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Monday, August 2, 2010

How to: Pull String Piñata

(NOTE: has now been renamed to

Can you believe it? Nater will be TWO in less then 2 weeks!!! We've been planning his Fire Truck Themed party for months now and have been searching high and low for a pull string Fire Truck Piñata — No Luck. Seems like ALL the fire truck piñatas I found needed to be cracked open with a bat. Not so toddler friendly.

I bought one anyway and decided to do a craft tutorial on how to turn it into a pull string piñata!! Yay for me, yay for you!

What you'll need:

  1. Piñata
  2. Lots of Curling ribbon (the type of ribbon used to tie balloons) cut approx. 30-36 inches long
  3. Tape
  4. Tissue paper
  5. Elmer's glue
  6. Sponge brush
  7. Box cutter

Step 1:
Cut a 3-sided trap door on the bottom of the Piñata. I made my cuts about 3.5 inches long.

Step 2: Poke a small hole in the middle of your new trap door.

Step 3: Take a curling ribbon and insert through the small hole in the middle. Knot off the end that is on the outside of the Piñata. Make sure the knot is large enough that it won't pull through the hole when tugged. Close the trap door. (The other end of the ribbon should be now hanging out of the trap door) This is the ribbon that when pulled will release all the candy goodness inside.

Step 4: Start individually taping the remaining ribbon around the trap door. Make sure you have enough for each child to pull (Note: In my picture, I taped the ribbon to the door itself. After I was done, I realized it would have probably been a better idea to tape it AROUND the door and not on it! Ugh.

Step 5: Cut four 4x4 squares of coordinating tissue paper.

Step 6: Using a sponge brush, brush a thin layer of Elmer's Glue over the trap door and edges of the ribbon. Lay a square of tissue paper on top. Repeat Glue, Paper, Glue Paper. The last layer should be of glue to seal everything up. Let your glue dry.

Step 7: Trim the ribbons so that they are of equal length.

Tada! You've got your self a toddler friendly, treat dispensing piñata!

You can also see this posting over at:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Super Hero Cuffs

It's a bird! It's a plane! No. It's Super Nater rockin' his super hero cuffs! Schweet!

After working a full day, commuting about 1 - 1.5 hours each way and spending time with my family, I am not left with very many hours minutes in the day. So I am ALL about finding easy crafts to create -- and this is one of them!

What you'll need:
  1. The cardboard roll from a roll of paper towels (one roll makes 2 sets)
  2. Color felt
  3. Elastic
  4. Hot glue gun
  5. Scissors
  6. Box cutter or exacto knife or other hole making device
Step 1: Take your cardboard paper towel roll and cut it down the middle from top to bottom.

Step 2: Measure and cut out 2 1/2 inch sections. One roll should yield 4 cuffs.

Step 3: Cut out different color felt pieces to cover the bare cardboard strips. (Using the cardboard roll helps give shape to the cuffs. ) Be sure to leave an additional 1/2 inch of felt on each side. Using the glue gun, glue the strip onto the roll and wrap the extra 1/2 inch of felt around to the back and glue on as well.

Step 4: Using a box cutter, exacto knife, hole punch (whatever you can find), make an incision on either ends of the cuffs. String through some elastic band and knot off at the ends. This will keep your cuff secure and in place when battling the evil doers.

Step 5: Using scrap pieces of felt, cut out different patterns and hot glue them on.

Super Easy. Super Cute. Nater Tater just loved them!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tutu - Part Tu

Here's another version of the Elastic Band Tutu, but instead of using an elastic band, I used ribbon. Before you start adding on the tulle to the ribbon, be sure to knot off both ends leaving about 18 inches of ribbon to each side. This will be used to tie the tutu around the waist.

This will be one of the couple of Tutus I will be donating to the Tutu Drive 2010. I had made two earlier, and had Rusty model them. Well I wasn't thinking! Because the Tutus that are getting donated to the Alexa Foundation need to be new and never used. The kids that these dress up clothes are going to have very weak immune systems, so they need to take every precaution to make sure no germies get them sick. Hello Nelly?! Why didn't I think about that? So brand new Tutus will be made, sealed and donated. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tutu Made Simple

Okay, so this has got to be the easiest Tutu tutorial ever! It takes no time to make and comes out super cute!

(I don't have a cute little girl to model my Tutus, so I used Rusty instead. Yes, he is a boy dog... but really, it's OK, he didn't mind)

What you'll need: (this makes a size 2T-3T)
  1. Elastic band (19 inches long)
  2. Needle & thread
  3. Tulle. I bought mine in rolls at a fabric store for $2.99/roll. Each roll was 6 inches wide x 2 yards long.
That's it... really.

Step 1: Take your elastic waist band and overlap the ends about 1/2 inch. Stitch together.

Step 2: Take your tulle and cut into 24 inch strips. For my tutus, I used about 35-40 strips.

Step 3: Take one strip of tulle and fold in half. Insert folded end behind your elastic band. Pull loose end through the hole to form a "knot." I think this picture can describe it better than I can.

It also makes for easier work if you wrap your elastic band around a chair. I used my son's chair that was in the play room. It was the perfect width. PS: don't mind the lovely artistic work on the furniture -- courtesy of Nater Tater.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 until your tutu is as full and fluffy as you'd like. The pattern I used for the Pink & White Tutu was 3 pinks/2 whites. And for the Red & Black Tutu, it was 2 reds/2 blacks. Tulle comes in a variety of colors... so the possibilities are endless!

After you have all the tulle on and in place -- tighten each knot slightly. This will help them from getting undone.

Step 5: Admire your work! :)

See. I told you it was EASY!

Both Tutus will be donated to the Tutu Drive 2010 for the Princess Alexa Foundation. If you feel inspired to make your own and would like to donate it as well, visit here for details.

Samster Mommy's Tutu Drive 2010

Samster Mommy Tutu Drive

One of my favorite blogger, Samster Mommy, is holding a Tutu Drive 2010 for the Princess Alexa Foundation. The Princess Alexa Foundation was formed in August 2008 in memory of Alexa Aigner, a beautiful 4-year-old girl who loved dressing up to escape the reality of cancer. Their mission is to celebrate the childhood spirit of seriously ill children through dress up and play. Amazing, no?

My next couple of tutorials will be on making Tutus and donating them to Samster Mommy's drive. They are pretty simple to make and if you feel the urge to get crafty... come join me and help by donating your creations too! I'll have more details on where and when to donate.

Let's do this, and help Samster Mommy reach her goal of 100 Tutus!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cake Pops

I found this clever idea on someone’s blog last week (sorry, I can’t remember which one) and thought it would be perfect as a sweet treat for Nater-Tater’s 2nd birthday!

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Colored melting chocolates (I used Wilton® Candy Melts)
  • 8 inch lollipop sticks
  • 1 box of cake mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil’s Food. This particular cake mix calls for 3 eggs, 2 cups water, 2/3 cups oil)
  • 1 container of frosting
  • Wax paper

Step 1: Pull together your cake mix following the directions on the box. Mix, grease, pour, bake. When baking is complete, let it cool for about 15-20 minutes before moving on to step 2.

Step 2: Take your cake and start crumbling! I used 2 forks to crumble my cake pieces. You can also use your hands to make for a faster process. You’ll want it crumbled fairly well… think bread crumbs.

Step 3: Next, mix the frosting into your cake crumbs. Start off with 3 large spoonfuls and add more if you need to. I used about ¾ of the container. You’ll want your cake/frosting mix “wet” enough to form balls.

Step 4: Form the balls. You’ll want to keep them about the size of a golf ball… any bigger and it will be too heavy. Trust me. I tried! I even tried to form ones that look like small hamburger patties, but they didn’t do so well during the dipping process. So stick to golf ball size pops.

Lay your cake balls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.. If your cake mix starts to get too warm and starts sticking to your fingers, just put your mix in the freezer for a few minutes, then go at it again. Once you have all your cake balls made, put the entire cookie sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Step 5: Melt your chocolates! The Wilton Candy Melts do really well in the microwave.

Step 6: Take your cake balls out of the freezer and insert lollipop sticks. I dipped the stick into a little bit of the chocolate before inserting them. This helps hold it in. Next, you’ll want to roll your cake pops into the melted chocolate. Gently remove from your melted chocolate and let the excess drip off. Lay your dipped Cake Pops back on the wax lined cookie sheet. Let cool.

Step 7: Once your cake pops have cooled and harden, you’re free to enjoy! I added a little extra touches by drizzling some with more melted chocolates and pop out numbers (made with free handing melted chocolate onto wax paper)

Super cute, no? And it’s tasty too!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Body Pillow Case

Last year, my parents went to Vietnam on a mini vacay and brought back this super soft, super cuddly, body pillow for Nater-Tater.

As cute as the butterfly and two-toned green pillow case is... it just doesn't go with the "Disney Cars" themed room he has. So as my first project with my newly acquired sewing skills, I decided to make a new body pillow case for him.

We still had Nater-Tater's Disney Cars crib bedding, and the flat sheet was just the right size for this.

First, I removed the green butterfly case and laid it directly on top of the folded flat sheet. I trimmed the new flat sheet to fit (leaving approx. 1 inch extra around)

Next, I folded down 1" on the top (what will be the top) and stitched it right down the middle (leaving a "pocket" where I will be inserting a strip of fabric that will hold the pillow case on.) Repeat step to bottom of case.

Next, stitch the long sides together, but be sure not to stitch the openings of the pockets closed! Then string the strip of fabric through the top and bottom. To make this step easier, pin your strip of fabric to a safety pin, it'll help you guide it through.

Finally, insert body pillow into your new case, tie off the ends and enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sew, you think you can sew?

Yes, yes. It's true. I am FINALLY ready to teach myself (of course, with the help of you, right?) how to sew!

I've been following Samster Mommy's blog and have been inspired to start crafting and sewing. She makes it seem so easy! So I thought, why not give it a try!

But like many of my other hobbies, I tend to start it... but never continue it. So before I decide to invest in a sewing machine, I borrowed my moms. (Thanks Mom!) I brought home this machine, took it out of the box and guess what? No user manual! But have no fear... there is this thing called the internet. I google'd "Shark Euro-Pro Sewing Machine" and found an online user manual! SUCCESS! After about an hour of flipping back and forth, reading and re-reading the manual I still could not thread the sewing machine! FAIL!

So what would be the next sensible thing to do? I gave up. Sike. I logged on to the trusty YouTube and searched for videos on how to thread a sewing machine. With luck and about 20 minutes of play, pause, play, pause, I was able to get my machine up and running!

Watch out Martha Stewart, Nelly's in the house!!