Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gnomeo & Juliet ~ Tutorial and giveaway!

I have been dying to take Sprite to a movie since we went to Toy Story 3 back in August.  She LOVED it.  This was her first movie (at age 2), and I wasn't sure how she would do.  She ended up standing most of the time, and peeking over the seat in front of us.  She watched the whole movie, ate a TON of popcorn, and figured out that the mommies were sneaking M&Ms in the dark :-)

Recently, it seems like all the kids movies are either rated PG or are in 3D.  Since she's only 2, I don't think either of those characteristics would go over well.  We have been waiting for Gnomeo & Juliet for awhile now, and were disappointed to find out it was in 3D.  I don't get this 3D craze.  It gives me a headache and it makes Mr. Apple grumble about having to pay extra for the 3D glasses.  We decided to wait for the 2D version to come to our cheap theater, but in the meantime I did a little project for Sprite to get her excited:

Gnomeo & Juliet peg people!

If you don't know, I love peg people (here's evidence, and here's some more).  I made these ones a little shorter so they are more gnome-like. 

Here's how to make your own! This is a great project for when you have a few hours at home.  You can paint a section and while it dries you can do other things.  Now I have a clean house AND peg gnomes :-)


Wooden pegs
Acrylic paint
Spray sealant
scraps of red and blue felt

The pegs come in a pack like this.  There are from Hobby Lobby and were $3 for a pack of 8:

There are several different types of spray sealant.  Pretty much any kind will do.  I went with the one on the left because I like the glossy look:

I use a little saw to take about 1/4 inch off the bottom of the peg people to make them a little shorter than Sprite's other peg people.  Don't worry, they were anesthetized first.

Then sand the bottoms to make them smooth.

Here they are compared to the regular peg people.  Just a tad shorter.

The first step is painting the heads.  If you have a fleshy color, that works great.  I did not, so I mixed white with a drop of pink and a drop of peach.  While the heads dry, throw in a load of laundry :-)

Next, paint Juliet's body red and the top half of Gnomeo's body blue.

After that dries, add a white apron and collar to Juliet, and a thin black ring around the bottom to represent her shoes.  Paint the bottom black too.

For Gnomeo, add a stripe of gray for his pants and a stripe of black for his boots.  He also has a stripe of black for his belt, and a square buckle.  Paint the bottom black also. 

I painted the faces on, but if you don't have a steady hand, you can use a permanent marker instead.

Gnomeo's eyes and nose are bigger to give him a more manly look (as manly as a gnome can look I suppose).  He has a thin white beard (just dot the paint on).

Juliet's nose and eyes are smaller, and eyes are slightly closer together.  I dotted her hair on also, with a section that swooped down in the middle.

 Next, Juliet's apron got some detail and she got thin eyebrows and a small, red mouth.

Gnomeo got a wider tan mouth and bushy eyebrows.  He also got some blond-ish hair, which will peak out from under his hat in the center.

After the gnomes are completely dry, give them a layer or two of spray sealant, and allow them to dry completely.

Cut half circles for the hats (about 3 inches in diameter), then cut a small wedge out of the pieces as shown with the red hat below.  Using the larger piece, roll it into a cone and glue shut.  Try it on the gnome, and trim a little off the bottom if necessary to get a good fit.  Glue it into place.

Aren't they cute? I'm going to give Sprite hers right before we go to the movie.

I'm giving away a set of these gnomes on my facebook page, !

All you have to do is "like" my page and comment on the giveaway post.  The drawing will be Sunday, March 6th @ 11:59pm CST.  Good luck!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Felt Sushi

Sprite and I LOVE felt food.  Here she is baking bread in her play kitchen, while Mr. Apple was in the big kitchen baking fresh bread (Mr. Apple is very into kitchen experiments...and also fresh bread).

I starting making it when Sprite was about 6 months old, and every holiday I add a piece or two to her collection.  Some of her favorites are cupcakes, ravioli, an apple, cookies, and an eggplant.  Here's a bowtie pasta tutorial I made awhile ago.

For Valentine's Day, I made Sprite a strawberry, a heart shaped chocolate, and a set of sushi.  The cats stole the first two right away.  Felt strawberries are a favorite of cats.  I make them for the cats at the animal shelter occasionally. 

Anyway, back to felt sushi!

Felt- white, black, and scraps of different colors
needle and thread

Start by cutting your pieces.  I don't eat sushi, so please excuse my lack of proper sushi terminology :-)
In this example, I made sushi with the nori (black) on the outside, but you can make any kind you want.  You can vary the colors to make different ingredients. 

You will need the following:

All measurements are in inches.
Black: 1 x 5
White: 2 x 5
Pink, green, and tan: one each, 1 x 2.5

Fold the white piece in half lengthwise:

 Fold the scrap pieces in half widthwise and place in the center of the white. The folded edges should line up:

 Roll the white around the scraps.  Cut off excess, allowing the ends to overlap a bit:

Stitch up the ends:

Next, wrap the black piece around the roll.  Allow the ends to over lap slightly, trim off excess, and stitch shut.

Trim off excess scrap pieces that might be sticking out.

Felt sushi! Now you just need to keep them away from the cats long enough for the kiddos to play with them. :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Peg people

Sprite and I made this recycled castle over the summer, and she loves playing with it.  

The problem is that she only has two peg people (named after herself and her little friend) to play with.  I decided to make some more.  A lot more.

Here are some brief instructions if you want to make your own. 

Supplies: blank pegs (sold in small bags at craft stores)
Acrylic paint
Acrylic spray sealant

I found the pegs in two sizes, so I made kids and adult peg people.  If you can't find the smaller ones, or want people of all sizes, use a small saw (like a coping saw) to cut a little bit off the bottom to make the people shorter.

It's easiest to paint several at one time, so you can work on one while part of another is drying.

Start by painting the heads in a skin tone and the body in whatever color you want the clothes.  Make sure you paint the bottom too.

I found that the people looked the best if I painted the eyes and mouth first, and then did the hair.  It was hard to tell where exactly to put the hair without the eyes as a reference.

Add some clothing details, maybe some jewelry or hair accessories, then let the paint dry overnight.

Finish by applying a layer or two of the spray sealant.  Make sure you let the sealant dry between coats as directed by the can.

Time to play!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Unpaper Towels

This is a doubly-upcycled project.  It started last summer, when I used old towels to make this picnic blanket:

Wasn't Sprite a chunker? :-)

I saved the scraps from making this blanket even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them (the story of my life).  I just knew they'd be useful at some point!

I have been needing some cleaning towels since I became a fan of The Flylady, and starting cleaning, organizing, and decluttering like a crazy person :-)  My friend Jenna showed me some "unpaper towels" she made for cleaning her house (and children) and I thought this would be the perfect use for my towel scraps.  Old bath towels would also work well, but I used all mine up making toddler bibs.

This is the PERFECT low-stress sewing project.  I did not measure anything, I just cut and sewed completely freehand.  They're rags, and no one is going to be inspecting them! No two are exactly alike, and that's half the fun.

For the backs, I used green flannel I had lying around for awhile.  Since they are already crazy colored, I did all the backs the same color to kind of make them match. At least match somewhat.  A tiny bit.

First, start sewing your scraps together.  My bigger unpaper towels are about 11 in square, and the smallest are about 6 inches square.  I also made a tiny one for Sprite, about 5 inches square:

Once you have the front assembled, cut a piece of flannel for the back.  Lay the front and back RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, and sew almost all the way around, leaving a space for turning.

Turn the towel right side out and press.

Lastly, use a zig zag stitch to sew all the way around, about 1/2 from the edge, making sure that you're closing the opening as well.

Ta-da! Unpaper towels!

They're not at all perfect, but I highly doubt that when I am shining my sink I am going to notice my seams anyway!  I'm in love with them already.

Happy cleaning!
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