Kalliope Kids: Dry-Erase Flowers

I can’t believe that summer is over already! It seems like it was a whirlwind of activity. At least, it must have been since I haven’t managed to blog at all :). This week the big kids went back to school–1st and 3rd grades! How time flies…
Every year, we are asked to donate school supplies for the kids’ use and the classroom. This year, I was inspired to take the donations to the next level (although I did just hand over a bag of supplies, too!)

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I decided to make a pot of ‘flowers’ for each of the kids’ teachers. They are always in need of dry-erase markers (6 year olds don’t always cap markers properly!), so I used my trusty cricut machine to cut a basic cardstock flower that had a hole in the center of it. (The flower itself was about 2.5″ across, and is a shape found in the SCAL program.) I used several colors, and just stuck the lids of the markers through the hole. (I used both sizes of marker–wide tip and fine tip–and they both fit the same.) To secure it, I hot-glued a pompom to the top of each to make the center of the flower–this serves double duty as well, as the pompom can be used as an eraser!

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I used a plastic container that was low and wide as the pot (they are the kind that has a flip-top with a metal latch that I removed the metal band and lid from). I hot glued a band of ribbon around it, added a bow, and filled each half full with dried beans to be the anchor for the pens. Then I just arranged the flower pens in them, and added a dowel with a note that reads “Thanks a bunch for all you do!” and voila! A usable present that can decorate the teachers’ desks!

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Kalliope Kids: The Deluxe Kid Wash

Friday was Water Day around our house! For the past few years, I have been hosting these a couple times a summer–I blow up hundreds (sometimes over a thousand) water balloons, invite some friends over, break out the slip ‘n slide, and start up the blender for fruity cocktails (for the grow ups). This year, I decided to start off the summer right, and found the coolest ever water toy to build, the Deluxe Kid Wash. Here it is!

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I found the plans at Spoonful – http://spoonful.com/crafts/the-deluxe-kid-wash. I also looked around the net for a while, and made some changes accordingly.

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First, I took out the front gate off the wash. Although I thought it was a cute idea, apparently it makes the front panel too unbalanced and pulls the piece forward. I decided it wasn’t necessary anyway, since the kids really want to just run through it. To modify the plans, I cut two 5 foot pieces of PVC and 20-2.5 footers. You also will not need the 1″ to 3/4″ T join or the straight join, since the gate won’t be added.

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Next, drill your water holes. If your water pressure isn’t that great, which ours isn’t, you won’t want to add as many holes as Spoonful says. I drilled holes every 4 inches on the two top bars (8 on each), and two on each upper side bar–though I did put holes on the second two upper bars too.

Instead of just hanging sponges for the Kid Wash ‘scrubbers’, I made sponge balls. For this, I bought packages of sponges from the dollar store–one sponge will make one ball. I cut each sponge lengthwise in half, then each half into quarters (square). Then I gathered the lengths together, and tied a 4″ zip tie around the center. As the zip tie tightens, the sponge pieces flare out. Then I cut off the end of the zip ties, so there wasn’t a hard plastic piece sticking out, and tied them to the second cross bar on the wash! (I actually made a bunch more to play with on water day, too.)

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The Spoonful plans call for lawn chair webbing, which I discovered is difficult to find. Instead, I bought more pool noodles at the dollar store and used them instead. I just punched a hole in one end, using a chopstick, then threaded string through the hole (I used the chopstick again to help push it through), and tied it to the last cross bar.

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Once done, just turn on the water and let them play! Yes, we let the kidlets run through in their clothes. They were too excited by the wash to go change!

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I will admit that on water day, I put a slip ‘n slide under the Kid Wash. It made it that much more fun, since it was slippery, and protected the underside from becoming a mud pit. Just a tip!

Khepri Designs: Quick and Easy Framed Chalkboards

20130530-220753.jpgSince I am posting about photo shoot props, I thought I should add this quick and easy one that I did earlier in the week (I also made some cardstock glasses and hats on sticks for the photos, but you aren’t getting a post about that. Too bad. They are paper glasses on sticks. I think it’s pretty self explanatory:) …)
I wanted chalkboards for this shoot, too, so came up with this easy way to make framed ones. I purchased two super-cheap frames (like $2 cheap) from Staples, but you can find them at the dollar store, thrift store, etc. Just look for one with a pressboard back that pops out.

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20130530-222024.jpgThen just spray that pressboard piece with chalkboard paint, let dry, and put it back in the frame (without the glass or anything else in front of it). I told you it was super easy!

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If you have never used chalkboard paint, you have to prep it once it’s dry. Take a piece of chalk and rub it all over, then use a soft, dry cloth to wipe it off. Then you are ready to go!
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(Yes, only one of the chalkboards made it into the photo setup. I couldn’t think of what to write on the other one…)

Khepri Designs: De-Stressing with Distressing

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This one has been a long time in the making–not because it was terribly time-consuming, but because it went in stages and a lot of time lapsed between them. I had my brother-in-law’s father make me these cute little stools out of 2x4s the last time they were visiting (I’m sure I could’ve built them myself…but he is just so much better at it. And this way I don’t have to worry about them collapsing under someone’s weight :)). I wanted them to be vintage-y, but colorful. I do like color!

20130530-214723.jpg I painted them each with a white base and a brightly colored top. I bought the trial sizes of Behr paint, which was perfect for this kind of project. I will admit that I wasn’t super careful with my painting, and got some of the colors on each other, and slopped some white on them. But hey, they are supposed to be old, so I went with it. It adds more character!

20130530-214924.jpgThen it was time to distress–here are my distressing tools. Yes, that is a sock. It came from the missing mates bag–don’t use a good one, because it will be trashed by the time you are done!

20130530-215049.jpgI sanded the stools down, focusing on the edges and the places that would wear the most. Think corners, middle of the top where people’s feet would tread–you get the idea. I then bagged up my random screws and nails (we have a Tupperware of these in our garage, and I just grabbed a handful-no rhyme or reason) in the toe of the sock, and beat the stools! Use this one sparingly–a few hits were enough. I tried to shake up the sock between them so I would end up with different marks.

20130530-215416.jpgI also took the mallet to the stools in a few places, knocking some more dents in them. I took out a corner, too… Remember, it all adds to the character!

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20130530-215544.jpgAfter seeing them at this stage, I decided they weren’t quite what I wanted yet. They still seemed to bright. So I thought I would add some wood stain to the mix–I used the leftover from my earlier desk project. I used a rag to wipe it on, then wiped it off with a different wet rag. Try to get it into the corners, adding some ‘dirt’ to the project.

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20130530-215805.jpgI decided this was too dark, got a little worried that I would have to sand the entire thing down, and then realized that Goo Gone works wonders at removing stain from my hands, so… I sprayed them with the orange stuff, and wiped that off with a paper towel. Perfect! It added just the right amount of dark to the stools, and left what looks like dirt in the cracks and corners.

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20130530-220207.jpgThis picture shows the two outer ones done, and the middle one not. I think they are just what I wanted, and a perfect accessory to my photo shoot for tomorrow. Here’s a preview!

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Kalliope Kids: More Costumes

What do you do when you realize your child needs to dress as a pop star the next day? And you have been at circus and hockey and it’s 9pm and you just remembered? Two words: Katy Perry.

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This one was, out of necessity, quick and simple. It’s based on Katy Perry’s candy dot dress, toned down for the five year old Bug. All it took was some scraps from the stash in red, yellow and blue, my sizzix machine and circle die, and spray adhesive. I cut a pile of circles (dots) from the fabric with the sizzix, sprayed them with glue, and stuck them onto a white tank and skirt that Bug already had. The next morning required some blue temporary hair color (yes, I stock up every halloween so have a bunch through the year), and she was set! Did I mention it was an easy-peasy costume??!

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Kalliope Kids: Sea Life Costumes Part 3

Free Willy! I lived in the Pacific Northwest. I lived in San Diego near Sea World. And yet my first thought when I think of orcas is Free Willy. What can I say, but that I was in high school in the nineties.

This costume was actually made for a school project for K-Dogg. His grade all did school reports on animals, and the week culminated in an animal parade where they all wore their costumes and paraded around the elementary school. Most of them made their own costumes out of paper bags, but what can I say, I like to overdo things! (Me? Never!) Plus, it gave us a costume for sushi day. Multipurpose!

20130426-082659.jpgI started with a men’s extra-large sweatshirt (here’s where the upcycling comes in–check out thrift stores. You should be able to find one. Just make sure it has a hood.) I then removed the front pocket–save it for later!

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20130426-083431.jpgTo make the fins, I flipped the sweatshirt inside-out, and rounded the ends of the sleeves. I then just sewed them together–K-Dogg couldn’t actually use his hands, but he didn’t need them to parade around anyway. And he could still grab things; he just lacked fine motor skills through the sleeves.

Next, I laid a large piece of white felt over the front of the sweatshirt (right side out again!). I tried to smooth it down over top, so I could see the lines of the sweatshirt underneath. I then drew along the armpit seams, around the neck, and the bottom of the sweatshirt. I extended the lines around the tops of the shoulder, so the white would wrap to the back, and extended the sides as well.

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20130426-083146.jpgI then cut the felt out, and used a basting spray to stick it to the sweatshirt, and sewed around the edges. You could just use a spray adhesive to bond it together (I don’t recommend a heat ‘n bond, though, since felt will melt), but I wanted it to be a little more sturdy.

20130426-083810.jpgNow for the mouth–I cut a bunch of teeth out of the white felt. I also cut a half circle out of the white felt to form the bottom of the mouth–I made the flat edge long enough to go from shoulder to shoulder, and I made it high enough to extend a little above K-Dogg’s face. (Confused? Me too. But it really was just a judgment call as to how big it should be.)

20130426-084057.jpgI sewed half of the teeth to the round part of the semicircle of felt, then sewed the flat edge along the top of the sweatshirt (under the hood). The edge is curved, and the felt is straight, so it helps prop that bottom part of the mouth out and away from the face.

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For the other half of the teeth, I just sewed them along the top edge of the hood–creating a mouth that K-Dogg could look out of!

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Now, back to the felt. I cut two bean-shaped pieces of white felt for the eyes, and sewed one to each side of the hood.

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And finally, back to that pocket that I ripped off the front. I folded it in half, and used it to make the dorsal fin for the whale. I just cut a triangle out of it, sewed up the sides and stuffed it. I then folded under the raw edge and pinned it to the middle of the back of the sweatshirt, and used a zig-zag stitch to sew around the edge.

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And….voila! Killer K-Dogg!

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Kalliope Kids: Sea Life Costumes Part 2

20130419-173016.jpgBug decided, in true Bug fashion, that she wanted to be a sea horse for the kids day at our sushi place. But a pink sea horse. With purple polka dots. (The conversation we had about it was awfully reminiscent of the one about the unicorn cape–sure I can do that…no problem…)

I started out with two shirts, one her size and one much, much bigger. I did it this way so the color and fabric would match, and I bought the shirts for a couple bucks a piece, so figured it would be about as cheap as just finding fabric. The big shirt I cut up for the various parts that I need to add.

20130419-173615.jpgMy first cut was to create a sea horse tail–I cut through both layers of the shirt to create a tail with a swirled end, then stitched the sides together (right sides together), flipped it right side out, and stuffed with stuffing. I then sewed the tail to the back of the main shirt along the top edge, trying to stitch along the sewed lines of the shirt.

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20130419-175333.jpgMy next cut was to make a back fin. (I don’t think sea horses actually have fins, but they have a ridged back and this seemed to add that effect.). Again I cut out a shape out of two layers of shirt, and cut the same out of two layers of felt. I then stitched the fin lines through all layers, and trimmed up the edges (sewing through the different types of fabric shifted everything a bit). I then sewed this fin to the center of the back of the shirt. Oh, yeah, I should probably note–I really just free handed the patterns. There are no templates. There is no rhyme or reason. There is just me and my scissors…but I digress.

The final step for the shirt was to add the purple polka dots. For this I just used my circle punch for my sizzix, and cut out various sized circles from a purple and pink batik fabric. I got lazy at this point, though, and just used a spray adhesive to stick them on–we lost a few, but much less than I expected to. If we needed this costume for anything more than a lunch, I would have considered sewing them on.

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Now, on to the hat.

20130419-175833.jpgI started off by raiding the kids dress up box, and found a knight helmet that I figured would work. I hot glued some more fabric scraps (from the t shirt) to it–it took a couple cuts of fabric.

20130419-175945.jpgI also rolled a toilet paper tube in a matching felt (I was out of fabric by this point), and glued this ‘nose’ to the front of the helmet, using a lip of felt off the end of the TP tube.

20130419-180110.jpg. I also cut two more fins (like ears) and hot glued them, and a couple googly eyes, to the top of the helmet and the hat was done!

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For the final part, I created a skirt that was supposed to represent the ocean in which my little sea horse lived. I made a long skirt from blue fabric, sewing a large tube together. I added a few layers of tulle to the top of this, doing the same thing–just sewing two ends of a large piece of fabric together. I then folded the top of the layers over, creating a narrow band, sewing all but a small opening and inserted a piece of elastic. (Sorry, I have no pictures of this–it was a really quick sew job). I then cut out seaweed pieces and used spray adhesive to glue them to the lays of tulle. I tried to glue them on different levels, so there was some depth to the ‘sea’.

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All in all, I think it turned out pretty cute for something I had no idea what to do with!

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