Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Vintage Treat for the Kitchen

I found this adorable vintage owl planter (so weird that people used to like tiny plants so much...) online at Out'A Space, a great Florida based vintage shop. It's so perfect to hold my scrub brushes, so happy that my kitchen is finally coming to completion. More photos soon!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tutorial Trial: Dyed Mason Jars

I've been loving all the gorgeous vintage Ball jars in green and blue, but I figured that there must be a way to DIY it, and there is! There are lots of methods and tutorials all over the place and I read a ton and tried it myself.

Mason Jars
Mod Podge
Food coloring

1) Mix your color. I used about a 1/2 cup of Mod Podge and added 3-5 drops of blue food coloring and 2-3 or green. I had to wing it a bit to get the shade/depth of color I wanted.

2.) Thin your mixture out a little with water. I swirled it around the jars and let the excess drip off. I should have painted it on though, I think. Mine had some drips and I think I'd rather brush strokes than drips.

3) Cure them in the oven for about an hour on the lowest setting it has. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, although the real deal is way cuter!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Magic Mud with Daddy

If you're feeling little stir crazy with all the snow, this is a great way to entertain your children and husband for at least an hour!

Magic Mud
3 Parts Cornstarch
1 Part Water
Optional Food Coloring

It's so much fun because it's liquid until you squish it, at which point it becomes solid, until you let it drip through your fingers. The in-between state of this magic mud is called a 'colloid'. Somewhere in between a solid and liquid. Just a little tip...wait for the mess to dry and it's much easier to sweep up.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Favorite Christmas Tradition

Making paper chains is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. It's so simple, but I've loved it since I was a preschooler. From a child development point of view, it's a great way for little ones to visualize how long it will take before Christmas happens. It also takes me off the hook for doing the math in my morning-grogginess for the daily countdown interrogation.

We just cut 1 inch strips of paper and assembled them in a pattern with glue dots. We decided to make Christmas 'gold' this year, and the kids were very excited to cut their first link. Hopefully I'll be able to get my decorating done in the next few days!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adorable New Hat for the Winter

Giddy Up and Grow has so many beautiful things. I've been drooling for quite some time, but I don't usually wear hair accessories, so I've been waiting and watching. When I saw this bow, I couldn't resist any more, especially since I knew exactly how I wanted to use it: as perfect embellishment for a crocheted hat!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vintage and Salvaged Frames into Chalkboards: Tutorial

I ended up with an extra table to fill in a week at my last craft sale (don't ask...) and I wanted to make grown up things for a change. I went scouting at a few thrift stores and found some awesome frames. The plan was to spray paint the frames in nice lively colors and spray paint the glass in chalkboard paint, but as you know, something always goes wrong when I'm crafting something new!

What you need:
Chalkboard paint (spray or paint on)
Spray paint
Drop Cloth

It turns out that vintage frames are often made a lot differently than modern ones, which mean ripping out nails and hammering them back in and accidentally breaking glass that was seemingly permantently affixed. On one frame, it seemed that the glass was actually trapped in the wood somehow. On that one, I taped off the frame and painted, rather than spraying.

On the ones without glass, or where I broke the glass (wah!) I tried many things. First I called Michael's to ask about custom cut glass, but it was super expensive. Then I went to Home Depot to look for small cuts of sheet metal (magnetic!) or plywood, but no one could help me troubleshoot. I eventually came home and used some fiberboard/poster board from my office supply stash and it worked like a charm.

There was lots of troubleshooting, but the results were great, and people loved the big ones! I think I'll try it again, now that I know what I'm doing!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baby Gift: Twin I-Spy Mini Quilts

 Look what I made for some darling twin boys! Mini I-Spy quilts, perfect wiping drool right now and for tummy time, strollers and car seats later. It could even be used as a tic-tac-toe mat when they're older!

I love I-Spy quilts for kids. So much too look at! When I was little I had a scrap quilt from my great grandmother that I still remember. I used to spend hours looking at it, and I remember my favorite part was a snoopy scrap. Hopefully these little ones will have fond memories of their little quilts too.

And a couple of little wooden teething rings to match! Not how I usually make them, but they sure are cute!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seasons Coasters from my Little Artist

I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for the last two weeks. Lots of family emergencies (everyone's ok now) and getting ready for a craft sale has made it almost impossible to try any new projects or sit down to blog. But I miss my blog so I had to pop in to show you a present from my little guy.

We went ceramic painting a few months ago and I chose coasters for Daniel because I knew it would be like four separate paintings and take him a little longer than just slathering something in purple for 3 minutes!

I suggested he paint the seasons and he did a great job. I was going to suggest giving them to his Gramma and Grampa for Christmas, but when we picked up the package from the shop and he said they were for his Dad and I, they went straight onto the table! I thought I should share before Christmas in case you're looking for a gift for your little one to give this year.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ikea Hack: Lack Coffee Table into a Headboard

I feel like a genius! I'm always checking out Ikea Hackers and thinking how clever all the designers are, and now I've done it myself in less than 30 minutes!

We have a guest for the next few months and needed somewhere temporary, but comfortable for her to stay. I wanted to buy a bed frame, but when I realized my old Lack tabletop is the same length as a single bed, I got pretty excited.

I used a Magic Eraser (awful chemicals, but it did resurrect my old dingy table) to shine it up, and spray glued pieces of fabric onto the frame. I pulled the mattress out a couple inches and rested the headboard on the the box spring. Simple is usually the best.

Monday, October 31, 2011

No-Sew Franklin and Mrs. Turtle Costumes

We had a super-amazing church costume party on the weekend and here's how we went:

No sewing at all- my favorite. I cut the bellies out of fleece (you could use felt) and used quilters temporary spray glue to stick it to green shirts. I drew the lines with a brown fabric marker. Franklin's hat is a team hat that I covered with felt and adhered with the same spray glue.

My Mrs. Turtle necklace is made of purple ribbon and a wooden circle painted white.  Felt or a button would work for the charm as well. I used sticky velcro on the ends so it can come apart and hot glued the circle onto the ribbon.

We both had turtle-shell backpacks. One is a vintage ninja turtles backpack (doubles as a candy bag!) and the other was a handmade fleece kijiji find. I think one could definitely be made from fleece, hot glue, straps and stuffing in no time.

My little Franklin is just too cute!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Easy-Peasy DIY Wall Art

I found this genius idea somewhere on the world wide web and had to use it immediately! We're slowly re-decorating our house and there was a perfect unused spot on the wall for these little gems. All you need are embroidery hoops and fabric. So easy, and so darling!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Craft Kit: Creative Birthday Gift

Daniel had a party to go to this weekend, and I wanted to send him with something useful, that the parents and child would be glad to have!  I found a cardboard suitcase at Homesense and filled it with craft supplies.

Here's what we put inside:
Ruler Box with pencil crayons inside
Unfinished wooden box
People Pegs
Mini Easel and Canvas
Alphabet Stickers
Craft Foam
Glue Tape
Clothes pins

I personalized it by stamping "Aubrey's Craft Kit" on paper and sticking it to the inside of the lid. There are all sorts of more fancy ways I could have done it, but we were short on time!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Easy Wooden Alphabet Blocks Tutorial

Here are a few lost photos of some ABC blocks I made for Daniel when he was learning his letters. He still loves them and now he's using them to spell. They're so easy to make!

Jenga Blocks (I used a no-name brand and saved a few dollars)
Permanent Marker, preferably non-toxic
Optional-Stencils, if you don't like drawing!

1.) Plan your simple drawings for each letter on the sheet of paper. Simple is best. Here are the objects I used, in alphabetical order:
Apple, Balloon, Candles, Duck, Egg, Fire, Gingerbread man, Hat, Ice cream, Juicebox, Kite, Leaf, Mittens, Nose, Oven, Pencil, Queen, Rabbit, Stars, Teepee, Umbrella, Vacuum, Watermelon, Xylophone, Yarn, Zipper.

2.) Start drawing! It only took me one evening for the whole project because I made everything as simple as possible. I drew the upper and lower case letter with a picture of an object starting with that letter on one side, and left the other blank. I repeated the capital letter on both ends of the block as well.

3.) I used a few of the extra blocks for simple sight words as well. Right after I gave Daniel his blocks, he saw a coupon (he had just turned 3) and said "Mommy, why does this paper say 'off'?" I just about fell over! I wrote one word on each side On/Off, Mom/Dad, Open/Close, Yes/No, Go/Stop, Hi/Bye etc.

This is a great gift because you can personalize it for your child with color, drawings and sight words that you think they'd enjoy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Handmade Stocking Stuffer SWAP CHALLENGE!

I love swaps, I love handmade stocking stuffers and I love a good competition! Here it is, all in one shot; I'm hosting a swap on Swap-Bot and it's going to be awesome.

SWAP: A perfect Holiday swap! Send your partner 6 HANDMADE (by you or someone else) items for their stocking. Only send things that your partner likes (check their profile) or that you would be happy to receive. Ideas below.

WIN THE CHALLENGE: This isn't just a swap, it's a challenge! Post what you're mailing to your partner on your blog or Flikr account. I'll chose the best package and send the winner a little gift!

Residents of US & Canada,
Swap-Bot users with a rating of 4.5 and higher,
Newbies with a current blog and well filled out profile only.

IDEAS:  Magnets, Coasters, Slippers, Mittens, Scarf, Hat, Jewelry, Candy, Cufflinks, Socks, Bath/Body products, Pincushion, Stationary, Notebooks, Reusable bags and the list goes on. Check out Martha Stewart, Pintrest, Tip Junkie and other crafty sites for fun, unique ideas. MUST BE HANDMADE.

You can sign up on the Swap-Bot website. Spread the word!

10 Minute Piggy Bank

Who doesn't love a great "no skills required" craft once in a while? This little project reminds me that simple, re-purposed materials are usually the most intriguing for a child.

A few months ago bought some lovely organic cream that came in a glass bottle (it makes me wish I enjoyed home-coffee as much as store-coffee so I could buy more cream).  I just couldn't resist the container and when I was done I didn't want to put it into the recycling bin, so I gave it to Daniel to play with.

My Dad was visiting and watching Daniel 'plink' the coins into the bottle when he suggested we make it into a real piggy bank. He just cut a little slot into the lid with a utility knife and it was done. It's been a favorite toy for quite a few months now. Good call by Papa!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quiet Book #2- Around The House

Bring something cool and handmade to a baby shower, and you can bet you'll be making it again! Here's my second attempt at a simplified quiet book. I just couldn't find another 9 hours in my schedule to make a second 8-page book! I made it in an 'Around the House' theme, since children love to mimic adults more than anything.

Since it was a smaller book, I added a memory matching game (the bag is sewn in) on the inside cover. I think it fits with the theme of household activities, and little one can pretend to wash them, or add clothespins for some extra fun. The flowers button off for practice buttoning, just like the button snake. It's a great time-killer!

A simplified version of the oven and cookies, and a new addition. I adore this little garden, with it's package of seeds and watering can! I used fabric markers all through this book to speed the process up. It's so much faster than embroidering, and more fun too.

I love this idea for practice with brushing or braiding. It's a bit girly, and I usually try to make them unisex so they can be passed down, but I couldn't resist! The back cover has a pocket to add pieces for any of the activities, or paper and pencil.

Sending it for a test run to make sure it's as cool to a kid as it is to me!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fabric Covered Bulletin Board

 This is such a super easy project that made the colors in my craft room really come together. A lovely friend of mine gave me a bulletin board with a pretty frame for my birthday, and now that I've added my fabric it looks double-amazing! I think I shall call it "almost art".

All I had to do was take the cork board out of the frame, cover with fabric and put it back in. I didn't even staple or tape it. Now, when my son draws me a picture we cut a piece out and tack it on the board, the rest goes into the recycling. I'm very glad he doesn't get too attached to his pictures!

My Latest Retailer!

Check out this amazing site, Little Charlies. She has found some amazing products, and I'm so pleased to be included in the mix!

I love this DIY nesting doll kit and these beautiful bamboo toothbrushes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Easy Wholesome Dinner for a Busy Day!

Time to share my go-to simple, healthy dinner with you. I make it on a hot day or when I'm super tired. Brie, crackers, fruit and nuts. Wholesome, pretty and delish!

 I slice my Brie in half and fill it with jam/jelly or pesto, then heat it in the toaster oven or microwave until it's warm and melty. Before Daniel liked Brie, I would add in whatever other cheese we had in fridge so he'd have some protein.

Yummy cracker assortment with dried fruit (raisins this time) and nuts in shot glasses. And mixed berries to round it out. Once in a while I'll scrap the dried fruit and nuts and make berries with yogurt and granola instead.

Enjoy a night off from cooking while your family scarfs nutritious food!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Quiet Book Photo Bonanza!

Baby Shower Basket post #3! I always wanted to make a quiet book for Daniel, but couldn't seem to carve out the time. Now Daniel's older and things are much easier so I decided to try it for the baby shower.  I think it's going to be a great toy for restaurants, traveling, church or the car. A few of the older kids got to test drive it, and hands down, the oven was the favorite! So, without further ado, here's the photo bonanza!

Fun, right? I hope my little peanut enjoys it as much as I would have when I was small!

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