Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Easter Craft Experiment

Earlier this month I looked at my Easter Pinterest board.  After all, what's the point of having one if you never do anything with it?  I was intrigued by the eggs that I found here.  Isn't that awesome?  And so I decided that it would be a great little Easter treat for my seminary students if I could get it to work.

I raided the craft closet and discovered that I had everything I needed - balloons, embroidery floss and glue.  (The comments on that link said glue could be used instead of the starch/flour mixture.  I figured I probably had the liquid starch somewhere, but I didn't feel like searching for it right then.)

Try #1:
I was unable to fit any candy into water bomb balloons, so I just wrapped the empty (but air-filled) balloons with the glue-dipped floss.  I had a larger balloon (the 9" helium-quality size) into which I could fit some candy, so I used that as well, but only blew it up to 4" or so.
I discovered the kitchen chandelier made a decent hanging rack, where they stayed overnight.
The next morning I popped the balloons.  The tiny ones turned out wonderfully, the larger one not so much.  I wish I had a video of the balloon collapsing, pulling in the floss with it.  I guess I should have used more thread or something.
Try #2:
After a stop at the store to pick up some different balloons and some actual Easter candy, I tried again.  These balloons came in a package with the party stuff at the grocery store, and I was able to fit three Hershey eggs inside them, although not without difficulty.  First I used the pump to inflate the balloon, then deflated it.  The candy kept rolling around; balancing it on the top of the funnel helped.  (Later I used the lid of a highlighter, because the funnel tip was still too small.)  I'd stretch the balloon opening over the propped-up candy to get it into the "neck" of the balloon, then inflate it until the candy dropped inside, repeating those steps twice more.  The last step was to do the actual inflating and tie the knot. I thought I could do this step ahead of time, but it's a good thing I only did two, because the next morning those two had deflated.  So I learned you need to wrap soon after filling.
This time I hung it over the cabinet door knobs to dry overnight.
Success!

Try #3:
Working with the glue was really sticky and kind of frustrating, so after doing a few more eggs, I hunted down my starch bottle and decided to give that version a try.  I wrapped one egg in plain starch and another in the flour/starch mixture the original poster suggested.
When I checked them the next morning, they didn't look so great.  The plain starch one held its shape; however, it just felt fragile and the end of the string needed to be glued down so it wouldn't unravel.  The one with flour had just collapsed and fallen apart.  Maybe it was the balloon's fault; maybe not.  Either way, I decided to stick with the glue method.
Try #4:
The easiest way to do this was to pour some glue in the bottom of a bowl, unwind the floss skein into the bowl, drizzle the top with some more glue, and then start wrapping.  Since I was doing 20 of them, I actually reached the point where it wasn't quite so sticky and frustrating.
I didn't have enough cupboard knobs, but the cookie cooling rack worked just fine.
Popping the balloons was actually the fun part!  You never knew what to expect. I tried videotaping a few of them just for you; it didn't work so well without a second person.  This was the best if you want an idea of what happens when you poke the balloon.
Sometimes it deflated too quickly, and then I had to do some finagling with the scissors to get the candy out of the deflated balloon.
 Success!
The finished product -
Although the picture doesn't do it justice, they actually turned out okay.  Just remember to use glue!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fathers & Sons Campout - The 2013 Version

This morning as we loaded a tent and sleeping bag into the truck, we realized today will be the first Fathers and Sons Campout Wayne's attending without any of his boys.  That's kind of sad. (Technically, this day should have come last year, but the date conflicted with our family campout over Spring Break.)

So, after loading up his stuff - since he doesn't have any boys to pick up he's heading to the park right after work - I decided to come in and document some of the previous Fathers and Sons Campouts.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of those early ones, but the tradition was to start taking the boys once they turned three.  This first picture is from a family campout in 1989.  I can only imagine that this is what setting up camp looked like (minus one-year-old Brad) when the boys went that year as well.

Here's a fun "matching" picture from 1990.  The two youngest would have stayed home with Mom for the Fathers and Sons that year as well.
A couple of years later, Brad would have joined them, but Jeff had to wait another year.
Here's the year Jeff got to go, and I imagine the activity took place just before this picture was taken on the day Steven was born.
One of the more memorable Fathers and Sons for me was Steven's first one. Apparently there were a lot of mosquitoes that year, and even though Dad put repellent on him as soon as they got out of the car, in the five minutes it took to do that poor Steven was bit over 100 times.
Family picnic - March 1995
Finally I started taking a picture before they left!
1999
2000
2001
And then the boys started growing up and leaving home.  Sad.
2002
They may not have gone camping with the stake, but we still had them together every once in a while.  I love this picture of all my Scouts (taken at Brad's Eagle Court of Honor in 2004).
In 2007 we were down to one father and two sons.  I still think they had a great time!
They might have attended the Fathers and Sons the next couple of years, but I guess I'd stopped taking pictures by then.   In 2010 it would have been just Steven, but that spring we also got together for a wedding and took another "father and sons" picture (missing Elder Jeff).
Later the next year we took advantage of the opportunity to all get together between Jeff's and Steven's missions to take a few more pictures.
Can you just imagine the fun they had together on these campouts throughout the years?  I know on many of them the highlight of the night was setting off dry ice bombs.  They'll have to tell you about that themselves, although since they couldn't do it for Fathers and Sons last year, they shared their tradition with the rest of us on the Fourth of July.
Thank you for being wonderful sons and leaving us with many happy memories of your growing-up years.  Have fun making your own memories now!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Birthday to You, Dear Brad!

You've made it to a quarter century!!!  I think I did a better job on the birthday post a few years ago, but we wanted to make sure to wish you a very Happy Birthday this year as well.
Birthday #1
Birthday #2
Birthday #3
Birthday #4 - We got our money's worth out of the bunny cake pan!
Birthday #6
Birthday #7
Birthday #8
Birthday #9
Birthday #10
Birthday #11
Birthday #12
Birthday #13
Birthday #14
Birthday #15
Birthday #17 - on a camping trip for the actual birthday
Birthday #17 - at home with friends for the party
Birthday #18
And that was the last one at home!  Now you're all grown up.  Hope the next few quarter centuries are as wonderful for you as the first one was for us.  Happy Birthday, Brad!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Some Crafty Projects

There have been some things I've wanted to try lately, and some March birthdays gave me an excuse to make them.

Remember when you visited your grandparents' house and the best spot was the toy cupboard?  Well, one of my favorite things in the toy cupboard was a mini wagon with puzzle blocks inside.  As I recall there were 12 1" blocks that combined to make six different pictures.  Anyway, it's been on my list to make one of my own for a while, and I finally got around to doing that.  I thought toddlers' fingers would handle 2" blocks better, so went that route.  Since I didn't want to deal with figuring out how to make a wagon, I decided to sew a little bag for carrying them.  I like the way they turned out, and hopefully they'll bring some fond memories to my own granddaughter as well.
I didn't plan ahead to do a full-blown tutorial, but that's not really the purpose of this blog.  All I did was purchase 2" blocks, paint them (each side was a different color, but that's not necessary), and then use modge podge to adhere the picture (which was cut into six pieces).  It probably would have turned out better if I had used 4x6" prints and made them go to the edge (then you wouldn't have to paint the blocks), but I thought having a border might make solving the puzzle easier for a toddler, and I also had some smaller prints to use as well.  Hope that helps!

One of the families we home teach each month had a daughter turning twelve and I thought it would be nice to take her something to recognize this important milestone.  However, I didn't have that thought with plenty of advance warning!  Then I remembered a Relief Society activity we had done years ago - YW Value Bracelets, and realized that would be perfect.  One of the advantages of trying many different things over the years is having a closet filled with stuff (treasures or junk - you decide).  
Anyway, I pulled out the "bead" box and was able to find the materials to make it work, which made me happy, and made K happy as well.
The other day I was visiting a cute little three-year-old and decided to see if the ribbon things (or Dancing Fairy Rings) I'd seen on Pinterest were any good.  The store I stopped at on the way didn't have wooden curtain rings, so we used plastic ones, but that worked.  And it IS fun to dance while waving ribbons.  AND they make a cool hair decoration as well for a beautiful princess.
The St. Patrick's Day version
For Christmas one of our granddaughter's requested an artist smock.  I couldn't find a pretty one in a toddler size in the store, so I made one instead.  I wanted to give the proper person credit, but today I can't find where I found the pattern!
It looked similar to this one, but without the pocket.
However, since it fit this precious little girl properly, I decided it would make a great gift for her younger cousin.  I hope she has just as much fun with it.  Even if she doesn't, I'm having fun going through the fabric stash and actually using some of it!