Posts Tagged ‘busy bag’

I’ve got 2 of 3 finished and the 3rd is mostly  in my mind still…

Here’s pics of what I’ve got so far.  The first is from a vintage Vogue Pattern (#1959) “It’s a zoo full of teaching pets!”  It’s got some minimal modifications.  The second is mostly my own creation (at least, I haven’t seen anything else like it to acknowledge at this point).  The basic inspiration is from a “Close your Clothes” busy book, but I had baby clothes to upcycle and 3 little girls currently obsessed with all things baby- and I’m NOT ready for another one yet.  So I came up with Flat Franny instead.  She’s not beautiful, but she’s functional.


First, the critters (in no particular order).

A turtle- the shell snaps and when open it reveals a heart.


A kangaroo with a pocket to unclip (original pattern is a buckle) with a joey in the pouch.  The joey reminds me a bit of Ziggy.  He’s ugly.  next time I’ll use fabric paint.  Maybe I won’t bother attaching the string in hopes he gets lost and needs to be replaced…


A pelican with fish that can be hooked and unhooked from the fishing pole

A lion with a tail to braid

A hippo with buttons to close his mouth


A giraffe with 3 ties on his neck to practice tying.

An elephant with skates to button and unbutton

An alligator- the mouth zips open so the alligator can lick the ice cream cone with a tongue inside the zipper pouch.

Coach bear- with a lace up and tie baseball glove.

And the last page is my own addition- a zebra with a gift box that un-velcros to reveal a cake to celebrate.  (The candles are the velcro)


I made this book once before (wish I could find those pics!)  For a niece’s 2nd Birthday- 5 years ago now, I think.

Now for Baby Fran:

She’s an old T-shirt and some brown yarn, a dab of fabric paint, and a white E-bead for that little tooth.  She even has a mouth that recesses into her head.

Page 1-Change her diaper (can’t be without “goop” for that!)  These are the only remove-able pieces from the book- except for Franny herself.  The cloth and goop velcro on for storage.


Page 2- the onesie.  All the outfits have an outline of where they’re supposed to be in the book, and velcro or snaps to keep them there when not in use.  All clothing except for the diapers have a ribbon to keep them with the book, but let Fran go from page to page to do her other baby activities.  Outfits are miniaturized versions of the original garment.  It’s fairly easy to do once you get started.  Here are some sites with tips on how to make a larger garment into a kid or doll sized garment.  Adult sweater to kid sweater tutorial can be found at Dana Made It (which is also helpful if you want to make a little girls sweater dress.)  Baby clothes to doll clothes can be found at Obsessively Stitching.  She’s got more than one tutorial for different garments.  Take that and run with it and you’ll have some cute outfits for your own Flat Franny in no time!


Page 3 is socks and booties.  Fran doesn’t have much in the feet department, so these baby socks and booties are on her um… “stand in” feet.  They’re made from the same T-shirt that she was, but they have a ketchup bottle cut out to keep them in the proper form.  The socks are tied at the toe, the booties at the heel.


Page 4 is the feeding page- perhaps the favorite for my girls.  This is also the page that’s most likely to get tangled since Fran will probably have some clothing on (1 string) and there’s 3 strings on this page- one to the spoon, one to the bowl, and one to the cloth to clean her up when she’s done.  We’ll see.  The spoon has a pocket for storage, the bowl and the cloth snap on.  The bib is sewn on one side a couple inches above the snap, so it can go on Franny and then she sits at the page to be fed.  The other side of the bib has velcro to keep it in place in the book.


Page 5- a different outfit for Franny.

Page 6- her scarf and hat.  They’re sewn on, but minimally so the hat can still be flipped up and down and tied on the top, and the scarf can wrap around and tie on baby Franny.  Doesn’t she look silly with just a diaper and her scarf and hat?  THAT is why I needed her outfits to move to other pages!


Page 7- Bath Time!  The top of the tub is open so she can go in and out of the tub.

Page 8- PJ’s


Page 9- a blanket to swaddle her.  It  will velcro shut to either side for the last flap that’s folded over.


That’s all for now!  I’ll add the other busy book when it’s done- but it may not get posted ’til after the New Year- we’ll see how busy things get!

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I’m only doing one set of these for my Busy bag project since it should be something that can be an all-play.

The idea I saw here at My Magic Mom.  She drew on hers.  I could draw on mine (with some mistakes, I’m sure) but if it’s got possibilities of a MOPS craft, I have to look different directions.

My blocks are 3/4″ cubes from scrap wood- thank you my wonderful carpenter husband!  If you don’t have one of those, you could also cut a square wooden dowel into cubes or buy the pre-cut ones at Michaels or another craft store or online.  My backup plan was to use the little square tiles at the hardware store/Home Depot/wherever and do 2 sided tiles, but I like the cubes better.  Another cute way to do it I’ve seen is story stones, seen over at Red Bird Crafts.

I used free clip art images from free clipart pictures and Arthur’s clip art  and a few objects are the odd texts on my computer sized to a 48 or larger font and the color changed.  I’m sure there’s other free clip art available if you search.  I had trouble finding much that didn’t require signups or yearly membership fees when I searched under images.  You might have better luck just searching for “royalty free clip art” in general, rather than in images.

I finally gave up getting pictures at 80.  I also wanted to put our family’s names on some of the blocks.  I made a total of 14 blocks and only had one of my images that I didn’t use.  If we use this for MOPS I’m figuring on 10 blocks and they can pick and choose their choice of images and if they want to do names.  I’m not sure of the details yet- our steering team is tomorrow and I should finalize some details then.  Here’s what 10 look like instead of 14.

I copied and pasted pictures onto a word/pages document and shrunk each image so it was only about 1/2″ at it’s largest dimension.  They easily all fit on a single page to print.  If we do this project for MOPS I’ll either make color copies or have them printed off at the church- 1 copy for each lady.

Cut out all those little squares.  You could do stickers, stamps, or drawing to get your images onto the blocks.  I glued on my little squares then did Mod-Podge over top.  It was the easiest way for me to find images I liked without buying a gazillion packs of stickers.  I have seen where you can get your images and print them on adhesive paper in a craft over here at Creative Holiday Gift Ideas.  I may still go for that with MOPS- yet to be determined.  I’d just have to print the images I found onto the sticker paper, I think.  Either way, it will get a coat of Mod-Podge for a clear, durable coating, and so the kids can’t peel off the stickers, since I know mine will otherwise.  There are other sealers you could use, too.  I did 3 sides  of the block at a time and set each aside as I completed it.  By the time I got through 10 blocks this way, the first ones were getting dry and easy to handle again, so the other 3 sides were done then.  You may need to do a brief wait for things to dry, or get out the hair dryer to help them dry more quickly if needed.

I did one coat of Mod-Podge.  Another coat might make them look nicer, but they’re fine as is.  I’m thinking for MOPS to make the bags first, then do blocks, and send a small container (like the cheap 10 for a dollar at the dollar store) of the Mod-Podge home with everyone if they want to do more.  We’ll need little containers to put it in for everyone to use for this project anyhow, so they might as well go into a container they can take home.

Now for the bags.  I like a sewn bag, but I sew so that’s not intimidating to me.  For those who don’t get along with sewing machines, this is a bag for you.  Just a simple circle cut from T-shirt fabric (I have LOTS of scraps from this and other projects)  Fleece would also be ideal- either are fine since the edges won’t fray.  I traced a circle a bit bigger than a saucer and cut out.  Little snips near the edge give easy holes to thread a safety pin on the end of some ribbon through the holes for an easy drawstring bag.  It will lay flat when it’s opened (unless your ribbon is too short- spread it all out before you cut if you’re not sure!).  So it can also be the place where you roll your story dice.


So what do you do with them?  Roll the dice and use what images come up to make up a story.

ETA:  We did these for our MOPS creative activity for January.  There’s a few more details on my MOPS 2011-2012 Creative activities page.  I used mailing labels to print on for a cost effective way to speed up the process a bit.

I also just ran across 2 more ways to do these over at Stitch-Craft.  One way is a package tape transfer (warning- this way would take even longer than cut out from paper and glue on like I did above) and the other way is with temporary tattoo paper (although it’s much more expensive- she found it at Michaels for $10 a sheet, less with a coupon).

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Our “gold” Christmas gift for the girls this year is a busy bag for each of them.  If you don’t get what I mean by “gold,” see my posts here and here.

I bought a bunch of little stuff from the dollar store (and other places) like stickers, bubbles, little light ups, coloring/activity pads, notebooks, balloons, chapstick, small toys, noisemakers, and other goodies.  That was the easy part.  Now for the bags themselves and the home made items to put in them!

I’m including the “I-Spy something I’m Thankful For” craft we did for Children’s church that I wrote about here.

Here’s what else  I’ve gotten done so far- and everything is done in triplicate since I’ve got 3 little girls to make this stuff for.  My sister came over on the day after Thanksgiving and we did a “Craft Friday” instead of going out shopping for Black Friday.  That day I got my neck pillows made (finished actually, I had one mostly done the night before, and pieces cut for the other 2).  My inspiration came from here at U-Create with Infarrantly Creative, but I didn’t put the cool animal heads on mine.  I made up my own pattern, but there is also a free one you can print at the U-Create/Infarrantly Creative link.  Mine are  a cute flannel print on one side and fleece on the other.  If they drool on them, the fleece side wont feel wet, so I hopefully wont get as many whiny complaints that way.


I made marble mazes, as seen here at Serving Pink Lemonade.  There’s a start and stop spot stitched on.  It’s just 2 layers of fabric with paths sewn.  A marble inside gets pushed between the layers of fabric to navigate it through the maze.  Quick, easy, and contained entertainment.

I also got all the pieces cut and almost everything sewn for 3 composition book covers with crayon rolls.  My inspiration on this one came from here at Moda Bake Shop, but I didn’t take the time to make strips of fabric to piece a cover or stitch on a nameplate.  Mine also has 10 chunky crayons on the front, that just barely fit.  I enlarged the crayon pocket to 11 inches long and gathered it to fit all that crayon.  I finished the last one of the covers a few days later.


I tried to start the bags to put everything, and didn’t get far before I needed to hunker down on the last MOPS project (melt and pour soaps- you can see what we ended up doing at this post).  No pics yet, but I’ve got some neat plans for this bag!

I got back to business once that was done on Wednesday.  Thursday I made button snakes; inspiration from here at The Rigneys.  I was going to stop at 12 shapes, but my kids (helping me) thought I should make more.  (Yes, they’re seeing a lot of their gifts as I make them.  They don’t nap and seem to require less sleep than I do, so I must craft when they’re awake.  And they’re nosey, so not much escapes them!   I gave up trying to hide stuff, so they’re selecting some things as I make them, like ribbon and button colors, fabric choices, and shape suggestions.  They are not happy they don’t get the things I’ve made yet.  They break into my stash of Christmas gifts at least once a week, including just a few minutes before I typed this.  I need to get this done soon!)


So there’s 18.  These are the shapes I made- the same for each girl except for the letter for their first name.  Each shape is a different color except for two repeats- snowman and fish are both white, and moon and sun are both the same shade of yellow.  There is a heart, flower, star, circle, square, triangle, half circle, hexagon, butterfly, diamond, fish, splat, moon, snowman, tree, sun, raindrop, and letter for their first name.

It was a productive day on Thursday and I also managed to finish (late before I went to bed) 30 felt finger puppets.  I’ve seen a few different ones online.  For a quick version, do something like these monsters at Ohdeedoh that use fabric paint to decorate.   The nicest looking monsters I’ve seen since Monsters Inc.

These are super cute, and you can buy the pattern at The Idea Room.   I didn’t, because I’m too cheap and can figure most stuff out on my own.  Here’s mine- including a close-up of our mini-me’s:


Finger puppets are addicting!   I wrote out a list of what animals I wanted and separated them into base colors so I knew how many to sew of each color.  The bases are made so quickly and easily- just fold over the piece of felt (and pin so it stays straight) and start sewing!  I made them big enough so that adult fingers will fit, too.  We’ll probably be playing with them at some point in time.  Mark the felt if you like, I just eyeballed it.  And I didn’t do any thread changes.  I did have to go back and make a couple smaller- I could fit almost 2 fingers in a few.  Oops.  The 30 bases were done and cut in under half an hour.


Cut them apart when you’re done and decorate with felt cut outs and google eyes.  I used a glue gun for all my bits and pieces.  This is the time consuming part.  My final list of puppets include:  a mini of each of us (5 total), and an ark load of critters:  horse, bear, moose, monkey, rabbit, dog, pig, sheep, zebra, duck, chicken, penguin, cat, cow, bluebird, cardinal, giraffe, lion, hippo, elephant, rhino, tiger, fox, frog, and snake.  And here’s the list of more I’d love to make!  Panda, Polar bear, Raccoon, Deer, possum, skunk, snowman, gingerbread man, Butterfly, Bee, Dragonfly, Spider, prince, princess, baby, and more!  I figured I should stop at 30 since thats all the more little kid fingers we have and I need to move on to another project.

That’s all for now, I’ll try to put up the rest as it gets done and I have time (I’m linking as I post.  Click on what you’re interested in to see how mine turned out).  The list to do includes the bag, busy books, play dough filled balloons, lacing cards, little lanterns, story dice,  and if I get to it: a balloon cover, quick doll gowns and diapers, kid size fleece fold over sleep sacks and maybe some popsicle puzzles.  I may have forgotten something.  I’ll try to add it sometime if I did.  And I’ll include the links for my inspirations as I do them.  If you can’t wait, try checking my Pinterest page of crafts and sewing for the kids.

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