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IMG_5491IMG_4624IMG_4364IMG_5445_2The boys have been making some thank you notes and a big painting for daddy, while I have been bracing myself for the mess and cleaning up afterwards. It’s not the most relaxing experience for me, but the end result is always worth it!

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I went to Home Depot the other day, just wandering around for inspiration. I came home with plenty of both, materials and inspiration. My first project was some canvas storage bags for all the soft, bulky items we all have around the house. Soft toys, yarn, socks… they all found a home, in style.

The process was very simple: I lined a table or the floor with some paper to protect from spillage, spread canvas (I used the cheap one used to protect floors when painting the walls) and then L and I painted / splashed / dabbed with color. I was in a blue and white mood, so we kept the colors simple. The large piece of canvas we made was enough for 3 bags, so I divided it in equal pieces and just sewed around the edges. Then, to create a wide base, I folded the corners and sewed along the crease there as well. Done!

I also picked up some paint chips during my inspiration trip, with no specific project in mind. The first thing I made with them were small open boxes, which I then held together with some pretty duct tape (another Home Depot score I couldn’t resist!) I plan to use them for organizing the tiny scraps of fabric that come out of other projects: I have plans for all those little triangles and rectangles from trimming corners and seams!

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Before leaving for the airport this time I made ID tags for the boys, who are now very capable of running away in a crowded place. I wanted something that would be attached to their clothes instead of hanging off, which might fall off or choke them. So I cut a piece of fabric with pinking shears and used a permanent marker to write our names, phone numbers and e-mails on it. Then I sewed it on the back of their t-shirts. We can always take it off after we come back, and save it for the next trip.

The boys enjoy painting and coloring, and thankfully there are lots of recipes out there for kid-friendly (i.e. edible) paints. My favorite is yogurt and food coloring, which I add to a plastic egg case and let the boys go to town with their sponge brushes. One thing that parents of single kids probably don’t get, though, is how much more intense it is to supervise two kids who run wild while yielding paint brushes… The boys obviously have aspirations to become mural painters, as all our walls (in our rental apartment) have been decorated (by the way, baking soda and water paste helps with crayons, but not with markers…)

Here are some of their early drawings, and the “gallery” where we display them: just a string with clothes pins, for easy mounting and unmounting.

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Lately I also give them my own version of coloring pages, with shapes and drawings for them to paint over. My drawing skills are minimal, which works well for this kind of activity, but I seem to have overcome myself already. The other day I tried to draw a dog and ended up with something that resembled more a sheep instead. Nevermind, I wrote πρόβατο under it and problem solved!

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I also made playdough for them, using one of the numerous recipes out there, but I guess they were a little too young for it, and ended up throwing it around, stepping on it (it really does feel good oozing between your toes!) and then mixing all the colors together so now my 4 distinct basic colors became a big boogy-colored chunk.

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Occasionally we use bathroom crayons too, which are lots of fun for the whole family!

A few more past projects. My first attempt in making soft toys, from this great book: Sweet & Simple Handmade. Although it came out good, and pretty much just as it was meant to be, I am not sure I was very happy with it. I am saving it as a Christmas gift, though, so we ‘ll have to wait until the boys give their verdict.

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From their crawling times, the boys had managed to open holes on almost every pair of pants they had. I actually like patched clothes, so I used a couple of old t-shirts and added circles, triangles, and in this case a banana (there is a monkey at the butt). I am very pleased with this project, and the boys like to talk about the extra shapes on their knees.

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Probably the project I am least happy about, is this giant pumpkin. Instead of carving it (I am definitely not good with knives) I drew some doodles with a permanent marker on it. I am not very good with doodles either, so I kind of gave up before I was ready to consider it finished. Never mind, I ‘ll try again next year!

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July 16, 2011

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