Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wooden Spoon Puppets!

There are some crafts that are easy enough for me! This is one of them. Do you have 4 zillion wooden spoons in your junk drawer? If so, this is the perfect craft for your family.  And it is especially appropriate for this week since you will need some puppets if YOU win our door frame puppet theater in our giveaway going on right now. Check it all out HERE!

The first thing you will need for your wooden spoon puppet is... a wooden spoon. If you don't want to ruin your precious pampered chef spoons, then go buy a packet of 4 from Wal-mart for less than a dollar. These are cheap puppets!

I decided to give mine a quick coat of spray primer since my first attempt (not pictured) was a flop. The spoons absorb lots of paint!  I filled the table with every crafty thing I could find: pom-poms, ribbon, paints, pipe cleaners, yarn, glue, and some crazy eyes that I picked up just for this project. 

The kids (and special guest Grandma) had lots of fun painting, gluing and designing his/her very own special person.  We all used a little paint, but each puppet is very unique--there is no right or wrong way to  make these! Soon, it was time for a quick puppet show in the door frame puppet theater...

The post-spoon puppet mess!

This was my four-year-old's special spoon! She had lots of fun.

"Introducing... our puppets!"

The End.

Don't forget to enter to WIN THIS FREE PUPPET Theater. There are only a few days left!!! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Animal Sock Puppets

So, if you win the puppet theater in our Giveaway, you're going to need some PUPPETS to use with it. Tara & I have Puppet Fever this week and are going to share some different creations for
puppet lovers of all ages.

Today we'll kick things off with the ol' classic, the Sock Puppet. Easy, and everyone should have some around to work with, right? Actually, I bought mine after checking my "mate-less" stash in the laundry room first...but they were a little small. Or oddly colored. Or rather worn. Or all three.
Sooo...I left them there and splurged on 3 new pair at the dollar store.
Then I grabbed a few things from around the house...felt, fabric scraps, glue gun, twine,
rubber bands, and buttons.

We had a lot of fun coming up with our animals and making the parts for them. I think my fav is the elephant...his little rubber-band trunk! My daughter's infatuation with mice continues...hence, the pink mouse with purple eyes.

And then we decided on a pig and wolf so we could perform The Three Little Pigs.

They are also great arm-warmers if you find the A/C a little chilly in comparison to the heatwave outside. I think Mr. Elephant will be reading the bedtime story tonight...better go work on my low nasal impersonation.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Make Your Own Puppet Theater!

If you don't WIN this puppet theater in our puppet theater giveaway which ends next Friday (July 29th), you can learn how to make your own! You can make your own puppet theater (a great gift idea!) with just a few supplies: three types of fabric (we used 2 yards of red, 1/4 yard of turquoise, and ¾ yard of black dot), 1/4 yard fusible interfacing, a 3/8" wooden dowel, and a tension rod for hanging.  

The two-year-old "helper" is optional.

For the main curtain, we used the full 2 yards length of red and cut it to 38” wide. This allowed a one-inch hem on each side to fit a standard 36” doorway.

If you're wondering why we are using a measuring TAPE, it's because we like to keep you on your toes.
For the window, fold the fabric in half lengthwise to make sure it is centered, then measure 16” from the top. This allows the curtain to skim the floor and preschool age children to reach the window on their knees. You may want to make a lower opening for younger children.

We wanted our window to be 22" wide x 18" high.
Since the fabric was folded, we cut in from the fold just half that width, which was 11 inches.
Then we cut the opening 18” high.

Now turn the edge under approx 1/2", and then turn under another 1/2" and stitch around the puppet theater on the two long sides and the one short bottom side. For the top we needed to make a rod pocket. Turn the edge under a 1/2”, then turn under about 1.5” and stitch. This allows a tension rod to be slipped through for hanging the theater.

 For the window edging, cut four strips of cloth, each 3” wide. Two of ours were 28” long (22” width of window plus 3” of overlap on each side) and two were 24” long (18" high plus 3" of overlap on each side) for the height of the window. We ironed fusible interfacing to the wrong side of each turquoise strip to add stability.
Then we sewed the strips together, making mitered corners.


To do this, put the long and short right sides together and sew diagonally from the outer corner across to a point that is 3” in from the edge. Trim the extra fabric to remove bulk. Repeat this with the other 3 corners so you have a rectangle when finished.
Press the seams flat.

Now pin the edging to the BACK of the puppet theater so the right side of the edging is next to the wrong side of the theater. Sew around the rectangle and theater about 5/8" from the inner edges. Snip into the corners, turn the edging over so it shows on the outside, and press it flat.
Turn the outside edge of the rectangle under about 5/8” and press.


You will now stitch the frame around the inside edge and the outside edge.

For the curtains, cut 2 rectangles that are approx 16” wide x 25” high. Hem all four sides. Sew them to the back of the window so they meet in the middle. Cut 2 lengths of ribbon approx 24” long each. We used grosgrain and seared the edges with a lighter to keep from fraying. Sew one ribbon on each side of the window—-sew it in the middle of ribbon length so two ends hang down and form a tieback for each curtain.

We added a little rod pocket on the back of the theater to slip in a dowel rod and keep it hanging straight...otherwise the window sags (wop, wop). Just cut a strip of the leftover theater-colored fabric approx. 4" wide by 30” long. Hem the short edges if desired, then turn in the long edges and stitch together to hide all raw edges. Now sew along the long edge onto theater back, below the window.
We slipped in a 3/8”dowel rod that was 27” long.

Hang your curtain from a tension rod...and let the puppet shows begin!

And...if you have toddlers, they will love running THROUGH the curtain.
Multi-purpose fun. We like that in a toy.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Door Frame Puppet Theater Giveaway!!!

It's time for another giveaway!
We have been wanting to make a door frame puppet theater for a few months now, and it is finally complete thanks to the creative genius of Kylee.  This is a great, lightweight, portable theater, that fits right inside the frame of all standard doors.

The great news is, this fantastic puppet theater can be yours if you take a few minutes to complete the following steps. We also posted all the details here so that even if you don't win, you will be able to make your own door frame theater yourself! So, everyone's a winner! 

Here’s how to enter!
1.) Join The Mud Pie Makers on Facebook! If you are already a fan, then post a comment under this link on our Facebook page.

For a 2nd entry, spread the word about The Mud Pie Makers to your friends.  Suggest they join us on Facebook! Once they have joined, have them tag your name in a post on our Facebook wall. Your friend will also receive an entry!

3.)  For one final entry, tweet this giveaway or post it on your Facebook page! 

*This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only, and ends on Thursday, July 28th. I will post the winner on Friday, July 29th. Thanks and Good luck!

The entire puppet show theater tutorial and additional pictures are now available HERE. Check it out!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Boogie Board Blunder (My Whoops of the Week)

Call me crazy, but I've always enjoyed mowing the lawn. What could be better than whirring around the open yard, enjoying the smell of fresh-cut grass, and the sun shining on my face? It is a peaceful me time that I tend to savor.

Since I have been mowing grass for over two decades (*gulp, that stung a little) I have had my share of little mowing-mishaps. Perhaps you can relate to mowing over your dad's new green garden hose that was hidden beneath the matching green grass.  Perhaps you narrowly avoided the annihilation of a little bunny nest that was concealed beneath the large oak tree in your front yard. Mowing the grass is no job for the weak, and I have learned that if I'm not on high-alert, crazy things can happen.

Yesterday morning the grass had finally reached the point where it looked less like a yard and more like an abandoned lot/wilderness refuge.  It was time to mow. I was enjoying my spins around the yard and the immediate sense of accomplishment from the simple straight lines of freshly cut grass.  The sky was blue and speckled with gorgeous white clouds. 

I was almost finished; I was rounding the tight corners of the last flower bed when I got a little too close to the edge and saw this (a foam boogie board that I picked up on clearance last week at Target) being sucked like a vacuum directly into the powerful mower blades and spit out the other end--all over the grass in a thousand tiny pieces. 

It was Christmas in July as the itty-bitty white foam particles sprinkled down and buried themselves in the tall grass.  
I quickly turned off the mower and spent the next 20 minutes attempting to rake up particles the size of rice from the grass and dirt.  What had been a peaceful morning of mowing and accomplishment turned into an extra task and a mess that I would not be able to completely un-do unless I spent an hour handpicking tiny rice-like pieces from individual blades.  Here are a few more pictures of the damage:

Once I put the boogie-board chomping monster away in the shed and I explained to the kids that their pool toy was gone and the mess was mostly cleaned up, we enjoyed a lovely time in the sun and in the little pool. It is easy to laugh at myself for making this gigantic mess, since thankfully it was only a $2 boogie board and a mess that is not permanent.  What is the craziest mowing mishap you have ever had??

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.... I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.  ~Nancie J. Carmody

Monday, July 18, 2011

Start the Day on a Good Note.

I stuck a love note in with my kids' breakfast this morning...see it??
(please look past the accidental banana frown!)

It took a couple of strips of paper, their initials cut from cardstock, straws and a few dabs of glue to attach the end of the paper to the straw.

Add some love words to start their day.

Making Monday Marvelous Linky Party I Can Teach My Child

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Quick Ode to Summer

Yes, it's thankful Thursday!

Sometimes we read too much Dr. Seuss, it's true. I found myself going through my list of thanks rhythmically today, so I thought I would force you to endure a glimpse into my mind. A short Ode to Summer that I put together in approximately ten minutes........  

New trick = "winking"
Sunscreen, bubbles, take a walk.
Slip n' slides and sidewalk chalk.

Laundry helpers, kitchen cooks.
A fresh batch of summer books

Pointing up at zooming jets.
Watching lots of Wonder Pets.

Pull a weed, pick a flower,
Drive-through Sonic Happy Hour.

Learning how to do our chores,
Side-effect of Summer = falling asleep anywhere and everywhere.
Hearing all about Clone Wars.

Squeeze some ketchup on your fries,
Make some yummy, muddy pies.

Made-up games, scrunchy faces,
Travel to some different places.

August is coming, and it's a bummer.
No more bare feet, no more summer.

"Scrunchy Face" pushing around only the bare essentials. Flashlight, Microphone,  etc.
"Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant—a seed—this plants the giant miracle." 
~Ann Voskamp