Sunday, 28 March 2010

A week in the life of.... (my kids)

Every year I do a scrapbook that chronicles a week in the life of my kids...  it shows their schedules, what activities they do, who they typically see and how they go about their days.  It's my favorite scrapbook to do, as I think I will really enjoy looking back with them when they are older and seeing what a typical week was like for them (and me!) each year of their lives.  This year's scrapbook had 14 pages ... I have posted a few for you to see!

Slipcovers for Kid-sized chairs

Oh my!  You know those kid-sized chairs get so filthy!  I didn't have the foresight to make sure that my daughter's little arm chair had a washable cover, but at least my son's was wipe down faux-leather!  After a few years, her formerly pink chair is splotched heavily brown!  I needed a slipcover!  Here is the one that I made!

I started by researching the internet, of course.  Nothing I want to do has never been done before, so my friends on the world wide web are my first resource!  I found a lot of resources on how to do this, but found that by sitting the chair and fabric right next to my sewing machine, scissors, pins and pens, I could simply turn the fabric wrong way around, tuck it into the chair as I wanted it, pin it in place (for the folds at the arms) and sew it together.  I then cut the excess fabric off, sewed on a skirt and voila!  I was done.  It was very very simple and took me only about an hour to do.

Christmas Advent Calendar

I wanted to give the kids an easy way to count down to Christmas, and decided to make an advent calendar for them.  I wanted something unique, cheap, and memorable.  I found instructions for this photo advent calendar on Kodak's website...http://tgiif.1000words.kodak.com/default.asp?item=700214   and it turned out to be AMAZING!

I mounted it on some old cardboard I had lying around, and even made a quick stand out of the cast off piece.  I used pictures of my kids, family, their friends, and even our animals!  They enjoyed opening each day just to see who was underneath!

With the templates that Kodak provided, this project was very simple and only took me about 1/2 hour once I'd located the photos I wanted to use.

American Girl Dolls

So, my daughter received an American Girl Doll for Christmas.  Now all she needed was some matching clothes, a swim suit for the doll (I was NOT going to attempt a swim suit for my daughter!), and a sleeping bag so that the doll had somewhere to sleep.  Hubby and I had gone to IKEA and had gotten one of their doll beds, which sleeps 2, so the AG doll could have a friend if she (the doll) wanted one.

A friend of mine -M (with a daughter who also got a AG doll for Christmas) decided to make some clothes and matching sleeping bags, etc for the girls & dolls.  For the dress below, I used the pillowcase method (not that I used a pillow case to begin with, but...) You can find instructions here...http://www.jenleheny.com/pillowcase-dress-instructions


For the sleeping bag, we measured the dolls, keeping a generous allowance,  and sewed pink fleece to the opposite side of this wonderful fabric, then sewed it into a sleeping bag form.  For the pillow, we stuffed some batting inside and sewed it up.













Not to be outdone, sonny boy demanded something for himself!  He got a quick sew fleece hat and scarf!

Photo Booth

A friend of mine hosted a circus theme for her son's 3rd birthday, and I volunteered to make a photo booth.  She picked up a large refrigerator box from an appliance store and brought it to my house.

First, I cut it open, and cut off one side.  I then painted the inside of the box in pure white.  I needed two coats to ensure that it was covered nicely.  I took an empty instant oatmeal box, painted it white and hot glued it onto the back of the right side of the box.  I printed out a large clown face with an open smile (cut out the teeth) and pasted it to the front of the same side (for a ticket holder!).  Then I hot glued the fabric she had chosen over the middle piece and secured with a red ribbon on the bottom since it didn't reach all the way down.



I had downloaded a program called Party Booth from http://www.partyboothapp.com/ and loved it.  So I thought that I would bring my laptop, and connect my camera (on a tripod) to it, and allow the software to do the rest.  I even thought that I might bring my photo printer and have it print out the photos while the guests waited.   Did I do any of that?  No... :)  in the end I brought my camera and tri-pod  and took the pictures the old fashioned way.  Did they turn out?  YES!!!

Inspired to craft

I have recently been asked about a bunch of the craft projects that I do, how to do them, and what they look like.  I promised said friend that I'd post them, instructions, or where I got the instructions from, and what my end product looked like.  Some of the projects that I have done recently include digital scrapbooking, photo booths, and slipcovers for kid-sized chairs.  I have also made a bunch of American-Girl and matching Daughter clothes and a sleeping bag for the doll that I thought turned out very nice! 

So....  with much ado about nothing, I'll get to blogging!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Businesses

On a different note from Daisy scouts, I want to rave a minute about businesses.  What are they thinking???  Who lets them operate?  Why are so many of the scam artists?  I wonder, seriously wonder, if they KNOW that they are cheating you when they look you in the eye and say "You'll save 15% if you pay all up front!".
One might think this is good thing....  paying up front, no bills to pay..no hassle to think about.  But THINK AGAIN!  You may be saving a little money, but you are taking a risk.  One might argue that it's a small risk until you realize that these self owned business can go out of business and you won't even see it coming!  They leave you holding the bag for the difference in costs, and that might have you out a few hundred or thousands of dollars! 

Why isn't there some sort of consumer protection that helps people through this?  Especially in this day and age?  A business files bankrupcy, and they only have to pay the portion that is in their bank account (at the time of bankrupcy) and divide it up between the people they owe.  Your supposed to be happy that you got something rather than nothing!  However, you paid for their services in GOOD FAITH and your the one who gets ruined.  You may have paid over 3 G's for their services, and they pay you back 200!  Oh- and your credit card company can't do anything about it because they paid the company , and if the company can't give it back to them, they get it from YOU! 

Awfully nice to be a business owner these days...

Setup

Ok so ... You've got a Daisy troop! Congratulations.... Now WHAT?

The first thing you have to do is to determine your time/dates and meeting places. Why is this first? Just because you've been given a list of girls doesn't mean that they are yours... their schedules may not match, and this is where careful planning comes in. It is probable that your daughter is in your troop (see post later about mother-troop leader/ daughter relationships)...choose a date that is convenient for you and her schedule. You can choose to have meetings weekly, or every other week. (We chose every other). Tuesdays were free for us, so our meetings fell on tuesdays.

Where is your meeting going to be held? Public schools and public libraries are good places to start looking. Keep in mind that if you choose a place that charges for the useage (say a church)... that must factor into the dues the kids/parents have to pay each month. Girl Scouts recommends that regular meetings NOT be held in the leaders house.

Ok... now you've got meeting times, locations and dates... You have contacted all your members and you know which ones are game for your chosen dates/times/location. Great...

Here's what I did next.

I went and got each girl a pink or purple folder (the kind with 2 pockets and the ability to put clear pockets in the binder in the middle) and wrote their names on the front with a sticky label and pen. Inside I put the following things:
5 clear plastic pockets attached to the center in which I placed
1- investiture certificate
2- uniform patch layout
3- printout with promise and law on it
4- copy of the daisy petals and their meanings
5- daisy girl scout checklist for activities for petals

In the front pocket I placed the following:
1-invoice for fees (what was due up front, for uniforms and optional items)
2- girl registration form
3 - adult registration form
4-daisy friends/family checklist
5- welcome page
6-allergy and dietary notification
7-family partnership campaign (and envelope)
8-health examination form

Send an email and/or call each parent with the date/time of your first meeting - It should be required that parents STAY for this.. You will need them to fill out the forms in blue/black ink and pay the required 12.00 for GS girl admission. The rest they can take home and return at the next meeting.

When planning this meeting make sure that you have plenty of things for the girls to do while you talk to their parents - suggestions include - All about me pages, coloring activities, and paper doll creating (from www.makingfriends.com/f_Friends.htm). If you have them create a paper doll friend (you would have pre-printed out the papers and put the supplies on the table) you can use this craft to make your kaper chart later on.  Or-- a very good idea is to print out one law coloring book for each girl to color and take home (this will help them learn it later!)

Layout what you expect from the parents - Do you need a co-leader, treasurer, or other adult helper? Remember that you have rules that state that you have to have at least one other adult in your meetings. Provide a snack roster- have parents choose the dates they can bring snacks. Talk to them about what path (if any) you plan to go through with their kids (Between earth and sky or flower patch garden - more on those next post)

Girl Scouts - Daisy

Hello All! I've been busy as a little bee lately! I tried to sign my little girl up for Daisy scouts in Aug 2009, and was told, (as many of you may know) that there are simply to many girls and not enough leaders..... so guess what? You guessed it...I'm their new leader. My troop finally got ironed out and I started my new troop with 6 girls on November 8th. I now have 10 girls, and so far we're doing really good! We are looking forward to Thinking Day coming up where we will be representing the country of India.

It struck me that although there is a wealth of information out there, more couldn't hurt, so I'm going to share all my lesson plans and what-not with all of you. Let me hear back from you if you like/dislike or can add constructive comments!

Next post: SETUP and paperwork