DIY School Planner

So, there are big changes coming to our house this year. My son will be attending an online virtual public school after being homeschooled since preschool.

Yikes doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Anyway, we needed a planner so I hit up Pinterest!

There were quite a few versions of the composition notebook transformed into a school planner. I mainly used the directions from Large Family Mothering for a Homeschool Planner for Under a Dollar (even though mine costs more than a dollar and we will no longer be homeschooling *sob*).

The first thing I changed was to use Duck tape in place of fabric.

Two reasons for this:

1. it sounded easier to me

2. I found this stuff

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Oh yes, that is gummy bear Duck tape.

For those of you not in the know, my son happens to be obsessed with gummy bears so this is perfect!

Onward! My supplies:

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First I put a strip of tape along the back edge.

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I did the same on the other side and then along the spine. Hindsight being 20/20, I would put the spine piece on first but this works.

Next I decided to add a pen holder. For that I stuck a strip of tape back onto itself so that it was no longer sticky. I left a bit of uncovered tape so I could then make a loop.

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OK that’s a terrible picture, and I ended up making another one because that one wasn’t neat enough, but I think it shows what I mean.

Then make the loop and stick it to the inside of the front (or back, your call) cover.

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Here is the finished outside.

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and a close up of the pen holder.

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Now onto the inside! The instructions said to allow 5 line for each block inside the calendar but I found that on my notebook that came out wonky, possibly because it was college ruled. At any rate, I used 6 spaces per square and made each 2″ across, starting after the left margin and going straight across. This made the “Sunday” slot 1.5″ and left a margin line through Thursday. I can live with that, your mileage may vary. Then I labeled the day of the week (I started with Monday because it’s a school planner but it’s up to you) and put the Month in the left margin.

Here’s a picture of September:

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As you can see, I brought the lines a little two far in spots. Be careful not to do that 😉 I got better as I did more blocking.

After blocking out the month, I made a weekly page for each week in the month. This was easier by far. Simply work inside the margins and block each page into four sections. I labled them Monday-Friday and then the last one “notes”.

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The inside took way longer than the outside! Like waaaayyyy longer. All said this took me almost 4 hours to make, Honestly, except for the customization factor I wouldn’t bother. You can get a decent planner at Dollar Tree ($1) or even a pretty one Walmart and Target for about $10. I spent $3 for tape and $3 for a composition book (although you can get them way cheaper) so I have $6 into this plus a lot of time. Of course, I have lots of adorable gummy bear Duck tape left over so there is that. It wasn’t a difficult project though, and it turned out pretty cute!

Pin Cushion and pin holder

I have been obsessed with…enjoying making hoop art so I haven’t really had anything new to post.

After making a bunch I had to organize my supplies and figure out better ways to store things. I had been keeping my felt in a small storage box and my needles in a 1/2 cup gladware container. Neither one was working.

The fabric storage issue was easily fixed by spending $6 on this beauty!

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Just look at all that fabric and felt goodness!

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Well, I said I was a bit obsessed.

The other problem I had was keeping track of my pins and needles. My method of storage left much to be desired. The cover on the gladware was hard enough to get on and off  that I was either not getting it on there all the way or making a sharp thing explosion when I pulled it off. Since this made putting away pins mid project fairly difficult I had gotten in the habit of sticking then into the arm of the chair I was sitting in or on the back of the couch or into the excess fabric of the project.  This would tend to result in scratches and/or lost needles.

I needed a pincushion.

I looked at the craft store, but the only pincushion they had was one you could wear on your wrist. Handy, but I wasn’t going to pay $10 for it. Then I remembered seeing something like this from Megan Neilson.

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Of course I didn’t bother to look up the instructions. I did remember to but a small mason jar though and since I already had fabric and some batting I figured I was all set.

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The first thing I did was cut some batting to fit on top of the cover. I cut two layers.

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Then I laid the fabric over the top…

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pulled it around and attempted to glue it.

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I have a few tips for you. First trim your fabric but make sure you leave enough so you can glue it beyond where the lid seal (the orange bit) is. If you get glue on the seal part the lid will not screw on correctly. Screwing (ha!) will also be a problem if there is too much batting in that area. I ended up having to trim about 1/2″ of batting off so the cover would fit. Of course I didn’t find out my cover didn’t fit until after I’d glued it. This necessitated ripping the thing apart, trimming, re-gluing and questioning my own sanity.

In the end it did come out though.

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All the sharp things fit neatly inside and there is even room in there for a spool of thread if I’m on the road. Also, since the cover screws on instead of snapping on there are no more pin explosions!

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I’m pretty happy with it!

Fandon Felt Hoops

I’m so excited that I can finally share these!! I had been holding off since I made the first couple for a craft swap and I didn’t want to reveal anything before my giftee received hers.

Well, she got ’em so now you get to see ’em too!

These are your basic hoop felt art (google it) with a geeky twist. You need embroidery hoops, fabric to fit inside them (I bought some fat quarters-got two 6″ hoops out of each one), sheets of craft felt in various colors, thread (you can use embroidery floss or regular thread), embroidery needle, scissors, buttons and some stuffing.

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So, you stretch the fabric onto the hoop, cut the pieces of felt out to make your picture and lay them out.

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then you pin the felt pieces in place (trust me don’t skip this)…

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and then stitch everything together!

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As you can see I’ve stuffed Pikachu’s body to make it a little 3-D.  I just stitched most of the way around then stuck some wool in there and finished sewing him up.

Here’s a close up.

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To finish these off you just trim the fabric to about an inch around the hoop, hot glue it to the inside of the hoop nice and tight. I’m just starting here, continue all the way around.

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Then cut another piece of felt to fit over the back and hot glue it on.

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I had a lot of fun making those first two and quickly made more.

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Frankly I’m rather obsessed with these! They are so easy and cute!

Felt Kittens

I am working on a project that I can’t share yet.

It’s driving me CRAZY!!

In the meantime I have been playing with some felt. There are so many little felt doo-dads you can make; flowers, Christmas ornaments, hoop pictures…some are simple while some are covered in embroidery.

I opted for cats. I went for simple.

Basically I cut out two vaguely cat shaped pieces of felt, stitched on some bead eyes and embroidery nose, mouth and whiskers and Viola! A kitten!

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I gave it paws too but I really like them.Plus my blanket stitching sucks.

I tried again and came up with this little guy…

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My stitching is either much better or more disguised by using matching thread. Either way I like him a lot better.

Flush with success I decided to make another.

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Should have quit while I was ahead.

Let me explain the wonky eye. I chose the dark blue beads and then after I sewed the first one on I discovered I lost the second one. I couldn’t find another one like it, and I was too lazy to find a new pair so I just used the closest bead to it I could find.  So sue me.

Also turns out my stitching is maybe not improving so much.

Oh yeah…they have tails too!

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Peep Jousting for fun and education

The boy and I have been studying heat energy and transfer in our homeschool. One way to demonstrate the concept of how gasses expand when heated is to heat a marshmallow in the microwave. The air in the marshmallow (of which there is a lot!) gets hot and expands and this, along with the softened sugar walls of the marshmallow, allow the marshmallow to grow.

A bunch.

What’s even better than a plain marshmallow that gets huge and puffy? A chick shaped marshmallow that gets huge and puffy!

And what’s even better than that? Two such marshmallows locked in mortal combat.

Observe.

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Sir Peepigan and Sir Chick of Marshmallow prepare for battle!

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Their swords are at the ready. Er…their floss pics that is. Traditionally peep jousting is done with toothpicks but I didn’t have any.

The premise of peep jousting is simple. Put two peeps on plate and arm them, then put them in the microwave and turn it on. The peeps will swell and eventually one of the peeps will pierce the other and cause it to deflate. The piercer is the winner.

Our knights fought valiantly indeed, but alas, in the end there were no survivors!

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When we fought two of their fellow knights the results were more conclusive.

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Although it appears that Sir Smoosh may have perished from heat exhaustion because Sir Surcre’s sword is suspiciously clean.

Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Recipe time!!

 

I got this from Joyously Domestic

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Doesn’t that look delicious! I certainly thought so.

The recipe calls for chicken parts, potatoes, onion, lemons, white wine/chicken stock, fresh thyme, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Remarkably I had all of those things except the chicken parts. You could argue that was the most important part but since I needed to do my bi-monthly shopping anyway I added “cut up whole chicken” to the list and added this to my meal plan.

Turns out there were no cut up whole chickens (they always have them except NOW when I NEED one but whatever) so I bought a package of breasts, one of thighs and one of drumsticks…all with bones and skin. Good enough.

Once I started cooking I quickly discovered I would need more potatoes so I upped the amount of those plus the onion and lemon. I ended up with about two pounds of potatoes, 2 onions and two lemons.

I did a few other things differently as well. I mixed up the potatoes, onions, lemons, olive oil and salt and pepper and put them in a 9X13 baking dish. Then I laid the chicken pieces over that and added mire salt and pepper, drizzled the balsamic vinegar over the chicken, sprinkled the (dried ‘cuz that’s all I had) thyme over that and then added the chicken stock. I did it that way because my son cannot have any added fat in his food. He had rice instead of potatoes.

At this point I removed the chicken, added the garlic and then put the chicken back on. Because that’s what you do when you forget to add the garlic when you are supposed to.

After an hour at 425 (covered for 20 minutes of that) it looked like this:

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Pretty close, no? It tasted great too. The lemon really adds a freshness to the dish and the chicken is amazing! The kids liked it too.

The only bad part I found was there was a lot of liquid in the pan. I’m thinking maybe less time covered would solve that? We just used a slotted spoon to get the potatoes out and it was fine.  My potatoes weren’t as browned as the original either and more time uncovered might solve that issue too.

All in all it was a keeper!

Paint Chip Crafting

Today I did some errands with the hubby and came home with these.

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And these little beauties!

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(no I didn’t just take paint chips, we are thinking of a little spring spruce up)

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Oh yes…paint chip bookmark time!!

Here’s how I made mine.

First I picked two chips I liked together. one with cutouts, one without, and laid them on top of each other.

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Then I cut out a bookmark sized strip out of the top chip.

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I did the same thing with the background chip and stuck them together with double sided tape.

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You can choose complimentary colors or with similar colors, and finish them off by punching a hole in the top and adding a ribbon.

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I have a short attention span, so after a couple bookmarks I lost interest 😉

After perusing the interwebs, I found this…

How to Make Boxes From Paint Swatches from How About Orange

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The instructions say to cut your chip to a 5″x5″ size. Problem was mine was about 4″x4.5″.

Whomp, whomp.

Oh well. I looked at the instructions again and figured out that I just needed to make the center section 2″ so I made a 4″ squarre and figured the box just wouldn’t be as deep.

After you do that you just need to mark 1″ from each side so you end up with a 2″ square in the middle. I scored the lines, cut notches and attached double sided tape to the tabs.

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After that just stick that sucker together. Do the same for the cover except the inner square should be slightly bigger.

Or not.

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Um…yeah.

Measure carefully people.

Good news is I managed to make one that worked!

 

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So..three wins and one fail…not bad!