Inspiration

I love this woman’s blog and the stuff her local artists’ group does sounds and looks amazing. I’m such a sucker for boxes… They’re like these perfect 3D canvases ready for whatever someone wants to throw at ’em!

Here are some I’ve made over the years.

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More inspiration

Winter Owls’ owls in the pram (above) are so incredibly cute I had the urge to run to the closest thrift store for fabric and start my own collection.  Easter was coming up and I happened to have two old towels that were about to be donated to our dogs and a big ribbon and button collection.

Here’s what I came up with…

Easter Snuggies

They’re nowhere near as cute as the owls, but my niece and nephew (4 and 1) loved them.  I glued the eyes on the one on the right hand side (in addition to sewing them) to make it less likely the 1 year old would pull them off and swallow them.  They started out as chicks (in my mind) for Easter but then the feet were more like duck feet and I only had enough room for one foot on each.  I guess they ended up being more like Easter Aliens.  Oh well.  They make me laugh.

Winter Owls

It has been a busy sewing week and my house looks like a bomb has hit it. My brother and his family are coming over to visit from the United States so I have a lot of tidying up to do. Thankfully it’s cooler in Melbourne at the moment which always makes me feel more like handling cosy fabrics like vintage chenille bedspreads. My dear friend Mary tells me she has the blue bed spread at her parent’s beach house. I did tease that they might find a few owl shaped holes after the next time I visit there…

Some of the owls went to a local school fete and the rest will fly off to my Etsy store soon. My younger son and I found this lovely old pram on a pile of junk put out on the nature strip. He was rather horrified when I asked him to pop…

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Painted Flower Pots

My son painted flower pots for his other mom for Valentine’s Day and then we used them to start plants for our garden. The top picture was one I sprayed with chalkboard paint (I love that stuff) and then he drew and wrote on it. Unfortunately, when I sprayed it with sealant (so the chalk didn’t smudge or run if it got wet) the wetness of the sealant destroyed most of the chalk design. (Whoops!)

The middle picture is of a couple he painted with a flower motif with foam brushes and acrylic paint. I love that, too. It’s cheap, easy clean-up, and it comes in a million colors. I sprayed them with glossy sealant and they turned out great!

We planted several herbs from seeds and have been trying to start new plants from scraps. We’ve been doing well with the green and yellow onion. We tried celery, which grew great in water but when we put it in dirt it withered and died. We’re trying some romaine “butts” now. In the water they’re growing like weeds. (Fingers crossed.) To start the seeds, we used Keurig coffee pods so they wouldn’t get lost in the big pot. I’ll let you know how they transplant!

20130328-002455.jpgUPDATE:  The Keurig pod seed starters did not work out.  😦  Apparently, there’s some kind of mesh, build-in filter that the roots got all tangled up in.  And, I think I used too much coffee grounds mixed in with my potting soil on a few of the plants.  Oh well.  I guess I’ll need to find something else to use these for.

“Treasure Rocks” for Easter

My mom has some Australian friends who e-mailed her a cool alternative to Easter eggs which I’m trying out for our annual “hunt” this year. I used baking soda, cocoa powder (for color) and water to make a play-dough like substance and then hid “treasures” inside them, forming a rock shape. This, I’m told, will dry to be relatively hard and I’ll then hide the “rocks” amongst real rocks in my parents’ patio. The cool things is that when vinegar is added (either dripped on slowly or through immersing the “rock” in a bowl of it) the baking soda concoction will fizz up and dissolve, leaving just the treasure behind.

I’ve tried a few with red sprinkles to give them a pinkish hue and a bunch with silver and gold glitter (I like those the best). Inside, I hid quarters and tarnished pennies (so we can watch as the vinegar shines them up), little plastic dinosaur toys, and a couple of rubber Dora bracelets (she’s my niece’s favorite).

I can’t wait for the kiddos to find them and then go through the process of uncovering the treasures inside! What a great tie in to the Easter story (and a little science experiment to go along with it).

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Update:  The “rock hunt” was a huge success!  They actually blended in amazingly well with the rocks on my parents’ patio and were somewhat difficult to find, but that made it all the more fun.

Treasure Rocks

We had done a test run with the boy and realized that the dripping vinegar slowly on the rocks would take until next Easter to dissolve them so we went for the full immersion/volcano effect.  They loved it.  We had to help them along by squeezing them a bit to crack them open but once they saw that there was stuff inside, they were even more eager to get in there and help out.

Cracking the Rock

The best parts about it:  it did not result in any extra Easter candy, we made it into a little science lesson (about acids and bases), and no plastic eggs were harmed in the making of this adventure.

If you’re interested in trying these with your kids, but don’t have the time or inclination to make them yourself, I’m also selling some in my Etsy store.  I’m happy to customize them with whatever kind of toys or coins you’d like!    https://www.etsy.com/listing/129853106/treasure-rocks

If you want a little more specific instruction, I wrote up the “recipe” last time I made them (for Vacation Bible Camp):

32 oz. baking soda

1 oz. baking cocoa (for color) (A little goes a long way and too much will make them look like poop- literally.)

approx. 1 cup water

 

glitter (optional but highly encouraged)

Directions:  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add about 3/4 of the water and then try mushing it around with your hands.  You want it to be moldable and stick together well, but not so wet that it doesn’t keep its shape while drying.  Add more water or baking soda if needed.  Make rock-shapes and then stick whatever small object you want to hide inside, mushing the dough around the object.  Let dry overnight before dissolving them in vinegar.  (I tried using a drying rack at first, but then realized that my “rocks” were getting a waffle pattern on the side that was resting on the rack.  I put newspaper under them and they dried just fine.)