Summer Fun: Dino Ice Hunt

Dino Ice Hunt ~ Summer Outdoor Activity for Kids ~ By Bubblegum Sass

Sam and I spent many afternoons this summer on the back deck being paleontologists (dino hunters according to Sam). We froze some of his smaller plastic dino models in a block of water and used a toy hammer to chip them out of the ice. This is a pretty simple activity to get setup, it makes hot afternoons go a bit faster, and you get to cool down eating ice chips as you go. (more…)

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DIY Fabric Flower Printing

DIY Fabric Flower Printing ~ blog post tutorial by Bubblegum Sass

This is actually an activity that Sam and I did last spring, but I never got around to blogging about it. With gardens full of fresh flowers, summer is the perfect time of year to give this fabric printing technique a try. And you heard me right, this is something you can certainly do with your young child, as soon as they show an interest in using a toy hammer.

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DIY Embroidery Thread Savers

DIY Embroidery Thread Savers ~ Blog Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass ~ Washi Tape & Button Crafts

I was recently on a mission to tidy up my Love Catcher sewing box. It contains all the bits and pieces I need to prepare the embroidery hoops for the Love Catchers. I began pulling everything out of the box and sorting things into piles, which is when I quickly discovered a mishmash of embroidery thread pieces. They’re good lengths of embroidery thread (perfectly suitable to keep around), so I whipped out some clothespins and got to work on organizing them. When I posted a picture on Instagram of the nicely organized threads, folks were tickled {and surprised} at how a simple thing like a clothespin could make such a great thread saver. And so, I’m sharing it here with you. Pull out your sewing box and errant threads and let’s get to work!

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DIY Paintbrush for Kids

DIY Paintbrush for Kids ~ Clothespins & Cotton Balls ~Blog Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass

We’ve been moving Sam away from nap time the past few weeks because his nighttime sleep was getting pretty crazy. He gets quiet time in his room instead of naps, which he is growing to like more and more. No naps in the afternoon can make for long days though. I recently whipped up this little activity for him to try out just to break up one particularly long afternoon.

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DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers

DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass

Ok. So I have to admit that I actually did this project with Sam well over six months ago, back when he was a toddler. Somehow I didn’t get around to posting about it until now. Go figure.

This is a simple project for you to make when your creative time with the kiddos needs a little refreshing. Sam was getting bored with the typical paint options, so I put together his own little paint roller to add some fun.

DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
Here are the supplies you will need for this project:

  • empty toilet paper roll
  • bubble wrap
  • scissors
  • tape
  • paint tray (we have cardboard trays that I saved from something, but use whatever you prefer, as long as it is wide enough for the the toilet paper roll)
  • canvas (or paper depending on what you want to paint on)
  • washable kids’ paint
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
Simply cut a piece of bubble wrap large enough to wrap around the toilet paper roll. Fold a couple pieces of tape under the edge of the bubble wrap to secure into place. Using your paint tray, pour in your child’s choice of paint colours {Sam wanted every colour}.
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
Once the paint is in the tray, it’s time to play. Have your child experiment with placing the paint roller in the tray to “pick up” different colours. When there is paint on the roller, have them try rolling it across their canvas.
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
The bubble wrap roller creates very interesting textures. Your child might like rolling it across the whole length of the canvas, or they might enjoy using it more like a stamp. Let them explore with it.
DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass
TIP: If colours start to get too muddy on the roller, simply give it a quick rinse and start over. Sam also enjoyed using some of his previously painted canvases and rolling new colours on them. They are some of my favorite paintings now.

DIY Paint Roller for Toddlers ~ Tutorial by Bubblegum Sass

 

After thoughts:

The toilet paper rolls are a nice size for the little ones to use, but you could also try empty paper towel rolls. And of course, I hope the the bubble wrap is inspiration for you to try other materials too. It’s fun for them to see what textures different things create. Here are some other DIY Paint Roller techniques to consider:

  • glue yarn around an empty toilet paper
  • stick those foam sticker shapes onto an empty toilet paper roll
  • cut your own shapes/designs out of craft foam sheet & glue to roll
  • glue leaves (or other natural objects) onto an empty toilet paper roll
  • glue buttons onto an empty toilet paper roll (just thought of this one & really want to give it a try)

Also, just a note to mention, that at the same time I was writing this post, my friend Kerri was experimenting with bubble wrap painting on FABRIC!! You can see the results of her project on her newly started blog Soham Design.

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DIY Valentine’s Day Lace Heart Garland

DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

Although we don’t typically do a lot to celebrate Valentine’s Day at our house, we do decorate a wee bit. It’s nice to have a few pretty things around the house in the dead of winter. I especially enjoy a pretty wreath on the door (I get so sad when I take down my Christmas wreath). A wreath on the door always makes me smile when I arrive home. This year, I decided to spruce up our twig wreath with a shabby chic inspired garland. Annnd… I even remembered to document the process thoroughly so I could share it as a tutorial with all my lovely readers! That’s my bit of Happy Valentine’s to YOU!

Now, the number of hearts to make for your garland is up to you (that’s why no material amounts have been given in the supply list below). I just made three (two large & one small) to symbolize my small family of three. Also, as you will see, I attached this short garland to a wreath. If you want a longer garland to hang, say from your fireplace mantel, then you will need to cut & stitch more hearts (you could alternate small & large hearts, some lace covered, some not).

DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum SassHere are the supplies you will need for this project:

  • Bubblegum Sass Heart Template
  • Red craft felt
  • Pink craft felt
  • White or light-coloured lace
  • Buttons
  • Lace trim or ribbon (to hang hearts from)
  • Sharpie or fabric marker
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Print off and cut out the heart template (or use your own preferred heart template). Using a sharpie, trace around the template onto the felt.
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Trace out your heart template onto the lace, as well. *For perfectionists, see note below (in sewing section) for a tip on cutting out the lace.*
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Cutting just inside the marked line, cut out each heart shape.
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Repeat above steps for all sizes of hearts in both felt & lace. For my short garland, I cut out: two large felt hearts, two large lace hearts, and one small felt heart.
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Lay one lace heart over a matching felt heart, lining up the edges. Pin into place, as the lace tends to stretch & move a bit. Using a sewing machine zigzag stitch, sew all the way around the heart. Repeat with remaining hearts that you wish to layer with lace & felt. *If you really want your lace hearts perfectly lined up with the felt hearts (I know there are perfectionists among us), then I suggest cutting your lace hearts out slightly larger than the felt hearts, zig zag stitching them on and then trimming the edge of the lace so it is even with the felt.*
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Choose your buttons and stitch onto each heart, either on the left or right upper corner of the heart.
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Measure and cut the length of lace trim/ribbon that you will hang the hearts from (mine was about one meter or 39″, but of course cut whatever length is going to work for your own project. A longer garland will require a longer lace trim/ribbon.) Fold this in half and mark the half-way point (with a pin). Position your center heart here and pin into place, along the back of the heart.
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Position remaining hearts along the lace trim/ribbon, pinning into place on the backside. Tip: Place your lace trim/ribbon on the upper part of the heart, or else the hearts tend to flip over once hung. Once pinned into place, use a hot glue gun to attach the lace trim, removing pins as you work. If you would prefer, you can stitch the lace trim/ribbon into place.
DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
Voila! A pretty lace heart garland to hang. Besides using it to decorate for Valentine’s Day, I think it would be a sweet addition to a baby room. And of course, you could make it in any combination of colours.

DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Lace Heart Garland ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass
My completed project, with the lace heart garland attached to our twig wreath & hung on the front door. The wreath, by the way, is one that my hubby made for fun one year out of lilac bush branches.

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In The Studio: Dyeing Lace Trims DIY

DIY Lace Trim Dyeing ~ Tutorial Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

I realized early on in my making of the Love Catchers, that I was going to need a steady supply of lace trim to decorate them. Now, I try to use as much upcycled materials & materials that I have on hand as possible, but it’s hard to resist some new embellishments. It is possible to buy ready-made colourful lace trims (which I have done), but I felt a bit limited by colour choices and widths. So often I would find a package of lace trims online that were the perfect colour (there’s hardly any trim readily available locally), but the package would contain short lengths of various widths, many too wide for the Love Catchers.

I finally decided that to flush out my selection of trims, I would purchase plain cotton, dyeable lace trim in large quantities and then dye them myself. Mostly I want to focus on making the Love Catchers themselves, and with limited time for all the crafting, I chose to purchase ready-made dyes to simplify the process. The supplies for this adventure were purchased online at the Dharma Trading Co. or were items I already had on hand. Dharma Trading Co. does offer natural plant dye options, if you would prefer to dive into that. I ordered a small selection of Tumble Dye. The fact that you could spray or dip dye with them appealed to me. Also, lovely selection of colours!

Suggested Supplies:

  • Dyeable lace trim
  • Bottles of Tumble Dye
  • Rubber gloves
  • Glass pan or large glass measuring cup
  • Flat plastic trays or baking sheets
    (For air drying the lace. I used the plastic lids from some storage containers)
  • Dryer

 

Hand Dyed Lace Trim ~ DIY Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

TumbleDyeColours

I wet the lace before applying any dye. Then I laid the lace out in the glass pan and sprayed it with the dye. Then I flipped the lace over and sprayed it a bit more. I didn’t pre-mix any dyes, but did combine some of the dyes simply by alternating which one I sprayed, to achieve desired colours.

Once enough dye has been sprayed on, wring the lace trim, allowing the excess water and dye to fall into the glass pan. Then place the lace trim back into the excess dye, rub it in a bit, flip the lace over and rub in the remaining dye. I did this step, to ensure there wasn’t any large white spots on the trim. *see note below*

Hand Dyed Lace Trim ~ DIY Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

Once you’ve got the lace trim the colour & hue you want, lay it out on a plastic try or baking sheet and let it air dry completely. Once it’s dry, pop it into the dryer for about 20min (I just used our medium heat setting). So far I have just been using the lace trim for my Love Catchers, which do not go into the wash. According to the instructions, putting the dyed items into the dryer should set the colour, but I haven’t personally tried washing any of them yet.

Hand Dyed Lace Trim ~ DIY Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

Viola! Pretty, pretty lace trims in a rainbow of colours, ready to be made into even prettier things!

Hand Dyed Lace Trim ~ DIY Blog Post ~ By Bubblegum Sass

*If you wish to a achieve a much more even dye colour, just pour some of the dye into the glass pan, and do a dip-dye method instead of using the spray applicator. I prefer the spray applicator to achieve the vintage shabby chic look, but it’s up to you.*

Keep experimenting (I know I still am) and have fun with your dyeing projects!

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DIY Bird Seed Rolls

DIY Bird Seed Rolls by Bubblegum Sass

Our little man really does like watching birds. Two-years old and I’m already picturing him as a geeky birder. Plus, he looooves to look through all of his daddy’s seed catalogues, learning the names of plants and flowers. Definitely a future geek. Oh, I love him so!

We have several storybooks with birds in them. His two fave are Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington and Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies. Sam has been learning about different birds & what they eat. So when I suggested one morning that we “make a special treat to feed the birds”, Sam was super excited! He ran to the front door with his winter boots in hand! Once I got him to put his boot back for the moment, I quickly gathered the few supplies we would need:

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass, Ingredients

  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Peanut butter
  • Plate (or baking sheet) with bird seed mix spread out on it (we used a variety of seeds, since I figured that both little & big birds would probably enjoy these, plus the occasional rascal squirrel)
  • Butter knife (the more dull, the better, if you’re going to let the kiddos to this craft)

From there, the project is pretty straight forward. Spread peanut butter onto the toilet paper rolls (TIP: if you’re using a type of peanut butter that normally resides in the fridge, you might want to pop it into the microwave briefly to soften it). I figured Sam would enjoy rolling the toilet paper rolls through the seeds best, but then I forgot how novel it was that he was getting to use a knife. Needless to say, he loved spreading the peanut butter! One roll kept him busy for quite a while. Oh, and as with all toddler projects, just embrace the mess!

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

Once you’ve got peanut butter spread all over the toilet roll, gently roll it through your bird seed mix. Sam kept trying to roll his “partially” peanut-butter-covered toilet roll in the seed mix. Next time, I won’t put the plate of seed mix out until he is done putting peanut butter on the rolls, just to keep things simple.

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass

Ta-da! Homemade treats for the backyard critters!

Completed DIY Bird Seed Rolls By Bubblegum Sass

Now for the installation… really easy to do! Just slip the bird seed toilet paper rolls onto the branches of trees. I tucked ours into areas that would be protected from snow, and on branches that would be easy for birds to perch on and eat from. Once we had them hung on the trees, Sam & I sat in the backyard, listening to the birds and hoping that they would find our treats soon. Within a few days, the rolls were either picked completely clean (peanut butter and all) or the entire rolls disappeared (probably a squirrel or big crow made short work of ripping them off & dragging them back home).

DIY Bird Seed Roll By Bubblegum Sass, roll hanging on branch

This project is definitely on our list of things to do again! The supplies are things we often have on hand (if you have kids, I suggest you start an empty toilet paper roll collection), it was easy to do with a toddler without any frustration or tears, and clean-up just involved sweeping the kitchen a bit. Plus, it got us outside and into nature, probably the best benefit of the project! I’m sure all our feathered and furry friends were thankful for the surprise feast.

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DIY candy cane ornaments

DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum SassFINALLY!! A tutorial. They’ve been so lacking on this blog, my sincere apologies. I always have the best intentions of trying to put them together to share with you, and then they get stuck at the needing-to-photograph-each-step stage or the needing-to-edit-things stage. But finally, here is one done & ready to share! A simple project to whip up, just in time for Christmas too! These DIY Candy Cane Ornaments were inspired by some yarn wrapped candy canes from Family Chic. I’ve added my own twist to them, of course, by adding an adorable button hanger! So let’s get crafting.

Supplies to make candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass
Here’s what you need:

  • balls of yarn (I used two different colours per candy cane, a creamy white & either red or green)
  • box of edible, full-sized candy canes
  • hot glue gun & glue
  • scissors
  • twine
  • buttons (need to use buttons with four holes)

Cutting plastic from candy cane
First step, cut the extra bit of plastic wrap from both ends of the candy cane. I left the candy cane wrapped in plastic.

Choose colours of yarn for candy cane
Next, select the two colours of yarn and unwind a bit of each.

Begin attaching yarn to candy cane
Place a dab of hot glue on the very end of the candy cane & a dab on the side. Then, carefully press the ends of your two yarn strands into the glue. I started wrapping my candy canes from the hook end.

Glue yarn to candy cane
With the two strands of yarn side by side, continue to apply a small dab of glue to the candy cane & wrap the yarn around.

Continue to apply glue to candy cane
Keep applying small dabs of hot glue along the length of the candy cane, wrapping the two yarn strands around as you go. The yarn might become a little twisted near the balls of yarn, but just maintain a length of untwisted yarn to work with, and you will be able to achieve the stripe.

Finish attaching yarn to candy cane
Finish wrapping the yarn around the length of the candy cane. Once you reach the end, place a dab of hot glue on the very tip of the candy cane. Carefully press the two yarn strand into the glue. Place a tiny dab of glue along the side of the candy cane, & again, carefully press yarn into glue. Then snip the remaining unattached yarn.

Yarn wrapped candy cane
Ta-da! All done the first part. Now for the hanger. (Don't stress out if the first candy cane you wrap isn't quite as neat or if the stripe is a little wonky. You'll get better after making a couple more...The first one I made didn't look super great!)

Button hanger step one
Cut a length of twine anywhere between 9-11 inches (depending on how long of a loop you want). Fold the twine in half. Thread a button onto the twine, moving the button down toward the loop end (half-way point) of the twine, keeping both ends of the twine even. Leave about a 3/4 inch loop (just enough to wrap around the top of the candy cane).

Button hanger step two
Now, place the button along the front of the candy cane, in centre of the hook. Fold the little twine loop around & toward the back of the candy cane. Slip the two loose ends of twine through the loop.

Button hanger step three
Tighten the twine around the candy cane, pulling the loose ends of twine all the way through the loop. The button should sit fairly flat against the candy cane. If you find that the button seems loose, you made need to undo the twine & make the loop (near the half-way point of the twine) smaller.

Button hanger step four
Lastly, tie the two loose ends of twine into a simple knot. And DONE!

DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass, end view
DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass, detail view
DIY candy cane ornaments by Bubblegum Sass, group
I made a bunch of these to attach to our gift bags for friends & family this year. You could also attach them to the outside of wrapped gifts, instead of using a bow. I’m thinking that next year, I might need to make some into a pretty garland to hang from our fireplace mantel. Lots of possibilities!

Happy last-minute Christmas crafting!

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Tagging along

Baby tag blanket
Made by Joanna Bytnar

We received many thoughtful baby gifts, but one that stands out is this tag blanket designed by my friend (sewn by her mom). I’d seen similar blankets around at craft shows and filed it away as a project to do “some day”. Of course, there are a ton of “some day” projects that I will never get around to, so I was tickled to see that my friend had made me one!

These tag blankets just seem like the perfect thing to give baby in the car to suck on and (quietly) entertain themselves with. And in talking with another friend who is trying to start doing some sewing, it seems like an awesome beginner sewing project. There are lots of variations of them out there, different sizes, slightly different fabrics (all of them good for sucking or cuddling with) and some with crinkly bits inside for added entertainment.

So for those interested in giving it a try, here are some tutorials that I managed to round up:

Thanks again for the blanket, Joanna! Can’t wait to give it to baby to play with!

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