Monday, January 30, 2012

Chore Chart

I wanted to make a chore/allowance/behavior chart for my 6 year old. I decided a magnetic dry erase board would be perfect for the job but the boards at the office supply stores were so expensive that I figured I could make one for much less. A million ideas involving various iterations of a DIY magnetic dry erase board and purchases including dry erase paint, metal flashing, magnetic paint, plexiglass, and oil drip pans later, I found a magnetic dry erase board at Target for $20…. go figure! I exchanged all those supplies for the $20 board, pinstriping tape (from the automotive store), 2 bags of flat edge glass marbles (Elle prefers to call them “gems”), & some magnets. Here’s how this fun project came together.
I started by planning out what I wanted to chart with this chart and decided on 3 sections:
• Choices – Elle starts every day with 4 choices “gems”. She can loose a gem for making a bad choice. If she finishes the week with a pre-determined number of choices gems she gets to choose something fun to do like picking where we eat breakfast on the weekend, playing a board game with Mom & Dad, staying up late to watch a movie on Friday night etc.
• Chores – These are the things she is expected to do every day, they contribute to being a productive part of keeping the house clean and taking care of herself. She places a check mark in each of the items as they’re completed every day.
• Allowance – Elle places a green “gem” in the row for each of these items she completes. The green gems are assigned a value… it can be whatever you think is reasonable, a nickel, a dime, a quarter etc. As long as she completes all her chores for the day as well, at the end of the week she cashes in her green gems for her earned allowance.
Once I devised the method for each of the sections & had an idea of how many rows we would need, I used pin striping to make a grid on the board. I also had vinyl decals made for each of the sections and days of the week. Lastly I hot glued magnets to the back of the flat sided marbles (you can buy them by the bag at Michaels). We’re on week 3 of the chart, and it’s been a complete success thus far! My child’s room has never been cleaner, I don’t have to hunt for her lunch box every morning, figuring out how much allowance she’s earned every week has been a good math lesson, and she loves seeing her bank grow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


One of the things I really like about the town we live in is its thriving art community… there are lots of galleries and museums and theaters near by. My most recent find is the Zen Glass Studio. I bought a Groupon for My Doug for his birthday to take a class there to make a wine glass. We made a date night of it and had a great time! It was really amazing to see the different effects you can get from just spinning, mixing, and pressing the molten glass. Check out My Doug’s handiwork:

Wondering where my glass is? I suspected… and was right about… working with glass being a little too free form for me. I am not artistic, I need rules to follow, methods to utilize… yes I know that’s not terribly exciting, but it makes me a decent sewer and a good analyst (my “real” job). But I certainly admire those of you who have that artistic flare! More show-and-tell to come.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mason Jar Pin Cushion Tutorial

This was one of those projects that I started out thinking I would whip it right up in no time flat, easy peasy. I thought I would post a picture of the finished pin cushion and link to any of the many tutorials there are for mason jar pin cushions (they’re all pretty much the same). Alas after 2 attempts, I kept ending up with too much bulk in the lid so it was too difficult to screw on (although I probably could’ve lived with it if it weren’t a Christmas gift for a friend). So I figured out my own way of doing this little project and now you get a tutorial of your own!

You’ll need:
A mason jar
A scrap of fabric
Hot glue
Fun stuff to fill the jar with

Just so I don’t loose you below, there are two parts to the mason jar lid… I’m going to refer the  piece in the first picture below as the “disc” and the piece in the second picture as the “screw top”.

Step 1 – Using the disc as a template, cut a circle of fabric from your scrap piece that is half an inch bigger all the way around.

Step 2 – Fold the fabric circle in half and then in half again and make little marks at the 4 points of the folds along the outside edge. Mark the same four “sections” with a sharpie on the underside of the top lip of the screw top. When you unfold the fabric, they’ll look like this:

Step 3 – Match up one of the marks on your fabric with one of the marks on your screw top and start there hot gluing the right side of the fabric to the underside of the top lip of the screw top, pleating the fabric as you go so that the 4 marks in the fabric match up with the 4 marks on the lid.

Step 4 – shape the batting into a ball and stuff the fabric until it’s full and puffy

Step 5 – Press the disc part of the lid into the screw top and make sure the fabric is as full and puffy as possible but the disc still lays flat inside the screw top. Once you’re satisfied with the amount of fluffiness, hot glue the disc into the screw top.

Step 6 – Fill the jar with something fun! I picked some fun notions from my stash – bits of ribbon, lace, a jingle bell, a big pom-pom, but if the person you're making it for doesn't already have them, you could include some sewing basics like needles, pins, a seam ripper etc.

If this isn’t 1 of 4,000 handmade Christmas gifts you’re trying to finish up the week of Christmas, and have a little more time, you should definitely make some really adorable decorative pin toppers to go with your pin cushion! Check out this great tutorial a friend of mine did for those on her blog- A girl in Paradise.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Artwork Mug

Ok this isn’t exactly “handmade” but it is a creative idea and one of my favorite Christmas gifts this year so I wanted to share. We make a concerted effort to focus more on giving at Christmas than getting, and part of that was to make sure our 6 year old thought of gifts she wanted to get for each of us. We talked about the things Daddy likes; among others, she listed coffee & her art work. She finally decided on a coffee mug for him and was beyond excited when I told her I was pretty sure we would be able to have some of her art work printed on a mug.

I started with the sites I was familiar with, and found some good deals for printing photos on mugs, but since I wanted to use a line drawing she made, was worried that the white of the paper she drew on wouldn’t be the same as the white of the coffee mug and you would see the outline of the “photograph”. So I poked around a little more looking for sites that you can upload graphics to customize your item with, not just photos. There were a few sites, but I settled on because they have a great little “set whites as transparent” feature where all the white parts of your design will be transparent so the item you’re having it printed on just shows through. It was so easy, I just picked the coffee mug I wanted, scanned Elle’s art work, uploaded it to Zazzle, and set the white as transparent. A few days later, the mug arrived and was perfect in every way! Elle was so excited to give Daddy her gift… maybe even a little more excited than she was about the gifts she received… maybe. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ikea Doll Bed Re-do

$105.95 vs. $20 + a few supplies * insert hands acting as an imaginary scale weighing the difference *
I considered… for about 1 minute… whether to buy the American Girl doll bed for Elle’s “My American Girl” ($105.95 not including the bedding) for Christmas or re-doing the Ikea doll bed ($20) that the doll fits in. Me and my pocket book are very happy with the outcome!


Here’s what you’ll need:
Sand paper
spray paint
piece of MDF

Optional “stuff”:
12”x19” piece of 1” thick foam
Half yard soft cuddly fabric
Stuffing/batting/pollyfill (i.e. whatever you want to stuff the pillow with)
Vinyl decal of the dolls name
Scrap fabric for the sheet and quilt

  • First things first… my 2 year old stepped through the flimsy piece of wood bottom that comes with the bed the first 2 minutes she played with it. So not in the “optional stuff” category for us, was a more substantial piece of wood to replace the bottom of the bed. I brought the broken piece into Home Depot and the helpful staff cut a piece of MDF the exact same size for me.
  • Next, I sanded all sides of the bed frame. You don’t have to get too crazy on this step, but it does need to be sanded to rough it up a bit so the primer and paint will stick
  • Paint a thin even coat of primer (I used an oil based primer in a spray can) on all sides of the frame and let dry
  • Lightly sand any rough or “globby” spots
  • Spray another thin even coat of primer if you got a little carried away with the step above. Let dry.
  • Spray paint the entire frame with a thin even coat of the color of your choice and let dry
  • Repeat the step above if you’re not in love with the results yet
You could call it a day there if you’d like, but I was pretty sure Elle would think Kathryn (the doll) required much more comfortable bed linens than come standard issue with the Ikea bed. So I made a mattress, pillow, sheet, and the beginnings of a quilt Elle and I will sew as her first official sewing project. So here’s where all that “optional stuff” comes in:
  • I picked up the piece of foam at Jo-Anns and just cut it to 12” x 19” with a pair of scissors.
  • From your cuddly fabric, sew a simple case for the foam mattress (I just left one short end open… like a pillowcase… and tucked it under the mattress)
  • Sew a matching pillow and stuff with your choice of filling
  • I hemmed a rectangle scrap of fabric and called it a sheet
  • I cut a bunch of 4” squares to make a matching quilt. Elle is very much looking forward to working on this project with me! I had hoped we would get to it over her Christmas break but didn’t… so that’ll be a post for another day!
  • For the finishing touch, I applied a vinyl decal Gifted Express made of the doll’s name to the headboard.
We had one happy 6 year old on Christmas morning!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

So I was looking through my top posts for the year and my One Year Old in a Flash party is still by far my most popular post... maybe that should be my goal for 2012... to top that post.  In the mean time, here are the other posts you all liked best in 2011:

camera strap cover tutorial

Your comments and input make this blog more than what I started it to be 4 years ago... just my little diary of crafty endeavors. You've introduced me to lots of talented people/blogs, inspired me with so many creative projects, and motivated me to continue to find time for the things I get so much fulfillment from. Thank you for being a part of Elle Belle Creative in 2011! Lots more tutorials and crafty/sewing/printable goodness to come in 2012!


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