Amy Beth

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Baby Rainbow Sweater and Pixie Hat

I’ve known how to knit and crochet for many years. I find it to be a relaxing activity to pick up at the end of the day. Perfect for feeling productive while binge watching TV. However, despite my many years of practice, I have very little to show for it. I’m great at starting a project and losing steam before it is finished.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

So I’m really proud of this sweater.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

I followed the Eliose Sweater pattern that you can find here, just modifying the colors a little. To go with it made a little pixie hat based on this pattern. The hat was very easy and quick, which was nice after spending so much time on the sweater. I made the sweater just a tad on the big side so Poppy should be able to wear it through the winter and into the spring.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

These are going down as projects 5&6 in my 31 Projects goal.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Suncatcher Valentine’s Day Cards

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For much of my life, Valentine’s Day was not so much about romance as it was about the CARDS. As a very young child I insisted upon making a homemade Valentine’s day card for every person who had even the slightest place in my life. Grandparents and aunts and uncles, sure, but also neighbors, Sunday School teachers, and the bug exterminator man (we lived in Mississippi where the the bug exterminator man was of great importance).

In elementary school I can vividly remember the chore of writing all my classmates’ names on the store bought Valentine’s Day cards I had picked out, painstakingly trying to make sure none of the boys got anything overly flirtatious that might suggest anything more than a polite acquaintanceship.

In High School Valentine’s Day got a bit more awkward and I kept it’s place in my life pretty low key, but in college I started dating the man who would become my husband and picking just the right card to express my great love and affection was an activity that required standing in the card aisle of the grocery store for much longer than one should ever stand in a single grocery store aisle.

Then again as an adult I got back into the homemade card making business, using the holiday as an excuse to exercise some creative energy and express my appreciation for various family members.

So now as a mother, there is of course a great responsibility to make sure my children carry on the tradition and create homemade cards for their grandparents and aunts and uncles. That’s what the holiday is all about, after all!

I give you Suncatcher Valentine’s Day Cards.

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You start with some contact paper, some pretty translucent paper (tissue paper would work), and a card with a heart cut out of it.

Let your kid stick pretty paper scraps to the contact paper with abandon. If you have a child who is into using scissors you could let them cut out random shapes and scraps to stick on, or even have them tear the paper. Both would be a great fine motor activity. My child just wasn’t feeling the fine motor practice on this particular day so I cut some small hearts for him to use. Other ideas could be to use a hole punch to make lots of tiny colorful circles, get really messy and sprinkle glitter, or get some kind of shiny valentine’s day confetti at the party supply store to throw around.

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Once the contact paper is sufficiently covered with prettiness, top with another sheet of contact paper and cut into smaller pieces to fit behind the heart shape on your card.

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Decorate the paper as much or as little as you like and send the cards off in the mail to the people who mean the most to you! These cards are pretty anywhere, but they are especially nice when displayed in a window.

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Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Toddler Leaf Collage

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This little craft is a simple way to collect and display bits of the outdoors with your toddler. All it takes is a bit of contact paper and a short walk outside!

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I stapled a sheet of contact paper to a piece of cardboard so we would have a sturdy surface to work on. Then we took a walk with our board and picked up pretty leaves. When we found one it was simply a matter of sticking it on the contact paper. No glue, no tape. It was very easy and simple for little toddler hands to manage. By the end of our walk we had a nice collection of leaves.

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When we got home we stuck the contact paper to the glass of our back door so we could admire our work.

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Before sticking contact paper straight to glass I googled it to make sure it wouldn’t leave some sort of horrible sticky residue for me to clean off. In the process I found this blog post of a similar idea with flower petals that produced really lovely results. You should take a look if you want to see what this idea can become if you spend a little more time and effort on it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DIY Robot Costume

We haven’t done the trick or treating thing with Charlie yet, but we’ve decided we’re going to give it a try this year. Our town has a nice little main street trick-or-treating event that I think he could find fun. However, I’m not a person who is super into Halloween. I mean, it’s fine, I guess. But I don’t get excited about it, so an elaborate costume is not something I care to spend my time on. Therefore, I thought we’d try a robot this year. Charlie’s been in a bit of a robot phase lately and it seemed like it would be an easy and cheap costume to make.

There are lots of cute robot costumes out there made out of boxes, but we didn’t have any boxes that would have fit Charlie. I originally planned to cut up a paper bag, and glue some foam shapes on for the robot buttons. But Charlie had a better idea to just use the big sheets of foam for make the body of the robot. So that’s what we did.

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I cut a neckline at the top of the foam sheets and then used gaffer’s tape to connect the front and back together at he top of the shoulders (kind of like a sandwich board sign). Then I cut circles and squares out of other colors of foam and helped Charlie glue those on the front for the buttons.

Charlie decided halfway through that he wanted to be a “plane robot,” so we added wings to the back.

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I love that this costume was free (I already had the foam sheets lying around from some previous craft idea) and that it was largely Charlie’s idea. It also only took about half an hour or less to put together.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to persuade him to try it on for a picture yet. I’m interested to see if we can actually get him to dress up for the big night.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Project Life: First Spreads

So a few weeks ago I told you about my fear of forgetting my children’s early years and what I was going to do about, namely, start a physical album of photos and journalling based on the ProjectLife method of scrapbooking. I’ve completed my first few spreads so I wanted to report back and share what I think about this method and lessons I’ve learned thus far.

1. It’s easier than scrapbooking, but harder than just sticking pictures in an album.

I like that I don’t have to embellish anything If I don’t want to, but I’ve found that it takes some time and creativity to make use of the different layouts and pocket sizes to create a cohesive spread in the book. It’s fun, but definitely not effortless.

2. It makes just as big of a mess as scrapbooking.

At least, I make just as big of a mess working on a layout for my ProjectLife album as I would on any scrapbook. I’m making my own journal pages, rather than purchasing any kits for now, so that involves lots of paper cutting and various markers and pens. Many of the pocket sizes have required trimming down my photos as well. All these paper scraps make it a little more difficult for me to find the time to work on it because I have to get out all the materials to start work and put them all away when I’m done. I’m working on creating a better project space for myself so I can leave things out and come back to them as I get the chance.

3. I’ve developed some opinions on photo printing.

I used SnapFish to print my photos. It was by far the most affordable option I could find, and they were running a special on free shipping during the time I was printing these. I got 400 photos printed (remember, I’m catching up on 2 years!) for just around $35.00. Even though I probably won’t end up using all 400 photos in the book, the price was good enough that it was worth it for the ease of editing down the photos as I went along rather than trying to make all those decisions on the front end. Making decisions is not a strength for me.

There are a few things I wish I had done differently though. First, during checkout I was giving the option to have everything printed as a 4×6 or to have those pictures that were taken with my phone printed at a slightly smaller size that wouldn’t require the photos to be cropped to fit the 4×6 ratio. I thought that it would be better to avoid cropping, but once I got the photos I realized that it would have been more useful to have them all be a full 4×6 inches. The slightly smaller sized photos can leave some gaps on the edges of the pockets that I’m not a huge fan of.

I also realized that square instagram photos don’t translate well into rectangles. Several of my favorite instragrams had major portions of the photo cut off. I’m looking into some other options to get photos taken with instragram printed.

4. I learned that 6×8 photo books and pocket pages can come with different specifications.

The binder I ordered has 4 rings in it. While the pocket pages I ordered only come with two hole punches. I didn’t even think to look at this while I was ordering supplies. It’s not a huge deal to add some extra hole punches to the pocket pages, but it’s an inconvenient extra step that I wish I would have avoided.

5. I probably could have done the bigger album.

Before I started I thought a 12×12 album sounded too big and overwhelming. Now that I have 400 pictures to put in an album, I think I probably could have filled out the bigger pages just fine. I’m finding the smaller page sizes to be not quite as impressive looking as the 12×12 album examples I’ve seen online. Then again, maybe it just takes practice to get things really looking good.

6. It does make for a nice way to document important moments in life.

I’m happy with how my album is coming along so far, even though I’m just a few spreads in. I imagine as I do more and get into a better rhythm that I’ll start to put things together a bit faster and develop a particular style that I like. I feel like I’m definitely in the experimental stage right now.

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I started the album out with a few images from my pregnancy with a couple of journalling cards to take note of the little details. I didn’t do a lot of documenting during pregnancy, so one spread pretty much covered all I had to say about it.

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The next couple of pages are of our first moments in the hospital after he was born. I used a long skinny pocket on one page to write out a brief birth story and some of the vital stats (date, time, weight, and height – blurred out in this photo).

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The other side of that spread continues the birth story along with some pictures of Charlie’s first moments with various family members who were there.

I’ve only gotten through the first few hours of Charlie’s life so far, so I have a long way to go. I’ll keep you updated!