Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Baby Cornhole

So as promised I have a new DIY post for you, my friends!

Are you excited?!

First some background...The company I work for is all about engagement. So much so that they use an enterprise social media website. Its really great for the associates because it opens up our networking in ways that wouldn't have been possible for us before. The site contains not just business related posts but also special interest groups for like minded associates.
For instance...I am a member of the Downton Abbey group, a couple different reading groups, I help administrate a group for breastfeeding moms (I'm really proud of this one) and I am a member of a group for moms and expecting mothers.
It was from the mommy group site that I learned about busy bags. One of the moms explained what they were and proposed we organize a swap. Naturally this brought out my overachiever.
The other moms did easy things like pom pom sorters, homemade play-doh, color matching with clothespins and some other really easy (disclaimer: easy is smart...unlike me) ideas. I was not that smart. I wanted to do something that would grow with our children.
Upon searching the interwebs for inspiration I came up with what I am choosing to call Baby Cornhole.
If you are at all familiar with the game called cornhole you'll know that it involves wooden boards that sit up at an angle and at the top of each board is a hole. The goal of the game is to toss corn filled bags through the hole...thus...Cornhole.
I'd seen tutorials on making a similar tossing game for toddlers but instead of the wooden boards I saw people using black paper with red, yellow and green circles on it to make it look like a traffic light.
The thought, I'm sure, was to combine color recognition, with stop, slow, go, with the motor skills needed to toss a bean bag just right to hit the color.
I, however, did not like the idea of using paper. I thought...why not felt. So I took a trip to my local craft store and bought a length of black felt, and some in red, yellow and green.

I also purchased red yellow and green quilting cotton to use for the bean bags.
Check out the process and pictures below.

First I ironed my felts and then cut the "stoplights" out of the red, green and yellow felt and rectangles out of the black for the base of the "stoplights".
Then I used felt glue to glue the "stoplights" onto the rectangles.

Once the glue was on the "stoplights" I carefully turned them over. The instructions o the glue stated not to press on the glue as it would soak into the felt on its own.
While I let those dry for the hour instructed on the bottle of glue I set about ironing the quilting cotton I planned to use for the bean bags.
Once that was finished I cut them into squares that were slightly smaller than the circles for the "stoplights".
Then I used a straight stitch on my sewing machine and sewed all four sides, leaving just a small space open to allow me to fill it with rice.
At this point I set M to work on turning them inside out so that I could fill them with rice and then sew them closed. But then I realized that sewing 30 of these little bags closed with a pillow stitch was going to take FOREVER! I had to make ten of these for the other mommies and being my usual procrastinating self I waited until the last minute to get started.
(Note to self: Work on procrastinating tendencies later)
M was not pleased with me when I told him we needed to turn all of the bags he had turned inside out back right side out.


Moving on though...
I didn't have a funnel on hand so I rolled a piece of paper and taped it. Voila! Improvised funnel. Then using the funnel I filled the bags with rice. Being careful not to fill them too full, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to sew them shut.
Then I sewed them closed using the straight stitch again on my sewing machine.
Once they were all sewn I trimmed the ragged edges and put one of each color in a gallon size Ziploc bag along with the "stoplight" board.
Unfortunately I neglected to take a picture of the finished product. I'll work on getting one up as soon as possible.
But that's it really. Pretty simple but time consuming with all the cutting, filling, and sewing.
The only negative I've found so far is that the "stoplight" tends to slide on our hardwood floor when G tosses a bag. I plan to try adding some strips of glue to the back of the "stoplight" to add texture and grip. Don't know if this will work but I figured it was worth a try.
For the record...G loves his.
I hope you liked the tutorial and that you'll make one of your own. If you do...send me a pic. I'd love to see it!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April Awesomeness

I realize it's been a while since I posted. But I have a great excuse.
I live in Louisville. This basketball season has been crazy for us and with the recent injury sustained by our sophomore guard Kevin Ware we've all been a bit discombobulated. I've been spending a huge amount of time reading articles at CardChronicle.com and watching our team recover and prepare for the rest of the tournament without him.
We advanced yesterday, to the final game and we'll play Michigan on Monday for the title. We plan to win. We will win. For Ware. For Louisville. For love.
Watching the Elite Eight game against Duke and seeing Kevin get injured was one of the most emotional moments I've ever witnessed. Seeing his teammates fall to the floor in shared agony. Seeing Coach Pitino wiping away tears. Seeing our center Gorgui Dieng holding our guard Russ Smith and Kevin's best friend Chane Behanan as they cried for him was simultaneously one of the most beautiful and heartrending moments in sports for me.
Here in Louisville, we take our basketball seriously. But we also take loving our student athletes seriously too. We were all united that night. I'm positive that God was overwhelmed with prayers for Kevin, and his family, both the one he was born to and the one he made on the court. And for this last week Louisville has been his family.
Louisville has rallied around Kevin and made him our hero. As he lay on the sidelines with his right leg broken and the bone sticking six inches out of his leg his thoughts weren't for himself. He didn't care about his leg. He cared about his team. He cared about the progress his family had made on the court this year. He begged them to not worry about him and win the game.
"I'm fine...Win the game." He said. "I'm fine...Win the game"
Now obviously we should all care more about the student athlete than the tournament and speaking purely for my own family I can tell you...we do. We love and appreciate all of our players. We want the best for them and follow their careers after college. But when we heard the brave words of Kevin, we wanted to win...because he wanted us to. #WinForWare was instantly trending on Twitter and I know that quite a few of the tweets with the tag came from my account as well as M's.
Kevin will climb the ladder to cut down the net in Atlanta this year. We are determined. If fans can will anything into happening our fans have definitely willed it so. Kevin will remain one of the best beloved players in Cardinal history. When he finally returns to the court, the fans in the Yum Center will go berserk. If you aren't wearing ear plugs...you'll be deafened. I can't wait to hear it.
Numerous get well cards and banners have been signed by Louisvillians. Every time it has been announced that one is available for signing the city has turned out to do so.
That, my friends, is the best thing about Louisville. Our love. I've lived here my whole life. I've never lived anywhere else and I've never wanted to. I love my hometown. I love my team. I love my fellow Louisvillians and I love the love we display for each other.
So I'll apologize for not posting lately...but I'm sure you understand...I've been busy cheering my Cardinals and will continue to do so until they bring the trophy home.
I'll have new DIY post for you soon...Just have to win the tournament first.