by Wiley

  • Summer Splashdown: 5 Water Games for Kids.Searching for a surefire way to put a smile on your kid’s face? Just add water!Have you noticed how most kids love water play? One parenting paradox is how it can be a struggle to get kids to take baths—yet when you bust out a Slip-N-Slide (or water balloon), kids can’t wait to give it a go (or throw)! Make a splash in your summer routine with these fun water games and activities.
  • Design a Discovery Zone. Creating space around the home for your kids to…well, be kids will help open up a world of imagination. Here are some
    ways that you can make room for creativity in the home.
  • 7 Super Summer Camp Crafts. Recently, I had an amazing time at a homegrown summer camp. Two of my favorite neighborhood kids invited me to Adventure Camp, a carnival wonderland that the kids constructed out of cardboard and anything else they could get their hands on. (One of the games involved seeing how quickly camp visitors could shove rocks and pebbles down a cardboard tube.)
    adventure_camp
    The kids created their own tickets and prizes, and eagerly encouraged me to spend my “tokens.” (By the end of the afternoon, Violet even sweet-talked her way into making me an Official Employee.)Violet and Max had never heard of the Los Angeles boy who recently made headlines for bringing a community together with his elaborate cardboard arcade. However, Adventure Camp was certainly in the spirit of Caine’s Arcade.Whether your child’s at a sleepaway camp or you’re hosting a day camp of your own, these camp crafts are a great way for kids to get creative.

by Wiley

For a newbie sewer like me, the more visuals, the better!

This weekend, I used Etsuko Furuya’s “Scooter” fabric to make a small bag for a friend who’s traveling abroad this summer.

The bag’s pattern is based off of the “Velcro Pouches” chapter of Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Baby book. The book has a ton of cute product shots but is fairly text heavy, with few (if any) instructional diagrams for each project.

I made some adjustments to Jansdotter’s pattern and have rewritten simplified instructions. After the jump, you’ll find step-by-step pictures of how you can make a travel bag of your very own!

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Read the rest of this entry »

by Wiley

This large custom order was recently mailed out to a client. The client and I worked together to pick out the perfect pink, green, and yellow materials for her goodie bags:

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To celebrate our first big order, we made up some business cards. A shrunken-down version of Ingo’s banner + home printer + beloved Dahle paper cutter = (voilà!) instant branding tool

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Rainbow crayons are a kiddie crowd-pleaser. To make your own, all you’ll need are:

  • crayons
  • a silicone mold
  • a sheet of foil
  • a cookie sheet
  • an oven
  • an oven mitt
  1. Preheat your oven to 250°.
  2. Let your kid peel off the crayon wrappers and break the crayons.
  3. Line the cookie sheet with some foil, then place the silicone mold onto the foil. (The foil will help catch any melted liquid that runs off the mold.)
  4. Let your kid place the broken crayons into the mold.
  5. Place the cookie sheet into the oven.
  6. Check on the crayons every five to ten minutes . Once the crayons have melted down, use your oven mitt to take out the cookie sheet. (The molds will now be about half-filled.)
  7. Drop more crayon pieces into the mold.
  8. Place the tray into the oven again for a second round of melting.
  9. Use your oven mitt to remove the tray from the oven, then let the crayons cool completely.
  10. Pop the crayons out of the mold.

Now let your kid color away!

Notes:

  • The labels on both Crayola and Roseart crayons are pretty easy to peel. (Every once in awhile, you might get a crayon that’s a bit “gummy.” You can set those crayons aside or else spend some time rubbing away the gumminess.) In terms of quality, Crayola crayons produce less waxy/higher quality rainbow crayons than Roseart, but both are acceptable for this project. (For Quizzical Creatures products, we only use Crayola.) I’d steer clear of super cheap crayons, like the Oriental Trading Company brand, which are hard to peel and incredibly waxy.
  • Target sells inexpensive silicone molds, especially around certain holidays. (I found silicone heart molds in their $1 bin around Valentine’s Day.)

by Wiley

BABIES! BABIES! BABIES! The world’s crawling with them! Babies and mommies-to-be have been hot topics lately, and I can’t wait to meet all the newly minted 2012 editions.

Earlier this month, Jirat and I threw a baby shower for a friend who’s expecting twins (and who has really been into the color mint).

Party favors included mugs with peppermint tea for the ladies…

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…and giant heart crayons for the kiddies!

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I made sherbet-y bunting…

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…and Jirat made mint-colored poms. We also reused the raincloud poms that Ingo made for Heather’s shower.  (Thanks, Ingo!)

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Party games included “What’s In Mommy’s Purse?,” “Guess Mommy’s Tummy Size,” and a quiz about twins. Game winners took home boxes of Thin Mints.

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Here’s the completed diaper cake that I blogged about a few entries back. It’s decorated with Sukie notecards, felt ribbons from Anthropologie’s Christmas gift wrap, some Medela bottles, and an ark.

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To make the ark, my very wonderful/helpful boyfriend carved a trunk bark stamp  (his very first linocut!) and I printed the image onto some cardstock.

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Jirat was in charge of food, and she really knocked it out of the park. My favorite was the miang kum, a delicious Thai snack that’s made with about 20 different ingredients (if you include all the items you need to make the sauce). She also made a cake with edible flowers…

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…and used her Thai-tanic strength and a giant cleaver to carve up some coconuts.

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A pretty amazing thing happened during the “Guess Mommy’s Tummy Size” game. To play the game, each guest had me cut a piece of string that they hoped would fit around the mommy-to-be’s baby bulge. The youngest party guest (who’s only five) was one of the first people to take the spool. After thinking about it for several minutes, she finally showed me where she wanted me to make the cut. As the spool was then passed around to other attendees, the youngest guest came up to me twice to ask if she could make some adjustments to her original guess. (Both times, she had me cut off TINY increments to her string.) When it finally came time to measure around the guest of honor’s belly, it turned out that all the adults had totally overestimated—but the youngest guest’s guess was uncanny: it wrapped PERFECTLY around MTB’s stomach, end-to-end!

by Wiley

Beebe + BunBun = 2GETHA 4EVA!  A good friend from work recently moved on to greener pastures. As a going away gift, our team gave her adoption papers for BunBun, a jack rabbit puppet that Beebe adored and kept propped up next to her desk. As part of Beebe’s gift, I made a felt carrot for BunBun. Here’s a quick craft project you can work on for the veggie-lover in your life:

Supplies

  • orange felt
  • green felt
  • needle
  • thread
  • pinking shears (or fabric scissors)
  • polyester batting
  • optional: sewing machine
Directions
  1. Sew squiggly lines on the orange felt. No need to be precise!
    carrot1
  2. Fold the felt in half then sew a carrot-shaped line down one side. Trim outside the line.
    carrot2
  3. Flip the fabric inside out, then stuff the carrot with batting.
    carrot3
  4. Cut leaves out of the green felt. Cut a slit through the middle of the leaves .  I opted to create Sideshow Bob-like leaves with pinking shears.
    carrot4
  5. Stuff the top of the carrot through the slit in the green felt. Gather the felt then hand-stitch the leaves and carrot together.
    carrot5
  6. Ta-da! You, too, can create a carrot faster than it takes to say, “What’s up, Doc?”!
    carrot61

by Wiley

This morning, I got a story on my Facebook newsfeed from a new mom:

<my friend>: Found a use for all the frozen packs of bm sitting in the drawer of our freezer – ice pack for the injured.

It turns out she was talking about breastmilk…but you can imagine all the horrified comments that resulted from the post! (Turns out my friend had never heard of the other poopy meaning for “BM.”)

Anyway, party planning’s in full swing here at Quizzical Creatures. Preparations for another baby shower are underway and, taking Pedro’s lead, I built a friend a (diaper) cake.

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If you do a Google image search for “diaper cakes,” you’ll see a lot of cute cakes made of rubber band-ed diapers. However, there was a dearth of rubber bands in the house, so I experimented to see if there was a way to make a cake without this key component. This easy-peasy tutorial will show you how to fashion a cake using just three simple ingredients!

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You can decorate the cake any way you’d like — with treats interspersed between the nappies, with ribbons, etc. This particular cake will be Noah’s Ark-themed because my friend’s having TWINS!

by Wiley

Everyone knows what’s at the end of a rainbow. (A pot of gold, tiny crunchy marshmallows, and the dissolution of the dispersion of light.) But what treasures lie in the space between the oft-hyped yet ever-elusive double rainbow?

We searched the world over to answer this mystery. What we found may shock and delight you…


It turns out that the land between double rainbows is home to colorful tribes of itty-bitty vegan dinosaurs that stomp around on stubby legs and let out shrill roars of feigned ferocity. Who’da thunk?

Now here’s your chance to experience the magic. As our very first Etsy product, we’re excited to offer you a HOMEMADE GOODIE BAG FILLED WITH 8 RAINBOW DINOSAUR CRAYONS.


The glittery dinos measure ~1″x1.25″x0.5″ and are made from high-quality Crayola crayons. (Your crayons will be similar to, but not exactly the same as, what’s pictured in this listing.)

The goodie bag is made out of a rainbow-patterned turquoise (or pink) cotton fabric and measures ~5″x8″. A cartoon dinosaur patch, backed by a felt zig-zag square, is sewn on the front.  The bag is tied with a jaunty turquoise (or cream-colored) bow.


Your kid will get a kick out of these fantastical creatures!

Here’s what one mom had to say: “[Our family has] a hard and fast rule about ‘no toys at the dinner table.’ But let me tell you, that one went out the window today at lunch, when [my son] and I opened your package just as we were sitting down to eat! We immediately got some paper and started to put our new friends to use while hounding down our lunch!! Do you love that I’m saying ‘we’ and ‘our’…Yes, I was just as excited as my two-foot partner in crime….And let me tell you—he was excited!!!! He LOVES them and asked if he could color again when he’s done napping.  It went a little like this: ‘Mama, color with tigers all done sleepy-time.’ He thinks one of the dinos looks like a tiger, so that’s what he’s named them…”

Know a little munchkin who’d appreciate these one-of-a-kind scribblers? Come get your own litter at our Etsy store!

by guest writer Walt

[editor’s note: Walt’s been gone for the past two months. (Boo!) But he’ll be back next week. (Yay!) I like hanging out with him because he’s one of the funniest people I know, and he also never ceases to surprise me. Here, in his words, is a description of a wonderful gift he made last fall…]

I decided to make a craft project for Wiley’s birthday. She likes books, especially decorative ones, and she usually keeps her clock in the bathroom because it is loud enough to keep her awake at night. So I thought a book clock would be a good gift. The first attempt ended in failure. I found some instructions online that suggested using parts from a simple wall clock that you can buy at Target or Wal-Mart. The result, in my case, was a cheap and broken clock.

It turns out that you can buy clock kits at a craft store. These contain the electrical and mechanical bit, a shaft for the hands, the hands themselves, and some clock-face numbers. You can attach them to ANYTHING, and then that thing will be a clock. It’s like magic. Piece of driftwood? No problem. Slice of leftover pizza? BAM, it’s a clock. A Waverly Novel, Fireside Edition, was a piece of cake. By which I mean that it was really easy to make into a clock.  You could also use the kit to make a literal piece of cake into a clock. But I didn’t try that.

I decided to incorporate the glass and rim from the dismembered clock as part of the packaging, so that I could wrap the completed clock.


(pic from Walt’s blog)

I wrapped it up with a touch of Toy Story, and drove over to Redwood City to terrify and annoy Wiley.  That was fun.  After a while, though, I decided to give her the clock, too (since I was already there).

We were glad to find that this clock movement doesn’t make much sound at all.  I also promised to make a similar design in a wristwatch, so that Wiley could take it with her everywhere.  I think I’ll use Anna Karenina, or an unabridged dictionary.

Editor’s note: Walt went to a used bookstore to look for a used book to use. Even though he was just looking for a book that had an old-fashion-y look and feel, the book he walked out with was apropos: The Fair Maid of Perth by Sir Walter Scott. (Perth was the name of the street I lived on when he was making the clock!)

by Wiley

As a part of Target’s Read Across America campaign, a few coworkers and I starred in some online craft tutorials. Visit Education.com’s literacy page to get tips on how you can raise a budding bookworm! (The video I’m in is called “Vowel Flip Flop.”)

Can you find my OCD Easter egg?

by Wiley

Yesterday’s Ferris Bueller Super Bowl ad reminded me of Marc Chagall’s America Windows that appeared in the 1986 movie. This six-panel work at the Art Institute of Chicago was definitely a highlight during a recent trip to that gorgeous city.