Monday, August 22, 2011

Get organized: printable weekly planner!

I don't know about you, but I have tried everything to organize our week including outings, chores and meals. I found that we were repeating so many of the same things and changing our minds and moving activities or meals around each week - that I wanted to create something to make it all easier.

For a limited time download the free printable here and decide how you want to organize your life, a few ideas:

-Print the chart and post it on your fridge. Write out the meals, chores and activities you do weekly and print them on printable magnet sheets - cut out the squares with the details and just move the pieces as you need! Tip: print extra blank ones so you can add as you need to! You can also print the chart on the magnet sheet too if you want, or have it laminated.

-Print the chart and have it laminated, or put it in a picture frame. Grab a wet erase marker (such as visa vis) and write your plan each week, use a damp cloth to erase it weekly. For this you will need to print to scale for the size frame you have - such as 8x10.

Chart property of Heather @ MommyBrained 2011 not for resale or distribution.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Help me shop game!

Tomorrow we're going to try the ever popular grocery store bingo game. However, for my little ones with short attention spans who aren't great at following game rules yet we are just going to do a simple matching game. When they spot the food item they can cross it off their list!

Here is the link to my "help me shop" file: HERE. I decided to use actual pictures of the products we use instead of the cartoon or drawing photos, I thought this might be easier for the boys to match what we buy.

Use mine (there are also many more on the web) or make your own, it's easy: I just did a Bing image search of the products I wanted and saved them into a table in a Word file. Nothing fancy for our first go. As you can tell we shop at Safeway mostly - lucerne products and a Starbucks stop, with of course the free bakery cookie for being good little shoppers.

I'll let you know how it goes!!! Love to hear more fun grocery store games if you have them!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Activity Jars

For the summer we made activity jars filled with popsicle sticks, each with a fun activity written on it! The boys love picking out their next activity, most can be done with a few household items! Below is a list of our activities, our inspiration and some how tos are posted on my Pinterest page. Enjoy!

To make your own activity jars you will need popsicle sticks (we bought pre colored ones at Michael's to identify each activity type) a permanent marker and a container to put them in! All in all this cost under $5 and about 10 min.

OUTSIDE: (green)
  • Collect bugs
  • Games: red light green light, tag, ball.
  • Water playtime: Build a water wall, water table, spray bottles.
  • Plant a garden
  • Splat paint
  • Sensory table
  • Sidewalk chalk (make your own sidewalk paint with cornstarch, food coloring and water!)
  • Bubbles (make your own bubble wands with wire hangers)
  • Have a picnic
  • Scavenger hunt (use an egg crate and paint the bottom of each a different color, have the kids find that color!)
  • Paper seed starters
  • Make bird feeders
  • Play hopscotch 
CRAFTS: (blue)
  • Bingo dot pen art
  • Paint rocks
  • Salt dough ornaments/shapes
  • Build a vehicle out of a box
  • Finger paint (try making your own paint)
  • Foam crafts
  • Letter collage (pick a letter and have them help you pick pictures out of magazines to glue on)
  • Bake cookies
  • Make a nature collage
  • Make your own crayons, or just color
  • Make a messy masterpiece.
GAMES: (red)
  • Color matching games (make your own with clothes pins)
  • Make play stilts
  • Tin can telephones
  • I Spy games (make I spy bags/bottles!)
  • Magnetic pom poms (glue a magnet on craft pom poms, and use a cookie sheet to make shapes)
  • Sorting games (use craft pom poms, tongs and an ice cube tray)
  • Lacing cards or buttons on pipe cleaners
  • Play bus driver
  • Build a fort
  • Dance party & make music shakers
  • Play pretend kitchen
  • Make an obstacle course
  • Make a marble race track (water float tube cut in half and marbles!)
  • Binoculars: stuffed animal or bird watching
  • Funny faces contest
  • Treasure hunt
  • Shoe box train for stuffed animals
  • masking tape shapes, letters, #'s or car track!
OUTINGS: (yellow)
  • Library
  • Farmers market
  • Children's museum
  • Swimming
  • Park
  • Pet store
  • Story time at the book store
  • Ride the bus
  • Bouncy place
  • Zoo or aquarium
We are still adding to our lists. Have more ideas for fun activities or outings? Leave me a message!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Superhero Capes!

I have seen so many tutorials for superhero capes and knew I had to make some for my boys! I started to do my own tutorial when I came across one that was exactly what I wanted - I didn't change anything about this tutorial! I actually bought the PDF version of the tutorial on etsy (if anyone wants one I can sell the finished products but not pass along the pattern) and used their templates, however you could do this with your own template.

And pictures of my little superheros running with their capes down the hall!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hooded Towel Tutorial

Hooded towels are a staple in any home with kids. But they can cost you up to $40 each! I've been lucky enough to find some basics for around $15 each on sale - but having to buy two each time for my twin boys was making me crazy! I knew I could make this much cheaper!

There are plenty of tutorials out there but most are over complicated, here is a tutorial for a basic $10 and under 30 minute hooded towel - start with 2 towels, do 2 cuts, sew 2 times and you are done!

What you'll need (Makes 2 hooded towels):
-2 bath towels.
-1 hand towel.
-Sewing machine, scissors and coordinating thread.
*Additional wash cloth size towels for applique/ears/tail embellishments - optional.

1. CUT:

(1) Fold hand towel in half (width wise) and cut in half - you want two pieces about 10" tall each - I had to cut about 7" out of the center to get two 10" pieces (ensure you cut excess out from the center raw edge, not finished edge). You don't want the hood too big!

(2) Fold one of the towel halves again in half width wise. Repeat for other halfh (Pict to the right shows the 'reconstructed' hand towel with one side cut).

(3) Cut the hood shape from the top by cutting a slight curve corner to corner. Template Here. When you open the towel again it will look like the top of a heart - you don't need to cut much, and may want to pin before you cut to ensure you cut evenly.

2. PIN & SEW:

Place the hood opened along the center of the towel (width wise), pin and sew - be sure to back stitch. I placed the hood decorative edge on the outside as I liked the way that looked best but you could pin it on the inside if you prefer.

Fold the towel and hood in half, right sides facing (inside out). Line up the hood pieces, pin and sew along the curve - be sure to back stitch - I sewed mine twice.

3. FINISHED! Turn right side out and VOILA! You have a beautiful hooded towel!

Leave me a message if you have any questions! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Simple T-Shirts: Freezer Paper & Appliques

It really is as simple as everyone is saying - freezer paper and appliques are the best way to get professional and fast results with everyday household items! The fun doesn't stop at t-shirts: try making household items like pillows, or other wearables like pants/shorts. For a fun twist, combine both methods below into one project. For example; on the mickey shirt below cut the number 2 out in fabric or felt and apply (I may go do that right now actually!) or to make Minnie attach ribbon as a bow to her ear! A painted bird with appliqued wing would be cute - maybe next project!

There are tons of tutorials out there; but here are some of my suggestions for these two methods that work well for me! When in doubt: YouTube knows all.

Want my templates for Mickey or PB&J? Email me:

Freezer paper t-shirts:

My twin boys are turning 2 on Saturday, where does the time go? We aren't doing a big party but if we were it would be Mickey themed. I decided party or not they still needed a fun shirt to celebrate! I created this shirt with the Mickey Font cricut cartridge.

Materials needed:
  • Freezer paper (not wax paper)
  • Foam brush (small)
  • Rotary cutter/exacto knife OR cutting machine (I used my cricut)
  • Fabric paint (I used Tulip - get either Matte or Velveteen)
  • A T-Shirt
Method used:
  1. Prewash and dry t-shirt and gather supplies.
  2. Cutting out the design: Print out a design of choice and trace w/ pencil onto dull side of transfer paper and cut with exacto knife (tape the transfer paper onto the paper with design) OR place the dull side of the freezer paper down onto your cricut cutting mat and cut. Ensure you leave plenty of edge room (I cut in the center using center point after manually setting the start point of the blade away from the edge). Also ensure that you FLIP any text or number images so that when you place it on the t-shirt you get the correct design.
  3. Setting Design: On an ironing board, iron the shirt so it lays flat and place a piece of freezer paper inside shiny side up to avoid paint soaking through. Place the negative image (background) pieces of the transfer paper onto your shirt shiny side down and iron on - do not use steam, I set mine at '4' about halfway. Ensure that the edges are all stuck down continue ironing until you have a good edge so paint will not slip under - I did this for about 30 seconds per design.
  4. Painting: Using the foam brush, dip in paint and blot onto t-shirt - being careful not to paint on the outside of the design. Apply 1-3 coats allowing the paint to dry slightly between coats (lighter colors will need more coats). If you would like your design to appear slightly raised or thicker, apply more coats of paint.
  5. Drying: Allow to dry for several hours, I let it sit overnight. This is a very important step as if you peel the freezer paper off while wet the edging can bleed and your design may not be as sharp. My freezer paper was on so well that I had to pull the paper off at a 45 angle.
  6. Set the paint: When using Matte paint - place a cloth over the finished design and iron without steam to set the paint. When using Velveteen paint - with image facing up set your iron to steam and hold 1/2" above the design - do not touch paint or iron. I made the mistake of ironing with a cloth and my paint bubbled a bit and discolored (to fix this I just applied a new coat of paint) - do not over iron.
  7. Care: Wait at least 72 hours after drying time before washing. For best results, machine wash inside out with like colors.
Applique t-shirts:

Another great option for homemade t-shirts is to applique; or cut out a fabric design and glue/sew onto your shirt. I love the texture and easy layering of appliques. Don't you just want to eat that PB&J? This is an example of an all appliqued design with felt & felt glue, no sewing - a last minute project for this year's NICU reunion picnic at the hospital, the shirts were a major hit!

  • Felt and felt glue OR fabric and steam a seam (or like bonding material).
  • Rotary cutter or exacto knife and cutting mat or scissors or cutting machine such as a cricut for fabric.
  • T-Shirt.
  • Sewing machine - optional for finishing.
Method used:
  1. Cut design (felt): when using felt I like to print out my design and cut the paper, lay it on top of the felt and mark (I used a permanent marker and then cut on the inside of the pen marks.)
  2. Cut design (fabric): when using fabric I like to use my cricut; bond the fabric (wrong side down) to the steam a seam with your iron, leave the paper backing onto opposite side of steam a seam so it will not bond with your ironing board! Place the now paper fabric onto the cricut cutting mat and cut your design (ensure proper tension and speed - medium is what I used, with a blade setting of 4/5 to ensure a good cut).
  3. Apply the design (felt): using felt glue adhere the felt onto the t-shirt (be sure to put some cardbord or freezer paper in between the layers of the shirt so they do not stick together!)
  4. Apply the design (fabric): remove the backing of the steam a seam; and iron onto t-shirt.
  5. Finishing the look: sewing around the edges of your design adds a professional and finished look; however it is not necessary - the felt glue or steam a seam is qualified to do the job alone! Experiment with different stitches to get desired effect. When sewing felt it can get heavy especially with the dried felt glue - go slowly through all those layers. Ensure the steam a seam is completely cooled so your sewing needle does not get sticky. (If you have used cotton not felt you will want to sew around the edges as it tends to fray). Sewn applique example: Hot Wheels Car & Truck Tote-n-Play.
Let me know if you have any questions or want to show off your projects! As I create more shirts I'll update this post for additional ideas!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hot Wheels Car & Truck Tote-n-Play!

This is a fun project to store little hot wheels & matchbox cars in! A great 'grab and go' toy for long waits, restaurants or car rides.

I made 4 of these using only 1 yard of bottom weight fabric (1/2 yard of 2 colors). Two are for my boys - Angie, guess who the other two are for? J&E's birthday - surprise! I hope you love them!

I rated this project intermediate since there are so many steps and this took several hours for me to put each together after the cutting and finishing. Pictures are below each step.

  • 17x10" bottom weight fabric color of choice (main/outside color).
  • 17x6" bottom weight fabric (car pocket color - I used outside color again).
  • 17x10" bottom weight fabric (inside color).
  • Scrap fabric for applique car/truck.
  • Steam a seam or other for applique.
  • 17x3" black cotton or felt for road.
  • 6 - 1x3/16" yellow felt for dashes.
  • Ribbon or elastic for attachment loop (I used a hairband).
  • 2 Buttons for car wheels/attachment.
  • Handle material - ribbon 10".
  1. Cut all pieces to correct size. Fold bottom weight fabric in half length wise and iron. Attach wrong side of scrap fabric to steam a seam, draw a design of choice on paper and cut.
  2. Pin and sew raw edges of folded 17x6 fabric to bottom raw edge of extended 17x10 fabric.
  3. Next sew car pockets: mark lines of pockets before sewing. Starting at 1/4" from the outside and measure 2.75" for each pocket. There will be 6 ending with another 1/4" seam allowance. Sew vertical lines through all 3 layers (2 of pocket and 1 interior), back stitch or double sew each pocket.
  4. For the road; pin and sew black 17x3 road piece centered on top of the inside fabric. Here is where the pre-fold comes in handy. Follow this step by pinning and sewing the dashes onto the road.
  5. Sew in strap next along the left edge near the bottom of the black road fabric, fold the ribbon in half and pin, be sure to reinforce the stitches and place the handle facing inward for correct placement after turning, set the interior fabric aside after this and move on to the next.
  6. With the exterior 17x10 bottom weight fabric, iron on the applique/steam a seam design. Place centered in the bottom half of this fabric approximately 1/2 inch from the fold you made in the fabric. Stitch around applique, if desired. Sew buttons onto car/truck. Template Here.
  7. Sew in closing elastic of choice in line with the button on either the right or left side. If sewed on right side the closure will be on the left of the car/truck, and visa-versa. I sewed mine on the right side of the bottom fabric.
  8. Place finished 17x10 pieces with right sides facing each other. Sew around to attach, leaving room to turn. TIP: do not leave corners as a turning point as this will be harder to finish later as the fabric is heavy. Also, ensure you stitch on the inside of existing stitches or they will show when turning.
  9. Turn, and sew around 1/4" to finish and close opening shut (pin opening first). I also like to iron this before sewing to get a good crisp edge. Next, sew along the center folded crease, to help keep construction of the folded tote.

You are now finished, add cars and enjoy! Here are folding directions and a few more photos!

Variations for this project: use Velcro or ribbon tie as a different closure. Stencil onto pockets or exterior using freezer paper to number the pockets or write letters/name. Sew in road signs, stop light, stop sign using felt in coordinating colors. Using similar method make a roll for crayons, doll and clothes or other toys - adjust pocket size accordingly. If you need help with sizing I am happy to assist!

Leave me a message if you have any questions or other suggestions about this project!