Celebrating Two!

Here is Bug’s birthday story at Grandma’s house…

Celebrating birthdays is a favorite thing to do.  I was excited at the thought that our granddaughter, “Bug” was turning  TWO!   It’s hard to believe …  she’s learning and growing so fast!

My challenge was to create a simple, and nice family party for a toddler –  without spending a lot of time or money.   And have fun of course!

Simple and good (although not quick), I decided to make cupcakes.    Bug’s mom requested no chocolate or red colored cake this year – because of  the crazy mess it made last year… no problem…

Yellow cake with homemade lemon butter cream frosting – Yum!

Make a Wish?

I didn’t have a theme in mind.  But I knew I wanted to decorate the cupcakes – but what color – what to do…  I decided I could make the best visual impact with decorative picks.  I made them with the materials I had on hand – zero cost!

Since I happened to already have some little orange giraffe cut-outs.  I added more color with fuchsia, lime green and light pink scrapbook card stock.  I made a variety of colored flowers using my flower paper punch.  Then I glued them around a wooden tooth pick – viola!  Festive cupcake party picks – done!  Time: less than an hour.  Expense:  zero cost!

– Relaxing and enjoying post cupcake time –

Simple, colorful paper decorations hung with fishing line, make a big impact.

The large paper lanterns were purchased from the Martha Stewart line at my local craft store.

I stapled them together – so they could be reused for a future celebration.

Cost: < $10 for the set of five

Time and effort:  15 minutes & very easy   (the kit even included the fishing line!)

Little Bug with her Mom and Dad – I love this picture…

Cupcakes, on birthday table runner….with a cordial of rainbow sprinkles for  cupcake decorating = toddler fun!

Happy Family!

Little Bug wearing her new princess birthday t-shirt and lavender tutu.  Details on how I made them will be coming soon on a new post!   Don’t forget to subscribe now, if you want to get email notification of any new posts on my blog www.pringlepotamus.com  that way you won’t miss any of the fun.

Birthday Presents!

Bug and her baby doll… yes, there is a giant bear in the background…. 53 inches tall – courtesy of Costco…. I couldn’t resist it!

Happy Birthday!

Cupcake remains still on her face….those big eyes melt my heart – adorable!


Pop Tunic Top! 2011 Spring top sew-a-long

I’m not one for joining contests and such, but I was motivated to enter the 2011 Spring Top Sew-a-long, sponsored by Rae at:  www.made-by-rae.com        This year the theme was sew a Spring top for yourself!  I can’t remember the last time I actually sewed something for me.  I thought it would be fun, and I decided to give it a try. 

Pop Tunic Top!

I challenged myself to use the fabric I already had in my stash…   I decided to use some big graphic fabric I got from Ikea a while ago – I had just over 1 yard of fabric to use, so I had to be creative in making a design that would fit. 

I used the help of a pattern to get me started…  I used it as a guide, and  changed it a bit to suit me.  I decided not to make the neck and arm facings – and instead I used 1 inch wide bias tape.

It came together quickly.  The hardest part was making the pattern fit the small amount of fabric… and being able to fit the top to me!

Living in Florida means…   Spring = Summer weather.  I paired it with a turquoise colored tube top.  You could also wear it with a little white t-shirt under it…  I would definitely wear it as a bathing suit cover-up too.

I love this fabric, with the graphic pops!

It’s easy to wear… one shoulder ties in a bow.

Ready for fun – day or night!


The back view – with my pringle potamus label. 


Funny Bunnies

 Hop – Skip – Jump

Part of what makes blogging fun is visiting other sites.  Hop – Skip – Jump is all about sharing what inspires me from other sites.  There are so many wonderfully creative people out there in the blogging community.   I ran across these adorable handmade bunnies at Chez Beeper Bebe – visit her site for a little diversion from life, or alot of inspiration:   http://chezbeeperbebe.blogspot.com/ 
I love the idea of recycling old sweaters into something new.  These are too cute!

Funny Bunnies

Here is that little bunny made from recycled sweaters I have been working on.  Kinda cute in that sweet and simple sort of way.  But you should know that there is also something a little funny about this bunny (and his friends)…

…and no, it is not their little tails colored like springtime confections (or candy-asses–as I was tempted to name them until my adult self took hold and shook me to my senses)…

…no, I am afraid these bunnies are earless–or maybe they are imposters merely impersonating bunnies…whatever the case, they are a bit goofy and maybe even a little sad looking once they remove their hats–but just put his hat back on and he’ll be fine.  Really.
Oh, and did I mention that this little funny bunny design will be available to you in a set of spring-time inspired patterns I will be releasing in the next week or so?  Yes, there is more to come so stay riveted to your computer monitors until I make it back here with more information.  

peeps, jelly beans or…

Chocolate Bunnies!

Easter Morning! circa 1963 Pasadena, California

Me on the left, with my big chocolate face and my sister, together in the backyard on Easter morning in Pasadena, California.  I believe it was taken in 1963;  I was probably 2 or 3 years old.  My big sister was clean, dressed and ready  for church… me on the other hand, still in my pajamas, far from going anywhere – except for being in the moment  –  eating my chocolate bunny! 

I love how we’ve both got a firm grip around those Easter basket handles.   It’s like our pot of gold – and it ain’t going anywhere! 

I notice my basket holds a family heirloom!  The coveted Easter Egg musical toy.  Oh, what a joy!  Who knew an egg-shaped, metal music box, with a purple painted bunny on it, would bring such happiness!   It had a little crank on it  and played the delightful little song: “Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail”. 

It was passed down from child to child over the years.  And was always mysteriously rested – put away by my mother, only to resurface another year for another child’s Easter basket – smart idea, huh.  By the time it came to me (the middle of five) it was slightly scratched, and dented.  But it could still play a solid tune! 

What a beating that metal musical egg took… all the kids in the family and the neighborhood played with that music box.  No batteries needed!   Of course, the younger you were, the slower the tune was played – sometimes just barely capable of getting out a note or two together.  The older kids, on the other hand, had the coordination of cranking that handle down pat!  They usually  sped through playing “Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail” so fast and furious, it made the song unrecognizable to hear – ha. 

I wonder if someone in the family still has that Peter Cotton Tail music box…. it would be perfect to slip into Little Bug’s Easter basket this year….  hmm….   I just found myself singing that silly song. 


Little Bunny Finger Puppets

Here’s a way you can made a family tradition for Spring Time and Easter….. try making your own family of BUNNY FINGER PUPPETS!!!!   They are so easy and so cute! 

A basket of bunnies – and no chocolate mess!


Here’s how to get started:

Easy to make felt bunny finger puppets 

I used white wool felt for the outside pieces – its dense and has a good weight and feel.  Although wool is more expensive than polyester felt, it’s worth it here.

Cut out two white felt the bunny shapes, and two colored shapes I did use polyester felt on the colored pieces – my local fabric store does not carry wool in bright colors.

Sandwich the two colored felt pieces between the white felt, and hand stitch around. 

Enjoy the wonderfully creative site at The Purl Bee to see my inspiration, and get the complete tutorial of the finger bunny puppet.  Visit:  http://www.purlbee.com/bunny-finger-puppets/

Tip of bunny ear

First stitch all four layers, then when you get to the ears, separate the layers, and sew only two together  (white and colored felt) then, pick up all four layers again and sew the head and the rest of the body.  Remember to keep an opening space for a finger.  Then go back, and sew the remaining ear together.

Oh, the little face features – these are the details that make the bunny puppet come to life!


Finger puppets! – perfect for little fingers

Felt colors of the rainbow – purple, teal, magenta, pink, yellow, orange.  I think they need a little cotton tail… note to self: add a white yarn pom-pom as a finishing touch! 

Enjoy your basket of bunnies!

Little Bear

Oh, Little Bear!

     Little Bear is currently Bug’s  favorite television program at Nana’s house.   She is captivated as she watches the lovely story unfold about little bear and his animal friends – duck and cat.  I love the way the story is simply told and beautifully illustrated.  It even has a little moral thread running through it.  It’s one of the few children’s programs I’ve found where the characters speak clearly, and respectfully to each other. 

        I’m an advocate of children not watching a lot of television…. like anything in life – it’s all about moderation.   I know there should be a balance between creative play, large and small muscle activities, reading books, etc. – But when my granddaughter, Bug comes to visit,  Little Bear is the one program we love to watch together.

         Oh, Little Bear!  Move over Dora the Explorer – make room for Little Bear.  You can find Little Bear on cable television “On Demand” under – kids – nick jr.   

        With that in mind,  I couldn’t resist trying my luck at knitting a bear hat to help Bug  celebrate with Little Bear

 I used an Alpaca wool blend yarn on this hat – very soft and cuddly. 


          If you are a parent or grandparent, or a friend of a parent or grandparent, who may be looking for other activities for children – other than watching television, I have an excellent resource for you.   As a former Montessori Teacher myself, I recommend that you visit the Michael Olaf Company  at www.michaelolaf.net  

         I love the way the bear ears came together.


      The Michael Olaf catalogue has been one of  my favorite “go-to”  source books  for Montessori materials for years.  What’s great is that you can get a quick overview, and read all about how the Montessori Method can be used at home – for free!  They have a wonderful “teaching text” section – to read, and another section for “appropriate materials” – where you can shop and buy.   I’ve probably purchased and/or used most of their products in my classroom – over the years.  

        Let me know if you need a recommendation on a particular item, or need a gift idea –  just leave a comment, and I would be happy to consult for free.  

The brown heathered yarn – compliment those beautiful brown eyes! 


 The bear hat is put together with side seams.  The ears are made by tightly tying a string of yarn around the top corners. 



I used circular needles, but knitted it flat, not in-the-round like my other hats.



Brown bear, brown bear, what do you hear?


Little Bug loves wearing her little bear hat any time of day!


      If you are looking for quality children’s toys, or how to design a great educational environment for your child at home  – which your kids will love  –  and go back to again and again, visit www.michaelolaf.net 




happiness = a soft and cozy handmade hat made from bamboo yarn!

little princess tutu

Easy to make tutu for the little princess in your life. 

This is an easy project because you don’t need to be exact – and that’s great.  Get several yards of light pink tulle, 1/2 inch elastic for the waist, and 2 yards of 1/2 inch decorative ribbon for bow (optional) .  Fold tulle in half 18 inches – or so.  Cut many – many 2 inch strips.  Double knot strips around the elastic waist band (pre-measured and sewn closed).  Trim if necessary.  Knot each free end of tulle.  Make bow with contrasting ribbon for interest – if desired.  Sew in place.  Done!  How easy was that!