Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby's First Drawing Greeting Card

When you have a baby, you have a lot of firsts. Most of these, you never get the opportunity to film, photograph, or document. Your child’s first drawings, however, are easily saved and also make great gifts.

The first time I gave Jonas some crayons and paper, he colored 4 or 5 sheets with big wavy lines. Sometimes, he even held a crayon in each hand and drew in stereo. Of course, I had to watch him the whole time so that he didn’t eat the crayons (they must taste good), but I must admit, most of the time he was more concerned with drawing than eating. He sure had a lot of fun.

I decided to make greeting cards out of most the drawings so that I could share this first with my family and friends who don’t live close by. Since I also had a bunch of little photos from our Sears portraits that we had made for Jonas’s first birthday, I decided to add them as well. Here’s the how to:

1. Cut out construction paper cards by folding the construction paper in half and cutting or tearing along the line. Then fold this piece again to make a card. To cut out the window, I folded one of the sides again in the middle and then cut out the square on the fold.

2. Cut your child’s drawings (mine were normal typing paper size) into four pieces. Tape or glue this drawing inside your window. If you would like a little more contrast, draw a black line around the frame before you add the drawing.

3. Glue on the child’s picture to the side of the drawing and write the child’s name and when the picture was made.

4. Finally, write a greeting inside the card. I wrote a greeting from my son stating how he had drawn his first picture. I also let Jonas color the envelopes. Then send your cards to your friends and family. Maybe your artwork will land on a refrigerator, or maybe, just maybe, your child will become famous and your friends and family will have a piece of your child’s very first artwork.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Homemade Blocks

I made these two blocks originally when Jonas was only a few months old and couldn’t even crawl, yet. My grandma Janzen had had handmade blocks at her house, and I always liked them. I figured, that blocks would also be a good sewing project, since they could be made quickly and Jonas could start playing with them asap.

At the time I made my first block, Jonas could only hold it between his hands and feet and giggle. Now at 15 months, he’s gone from just being able to hold a block in his hands, to throwing one easily across the room. They’ve definitely gotten a lot of play time and soon, I’m sure, he’ll start stacking them, just like I did with grandma’s blocks (I've since made more than two).

If you would like a good baby project and haven’t sewn in a while, or just have a lot of scraps lying around, then this is a good project for you. Here’s the how to:

1. Start by collecting scraps of materials with different textures. I used a lot of furry material on mine, mixed with bright patterned material. Then cut out equal sized squares. My squares were about 8 x 8 inches originally.

2. Lay the squares down on a table and arrange them the way that you would like to have your block look. That’s four squares down with one square on each side at the same point, just like a cross. On one block, I sewed Jonas’s name on a black velvet square at the center of the cross before I sewed the pieces together.

3. Now take your cross and making sure all of the pieces are upside down, start pining the sides of the cross together so that they are ready to go through your machine. Then sew all five of these sides.

4. Now the sewing will get a tiny bit more difficult, but not much, since as you sew the other sides together, your square will slowly take shape. Make sure to leave about 2 inches open on the last side of your last square so that you can turn your square inside out.

5. Now stuff your square with batting or foam. You can add an egg full of rice or a bell in the middle, if you want your block to make a sound when it is rolled. I have even put a crushed plastic bottle in the middle of one, since the plastic makes a neat sound. You will just need to make sure that you have enough batting all around your inner noise-maker.

6. One more tip. You can stuff your blocks really tight or leave them loose. Jonas loved the block where I added the least batting, since he could get the best grip on the corner and really squeeze it tight between his fingers. A neat tight square may look nicer, but it may not get as played with as a soft one.

7. Finally, sew up the two inches left on the one side and your block is finished. Congrats! Now your child has a toy that they can play with for a long time that is original and won’t break like a plastic one. My grandma’s blocks are still in use and hopefully, my blocks will also be enjoyed just as long.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blueberry Pancakes

I make pancakes every Saturday. Sometimes I make them without blueberries, add a bit of vanilla and cinnamon to the batter, and then eat them with peanutbutter and maple syrup. Yum. This morning I made blueberry pancakes at the request of my husband. Nevertheless, my 14 month old son loved them just as much. He decided, however, to tear apart the pancakes until he could pick out all of the blueberries, which he loves the best. He sure did have fun and still has purple fingers.

These pancakes are really easy and taste great. Give them a try and let me know what you think.


1 C white flour
½ C whole wheat flour
¼ C sugar
3 ½ t baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 beaten egg
¼ C oil
1 ½ C buttermilk
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries
Butter for frying
Maple syrup (get the real stuff!)
Makes enough pancakes for two hungry adults and one baby.

How to:

1. Mix all dry ingredients together. You can use all white flour if you like, or more whole wheat, however, the white flour will make the fluffiest pancakes.

2. Add egg. I usually just beat the egg in the measuring cup and then use the cup for the rest of the ingredients. It’s less to wash later. Add oil and buttermilk. Mix well.

3. Add blueberries to batter. Fold or barely mix in.

4. Let batter sit 10 minutes. This lets the baking powder begin to rise and makes your pancakes even fluffier. You can also let it sit longer, but a few minutes does make a difference.

5. Using medium heat, add a little bit of butter to the pan. I just use a simple Teflon covered frying pan. Use a ladle and pour about four pancakes into the pan. When they start to bubble in the middle, flip. Leave in pan another couple minutes and put on serving tray.

6. My husband and I like them with maple syrup. But, I’m sure whip cream or powdered sugar would also taste great. Enjoy!