The 1st Week of Christmas – Leather E-Reader Snuglies

Naptime Gnome Idea #7

AAAHHH, CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!

I love Christmas, and it’s not because of the getting, it is entirely due to the giving!  I once made these E-reader covers for my mom(-in-law) and my sister(-in-law); it still tickles me thoroughly every time I see them unleash their Kindles.  Maybe they just dress their Kindles when they know I’ll be around, like the hideous sweater you still wear once a year because you may be in the presence of the giver, but even so, it makes me happy to think they may possibly enjoy something I took the time to think up and make for them. If you’re an attentive little reader, you’re still wondering why on Earth I’m talking about Christmas when we haven’t even started chasing off 18 year-old trick-or-treaters… surely this is just an error in premature posting. Nope.

The truth is, gnomes love the holidays, Christmas especially. You may have noticed the striking physical resemblance between gnomes and elves, this isn’t mere convergent evolution, we are actually closely related, forming a monophyletic clade, along with pixies, of course. True story. <;’)

So it shouldn’t be at all shocking that around Christmas time, gnomes become particularly active. For years now, my mom (hither forth known as the Seamstress Gnome), grandma (who actually named herself the “Happy Hooker” Gnome… she’s rather brilliant with a crochet hook… <;’) what were you thinking?), and I (you know who I am by now), have made a point to put special effort and thought into one particular present for each other.

Over the years this tradition has developed into a slight one-upping of sorts. The funny part is we aren’t trying to outdo each-other, but ourselves. The Seamstress Gnome is quite crafty with a sewing machine so, not surprisingly, her most personal gifts have always been custom clothes, unique bags, housewares and the like. I have a cheap streak that virtually permeates my core, so I’m always looking to make something unique and purposeful from items we already have, or can be found for very little and amped up with embellishment. The Happy Hooker (tee hee) has always made the most amazing crocheted items, the most beautiful being intricate lace that I swear she completes mostly in her sleep… seriously she’s amazing!

Each year we strive to produce a singular more fantastic gift than the year prior. As you can imagine, we sort of topped out a few years back and now we just make sure we make each other something special. We’ve come to call this gift our “Heart Gift” and it is our most treasured exchange throughout the year.

Since I’ve started my own little gnomey brood, the number of Heart Gifts I must produce has greatly increased, I have Mr. Gnome of course, the many gnome-in-laws, and who could forget the little munchkin gnomes. In the last few years I have shifted to giving almost exclusively Heart Gifts.

When this tradition started I began working a few days or weeks before Christmas (usually keeping busy for most of winter break), but as the list of things to fabricate has lengthened, so has the holiday season. Now I figure I need to start about 12 weeks out… hence, the “12 Weeks of Christmas!” This suits Mr. Gnome just fine, as he likes to sneak the tree up sometime around Halloween!

A friend of mine suggested I blog about the goings on in the gnome workshop leading up to Christmas. I loved the idea, but as many of my gnomeys read these posts, I can’t divulge the details of the coming holidays’ Heart Gifts.  Instead I’ve decided to post about Heart Gifts of Christmas Past. I’ll be sure to keep good notes this year so maybe next year you can read about this year’s antics. <:’)

Some will be brief descriptions with photos, while others will have tips and things I’ve learned through my many OOPSes, I even hope to include some templates along the way so you can cut down on some of your Heart Gift lead time, should you choose to follow suit! <:’) 

So without further adieu, the first Heart Gift of Christmas:

E-Reader Snuglies

I can’t claim the idea for this, my mother- and sister-in-law had new Kindles that desperately needed new clothes, they actually requested some kind of cover. So here is what I came up with. They are just simple envelopes with fold-over flaps. I had some leather scraps my mom had let me abscond with a few years back that I thought would be nice and durable, and wouldn’t look terribly homemade. So here is what I came up with:

My sister(-in-law) likes clean modern lines and one of her favorite colors is green, so I went with a smooth hide in light green.
The closure is just a strip of leather sewn into the seam of the envelope to tuck the flap under.
My mom(-in-law) likes rustic Southwest inspired art and fashion, so I thought she’d enjoy the raw-edge flap and sinew closure.

These were incredibly simple, and could be made out of any fabric.

If you’ve never worked on leather, you can bypass some of my mistakes with these tips:

  • Make sure you use a long stitch (otherwise you’ll just perforate the leather).
  • Use a nice hardy needle and start with a fresh one.
  • If you are using an ordinary sewing machine, be careful not to use thick leather or too many layers… if your sewing machine is groaning, reassess. <:’)
  • Be very careful with pins, either pin close to the edge of the project so it is on the inside of the pouch when sewn, or don’t pin at all. Bobby pins and smooth hair clips work well for holding your leather together if you are worried about leaving permanent holes. 
  • OOH, and the best advise I can offer… Place a piece of thin paper between your presser foot and the leather, this will make it feed super smooth. I figured this out on accident because I couldn’t get it to feed (the leather provides too much traction), so I placed a piece of notebook paper over the work, and it glided right on through! Now I use tissue paper or tracing paper. This way it tears away, with no remnants, when you’re done! I would think parchment or pattern paper would work too.

Other than that, leather is REALLY fun to work with!  So have fun and get creative with it!

If you don’t have scraps to work with look for items at thrift shops to dissect. Just imagine what you could do with a big outdated bag, or a huge leather trench coat! Not crazy about the secondhand scene? Visit a leather outlet like Tandy.

ENJOY!
-The Naptime Gnome <;’)

Reading is Fun – Storytime at Town Square

Mommy Vegas Idea #10

Enjoy the Beauty of Fall with an Outdoor Twist on Storytime!

We love storytime, and we’re not terribly picky about the venue, give us a library nook, multipurpose room, bookstore, mall or even a yoga mat, and we’re set, but with this beautiful weather, nobody wants to be cooped up for storytime.  Town Square and Amazing Clowns have the perfect solution: the Reading is Fun storytime, every Wednesday from 11 am – 12 pm, in the park at Town Square.

Bring a blanket and settle in for a story or two, singing, dancing and other great pre-school readiness activities, while enjoying the beautiful fall weather!  They’ve incorporated the fun, fast-moving, interactive format of their clown shows, into an outdoor storytime, complete with books, balloon animals, singing, dancing, prizes, good old-fashioned storytelling, characters, and some great coupons and giveaways! 

The event is put on by Amazing Clowns, so obviously there is plenty of clowning around, but is refreshingly not too “clowny.” There is definitely a fair bit of clownery, including juggling, balancing acts, balloon animals and unicycle tricks, but in our experience, they have been very low-key. Often little or no make-up, leaving a truly friendly face to welcome even the timidest toddler.

So grab a blanket and a tote jammed with snacks and head down to Town Square for a fun-filled morning of learning and much, much more!

Little Bears Fave: Every child that desires one, can special order a simple balloon sculpture!

The Details

  • Day: Every Wednesday (occasionally cancelled for inclement weather)
  • Time: 11am – approximately 12pm
  • Where: Town Square Park
  • Getting there: Take I-215 to Las Vegas Boulevard, go North towards the Strip, take the overpass to Town Square (Between Fry’s Electronics and Town Square). Park near the center of Town Square. Walk to the grassy park between Children’s Park and Tommy Bahama’s.  We like to park in the lot just East of Stoney’s sort of nestled in behind the shops.

Town Square’s Official Map: http://www.mytownsquarelasvegas.com/shopping-dining-a-entertainment/mall-map.html

Mommy Vegas Map: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zEMvzqHlWC7o.kEoLi5pP_oqc

Happy clowning!
-Candice

The Farm – Farm Animals, Close to Home

Mommy Vegas Idea #9

A Little Farm Fun for City Kids

I grew up under the impression that a herd of horses, some pigs, a coop full of chickens, a couple cats, a dog and a gaggle of geese were my best friends (plus or minus a few reptiles, rodents and various rescued wilds over the years). So it seems a bit amiss to me that we are totally the stereotypical, “1 dog… 1 cat… city family.” Luckily my brother and sister(-in-law) have a fun little hobby farm in Texas, where my kids can pet a live chicken (admittedly, awkwardly… one finger outstretched at arms reach), ride a pluggy old pony (again, awkwardly), and see all sorts of other fun, seemingly kid-proof, critters at nearer than arms reach, should they be so inclined! But not everyone has the privilege of mooching off their loved ones’ livestock – that’s where The Farm comes in!

For a few bucks, you can feel like you’re visiting the family hobby farm to pet cows, pigs, horses (even the mini variety), ducks, chickens and various other fluffy or feathered faces. It’s quite cute and a fun little weekend escape from city life. Admittedly, some may have to relax their standards a bit, this is not a working farm, but a fun little slice of country life a family has opened to the public. I noticed upon our last visit, some patrons had slightly higher expectations than can be delivered at The Farm. You have to go into it with the understanding that it really is, as the somewhat charmingly out-dated website attests, “[A] Time Capsule Since 1961,” a bit of a blast from the past, much like an eccentric aunt’s house.

The entrance may be a bit lack-luster, but wait…
…there is hidden beauty throughout… particularly for those that don’t forget to look up!

While some of the property seems a bit weathered, the grounds are over-all clean and generally pretty cute! In our experience the people (mostly volunteers it appears) are extremely friendly, the animals are very well kept and noticeably well groomed, all those that are allowed to freely interact with guests are pleasant and friendly, and while the place is somewhat small, city kids will have no problem finding plenty to fill about an hour any Saturday or Sunday from 9 am to… well, I guess it depends on when they get tired! 🙂 

The Market
Many people stop by just for the farm fresh eggs, local honey, and other fresh treats, but if it’s the eggs you’re after, be sure to get there early.  Chicken eggs seem to last into late morning, or even early afternoon, but duck and quail eggs are gone soon after opening.  The chicken eggs are a bit pricey at $5 a dozen, but there’s no arguing the appeal of farm fresh eggs!  If you enjoy quail and duck eggs, they are quite the deal, also around $5 a dozen (though obviously, all prices are subject to change at the discretion of the management). 

I LOVED the use of these antique cradles!
…and we all know I like chalkboards!

Produce is generally about $2 a pound, and comes mostly from the Gilcrease Orchard across the street. If you go in the month of October (Gilcrease is open both Saturday and Sunday in October) or on Saturday (during the rest of Fall, Spring, or Summer), you may want to pair the trip with a visit to the Orchard
 

The Animals on The Farm
All the critters were sweet, but we thoroughly enjoyed Violet, the resident pot-bellied pig. Little Bear noted she would have been keener to build her house of bricks… but we decided the property walls were proving fit to detour the Big Bad Wolf.

The chickens were plentiful, but we couldn’t resist this little guy with the bad hair day. 

There are pony rides at an additional fee, but we enjoyed just petting the the horses, both big and small!

What would a farm be without a proper cow or two?!

Little Bear: “MOOOO are you looking at?!” Mommy: “Your cleverness is moosic to my ears!”

The bunny tent was popular with our Little Bug and several other little ladies, it took some patience to get a pic to post free of gawking girls.

“Excuse me, did someone lose a bunny slipper?”

I think this may be the peafowl version of begging.

Other Fun Details

The Bear was a HUGE fan of the enormous gumball machine. 

Bug couldn’t get enough of the fish in a trough. We literally hauled her away whining.

Little Bear and I got a giggle out of this sign seemingly directed at the ichthyophile.

So while you will not get the experience of visiting a real working farm, you will get the opportunity to expose your little city slickers to a few farm friends and maybe even take home some farm-fresh treats.

 Getting There

Address
7222 W. Grand Teton Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89131
The kiosk on Grand Teton
Take I-95 to Durango Exit and go East/North, towards Floyd Lamb State Park. Turn right (East) on Grand Teton. The Farm is located just before the corner of Tenaya and Grand Teton (Northwest corner).  Park along the wall and walk in through the gates.

See this location on the Mommy Vegas Map.

So what was the favorite animal available to love upon at The Farm? Seriously? Seriously.
Happy Farming!
-Candice