Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Melted Crayon Hearts

So many crayons sat in a tub and were rarely used. Markers, pencils, and pens are the utensil of choice in our house. I'm not sure why because I love colouring with crayons and the diversity they offer. If you press really hard, the colour is bold. If you hardly touch the crayon to paper, the colour is soft. I fairly recently discovered how to make a rainbow of melted crayons. I'll post about that another day. I also learned how to melt crayons to make new crayons. What a great way to get the kids to use their crayons again! 

I had this idea on my Pinterest board and experimented with it last week when my little girl had a friend over. First, we peeled all the "bad" crayons. We saved the crayons that were still in pristine condition and put them back in the tub. 

Once they were all peeled, we broke them up into little pieces My 2 year old boy liked this part of the process. Next, we placed similar colours into heart shaped silicone baking molds (from Poundland!). We found some good tips from this blog for the baking (melting) aspect. Ours took about 20 minutes to melt with the oven set at 110ºC (230ºF). 

I did check them once or twice while they were melting because I was a little paranoid about them melting too much (is that possible?) or burning (is that possible?). It was also fun for the kids to peek into the oven from a safe distance and see the process. After they were completely melted, I let them sit on a cooling rack for a couple minutes and then stuck them in the freezer for faster cooling. They solidified pretty quickly and were super easy to peel out of the molds. 

I did not expect them to be nearly as beautiful as they were. My little boy didn't try, but he did ask initially if he could eat one. I told him about five times that they were not food. They were for colouring. It was so ingrained that he went around telling the same thing to all his little friends again and again for the next hour. 

My kids are now colouring with crayons again and have found other uses for the hearts as well (stacking, sorting, etc.). They were such a success that we're going to make them as Valentine gifts for my little girl's classmates!

If you make one, I'd love to see it. Feel free to share a picture on my flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sunnystitching/

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Old Pants New Pants

I have to admit that it sounds a little strange to write pants as the heading to this post after just looking at loads of UK mom blogs. However, since the focus of this post is on some pants made from a US pattern called Kid Pants from Made, I'm going to leave it. 

The story of these pants begins probably close to 15 years ago when my husband (who I didn't know yet) bought a pair of black corduroy cargos. He loved them and they remained one of his favourites when we met about 10 years ago, and even still when we got married 8 years ago. 

They lasted through the birth of two children and then slowly began to fall apart. Because they were so loved, they were repaired now and again through the years until the repairs were no longer possible. But, there was still plenty of useful fabric in them!  

So, I used the above mentioned pattern and turned the old favourite's into my little boy's newest favourites pair of cords. Finished last night!

I added a lining from my old pair of lounge pants and cuffed the hem because I was too impatient to check the length in the morning. Now I can fold them up as high as I need and they'll also last a little longer because, of course, the cuffed hem was too long.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


 Hmmm...what should we do with all this kale from our organic veg box?

 Eat it.
Or make Kale Chips! How do we do that??

 1. Wash & Dry Kale

2. Spread & Sprinkle Kale
(spray olive oil on sheet and on kale, then sprinkle with salt)
3. Cook Kale 
(10-15 minutes at 180ºC/350ºF)

 4. Eat Kale Chips


And since we have so many potatoes that are beginning to sprout, let's make potato chips, too! 

1. Slice potatoes very thin with a mandoline. 
(I recommend doing this slowly and carefully with dry hands so you don't slice your finger like I did!)
2. Soak potatoes in very cold water for 1/2 hour.
3. Dry potatoes.
4. Heat vegetable oil until it's very hot. 
(I don't have a thermometer so I tested a few potato slices until the oil was hot enough.)
5. Cook potatoes in oil in small portions until they're golden brown.
6. Scoop potatoes from oil with a strainer and place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
7. Sprinkle with salt and eat!

These were so good that I was eating them practically straight out of the pan...and I wasn't even hungry. It took all my willpower to bag them and seal them up so everyone could enjoy them later.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Little Elephant

My project for the week was this cute little elephant amigurumi. 

I'm working my way through a huge stash of yarn that I've collected over the last 5 years. Some of it is left over from finished projects. Some of it's part of an actual project...or two...or three that have been sitting, unfinished and collecting dust in my yarn drawer. 

For this little guy, I used some lovely soft yarn that was left from a newborn nappy wrap I made for my little boy, who is now 2. I never ended up using the wrap on him, but it's been a favorite of Winnie the Pooh and other assorted dolls and stuffed animals in our house.

Anyway, back to my elephant. He is just so stinking cute. I think he's going to be the first of lots of little amigurumi. Maybe I'll do a pink elephant next.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Friday Foto - caterpillar & laughter (1 & 3 of 52)

 One of the many things you can do with a spiky, squishy caterpillar.

Laughing at Daddy bouncing in the window like Tigger.

I posted two this week to make up for missing the first week.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday Foto - first flowers of winter (2 of 52)

I know I could never pull off a photo a day for the 366 project, but I'm going to try and do one a week for the 52 project. I'm a week late starting, but I'm giving it a go.

This one is an early blooming crocus in our back garden. I know it has been a mild winter in many parts of the world and we're included. It's a little strange (and pretty) to see the bulbs popping up that I just planted a month ago!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Rags to Bags - tutorial

A month or so ago, my husband gave me some rags and a bag he uses to store his paintball lenses. He asked, "Do you think you could make this from these?" 
Today I did. 

This is my first ever tutorial that will shows how to make a bag (or two) from some old rags.

I started by gathering my materials: some old rags, shoelaces and the original bag.

 Then I folded one rag in half and placed the original bag on top, making sure to line up the long side of the bag with the folded edge of the rag.

 Next,  I followed the edge of the original bag and cut out the rag. I made sure to leave 1/2 inch from the edge of the original bag so that the "rag bag" would be slightly larger.

 This is after I cut out the rag.

 I then pinned the cut edges and sewed them together with a straight stitch (1/4 inch seam). 

Next, I used a zigzag stitch along the edge to help prevent fraying.

 Then I folded the open edge down, making sure to leave enough width for the shoelace that went through it later AND included 1/4 inch seam allowance.

 Sewed along the edge (1/4 inch seam allowance).

 Next, I turned the bag right side out.

 To make a drawstring, I began by deciding how far apart I wanted my drawstrings to come out of the bag. I decided on an inch apart. I pinched and cut on each side of the seam. Cuts were 1 inch apart. I repeated the same on the opposite end of the seam.

 Then I strung my shoelace through a safety pin and inserted it into one of my cut holes. I then proceeded by carefully pushing the safety pin all the way through the seam...

 ...and brought it out at the hole cut near the first hole.

 I tied a tight knot so that the lace is secure and will not slide out.

 I took another shoelace, strung it through the safety pin, inserted the safety pin into the hole on the opposite side of the opening seam and repeated pushing it around until it came out of the nearby hole.

 I tightly tied the two ends together on this side with a knot. I was then able to pull the two knots to close my finished bag.

Then I went and made a longer yellow one!

As I'm writing now, I have no idea where the bags have disappeared to, but I'm assuming they were what my husband wanted and he's put them away with all his paintball gear. That makes me smile.

If you make one, I'd love to see it. Feel free to share a picture on my flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sunnystitching/

Monday, 9 January 2012

Happy New Year Hat

So, my plan to be continuously creative did not totally succeed throughout the fall months. Oh, the rain...the cold...the dreary days. They are not very motivating! The worst thing is that there weren't very many very cold days, or even dreary days for that matter. So I can't blame it on the weather, but I can think of enough other excuses: the kids, Christmas preparations, birthday parties, but in reality it was my own poor planning and procrastination.

Now it's 2012. I like the sound of this year. It's a nice even year, my favorite kind. I've been re-inspired to stitch. The winter continues to be very mild, but there was a pretty cold day last week when I was really wishing for a new winter hat. I have one that's pretty old and stretched out. I have one that I love but it's not as warm on those really cold days. I have one that broke a month ago and one that I like to save for rainy days. I was in need of warmth. I pulled open my drawer of forgotten yarn and rummaged through it all until I found inspiration. I don't know what kind of yarn this is, but it's left over from a blanket I made my little guy during the early months of my pregnancy. It's really soft. Then there was the search (and re-organisation) of crochet patterns. The chosen one is a design by yarncat that I printed years ago. That was Friday night....continued and completed on Saturday night! How could I have forgotten how quick and easy it is to make a small crochet project. How satisfying.

I'm motivated and ready to do more.

Happy New Year!
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