Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DIY Fabric Box

I have seen loads of fabric boxes that require crazy sewing skills and fancy plastic boards that make the sides stand up. I came up with my own less expensive version, but still equally time consuming.

Seeing as this is to fit in a compartment in my secretary desk, I measured the size I would need and cut out the net shape from some old cardboard that was lying around (the box I keep my ice-skates in, actually).

For each piece of cardboard, I cut twice the size of fabric. This box is 4" x 6" x 8" and I used exactly a fat quarter (18" x 22") for covering all the pieces (tiny seam allowances).

I then sewed up two of the sides to make a little pocket for the piece of cardboard. I found that a snug fit worked best, so I re-sewed a few of the seams so the piece of cardboard wasn't rattling around inside the pocket.

I did this for each piece of cardboard.

I then hand-sewed the remaining edge closed (the tighter the better). This was the time consuming bit, so I watched a movie while I did it... and didn't take any photos of that step.

I then sewed all the pieces back together to make the box.

I sewed all the sides onto the bottom first, and then just did a few little stitches at the top corners once I lifted up the sides of the box.

I was originally just going to tie a ribbon around to keep all the sides up, but realized they would flop to the inside if the box was empty.

Despite the time it took, I am very pleased with the results... still need to fix the bow though :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Re-grow Spring Onions

I found this idea on Pinterest and I am thrilled to say that it actually works. We never used to buy spring onions because we never used them all up before they spoiled. But we bought some, used them, and put the leftover roots into some water.

I had a hard time finding a container small enough to support them all - mason jars were too big but an egg cup was too small. The measuring lid off the laundry detergent proved to be the perfect size. We put it near the window that gets the most sun, which is not much given we're in the Rocky Mountains and it's winter. Right now it gets 3 hours of sun in the morning... if it's lucky (Last week this window froze over and the onions are still growing!).

It seems to be working, though, because we've had them for a month now. And now we just chop off only as much as we need for a recipe (which isn't much for just the two of us) and let the rest keep growing.

Detergent Container for Mixing Colours

We have sensory tables in my classroom and I am always trying to think of new ways to use them. This is an idea I came up with after finishing off the laundry detergent on the weekend and not wanting to throw away the container just yet. I thought the button was super cool and might help develop fine motor skills and strengthen muscles in little hands.

Soo... here's what we did. I was a bit late taking the photos, but the water in the sensory table was blue and the water in the detergent container was yellow. I propped the detergent container up on an overturned box so that the button was accessible.

I wanted the kids to press the button and see what happens when two colours mix.

They were so careful in not wanting the colours to mix at first, they were practicing great pouring skills between containers.

They had a hard time pressing the button with one hand, so they found ways to balance a container under the tap to free up both hands.

They were SO cute helping each other pressing the button. I heard, "It's a bit tricky, so I'll help you with it, buddy."

I thought they would get bored once the water was out of the detergent container, but they just turned the container up on it's side, took off the lid and poured lots of water back inside. It was building great hand-eye coordination skills trying to get the water into a smaller hole.

It was such a success that I don't think this container will be going out with the recycling for a while yet.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Paint Chip Coffee Can

Behold one of my first attempts at Mod Podge:

Paint chips on an old coffee can.

This was probably not the best project to learn how to Mod Podge.

First of all, paint chips are cardboard and do not like to curve.
Secondly, applying LOTS of them at different places around the can meant that I did not have enough fingers to hold them down.

The solution was to use rubber bands to hold them all firmly in place until the Mod Podge dried and hope that the rubber bands themselves don't stick to the can. It worked, but only just.

Not happy with the ribbon at the top of the can (it went transparent in patches), but I DO like that Disney now has a paint range and their paint chips are shaped like Mickey. Love. It.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reversible Cushions

These reversible cushions came about because of my indecisiveness. I wasn't sure what fabric to order online, so I bought 1 yard each of 4 different prints.

Made mismatched fronts and backs for each cushion...

And now we have four different combinations/looks.


Easy peasy.

Tiny Laundry Solutions

I've heard that you should not air your dirty laundry in public. But I beg to differ because I LOVE my laundry and clothes drying system and I need to show it to you.

This time last year, we were hauling laundry down 3 flights of stairs, using coin operated machines that sometimes held your laundry hostage, then (because I am an avid line-dryer advocate) I was hauling heavy, WET laundry back up the stairs so I could hang it on lines that took up SO much floor space and would collapse if you walked past them. I cried several times over laundry woes. But not anymore...

So here's our hallway laundry. It was a prerequisite when house-hunting. Don't see it? Let me show you.

At the end of the hall, on the left, there is a folding door. Ta-da! I realize it's a cupboard, but I am in love with it anyway.

Here's my little DIY soap dish (Styrofoam try with mod podge) for stain-removing soap and my handmade peg bag.

 And here is my clothes line!!! Still don't see it? Let me show you (I love this game!).

Pull back the curtain (which is on a bent curtain rod so the curtain sits flush with the wall when closed)...

Ta-da! The Antonius Clothes Line system from IKEA. Would you believe I was prepared to spend up to $100 for a 'hide-away' clothes line? This system cost me about $30 all up.

The top rack folds up and the bottom one folds down and we're ready to go!

So for people who say they don't have enough space to air dry their clothing; here is your solution. Stop wasting electricity and let mother nature dry your clothes for you. I'll let Project Laundry List give you more reasons to air dry...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gluten Free Oreo Cheesecake

My mother-in-law gave me a rectangular silicone cake mould for Christmas, which I originally thought was to replace my current Teflon bread tins that I use (and complain about) to make my own GF bread.

But then we thought we were geniuses for deciding to use it for a GF Oreo cheesecake (We've since discovered that it was designed for cheesecakes...).

We used this recipe and just switched the Oreos for a gluten free variety (K-Toos) and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!!!

The only hitch was that we had to keep it in the oven for about an hour because we were using a rectangular pan, not the standard shallow 9" springform they suggest.

 And seeing as it's loaf-shaped, it was super easy to store in the fridge (circular cheesecakes take up so much room!!!) and cutting off a slice was a cinch.

IKEA Plant Pot = Bathroom Catchall

Before I made my jewellery hanger, I was on the hunt for all things lacy. That's when I fell in love with this plant pot at IKEA. It was super cheap ($3!!!) and I knew that it would never serve it's purpose as a plant pot in my house.

Meet my bathroom catchall.

It holds everything that I would otherwise dump on the bathroom counter and leave there until the next cleaning day (think mascara, lip gloss, toothpaste, tweezers, nail file... the list goes on). It is way easier to keep the area looking nice if I don't have to think while putting it away.

It also holds my bobby pins and my earrings; both of which I used to forget to take off before showering (but not anymore!!!).

Bathroom Storage Solution

Our bathroom is a little on the titchy side. We installed an IKEA kitchen cabinet to deal with all our 'stuff' but it seems it wasn't enough (Why do towels take up so much room?!?).

Anyway, a shelf for above the door was one of the first things we bought when Canadian Tire finally opened in Canmore (hooray!) but we only recently got around to installing it.

Tips for storage in small bathrooms:
  • Hooks are your best friend. They don't take up much room and they keep clothing and towels off the ground. They are also a great alternative to a towel rack when guests visit.
  • Think up. You don't need to have high ceilings to install a shelf over the door and pretty baskets can conceal items you don't regularly access.
  • Think outside the box - our cabinet is actually a kitchen cabinet from IKEA. In a small bathroom, floor space is valuable, so any storage device that can be mounted to the call is a bonus.

As a side note, would you believe that this bathroom has been through 4 makeovers in it's lifetime? We pulled out the medicine cabinet when we were painting and discovered several layers of cheap-skate painting jobs. It was first a darker shade of it's current colour (courtesy of the developers and designed to complement the dusty pink tiles). Then it was fluorescent green. Then it was sky blue. And now we've restored some order to the bathroom colour palet, using the tiles as a guide, but we'd would love to do a complete overhaul and make it all white/slate.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crackers Box = Stationery Organizer

I was finishing off a box of rice crackers today, whilst browsing through my Pinterest boards. How often do I ever REVISIT things that I have pinned to boards? Hardly ever... but I rediscovered some awesome projects, such as this one. I saw the picture and then Pinterest shut down for at least 15 minutes, so I decided to create my own instructions for it. It now appears that I did EXACTLY what the other blogger did, including making an unnecessary cut in the cardboard.

So here's my version of the project, on a slightly smaller scale and with a different flower (I have included the free printable template for the flower too).

First, eat something out of a box. Eat all of it. This is the easy part :)

Second, grab a ruler then measure and mark a line halfway down one side of the box.
Note: this is the ONLY measurement you need. Every line after this can be zig-zag, wavy or a hack job, but THIS line must be straight and exactly halfway down the box. It is also the only line you do not need to cut (but I accidentally did anyway).

Next, draw a diagonal line on the narrow edge of the box. The angle of the line does not matter in the slightest, it just has to match up to the line you drew previously.

Seeing as I am aiming for something prim and proper (it's going in my Craft Desk, I am going for straight-edges the whole way.

Next, draw a line on the other side of the box (lets call this the English side). Again, it doesn't have to be straight, it just has to match up to the diagonal line you just drew.

Note: Here is where I should have made the mental note to only cut the English side of the box, not the French side.

This should leave you with one remaining unmarked side (hopefully a narrow side) that should be easy to draw, because you just need to match up the lines drawn on the adjacent sides
Then you need to cut the lines on the two narrow sides and the "English" side of the box. It should then swing open to create two pockets. Tape the heck out of it so it sits nice and flat and looks solid.

I then painted it and put white duck tape along the edges to try to hide the raw cardboard edges.

Now for the flower!!!

Here is a free template, which I am super proud of because I used photoshop for the FIRST TIME without hubby's help.

Print and cut out the flowers, then bend the petals in half. I bent the turquoise petals inwards and the grey-ish ones outwards, then stacked them according to size, with the largest one on the bottom. I then grabbed a pin, which happened to have a black felt flower on the end already (I think it was from a Remembrance Day Poppy that broke?) and shoved it through all the flowers and the box.
I then pushed the pin flat onto the wall of the box and taped it down.

And here's my finished product!

I could have made more of an attempt to cover up the cardboard on the inside, but I am sure it will soon be so filled with junk that it will conceal it for me.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Colour Match for kiddies

My three year olds are pretty clever. They can do all the colour naming/matching/sorting activities we do in class, so I have decided to take it to the next level.
From Pinterest inspiration (not sure where, but I am sure I did not come up with this idea on my own) I bring you my colour match activity.

First, I graciously swiped several colour swatches from our newly opened Canadian Tire. Actually, I took two of each colour, in case I messed up, but I managed to create it all with only one of each sample.

Then I cut a strip of each colour and glued it onto a peg. A long strip from the centre of the swatch (without the words on it), was then glued to the edge of a Styrofoam platter. Then I went nutso with my new glitter glue (Christmas pressie from my Mum-in-law) ... And, presto! All done!

Once the children get past arguing over who gets the pink pegs (I have a LOT of children who favour pink over all other colours), the idea is that 4 children will each have a colour to find, then attach to the side. Oh and seeing as many things seem to disappear from my classroom, I put my name on it. Tacky, I know, but necessary if I plan to get use out of it.

 All done! Actually, I had a moment where I messed up with the blue pegs so I hope it's not too challenging for my kids. Even if they can't match the shades correctly, they will at least benefit from finding their chosen colours among the others, and developing their fine motor skills with the pegs.