Friday, June 29, 2012

Using a Tracer Jr

Do you remember I told you I would tell you how I made that Pin-the-nose on Mickey Mouse I made?  It was really easy.

Have you heard of a Tracer Jr?

I bought mine ten years ago to make very even hand printed posters.  I have awful handwriting and found it easier to project the text I wanted to write on the poster and it made it very even while still giving that handwritten feel.  Don't believe me?  Just look at the handwriting I did on this project or this one.

Although I don't have to do those posters anymore I do still use my Tracer Jr.  Now I use it more for making   party decor or other projects for the kids.  For example, I made really large butterflies for the walls the the Fancy Nancy Bonjour Butterfly party.  Here they are on the wall above the cake.

And here they are on the opposite wall.

These were pretty easy to make.  I just print out the pictures I want on a piece of paper in a 3.5 inch square.

The reason for the size is the opening on the bottom of the Tracer Jr.

I actually made a template in Word that lets me just pop in a picture and I can easily make it the right size.

I don't have any pictures of me actually drawing the final product.  That is because you need a fairly dark room to see the lines well and it doesn't lend to good photos.  I just trace the lines with a pencil making sure that I get every line.  Black and white line drawings are the easiest, but color pictures will work.

I tend to go over the pencil lines with a black sharpie to make them look like big coloring pages, then let the girls color them.  They can be done in all marker for a very crisp look like I did on the Pin-the_Nose on Mickey Mouse.

Here are the other pictures I did for this Mickey Mouse party.

I hung them low so they were at the same level as the kids.  Since this was Boo's third birthday, they were pretty close to the same height as the kids.

These can be easily projected on walls to add characters to a child's room, or even word art.

What would you make with a Tracer Jr.?  Don't have one, check it out on Amazon.

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Please check out my Link Parties page to see the blogs where I may have showcased this post.  Thank you to the bloggers who host such wonderful parties.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adventures in cake, July 4th

Next Wednesday is a holiday here in the US.  Independence Day  is one of my favorite holidays.  What better way to celebrate than with cake!

This cake is from a few years ago, but it was really fun to make.  My inspiration came from these Wilton cupcakes.

The stripes were made with a large star tip.  I used a star shaped cookie cutter to trace on a piece of paper and covered it with wax paper and used royal icing to make the stars.  I know my blue isn't quite right, but I didn't have a darker version at the time and it was a last minute cake.

The stars on the side were made with the cookie cutter and then traced over with red and blue icing in a Wilton #3 tip.

The bottom border is just shells with the same large star tip used on the top.  I wanted to bring the color down so I used a petal tip to alternate the red and blue on the bottom.

I haven't decided what I am going to make this year.  What are you guys going to do?

This cake was featured at

Please check out my Link Parties page to see the blogs where I may have showcased this post.  Thank you to the bloggers who host such wonderful parties.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Finally, a Silhouette Cameo

I know, I owe you a book review.  I have an excuse for not having it.  I got a Silhouette Cameo in the mail Friday.

I played with it on my off time instead of finishing the book I'm reading.  I didn't say it was a good excuse.  Now I am looking forward to all the new things I can make.

Right now it is sitting on a folding table in my living room because my craft area is stuffed with garage sale items.

That picture was taken with my phone so not the greatest picture.  I've really just started playing with the features and the software.  I did have to cut something out so I chose a bookmark and a couple of bags.  I didn't take pictures since They were still on the rough side.  The bookmark is serving its purpose in the book I'm reading though.

I'm either going to have the garage sale I've been trying to do for two months, or donate everything.  Either way I hope to have some pictures of it in its new home soon.  If I have the garage sale, I can make some awesome signs with my Silhouette!

What would be the first thing you would make with a Silhouette?

Please check out my Link Parties page to see the blogs where I may have showcased this post.  Thank you to the bloggers who host such wonderful parties.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Behavior reward system

Last week I told you about the behavior chart I made for my girls.  We have been doing it for about three weeks and it is going fairly well.  Some days it works perfectly, some days they ignore it completely but most days it at least reminds them that there is a goal each day to achieve.  Here is a hint on their reward.

We pay them!  Sort of.  We really aren't paying them, but they don't know that.  What we are actually doing is giving them fake money.

The local school supply center had this very realistic fake money.  I bought a jar (yes, jar) of coins and bills and devised a plan.  First, I wanted them to feel more connected to the whole system so I decided to make them a bank to put what they earn in.

I used the same paint from the door hangers I made the behavior charts out of.  Then I gave the girls our massive box of stickers and let them decorate them however they wanted.

To make sure the stickers didn't come off I coated them with Mod Podge.  Looking at the picture I realize that I maybe should have tried a bit harder on the writing on the banks.  My handwriting is just awful.

Now for the reward system we devised.  The behavior chart reward when all the clips are on "Looking Good" and it is turned over to WOW is dollar (it has to be on WOW when they go to bed to get the money).  They have achieved this around four times over the last three weeks (their room seems to be the culprit, but listening is up there).  That behavior chart isn't the only thing they get money for.  They get money for helping with chores around the house as long as those chores are not their regular daily chores.  They can also get money for doing things like being nice to each other or having excellent behavior in public (which is actually pretty common for them).  They can earn in other ways, too.  

The girls do know that it is not real money, but they can trade it in for real money to buy what they want, or simply trade in the fake money to get something special (a popsicle costs a nickel).  They can also have money taken away for behavior.  For this to happen their clip has to already be on working (first offense) and we have to bring up a second instance (costs a nickle).

I have found an unintended side effect of this system.  Both girls are actually thinking about what they choose to use their money for.  When they don't have a lot to spend, they will think twice before using it.  Much different than when they thought we were an endless source of money for whatever they wanted.  They are also learning to make change, something that can help them both in school.

Want to see some of their earnings?

They have earned much more than this now.  I think they are up to around five dollars each.

Please check out my Link Parties page to see the blogs where I may have showcased this post.  Thank you to the bloggers who host such wonderful parties.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mickey Mouse party games

Remember that Mickey Mouse party Boo had for her third birthday?  I had to decide how I wanted to entertain the kids during the party.  Her birthday is in January and I never know how the weather will be on the day of her party.  We have had everything from snow to a warm 74 degrees.  There weren't going to be many kids at the party so I decided that a craft and a game would be just fine.

Here are my girls and my niece and a friend waiting for the rest of the party guests to arrive.  

Please do not pin this picture

I had an adjustable height table set up in the small eat in section of our kitchen.  For the craft, I set out a bookmark cut out of red craft foam at each place for the kids.  In each of those bags were the other pieces for the bookmarks.  In the background you can see the large Mickey Mouse head used in out Pin-the-nose on Mickey Mouse game.

Please do not pin this picture.

Here are the kids gluing the pieces on their bookmarks.  I cut out a glove shape out of white craft foam and added the little black lines with a fine Sharpie, the Mickey silhouette out of black craft foam and the shoe out of yellow craft foam using a yellow Sharpie to define the curve at the top.  

Here is a closer look at the bookmarks.  It s a bit blurry because it in an enlargement from the above picture.

I just used a bit of yellow, red and black ribbon to tie to the top of each bookmark.

I know this seems like a very simple craft, but it took the kids a while to put them all together so it did fill a fair amount of time.

We then moved on to our party game.  I had the large drawing of Mickey Mouse without his nose filled in.  I used black card stock in an oval for each child.  Here is Boo putting her nose on Mickey (I don't think she had her blindfold on very well).

Please do not pin this picture.

After the game was over, this is how poor Mickey looked.

The kids really had a fun time with both activities.  I will share how I do all my character blow ups in a future post.  I'm not a good enough artist to say I drew that Mickey myself, but he is handmade.  I just had some help.

Please check out my Link Parties page to see the blogs where I may have showcased this post.  Thank you to the bloggers who host such wonderful parties.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Today's book postponed

I've been sick for the past few days so I haven't had a chance to get my book done this week.  I may move the books to every other week and just feature more at once.  Since school is out, I haven't had a chance to do a lot of reading.  The girls are keeping be busier than I thought they would.  The book review will be back next week.

Until then, tell me what books you have been reading lately.  What book has surprised you?  What book was better than you thought, or worse?  A book your child just loves?  I'd love to hear about them.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Behavior chart

The Princess finished first grade a few weeks ago and Boo finished preschool just before that.  Looking at a long summer of sibling squabbles and a lot of drama I decided to do a little twist on the behavior reward system used in the first grade classroom.  The teacher had a board with three ribbons hanging from it, one ribbon said "Working", one said "Standing Tall" (the school motto) and the last said "Wow".  She had a clothes pin with each student's name and they were moved to the appropriate ribbon depending on the child's behavior.  Standing Tall was the what the kid's stayed on most of the time, moving to working if they were not doing what they were supposed to be  and to Wow if they were showing excellent behavior.  They also got a small prize if they were on Wow at the end of the day.  The Princess loved those ribbons and was always excited to tell me when she was on Wow.

I started out with some plain wooden door hangers I bought at Walmart.

I let both girls pick out a paint color.  The Princess picked out pink and Boo picked green.

I just used paint pens to write their initials and the words on them.  I kept the term working, but changed "Standing Tall" to "Looking Good".  On the back I wrote out Wow.

Instead of just moving a clothes pin with their name, I decided to make the clothes pins represent what I expected from them.  "Chores" is for the daily chores they are expected to do, "Room" is to encourage them to keep their rooms clean, "Attitude" is to help remind them when they are acting up and "Listening" is so I don't have to repeat myself to them constantly.  I didn't do anything fancy to the clothespins, the words are just written on with a Sharpie.


I have since made two more clothes pins, one for "Living room" to remind them to return their toys to their room and "Table" to remind them to put their dishes away after they eat.  You can see how the clothes pins made the hanger tilt a lot.  I decided to hang them on some 3M hooks on their door instead of allowing them to interfere with how the door operates when hung from the knob.

To get a Wow, they have to have all of their clothes pins on Looking Good at bed time and they get something special.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  It is amazing that all it takes for me to tell them to move whichever clothes pin I say to get them to shift their attention to what needs to be done.  It has made for days that are much more quiet.  Everything is not perfect, but we are moving in the right direction.

I didn't worry with trying to make these overly cute since I didn't know how long they will hold up over time.

I will share with you the reward system we set up in another post.

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Serenity you

Please check out my Link Parties page to see the blogs where I may have showcased this post.  Thank you to the bloggers who host such wonderful parties.
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