Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ode to Crayons Giveaway

Continuing in this week's theme - I have another new listing - Crayon Rolls. These items are best for older toddlers and children who have the dexterity and coordination for putting the crayons into the smaller slots. I chose velcro for the closure because it's easier and more secure than simply tying a bow and it's less of a choking hazard than a button. The Crayon Rolls have slots for 16 small or large crayons as well as a pocket for scrap papers and stickers (included).

And now...how to win your own Crayon Roll or Crayon Bucket (winner's choice):

Mandatory Entry
- Visit Mama Hoot Designs, and choose a favorite item, leave 1 comment telling me which item you chose.

Increase your odds with additional entries:

3 Entries - Blog about this giveaway, leave 3 comments and the link to your blog post

1 Entry - Follow my Blog (current follower is also eligible), leave 1 comment with you user ID or name

1 Entry - Follow Mama Hoot Designs on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway (remember to add @MamaHootDesigns on your tweet)

You can also copy this tweet: Ode to Crayons Giveaway @MamaHootDesigns http://www.mamahootdesigns.blogspot.com/

This Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and APO/FPO addresses. The giveaway will end on Wednesday, July 7th at 11:59pm PST. Each entry is assigned a # and the winning # will be drawn by random.org and announced on this blog as well as emailed.

Crayon Bucket Tutorial

As promised - Tutorial for making a Crayon Bucket. Enter the give away tomorrow to win your own Crayon Bucket or Crayon Roll.

1. Gather supplies:
  • Scraps of Fabric
  • Scraps of Ribbon
  • Small Canister with Lid (~ 4"W x 4.5"H)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Tape Measure
  • Fabric Marking Pen
  • Straight Pins
  • Iron
  • Cutting Mat*
  • Rotary Cutter*
  • Quilting Ruler*
*Optional, but makes it slightly easier/faster.

2. Place canister lid on scrap of fabric. Trace around the lid, leaning the marker away from the lid so it creates a larger circle.

3. Place canister within the circle drawn around the lid. Trace around the canister, keeping marker tight to the base. The difference between the two lines is the seam allowance, mine measures approximately 1/4".

4. Next measure the canister's circumference. The non-mathematical way - wrap a tape measure around it and add an inch for seam allowance.

Or do the math (which usually has a smaller margin of error and makes the pieces fit better, thus it is easier to sew). Measure the diameter of the inner circle (base of the canister) and multiple it by pi (3.14) - or even simpler - use this tool. My diameter measures 4 1/8" (4.125) so my circumference is 13" (12.959...).

5. Measure the height of the can and add 1 1/4" for seam allowance. My can is 4.5", so the complete dimensions for my fabric rectangle are 5 3/4"H x 14"L.

6. Cut the fabric. Make certain to cut along the outside circle line. Then, using a mat, ruler and rotary cutter, cut the rectangle. Or just measure and mark out the rectangle then cut by hand.

7. Fold the rectangle lengthwise, right sides together and stitch the raw edges together with a 1/2" seam allowance. Slip it over the canister - adjust the seam allowance and re-stitch if it needs to be tighter or looser . After assuring the right fit, do a zig zag stitch for added seam strength. Iron hem closed.

8. Pin the circle to the bottom of the rectangle, right sides facing. Stitch only slightly outside the inner circle. Try the fit on the canister, make any adjustments, then zig zag stitch along the seam.

9. With the fabric still on the canister, draw a line around the top using the lip as a guide. Remove fabric from canister. Fold over a 1/2" seam allowance, matching to the drawn line, then iron. Fold over another 1/2" (so the top of the fold is now even with the drawn, but now covered, line) and iron flat. Turn right side out and top stitch around the bottom edge of the fold.

10. Cut a 12" length of ribbon. Fold over a 1/2" seam allowance, iron. Fold over another 1/2" and iron flat, depending on the ribbon it may need to be pinned flat.

11. Fold the cover in half with the hem at the back, place the ribbon in the middle of this section on each side and pin in place. Stitch ribbon to the fabric cover. I use a satin stitch but a straight stitch forward and reverse will also secure the ribbon nicely.

12. Trim any loose threads then slip on the cover, add crayons, pop on the lid and hand to your little one to enjoy!

*All tutorials for personal use only.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Crayon Buckets

Lil Hoot is just starting to enjoy crayons for their intended purpose (instead of eating them). She also loves taking out and putting away the crayons but it's a bit tricky for her to get them in and out of the box on her own. (Of course she must do it on her own.) She's not ready for a crayon roll or a portfolio so I headed to my supply closet though and found a better idea - a Crayon Bucket.

In my closet I found old (clean) infant cereal containers, complete with lids. (I tend to save anything that I think could become a good craft project.) I know I could just have her stick the crayons in the bucket as-is but what fun is that? I can't cover it with paper or tape because my child has the amazing ability to peel both off no matter how it is secured. Perfect solution - the fabric covered crayon bucket, which also allows for a nifty carrying handle.

Lil Hoot is already enjoying hers. She takes the crayons out, puts them back in, takes the lid off, puts it back on, carries it around the room - even shows it off to her grandparents.

Get a crayon bucket for your little one from my Etsy Shop or stay tuned tomorrow for a Tutorial and a Giveaway!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

'I Got the Bird'

Big Hoot, Lil Hoot and I all have different nutrition needs which means that sometimes I make different things for all of us but within the same meal. We have cut down to red meat only once a week - Big Hoot had his portion on Saturday as a cheeseburger, but Lil Hoot and I did not. By Monday I was feeling rather fatigued. I am prone to anemia, despite a daily multi-vitman and red meat usually helps, so for dinner I made a steak for Lil Hoot and I while Big Hoot had chicken.

Apparently he was telling a co-worker about this meal the next day, as sort of a sob story. His co-worker told him that it sounded like a good country song. That's when my dear husband wrote and sent me this little chorus:

Last night I ate chicken and she ate steak

I don't know what I did to deserve this heartache

She told me she don't love me no more, without a single word

Last night she got the cow, and I got the bird
©2010 Hootman

The way he sings it, it rhymes. And don't worry - it's just a song, he knows he's still loved...and why he got the chicken.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Custom Order Bags, Totes and Purses

My best friend's daughter started dance classes recently and was in need of tote for her clothes, shoes, hair ties, etc. We recently spotted some awesome fabric - Aqua Plain Jane - over at Sew Materialistic and she just knew it would make the perfect bag for her daughter. She gave me a few guidelines - a zipper closure, two pockets for shoes and one small pocket for the hair ties. Oh, and of course, that it be sized appropriately for her daughter.

I designed a tote-size bag - 12"H x 10.5"W x 5.5"D - with 10" straps and a zipper closure.

The small pocket for her hair ties has a velcro closure and her name embroidered on the flap.

The oval shaped bottom allows for two dividers on the sides to hold her shoes so her clothes can easily fit in the middle.

I will be listing several styles of custom order bags in the shop over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, if you have a need or an idea - contact me and we can design a bag just for you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Freebie Friday

One thing I forgot to mention in Monday's post - Friday will also be about Give-Aways. These days it seems like someone is always giving away something - why not let it be to you? So if I see a fun, interesting or lovely give away, I'll be sharing it with you. And, of course, I will be hosting a few of my own pretty soon - so click that "Follow" button to be sure you know when! In fact, at the end of the month, I will have a big announcement for a fun event involving a $100 give-away.

For today:

Dana MADE It is one of my favorite blogs. She always has something fresh and new to feature. She has an Ongoing Giveaway, which actually started last week, but feel free to join in and catch round #2 of:

Paint Lucy's Room

As part of the EtsyMom Team I'm meeting tons of great new ladies and have tons of great new things to share with you. Right now at the EtsyMom Blog you have tons of options for a giveaway from Simply Breathless - maker of fine bath and body products:

Summer Fun Giveaway #2

Head on over to Lavender Avenue for a chance at a darling little doll:

I Made This For You

Good luck and happy browsing! PS - If you win something, come back and let me know!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Big Hoot had his first annual physical in quite some time this week and it was no shock to us that his cholesterol and triglyceride numbers were awful. With his genetics and dietary habits, we knew it was only a matter of time before he would have to face this issue and make some changes. I believe his statement to me was something like "If I don't make some major life style changes then I'll probably be dead of a heart attack at 36." (We both turn 30 this summer.)

Lil Hoot and I eat pretty well - loads of fruits and veggies at every meal so it's not requiring too many major changes for us, but Big Hoot is much pickier so he rarely eats the same thing we eat. The doctor has impressed on him it's time for an overhaul though so I think we may all finally eat healthier as a family. (Don't get me wrong, I love red meat too and have a terrible weakness for sugar (particularly chocolate), so I need to make changes as well.)

We are detoxing the house of any fried foods, refined grains and processed sugars. I was pleasantly surprised to find only a few - Tostito's chips, Totino's pizza rolls, bagels, Lucky Charms and Mtn. Dew. The sudden cut-off of Big Hoot's daily Mtn. Dew habit is probably the biggest shock to his system, but it may also be one of the single best things he has done.

I am scouring the internet for recommendations and recipes. Big Hoot is doing his best to try more veggies and fruits. I have also searched our local library for good resources but haven't found much yet.

Has anyone else had to fight the high cholesterol battle from a relatively early age? Any suggestions? Recipes? Books? Websites?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Little Dresses for Africa

Little Dresses for Africa is a Christian non-profit organization that provides assistance to children across Africa. Simple dresses are distributed throughout orphanages in Central Africa. The message is simple, but the impact is great - to let the girls know that they are special, they are worthy. To date over 50,000 dresses have been distributed to over 13 countries, but there is still a need for more assistance. It's not only about the girls though, they also provide Britches for Boys. Shorts are distributed to the boys. They also provide many other types of assistance.

"We're not just sending dresses, we're sending HOPE!"

This is your chance to help send hope! I am offering special listings throughout the summer:

Girls Sundress - Little Dresses for Africa (Coming Soon!)

Purchase a dress for your little girl and I make an extra to donate to Little Dresses for Africa. No profit will be taken on any dresses that I donate and a portion of this summer's profits will be donated to cover shipping the items to Africa.

For sizing and additional information on the dresses please see: Sizes

Please note that since I am not a nonprofit organization, I cannot provide a receipt for taking a tax deduction. If this is a concern for you, please consider making a donation to Little Dresses directly. Visit their website for more information and contact me with any questions. And it's free to simply pass along the information so please help spread the word!

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Matthew 25:35-40 NIV

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In the Garden

A few months back I decided to plop a few seeds in the ground and see what came of things. We decided to try raised beds and square foot gardening. I checked out a few books from the library (My favorite was All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Barthlomew).

I was beyond delighted when I saw my first little sprouts.

And now I am already harvesting lettuce and spinach for salads!  In fact, I can't keep up!

I added a few more seeds at the beginning of May and am already rewarded with some nice tall plants. 

I love that we have food coming in from our own backyard.  It is a very gratifying experience.  I know I could probably have a better yield or stronger plants if I put in some more work, but even with minimal care I still feel successful!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Back to Nature Treasury

I recently joined the CAPS (Christian Artists Promoting Shops) Team at Etsy. They have been so kind and welcoming. I even have my first spot in an Etsy Treasury! For those of you who don't know about them, it's a way to choose your own little gallery of items for showcase on Etsy. Each treasury has a theme and you can shop through them from their homepage.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mama Hoot's Car Kit Bag

After reading the Mommy Milestone blog over at Forever and After, I decided to share with you all what I dub my "car kit bag". Months ago we were out and about as a family and decided to go ahead and have a nice sit-down dinner out at the Cheesecake Factory. I bought something next door at Whole Foods for Lil Hoot to eat and we sat down for dinner. Then we realized - we didn't have a bib or a spoon or any number of other things that would come in handy. I had diapers, wipes, toys and blankets but that was about it. I was in the habit then of packing a bag each time we headed out and only packing what I thought we would need. So we came home and made a list of Things to Keep in the Car. I also made a bag with lots and lots of pockets to keep it all straight.

Mama Hoot's Car Kit
  • diapers, wipes & rash cream
  • change of clothes
  • a towel/burp cloth, spoons, baby food, bib
  • toys and books
  • changing pad & blanket
  • sippy cup
  • teething tablets
  • small pouch of toiletries
  • a zip lock bag or two (small & large)
  • first aid kit
Depending on the season I may also throw in:
  • Hats & mittens
  • Extra blankets
  • Shoes/Booties
  • Jacket or sweater
This list is certainly not all inclusive. Do you already have a car kit bag? What do you keep in yours?

I keep all of this neatly tucked away in my Car Kit Bag which stays on the floor in front of Lil Hoot's car seat. Then when we need to leave, I grab my normal-size purse and head out the door. Sometimes I need to grab a few extra things but then I just drop them into a side pouch on the big bag and we're still ready to go. Saves me time and effort while also making sure we have what we need!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sewing Tip: Threading Elastic

Years ago I saw an infomercial for this handy plastic tool to thread elastic through casings in "mere seconds". I thought it looked neat but had no need for it at the time. Fast forward to present, I have spent more time than I care to think about trying to feed a safety pin through yards of casing. All the while thinking to myself of this plastic tool that I can't seem to find anywhere.

I finally have found a better way than the safety pin - a zip tie. It is cheap and essentially the same as the plastic tool I saw once upon a time ago. Simply create a loop with the zip tie, attach your elastic either with a small safety pin or by tying the elastic onto the zip tie, then feed it through the casing.

Zip ties are available in any number of thicknesses and lengths as well. I use a tiny one for threading elastic through baby pants or a large one for threading shopping cart covers. So simple that I'm kicking myself for not having thought of it sooner!