If You’re Crafty And You Know It…

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Those of you who’ve been SquintMom followers since the beginning (and thank you!) may have noticed that over the last year and a half, the site has undergone several transformations. SquintMom started as pure science-writing-for-parents (“Resources for Evidence-Based Parenting”), but has grown to include my personal reflections (“SquintMom’s Blog”). Even more recently, I’ve begun blogging about crafts, posting DIY tutorials, and so forth. While I think having my personal blog incorporated into the SquintMom site definitely adds something for my readers, I’m not convinced that the crafts necessarily belong. For this reason, I have started a brand new blog called Beautiful Entropy, which will be the new home for anything that would previously have been published in the “Crafty Mama” category on SquintMom’s Blog. Preexisting posts in this category will still be accessible through SquintMom, but they’ll redirect. Future craft and DIY posts will be published only to Beautiful Entropy.

I hope that any of you who are creatively inclined will consider checking out the new site (though bear in mind that it’s currently new and doesn’t have much content, so check back frequently!).



The No-Measure, No-Sew, No-Sweat Tutu

No-measure, no-sew EASY tutu tutorial (tututorial!!) by Beautiful Entropy

I’ve been obsessed with Pinterest all week (it’s kept me sane while I’ve held the couch down post-surgery), and it’s had me DYING to do some crafts. Today I saw my orthopedic surgeon, who gave me the go-ahead to use my arm a little bit (and he was careful to qualify that statement so thoroughly that he nearly retracted it entirely). I decided to make a tutu for W, who has been so sweet and understanding of me during my convalescence that I wanted to give her a present. However, I didn’t want to:

  1. Drag my sewing machine out of its current hibernating place, to which it retreats when I have guests staying in the guestroom.
  2. Measure anything (hey, feeling crafty doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not feeling lazy).
  3. Make anything I could possibly screw up.

There were a few “no-sew” tutu tutorials I found online, but most of them were *mostly* no-sew (which is to say, I would have had to sew the waistband. Didn’t want to.) In the end, I drew inspiration from these tutorials, but went it alone where it came to the waistband. I also took some chances that worked out well in terms of doing the whole thing without the assistance of a tape measure. The other cool thing about the way I made the tutu is that it has about 3″ of potential for letting-out in the waist, which means it will fit for a longer period of time. I’m so happy with the way the tutu turned out that I wanted to share the project. I figure if I can make this thing with one-and-a-half arms while I’m hopped up on pain pills, anyone working with a full deck and two hands should be able to whip it out in no time! More

Easy DIY Toys — “Tickle Monster” Sensory Ball

tickle featured

“Tickle monster” soft sensory balls are deceptively easy and fast to make, and kids love them. They’re squeezable, lovable, throwable, catchable, and just generally fun. Best thing about them is that they’re easy to do even if you’re just learning to knit or crochet. Because they’re felted, dropped stitches don’t matter, you can be as lazy as you like, you can take shortcuts galore…and they basically come out looking perfect no matter what! Don’t knit? It’s really easy to learn, and there are tons on instructive online videos and websites (that’s how I learned!).


  • 1 skein of cheap wool, any brand (yes, it MUST be wool; otherwise, it won’t felt). It should be medium weight (worsted) for best results. You can use any color; I used black to really allow the colors of the textured yarn to pop.
  • 1 skein textured yarn. Craft stores like Joann have lots of options, as do online stores like Yarn Market. The texture you use will determine the look and feel of the tickle monster.
  • Large knitting needles (maybe a 10) or a big crochet hook (maybe an M). It doesn’t really matter what size you use, but working with the textured yarn (especially popcorn) will be much easier with a larger set of needles or hook. One great thing about the tickle monsters is you can just eyeball everything; no measuring, no stitch counting, no patterns. The smaller your needles/hook and the tighter your work, the less your fabric will shrink when you felt it, though, so keep that in mind. More

Easy DIY “OK To Wake” Timer

Homemade sleep alarm -- nightlight plugged into a digital timer.

So, W is understanding more and more language these days, and I can explain increasingly complex ideas to her. I’ve been thinking of getting one of those alarm clocks that let kids know when it’s ok to get up (without having to tell time), because she tends to want to wake at around 5:30 in the morning…and I don’t. My hope is that if I get her an alarm clock of sorts, she’ll cuddle with me quietly for about half an hour between the time she wakes up and the time I feel it’s reasonable to get out of bed. I know that even with her improving language skills, communicating this is probably a long shot at this point…but it’s worth a try. Even if it doesn’t work now, it’ll work someday.

There are lots of options for kids’ sleep clocks out there; some change color at a specific time, others glow, and some show pictures of a sleeping or playing cartoon creature. The clocks are expensive, though; they tend to run in the neighborhood of $40. In scouring the interwebs for a good deal, I ran across this site, which (in addition to doing a comprehensive review of sleep clocks for kids) suggested saving a bunch of cash by making your own sleep alarm. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that myself. Major DUH moment. A homemade sleep clock is a simple thing to put together. You can get little light timers like this one for about $5 bucks; digital ones are a bit more. Plug a nightlight into the timer, and you’re all set; when the light goes on (or off — you could do it either way) it’s ok to get up!

I think we’ll give it a shot!


How do you let your munchkin know when it’s ok to get up?