Crochet Reusable Water Balloons – Summer Fun with No Mess!

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!
Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

Earlier this year, I saw the coolest thing on Pinterest. I wanted so badly to try it out. I was so curious and I knew my kids would love it. Because who in the world wouldn’t want to try their hand at DIY crochet reusable water balloons?!

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Only thing was, it was the very beginning of January, and was probably the coldest day of the year. We were doing everything possible to stay warm.

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

Flash forward six or seven months to the summer. One of the absolute worst Italy has seen in a long time. Months straight of heat and humidity with virtually no rain. So, we were doing the exact opposite, doing everything possible to stay cool.

At this point, crochet water balloons were sounding even more amazing.

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

Because everyone loves a good water balloon fight, right? But nobody likes having to go around picking up all the bits of rubber from the broken balloons. And think of all that non-recyclable waste! It drives me nuts!

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

That’s the genius in this crochet water balloon design by Left in Knots! They avoid all that! You don’t actually fill them up as you would with a classic balloon. You just put them all in a bucket of water and the yarn fibers soak up the water. Throw them at your opponents, then pop them back in the water when they need another soak, and throw them again!

You use the same balloons over and over again, so no waste and no broken pieces of latex to clean up!

Have summer water battles without having to pick up bits of broken latex with these awesome homemade crochet reusable water balloons! Fun to use in the yard or at a pool or lake, and perfect at a summer birthday party as a game, gift or party favor!

When you’re done, just give the balloons a rinse off and air dry them. You can also machine wash and dry them! They flatten out nicely so they don’t take up too much storage space, either.

Let me tell you a little more about my experience making these crochet reusable water balloons.

Read moreCrochet Reusable Water Balloons – Summer Fun with No Mess!

Ruby women’s wrap skirt pattern by Daydream Patterns (review)

Lots of colorful and creative options in the Ruby women’s wrap skirt pattern! The diagonal lace or color blocking is a great way to personalize the skirt! A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com
Lots of colorful and creative options in the Ruby women’s wrap skirt pattern! The diagonal lace or color blocking is a great way to personalize the skirt! A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

I am a total skirt junkie.

I LOVE wearing skirts! I’ve never been a girly girl, but skirts are femmine without necessarily overdoing it. Even if you’re wearing a simple and casual outfit, a skirt makes it look more put together. And, unless it’s a tight pencil skirt (banned from my wardrobe), skirts are also really comfortable. And can be worn with colorful tights and leggings! If it’s cold out, I just pop some legwarmers on to keep my legs warmer. As far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with skirts!
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I am part of numerous pattern testing groups, and a few months ago I enviously admired lots of gorgeous Ruby Wrap Skirts for girls. So when Jo from Daydream Patterns put out a call for testers for the women’s version, I signed up right away!

Lots of colorful and creative options in the Ruby women’s wrap skirt pattern! The diagonal lace or color blocking is a great way to personalize the skirt! A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

About the pattern

The Ruby women’s wrap skirt pattern is a really fast and easy design that’s perfect for beginners. There are overlapping panels in the front that are secured closed with a snap and a tie on the side. An interesting feature of the Ruby Wrap skirt is that the front panel is shaped in a way to make it asymmetric and more visually interesting. There are also darts on the front and back to give it a little bit of shaping.

There are three versions:

Read moreRuby women’s wrap skirt pattern by Daydream Patterns (review)

Growing Up Handmade – sewing clothes for tweens

Older kids can be hard to please when it comes to their clothing. The Growing Up Handmade tour shows lots of fantastic pattern options when sewing clothes for tweens and teens! Featuring the Pocket Fold Skirt by Madeit Patterns and the Butterfly Sleeve Tunic by Make It and Love It, sewn by www.cucicucicoo.com
Older kids can be hard to please when it comes to their clothing. The Growing Up Handmade tour shows lots of fantastic pattern options when sewing clothes for tweens and teens! Featuring the Pocket Fold Skirt by Madeit Patterns, sewn by www.cucicucicoo.com

There’s no denying it. Mothers who sew clothes just LOVE sewing clothes for their little girls.

It takes considerably less fabric to sew a child’s garment. It’s an awesome feeling when your kid is happy to wear something you made. And you feel way cool when the other parents at school ask you where you bought it and are amazed to find out that you made it yourself.

But generally when kids, especially girls, get to be around 10 years old, they start resisting wearing whatever you lay out for her. And- gasp!- they start having their own very definite opinions on what they will or will not wear. My Sofia is now 10 1/2 and will be starting middle school in September. She is still very much a child, but is also starting to become a little lady. Which means that her love for girly girl things is definitely on the wane.

Save this Cucicucicoo post on PinterestSo when I heard that Carrie from Beri Bee Designs was organizing a Growing Up Handmade blog tour about sewing clothes for tweens and teenagers, I signed up right away!

And guess what else? There’s also a fantastic giveaway from lots of sponsors as part of the blog tour with over $300 worth of awesome sewing materials and patterns! Continue reading to find the box to enter!

Older kids can be hard to please when it comes to their clothing. The Growing Up Handmade tour shows lots of fantastic pattern options when sewing clothes for tweens and teens! Featuring the Pocket Fold Skirt by Madeit Patterns, sewn by www.cucicucicoo.com

I recently discovered Olu at Needle and Ted and fell in love with her fun and modern sewing aesthetic. So when I was brainstorming what outfit to sew for this tour, I checked out the patterns in her pattern shop, Madeit Patterns, and nearly fell off my chair when I saw the Pocket Fold Skirt. I mean, a skirt with a design based on origami folding?! AMAZING.

Older kids can be hard to please when it comes to their clothing. The Growing Up Handmade tour shows lots of fantastic pattern options when sewing clothes for tweens and teens! Featuring the Pocket Fold Skirt by Madeit Patterns, sewn by www.cucicucicoo.com

My original plan was to draft my own flutter sleeve T-shirt, however I didn’t manage to finish the pattern in time, so I instead decided on the Butterfly Sleeve Tunic by Make It and Love It. I am a massive fan of Ashley’s, and I love what a simple yet very cool-looking top this is.

Let me tell you a little bit more about how I made this outfit.

Read moreGrowing Up Handmade – sewing clothes for tweens

17 Non-Electronic Games for Young Children

Are you sick of arguing with your kids over screen time? Provide them with stimulating fun without batteries! These 17 fantastic non-electronic games are perfect for young children with limited or no reading or math skills!
Are you sick of arguing with your kids over screen time? Provide them with stimulating fun without batteries! These 17 fantastic non-electronic games are perfect for young children with limited or no reading or math skills!

Nearly all parents I know these days complain about trying to limit their kids’ screen time. They’re always on their tablet, or gaming device, or smartphone. If not, they’re using the computer or zoning out in front of a TV. I can’t help thinking how different these kids’ lives are than mine was when I was growing up!

Why do kids need so much technology? (Or adults, for that matter…) Is it really good for them? Doubtful. Some studies have shown that too much screen time is harmful to children. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps even too much time with any sort of electronic or even electric device can kill off our contact with simple pleasures in life. I already started talking about this last month when I wrote about what you can learn from making your own Halloween costume.

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The holiday season is coming up and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are really just around the corner. What I would like to suggest this year is to consider what gifts you are giving to the children in your life. Do they really have anything to offer them besides the toy world’s equivalent of empty calories? This is why I decided to compile a list of my favorite non-electronic games for young children, specifically those who are still unable to read, so up to about age six.

Most of these are games that I loved as a child and still enjoy playing with my own children. Some are games that I didn’t have when I was young and discovered with my kids. ALL of them are totally manual, in the sense that they have no electric or electronic parts, no batteries, no lights or sounds. They are all much more simple than most of today’s fancy toys and games, but they offer much stimulation to kids in many ways, and many have been loved for generations.

So if you’re not sure what to give a young child this holiday season, consider one of the following Cucicucicoo-approved games!

Read more17 Non-Electronic Games for Young Children

Sticker Kid personalized name labels – 10% discount!

Try out Sticker Kid’s many styles of personalized name labels for kids with an exclusive 10% DISCOUNT! Waterproof and resistant, they’re perfect for school, beach, summer camp, clothing and shoes!

Two years ago I was contacted by Sticker Kid* to try out their personalized name labels for kids. I was initially skeptical but, upon trying out their products, I immediately realized that these were very special labels. Not only are they very cute and colorful, with lots of styles to choose from, but they are also incredibly resistant. They do not come off, are dishwasher safe, and do not get worn out like regular paper labels. There are even iron-on labels for clothes and fabric items. You can read my review from two years ago of three types of labels here.

Try out Sticker Kid’s many styles of personalized name labels for kids with an exclusive 10% DISCOUNT! Waterproof and resistant, they’re perfect for school, beach, summer camp, clothing and shoes!

Because I love these products so much, the kind folks at Sticker Kid proposed I try out some of their new products. I customized one of their value packs with various types of stickers with my son, letting him choose the colors, images and text that he preferred.

As before, our order arrived just a couple of days later! Such fast processing and shipping!

Try out Sticker Kid’s many styles of personalized name labels for kids with an exclusive 10% DISCOUNT! Waterproof and resistant, they’re perfect for school, beach, summer camp, clothing and shoes!

We’ve been using these stickers all summer long, and both the kids are I are so pleased with them! These labels are waterproof and sand-resistant, so they’re perfect for labelling toys and other things we bring to the pool and beach.

Try out Sticker Kid’s many styles of personalized name labels for kids with an exclusive 10% DISCOUNT! Waterproof and resistant, they’re perfect for school, beach, summer camp, clothing and shoes!

My daughter went away on her own for a 5-night summer camp in early June, so I made sure to label every single thing she brought with her, from snorkelling gear to bathroom supplies to cell phone, to make sure that they would come back home with her. (And they did!)

Try out Sticker Kid’s many styles of personalized name labels for kids with an exclusive 10% DISCOUNT! Waterproof and resistant, they’re perfect for school, beach, summer camp, clothing and shoes!

And now that my little boy is about to start 1st grade (I can’t believe it… it seems like just yesterday that he was born!), we’ve been getting all his school supplies ready, and we’ve been labelling everything… because any parent or teacher knows perfectly well how often pens and pencils and glue sticks get lost or “borrowed”!

Sticker Kid is still offering a 10% DISCOUNT on ALL of their products from ALL of their regional websites to Cucicucicoo readers! All you need to do is customize your order on www.stickerkid.com and insert the promotional code “CUCICUCICOO” during checkout.

Now let me tell you some more about the many useful ways you can use their different products so you can make the best choice for your family’s needs!

Read moreSticker Kid personalized name labels – 10% discount!

Basico: a knitting pattern for summer sweater

Basico: a knitting pattern for summer sweater. An easily personalizable knitting recipe for a pullover sweater with saddle shoulders. Full review on www.cucicucicoo.com
Have you ever heard of a knitting recipe? It’s different from a pattern! The Basico is a recipe for a summer pullover sweater with saddle shoulders, easily personalizable to your shape and tastes!

Last summer I knit my very first sweater.

I know that summer is generally not the preferred season for knitting, but I had the opportunity to take a course last June by my friend Maria, a designer and expert knitter (the designer of this bandana scarf and these wrist warmers that I’ve made), so I made myself a cotton short-sleeved summer sweater.

Have you ever heard of a knitting recipe? It’s different from a pattern! The Basico is a recipe for a summer pullover sweater with saddle shoulders, easily personalizable to your shape and tastes!

I’ll be honest: I’d never quite understood the sense of a summer sweater. When I think “summer,” I think of hot, sticky, sweaty. When I think “sweater,” I think full coverage, wool, warm. They were two totally opposite concepts in my mind.

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But now I’m discovering that a summer sweater is actually quite comfortable, at least in the spring. (I’ve yet to wear it in the summer.) It’s a perfect garment to wear on warm, sunny days spent at the beach.

Have you ever heard of a knitting recipe? It’s different from a pattern! The Basico is a recipe for a summer pullover sweater with saddle shoulders, easily personalizable to your shape and tastes!

I created this sweater with Maria’s pattern Basico, with numerous personalizations that Maria helped me figure out. It is a top-down cardigan with saddle shoulders that requires no sewing, and is ideal to work on with circular needles. One of the optional details is the lace work on the sleeves that you can see here.

Technically, Basico isn’t really a pattern, but a knitting recipe. A recipe is a more general indication of how to create a knitted base object based on your exact measurements, and you can personalize it in many ways. It’s a wonderful way for accomplished knitters to be creative and use different techniques to create myriad effects. Let me tell you more about what I mean.

Read moreBasico: a knitting pattern for summer sweater

Saturn Sweater: crochet sweater pattern review

The Saturn Sweater: a crochet sweater with colorful embroidered rings. A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com
The Saturn Sweater: a crochet sweater with colorful embroidered rings. A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

It was love at first sight.

I love bright colors, but sometimes I don’t want to be dressed too brightly. That’s why the Saturn Sweater, a pattern by Linda Permann, with its charcoal grey body with colorful accents, immediately caught my eye when I was searching for a crochet sweater pattern on Ravelry.

The Saturn Sweater: a crochet sweater with colorful embroidered rings. A pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

One day when I was about eight or nine, I was helping my best friend to choose her accessories. She was wearing all black and white, so I chose black and white earrings. Her mother, on the other hand, chose some huge fluorescent ones. (This was in the 80s. Everyone wore huge fluorescent things.) She explained to me the idea of using bright accessories to break up neutral colors. And ever since then, I’ve loved dark clothing (or anything else) with a few bright pops of color.

The Saturn Sweater is not only very cool-looking, but also really easy and relatively quick to work up. Let me tell you all about it.

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Perfectly Imperfect: a fabric doll pattern review

The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com
The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

Finally I’m ready to show off my Perfectly Imperfect cloth dolls. I’d been working on these dolls and posting in-progress pictures on Instagram for months. My original plan was to make a bunch for Christmas presents and the kids’ various charity Christmas markets and giveaways.

The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

My original plan failed and I only managed to get this one doll out of the 11 I started ready in time for Christmas.

The Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll: a fabric doll pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

I made these little guys from a pattern by Allison from Sweater Doll called the Perfectly Imperfect Play Doll, which is currently available in the Sweater Doll Etsy shop or in Tickle the Imagination, Issue 21. I love Allison’s work (have you seen her Glovosaur tutorial which she graciously shared with Cucicucicoo readers a few months ago?) and her whimsical style, and I was immediately drawn to this cloth doll pattern when I saw it. Let me tell you a little bit why.

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Tepore knit wrist warmers

Tepore knit wrist warmers: a simple pattern with simple thumb openings, worked in the round on double pointed needles. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com
Tepore knit wrist warmers: a simple pattern with simple thumb openings, worked in the round on double pointed needles. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

My friend Maria of Maria Modeo Handmade in Italy is an amazing knitter, designer and teacher. She’s helped me numerous times with my knitting issues and is incredibly knowledgeable about all things yarn-related. I already posted last year about her bandana-style neckwarmer pattern, and will post in the springtime about a summer sweater I sewed from a course of hers. The first course of hers I took, however, was for the Tepore wrist warmer pattern. (update: which is now available also in English!)

Tepore knit wrist warmers: a simple pattern with simple thumb openings, worked in the round on double pointed needles. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

While most wrist warmers feature a little tube for the thumb, the Tepore pattern has a simple thumb opening, which is really easy and therefore ideal for beginner knitters like myself.

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Birkin Flares jeans pattern by Baste + Gather

The Birkin Flares jeans pattern by Baste + Gather: high waist, slim fit with flared legs. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com
The Birkin Flares jeans pattern by Baste + Gather: high waist, slim fit with flared legs. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

Sewing your own clothing is always amazing, but there are a few garments that many home sewists are afraid of attempting. Like bathing suits (which I hope to do soon with this pattern by Jalie that I bought this past summer). And bras (I’d love to learn with the Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit course* on Craftsy). And jeans.

But now I am thrilled to say that I can cross sewing jeans off my list because I had the pleasure to participate in the testing of the Birkin Flares jeans pattern by Baste + Gather, and have sewn my own gorgeous and comfortable jeans!

The Birkin Flares jeans pattern by Baste + Gather: high waist, slim fit with flared legs. A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

I mean, look at those– they’re real jeans! They don’t look homemade because of the attention to all those little details that make jeans… jeans!

Read moreBirkin Flares jeans pattern by Baste + Gather

Skip Skirt #22101: Girl Skirt Pattern

The Skip Skirt for girls, pattern#22101 by Sew By Pattern Pieces: 10 sizes, 7 skirt variations, 3 leggings lengths, with the possibility to attach the leggings to the skirt. A sewing pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com
The Skip Skirt for girls, pattern#22101 by Sew By Pattern Pieces: 10 sizes, 7 skirt variations, 3 leggings lengths, with the possibility to attach the leggings to the skirt. A sewing pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

I recently tested the Skip Skirt pattern for girls by Sew By Pattern Pieces. I was drawn to the adorable knee-length skirts in seven different styles, with matching leggings. My daughter would live in leggings if she could, and she also adores this style of skirt, so I knew that I wanted to sew some for her.

The Skip Skirt for girls, pattern#22101 by Sew By Pattern Pieces: 10 sizes, 7 skirt variations, 3 leggings lengths, with the possibility to attach the leggings to the skirt. A sewing pattern review by www.cucicucicoo.com

Of the 7 views, I sewed two of them, Views E and G.

There is a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale on this pattern, so scroll down to the bottom if you’re interested! But first let me tell you a bit more about these adorable skirt/leggings sets!

Read moreSkip Skirt #22101: Girl Skirt Pattern

Suzuran no-waste kimono jacket pattern review

The Suzuran No-Waste Kimono Jacket pattern: a French-designed, Japanese-style spring kimono, perfect for warm weather. The best part? The unique pattern design uses every bit of a rectangle of fabric with no remaining scraps! A review by www.cucicucicoo.com
The Suzuran No-Waste Kimono Jacket pattern: a French-designed, Japanese-style spring kimono, perfect for warm weather. The best part? The unique pattern design uses every bit of a rectangle of fabric with no remaining scraps! A review by www.cucicucicoo.com

You may have noticed in my Me-Made-May 2015 documentation last week that there was one day that I was dressed considerably more fancy than usual, and that the me-made item had still not been blogged about. It was a special pattern that I had tested for a fellow designer, Julia from Tites Mains, and that pattern has now been released! (With a special discount code! Read on to find out more!) So I present to you the Suzuran No-Waste Kimono Jacket pattern!

Read moreSuzuran no-waste kimono jacket pattern review