Tuesday, August 29, 2017

DIY Walking Rope

Last spring I was lucky enough to chaperone a preschool field trip. Do you want to know what it's like to chaperone a group of 3 year olds? Go to the humane society and try to get all the kittens in the cat room to line up in a perfect line and wait for instructions.

Yeah. It was interesting. Our preschool teacher is awesome and tries to get the kids outside as much as she can. After my experience with chaperoning, I had a new found respect for the teacher. I wanted to make her walks with the kids just a little bit easier.

You may have seen the walking ropes that daycares, schools or large families use. The idea is if younger children have something to hold on to, they are easier to wrangle.

I decided the concept was something that could easily be made with materials around the house. So, one afternoon I start messing around with the idea. After playing around with some rope and ribbon, I figured it out.

Materials

Ribbon (I used thicker ribbon I had in my scrap bin)
Rope
Sewing Machine (I suppose you could knot the ribbon into loops or try hand stitching or hot gluing..options for those who are sewing machine adverse)
Scissors
Optional: Hot Glue Gun

Step One: Cut Ribbon

You have to decide how many loops you need for your rope. I decided to make 6 loops which allow 12 children to walk on the rope. One big loop will end up being tied off to make two smaller ones. Once you figure out how many loops you want, you need to cut the same amount of strips of ribbon. All the cuts of ribbon should be the same length. Now, my ribbon strips were quite long. I think they were around 24 inches long each.


Step Two: Create Loops

Turning the design to the inside, make the ribbon into a loop (aka circle or whatever fancy word I should be using instead) and sew the two ends together. I did several stitches, because I assume kids are going to be rough on them pulling and such. Do this with all the ribbon strips you have cut.




Step Three: Attach Loops

Once you're done, lay out your rope. I put my loops across the rope so I could see how close they should be together. Then I cut my rope about 2-3 feet longer than how I had it laid out.

To attach the loops, you can't simply tie them to the rope. They would slide all around, and you'd have a 5 child pile up. How I knotted everything is a bit hard to explain (and to show for that matter) but I'll do my best.

You will want to get one ribbon loop fully knotted on before you move on to the next ribbon loop. First, slip the rope through the loop.


Once you have the rope through the loop (or the center of the circle), tie the rope to one side of the ribbon loop. I tied the rope close to the sewn ends just to conceal them, but it shouldn't matter where you tie the rope.


Next, while keeping the rope knot in the center of the ribbon loop, tie the ribbon loop in a knot around the rope. Having the rope knotted this way will ensure it doesn't move around on the rope.



Step Four: Finish

I did a couple of finishing steps on the walking rope. I made a loop on the front of the rope so the teacher can hold it the rope. I wrapped this front loop with ribbon as a bit of padding and then hot glued everything in the place. I also knotted a loop at the very end of the rope for another child to grab. I also secured this knot with some hot glue.







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Saturday, August 5, 2017

DIY Slip On Converse

Hello!

I don't know if any of you use Photobucket for blogs or forums, but without notice, they decided to just turn off all embeded images. So, my 10 years worth of blog posts now have a bunch of broken signature blocks. Argh. So frustrating. Anyways fellow bloggers, I feel your pain!

This year the Easter Bunny brought my oldest daughter her own pair of Converse high tops. The Easter Bunny got a really good deal on them. However, I, ahem..the Easter Bunny...didn't realize high tops are extremely difficult for kids to get on and off. The laces didn't have any give. Every time she had to take them on and off you practically had to unlace them. My daughter has many pairs of lace shoes that she wears with no problems, but these shoes weren't cooperating.

After a couple of soccer practices trying to get them on, I knew we needed a different solution. I thought about buying those lace free alternatives they now make. The reviews weren't great, and they could be expensive especially if they broke frequently. I was going to rig something up with plain white elastic when I saw a pile of my daughter's elastic ribbon hair ties. Why go with plain white when you can make something unique?

Each set of holes used one hair tie. I didn't have enough to do all matching elastic ribbon, but I did have enough to match the two pairs of shoes. Using a needle and thread, I would thread the ribbon through the hole and sew the front and back of the elastic with white thread. I tried to match the stitching that was already on the Converse. The first side was easier than the second simply because there was a bit of tension as you pulled the elastic ribbon across and threaded it. I left the top two sets of holes empty so it would be easier to pull them on. I am happy to report after a {very} active summer, they are still holding up quite well.










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Friday, June 30, 2017

DIY Outdoor Painting Station

If your weather has been anything like ours, your family is probably spending a ton of time outside. A couple of weeks ago, I was wandering around Lowes and saw some plexiglass. I got an idea to create a painting station for my children in our yard. The inspiration for the project came from our local children's museum. The painting window is one of my children's favorite rooms.

So, this project is actually pretty simple and inexpensive. We use washable fingerpaint for ours, and let the rain or squirt bottle do the cleaning afterwards.

Supplies

Piece of Plexiglass (Lowes has precut ones available, but will also cut the glass for you)
Two boards the width of the Plexiglass (I had some left over plastic composite wood which has worked well in the elements)
Two or four bolts and locking nuts (Long enough to go through both boards with room to spare)
Two brackets/eye screws (to hang from your fence or other surface)
Rope
Cup Hooks
Drill, Clamps, wrench, pliers and (maybe) a Saw
Painting supplies: brushes, buckets, squeegie, squirt bottle

Step One: Drill Holes and Attach Bolts

Start by clamping your boards in a plexiglass sandwich. I didn't have to cut my boards to be the same length since they already were, but you might if you get a new board.

Going slowly, drill a hole through the boards and plexiglass sandwich. You will want to use a drill bit that is wide enough to have the bolt slide through easily. I did four holes/bolts in my boards. Using a wrench and pliers, secure the bolts through the boards and plexiglass. Make sure they are firmly attached but not too tight. You don't want to crack your plexiglass.



Step Two: Attach Hangers

I had some of these metal brackets hanging out from a previous project. It was rather easy to add them to the back of my board through the top set of bolts, but you can easily attach them using a set of screws as well. I added some washers just so they wouldn't wear into the boards over time.


Step Three: Add Hooks

You can now remove the clamps. I added a set of cup hooks to my boards to hang these small buckets for paint. The buckets are from Target. I might also add additional hooks for the squeegie and spray bottle. I slipped some rope through the the brackets and hung it on my fence.