Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chicks on a Bonnet!

If you're a grandma, you likely recall the hat wearing era of the 1950s. To venture forth those years without one plopped atop the head was a fashion crime akin to leaving home bereft of shoes! Netted, jeweled, satin, velvet, pinned, and feathered - both mother and grandmother had hats galore, and I ached to reach the age where I could sport my own.

There was, however, an annual hat wearer's holiday inclusive of the youngest among us, and that, of course, was Easter. Arriving brimmed and be-ribboned for early morning Mass, my sisters and I primly perched upon our pews, peeking furtive glances at the finery amidst us. Oh, the records set those days in sins of pride and envy inside that holy place!

But I like hats, I will not lie, and hate to see them ousted!

Want to make a really, really cute one?

My fanciful salute to vintage years is a thrifty one as well. Basic hats hail from Dollar Tree! To those you'll add:

glittery eggs
pastel feathers*
paper basket filler* (1.5 oz. decorates 4)
eyelet or lace trim (hat diameter x 3.14")
pastel ribbon (3" wired preferred)
sparkly tulle roll (6" wide)
a flock of fuzzy chicks
hot glue gun

*also from Dollar Tree

1. Flip hat upside down and glue eyelet or lace trim all around edge of circumference. Flip it back and hot glue basket filler all around base of dome as shown, far right.

2. Tie ribbon into a generous bow. Make it a double by layering an equal length of tulle beneath. Glue the bow to hat as shown.

3. Cluster eggs in three equally spaced areas. Glue them down, adding feathers and chicks.

When my little ladies arrive for Easter dinner, I'll greet them with a hat, a cuddly stuffed bunny, and an escort to the kids' a chick, there a chick, everywhere a cute lil chick a-chirpin'!
This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2017. 
All rights reserved. Thank you! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Wee Woven Baskets

Bunnies aren't the only cute things bopping about here during the Easter season! It's traditional for kids to gather at grandma's for a holiday workshop preceding the big day. We make party favors and gifts for mommy and daddy. I find that well appreciated because those basket-fillers-in-chief are often overlooked in the annual scramble to make the E.B. look good!

My previous post featured our fuzzy yarn bunnies. After dinner on Easter Sunday, the kids will step up and teach mom and dad how to make their own palm size pets. Once those are complete, the teaching team will hand out these colorful "woven" paper baskets. Plenty of room inside for candy and a newly crafted critter!

Use brightly colored craft paper and paper punched accents to make these 8" baskets (4" without handle). Besides that, you'll need only a ruler, pencil, scissors, and glue. 

To make each basket:

1. Measure and cut paper strips:

1 - 11.5" x 3/4" (handle)
1 - 11.5" x 1" (horizontal strip)
5 - 8.5" x 1" (woven strips)

2. Lay the horizontal strip face down and glue all 5 woven strips to it, side by side, also face down. When you flip it right side up, it will look like the sample in blue.

3. Lay the piece reverse side up, as shown in purple, and match the end of strip #1 to horizontal strip as shown. Glue it down.

4. Continue matching and gluing - second strip will line up next to first glued one. This is how it will look in progress.

5. Basket forms as strips continue to be glued in place. Attach all 5, then glue horizontal strip ends together to complete. Glue handle in place.

6. Decorate baskets with paper punched shapes.

Please note that baskets won't stand alone unless you crease strips at bottom.

Experiment with various lengths and widths to make baskets of different sizes. I'm going to try making teeny tiny ones for the fairy party in the woods we'll be enjoying during Grandma Camp week!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bunny Business!

Around here, the business of bunny building is a serious one. We need those little critters to decorate our kids' table for Easter Sunday dinner. We also need an appealing "make it and take it" to teach to mommies and daddies that day - one that will yield an even bigger bunch of bunnies - and miles of fond smiles in the years ahead each time they reemerge from springtime storage bins!

Hand wound yarn bunny making isn't new. I fended off my own pet cats ages ago while mother taught me how to wind and snip and glue. The floppy, fuzzy, felt-eared, button-eyed results delighted me in those early years, well before aisles of wiggle eyed choices and wee ribbon spools popped up a hop away from the crafty kids of today, making this project easier and cuter than ever!

I'm excited to sponsor an advance "grandkids only" workshop to practice our crafting and sharing skills. The parents we'll instruct a week or so later won't have to worry about a thing, especially counting to "100 wraps" by themselves - we've got one little lady who just perfected that art and will be "hoppy" to take the lead! All that'll be left for grandma to do is ready the supplies and be on hand to coach from the sidelines when the business of bunny building opens its doors!

Here's my palm-sized version of easy-to-make, easy-to-teach fun!

For each 4" x 4" bunny, you'll need:
  • Yarn, white or pastel. Lily Sugar 'n Cream preferred
  • Felt scraps, white and pink for ears
  • Pom pom, pink, 1/2" (1) for nose
  • Pom poms, white, 1" (3) for tail and front paws
  • Wiggle eyes, 15 mm (2) 
  • Ribbon, pastel, 3.75" wide x 8" long
  • Foam board or cardboard:           
    • 2.5" x 10" (1) for body template            
    • 1.5" x 8" (1) for head template
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Craft glue or hot glue gun                                           
1. Mark a 1.5" area near top of head template as shown. Wrap yarn around board 100 times, keeping it all between those lines.
2. Cut a 6" length of yarn, slip wrapped yarn off template, and pinch tightly at center. Tie yarn tightly at center to hold. (see photo)
3. Cut all loops open, yielding a 1.5" pom pom. Fluff it up and trim until round. 
4. Glue eyes and nose to center front for face.
5. Cut two 1" x 2" pieces of white felt for ears. Cut two 1/2" x 1.75" pieces of pink felt. Trim the white pieces so they are rounded at top and slightly taper towards bottom. Trim the pink pieces the same way. 
6. Place pink pieces, centered, on top of white and glue together.
7. Separate yarn at top of head and glue ears inside.
8. Mark a 2.5" area near top of body template as shown. Wrap yarn around board 100 times, keeping it all between those lines.

9. Repeat steps 2 and 3, yielding a 2.5" pom pom
for body.
10. Glue head to body.
11. Glue a 1" white pom pom to lower center back for tail. Glue two 1" white pom poms side by side below head for front paws.
12. Tie ribbon into a bow and glue to side of head.

  • Bunnies are not toys for kids under 3 due to small parts. 
  • This is not a sponsored post. I personally like the texture of this yarn but you can use any brand you prefer, of course! 

This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Thank you!            

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Picture This!

Picture this: 

You. Sending an email. Typing an address. 

This one, for example:

Now, paste in a picture. Any picture. One from your phone. Or desktop. A favorite. Or not. Now send. Now wait. One minute. Two. Maybe three. Four or five at most.......

and then it happens.....

OMG, you gotta see this! 

Go ahead! Try it! I'll wait!.....

So, what do you think?

Me? I was amazed! Pictures, you see, are all I really want as gifts. Even those I give myself. My "grandma closets" bulge with tablecloths and Tupperware and trinkets. But hand me photos of those I love and you envelop me with the best of all I'll ever need.

But wait! I want convenience, too. "One stop shopping," if you will. Show me my pictures before I buy, prettied up in frames. A choice of frames. And sizes. All while here, at home. Not standing in line with a clutter of coupons while my ice cream melts in the car. Let me wander about here, in fuzzy slippers, measuring, of wine in hand, a cat or two upon my lap..... 

And when I click to buy, I want my goodies fast! Hmmm. How about 72 hours fast? Can you do that? Really? YOU CAN?

And they did!

Ava is part two of our twin sissy duet. I chose "Magneto FlipFrames" for the girls. Heavyweight card mounted photos will easily "flip" to new shots "if" grandma ever finds cuter faces!

When daddy opens this one on Father's Day, he'll have not only a "Moderna Metal" portrait of himself and Brielle, but a lasting memory of the evening he escorted his little princess to the Father-Daughter Valentine dance! 

Since he'll be adding a fifth family member by the time Father's Day rolls around, we'll give this daddy his "Aurora Glass" portrait early. Perfect for his desk at work - in celebration of his new promotion!

There are other frame styles, too! Ones you'll enjoy mixing and matching with photos currently held hostage within the gloomy confines of your phone! I liked seeing my own fly free for the first time. You will too!

This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated with sample products and a sales commission for promoting my honest opinion of photoandgo®express

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

TMI - For Grandmothers!

My personal source of unfiltered info! From this chatty pair I've learned where
mommy hides the birthday gifts, which brother doesn't pick up his dirty socks,
and the identity of the kitty who licked the cupcake frosting! 

TMI. That slangy acronym doesn't enjoy a friendly connotation - often with good reason. I've had "too much information" served to me in the form of a grandchild's graphic description of dismembered insects embedded in a pet's slimy hairball. Then there was that earful in the grocery store line last week - a teen age couple's vivid lament over plans gone awry when mom and dad came home early and "spoiled all the fun."

TMI masterpieces? In those unsettling instances? Clearly!

But I navigate daily life as a grandmother without cause for limiting the amount or depth of information I absorb on topics related to the nurturing of successful family relationships. There's no such thing as TMI in my pursuit of a well built nest feathered with respect, affirmation, and stability for all of us - adult children included. The skills I need to accomplish that formidable task don't always come free, rising to the occasion by instinct! I'm constantly on alert for a quick injection of tips, encouragement, and "Grandma TMI." Some of it I find useful, some I discard. But what a wealth of choice abounds when one knows exactly where to look!

My personal niche is fun - crafts and puppets and baking and scavenger hunts - but what good would it do to stuff closets with glitter and glue sticks if grandkids didn't come to play because mommy can't get along with grandma?.....

Advice from grandma bloggers to the rescue!

Sometimes the key to a solid relationship isn't just "communication." That's too often practiced as one-sided yabbering on disappointments, needs, and suggestions. There's "listening," too, says Lisa at Grandma's Briefs, acknowledging the adage that we're gifted with "two mouth" for a purpose! "I Say That Shutting Up is Hard to Do" woke me up in more than a few ways. It might be time to curb my voracious appetite for dispensing, and settle into....well, shutting up and listening!

Exchanging thoughts and feelings with adult children for the purpose of mutual understanding can be a "delicate dance," says Donne Davis of The GaGa Sisterhood. Drawing from the expertise of a panel of respected professionals, Davis offers a compelling case for relying on an arsenal of "sensitivity, empathy, patience, and a lot of practice" to build an emotionally safe place anchored with shared trust. I like the definitive check-off summary of usable strategies - no blah-blah-blah ambiguous meanderings here, at Learning the Boundaries of Communication!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Snowflake Celebration!

Not much snow here this winter. That's good, I suppose, if you're grandpa-in-charge-of-driveway-shoveling. Not so much if you're grandma-in-charge-of-winter-exploring. I'd looked forward to company for tracking freshly pressed deer, squirrel, rabbit, and raccoon prints in our back yard woods. The kids and I would photograph them on sleepover Saturday mornings, examining their size and shape, speculating stride. Back inside, we'd page through nature volumes until we found the perfect match. We'd know who'd ventured out there late last night, while we snugly slept inside!

But no sumptuous banks of outdoor wintry white awaited our curiosity this year. If we desired a Celebration of Snowflakes, it was up to us to stage it for ourselves. We met that challenge with a Christmas break afternoon of indoor fun, allowing grandma to supply people built of snow and the dizzying cascade of flakes that Mother Nature denied us!

Brielle's pillow (shown above) melted only the hearts of her parents when she brought home this happy little snow lady! Starting with a 10" x 15" rectangle of white fabric sketched with a simple body shape, kids painted features (and GIANT hearts!) in acrylic. Finishing work is always done in grandma's workshop. That's where a sandwich of batting and backing allows for light outline quilting, and button eye and applique nose accents. Eyelet trim gave this gal an extra boost of feminine fluffiness. Then she was stuffed, dated, be-ribboned, and delivered!

Our Celebration included lunch, hot chocolate, sugar cookie baking, and a session of paper snowflake cutting as well. My little guests strung a garland of one-of-a-kind shapes to take home for festive draping, spreading a blizzard of fun for all of us!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Handy Little Love Bugs!

They say that grandchildren leave a trail of footprints across the heart. True. But I also like them painted, printed, framed, and hanging on my wall! Turkeys, snowmen, bats, and ghosts - busy fingers, tiny toes!

Reasons abound for making this happy art. The primary one, I think, is that one year will eventually be the last a Valentine's Day "love bug" is small enough to fit within a frame. It's smart to seize each moment while one can, freezing it to last. The craft is easy, too - basically a paint and plop project - that's it! Also appreciated is a selection of inexpensive frames at the three major craft chains, some for as little as three dollars. Trace and cut your own festive mat from scrapbook paper to yield one-of-a-kind gourmet results - and don't forget to date your print before framing!

My infestation of love bugs will be "handed out :)" to parents this year. They'll unwrap these flighty little critters sporting glittery foam heart wings and paper punched eyes. A few simple fine point pen strokes add enough "insect-ery" to induce itching with excitement over how much fun it will be to enjoy them again and again in the years ahead!

I borrowed the little hands of grandkids to make these gifts, but came across a variation of this craft that delighted me. Lisa, at Grandma's Briefs, used a clever slight of hand to flip this idea, making it suitable as a gift from grandma and grandpa to a grandchild! Here's where you'll find a touch of heartfelt loving that you may want to try yourself. Thanks, Lisa!

And one more thing!

Classroom Valentine's Day parties are standard in every elementary school. All three of my daughters are room mothers, planning treats, crafts, and games for these events. I've discovered a way for grandma to share in the fun (without re-experiencing the "been-there-done-that" crowded, noisy chaos of my own years of service!) I'll be sending a trio of "estimating jars" filled with candy and a few small toys to challenge classmates. They'll try to win them by guessing the correct amount of goodies tucked inside. There's a fourth jar in each set, too, but those recipients won't need to worry their cute little heads over the winning number, because, well....."grandchildren!" :)

If you decide to use this idea, (favored by teachers!):
  • fill plastic jars only (I used 32 oz. ones from Just Artifacts, an online party supply source)
  • check for classmate food allergies
  • use wrapped candy
  • visit Dollar Tree for cute small toys (bracelets, whistles, paddle ball sets)
  • make the amount of items age appropriate - for example, jars offered to first graders should total 30 - 50 items at most (even then, you're likely to get guesses in the "TEN MILLION!" range! :) - sure wish I could conjure up that amount of enthusiasm!)

And, finally......if you'd like to include some corny-cute kids' Valentine jokes with your card sending/gift giving, you'll find 28 of them here, also at Grandma's Briefs, the source of this little closing gem:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Sherwood, who?
Sherwood love to be your valentine!


Friday, January 27, 2017

Little Love Bites!

This one's about Valentine's Day. And fellow grandmothers. And the way those two heartwarming topics recently wove themselves together into one tidy little celebration of the season of love!

No matter how vintage, the most endearing portraits of grandmother and child capture moments of sharing. Reading, cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting.....For those of us given to entertaining our grandchildren in this fashion, every day is Valentine's Day!

The kids and I often cook together. Sometimes we stock inventory for our family bake sales, where mommies and daddies and aunties and uncles line up to gobble the cookies and muffins we make. Most often, though, we create for ourselves, warming a winter's kitchen with the alluring scent of well browned banana bread - one loaf for nibbling now, one for taking home.

Now, I'm betting that you've done the same yourself - numerous times, testing many recipes. And, that you might also be pondering the perfect Valentine gift for your little cooking companion. Just the right thing: a reminder of how precious those grandma-and-me moments are for both of you.

I never would have considered Kaylee's personalized apron and chef hat had I not been a reader of Leslie and Kay's GrandparentsLink blog. I was the lucky give-away winner of this adorable set - a product of Growing Cooks, designed by Alice Meoni and available in a range of sizes for both girls and boys! Would this gift solution work for you? Packaged, perhaps, with a kid's cookbook and an invitation to pick out something yummy and come bake it with grandma very, very soon? I hope so! Expect beautiful craftsmanship, prompt and efficient service, gift-worthy packaging - and lots of memory making fun for yourself and your little sidekick-in-the-kitchen!

My friend, Teresa, is a grandmother. And a blogger, blueberry farmer, dog lover, and entrepreneur. All of the above! Roxie and I followed our noses to her Bellview Blueberry Bones site, drooling in unison over home baked specialty dog treats. We were soooo gonna try these! They're healthy, you know. Not a speck of artificial junk. Wholesome goodness only! Door step delivered!

Clicking to submit my order, I was firmly nudged at the elbow. "What about Mickey?" Roxie urged. (She's in long-distance-love with yet another grandma blogger's handsome pet!)  So, two bags it was, both of them "large!"

"So, who's this Roxie who thinks I'm a hottie?"
"When might I expect another treat delivery?"

Without a whimper, our treats were promptly whisked to us, states away in two directions. What a hit! Mickey's mama (Lisa, of Grandma's Briefs) reported "four paws up!" Roxie offered "five stars" and a giant "slurp!" of satisfaction!

Maybe these "little love bites" will gift a furry snuggle-bug in your life, too!

This is not a sponsored post. I just enjoy sharing good things that come into my life! 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Born Yesterday

If this little guy tries to tell you that he "wasn't born yesterday," don't be fooled! Channing is my ninth grandchild and fifth grandson, so I know for a fact that he did, indeed, show up for the first time one day ago, on January 19, 2017 at 10:57 A.M., weighing in at a very healthy eight pounds, ten ounces. He's little brother to Brielle and Austin, and he's got lots of fun ahead of him at grandma's. Hmm, let's see.....digging for dinosaur eggs, building robots, hiking through the woods, and printing those perfectly cute little hands and feet in every color of the rainbow for every holiday on the calendar!

You came to the right place, little guy. Grandma's waiting for you! xxooxx

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Family Dictionary: Pyders, Tonkings, and Tickers!

Around here, there's no need to ask for translation. We get it. All of it: "Where you wented? The quirlows were drinky so we thought it was o-tay to serve chalk-it koo koo ka doo! Then we ate cheesy balls and bingoed til we were done-done!"

We also fully understand that Tanta fills tonkings on Kitmutt. That a few of grandma's cats "talk" when they're cornered. And while pyders and monstas are best disposed of by daddy, mommy is the one who locates pajas, brings home ticker books, and makes sure no buggedies enter the house!

The Family Dictionary. Every home has one. Most often, though, its pages are stored "upstairs." But ours? Well, it's time to preserve them within a fluid volume that I hope will become a generational treasure.

Not only will our dictionary list and define alphabetically, I'll also illustrate entries with photos and anecdotes because some of our best have an unfortunately short shelf life. Like, "I'm drinky," for example. Brielle invented that one when she was three. "Thirsty?" What a weird word! What does it even mean? We like "drinky" and we're sticking with it, even though Bree, now six, has moved on!

And "koo koo ka doo?" That invisible gourmet concoction, stirred to perfection inside a play kitchen coffee cup, was described by two year old Kaylee as something to enjoy in a down moment because "it makes you happy." It's not unusual to hear any one of us sigh deeply, after a rough day, that a nice steaming cup of koo koo ka doo would sure hit the spot right now!

Austin was eighteen months old when he entered a phase that found him checking for "monstas" around every corner. When the coast was clear, he signaled with a hearty, "o-tay!" I like that word. It makes me feel safe!

Grandma Camp for our three year old little ladies this past summer was a gold mine of material for my dictionary. Ava, especially, kept me on task with reminders. I didn't dare promise cookie baking or a squirrel peanut feeding session unless I was prepared to promptly deliver. "What about those 'quirlows' you said we were going to feed?" Ha! "Q" is for quirlow! I wonder how many other family dictionaries have an entry for "Q!"?

Some descriptions were initially difficult to decipher. "Doo dah, whee!" for example. Angeline was two when she declared that her favorite destination. The rest of us scratched our heads until a light bulb went off over mommy's head. Swings and slides! Of course! Get it? You slide and you shout "WHEE!" Now, the "doo dah" part has never fully been defined. Perhaps some day, though. I look forward to paging through my dictionary with the kids long after they've forgotten the delight we found in their unique expressions and pronunciations. And who knows? They might even satisfy some long held curiosities for me. At that point, I will close the cover of this volume and sigh wistfully, "done-done!"*

*Done-done (dun-dun), adj. 1. completed 2. sufficiently filled with food and ready to be removed from high chair (Kaylee, 2014) 3. blog post written and ready for publishing (Grandma, 2017)

P.S. This is a good scrap-booking type project for those of us who enter a post "Kitmutt" slump like I do every year. Nonetheless, there are others who always have it worse. My grand-kitty, Marshall, for example. Imagine a full month of blissful snoozing beneath the softly lit, comforting branches of your very own toy-laden indoor tree - abruptly, and rudely interrupted, leaving you forlorn, unsheltered, dazed, and confused!