trips. It involved a trip to the dollar store, which immediately piqued my interest! The idea is to get a cookie sheet and a set of magnets and voila, you have instant fun for a little one on a car ride! I love this, and couldn’t wait to make it. I found a medium size cookie sheet pretty easy, but the magnets proved harder to find. I couldn’t seem to find a pack that weren’t too small, too big or too expensive. Well, why not make my own? Then I could customize them to all of my daughters favorite things! We are fortunate enough to have a laminate machine, but you could use self seal laminate pouches like these. I have found them in the office departments of many chain retail stores.

Using Google image search, I found various pictures of animals my daughter likes, and cropped them to a 2 inch square size, using Photoshop. I filled a standard 8×10 sheet with the images and printed them out in color. I think cut outs from magazines or books would also be a great alternative. Next, I laminated the sheet and cut out the images. I used a roll of self adhesive magnet, found at any craft or office supply. It can be cut to size, which is perfect for the individual pictures. I reinforced the magnets with rubber cement, to create more durability. These are for a busy one and half year old, after all!

The result? Instant hit! My daughter was really excited to discover she could move the magnets around and lift and place them over and over again. I keep it in the car, and it is always reached for first when we get in! I can highly recommend making your own custom magnets. They are a really inexpensive and easy to make craft that provide hours of enjoyment!

 

Supplies Needed:

Laminator and laminate pouches or self sealing pouches.

Roll of self adhesive magnets

Rubber cement or other strong craft glue

Scissors

Several color printed images of choice

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Two Pairs of Socks Made by Me!

I have completed two pairs of socks! I’m so happy with both of them and even more happy that I have already knit four socks this year! I also managed to use some of my luxury stash yarn that has been in storage for way too long. I’m glad they finally got to see the light of day!

Spiral Rib Unicorn Socks

For my first pair, I knit the Purl Spiral pattern again, toe up. I really enjoy this little stitch pattern because it’s relatively easy to commit to short term memory, kind of hard to mess up, and makes a nice variation to the old 2×2 ribbing.

The yarn I chose is Knit Pick’s Imagination in Unicorn. I think I would have bought this yarn on name alone, but it also happens to be in a beautiful pink,purple and cream colorway that is quite magical! 🙂 It’s a merino and alpaca blend and boy is it soft! It has a nice little halo as well. The finished product feels like a snugly warm hug for my feet!

My second sock creation isn’t very different from the first. I used the same purl spiral stitch pattern, but only for

Cambria Cotton Confection Socks

the leg. The foot is a 3×3 rib, nice and simple. The real interest of this sock is in the yarn, a gorgeous rainbow of self striping fun! I picked this yarn up on our vacation to Lake Tahoe a few years ago. It comes from the Ball & Skein & More yarn shop. As I remember it was very quaint and had a great selection if interesting yarns that were reasonably priced. The Crazy Cotton by Schachenmayr nomotta caught my eye and ended up going home with me as my souvenir yarn! I’m so glad I bought it. It is a dream to work with. The cotton is incredibly soft, and yet it is quite sturdy. I love the stitch definition it gives as well. I really want to work with this again, good thing I have one extra ball! More info can be found on my Ravelry page for the Spiral Rib Unicorn Socks and the Cambria Cotton Confection Socks. My next project? I think I have the itch to make a kimono. That should definitely make a dent in the stash…unless I decide I must go shopping! Happy knitting!

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Great Spots at the Zoo

Beautiful spotted animals were out and about at a recent visit to the San Diego Zoo!

 

 

 

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Valentine Gifts: Homemade Crayons

I have been trying to find a quick and easy craft to make for Valentine’s Day for little ones. I toyed with the idea of knitting something (of course) but couldn’t find anything that fit my need for quick, easy and suitable for a toddler. Then I came across making your own crayons. I’ve seen this craft before, although I never made any myself as a kid. It’s a great idea, especially if you have tons of broken bits of crayons everywhere, which I happen to know someone who does!

For this project, I wanted to give it a Valentine theme…heart shaped crayons. I unsuccessfully tried making a mold myself using cookie cutters and tin foil…yeah…big bust. My result was a nice thin spread of melty crayon on my cookie sheet.

Second try…success! I found a candy mold that makes six heart shapes at Wal*Mart for $3.50. This was a fantastic deal considering the equivalent sells around 10 bucks everywhere else. It’s also small and can easily be stored. I decided to use similar colors of pinks, purples and reds and a bit of white crayon mixed in. I broke the crayons into pieces and layered the colors. I filled each reservoir up completely and let them sit in the oven at about 250 degrees for around 15 to 20 minutes, until the crayons were liquid. I was so pleased with the results! The heart molds made a perfect and smooth sided shape and the crayons just popped right out of the mold. For packaging, I found an assortment of lovely little boxes at the Dollar Store. They are small and, with a little coordinating tissue paper, should be the perfect fit.

Ican’t wait to make another batch in boy colors for my nephew. I think he deserves a set of crayons since he ( and by he I mean his mom) donated so many to my crafting experiment

For more info, there is a beautifully created tutorial here!

Primary Colors for a Boy

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The Fairest Knit Fairies

This is a project I made for Christmas presents and have just now got around to talking about. I entered a contest on the Spud & Chloe blog and won a copy of the winter issue of Knit Simple Magazine. One of the featured patterns is Susan B. Anderson’s Flora & Fairies. When I first saw them, I knew I had to knit these!

Blonde Fairy

This is one of the most clever patterns I have ever knit. I was surprised how the wings came together. I thought I wasn’t following the instructions correctly, for sure. I just couldn’t see how what I had on my needles was possibly a pair of wings…but I kept with it and sure enough a tiny little pair of wings appeared! This pattern calls for Spud and Chloe fine yarn, which I didn’t have and couldn’t get my hands on in a reasonable amount of time. These were last minute gifts after all. I would love to try a fairy with the Spud and Chloe, their colors are gorgeous! I substituted some leftover sock yarns and they worked great. I found it helped to use the yarns with the most spring and give, to facilitate working on small needles and a small stitch count.

This pattern includes a variation on hair and wings to make each fairy a little different. There is also a flower petal drawstring pouch, to carry around your little sprite, that is too cute not to make! I knit two of the fairies for two little girls. I made each type of wings and used yarn that matched the hair of the girls they were for.

Brown Haired Fairy

I ended up making only one flower pouch due to time constraints, and skipped the i-cord drawstring in lieu of ribbon for the same reason. I found the overall pattern really easy and fun to knit…but not as a last minute gift before Christmas! I’m not sure what I was thinking…but I’m looking forward to knitting my little girl her very own fairy when I do not need to rush.

Fower Petal Bag with Ribbon Drawstring

I received such glowing reviews from each recipient and I’m very glad I took the effort to make them! They are certainly a unique gift to give and I don’t know any little girl…or mommy for that matter…that wouldn’t adore a little fairy in her own matching purse!

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Can’t Get Enough of the Polar Bears

I have been so into the Polar Bears at the San Diego Zoo lately. I found they have a live webcam so you can watch them from the comfort of your own computer. I turned it on for my little girl, thinking it would be fun to watch…but I have been doing the bulk of watching. I just check in with them every now and then during the day. I can’t really explain my fascination, but they are just simply intriguing.

What my nephew calls " a polar bear sandwich."

Watching them on the webcam, I feel like I know these guys, so it was really exciting (for me) to get to see them at the zoo the other day. I love their enclosure…it has lots of play areas where you can learn facts about the bears…and they make great photo ops. There are the giant storybooks with illustrated pages that turn. My little girl loved this…I practically had to drag her away! There is also the “measure up” area with a working scale to compare your weight to that of a polar bear…it makes you feel pretty good about your weight!  They even have a life size statue of a standing polar bear…let’s just say it’s scary big!

If you visit the San Diego Zoo, please check out the Polar Rim and if not, there’s always the addictive Polar Cam!

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Cabled Slipper Socks

Another finished Christmas gift, albeit a little late. I did, however, have one completed sock to gift wrap and give to my dad…with the understanding that the second was soon to follow! Except for that second sock (which was half way finished) I completed all of my Christmas knitting on time. I was really proud of myself for achieving the goals I set. I ended up making 3 pairs of socks, 2 fairies, a pair of boot toppers and a sequined scarf. Some of these projects I still have to share here, but the details are up on my Ravelry page.

Elongated 6-Stitch Cable

The Cabled Slipper Socks turned out pretty nice, even though I made my trademark one-sock-bigger-than-the-other mistake. I’m not sure why that seems to happen every time I knit socks, but it probably has something to do with knitting furiously at midnight in dim lighting after a really long day of chasing a one year old…maybe? Anyway, I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed for the first time for this project and I love it! It’s a combination of Peruvian Wool and Donegal Tweed. The color is Sequoia Heather and it’s a really deep green with flecks of fawn throughout. For being a worsted weight wool, it is really sturdy, yet surprisingly soft. I used the Elongated 6- Stitch Cable pattern from Ann Budd’s book, Getting Started Knitting Socks, which is such a fabulous reference…one of my go-to books for anything sock!

For this pair of socks, I wanted to turn them into slippers or moccasins, so they could be worn around the house or outside. I bought a pair of prefab suede soles from Joann.com. These things are great, although pricey. They come with a warm fleece like interior and pre-punched holes around the perimeter for ease of sewing. After finishing the sock and blocking, I used leftover yarn from the project and secured the sock to the soles using a whip stitch. Very easy and it looks neat.

The review that came back is that they are really warm and comfy. I’m hoping that the extra strength of the suede will help with wear and tear on the sock…we shall see. I really would like to try this project again, especially when I’m not trying to break the land speed record for knitting! 🙂

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Clean and Organized

Happy New Year! I hope it was a great holiday for all of you. It was a wonderful Christmas for me and my family. My little girl got her first real taste of the excitement of Santa and opening presents. It was glorious watching her and my three year old nephew come into the living room and see what Santa had left and then tear into everything!

The month of December was so jam packed with good things that we all wore ourselves completely down and of course got the Christmas cold followed by the Christmas flu…yuck! There is a good part to all of that though. Having the entire family covered in cooties means a forced rest and time off. Hubby and I had almost a whole week of just being together, slowing down and playing. It was incredibly rejuvenating for mind and body! I learned a valuable lesson to start the new year off right…take it slow and focus.

I have been trying to be mindful of noticing the little things and practicing gratitude. I have been a little lax in these areas recently and want to make them habit. Hubby gave me a Kindle for Christmas, which I am finding is a great little gadget. It has given me access to many books and many of them for free. The public domain e-books section on Amazon.com is quite extensive. I found the book, The Heart of Abundance by Candy Paull, that reminded me to see abundance everywhere and to be in the moment.

I prefer to make goals instead of resolutions in January. I find that setting and achieving reachable goals creates the desire to build upon that success. I definitely want to clean and organize. That includes everything from my home to my vision board to my personal goals. I’m ready to make a clear plan for success! Organizing my ideas and thoughts are the first step towards making my dreams come true and I’m definitely planning on being more active in sharing on the blog!

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