Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Do It Yourself: No Sew Arm Warmers A.K.A. Stop Mitten Gap!

Sylvia modeling the finished goods

This one is for all those kids out there with cold wrists!

If you have spent any amount of time playing in the snow, you have probably experienced the chilling shock of snow on bare wrists. As a child, it was my mission in winter to perfect the art of carefully tucking my mittens into my coat sleeves, but one swift move in a snow ball fight would undo all of my hard work. Now that I have my own children, I want to spare them the agony, so I made them a few pairs of fleece arm warmers. They work like a charm.

Yesterday, an old friend of mine suggested I create mittens to sell that are longer so that her own daughter can enjoy hours of fun in the snow. While I haven't had the time to work out the pattern, I have come up with a great solution for all the parents out there who don't have time to sew.

Here is what you will need:

1 pair of children's knee socks - holes in the toes do not matter so feel free to recycle an old pair
1 pair of scissors

1. lay the sock flat, and cut across the foot of the sock and the edge of the heel. Be sure to leave a little fabric so there is a piece to go between the fingers and the thumb to help keep the arm warmer in place.

2. Insert the arm of a child. Beatrice is modeling the proper technique for applying this product.

3. Put the glove on over the arm warmer and then the coat. The arm warmer will help protect your child's wrist, making snow play far more exciting!

This pattern can be used for adults as well! Involve your kids by allowing them to select which sock they will use. Older children (6+) should be able to make the cuts as well. To prevent serious fraying, select a sock that is mostly cotton or wooly, avoid high nylon content (which wouldn't be all that warm anyway). Hand wash when needed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Etsy Favorites: What Santa Brought

It is one thing to believe in buying handmade, it is another to actually do so. This year I made it my goal to get at least 75% of our presents handmade. The other 25% were books, a couple of movies, and a few games. My customers are so good to me, I try to spread the love out as much as I can. Here are some of the great items we scored on Etsy this year!

You may see Scott out wearing this fantastic Tshirt. It is from Billyyy.

The girls got a chicken dinner, pumpkin pie, AND witches brew from Mudpie Kids.

This little guy lives on Sylvia's bed now. We bought it from Cuore.

We got one of each for the girls. Purchased from Sweet Bonny.

Stuffed this baby in Scott's stocking. Bought it from Nowvember, home of the amazing rainbow vomiting cat journals.

Buck Yeah poster for the man in my life from Mixed Species. LOVE this shop.

Hers and hers superhero capes from Baby Pop. Now in addition to playing Wild West they can play Wild West plus Superheros.

I bought two of these cuties for my girls from Tokyo Inspired. They arrived gift wrapped in Japanese paper which helped proliferate the whole Santa thing.

Purchased from Timberps for my step-brother. He predicts this will add a whole new level to the "wood" jokes in shop class.

Purchased from Arizona Dreams for Sylvia after being told that she would no longer have bad dreams if only we'd buy her a dreamcatcher. These were the nicest ones we saw on Etsy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm Helpful: How to Carry More Than One Coat

I love winter. I really do. Without it, I feel lost in a perpetual time loop. I do not, however, like the crap that goes along with winter, like coats. I can deal with my own coat, but there is nothing more frustrating than being out with a couple of kids who refuse to carry their own coats. I have been tempted to leave the coats where the kids drop them, walk off and say something like "I hope the kid who finds your coat likes it," and "Boy are you going to be cold when we go back outside," but those little turds will just walk away, leaving a perfectly good winter coat to be swept up by the world. So inevitably, I end up carrying three winter coats (as we are beyond the age of the stroller). Not only does this make my arms tired, but it makes me super grouchy.

The other day, we had to kill a few hours at the mall while our brakes were being worked on. The thought of carrying three coats, my purse, and all the other little stupid things the kids hand me was overwhelming. So I devised a way to turn our coats into a sling bag. The integral part of this device is a scarf. I prefer an adult length scarf, but a kid scarf will do in a pinch.

1. starting with the biggest coat, place the coats inside each other (like a russian doll) stuff the sleeves inside one another.

2. Thread the scarf through the sleeves so the ends are sticking out of either sleeve.

3. Zip or button all of the coats.

4. Tie the ends of the scarf together (I like a square knot) to create a strap.

5. Sling the coats over your shoulder and carry on!