Monday, July 14, 2014

calico critters play mat

I have never been much of a fan of Barbie dolls.  Miss.-5yr-old also shows little interest in them.  But in the last couple years we have built our Calico Critter collection up in place of the typical Barbie.  These figures were around when I was small (under the name Sylvanian Families) and I still love them.  

They are not at every store, but you can find a plethora of characters and accessories online, at toysRus, Barnes and Noble or Specialty dealers.  

I love how innocent the characters are, that they are purchased in family clusters, and the endless possibilities of play with all the themed accessories.
To enhance Miss-5yr-old's play I made her a play mat.  It was made from 2 yards of canvas.  I hemmed the edges and got out my acrylic paints (the green did take a couple extra bottles).  I wanted Miss.-5yr-old to be able to make several play scenarios with the scenery (gardening, hopscotch, picnic, swim or fish in pond, tube down the river, pick flower, go camping, etc.) 

Mr.-3yr-old plays with his sister.  I don't think he would participate the same if they were playing Barbies.  Now they have somewhat of a cost.  Some sets seem like you get more for your money than others.  They often go on sale so watch for the deals.

engraved art wooden spoons

I stumbled upon some pictures of a gift we made last year that never got posted.  The kiddos took Sharpies to simple wooden spoons and mommy stayed up late with the hard part... burning!

I purchased a burning tool for about $12 at the local craft store (also available at hardware stores).  The kiddos art is now immortalized in cutlery.

A simple tag tied around is the perfect gift.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

baby bunting

With the buzz of summer I have been too busy to sit in front of a computer.  That doesn't mean we have been idle (far from it!)

I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family.  Charlie.  He has been keeping us on our toes.  The hubby is stepping up on training him.... and he has a LONG WAYS to go!

(isn't is weird, his eyes are brown, but they are blue pupils in every picture!)

So I saw an adorable small baby gift idea on  With scrap fabric sew small circles and squares into garland.  Package with directions and give as a small gift to a new baby.  I love the ways it could be used. 
  • To decorate the hospital crib (wish I had this, I didn't have any good hospital pictures.
  • Decorate the nursery
  • to use in photo-ops
  • take out every year on the baby's birthday to use as a traditional decoration.
I made boy and girl garland and have lots more
color coordinating to do!

here is the label click here

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Honk honk... drivers in training.  The kiddos took out their car today.  Okay so it is a box with the top and bottom folded in (covered in felt), but trust me they think Cadillac.  I punched a couple of holes in the sides for handles and they are able to bump into things with ease.

They have been playing nice and taking turns at driver/passenger.  I am contemplating making a supped-up red sports car, but I fear they will use them as bumper cars!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Resurrection Eggs

Easter has come and gone but I still want to share this amazing activity we did in Sunday School this year.  Each family constructed Resurrection Eggs.  They used these like a count down to Easter.  Starting 12 days before Easter the family would open an egg each night (in the correct order).  Inside  was a trinket and an explanation of its meaning.  It allows for great discussion.
 This concept was new to me, but I discovered that these kits can be purchased already assembled.  I however wanted to share this with all of my church's kiddos, so we went searching for DIY kits.  I modified several kits to make the one that works for me.  Here are my printables:  egg cards and
Resurrection cover.

The best part of this Easter was that even though the kiddos are 2 and 3, the Easter Bunny was an afterthought to them.  This and other activities and discussions that were happening at our house was truly the message of the holiday. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Monogram book

My little brother is getting married this weekend.  I know he and his bride would appreciate a card and money, but I wanted to give them a little touch of beauty for their home.  I found a Danielle Steele's Book at the Thrift store for 50 cents.  I saw an awesome monogram book on Pinterest [I couldn't track its source :(] and was ready for a project.

I was surprised how easy it was to cut the cover into a 'B' shape with only scissors.  Then slowly I traced the cover on the first page and cut about ten pages at a time.  It is okay if it is not perfect, I prefer the imperfections.   It took 2 hours of mindless work (in front of my Monday night comedy shows) and it was looking awesome. 

After the shape was complete, I flipped through the pages, and crinkled them as I went.  This allowed the book to flair open a little.

Lastly I didn't like the cover, so I mod podged some scrapbook paper to the front and added an embellishment.

All I have to do is add a card attached by a pretty ribbon and its ready for its recipients!

Congrats Bryan and Britny!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DIY gifts that the kiddos can make

I am uber-late on posting this.  The kiddos made Mother's Day gifts for Grandma this year. 
DIY personalized notepad- CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP
Miss-3yr.-old drew a picture on each side of a paper folded in half.  I made 25 copies of her masterpieces and cut the paper down the middle (thus making 50 half size sheets).  Then her and I sorted her pictures so that they alternated in a pile.  Finally I clamped the pile with binder clips (a piece of chipboard from an old notepad on the bottom) and painted RUBBER CEMENT on the top of the pile.  A few layers of cement and a clear coat of nail polish and voila!!! 50 sheet notepad.
I saw many other sites like justpeachy who did this but used padding compound for the adhesive, unfortunately I could only find padding glue online, and time was ticking.  This seemed to work just as well, and a TON cheaper.  You can make SEVERAL pads with a small container of $3 rubber cement.
finger print vase
Mr.-2yr.-old went for a the classic vase.  We used an old mason jar and a plethora of acrylic paints (lemontreedwelling used other paints).  He dipped his fingers into paint and placed them on the jar as I slowly turned it.  When he was all cleaned up I took two shades of green and with one connected all of his dots to the bottom of the jar and with the other filled in the void spaces with vegetation. 
After it was dry I lightly clear coated it with spray paint.  I am hoping that this will keep it from rubbing off or scratching.  The clear coat made it a little frosted looking.  I don't recommend too much scrubbing to clean.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Minnie Bow-tique party

We now have a Miss.-FOURyr-old in our house.  And we celebrated it in style with a Minnie BOW-tique party.  Mom decided on the classic red with white polka-dot scheme. 
The highlight of the festivities was our make-up.  Most of the girls have never worn make-up so this was a real treat.  Everyone got Minnie ears, they picked out 3 different bows, they got their own tube of lipstick and eye shadow applicator along with their very own mirror stand ($1 store hand mirrors hot glued and tied to a $1 paper towel stand).
I made the Minnie ear headbands from a headband (6 for $1 at Family Dollar *nice one too*!) black felt, cardstock and hot glue gun.  For a great tutorial see thesuburbanmom.  The kiddos used clipped one of the three bows that they chose for their headbands. 
The dollar store had red and white polka-dot party hats, paper straws, napkins, favor boxes, balloons.  I couldn't have been luckier!

Some of the girls were more experienced than others with make-up.  Infact I think some of them were applying war paint. 

The cake/cupcakes turned out spectacular.  I now can say that I have tackled fondant, and it really wasn't as scary as I thought it would be.  The bows on the cupcakes are fruit by the foot.  The kids LOVED them!
I have a recent "thing" for doilies.  They look so cute tied around a hot dog.

Happy Birthday Miss.-4yr-old!

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Miss.-3yr-old was the star of this song turned to story. She and her nine friends act out the song TEN IN THE BED. One by one my little one kicks her animals out of her bed. She finds herself alone and wanting company at the end!

Click here to view this photo book larger
Shutterfly photo books are the new way to preserve your memories. Create your own today.

Our Family Dog turned to Bedtime Story Character

Fletcher is our late dog. Unfortunately we lost him in January.  Shortly before his passing I made each of my kiddos a story book with our pooch as the main character. It tells his story with humorous pictures. We miss him, but are able to reminisce with this book.

Click here to view this photo book larger
Shutterfly offers exclusive photobook layouts so you can make your book just the way you want.

Our version of Wheels on the bus

We have a small library of personalized story books and the newest one is in the mail!    Here is our rendition of "Wheels on the Bus".

Sunday, May 19, 2013

number mazes

This year my school kiddos had a lot of practice with +/-1 and +/-10 with NUMBER MAZES.  They were challenging yet a hit among first and second graders.  The mazes I made go up to 120 and range in difficulty.  I placed these in plastic sleeves and the kiddos used dry erase markers to complete.  They start at the first number and then follow the path and add the number that belongs in each space. 

This PDF contains my mazes, enjoy!!!! number mazes (link fixed)

Monday, May 6, 2013

baby subway art

My kiddos are growing fast.  I made this up awhile ago but never shared because I was hoping to figure out how to share the template.  Unfortunately I have mad Word skills, but they don't transfer well to other computers.
I made this in Word by creating several text boxes and changing the text direction.  I used a combination of 2 fonts that I thought complimented each other (Mongolian Baiti and Engravers MT). 
This is would make a beautiful gift for someone if you can get all of the details.  If you make a template it takes a minute to customize the details for future babies.
HELPFUL HINT.  If you create a template in Word and want to play with the color, the easiest way to view different color schemes is to go to PAGE LAYOUT and click on THEMES.  There are predetermined color schemes that change your text in one click.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Name plaque (big statement piece for under $10)

I have been eyeing "graffiti" letter photos at a annual craft sale for years.  I love the character that each photo has, and the uniqueness of the combination of each word.  However $5 a letter adds up quickly.  So a year ago I found that has a plethora of photos for each letter of the alphabet.  I spent hours looking at all of the possibilities.  Once I made my final decisions I printed them through shutterfly. 
Next came the presentation.  I found black $1 frames at the dollar store.  I bought one for each letter.  I cut down a 1x8 board to the right length, painted it black, sanded it down for a rustic look, and glued on the frames with the photos in them.  I LOVE THE FINAL RESULT!!!  Now I have to finish the rest of his room.

Friday, May 3, 2013

expensive invites made cheap

I am happy to announce that my little brother will soon be married.  I am excited that the couple allowed me to help with designing and making their invitations on budget (cheap is my specialty!)  We made 200 invitations for about $40.... envelopes and all! 

We had troubles finding envelopes within a reasonable price range that complimented their Malibu blue and coral color scheme.  I really liked the the velum.. but not the costs.  So I was inspired by one of my Christmas gift wrapping ideas.  PAPER BAGS, yes white lunch sacks, 50 for less than $2.00.  Printing them took a little thought (not all printers will feed paper bags, but if yours does, it is a cinch).  Then a quick zig-zag stitch on both ends and a snip of the pinking shears and voila, VELUM-LIKE envelopes!

Then I got the honor to design the shower invitations.  I love love love the style.  It is contempory yet with the vintage twist.  I found this design at ourdailyobsessions and I knew I could recreate it.  It took some time in Word (still need to learn Photoshop), but I did it. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Fools Day!

Okay, so is April Fool's Day really a holiday??? Nevertheless, I CELEBRATE IT!  I love the opportunities to be clever and surprise someone.  To me it makes some one's day a little more special.  So what did I do????  hehehe...

It all started at 11:00PM March 31st.  Hubby was sound asleep (luckily he is a log).  I peeked his toes out from the end of the bed and painted them HOT PINK!  Not the neatest job in the dark, but the statement was loud and clear.  (I made sure I had old sheets on the bed... he didn't smear anything on them, but I didn't want to chance it).

Well, he went through his morning shower without noticing, finally he got his shocker when he put his socks on.  He was just thankful that I didn't do his fingernails (I am not that cruel).

I tried to get a picture of them before he made me remove the color, but he was not wanting a photo op.  I appologize for all of you viewers who take offense to feet.  I personally have no issue with them and do not find this photo offensive.

Well the fun continued into breakfast.  My kiddos had BLUE MILK for breakfast. 

Ms.-3yr-old was really wanting to participate so she brought mayhem to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Her idea of a trick was to wear GIANT glasses.  Everyone got a kick on how cute she looked.

I equipped her with a plastic fly.  When Grandma gave her breakfast, Ms.-3yr-old slipped the fly in her milk.  Grandma thought she was making up that there was a "bug" in her milk.  Grandmas was surprised to see one really floating.

At work I had to do my usual School trick.  I played this on my teachers every year of elementary school.  Now I do it to my students and colleagues.  I clip a wire length from a wire clothes hanger (about 8 inches)  Bend the ends into a loop.  Then I take a large button and string a rubber band through 2 holes.  The rubberband is attached to the wire loops.  I turn the button many many many times to wind it up.  It is placed in an enveleope.  When it is opened, it rattles and makes a loud noise.  To someone who is not expecting it, it is startling.  Often it brings a jump or a scream.  I will add a picture tomorrow.

Fun day!  Now I should watch my back.  Someday someone will pay me back!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This year's Valentine Cards

 This years Valentines were a lot of fun for us to create.  Miss-3yr-old opted for glasses.  We took close up photos of her, added a Valentine frame, cut 2 slits and popped on glasses.  Animal print were for her boy friends, and superstar sparkles for her girl friends. Idea from

Mr.-1yr-old played to his love of cars.  He posed surrounded by his favorite "wheels".  I added a Valentine border as well.  Then at The Dollar Tree I found 3 packs of 'hot wheels' for $1.  We added a black paper band with a car glue dotted on it.