No-Sew, Kid-Friendly, Table Runner – in 30 Minutes or Less

Naptime Gnome Idea #6

Don’t throw away the trimmed ends of pull shades! Re-purpose! 

Two dilemmas needed fixing: 

  1. We needed a kid-proof runner to cover the seam in our packing paper “table cloth”
  2. There were some several-year-old trimmed ends of window shades that needed to vacate the craft space

Solution:
A wipe-clean table runner made from castoff window pull-shade scraps

NOTE: You could do the same thing with any spare scraps of vinyl or paper.

DIY Paper Punch Vinyl Table Runner
Crafty Gnomes: 1
Time to Complete: 1 naptime with time to spare!
Supplies and Tools

  • Vinyl pull-shade trimmed end

-Any kind of narrow scrap vinyl or paper will work.
-This same technique on butcher paper would make a pretty lacy table covering for a girls’ tea party, don’t forget to set the table with a Crayon Bouquet (see tutorial)!

  • Scissors
  • Paper punch or decorative shears
 
Measuring your runner

1. Determine your desired length and width for your runner and cut with scissors to fit. This scrap vinyl was 13″ wide, which was perfect, then I just rolled it out over the table and cut off enough that it hung over about a foot on either side.

2. Starting on one end, begin punching the edge of the runner. If you are using shears rather than a punch, be sure to remain consistent in the amount of material you are removing. You may consider drawing a faint pencil line 1/4″ from the edge to follow along to keep your runner’s edge straight.
The punch I chose had guides to line up the pattern after each new punch, this ensures a consistent pattern and even edge.

3. Repeat on the other side. Be sure to keep whichever side you would like to be the top facing up. Some punches emboss the edges slightly, flipping the vinyl over will result in the two edges looking mismatched.

4. If you are going to punch the ends too, you will need to trim the pattern so your design will flow on the corners. I opted to leave my ends straight.

5. If you are not punching the ends, you may need to trim them so you have a complete pattern (you don’t want half of a scallop or just a bit of a flower at the end.

6. Inspect your design for any obvious flaws or hanging tags. Carefully trim with sharp scissors.

7. If your material was rolled, it may need smoothing. It was hot enough here to “iron” it with the heat from the sun. Spread it out on a relatively clean/dry surface, we have artificial lawn, but a patio, chaise lounge, or even a kid’s slide will work great. Then smooth out the creases, let sit for about 10 minutes and smooth again.  If it’s cool, wet, or both, spread out your runner and blow lightly with a hair drier, be careful that it doesn’t get too hot… you don’t want to burn yourself or melt your runner onto anything!
8. Smooth over your table… step back and enjoy your masterpiece.
9.  Throw a paper table cloth down under your runner and make a Crayon Bouquet to go with it! (Optional <;’)
Other Ideas
  •  No paper punch on hand? Here are some other edge ideas, noticed some worked better than others, so do a practice run with a bit of scrap first.
  • Not crazy about table runners? Consider making a set of place mats instead!
  • If you have a house full of windows worth of shade trimmings, consider making runners or place mats for holiday presents, or make a few and keep on hand for housewarming, hostess, or random “I-Love-You” presents.
ENJOY!
The Naptime Gnome <;’)
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Fun Services and Innovations at Our Local Libraries

Mommy Vegas Idea #8

Your Library Card, not just for books anymore!

We have always been big library fans, but having lived in Henderson for quite some time we tended to frequent the Henderson Libraries, which are fabulous by the way. Our favorite is Paseo Verde, it feels a little like the big fancy book store chains, complete with coffee shop and comfy seating, but a lot more intimate.

We decided to mix things up a bit this week and try a different library, so I hopped on the Clark County Library website to explore some of our Las Vegas options (for those who aren’t privy, Henderson Libraries are actually distinct from the Clark County Library District).  After looking through the extensive calendar of events for the many valley locations, we settled on “Gotta Move Monday,” an interactive storytime format for 0-5 year-olds, that includes singing, dancing, and general silliness, in addition to the regular reading and library fun. 

We had a great time at Gotta Move (even have a blog post all cued up to be posted just prior to the next one, in October), and though we were pressed for time to get Little Bear back home to prep for afternoon preschool, we had fun exploring some of the attributes of the Enterprise Library, namely the features of the Children’s Section.

It occurred to me that libraries have become far more than a collection of free reading material. So in the spirit of “Library Card Sign-up Month,” seriously, September apparently has a special designation as such, I thought we’d share some of the exciting services and activities available at our local libraries. Many of the following are available at both Las Vegas and Henderson Libraries, for more information on the details visit their websites (if you don’t happen to live in Southern Nevada, I strongly encourage you to check our what your local library has to offer)!

IN A NUT SHELL


STORYTIMES
There is a wide variety of storytimes at all the libraries, I love how they have some available for different age groups, as well as a catchall for those of us with kiddos in more than one age range. Many of the locations also feature weekend storytimes great for working parents, and for the stay at home parents that just need a break, these make great “Mommy/Daddy and Me” activities, to give you some alone time on the weekend!

Example of Weekly Storytime Schedule, Enterprise Library
Many of the locations have a check-in or ticket system (don’t worry, it’s still free!) to help them regulate the number of guests and keep track of attendance. Be sure to check in with the Circulation Desk or Children’s Services Desk prior to starting time just in case!

CLUBS AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
Be sure to check into special interest groups too!  Book clubs are prevalent, obviously, but there are also “Reading with Rover”-type programs, early literacy programs, English as a second language as well as other enriching activity based groups, for example, multiple locations have Lego or Duplo Clubs. They often meet once a month to explore themed activities.

Both library systems feature pro-literacy programs. The Las Vegas branches participate in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. My Little Bear was SO tickled with this wall, he has decided that his name belonged there as well. So guess what we’ll be working on! He doesn’t realize he’s already well surpassed this number… but I’m not telling him that!

EVENTS/PROGRAMS/PRIVATE EVENT SPACE
Many of the libraries have multipurpose rooms or auditoriums. The (main) County Library on Flamingo near UNLV actually has a full theater. It’s truly spectacular, as is the entire library.

They regularly feature author tours and book signings, motivational talks and fun kid’s programs and performances.  They also rent many of these spaces to the public at below industry standard rates!  So while you may not be leaping to have a wedding reception at the local library, you may consider these spaces for future meetings, club gatherings or special event.


TECH SERVICES
For years anyone with a library card could enter a library, just about anywhere, and use a computer. Even our tiny community library where I grew up (actually doubled as the school library!) had computers available for patron use, even in the late 80’s/early 90’s I remember being enamored with the idea of “free internet!” Technology has come a long way, and our libraries haven’t been left behind.

In addition to computer labs and public use computers, the libraries also feature wi-fi and mobile printing stations. Oh, and don’t forget you can access your library from anywhere, and not just to reserve or find a book, you can have that book, magazine or song in your possession digitally in moments! Thank you Al Gore!

FREE eMEDIA
There are also all sorts of eMedia freebies available through both library systems, including free eBooks through various providers and music downloads with “freegal.” This awesome program is definitely worth checking out! You just sign in with your library card (from your comfy little seat… seriously, you could go do it right now, provided you have an active library card!), find the songs you like, and download up to five a week! That’s right, you can download up to five songs a week for freeOh, and you get to KEEP them, no due date – no late fees! There is even a wish list so you can keep track of what you will garner next! If the AWESOME hasn’t hit you yet, that could be over $200 in free music a year if you play it up right!
 

AND THE LIST OF COOL OFFERINGS GOES ON AND ON…
Speaking of awesome, if you find yourself in a rush, after storytime or on your way home from work one day and want to bring home a little surprise, you can pick up one of these handy book bundles.   These hand selected bundles take the guesswork and time investment out of bringing home a bag full of books!  Check this station out next time you stop by, you may find the perfect bundle has already been created for you!
 

 OH MY GOODNESS, THIS IS GENIUS!!! Yes, I’m totally text yelling.

Now, to top it all off, in honor of Library Card Sign-up Month, the Clark County Library District has put together a drawing to help drive library love and use. The program includes an opportunity to win a family four-pack of tickets to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, and a huge discount on tickets for those who do not find themselves lucky winners! All you have to do is either sign up for a library card, if you do not already have one, or show your love on Facebook to be entered in the drawing. Want to collect on that nearly 60% ticket discount? You don’t even have to have a Facebook account, just flash your Clark County Library Card at the Box Office through September 30th! Click here for more details!

Would you like to be the proud owner of one of these magical cards? Click here to fill out the application online!

Happy reading,

Candice

The Pit Match of Porcelain Cleaners…

Naptime Gnome Idea #5

Which Common Household Cleaner Cleans Porcelain Coated Sinks Best

I once spilled some Kirkland Brand dishwasher detergent, in doing, I somehow managed to ruin a pair of shoes, the kitchen rug and a rather cute shirt in moments, but in the time it took me to wipe up the mess, the dollop that assaulted the kitchen sink left a sparkling white signature! What magic is this? I could hardly be flustered by my ruined attire when faced with irrefutable evidence of its raw stain fighting potential! While I became much more careful in its handling, the dish washing detergent quickly became the favored stain treatment on hard-scape around the gnome kingdom! Even a rust stained sink, after weeks of apple processing was no match for The Naptime Gnome and her trusty sidekick Kirkland!

But when Costco changed their formula to the “new, improved… leaves all plastic, including children’s sippy cups, impregnated with artificial floral chemical stench” variety, the partnership had to come to an end. Though more expensive, Cascade was welcomed into the kitchen, and while my water cups exhibit the sweet sweet smell of NOTHING once more, not a darn thing the stuff touches is “clean.” Including my sink. <:-P

So in a quest to find the next great sink warrior, I put together the following pit match. Who will triumph? READ ON FAIR CITIZEN!

The Contenders: 
(It’s a bit of a wild hand, but it’s really what I had on hand when the idea struck)

  • Cascade Advanced Power
  • Soft Scrub with Bleach
  • Lysol Toilet Cleaner with Bleach (I know, but the dishwasher detergent worked, why not!?) 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)/Baking Soda Paste (I love this one, great toothpaste in a jam and works wonders on carpet stains… SPOT TEST FIRST)

The Method:
The sink was first mucked up with oodles and oodles of fruit processing rubbish, mostly apple bits, coring leftovers and skins. 

  1. Then scrubbed clean (to the best of my greasy elbows’ abilities) with dish soap and a Scotch pad (we use Kirkland’s Eco-Friendly Liquid Dish Soap). The sink was dried and masked with painters tape to yield 4 sections, each to receive one cleaner, the taped off portions to act as controls.
    1. A thick paste was made using baking soda and household/pharmacy grade (3%) Hydrogen Peroxide (I used this same type of paste to whiten our bathroom counters, wanna see?).
  2. Then each of the four cleaners was smeared upon its own section of sink and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. With tape still in place, the sections were individually wiped clean with a paper towel…
  4. …then rinsed. The tape was removed and the surfaces compared. 

Cascade and Lysol where fairly ineffectual, while the Soft Scrub and Peroxide/Soda paste worked about the same – Soft Scrub leading by a narrow margin. I ended up cleaning the entire sink with the paste as I was about out of Soft Scrub.

This image was compiled with strips from 4 successive photos.

RESULTS

I would say over all, Soft Scrub worked marginally better than the Hydrogen Peroxide/baking soda (H2O2 + NaHCO3 in the pic), but if you are like me, and would prefer to have fewer harsh chemicals around, I’m a fan of the mixing of a weakly concentrated boo-boo treatment and a powder readily used in cookies and children’s science experiments!  The best part is neither required ANY scrubbing!  I used the paste on the white stove top next… with fantastic results! Next stop, tile grout – I’ll let you know!

ENJOY!

The Naptime Gnome <;-)

Crayon Bouquet, Girl’s Tea Center Piece

Naptime Gnome Idea #4

Make a fun and easy center piece for your next kid-tastic party!

Inspired by the prissy pens at the bank, all gussied up in an attempt to make them harder to pocket, the Gnome fired this out for our annual Mad Hatter Tea Party a couple years ago, but it comes back out all the time because the kids LOVE it. It’s required quite a few replacement flowers as they tend to get given away to very attached and enamored little ladies. The kiddles had it out the other day while some friends were visiting.  After some spirited demands for one of their own, it occurred to me that some house gnomes may appreciate some direction on planting crayon flowers.  I’m thinking of “growing” one that matches our kitchen decor to just leave on the table.

Faux Flower Crayon Flower Pot
Crafty Gnomes: 1
 (See the Crafty Gnome Key)

Approximate Cost: <$5

Time to Complete: 1 naptime
Supplies and Tools

  • Crayons
  • Wire cutter (needle nose pliers or old scissors are fine)
  • Green floral tape
  • Scotch tape (optional)
  • Container to hold your bouquet (flower pot, small pail, plastic vase, you get the idea! <;)
  • Ribbon to decorate your container (optional)

Gather Your Materials
Special note on this one, particularly if you’re making more than one…

  • Try to use things you already have, like lightly used crayons, bits of ribbons from past gifts, containers in which you’ve received arrangements in the past, faux flowers you’ve come across that are maybe a bit too fake to use for anything fancy, etc. 
  • The dollar store often has bouquets for cheap, and they tend to carry floral tape as well. I’ve purchased it at both the Dollar Tree and the 99¢ Only Store. Oh, and you don’t need much, a roll will make OODLES AND OODLES of flower crayons.

Prepping Flowers
1. Just like when you prep real flowers for arrangement, you’ll want to thin out the greenery. Maybe leave the leaves <:-) closest to the bloom and removed the rest. You will also want to pull off any small parts, particularly if you have any bitty guests that may be inspired to color. 



2. Using wire cutters (or some other cutting implement you really don’t care about much), trim the stems so they are long enough to wrap around the crayon once or twice loosely.

Affixing Flowers to Crayons

3. Wrap the stem around the crayon, bending the wire to conform. Take care to not break the crayon. If you are in a rush, this step isn’t imperative, but it will improve the longevity of your work, particularly if you plan on using them often.

4. Wrap a bit of Scotch tape around the crayon and the base of the stem, and another length around the end of the crayon closest to the flower, this will also add some durability so the stems are not simply ripped from the floral tape added in the next step. Again, if you are in a rush, and they don’t have to hold up, you can skip this step.

 Wrapping

 5. Starting at the flower end of the crayon (top?), begin snugly wrapping the floral tape around both the crayon and flower stem, working your way down the crayon (imagine the spiral stripes of a candy cane and “follow” them).

NOTE: You do not necessarily have to start wrapping near the flower, but you should definitely finish the wrap near the flower so the end of the tap is not where you would hold the crayon.

6. Once you’ve reached the end of the crayon wrapper, begin wrapping back up towards the flower.

7. Once you’ve reached the place you started wrapping, you can repeat the wrapping process a few more times to make sure the flower isn’t going anywhere.

8. Because ours get A LOT of love and I usually have several rolls of cheapy paper floral tape on hand, they are wrapped down-and-back, 3 times. But I’ve tried both once and twice, and they are perfectly serviceable.  With the plasticized floral tape, you only need to make one “lap.”

9. When you are satisfied with your wrap job, simply tear (or cut if using sturdier plastic tape) and wrap the end around snugly.

10. Press the tape end snugly with a wiping motion over the end to secure it.

11. Repeat for all the crayons. With this arrangement I used the same color crayons as flowers. The leave are attached to various green crayons.

12. Decorate your container as you desire and insert your “flowers.”

ENJOY!

 The Naptime Gnome <;’)