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Tuesday, 15 April 2014 21:23

DIY Korker Bow

My daughters' hair is finally long enough to 'do something with'. Well, nearly, but I've been waiting for over 3 years, so I'm going to do something with it! Anyway, it's nearly impossible to find hair clips that work in my girls' fine hair, and I've found that mini alligator clips with some kind of rubber grip inside is pretty much the only thing that works for them. I've purchased a few sets of clips here and there, but when I decided I really wanted Audrey to have her hair in some kind of clip pretty much constantly, I needed to have every colour imaginable (of course) and I didn't want to spend so much that I would care about losing the odd one.  Audrey has a tendency to pull out her hair clips if it occurs to her that they're there... unfortunately. Anyway, I did some research on cost and decided that buying the materials and making my own was much more cost effective, and while I was at it, I learned how to make Korker bows as well. 

Here is the tutorial I used, although because the materials I had around were slightly different, I found mine looked slightly different also. So, here's what I did: 

Materials:

- 3 dowels

- 6 clothespins

- 56 inches total of ribbon

- 4" cardboard round

- baking sheet

- ruler

- hot glue gun with glue

- additional alligator clips, or binder clips

I measured out enough ribbon to have 14 pieces that were 4 inches in length each (uncurled), which for a tri-coloured bow was two colours cut to 20 inches each, and one colour cut to 16 inches. I then wrapped each piece around a dowel and clamped the ends with clothespins. In the tutorial I used, it called for narrower doweling than what I used - I think my bows look a bit better, but the curls have a tendency to roll into each other which I think would have been better if the curls had been tighter. Anyway, your call. 

 

I set the oven to 265 degrees (the tutorial suggested 250, but I increased it by 5 degrees each time I tried until I landed on 265 as my personal preference) and lay the ribbon wrapped dowels on a baking sheet with parchment paper. I don't think the parchment paper would be strictly necessary, but my pans are well seasoned and I wanted to be sure the ribbons didn't make contact with them. 

I let these bake for about 30 minutes - forgot about them once for an additional 20+ minutes, and the turned out ok although it's possible they discoloured slightly so if you're making matching bows make sure to do the ribbons together or don't forget about them! 

 I let them cool as much as possible - I was skeptical of the curl staying, so I did anything I could to make sure the curl 'set' - then I stretched the ribbon straight and cut it into 4 inch pieces. 

Until I had 5 pieces each of two colours and 4 pieces of one colour. 

I didn't take a picture of it, but in later bows, I arranged it in colour groups of 3 Colour A, 3 Colour B, 2 Colour C, 2 A, 2 B, 2 C to keep track of how I wanted to glue the pieces together. I found this arrangement worked best.  I started with the colour I liked best for the 'background', and lay one piece across my homemade 4 inch 'round', using alligator clips to secure the ends. I put a dot of hot glue in the middle of this piece of ribbon and lay another piece across the first. 

 In this bow I started with two each of the first two colours, but as I said earlier, I liked it better when I started with three each of the first two colours and arranged them in 3's instead of 2's like you see here. If that doesn't make sense, please disregard... I may be seriously lacking in sleep. 

 When all the ribbon pieces were glued, I unclipped all of the ends (as quickly as possible - I was paranoid about the curls uncurling). 

And then spent a bit of time seperating all of the curls. Like I said earlier, I think tighter curls would make them less likely to curl into each other. But I like what this looks like! 

I didn't take pictures - or add the instructions for - the alligator bow here, because you could add this korker to a clip or elastic or whatever you'd like, but I glued it onto a mini alligator clip appropriate for my daughters' almost non-existent locks.  

 Voila! 

Let me know if I missed anything. Have fun! 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 22 November 2012 10:12

Felt Christmas Tree

I've been scouting out activities for toddlers lately, as well as great ideas for Christmas and I saw (on Pinterest, of course) a number of people who had created felt Christmas trees and ornaments for their little ones to play with.  When I went shopping for large sheets of felt, I speculated that I wasn't the first person to have this idea, because all of the packages of red and green felt were all sold out.

So, I made a white one.

And - because I have girls, and it goes with white - picked some relatively girly colours for ornaments. 

Initially, I stuck the tree to the wall with those Scotch reusable clear squares, which worked ok until a toddler pulled even slightly on the tree - which happened pretty quickly.  Then, thinking this would just help to reinforce the adhesion to the wall, I put three thumb tacks into the tree (through the Scotch tabs) at the top and bottom corners of the tree.

This lasted about 4 minutes, and I had to have a tack-hunt in Clara's bedroom. Fail.

Then Brian went out for a better solution - he bought a set of 3 3M picture hanging tabs.  They work kind of like velcro, you stick one part of the tab to the wall and the other to whatever you are hanging and they velcro together.  They stuck great that evening, and overnight, but the next day when there were TWO toddlers pulling on it, it came right off the wall.  Somehow the tabs stopped sticking to either the felt, OR the wall, and these two brilliant toddlers had no trouble pulling the 'velcro' apart either. 

So, I need advice.  We have regular painted gyprock (or whatever it's called) walls, and I don't really want to spend a fortune on sticky stuff, or put too many holes in the wall since it's a temporary toy... although if we found a good solution it's cheap enough to make something else for her to play with for the rest of the year - the materials only cost about $13!

How can I make the tree stick to the wall???

Published in Blog
Monday, 10 September 2012 21:39

Milk Carton Building Blocks

I unfortunately didn't manage to get a picture of Clara actually playing with these blocks, however I did happen to have a couple of milk cartons ready to go so I can demonstrate this complex procedure! ;)

First, collect as many 2L milk cartons as you can get your hands on.  They need to be cartons, not jugs.  We put the notice out to our family members and switched to using cartons exclusively for awhile, and they started pouring in!  Each block uses two.

Cut the tops off of both milk cartons.  Depending on how soon you cut the tops off after each carton is used, it's easier to clean them after they are cut.  If you clean them immediately, just a few quick rinses seems to do the job.  Avoid waterlogging them, though - the outside and cut edges are not as liquid proof as the inside!

Make sure the cartons are completely dry, and then slide one carton inside the other until they are as tight as they can go. That's it!

These are a little cumbersome to store, but trust me when I say these are awesome toys.  I remember my preschool having about a zillion of these - we could build forts that were taller than we were, and we even managed to build windows and doors into them.  I want to continue to collect these over the next couple of years until Clara is old enough to really appreciate them, and to build forts! Now she just waits until I build a tower and knocks it down, followed by some evil laughter... she'll get there.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 20:54

Happy Halloween!

Okay, so I'm a day late... I just couldn't get over how awesome our costumes were this year so I had to share them.

 

It's not the greatest picture, but if you take a look at Robert Munch's 'The Paper Bag Princess', I think you'll agree these costumes are pretty epic.  We started with the dragon costume (store bought, but we had to start somewhere) and then did some brainstorming for some costumes that we could wear that went along with hers... this idea came from one of my piano students actually, so I can't really take credit for that but I think I did a pretty good job pulling it off.  And most of it was done the day of - have I mentioned I'm awesome? Obviously I'm pretty proud of myself...

I was a bit disappointed by how many people had no idea who I was (people who are either too old for or simply not fans of Robert Munch...).  I did have one drive-by recognition when a girl stuck her head out of her window and yelled 'Hey! The Paper Bag Princess!!!'. 

As a Christian, I struggle with Halloween - particularly when it is used to promote some really ghoulish and demonic stuff.  I also, however, enjoy dressing up and I love everything involved in creating a great costume and Halloween seems to be the only chance I get to have a really great time with 'costuming'.  So, as long as my children are still young enough to allow me to trick-or-treat with them, I will dress up with them and enjoy that part of it also. 

Published in Blog

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