Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meeeeee-Owwww! Animal Mask Tutorial (cat)

Well, this is a first at Thou Shall Not Whine.  I've posted pictures of my craft projects in the past, but never actually posted a tutorial.  But this project was too cute and fun not to share, so here goes.

Like most, my kids love pretend play.  They put on capes and play superheroes, they make weapons out of Lego's and shoot stuff, they put on fancy dress-up clothes and play princesses and fairies, you get the idea.  Lately one of their favorite games has been to play kitties.  They crawl around the house on their hands and knees purring yelling "meee-owww!"  They climb on my lap so I'll scratch their heads, or feed them pretend kitty treats.  Sometimes I even give them food in a dish on the floor.  It's actually quite cute.  Until it's annoying.

I saw a set of animal masks featured in Martha Stewart Magazine recently.  It was a set of them from an Etsy shop, selling for more money than I'm willing to spend on felt and thread.  I thought to myself, "I can do that!"

I free handed a few mask shapes until I got one I was happy with, then traced it onto freezer paper.  If you've never used freezer paper, you should.  It has a ton of uses, my favorite being a reusable, iron-on sewing pattern.  No pinning required!

I applied the freezer paper to some black felt with a hot iron, and cut out my mask fronts, using an xacto knife for around the eyes.

I also made the ears, nose, and white patch stencils out of freezer paper, and cut those out of pink and white felt with some Heat and Bond already applied to the back.  I positioned the facial features, and ironed them in place.

Next I made the mask back.  I applied Heat and Bond to a piece of black felt, then used my freezer paper stencils on the opposite side. 

I suppose the heat and bond isn't necessary, but it gave the mask a little bit of a thicker more durable feel, then just felt-on-felt.  Here's a picture of the front and back mask pieces:

Now it's time for sewing.  Using a short-length straight stitch, I stitched around the ears, nose, and white spot on the front of the mask.

While you've got white thread in your machine, you should also make the whiskers by stitching 3 straight lines on each side of the nose.  I forgot to do that at this particular stage, but you shouldn't forget so I'll post the picture here to remind you...

Along came a visitor eating a Pop Tart.  She wanted to check my progress...

And then there were two:

Back to work... next I prepared the back to be attached to the front.  I used a 13" piece of 1/4 inch black elastic.  Use more or less depending on the size of your kid's head.  Fasten with a pin about 1 inch in from the sides on the Heat and Bonded side of the mask back and stitch it in place real good.

Now you're ready to attach your front and back.  Front mask side down, iron the Heat and Bonded side of the back mask in place.

Once I did this I realized that these cute little kitty masks were missing something:


*remember, stitch the whiskers on when you stitch all the other face pieces to the front.  That way none of your stitches will show on the back part of the finished mask!*

Almost done...

Stitch all the way around the outside of your mask, and around each eye hole with black thread.  Try and stay close to the edge, and avoid going over the pink or white pieces you've applied.

Ta Da!!!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kids Say The Darndest Things

Katelyn has learned how to throw a stellar tantrum these days.  She pulls out all the stops, and gets to me in ways that I just can't ignore.  I try to ignore tantrums whenever possible, but Katelyn has learned that an ear piercing scream will get my attention pretty much every time.  So that's usually her chosen method.  To combat this, I've opted for putting a few drops of lemon juice in her mouth.  I'm a firm believer in "the punishment needs to fit the crime" style of parenting, and I feel that something unpleasant in the mouth that was just used to scream is appropriate enough.

While we were on our 14-hour trek back to North Carolina from Connecticut a few weeks ago Katelyn decided that screaming would be a fun way to pass the time.  Ron told her to stop or he would get the lemon juice. It was actually an empty threat since we don't actually travel with lemon juice.  Although maybe we should... (diapers? check. wipes? check. sippy cups & snacks? check. lemon juice for squirting in Katelyn's mouth? check....)  Empty threat or not, she stopped.

A few minutes go by and Joey half-whispers to his sister, "Katelyn, scream."
"No screaming Katelyn," Ron reinforces.
A minute or so later, Joey tries again, "Katelyn, scream."
"Joey, if she screams I'll put lemon juice in your mouth."
A few minutes pass while Joey thinks this over.  Finally he flatly responds, "No you won't.  I'm allergic."
Which he is.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hey Jealousy! *Revised*

*Revision: Thanks to my friend Dana for pointing out that "Hey Jealously" is a song sung by Gin Blossoms, not The Goo Goo Dolls.  I had a good laugh when she sent me a corrective text moments ago.  Apparently my recollection of mid-to-late 90s hit songs and/or artists is foggy.  (can't imagine why that would be?)  I've updated accordingly.  Thanks, Dana.

I'm titling this post after that song from the 90's by The Goo Goo Dolls The Gin Blossoms.  Does anyone else remember it?  "Tell me do you think it'd be all right... if I could just crash here tonight...."  -I could go on and on, I probably still know every word (even if I don't know who sang it first), but that's really irrelevant to what I intended to write about, so I'll stop there.  Oh, but in case you're wondering, The Goo Goo Dolls are still around... my friend Marija saw them at an event not long ago! -They didn't sing "Hey Jealousy" though; I asked. (it would have been really weird if they did, seeing as it wasn't their song!) *Note to self: search Goo Goo Dolls (and Gin Blossoms) on iTunes.*

Anywaaaaaays, my kids haven't really been given the opportunity to get jealous of each other just yet.  They all have pretty much the same stuff (or at least the same amount of stuff), they get to do basically the same things, and they are (hopefully) treated by my husband and I the same way.  With the exception of when they are sick.  We all know that being sick when you're a kid has it's perks.  Mom and Dad check on you a lot more than usual.  You get a whole lot of snuggles and head rubbing.  You get to sleep in a different room than your own; like on the couch in front of the TV or Mom & Dad's bed.  You get to eat whatever you feel like, and it's usually something out of the usual food service choices in the house.  You get the idea...

Last week my family was struck with the stomach flu.  YUCK, I know.  Joey had it early-on in the week, and I thought the rest of us had escaped it until Olivia started puking on Friday afternoon.

As soon as Joey realized that Olivia was sick, and my husband and I were tending to her in the same exact way we took care of him just 3 days earlier, he could not handle it.  Within a 2 hour period, Joey had a "hurt in his throat," a "broken leg," and his nose "was starting to feel like it was getting a little runny."

Katelyn was no different.  When she noticed a sick little Olivia propped up on Mommy & Daddy's bed watching Dora The Explorer, she dropped to the floor and said, "Mommy, I sick too," (She then proceeded to throw a temper-tantrum when I told her that she wasn't sick and would not be joining Olivia on the bed.)

It was amazing to me how quickly my kids caught on to the special attention one child might receive for being sick, and instantly felt like they needed to work to get my attention too.  I guess it didn't take long for them to learn to feel jealous.  Too bad they didn't learn how to feel compassionate for their sick sibling just as quickly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sibling Rivalry... When Will It End?

I'm sure any mother of more than one child will admit that THE hardest part of raising a family is making the children of the house get along with each other.  Lately I feel like they are all vying for my attention, fighting incessantly, and hurting each other more than ever.
"Don't take that from her!"
"You may not lay on your sister!"
"Yes, you can have one too!"
"No, he's not hurting you."
"I said share dammit!"
"Give that back!"
"Don't pull her hair!"
"It'll be your turn in a minute!"
"In a minute!"
"In a godforsaken minute!!!"

That's pretty much what my house sounds like every afternoon.  If I say nothing else all day, I say each and every one of those phrases at least 10 times in any given day.  Getting my children to get along is proving to be more and more difficult as they get older.  The girls are approaching 3 years old, and are not as passive and easily distracted as they once were.  Joey is getting older, wiser, and more manipulative by the minute, and has in turn become the World's Worst Sharer.  Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a war zone, just ducking to avoid a plastic domino to the head.

If I buy 2 of something, I should have bought 3.  If I buy 3 different items, I should have bought 3 of the same.  If we do happen to own a singleton toy of something, it more than likely is owned by Joey, and it more than likely NEVER gets played with because it's hidden somewhere so that "his sisters can't get it."  What good is that???  I've tried to explain to him that it doesn't even make sense, but more often than not his bed will be strewn with a series of favorite toys that no one (not even he) plays with.

So how do I stop the madness?  How do I teach my children to chill the you-know-what out and let each other play with whatever he/she/it pleases?  What works in your house?  The timer method?  The "if she can't play with it, no one can play with it" method?  Maybe I'm just destined to a life of referee-ing children that have lost the ability to share.  Or perhaps it's time I just sit back and let them battle it out, and the last one standing gets all the toys... (sounds kinda sick but fun, doesn't it?)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winner *Pillsbury Coupons*

I'm way late in posting this... sorry.  I have reasons that I have not been on the computer much lately, but don't want to waste anymore time here explaining myself so.....

The winners of the 5-pack of VIP Pillsbury coupons are post #22, HORTON111, who said, "FOLLOW YOUR BLOG" and post #58, Kristy Thiel, who said, "gfc - 2."  Congratulations to you both, I've sent you an email so please send me your snail mail address ASAP.


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