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Okay so Felt Mats are Just as Addicting as Quiet Books…

After making a road felt mat for C for his 2nd birthday I wondered if I could make a princess version for J.  In case you’ve forgotten (oh, if only I could forget…) she is completely obsessed with the Disney Princesses.  She has a bunch of these pop up board games that came with tiny princess figurines to play.  I think we played the games about a dozen times before she completely abandoned them and now just carries the princesses around with her everywhere.  Between those and her sets of felt people, I thought it would be fun to make a princess mat for her to play on!

I started off like I do with all projects:  Pinterest.  Unsurprisingly these aren’t nearly as popular as the car mats are.  I found three possible inspirations.  First, a Tangled one on My Decoupaged Life.  Although I loved it, I didn’t want to focus on just one princess story.  In retrospect I do kind of wish I would’ve got this route instead–made a small felt mat for each princess.  I just might do that down the road…

The second one I found was a little bit different.  Instead of focusing on the outside, All the Joy made the inside of the castle.  I stored this idea away for the future.

The one I relied on the most for ideas was A Girl and a Glue Gun.  I decided to make a mat that included something from each princess story.

One mistake I made was to make this project while J was home sick from school for a week.  I got a lot of input from her, which was both good and bad.  Like she wouldn’t let me include anything for Mulan, Pocohantas or Merida, even though that had been my original plan.  She’s only had the mat for a couple of weeks and she’s already complaining that they don’t have a home.  I knew I shouldn’t take advice from a 5 year old!

When making all of the buildings I referred to Google images for pictures of what they looked like in the movies and then did my best to replicate them.  I did a better job on some…  The animals especially turned out rather interesting…

I started off with a piece of dark green felt for the background.  I added a square of white for Elsa’s kingdom and dark brown for the woods.  Together those two were the same length as the dark green.  I cut a strip of light blue for the sky that was the same width as the dark green/white.  Last, I cut some dark blue for Ariel’s ocean.  I cut the top so it resembled waves.

I also wish I would’ve made it bigger.  I didn’t realize just how much larger C’s mat was until I had already cut the background felt for J’s mat and it was too late to make it bigger without having to scrap the pieces I had.  It didn’t need to be much bigger, but a little bit would’ve been nicer.

But here’s the final product, warts and all!

J requested the North Mountain first…no surprises there.  I made an Ice Castle for Elsa.  I used blue and white puffy paint to embellish it a bit and glued just one side of the door down so it “opens”.  I cut out a sleigh and Sven, a bunch of white triangles to represent mountains or snow mounds or something.  The light blue is a path for the princesses to walk on (J requested markings on the part leading up to the castle for stairs).  Marshmallow is guarding the castle and Oaken’s Trading Post is in the bottom corner.  diy-princess-felt-mat-north-mountainNext we worked on the woods.  I made a stream that leads to the ocean.  There’s a bridge that crosses over it.  The woods are supposed to represent Pocahontas, Merida, Snow White and Aurora all at once.  J requested a bench, an owl, squirrels and the three fairies from Aurora (just in case you were wondering what the hell those shapes were, hahaha).  The orangish/brownish felt is the path.diy-princess-felt-mat-woodsThe ocean scene was up next.  This one turned out to be waaaaay to spacious.  I should’ve made Ariel’s castle a lot bigger, but I didn’t realize how small it was until I had already glued it together and I didn’t feel like starting from scratch.  But this section has Ariel’s underwater palace, Eric’s ship, sunken treasure (I just needed something to throw in there!), Sebastian, Flounder (not sure where he is…), Ursula and her lair.  I also made Flotsam and Jetsam but by the time I was ready to glue the underwater scene down I had lost them.  I think they ended up getting swept up with all of the other felt scraps.  I haven’t gotten around to making another one set of them yet.  diy-princess-felt-mat-ocean

And then the rest of mat all crammed together.  Aurora’s cottage and spinning wheel.  A bookstore and fountain from Beauty and the Beast.  The Snuggly Duckling, tower and cave from Tangled.  The Wishing Well from Snow White (J had me add a blue sapphire ring at the bottom.  There’s a short story about Cinderella we read once where she lost her ring in the well and the mice had to retrieve it).  A pumpkin and carriage from Cinderella.  Tiana’s Palace (which I had to fight J tooth and nail so I could add it).   The magic carpet from Aladdin.  And, most importantly, Cinderella’s castle.

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I also added a back to the mat.  Since I used a bunch of different felts to make the different backgrounds I figured it would help to make it roll up easier.  Although really this mat isn’t large enough to roll.

I finished the edges of the front and back with some ribbon.

Voila, finished!  J uses it all of the time, just like I thought she would.  I really am considering making a different mat for each story.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll start that right now…

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You can’t have princesses without some villains!

So awhile back J and I made all 13 Disney princesses from her footprint (you can read all about them here).  disney-princess-footprint-craft-finishedShe immediately asked if we could also make all of the villains and princes from each story, but I vetoed her.  It took like 10 seconds of her time for this project, while I had to paint all of the hair and embellishments.  And since I majorly procrastinated doing that this project actually took a few weeks to complete.

Fast forward a few months and we were predicted to get several inches of snow in southern VA.  I remember when 4 inches fell down here last winter school shut down for a week and a half so I wanted to be prepared just in case.  I figured making the villains was an easy project that would make her happy and kill some time.  I picked up a piece of poster board and we were ready!  And thank goodness I did.  We ended up getting about a foot of snow and school was out for 6 days.  Projects were a necessity.

Last time I pretty much copied the princesses from a tutorial but this one was a bit more unique so I made them all up.  I googled each villain before painting her foot so I knew exactly what they were wearing.  I painted her foot, keeping the right side for all of the villains wearing black (which was about half) and the other side for any other colors. diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-17It turned out that I was out of red, which at the time I didn’t think was such a big deal.  I had no idea how many villains wear red!  I ended up just using a glitter paint that was sort of red and sort of pink and called it a day.  They don’t need to be perfect.

I pushed her foot down on the posterboard for each villain.  diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-18Let’s see if I can remember who’s who.  Starting at the top left it goes:  Ursula, Evil Queen, Lady Tremaine, Mother Gothel, Maleficent, Hans, Gaston, mess-up, mess-up, the bad guy from Tiana whose name I still don’t know (she doesn’t like that movie so I’ve only seen it once, haha), Shan Yu, Governor Ratcliffe, Jafar and Mordu.

The following day we embellished them.  I did the hair and crowns while she added anything that was needed onto the clothing.  Last time I didn’t let her help (not really sure why…) but this time she begged me to.  She did a great job! diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-19Then I cut around them with speciality scissors and used a hole punch for holes in the tops and bottoms of each person.  She divided them into 3 piles of 4, put them in the order she wanted them and picked out ribbon for each strand.  I weaved the ribbon through the hole, connecting the four villains together.  Here they are individually.

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Jafar

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Shan Yu

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Gaston

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Mother Gothel

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Ursula

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Govenor Ratcliffe. Who, in retrospect, should’ve been a lot fatter.

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Evil Queen

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Lady Tremaine

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Hans. Those are supposed to be sideburns but didn’t turn out so well, haha.

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Mordu

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Malificent

I cut another piece and made a loop to hang them up and voila, finished! diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-16 diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-14 diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-13We hung them up in between the princesses in her room.diy-disney-villain-footprint-art-15She hasn’t asked about the princes yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.  Next time there’s a snowstorm we’ll work on those guys 😉

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Thankful Tree

What better time for a post about a Thanksgiving project than in February?  Between Nolan’s quiet book pages and all of my Christmas projects apparently I missed blogging about this! Which is a shame since it’s one of my favorite traditions J and I started.  I’m just happy I realized I overlooked it.

So towards the end of October 2014 I decided I wanted to find a way for J to talk about the things she’s thankful for.  Do any of your friends on Facebook do the “thankful post” every day in November?  It was really popular a few years back, but now almost no one does it.  I still do and it’s my favorite time of year.  Of course I think the generic ones that are thankful for “family” and “friends” and “health” are all boring, so I find fun ways to express my gratefulness for life–things like hot dogs to keep my St Bernard in check when he sees kids/dogs/cats/squirrels while on walks or Google for answering my questions like “why will my 4 month old not sleep more than 30 minutes at a time?!”  I always do a serious one on the last day of the month, but I think it’s fun to come up with creative ideas.  Especially because that’s what makes life so great–all of those small things that you never really think about.  I really and truly am grateful for hot dogs and their amazing power over my Saint.

So I wanted to find a way to do something similar with J.  I finally settled on an idea I had seen floating around online:  a Thankful Tree.  Except I wanted to do it completely differently. We would draw a giant tree, paint it and hang it on the wall.  J could pick 30 neat looking leaves from outside.  Each day she would tell me something she was thankful for, I would write it on the leaf and then hang it on the tree on the wall.  I LOVED it!  Here’s a picture from our first Thanksgiving doing this, so an almost complete tree.  diy-thankful-tree-1I used clothespins to attach the leaves onto the tree (which I completely forgot I did!  I used tape last year, which did not stick.  I’ll have to try to remember to go back to clothespins this year).  One thing I did not like was using real leaves.  Neat idea, but not practical…what happens to leaves after they fall off the tree…um, they turn brown and crackly.  Duh.

Once November was over I had J make a turkey book.  I wanted it to look like this, but J put her own spin on it which I’m more than fine with–in fact I prefer it!  She’s going through a phase right now where everything has to look exactly the same as the craft that I show her and it bugs me.  Use your creativity to make it your own girl!  I cut out pieces of different colored construction paper for the book and held it together with pipe cleaners (J’s idea.  I’ve added staples to it since then).  Then I wrote one thing she said she was thankful for on each page, that way I can look back on it years from now and laugh that she was thankful for things like “balloons” and “breakfast”.  That’s my girl! diy-thankful-tree-5 This year we made another thankful tree.  I mixed the paint a bit better so it turned out more brown and less purple, hooray!  diy-thankful-tree-2diy-thankful-tree-3I wrote “Jordan is thankful for…” in block letters down the tree and let her color them in.  And then instead of using real leaves I cut out 30 leaves with my Silhouette in 5 different shapes and 4 different colors of cardstock–red, yellow, orange and brown.

Then for our family activity we all painted them to give them a little extra “something”.  diy-thankful-tree-1diy-thankful-tree-4Since C has a tendency to eat paint I tried out another homemade paint recipe, this time this one from Learning 4 Kids.  Look at those colors!  And the consistency was pretty cool.  J, of course, refused to use her fingers and insisted on using a paintbrush instead.  She loathes being dirty.homemade-paintThis one was a lot more successful than the one we tried out at Halloween for pumpkin decorating–he had a taste or two and then must not have enjoyed it because he actually stopped eating and instead painted himself, us and a little bit of the leaves.  Keeper!!!!!C-paintingWe set the leaves out to dry and then once November rolled around I asked J what she was thankful each day.  I used colored Sharpies to write them down and then she taped them to the tree/wall with Scotch tape.  Which, like I said earlier, did not work.  At least half of them were on the floor by the end of the month. diy-thankful-tree-2015I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t keep up with asking her after Thanksgiving, so she was about a week short on thankful things.  I definitely need to get better at that next year.  I was going to have her make another turkey book but when looking at the one from the previous year I saw how much space there was on each page, so I figured I’ll just keep adding to that instead!  I’ll write every year in a different colored marker and then make a key on the back front cover.  Brilliant!  diy-thankful-tree-6These were my favorites from 2015:  “tray lunch” and “everything in the world…except Roman” [our dog].  Oh J.

This is seriously one of my favorite traditions.  I can’t wait until C is old enough to start and we have twice as many leaves on the tree.  I just think it’s a great lesson to teach kids–doesn’t matter how big or small, but find one thing every single day to be thankful about.  Because life is precious and we need to appreciate every single thing that we have.

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Step Seven: A Brand New Desk

I had a really difficult time figuring out what to get J for Christmas this year.  Last year with did a kitchen theme:  Hubby made a DIY kitchen and I painted it (you can see it here) and then went crazy buying food, pots, pans, etc.  At the time she wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it, but she’s gotten a ton of use out of it the last year.  Although I do admit that she would’ve gotten even more use out of it if she’d received it the year before instead.  But that’s okay…she uses it and that’s all that matters!

But this year I was at a complete loss.  She has a bike and a scooter.  She was obsessed with Barbies last year, but hasn’t played with them much the past few months.  I’m really strict on TV so there wasn’t even a question about giving her something like that for her room.  She rarely plays with her LeapPad.  Even dress up clothes have been on a decline since she started school.  For all of November I fretted about what to do.  Although I could just give her a bunch of random small things, that’s not how I like to do Christmas.  I’d rather do one big present and get small presents that tie back to the big present, with maybe a random extra thing or two.

I finally decided on a desk.  Arts and crafts are really the only thing that she’s consistently been doing since starting school.  And although we have our Art Activity Center and she has a craft table and a whole bunch of craft supplies downstairs, C is also starting to really get into it.  And by that I mean eating markers, crayons, chalk, paint…basically anything he can get his hands on.  As a result her stuff is ruined.  So I figured we could get her a desk to go in her room that can be used for arts and crafts now and then homework in the future.  I could get her a whole bunch of new supplies which would be kept in her room, away from wandering hands (and mouth).  I knew it wasn’t something she was going to be really excited about upon receiving, but, like the kitchen, she would love it in the long run.

After discussing it with Hubby, we decided he would make it.  Then J and I could paint it together during Christmas break.  I searched and searched on Pinterest, finally deciding this one was the one I liked the best.  No drawers, which I think only leads to clutter.  Not too big, not too small.  The one thing I didn’t like about it was the storage on each side.  Although great for holding books (so it’ll work well in the future), the art supply problem was going to be a bit harder to solve.  So Hubby designed one himself instead.  The left side is just the two legs holding it up and the right side has a small bookcase attached underneath with three shelves.  Which will be great for holding anything and everything!

We headed to the DC Ikea to get a chair for the desk.  While there I picked up two packs of these storage containers for her art supplies.  I also ended up getting two bigger ones from Dollar Tree.  Over the next month I bought her new markers (regular, skinny and stamping), paints and paint brushes, puffy paints, crayons (regular, metallic and glitter), glue, wasabi tape (which I found a terrific deal here on Amazon!), glitter pens, construction paper, a sketch book, a Melissa and Doug scratch pad (which was her favorite), a giant coloring book and a 12 pack of craft scissors.  I actually ended up getting a bunch of the supplies from IKEA…seriously, I love that place.

I made labels for each of the containers but they didn’t stay on very well for some reason…  diy-desk-14That’s alright, I already know there’s no way she’s going to put everything back where it’s supposed to go anyway.  And then my OCD will kick in and once a week I’ll have to go in and re-sort everything.

In the meantime Hubby got to work on the desk.  She saw it at each stage, but never really seemed to be interested in it.  No surprise there.  He finished it right before Christmas, which was perfect timing.  We stuck a bow on it and left it in the garage for her to find the next day. diy-desk-11Unsurprisingly she didn’t really understand what it was for.  At least this time we expected this reaction (unlike with the kitchen) and were well prepared for it.  I just told her that once we painted it and got it up in her room she’d get it.  She loved all of the new art supplies at least!

The next day we started painting.  First, the primer. diy-desk-12Needless to say this step didn’t really entertain her much.  She did stick with it for quite awhile before abandoning me to finish it and go in the house to play.  I can’t blame the kid…I find painting therapeutic, but even I get sick of it by the end.

Then we discussed what exactly we were going to do with it.  I figured we’d paint the majority of it one color and then do something different to the top.  I had pinned a few ideas I thought she might like:  this one, this one and this one.  She wasn’t too enthusiastic about any of them, however.  She suggested circles, which somehow led to us talking about a huge rainbow.  Then she said she could add clouds and a sun and rain, and I suggested we do a big scene:  she could make a house with the family in front and do whatever she wanted in the sky.  She loved that idea!  And so did I!  Then every year or two we can just swipe a new layer of paint on the top and she can make a whole new mural.  That kid is absolutely brilliant.

We headed to Walmart to pick out a color for the rest of the desk.  Originally she wanted to do one of the metallic colors that Disney makes.  Turned out that they can’t do those at the Walmart we were at (um, so then why do you have a giant display promoting the colors then??) so she had to pick something else.  I was braced for a fit, but she actually didn’t seem to care.  She must not have been completely sold on it then…that’s the only explanation I can come up with!  Instead she choose “Sully’s Fur”, which was a light teal.  I thought it was an excellent choice.

Originally I was only going to buy a sample size of whatever color she decided on since that would be plenty to paint her desk.  But since she’s getting a brand new room (C will take over all of her furniture) when we move to Kansas in 6 months I figured I’d get a pint instead so we can paint her dresser, bed and (fingers crossed on this one…) new dress-up closet to match.  I’m so smart.

After priming I got to work taping everything off.  I decided we’d do all of the desk teal except the top and the 3 sides of the bookshelves.  We left the top with just the white primer and I painted each of the shelves (minus the bottom) white.  diy-desk-9diy-desk-7diy-desk-8She helped some with the first coat of teal.  Then I did the second coat of teal and both coats of white all on my own.

Then we were ready for our mural!  I started off by tearing off a sheet of our roll paper the size of the desk and had her draw exactly what she wanted it to look like.  That way there wouldn’t be any issues later.  She decided she wanted to go with a snow scene.  I drew a wavy line on the bottom and we painted that white and then the sky blue. diy-desk-1I have a ton of glitter acrylic paint so I asked if she wanted to make it sparkly.  The answer was obviously “YES!!!!!!!!!!“.  We used sparkly blue for the sky and sparkly silver on the snow.  I do have to admit it looked really cool, especially on the snow.diy-desk-10 diy-desk-3Then I held up her drawing while she copied it onto the desk with a pencil.    diy-desk-5Then she stood there and told me what color paint she wanted everything while I did the actual painting.  I could tell she was disappointed that she couldn’t paint it herself, but I knew if she did it was going to turn out disastrous.  I tried to explain to her that it’s really hard to paint something like this, but she didn’t really understand.  Until I let her decorate the dresses and make the crowns herself.  She wasn’t happy with the way a lot of them turned out and had me go back and fix them.  After that I think she understood.

Our work in progress!diy-desk-4And the final product!  How could I not love it…snowy, sunny, rainy, rainbow all at once with us in fancy clothing, crowns and wands while Santa drops off presents.  Does that scream 5 year old imagination or what?!
diy-desk-6Hubby sprayed it down with the same acrylic sealer we used on the Stepping Stones.  After we let it dry for a looong time (seriously that stuff is potent!) he carried it up to her room.  “She” (aka I) organized all of the art supplies on there, and that’s it!  diy-desk-13My friend Amanda got her some paint-your-own Elsa and Anna ceramic figurines for Christmas so that was her very first project on the desk. It’s been in her room for about a week now and she’s gotten plenty of use out of it, so I’m very happy with our decision to do a desk.  Might not be the most glamorous gift, but it’s definitely going to be used.

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Step six: DIY Stepping Stones for the Grandparents

To go along with our Snowman Ornaments we decided to send handmade stepping stones.  This is a great gift because we can continue to give one every year if we want to…or really any year that we can’t think of a great handmade gift from the grandkids.  Last year we gave these awesome bird baths to everyone and originally I was thinking we could do a birdhouse to go with it this year, but it just seemed too difficult to mail.  We’ll save that idea for when the grandparents actually make it out to visit us for the holidays…which means never, haha.  Don’t even get me started on that category.  Apparently roads only go one way…

But anyway, the stepping stones.  I did a search on Pinterest (obviously) for some ideas.  After going through numerous sites I found this one to be the most helpful.  There are specific instructions, tips for each step and tons and tons of example stones.  I highly recommend thoroughly reading the article if you’re looking to make one yourself!

I made my list of supplies:

  • Mold.  I purchased either an 8 or 9 inch circle mold from Hobby Lobby.  It was only $4 but it turned out to be the most expensive thing I purchased that day, so I was able to use a 40% off coupon for it.
  • Concrete.  After reading the tips on the above website I decided on a sand/concrete mixture.  Turned out Lowes didn’t sell it, so I had to hit up Home Depot for it.  And of course the smallest bag they had was 60 lb.  Which I would like to say that I pulled it off of the shelf, put it on the cart and pulled it out of the cart and into my car all on my own at 7 months pregnant.  I kick ass.  It was cheaper in the store, so it was actually only $4.
  • Marbles.  We have a ton of glass marbles that I was planning on using for this project, but it turned out they were too big for what I wanted to do.  So I ended up purchasing two bags of small ball marbles from Michaels.  Each at a separate time, so each at $3 with a 40% off coupon.
  • Green Gems.  After the original idea I had to decorate the stones looked like crap I had to go in a new direction.  So I picked up some “crushed glass with glitter” (except mine was green) from Hobby Lobby for $4, once again with a 40% off coupon.
  • Spray paint sealer.  I had a hard time deciding what to buy.  They had clay pot sealers, but that sounded like it was more to keep the soil and water in a pot.  Then there was a UV one, but it didn’t say anything about water.  So finally I went with Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear because it said it was moisture resistant.  I’ll let you know the results, haha!  It was around $10, minus yet another 40% off Michael’s coupon

And that’s it!  In total I spent about $18 for all 4 sets of grandparents (of course that doesn’t count shipping costs since 3/4 sets of grandparents are worthless…).  And the mold is still reusable and we have a ton of concrete and sealer leftover.  Now that’s how much we should be spending on Christmas!

I knew I wanted to put the kids’ handprints in there so it was just a matter of deciding on the design.  I didn’t want to do just plain handprints…I think that looks boring.  I thought we could put the handprints in a flower shape and then push different colored marbles in the impressions to make colorful flowers.  We did that with the first mold and it did not look good.  We just pitched that stone after it dried and went back to the drawing board.

I decided to try again with the flower idea, but this time painting the handprints instead of using marbles.  I used the green gems from Hobby Lobby for the stems and then wrote 2015 in the marble balls on the top.  They turned out much better.  And then since we used regular acrylic paint I picked up a can of sealer to hopefully keep it from fading/washing away.

So this is how we made the molds:

  1. Mix the concrete.  Hubby did this part.  He didn’t use any measurements, so each time he mixed it the consistency was completely different.  Two of the times he made it he had to get some paper towels to soak up some of the water because it was so liquidy that the handprints were just disappearing.  Now if this was me I would’ve measured the powder and the water the first time so I knew how much to use, but hey, to each their own!
  2. Add paint if coloring the stone.  I had half a jar of a sample size red paint that we used on the first (well, technically second) stone we made.  I really like the color of it and if I would’ve had more paint we would’ve colored the other ones too.  It adds to it nicely.  I wasn’t going to purchase paint specifically for this, though.
  3. Pour into the mold and let sit for 30-60 minutes.  Some of the watery ones we actually let sit for closer to two hours instead… diy-stepping-stone-5
  4. Handprints!  C had a blast with the handprints.  He laughed hysterically every time Hubby pushed his hands in.  It took two of us to get his–Hubby to hold his hands down and make sure he didn’t grab a handful of concrete and eat it (which is what he was trying to do) while I spun the mold in a circle to get the flower shape.  We did his first and then J had whatever room was left. diy-stepping-stone-4 diy-stepping-stone-2 diy-stepping-stone-3
  5. Decorate.  After Hubby took C away (usually straight into the bathtub) J and I pushed in the marbles.  The gems looked nice but since they were so small quite a few of them didn’t get pushed in enough and fell out after it finished drying.  Fortunately we used so many of them that you couldn’t tell some had disappeared.  We used the green gems for the stem/leaves and for “grass” along the bottom.  We pushed the red and blue balls in the top to form 2015. diy-stepping-stone-1
  6. Let it sit for at least 3 days. diy-stepping-stone-9
  7. Take it out.  The concrete slipped right out of the mold! diy-stepping-stone-10
  8. Paint!  I painted C’s handprints and J did hers. diy-stepping-stone-11
  9. Let dry for 24 hours.  Then Hubby sprayed it with the sealer.  At this point we were a little short on time so he actually sprayed all of them at once.  3 hours later we wrapped them in bubble wrap and loaded them into the flat rate Priority boxes to be shipped the next day.  They arrived Christmas Eve…was that great timing or what?!  Although they definitely should’ve aired out a little longer before being packed away.  They sat in my car in the boxes overnight and when I got in to drive to the post office I think I got a little high during the 3 minute drive.  That stuff was strong!

And that’s it!  I think they turned out pretty cute.  We made 5 total:  four for the grandparents and one for ourselves.  diy-stepping-stone-8diy-stepping-stone-6 diy-stepping-stone-7 The top one is the first one we made, as I’m sure you can tell.  That was before I purchased the smaller beads for the year and decided to stick with the green gems for the stem as well as the grass.  It’s also the one we poured the red paint into, so at least that part turned out well!

I don’t have a picture of the fourth one we made, for my parents, because they came down to visit us for the holidays so I didn’t have to ship theirs.  Which meant we just barely finished it in time and I didn’t even think about snapping a quick photo beforehand.

Hubby’s dad said “Oh that’s too nice for people to step on; I think I’m going to build something to display it on the porch!”, which I thought was pretty neat.  And then he followed that up by asking “Are those the grandkids’ handprints on there?”  No, Gary, they’re the kids down the street.  Sigh.

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Time to get Christmas started…First step: DIY Snowmen Handprint Ornaments for the Grandparents!

Two years ago I decided that I was going to do some type of handprint ornament for all of the grandparents every year as part of their Christmas gift.  The first year we did the Santa Claus handprint ornament out of salt dough with J and last year I did the Mistletoe footprint ornament with both J and C (instead of doing both feet for one child I just did one of each).  After doing some searching for this year’s homemade ornament I finally settled on the Snowman handprint, which I’m sure you’ve seen a million times.  I liked how this one used a regular ornament instead of salt dough…a bit different this year.  And also very easy to incorporate both kids’ handprints on the same one.  Now next year will be tricky since I’ll have three to squeeze on there!

This ornament was super simple.  I picked up a box of 4 clear ornaments for 50% off at Hobby Lobby.  diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-bulbI always make one for us too, but my choices were either a box of 4 or 8 so I picked up a lone clear plastic ornament from Walmart for 98 cents.  Since I ended up accidentally breaking one of the Hobby Lobby ones (I didn’t even realize they were made of glass!) I should’ve picked up the larger box since I had to go back to Walmart to get another one!  Figures…

The clear ones were the cheapest so I decided to pick up some blue paint to jazz them up a bit.  I found some Extreme Glitter that I thought would work nicely.  I covered all of the ornaments with the glitter paint and then hung them up off of colored pencils to dry for a day.  You could probably use egg cartons or lots of other things…that was just the first thing I spotted.blue-glitter-paint diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-painteddiy-snowman-handprint-ornament-dryingNext was the tricky part:  handprints.  I knew I wanted to do J’s on one side and C’s on the other.  I gathered the white acrylic paint, a paintbrush, the kids, and, most importantly, Hubby.  I did J’s 5 handprints first. diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-handprint-1C got really excited when he saw what was going on and held out his hand and whined the whole time I was doing J’s.  He just couldn’t wait for his turn…so he could do this:  DIY Snowman Handprint Ornament 12Even with Hubby holding him down the little sh*t still managed to eat some paint!  Seriously, this kid.  Getting his handprint was a struggle.  As you can see, they didn’t turn out nearly as nice as J’s.  I’m perfectly fine with it though…I think it helps give it character!  At the very least you can tell that pinning down an 19 month old and getting him to nicely place a handful of apparently scrumptious paint onto a ball is nearly impossible.diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-handprint-2I once again hung them up to dry.  Can you tell which ones are C’s??diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-drying-2I painted the bottom all white and connected the snowman with snowy hills.  This would’ve looked a bit better had J and C’s hands actually been parallel to one another on the ornament, haha.  Some of the “hills” were a steep incline instead…diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-bottom diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-snowdriftsI also attempted snowflakes at this time as well.  I dotted one of the ornaments with white paint, but didn’t like the way it looked.diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-snowflakesOf course when I tried to erase the snowflakes while the paint was still wet, I dropped it and discovered once it shattered all over the floor that it was made of glass.  So they sat there for almost two weeks before the next step–I wanted to pick up another ornament from Walmart before finishing the rest of them.  And I avoid Walmart like the plague so it took awhile to actually psych myself up to get there.

Once I had my fifth ornament and painted it blue, I decorated the other four.  I used different colored Sharpies to add eyes, a carrot nose, a smile, 3 buttons, a scarf and a top hat to each snowman. diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-snowmen-1 diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-snowmen-2

On the bottom I wrote the year, Merry Christmas and C’s name.  I’ll let J write her own name under her handprint.diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-bottom-2Finally I had J and C do their handprint one last time on the remaining ornament and then painted just J’s pointer finger and had her dot the snowflakes all over.  I think it turned out much better than the paintbrush. More child-like.diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-snowflake-fingerprints

That’s it!  Finished!  diy-snowman-handprint-ornament-finishedNotice how there’s only 4 ornaments in this photo?  That’s because the last one still doesn’t have any faces yet.  $20 says it’ll stay like that until 2 minutes before I put it in the box to be shipped to a grandparent…

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Cinderella coach pumpkin. Because J doesn’t do anything that doesn’t relate back to princesses.

Right before Halloween I stumbled across this pin on Pinterest and knew instantly that was how J would want to make her pumpkin this year.  Unsurprisingly I was correct.  She was stoked when I showed it to her.  The only thing I regret is that I showed it to her the first week of October and had to listen to her ask me every single day for the next three weeks (sometimes several times a day) “Can we carve our pumpkins today?!”  Needless to say I think I was the most excited when the time finally came to make the darn thing just so I wouldn’t have to listen to her talk about it anymore!

I followed the pin to Let’s Go Fly a Kite‘s blog, which then linked me to the original tutorial on The Fairfield House.  The pumpkin was pretty self-explanatory but I scrolled through really quickly just to make sure there wasn’t anything unexpected.

First we gutted the pumpkin.  Usually J hates anything gross and refuses to help with this part.  To my total surprise she got really into it this year! cinderella-coach-pumpkin-6Hubby cut out a rectangle for the door and two small squares for windows. While at Target a few weeks before I saw small jars of paint for $1 in the Halloween section.  I had J pick a color out for her coach.  She went with red.  cinderella-coach-pumpkin-8cinderella-coach-pumpkin-7While the paint was still wet she sprinkled some confetti glitter all over it.  The child has no idea just how lucky she is that although that stuff drives me insane, I let her use it anyway.  It’s banned in most households!  J’s best friends who come over for play dates quite frequently are in heaven here 😉
cinderella-coach-pumpkin-2The next night, after the paint was dry, we hotglued some red glitter hearts all around the door, followed by curtains from her Barbie Dreamhouse onto the sides.  cinderella-coach-pumpkin-5It rained the next few nights so I left the pumpkin inside so all of the paint wouldn’t wash off.  Since it was just sitting there J got the hankering to add stickers all around it. cinderella-coach-pumpkin-1And then a tiara resting on top (I didn’t attach it at all, just set it right on the stem.  Which C loved because every time we walked past the pumpkin he would swipe the tiara and put it on.  Priceless). cinderella-coach-pumpkin-3I didn’t bother attaching the wheels either.  J picked out four different colored mini pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and I merely leaned them against the pumpkin.  Voila, finished! cinderella-coach-pumpkin-4C also had to get into the pumpkin decorating spirit.  And by that I mean I took off his shirt, put him in his high chair with some paint, a pumpkin and a paint brush.  He spent approximately 15 seconds painting his pumpkin and the rest of the time painting himself.  And eating the paint. IMGP2653 IMGP2664We tried again the next night.  This time I mixed up some homemade paint…the flour/water/food coloring recipe.  It went slightly better–he did not enjoy the taste of the paint so instead he just painted himself and the dog.  Although I do have to give him credit–he did paint the actual pumpkin this time too! IMGP2677 IMGP2673 IMGP2679 IMGP2681Happy Halloween!

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The costume to end all costumes: Glinda the Good Witch. Part One.

In mid-September J and I started talking about Halloween and what she might want to dress up as.  Obviously her immediate response was “Elsa!!”.  I’ll let her do the princess thing, sure, but let’s try to be at least a little creative for Halloween!  I got out of it by telling her that she can be Elsa if she wants to, but really Halloween is a great reason to get a NEW costume and not just wear something she wears all the time anyway.  She was thrilled with that concept and I was happy to not have one of a million Elsas on the street.

Since she already owns most of the Disney Princess dresses this was a problem for her.  The only ones she doesn’t have are the princesses she doesn’t really like anyway (Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine are it I think…).  She loves to play this “Good Witch” game at home.  Simple concept:  she puts on an old witch’s hat, grabs the broom and “rings” the doorbell by saying “ding dong!”  I then have to answer the door, act all surprised when it’s the “good witch” and invite her in.  And then she pretends she’s the good witch and joins C and I with whatever we’re doing.  Ridiculously simple and yet it manages to get on my nerves after the billionth time we play it.  But it’s one of her favorite pretend games so that got me thinking…what if she was a good witch?  And the only good witch that came to mind was Glinda.  Who was PERFECT.  Long poofy dress that covers her feet and is super sparkly, plus she has a crown and a wand.  Could she be any more up J’s alley??

The only problem was that J hadn’t seen the Wizard of Oz yet.  Which wasn’t really an issue at all.  I simply googled Glinda, showed her the pictures and she immediately fell in love.  I mentioned to a friend the following week what J’s costume was going to be but that we hadn’t watched the movie yet.  J went over for a playdate and the friend was “kind enough” to show her the movie.  Which actually made me really upset.  One–she’s at a playdate.  I don’t want her sitting around watching TV…that defeats the purpose.  She should be playing.  And two–I wanted to show her the movie!  I may despise that movie, but it’s still a rite of passage to see it for the first time and I was absurdly upset over the fact that she watched it without me.  Plus J is really sensitive when she watches new movies so I always watch things with her for the first time.  She asks a million questions and needs to know about the “bad parts” in detail before they happen, while they’re happening and while they’re over.  So that didn’t sit well with me at all.

But I digress.  Majorly.

So after we deceided on Glinda I searched for a DIY version.  And I found not only the perfect tutorial but the most amazing blog ever.  If you haven’t seen Make It & Love It you have to check her out.  Like right now.  I’ll wait.  She is so amazing.  I’ve done a couple of projects off of her website since making the Glinda dress and I love them all.

So the Glinda dress.  Last year Make It & Love It’s daughter decided to be Glinda and so she tackled the giant project and put up a clear and easy to follow tutorial on her website, which you can find here.  I’ll show you what I did but you’ll need to refer to her for the specifics if you decide to do one yourself.

I’m going to break this down into several posts since there was a lot of work that went into it.  And just the introduction on how we decided on the dress was really long, haha, so I can only imagine what this post would look like if I did it all in one.

In this post I’ll explain how I made the hoop skirt, the crown and the wand.  In Part Two, next week, I’ll go into detail about the dress.  And then Part Three will be C’s costume, which is…wait for it…a Flying Monkey.  Which honestly I love even more than the Glinda dress.

So, the hoop skirt.  This isn’t something I would normally even think about J having, let alone tackling it myself.  But Make It & Love It has a fantastic tutorial, of course, and it really does add a lot to the Glinda dress.  I think it ended up being just as important as the crown or wand.  Plus J loves wearing it under other dress up dresses.  Every pretend princess needs a hoop skirt!

So this is what I picked up:

  • 3 yards of white muslin.  That’s the fabric I use for my quiet books and I love it–cheap, light, easy to sew.  It just so happened to be on sale at Joann’s while I was there (for the first time for this project…) so I only paid 99 cents/yard.  I didn’t actually need 3 yards, but I always like to buy extra.  Especially since I have plenty of use for this in the future.
  • 2 spools of grosgrain ribbon.  Go to Walmart for this!  I got 2 spools of 7/8 inch ribbon, each with 3 yards, for $2 a piece.  Bargain!!
  • 1/4″ plastic Pex Pipe tubing.  I bought this one from Lowes.  I made it super simple by just adding this item and the next one (the rods) for store pickup at Lowes.  No need to ask an employee or wonder around for 5 hours or anything!  I bought 5 and ended up using 4.
  • 1/4″ threaded rods.  Here’s the one I ordered from Lowes.  It was cheaper to purchase a 24″ one and then cut it into pieces than buy smaller pieces, so that’s the route I went.  I ordered 1 and then asked Hubby to cut it into 8 pieces for me.
  • 3/4″ elastic.  I used a 40% off coupon at Joann’s, but realized when I bought the ribbon that it’s actually cheaper at Walmart.  Something to keep in mind for next time!

I spent $22 total on the materials for the hoop skirt.  Just in case you were wondering.

To give you an idea of my daughter’s size, she has a 22 inch waist and her length from her waist to the floor is 20 inches.

The first measurement was simple:  I cut a 22 x 91 inch rectangle out of white muslin.  I followed the tutorial and sewed the short ends together to make one giant skirt.  I ironed the seams open.

Figuring out the ribbon was a lot more difficult.  Here’s a photo of my trial and error sheet.  I think it took me about 5 tries before I found measurements that made sense.  diy-hoop-skirt-6I sewed the first line of ribbon the whole way across the skirt two inches from the bottom.  I used the selvaged edge just like Make It & Love It so I didn’t have to worry about hemming along there.  That saved me a bunch of time.  When pinning the ribbon down I made sure to follow along with the tape measure and check that I was still the same distance every time I placed a pin to help keep it in line.

I added the next line of ribbon 4 inches above the bottom one.  Turned out that I still don’t know how to sew in a straight line, hahaha, so even though I was really careful about pinning it straight, that didn’t translate quite as well as I had hoped while sewing.  The lines are all a little bit off but surprisingly not too bad.  I made sure to continue to follow along with the tape measure for each pin.

And then I realized after I sewed the first two lines on that they still weren’t spaced out correctly.  I did some on-the-fly math and figured out where to space the last two ribbons.  Here’s a photo of exactly where my ribbon ended up going in case that helps you.  Math just isn’t my strong suit.diy-hoop-skirt-1

I sewed on my last two lines of ribbon.  For each set I left about 2-3 inches of overlap along each opening just like Make It & Love It recommends.  I also stayed as close to each edge as possible.

Since I was running out of room at the top I made the top hem for the elastic as small as possible.  To keep the raw edges at bay I folded it in a tiny bit and then folded it over again, this time about 3/4 inch, to form the casing.  I found that it really helps to iron the fold down first and then pin–helps it stay so much better when sewing.  I threaded the elastic through, tried it around J’s waist to make sure it was a good size, sewed the two elastic ends together and then stitched the opening closed.

Then the pipe.  I followed Make It & Love It’s instructions for the bottom one:  threaded my piping into the bottom ribbon until I ran out, added a threaded rod, connected a second piece of piping and then fed it through until I reached the end of ribbon.  I cut off the excess pipe, added another threaded rod and connected the two end pieces.  This is the part that was a bitch to do–I actually had to have Hubby do it for me.  I just couldn’t connect the two pieces together and shove them inside!  Not enough brute strength I guess…

I did the second row.  And this is where I went wrong, although I didn’t realize it quite yet.  Because I’m a complete and total moron I was thinking that each hoop would automatically revert to a smaller size.  So when I threaded my second hoop in I did the exact same thing as I did the first time around…so it was exactly the same size.  And this where the problem was compounded even more–I had absolutely no idea that this wrong.  So I did the third hoop the same way.  And then when I was threading the fourth hoop and saw that it looked funky I knew something was amiss….

Fortunately the one thing I did do correctly was to not connect the third tier together.  I had to keep asking for Hubby’s help and he was doing something else, so I figured I’d just wait until I was completely finished and then ask him to push the remaining two together.  I decided to try it on J before pushing the top one through.  That was my saving grace.

I wish I had a picture of how ridiculous it looked.  Unfortunately I was on the verge of tears and taking a photo of my complete and utter failure was the furthest thing on my mind.  It was one giant square.  And about 8 times too big around J’s waist.  I almost lost it.

After some thinking I came to the realization that I was supposed to trim the tubes.  DUH.  And then I was irritated because I didn’t understand why Make It & Love It didn’t say that in her post.  After rereading it I realized she does say it and, in fact, gives the measurements she used for each tier on her daughter.  My bad.

I fixed it as best I could.  It was impossible to dig out the second tier since I had already connected the two tubes.  Well I’m sure it’s not impossible but I decided to focus on the other two rows first and see if I had to fight with it.  I chopped off about 6 inches from the third row and tried that.  It wasn’t enough, so I chopped off another 6 inches.  And then I threaded the top tier through.  I only used one of the 5′ sections of pipe, even though it didn’t go the whole way around.  I was afraid that if I connected another piece it wouldn’t fit around J’s waist.

As you can see in this photo, about 1/3 of the top row doesn’t have a pipe.  But I already had to cinch the waist a ton to make it fit with that much tubing in it and there’s no way I could pull it any tighter.  In fact, it’s still a bit too large around the waist and falls down a bit.  So it was just going to stay that way.diy-hoop-skirt-4diy-hoop-skirt-3The second row needs to be trimmed more so I can trim the third row even more and then finish off the pipe in the top row.  However, getting to the piping in the second row was going to be a giant pain in the tuchus so I decided to wait until the Glinda dress was finished and then I would see how it looked under that.  It really irritated me that it didn’t turn out well.
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Oh and I should mention that I didn’t end up closing the ribbon pieces.  Although I determined that once the Glinda dress was on only I could tell that something was off (since I knew to look for it) so I wasn’t going to mess with any of the tiers but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to worry about closing the ribbon.  That piping isn’t going anywhere…trust me.  And it’s on the inside so I’m really not concerned with fraying.  Like I said, I don’t know why I sew.  I really don’t have the patience for it.

So let’s switch over and talk about something that I did like:  the crown and wand!  Of course the star shape turned out a bit funky and they’re both shedding glitter like there’s no tomorrow (I wish I would’ve done them differently), but at least they fit.

I did mine very differently from Make It & Love It (you can find her tutorial here, in the same post as the rest of the Glinda dress).  This is what I used:

  • Grey felt.  I have a ton of felt on hand.  When we lived in Canada a local fabric store was going out of business and I went insane, buying yards of felt at a deeply discounted price.  So I decided to use felt for both the crown and wand instead of foam like Make It & Love It.
  • Heat n Bond.  I use this for quiet books all of the time so I took some and ironed it onto the back of the crown to give it some heft.
  • Dowel rod.  I picked one up at Joann’s that was about shoulder height on my daughter.  It was only 79 cents, but then I discovered a week later they were only 29 cents at Walmart!  Man!!!
  • Hot glue & gun.
  • Rhinestones.  J picked out this tub from Michael’s.  There are A TON of rhinestones in there.  Her costume is finished and we didn’t even end up using a quarter of them.
  • Spray paint.  For the dowel rod.
  • Glitter paint.  For the dowel rod and, originally, for the crown.
  • Grey Acrylic Paint.  For the crown and wand to help the glitter stick.
  • Glitter.  My original thinking was to have J just paint over the felt with some acrylic grey glitter paint I have leftover from another project, but I didn’t have much left and that stuff is expensive, plus it wasn’t turning out as glittery as I had hoped.  So I found a huge container of large white iridescent glitter at Walmart for a couple of bucks.  I figured she could paint it grey and then sprinkle the glitter on top.  FYI I do not recommend this method!  We made the crown and wand over a month ago and I’m still finding glitter all over the craft area.  And they’re both still shedding like mad.  So don’t do it!!!!  The acrylic glitter paint would’ve been a much better option even if it wouldn’t have turned out as nicely…
  • Poly-fil.  Just a tiny bit to fill the star.  I always have some on hand.  J calls it her “fluff” and sleeps with it at night.  And then has a huge meltdown anytime I need to use it.  I don’t understand my child…

$9 total spent on the materials for the crown and wand.  Since I already had just about everything already the majority of that was on the rhinestones.

Crown first.  I started off by taking my grey felt and wrapping it around J’s head to get the right size.  I cut it with about an inch overlap to make sure there was room to close it.  And then I cut it at the top so it was about a foot and a half high.  Next I freehanded a tree shape onto a spare piece of card stock like Make It & Love It.  diy-glinda-crown-2

I placed it on top of the felt and traced four of them.  Here’s the cutout on the felt since I didn’t take a picture of the crown itself… diy-glinda-crown-4Then I had J paint the felt with some acrylic glitter paint.  It just wasn’t glittery enough for either of us, plus it turned out kind of patchy (since I was letting her do it) so we switched over to regular grey acrylic paint and while she painted I sprinkled some white glitter on top and pressed it down to make it stick better. diy-glinda-crown-3The following day after it was all dried I tried it on her.  Still fit perfectly (which is impressive for me…I always cut things too small!) but the top points weren’t staying up.  I have a ton of Heat n Bond so I snipped it to the right shape(ish) and ironed it on the back, hoping that would make it stiff enough. diy-glinda-crown-1It’s not perfect but the points stay up a lot better now.  I had J paint it grey so it would (somewhat) match the rest of the crown.  It’s on the inside so it’s not very noticeable.

Finally we glued the jewels on!  I let her go to town, placing them wherever she wanted and then using my hot glue gun to attach them.
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Finished!

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The wand was really simple.  First I had Hubby spray paint the dowel rod with what I thought was grey, but was actually gold.  It had been sitting in the garage for awhile so either it had the wrong lid on (which indicated that it was grey) or it sat so long that it turned from grey to brown.  Not sure, but either way it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.  After it was dry I just had J paint it with the grey glitter paint and I decided it was close enough. diy-glitter-wand-1For the star I cut a template out of card stock, folded the grey felt in half, traced the star onto it and cut it out. diy-glitter-wand-6I had J paint it with grey paint and sprinkle more of the same glitter we used on the crown all over both sides. diy-glitter-wand-4The following day, after it was dry, I matched the right sides together and sewed it closed, leaving one of the sides open to stuff it and put the dowel rod inside. diy-glitter-wand-3I flipped it right side out, stuffed it with a handful of Poly-fil and added a few jingle bells that we had laying around so it would make some noise.  diy-glitter-wand-2We added more jewels, obviously. diy-glitter-wand-7Finally I shoved the dowel rod inside and used my hot glue gun to close the star up.  Finished! diy-glitter-wand-8j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-1j-diy-glinda-dress-crown-and-wand-2So there’s the hoop skirt, crown and wand.  Check out next week’s post for the actual Glinda dress…and all my trials and tribulations making it.  Seriously, I don’t have the patience for sewing…

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DIY Toddler Busy Board

C turned 1 back in April and one of his presents was a DIY Toddler Busy Board.  As you can see, this post is just a teeny tiny bit overdue.  That’s just how I like to roll.

I found this pin on Pintest that I pinned (let’s see how many times I can use the word “pin” in a sentence) 2 years ago, knowing that I wanted to do it for a future child.  C already has a ton of toys due to being the second child and a spoiled rotten grandchild, so we decided to keep his birthday low key.  This board was the only thing he got from us.

Once his birthday got closer I started to do some mad research on Busy Boards, looking at ideas for things to put on it and ways to paint it.  Then I started searching the Dollar Tree, Walmart and thrift shops for the items.  We ended up with a decent spread, and plenty of room to add more if we find some stuff.

Unfortunately I can’t tell you anything at all about how Hubby built the box itself.  I do know that it has sides and a back, so it’s like a giant box.  That way he could screw everything in but we wouldn’t have to worry about C playing with all of the nails and stuff poking out the other side.  Plus the door knob I had would actually turn and the side part moves, which I think is pretty cool.diy-toddler-busy-board-sidediy-toddler-busy-board-2 diy-toddler-busy-board-backIf you have any questions let me know and I can relay them to him and he can answer them!

So this is everything he attached on there:

a wheel from an office chairdiy-toddler-busy-board-wheela switch from a lamp (he just cut off the cord on either end)diy-toddler-busy-board-switch

a door knobdiy-toddler-busy-board-door-knob

an old school telephone corddiy-toddler-busy-board-cord

a door that opens and closes with a sliding lock on itdiy-toddler-busy-board-lock-door diy-toddler-busy-board-door-open

a light switchdiy-toddler-busy-board-light-switch

and door stoppers.diy-toddler-busy-board-door-stoppers

After I painted it he also glued on a combination lockdiy-toddler-busy-board-lock

and a mirrordiy-toddler-busy-board-mirror

After he did his part (which took entirely too long.  I had to nag him for weeks to just do it!) I took over.  Although I found tons of ideas, the way Millionayres painted hers was by far my favorite.  I had a bunch of leftover red and white paint from previous projects so I used those colors instead.  Painting it this way was very time consuming and the lines turned out a bit wonky, but overall I love it.

First I used painters tape all around the front, about an inch from the edge.  diy-toddler-busy-board-3I painted all of the sides and that first inch red.  Then I taped around all of the “things” since I’m like the worst painter in the world.diy-toddler-busy-board-6

I peeled off the edge.  Not too bad…for me!diy-toddler-busy-board-4Then I taped the diagonal lines.  I spaced them out so they were the same width as the tape just to make it easy in my head.  I painted all of the empty spaces (and quite a bit of the painters tape 😉 ) white.  diy-toddler-busy-board-5I peeled off that tape and then covered up all of the white lines.  I just reused the same tape since it was still sticky and about the right length. diy-toddler-busy-board

I painted the remaining space red, and voila it was finished!

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Just in time for C’s birthday, too.  If I remember correctly we had a day to spare.  Perfect.  And he loves it.  It doesn’t keep his attention for long, but really what does??  It’s funny because at first the door stoppers and telephone cord were his favorites, but now that he’s a bit older he loves flipping the light switch and opening and closing the door.  When Hubby built the door he left an empty space in there, so C loves to shove things inside and shut it, then open it to retrieve the object.  Over and over.  He hasn’t shown any interest in any of the other items yet, but I know he will.  All in all, a success!

diy-toddler-busy-board-playingdiy-toddler-busy-board-playing-2

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DIY Chalkboard Wine Glasses

My little sister got married three weeks ago (aaah, I can’t believe it’s been that long already!!).  Since I was the matron of honor I was automatically put in charge of planning the Bridal Shower.  Fortunately B had seven bridesmaids in her wedding so the planning/work/decorating/cost was much better than I could’ve hoped for!  I went into details about the beach-themed shower itself in my last post, here.  This is where I’ll give instructions on the Chalkboard Wine Glasses we handed out to the guests as favors.

Since there was obviously going to be alcohol at the bridal shower (it really is the only thing that makes them bearable isn’t it??), I figured that we’d kill two birds with one stone and have the favors be wine glasses.  And we could jazz them up/make them even more convenient by dipping the stems into chalkboard paint so there wouldn’t be any confusion as to whose was whose at the shower.  I’m brilliant, I know.

First step was securing the wine glasses.  Although the Dollar Tree sells nice large ones for $1, the guest list was in the 30s and I didn’t want to shell out that much money for favors.  We were headed to the DC IKEA to check out some furniture anyway and I saw these online, 6/$4.  Once I got there and looked at them I decided they were way too small, and purchased the SVALKAs instead; 36 glasses for 79 cents each.  Not quite as cheap as I was hoping to go, but still decent.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-7I already had chalkboard paint at home from J’s Art Activity Center.  I purchased it off of Amazon about 2 years ago and still had 3/4 of a can left.  diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-3Last but not least:  some clear cut instructions.  I headed to my go-to, Pinterest.  This tutorial from Scissors and Spatulas had all of the information that I could possibly need.  Armed with some Scotch tape, 36 wine glasses, chalkboard paint, some leftover cardboard, parchment paper, a “paint stick” (which was just an actual stick I found laying in the yard) and an old towel I was ready to rock and roll.

I started by wrapping Scotch tape around the bottom of the cup, where it and the stem meet.  diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-8I taped the first 6 glasses there, and then decided that was using up entirely too much paint.  The next box of 6 I taped at the bottom, where the stem and flat part (??) meet.  After dipping that box of 6, I decided tape was completely unnecessary.  It was easy to just dip it in and leave it as is.

Instead of pouring the paint into a disposable container and dipping the glass in, I just dipped it straight into the paint can.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-4I held the glass over the paint can for several minutes, waiting for the paint to drip off.  I also used my finger to wipe a bunch of paint off of the underside of the flat part since a bunch of paint gathered in the crevice.  Not only was that a waste of paint, but you don’t look at the bottom of the glass anyway.  That helped the drying process quite a bit.

I was having a lot of problems with bubbles.  Like a lot.  After I pulled the glass out of the paint I looked at it immediately.  If there were a bunch of air bubbles on it, like below, then I would grab the towel and wipe off as much paint as possible.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-2As you can tell by the state of my towel, I had to wipe off quite a few glasses before I finally got the bubble situation under control.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-6

I stirred the paint vigorously with a stick for 25 seconds (it took a lot of trial and error to find the exact number of seconds to stir) and then dip the glass in the paint immediately.  That seemed to do the trick.

After enough paint dripped off I placed the glass right side up on sheets of parchment paper.  diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-5I let them dry for about 30 minutes and then moved them to a different part of the paper so they wouldn’t stick to it.  I shifted them to different spots 3 times before they were dry enough to flip upside down to dry the rest of the way without dripping.diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-8See how some of them are super messy around the bottom?  This is the reason I started wiping the excess paint off of the bottom.  Otherwise there was way too much and it pooled while drying.  That and I probably left a couple in the same spot for a bit too long, haha.  After they were completely dry I just took some sandpaper and smoothed around the edges.

I ended up doing the wine glasses in 6 batches of 6, which ended up being a brilliant idea.  I learned so much from each batch and was able to make the changes so by the time I got around to the last box I had it down to a science.  These are the things I learned:

  • no need to dip up the whole way up the stem.  It’s a waste of paint and I think the ones with just the bottom done actually look nicer.
  • no need to use tape, especially if only dipping the flat part.  Eyeballing it worked perfectly fine.  And peeling off that tape was a pain in the ass.
  • Bubbles!!!  Swirl swirl swirl, then dip immediately.  And if they do appear, it’s simple to just wipe the paint off with a towel really quickly and redo the glass immediately
  • wipe off the excess paint from the underside of the bottom.  Since the glass kind of tapers up in the middle where the stem is, the paint tends to pool there.  And not only does it take longer to dry, but it drips everywhere.  And if you wipe it off with your finger the paint spreads out thick enough and you can’t even tell it was wiped off.

That was it!  We picked up some paper umbrellas from Five Below to go with the beach theme, threw a baggie of chalk down and the favors were finished!   And they turned out nice enough that people assumed I bought them like that and were astonished when I said I made them.  There’s no bigger compliment!diy-chalkboard-wine-glasses-1