Tag: nikkala

minky baby blanket

Months ago I watched a friend make one of these minky blankets and I couldn’t stop thinking about them! I found myself wishing I knew someone having a baby, just so I could make it. Everything about it is the perfect baby blanket. It is soft. It is just the right weight. Not too heavy and not too light. And best of all they are stinkin’ cute! Luckily, my brother and sister-in-law gave me a new little nephew to make one for.

minky baby blanket

Oh yeah, and it is easy. There’s no piecing and no turning needed! The quilted look comes by sewing straight lines between the minky dots. Every 4 dots you sew a straight line down between the dots and then turn 90 degrees and do the same thing. Because of the dots there is no need to mark where to sew!

minky blanket sewing


1. Cut fabric and minky to the same size.  (I used 42″ squares)

2. Place fabric wrong sides together. There is no turning, so sew it like you will see it when finished.

3. Pin in a few spots to prevent fabrics from shifting or stretching.

4. Sew straight lines between minky dots. I went every 4 minky.

5. Turn 90 degrees and repeat step 4.

6. Once sewn, trim sides so they are square and bind with coordinating fabric!

minky blanket

If you are new to quilt binding, Heather Bailey has a fantastic tutorial. Or if binding intimidates you, check out Minky Baby Blanket Simplified for a much faster way to finish this blanket!

minky baby blanket

I’m seriously in love with it. And even though it is being shipped off to Hawaii I know it will be a blanket the little guy will love even when he is a bigger guy!

Heck–I’m a grown adult and I want one!


minky baby blanket

You might also like this muslin swaddle blanket and other baby projects. muslin baby blanket


While I consider myself a digital scrapbooker, I haven’t scrapped a page in over 4 years. I learned how to digital scrapbook about 5 years ago and it seems once I figured out Photoshop the excitement was gone. But I still love Photoshop and I love the products. Much like non-scrappers have huge stashes of paper and scissors filling up closets, there’s a pretty good stash of digital products filling up our hard drive. I’m sharing a few of my favorite ways to use them here. Digital products let you have a well put together project in no time, especially quick pages and layouts just waiting for photos. Here are some Other Ways to Use Digital Scrapbooking Products:

My favorite way to use brag books? Shipping labels. They have the perfect spot for an address–right where the photo should be. They take practically no time, and I like to think that I’m cheering up the receiver’s day as well as the postal workers!

This poor box is the link between cousins in different states. Once opened, it is filled and sent back–with a new mailing label of course. This label is a page out of this brag book.

CD case calenders provide a great layout for playlists to be typed up.

They are designed to fit jewel cases, so there is no need to bother with dimensions.I believe this calender month was April.

And don’t forget the regular embellishments and tags found in kits. We turned this tag into an invitation with the addition of a little die cut hat.

Digital scrapping makes mass producing a ton faster than the traditional way! Do it once and let the printer do the rest. If you think digi-scrapping isn’t your thing, you may want to think again. The best part may be that you can never use your digi supplies up! There’s always a new one waiting in the folder. If you hear all this talk about digital scrapbooking and you are still trying to figure it out, here is a good explanation. The Crafting Chicks use Photoshop and/or Photoshop Elements.

This may be too late for most of our readers, but if you have been slacking and haven’t gotten around to planting your flowers (ahem. me.) then this is for you! I have some nice Gardening Tips for you!

A nicely planted flower box is made up of the same design elements used in all forms of design–interior, graphic, fashion, floral and of course landscape!

The Rule of Odds:: Our brains like to see odd numbers. Even numbers look like they are fighting to balance each other. 1 spike, 3 geraniums, and 5 lobelia will result in a balanced basket.

Color:: Pick a color scheme, any color scheme you can’t go wrong. Monochromatic (one color), Analogous (colors next to each other on the color wheel), Complimentary (2 colors opposite on the color wheel) or Polychromatic (any and all colors).

Mix Textures:: Just like fabric has a texture, so do plants. Some plants have feathery leaves, and others have spiky. Texture will add another dimension to your container when the flowers aren’t at their best.

Height:: Plants grow different heights and it is important to know which is going to be your tallest and which is going to trail. The tags that come in the plants will tell you this. Plant the tallest in either the center of the pot or in the middle back depending on where the pot will be. Make sure your trailing plants go along the edge and fill in with medium sized plants.

Other things to consider::

  • plant flowers with the same light and water needs together
  • don’t plant deeper than the plant is already (in the container from the nursery). if you do it can cause the plant to die
  • don’t over water. plants like to go through wet and dry (but not too dry) cycles. roots need oxygen and they can’t get it when they are sitting in soggy soil all the time.

And there you have it, an extremely quick crash course in how to plant beautiful containers!

Here are 60 Days of Summer Fun FREE Printable for you and your family. Happy Summer!
the Crafting Chicks

60 Days of Summer Chart-Jamie
I got this amazing idea from the fellow Crafting Chicks Kirsten & Brooke! My family made a list of fun things to do this summer. I thought it would be great to make this poster to motivate us and get us excited about summer! Most of these activities are very simple and easy to do, but the kids will think they are awesome! (You can click on the poster to enlarge and get ideas for your family)

I am going to blow this up to a 16×20 at Costco and then hang it up. We will put stickers on our chart after each summer fun activity.


Summer Cooking-Becky


I have my 3-year-old signed up for a fun cooking class this summer. She will come away with a fun little recipe book full of things she can make. I am excited to try out different recipes with her after each class. I also think it will be a great hands on way for her to learn and develop skills. To get you started here are some fun links to cooking with kids.

Mini Oreo Surprise Cupcakes, Triple Strawberry No-Drip Pops, Mini Chicken Pot Pies, Personal Pizzas

Science Camp–Nikkala
I’ve put together a mini science camp for my pre-schooler and a couple of his friends. It will be a 1 1/2 hours a day for a week. Planning this with my scientist husband has been fun, but there’s been constant reminding that they are only 4! I think he wishes he could plan a week for himself to do a bunch of fun experiments.

There are so many ideas we’ve come across, but its been narrowed it down to these activities and a few books to go along:

sink or float
ice cube color mix
water vs. ice
water painting
water filtration (hydrology)
I Get Wet (book)
The Magic School Bus. Wet All Over (book)

coffee filter
tie die
acetate color circles
batik w/glue
crayon/water color
All the Colors of the Rainbow (book)

balloon test–static electricity
bend water with a comb
paper airplane

marble track

Energy Makes Things Happen (book

growth chart
brushing teeth–plaque
5 senses
taste without smell
listen to our heart beats w/stethoscope
Hear Your Heart (book)
Germs (book)

Science In the Kitchen
cornstarch + water
baking a treat
baking soda + vinegar volcanoes
Diet Coke + Mentos
lemon juice invisible ink
dancing raisins

I think they will have a blast watching things erupt! And keep their little minds occupied at the same time.

Picnics at New Parks- Jen

Once a week, my kids and I pack a picnic and find a new park to eat at and play.  We do a different park each week.  It is so fun, and my kids love playing on a new playground.  We look up parks in the area online or a couple of times, we have just driven around and discovered one.  Yea for summer!!!!:)

What are some fun things you will be doing this summer?

I’m sort of really – a lot in love with these DIY National Donut Day Medallions Ribbons! It all started with the Minute to Win It prize, and has continued through the end of school and on! I don’t know if I’ll ever get enough of them.
National Donut Day is this Friday, and I think these ribbons would make a drop-by surprise of donuts to your friends even cuter. Use with just 1 donut, or go for the whole dozen if you are feeling generous!

I really wanted to share the Super Teacher one with all of you, but as far as I could tell sharing isn’t allowed with the papers I used. So I came up with this cute one using a free kit from Shabby Princess for National Doughnut Day. Does anyone know the real spelling of doughnut/donut? I couldn’t find a definite answer so I went with donut as it fits on the tag easier!

They are so simple to put together. First, you’ll want to download the Happy Go Lucky kit if you haven’t already. And you can download the template here. I added the Super Teacher option to it too, so if the end of the year is here and you need a little something to say thanks, I’ve got you covered. Shut off the donut layer and move the Super Teacher layer into its place. Here is a great tutorial on how to use a layered template if you are unsure. The dimensions are 1.5″x11″ for the 2 wide strips and 1″x11″ for the ribbons.

Let’s litter the earth with cute medallion ribbons! (Not really litter, you know what I mean…right?)

After you have your papers inserted in the template, print it out. Fold the wider strips accordion style and glue the ends together. I used a glue gun for all of my gluing here. The thinner strips will get cut in half and notches taken out to make ribbons.

This is the tricky part–flatten out the accordion ring and glue the circle on. There was quite a large hole in the back so I cut a scrap piece of paper and glued down to cover it up. You could use a large circle punch if you want and have it handy. Then I glued the 4 “ribbons” on the back. Be sure you have these centered under the tag–you don’t want all of your work to end with some sideways ribbon action.

Wouldn’t I be your best friend if I showed up on your doorstep Friday with a donut and this cute ribbon!?!

I love to throw parties! And often on Sunday night, as we are watching Minute to Win It, I comment on what a fun party it would be.

So last week I made it happen as a surprise party for my sister. Because I went through the effort to put stuff together I thought I’d share it here with all of you!

If you haven’t seen Minute to Win It, the object is to complete a task in 1 minute and then move on to the next–earning money with each completed task (much like Millioinaire). There are 3 chances that can be used before you are finished. So you can re-try a game if you don’t pass it on the first attempt.
MTWI supplies

There are a lot of games, but these are the ones we chose to do because of the ease of setting up/we already had most of the supplies.

We used a church gym, with the basketball clock as our timer (complete with a loud buzzer!). And took advantage of the wireless internet to show the game introduction clips (from the MTWI website) using a projector. If you decide to do this for a really large group (like a ward party) it may work best to have a laptop at each station so contestants can watch before playing each game. Or you could introduce them all at the beginning on the projector.

We decided instead of having 1 person play at a time that it would be better to let everyone play whichever game they chose in the same 60 seconds, and then keep track on their scorecards. There were simultaneous games going and they played on the same buzzer. We started out having people mark their strikes, but gave up as the games are much trickier than they appear–but also very do-able after some practice. So if you succeeded it counted. Some games allow more than 1 person to play at the same time, such as Face the Cookie, which speeds things up. At the end of the party we had them add up the number of games they successfully completed and the highest score was deemed champion.

MTWI Scorecards

The 3 boxes are for the strikes if you decide to use them.

The games were set up around the perimeter of the gym with these signs hanging nearby indicating which game was which.

Minute to Win It Tags

Have fun and let me know how your party turns out!

The Crafting Chicks are moms and we know that crafting isn’t always picture perfect. And sometimes it is downright hectic and doesn’t go as planned–especially when you are in a hurry! Check out how everything went down along with the easy directions to make a Homemade Fruit Bouquet!

I was asked to make a fruit topiary for a mother/daughter tea party and honestly when I bit that hook I could not visualize what a fruit topiary was. But I thought I could figure it out – with a little help from my friend Google of course :).

After consulting Google I sat off to the produce section and came home with the smallest head of cabbage I could find (it was still rather large), cantaloupe, grapes, and a box of toothpicks.

I had read that places like Edible Arrangements use cabbage as their base. I don’t know if it is true but gave it a try. Number one, it is cheaper than a foam ball. And number two, I didn’t have to make another stop at the craft store for a foam ball.

As soon as my boys were occupied with their lunch I set about creating the topiary. First, I pounded a 1/2″ dowel into the bottom of the cabbage with a hammer. And then ran around looking for the floral foam I thought I had. Turns out I didn’t have any, and I was running out of time. So my topiary really wasn’t a topiary. I pulled the dowel out and sat my cabbage right on the pot. The cabbage was solid and held the toothpicks secure and heavy enough that I didn’t attach it to the pot.

Borrowing a tip from my days as a floral designer, I started with my largest fruit–the strawberries and randomly stuck them in the cabbage.  See that cute boy eating lunch in the background? He waited patiently for me to finish before wanting down.

I then filled in with the grapes and cantaloupe. By staggering the heights of the fruit you are able to cover up more of the cabbage.

It turned out great! I was on time and no one even cared that it wasn’t on a dowel! Next time I’m planning on attempting the pineapple flowers with melon balls. It wouldn’t be hard to appear super professional.

 Have you ever experienced the last minute rush to throw something together for a party? Here’s a quick tip and easy recipe that will make it seem you are in complete control! This Last Minute Fruit Dip is always a big crowd pleaser, too!

Fruit Dip
1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip
1 (6 oz) container of flavored yogurt (Key Lime, Strawberry–whatever is in the fridge)

Mix together and serve with your favorite fruits.

I used to think lemon juice (or the fruit preserve stuff I never remembered to buy) was my only option to keep my apples from turning brown. And the lemon juice is pretty sour.

But you can just dip your bananas and apples in Sprite or 7-Up before arranging on the plate. The citric acid in the pop will take care of the browning, and the mild lemon lime flavor isn’t noticeable. No more puckering when eating an apple!

I knew I wanted the silhouettes of our boys hanging in our bedroom, but didn’t want life size prints of their heads nor did I want the 5×7″ oval frames we gave the grandmas. A big impact with smaller photos is what I was after. I decided to throw together some DIY Framed Silhouettes.

To get this, I found frames at the thrift store and painted them black. I really love the octagon frame and hope to some day have a few more interestingly shaped frames to add to the mix.

Then I cut foam core (you know the stuff they mount posters on) to fit the frames. You can pick foam core up at office supply stores, art supply stores, and my favorite–Dollar Tree. If your frames have glass you can trace it as your pattern-but the foam core doesn’t leave room in the frame for the glass so it isn’t necessary.

I then painted the foam core. I chose a fun color to add some color to our white walls. Let dry and put it in the frames.

The final step is to add the silhouettes with double sided tape. This gives a matted look with much less cost. And the best part is, to trade out photos you don’t even have to take the frame down! Just peel one photo off and stick the new one on!

I love looking through the Chasing Fireflies catalog when it comes. And when I saw their number shirts last year I fell in love. How much would your child like to sport around his/her age? Yeah, a lot.  But that price tag. Ouch.  I knew there had to be a cheaper route to get the same effect. So I set out to learn as much as I could about screen-printing at home. Yudu is all the rage, but still, a Yudu for a birthday shirt? It seemed a bit much. I decided to look into DIY Freezer Paper Screen Printing!

I found solid colored long sleeved tees on the clearance rack at Old Navy for 74¢ and figured this was a good opportunity to practice!

Freezer paper screen-printing won out for this simple design. And worked out awesomely for my nephew’s “5” shirt.

A green (his favorite color) 5 on a gray shirt.

So awesomely, that I was mad I didn’t take any photos, we made a “4” shirt for my son. After it was all done I decided I didn’t like this font. And he decided he didn’t like the color so it turned out to be a flop. But here’s the process anyway:

Try out a bunch of fonts to find the one you like best. The 5 is Agent Orange and our 4 is Idolwild. Then size it however big you want and print it out.

Trace the number onto freezer paper–shiny side down. Freezer paper is wonderful because when ironed the shiny side will actually melt into the fabric creating a great surface to work with. It is also used with certain quilt patterns and peels off easily when finished.

I read that you can cut freezer paper to 8.5″x11″ and run it through your ink jet printer. Some say you should cover the shiny side to protect your printer, and others didn’t seem to care. I found it to be very easy to trace the old fashioned way, but if you had a more detailed image you could try it.

Then cut out your number and iron in place on the shirt.

Be sure to place a piece of cardboard in the shirt to protect the backside of the shirt. Squeeze your screen-print paint right onto the shirt. I used an old credit card to scrape across as my squeegee. If you hold the card at a low angle it will leave a thicker amount of paint and cover nicely.

After the shirt is screened let it set for 24 hours before removing the freezer paper. Iron (with an ironing cloth) to set the paint. Or follow the instruction on your paint bottle.

The only place I was able to find screen-printing paint (besides the internet) was Hobby Lobby. Michael’s sells Yudu supplies and I think the Yudu paint would work just as well.

Even though this “4” isn’t green I’m not out much, and I learned a few things on a 74¢ shirt!

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