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!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Peppermint Bark Popcorn!

Happy Holidays! This past weekend I went to a holiday party and was in charge of bringing an "appetizer" - nothing I had made before sounded good and so, Peppermint Bark Popcorn was born. I guess you could call it something fun like Reindeer Munch - my kids could have eaten this entire bowl, instead the party guests did! It was a major hit - I hope you enjoy it!

2 bags white chocolate chips
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp peppermint extract
1 6oz box of Bob's Candy Canes, crushed
30 cups air popped popcorn
Salt, to taste

  1. Pop 30 cups of popcorn, set aside.
  2. Melt white chocolate chips, on low in the microwave - stir every minute, until smooth.
  3. Add 2 tsp peppermint extract and stir - it is normal for extract to make chocolate mixture a bit lumpy so work fast.
  4. In HUGE bowl (I used a pot) put 2/3 of the popcorn, about 20 cups and mix in melted peppermint-white chocolate chips. Use your hands and really mix it up, you don't want large hunks of chocolate when it dries. Careful not to crush the popcorn.
  5. Lay out wax paper, and spread covered popcorn.
  6. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes.
  7. Melt the semi sweet chocolate chips, using same method above. Using a fork, dip into the chocolate and drizzle on top of popcorn.
  8. Add salt (to desired saltiness) to the remaining 10 cups of popcorn. Combine with chocolate covered popcorn for a salt & sweet combination. I also added a hint of salt directly on top of the chocolate popcorn for this effect.
  9. Allow to dry for about 30 minutes, longer if you can - put in a bowl and enjoy, or a large Ziploc bag to save. This will store for about 4 days uneaten until the popcorn starts to get chewy.
Let me know if you have any questions! This recipe can be made to fit any portion - use the above as a guide and your instincts to know how to portion the ingredients.

Variations: add pretzels, chex mix or peanuts!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

24 Activities of Christmas...

Each year around Christmas I try to think of ways to make our family feel in the holiday spirit, and I LOVE traditions. This year a friend and I made these magnets; the 24 activities of Christmas! It is a sort of advent calendar with holiday inspired activities, both big and small. I think the magnets look like cute little ornaments - Enjoy!

For a list of the activities we used, and a printable sheet please email MommyBrained@live.com - I am happy to share!

You will need:
  • Paper, ribbon in choice of colors.
  • Craft glue.
  • Magnets - make sure yours will stick to a surface on both sides I found packs of 10 small round magnets at my local craft store.
  • Large and small circle punches (example: 2" and 1") and number punches 0-9, or similar paper cutter like a Cricut (this can be done with scissors but will take longer and you will need to add a step below to print/draw for outline). We used a cricut for the numbers and large circles and small punch for the activities.
  • Hole puncher, we used a special ribbon puncher with two lines like II to thread the ribbon but a standard punch would work.
  • Printer.
What we did:
  1. Cut/Punch out 48 circles, in the large size. I did 24 red and 24 green - and alternated colors. Example of front/back below.
  2. Cut/Punch out numbers 1-24.
  3. Cut ribbon to desired length - I did the exact width of each large circle, and trimmed after the glue dried.
  4. Print out your list of activities, ensuring they will fit within your small circle punch - and cut/punch out.
  5. Assemble front pieces: Glue a piece of ribbon and number along each large circle - let dry. I alternated top/bottom for the ribbon.
  6. Assemble back pieces: Glue the activity (small punch) on another large circle - do not glue to the back side of your initial large circles. You will have two large circles for each day.
  7. Glue together: place a magnet in between each pair of large circles and glue (make sure you have the activity you want for that day picked out). For mine I have green on front and red on back - or visa versa. Let dry.
  8. Punch a slit out of the top of each circle - thread ribbon and tie.
  9. Arrange on magnetic surface 24-1 & count down with a fun activity each day!
Variations: I have seen other cute magnet advent calendars, such as the 'mini muffin tin' advent calendar that you can put little goodies inside. Note: you will need magnet sheets for this project, not the small rounds we used.

Let me know if you have any questions about this project, or suggestions on variations for other crafters!

Happy Holidays!!!