Monday, December 5, 2016

Pickle Projects 5/5 - Wooden Photo Blocks

Project 5/5! This has been a fun series of projects that are easy enough a Pickle can make them, while being exceptionally useful, cute, and easy on the budget. Homemade gift giving just went up a notch with these projects!
Today is no exception. Designed for the more tween-aged Pickle crowd to create, this project also requires minimal tools and supplies to create a memorable keepsake gift. And what could be more memorable than pictures...on wooden blocks. Wooden Picture blocks!

8 years ago we made a set for my husband, which he proudly kept on his desk at work. The Pickles would play with them and leave them in a new arrangement each time they visited him there. At just 2" square each, they take up far less space than a collection of picture frames. On a set of three blocks, that is 18 photos!
Make some for yourself or to give to your BFF. All those Instagram photos just found a home. No matter who you choose to share your Wooden Photo Blocks with, the smiles will exponentially increase!
To make Wooden Photo Blocks:
--A set of 2" square wooden blocks
--sandpaper or file
1. Select photos (for each block, you will need 6 photos) and print them out on a sheet of paper in 2"x2" squares. Yes, plain old printer paper is what we used.
2. Cut photos out.
3. Glue photos to each side of block. That is a regular little glue stick you see in the photo there. Use a glue stick, or use another glue you have on hand and apply a thin coat of glue to the block with a paintbrush before adhering the photo. Be sure to apply the glue well even to the uttermost corners! And yes, the paper may just barely go over the edges. Don't let it worry you--we'll get to that in step 6..
4. Let. It. Dry. (I know, I know. The hardest part of the whole project.)
5. Now that it is dry, take sandpaper or a file to the edges of the block. Work the sandpaper from the edge of the photo, and OVER the edge. (You don't want to push the paper edge upward.) Sand until you can see a bit of the wood block corners and the paper is blended into the edge of the block.  If any paper corners come loose, just sneak a little glue back under them and re-adhere.
6. Choose how to gift them. Add eye hooks and a ribbon and you have an ornament. Tie it up with a big sparkly ribbon. No matter how you choose to share, give it with a smile and enjoy watching the smiles spread.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Pickle Project 4/5 - Rice Bags (no sew!)

Here's Project #4! I hope you've been enjoying this series of Pickle-friendly projects that are frugal, practical, pretty, and perfect for gift-giving!
Feeding creativity comes from rethinking ordinary items into a fresh new approach. Today that will lead to wearing your socks around your neck! ...and being pretty adorable at that! Let's make some {cute!} rice bags today!

(We are rice bags fans over here. Pickles love them to warm up with them in the winter months and the parents here love them to relax and warm tight muscles. Always use caution when heating rice bags in the microwave to not overheat before allowing little Pickles to handle them.)

So here's whatcha wanna do to make your own rice sock:

1). Gather socks and rice. I found a fun mix/no-match set of knee socks --perfect for this project. For each sock, we used about 1 3/4 cup - 2 cups rice. I used a basic white, long grain rice. Nothin' fancy.
2). Tie a knot at the heel of one sock. Make sure it is snug and tight.
3). I love this paper funnel trick (I use it even to fill my little spice jars in the kitchen): Just take a sheet of paper and roll it up. Place one end in the top of the sock and then gently release the paper roll at the top so that it is wider than the end in the sock. Fill sock with rice, leaving space at the top of the sock to tie it closed.
4). Go ahead and tie your sock closed! Once again, make it snug and sure! Trim off the toe of the sock. You're done!
5). Heat rice bags in the microwave to use. Each microwave varies a bit, so use caution to not overheat. We usually heat ours about a minute, check and if necessary, warm for a few more seconds.

--add a scent of essential oil to your rice before adding it to the sock. Mmmmm, lavender....
--when tying the heel of the sock, catch the toe of the sock in the knot to form a loop. No trimming necessary now!

Know someone who would enjoy the projects and creative conversation here? Add them to the Feeding Pickle group!
Happy new {cozy} week of being creative!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pickle Project 3/5 - T-shirt wrap bracelets

Project 3/5. We’re making fun, frugal, practical and Pickle-friendly projects. Today’s project is not only super cute and perfect for giving, but it will only cost you the hem of your shirt.

Sure enough. Grab a t-shirt and a button (a couple beads will be fun as well!) and we'll make a Wrap Bracelet! Here's what to do:
1. Cut two (2) 1” bands from the hem of a t-shirt. We used a men’s medium t-shirt that had a circumference of 36”. Cut each loop so that they are each36” strips of t-shirt.
2. Hold one end of the strip and with the other hand tug on the strip until it curls around itself. Work down the whole strip of t-shirt until it is all a nicely rounded strip of “tarn.” That’s t-shirt yarn! You just made some t-shirt yarn! Repeat with second t-shirt strip.
3. Using a button (ours was 1”) with large holes, thread one strip of the tarn through one hole and back out the other hole. Pull tarn through until button is centered on strip.
4. With button centered in front of you, lay second strip over left side of threaded tarn, leaving about 3” excess at top. Bring right strip over new center strip, and then left strip over center strip. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Yep, you’re braiding! It is helpful to have a buddy hold the button end of the braid. Or even a clipboard is great for keeping the button end pinned down. I may have known some to put it between their toes. Do what floats your boat to get those strips braided.
5. When braid is approximately 15” long, tie a knot. (This measurement is for adults. Obviously, you can adjust the length to fit any size wrist, big or small.)
6. For button loop, tie a second knot almost an inch beyond first knot.
7. Trim excess tarn beyond the knots, and thread some beads onto the beginning excess tail by the button.
8. Wrap and wear. Or give and grin. Your choice.

Oh and take a picture to show us all here!
Happy new week of being creative!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pickle Project 2/5 - Potato Stamping

We're doing a series of Pickle-friendly projects for 5 weeks, focusing on frugal, practical, and just plain fun projects, great for gift-giving! Today is project #2! Go grab a potato from your pantry and let's have some creative fun!
Yep, a spud.
Potatoes are my favorite way to stamp with Pickle-sized people. Cut a potato in half and with few simple shaping cuts, you have a stamp that fits easily in little (or big!) hands for just a smidgen of a cost. Of course, I recommend that the bigger hands do the cutting and the smaller ones join in when it's stamping time.

Try these ideas to get you started:
-Cut a triangle into the potato half, adding few wedge notches on each side of the triangle and you have a pine tree.
-Cut wedges around the edge of the potato half and you have a sunshine or a flower.
-Just use that potato cut in half (circle-ish) and make Christmas bulbs, beach balls, you wanna build a snowwwwman?? Use a marker to add line details when the paint is dry.
-A half circle resembles a nice juicy slice of watermelon. The other half of the potato can be cut in the shape of the watermelon rind to create a two-stamp set!
Stamp on card stock paper for greeting cards, stamp on t-shirts, stamp on wood, stamp on walls, make your own wrapping paper--stamp to your heart's content! We chose simple (flat woven) dish towels for cute and practical gifts.

We spread a bit of acrylic paint on a plate. We practiced dabbing our potato stamps in the paint to get good coverage and then tested on a blank space (use extra paper or extra space on the paint plate) to get a feel for how much paint was needed. And then we stamped our towels. That's all there was to it.
Once the paint dried, I heat set the paint by ironing over the wrong side of the towels with a hot dry iron. Depending on how thick the paint was stamped on, it may have made the fabric seem a little stiff. A wash in the washing machine usually remedies that nicely for us!
(**mmmm, yes. We covered our workspace to protect from wandering paint. Even the most fastidious Pickles manage to get a little paint where it's not expected. And when painting something like a t-shirt or pillowcase, a piece of cardboard between the layers keeps any extra paint from soaking through to the backside.)

Ok, now you try it! The best part of enjoying creativity is just trying. At the very worst, you will simply be out a potato. But I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of stamping with a potato. (Be sure to come back here and show/tell us what you created!)
Happy new week of creating!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pickle Project 1/5 - Jar Tissue Holder

Today is the first in a series of creative projects for Pickle-sized people (and bigger!) for useful and fun gifts!

So let's get started! You'll need:
-A glass quart jar
-Paint marker(s)
-A box of tissues 
-Ring lid
-Decorative paper to make...

...a tissue holder! Spiffy-up this practical gift by decorating a quart-sized jar (wide or narrow mouth) with paint marker artwork. Who is this gift ideal for? Teachers, parents, secretaries, aunts and uncles and anyone else you know with a nose!

Here's what to do:
Decorate the jar as you wish with the paint marker and allow to dry. 

Trace the inner side of the ring lid onto the paper and cut out the circle. In the center of the circle, cut an "x". This is where the tissues are drawn out through the top of the jar. 

Cut a small stack of tissues to 6" length. Fold the tissues in half lengthwise, with the top of the stack in the center of the fold. Stuff folded tissues into the jar, pulling the corner of the first tissue up and through the slots in the paper circle. 

Screw paper and ring lid down.

Make them festive.  Make them trendy.  Make and enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2016

When you can't sleep in...make pumpkins!

The Pickles announced that they were going to sleep in on Saturday morning. "Waaaaaay in," they said. They were so excited. Maybe too excited.
Call it mother's intuition or what you will, but on Friday night I had the thought to section the legs of (yes, another) pair of outgrown jeans. I did a project sample run, and left the supplies laying on the table.
Sure enough, bright and early, or before bright even had a chance, Pickles had bounded downstairs and one by one filled in the seats at the breakfast table.
I handed out needle and thread to all and in about the span of a Saturday morning cartoon, we had a collection of adorable Pickle-made pumpkins sitting on the wooden chest in our living room. It was a perfect start to our "sleeping in" morning. From the littlest to the biggest, the Pickles excitedly stitched, gathered, stuffed, exchanged variation ideas (use painted stems in multi colors, use felt to make a face, and someone wanted theirs to look like a cat), and picked out their stems. It was morning well spent anyways.
Maybe we'll try that sleeping in thing some other day.

Enjoy a new week of looking for creative outlets!
{In case you were wondering: For my sample pumpkin, I inserted a zipper so the finished pumpkin could be used as a gift pouch, for something like say, homemade caramel corn. I painted my stem white to coordinate with the zipper accent.}

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hello, Fall. We're ready for you.

We warmed ourselves up with a little Pumpkin Spice Tea. It was our creative and cozy way of joyfully admitting that fall is here to stay. Just lightly sweet and made creamy with coconut milk, this tea was rated quite high by the Pickles here!
Here's what we did:
Brought a quart of water just to a boil. Steeped two (decaf was our choice) tea bags for 5 minutes. Discarded used bags.
Whisked in:
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk (sure, use half and half of you like), 
3 Tablespoons unrefined sugar, 
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 
a dash or two each of allspice and ground clove.

This version we created is mild on the spices to suit the Pickle palettes. Up the ante if you like! 
Here's to a fresh new week of creating!

What's your cozy, go-to fall treat?