Thursday, September 29, 2016


Inspired by "Star Wars", I decided to give new life to an old throw pillow by making a Yoda cover for it. It turned out great, and now my son has a special pillow to use in his bed in our travel trailer.

This was a fun and easy project that kids could help with and would be perfect as a gift for a "Star Wars" fan or as an addition to a "Star Wars" themed bedroom or home theater.
- pillow form or old throw pillow
- solid green fabric - any kind you like, large enough to cover the pillow plus ears and seam allowance (I used fleece)
- thread matching your fabric
- marker
- sewing notions, sewing machine, etc.
- Yoda photo or toy for reference

1. Lay out the fabric, double-layered and right-sides-together. Place your pillow on top. Draw a line on the fabric around the pillow approximately 1 inch from the sides of the pillow. Draw ears. (You can make a paper template if you want them to be perfectly even.) 

Remove pillow. Pin fabric layers together. Sew around on the lines BUT NOT BETWEEN THE PILLOW AND THE EARS. Leave an opening at the bottom edge for turning and inserting pillow.

2. Trim the excess fabric and turn right side out.

3. Sew around inside the ears and between the ears and where the pillow will go.

If you really want to get creative, you could embroider Yoda's facial features on the pillow or draw them on with fabric markers. You could also write one of Yoda's quotes on the pillow, such as "Do or do not. There is no try."

4. Insert the pillow and sew the opening shut. DONE.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Keepsakes for Kids

When your baby is born, it's a lots of fun to start saving keepsakes for them. I suggest starting a box, although you may prefer to put some things I've suggested below in a scrapbook or binder. You may also want to start two boxes, one that is basically a time capsule and one for items for baby to use in the future.

First, you'll need a box with a lid. It can be cardboard, wood, or plastic. Here are some suggestions:
- box from a baby gift
- box from baby formula, diapers, wipes, etc.
- store-bought baby keepsake box
- family heirloom box or chest
- any sturdy box, decorated if desired

Add baby's name to the outside of the box, if desired.

Second, start filling the box. Here are some items to consider:
- baby cards, gift tags, and ribbons
- baby's first/favorite bottle, outfit, toy, shoes, etc.
- hospital bracelet, crib card, etc.
- newspapers from the day/week baby was born
- magazines from the week/month baby was born
- comic book from the month baby was born, especially if baby shares their name with a character
- souvenir from your favorite/local sports team(s), especially from baby's first game
- souvenir from sports championship for the year/season baby was born (hat, shirt, replica ring, etc.)
- CD with the #1 song from the week baby was born
- DVD/blu-ray/memorabilia from the #1 movie from the week baby was born
- personalized items that are for when baby gets older (pencil, key chain, jackknife, etc.)
- sports cards of athletes who share baby's name or birthday
- coins and postage stamps from the year baby was born
- mementos from the Chinese zodiac year baby was born

These are just a few suggestions. Please comment with your ideas. Have fun!

Monday, February 29, 2016

DIY TRANSFORMERS Rescue Bots Blades the Helicopter Pinata

My son loves the TV show "Rescue Bots" and has requested a "Transformers" birthday party this year. After some inspiration from Pinterest, I took on the ambitious project of building a helicopter pinata that looked like the character "Blades".

- images of "Blades" for reference
- balloon
- strips of newspaper/flyers
- lots of white glue (or a mixture of 1 part warm water, 1 part flour)
- two bowls/dishes (one for the glue, one for balancing the balloon while you cover it)
- tissue paper: white, orange, blue
- strong string
- candy (individually wrapped), small toys, etc. for filling pinata
- foam core board or sturdy cardboard
- acrylic paint: white, orange, blue
- optional: printed "Rescue Bots" logo, other metallic decal/stickers
- optional: orange plastic bottle lid

1. Inflate the balloon until it is firm but not so much that it might pop. Ensure it is tied tightly. Prepare to get messy (cover your work surface with plastic or newspaper if you like). Put some glue in one dish and balance the balloon in the other. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue and remove the excess with your fingers. Lay the strips onto the balloon, overlapping slightly. Keep them as smooth as possible. Cover as much of the balloon as possible with the first layer. I let each layer dry in between but some tutorials recommend just doing all the layers at once and then letting the whole thing dry for a longer time - your choice. I did 6 layers, alternating the direction of the strips with each layer. Once the balloon is covered with all the layers and is dry, you should just have a small hole around the end of the balloon. If the balloon hasn't already began to deflate on its own, puncture it with a pin or needle and allow it to slowly deflate. Remove the deflated balloon. Sections of the pinata may be pulled inwards by the balloon if it is stuck to the glue - use a pencil, ruler or stick to push the section back out.

2. Paint the entire pinata white. Use a pencil to lightly mark the areas that will be orange (the top 1/4 of the balloon, when on its side) and blue (WINDSHIELD: the front half of the balloon, far end from the opening). Paint these areas orange and blue. Allow all the paint to dry. Do a second coat if necessary.

3. Cut two inch strips of tissue paper (all three colors), snip along one long edge approximately every 1/2 inch and about 1 inch deep. You can snip several strips at once. Don't worry about precision. Starting at the back of the balloon (hole end), glue the strips of white tissue paper with the fringe edge towards the back (hole end), from just over the edge of the orange on one side around to the other. Overlap the strips approximately 1 inch, working your way towards the front of the balloon. Make sure you don't use too much glue and leave the fringe edge loose. Cover all the area you painted white and put one row of white over the blue. Continue with the blue tissue paper until you have all the blue covered and one strip over the front of the orange. Proceed to cover the orange area with the orange tissue paper strips in circles from the blue/white up to the center of the top.

4. Carefully poke two small holes approximately 1.5 inches on either side of the very top of the pinata. Thread a three-foot (1 meter) long string through (I used a stiff wire to guide it). I put a circle of white foam core board covered in white tissue paper on the top of the pinata, between the holes. (Cardboard will work too. Paint it white before applying the tissue paper.)

5. PROPELLER: Cut two long strips of foam core board or cardboard the same size (approximately 2 feet long and 3 inches wide). Glue them together. Once the glue is dry, paint them orange. Once the paint is dry, cover the entire thing with orange tissue paper strips. Once it's dry, poke a small hole in the exact center. Thread both ends of the string from the top of the pinata through this hole. Poke/drill a hole through the orange bottle lid and thread both ends of the string through it. Tie a large knot to secure the strip of foam core board/cardboard and lid down to the top of the pinata. (You can skip the lid or use a different color lid.)

6. Glue a "Rescue Bots" logo on the blue near the front underside of the pinata (optional). FLOATS: On the bottom of the pinata, poke two small holes approximately three inches on either side of the center. Cut 8 strips of foam core board or cardboard (paint white) about 1 foot long and 3 inches wide. Glue them together as two sets of four. Paint the top side orange.Cover the sides/edges with white tissue paper strips (hanging down). Cover the top with orange tissue paper strips. Once dry, poke a small hole in the exact center of each.

7. Thread the ends of the string from the bottom of the pinata through these holes (orange side towards the pinata). Tie large knots in the ends of the string to secure the pieces of foam core board/cardboard to the bottom of the pinata. Trim away the excess string.

8. Poke a small hole on either side of the hole at the back end of the pinata. Fill the pinata with candy, toys, etc.

9. Use some scraps of foam core board/cardboard that will fit through the hole. Poke holes through them and thread a foot-long piece of string through them. Put this assembly inside and pull the string ends through the holes in the pinata. (See picture.)

10. TAIL: Build a tail out of three layers of foam core board/card board (painted white), referring to pictures of "Blades". Make the end that will be attached to the pinata the same size as your hole. (You may have to trim the hole bigger for the tail to be strong enough and the right scale.) Paint the orange areas orange. Cover with white and orange tissue paper strips. Add the circular parts, covered in white tissue paper. Once assembled and dry, poke a small hole through approximately 3/4 inches from the end that will attach to the pinata. Thread one end of the string from the back end of the pinata through the hole. Apply glue to the edge/end of the tail and poke it inside the hole against your scrap assembly inside. Tie the ends of the string together tightly, pulling everything together to secure it. Add stickers to the center of the circles on the tail if you want.

11. Fill in around the tail with half-circles of foam core board/cardboard (painted white) and white tissue paper, covering the hole and the string/knot.

12. DONE! Whew! This took me a long time to assemble. Take your time, refer to your pictures of "Blades" often, and use longer strings than you think you need. 

NOTE: If your kid(s) want to help, depending on their age(s), they can fill the pinata with candy or perform any of the other steps that you feel they are able to, but be cautious about having them poke the holes or doing other cutting.

Also, you can alter the color scheme, logos, and tail design however you want and build any other kind of helicopter using this method. The key is reference photos so that you end up with something that looks like what you had in mind.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Art Journaling

Art journaling combines my loves of sketching, writing, quotes, and notebooks. I love how every art journal you see is so different, just like every artist. I was looking for a new notebook to start a special art journal in, with thick pages and no lines, but I realized that it doesn't matter what the journal looks like, I can glue the pages together to make them thicker, and I can either use the lines or ignore them. So I grabbed a journal that I've had for years and started having fun. Here are some of my pages.