Feb 28, 2011

*New Series* Make a Mess Monday!

I'm really excited about this!
Starting next Monday, the first Monday of March, I'm planning a new series, my first series!
I'm calling it Make a Mess Monday, it's going to be a blast!

My goal is to share fun activities and crafts, focusing on child-friendly ideas.  All kinds of crafts, some messy, some not.  Lots of fun activities that are super fun for the kiddo's and chances are, you'll have everything you need in your craft stash at home. 

So, stay tuned for some great ideas, and some family fun, starting right here in one week!

See you soon!

Feb 27, 2011

Missing Summer

I've been looking around online for some spring/summer decor inspiration.
I'm not sure that was a great idea, 'cause I'm missing the warm weather more than ever now.

The top 5 things I miss about spring/summer are:
1. The colour!  I miss all the beautiful colours of the leaves and flowers, the vibrant shades and hues that turn to muted greys and browns in the winter months.  

2.  The ease of going out.  I miss being able to toss the kids in the bike trailer and bike over to a park, or for ice cream, or to visit my parents, or, or, or...  
3.  The backyard.  I miss spending the day working in the garden, mowing the lawn, 
playing in the yard with the kids, this whole business of spending day after day 
indoors is depressing!
4. Spontaneity.  I miss being able to say, "Hey, let's go to the beach!"or,
"Let's have a picnic for supper!"   I've got to plan ahead for everything these days.
5.  The warmth.  I don't love super hot weather, but I can't say I love the cold either...The windchill factor here seems just cruel, -45 Celsius the other day...really?

And now, because it's just the type of person I am, and because I don't want to discourage myself or anyone else...

The top 5 things I like about winter:
1.  Living with such extreme winters makes me SO thankful for the spring/summer months
2.  Big, fluffy, beautiful snowflakes.  There is little in life that is as breathtaking as the loveliness of freshly fallen snow.
3.  Hoar frost.  Hoar frost is devastatingly beautiful...if you haven't had the chance to see it in real life, you're missing out.

4.  The chance to watch the transformation from death to life...to watch my surroundings change from white and cold to green and warm is astounding.
5.  Snow days.  I'm not in school anymore, and my kids aren't in school yet, but the feeling of being snowed in and you just can't go anywhere is so fun sometimes.  It forces you to take a day off from running about and the hustle and bustle that winter can sometimes be.  Hibernating for a day or two is sometimes a wonderful, wintry gift. 

How about you, what is something you're looking forward to come spring/summer?  What's your favorite part of winter?
I hope you're all looking forward to watching spring come into bloom, but also that you're thankful for each day.  Let's not sit and wait for summer to come before making memories with our children or doing something meaningful.  Blessings to each of you!

 As always, I appreciate your visit!

Feb 24, 2011

A Touch of Spring

Please don't snort at me for posting this.
I rolled my eyes at myself thinking, this isn't tutorial worthy.
But, deep breath in and here I am anyway, so bear with me.

I am so SICK of winter.  Like, so sick I can hardly stand it anymore.  Like, so sick I don't think it would take much to convince me to sell everything and move to a place where winter doesn't keep going on, and on, and on like it does here on the Canadian prairie.  Ugh.  

Anyway, being so utterly sick of winter, I decided I needed a hint of spring breathed into our home.  Even if it's totally fake, and spring won't really show it's face around here for over a month...at least.

So let me show you what I did...it doesn't require much of an explanation.

I took this little ensemble I put together back in December and stripped it of it's 
big fluffy snow flakes.
(Side note:  I did not realize how sad and barren this poor thing looked until trying to take pictures of it today...I think I'm going to have to do better next time around!)

Then I took some of these faux (doesn't that just sound so much better than fake?) flowers and plucked them right off their wire stems.

 And transplanted them onto my dried branches that I trimmed off the vine growing in our back yard last summer.  I just slid the little puppies right onto the end of each little twig, no glue, no nothin'.  And you know, I like how it looks, all fluttery and fresh in my little green jug I found at a garage sale last summer.   

And that's that.  A little promise of what's to come, a little something to make me smile and brighten up the shelf above our stairs in our front entrance.  It's not much, certainly not extravagant, but I'm not a very extravagant person, so it all works out nicely.  

Thanks for popping by,

Feb 18, 2011

Adding Some Sweetness

We recently refinished a small bedroom for our daughter, Addie.  Unintentionally, the room has taken on a bit of a girlie garden theme, but I really like it!  When you open the door to her room, there is the end wall enclosing the closet immediately to the left.  It's about two feet wide, but it's the first thing you see as you open the door so I wanted to add something to set the tone for the room.  I decided to paint a little frame I had lying around and add a sweet quote.  When I finished the frame and held it up on the wall to see how it looked, I realized it was too small for the space.  It didn't do quite what I'd had in mind.  So, knowing I had a few more frames hanging around I decided to redo a trio of frames for Addie.  

The first frame is the quote frame.  I found the quote here.
 Some of my favorites were:

"A girl without freckles is like a night without stars." - unknown.  
Being a freckled gal myself, that one sure struck a soft spot for me!  But, Addie doesn't 
have my freckles so it wouldn't have worked so well for her. 

Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse. -Robert A. Heinlein, 

Girls are giggles with freckles all over them -unknown

My name is NO NO but Grandma calls me precious - unknown

Like star dust glistening on fairies' wings
little girls dreams are of magical things.
-Sherry Larson

Oh, there are so many great quotes that capture just a hint of the wonderful mischievousness that is my daughter!  But, sticking with our garden theme I went with, "There is a garden in her eyes, where roses and white lilies flow." - Thomas Campion

 I wrote out the quote I liked in pencil on my scrapbook background and then went over it with a fine felt tipped pen.  Be sure to give your pen a few minutes to dry really well, then gently go over the quote with a good quality eraser to remove any pencil markings that are still showing. 

I made three little crepe paper flowers following this tutorial over at House of Smiths.  
The whole thing was super simple, and I think the concept is great...but it was 
just too small.  
In comes frame #2.  A lovely little thrift store number that I revived with a coat of white paint.  I admit to you right here, right now, this is my favorite of the three frames.  It turned out better than I imagined, and it is so dang cute!  I used some simple, spring green scrapbook paper cut to size for the background.  Then, using different colours and patterns of paper, I sketched and cut out different mini clothes, hung them on a mini clothes line using mini clothes pins, and that was it.  

So simple but the finished product adds so much to the overall look.

And lastly, frame #3.  Another 10 cent find from the thrift store, made over with a splash of paint.  Again, using some pretty scrapbooking paper cut to size for the background.  I cut out three hearts from a contrasting scrapbook paper and lined them up where I wanted to place them.  After looking it over, I thought it looked a little blah, so I drew out a silhouette of a little bird on some punchy blue scrapbook paper, cut it out, added a contrasting wing accent and glued it in place.  

Sorry I didn't do step-by-step pictures for frames 2 and 3, I did number two late last night and number three early this morning, so no natural light for pictures.  Plus, they're so simple, they hardly call for step-by-step instructions.  

 I just noticed I forgot to put the little pleated skirt back on the "clothes line" before I took this picture! 
I took it off to re-glue an edge that was lifting a little...oh well!  It's back where it belongs now, you'll just have to trust me that it looks great!
I think these three little frames add so much whimsy and sweetness to Addie's room, and all the supplies I had in my craft closet right here at home.  Gotta love a free project!

*Edit* Just wanted to let y'all know that I linked this tutorial up to Tea Rose Home here and to WhipperBerry here.

Feb 14, 2011

Kids Placemats

Happy Valentine's Day!

I saw a really cute idea for making placemats not too long ago.  
I've done some changing but came up with some really fun and 
helpful placemats that my kids really like.  
 I used an old placemat to get an idea for the size I wanted to go with.  
I only had 12x12" paper, so I added some paper to the outer
edges to make my placemats big enough.

To stretch the paper to the right size, I added two 3" sections on either end. 
I should have done the scalloped edge in, but wasn't thinking ahead.  
Oh well, it all worked out and it still looks great, just got to roll with it!

With some fun patterned paper, trace and cut out a place setting to fill your placemat.

Arrange it on your paper placemat as if you were setting the table.  Once you're pleased with your arrangement, use a tiny amount of glue to adhere it in place.  
At this point you can label each part of the place setting if you'd like. 

Using some clear adhesive vinyl, cover your placemat so it won't be ruined by food or beverage stains and spills.   I bought my roll of vinyl from a local office supply store for less than two dollars for the roll.

When you're covering your paper, cut a piece of vinyl that is slightly larger than your placemat.  Remove the protective backing, and lay your placemat face down onto the vinyl.  Rub the whole thing over with your hand, making sure there are no air bubbles.

Once your placemat is secured there should be some extra vinyl overhang, trim the corners and wrap the excess vinyl around the edge of your paper.  For added protection, cut a second piece of vinyl, about a half inch smaller than the measurement of your placemat.  Remove the vinyl backing and adhere this piece to the back of your placemat.

These were super quick and fun to make.  I made the first one for my daughter and my son was quick to ask if I was planning on making one for him as well.  The kids have both really liked setting the table and making sure they've got everything just in the right place, they also like reading what each of the labels say.

For the boy version I added some graffiti-ish doodles to make it a little more masculine.  
I wish I'd have though of that before I covered the girlie one, 
I would have liked to add some little girlie doodles like hearts and butterflies. 

I hope you have as much fun with this as I did, and that your kids like them too!  

Thanks for coming by!

Feb 8, 2011

A Declaration of Love

I'm not huge on the whole Valentine's Day decorating thing.
Sorry, I'm just not.

But, I had a little idea pop into my head earlier this week,
and it just so happens to jive with the incoming Valentine's Day...
so here goes nothing!

I'm trying to personalize our home more.
We've been here for over a year, and a lot of walls are still bare.
There isn't a whole lot of "us" in our house.

So off to the back yard I went, through the snow and to the wood pile I went.
I found just the piece of wood I wanted and brought it inside to thaw out.

For this project you'll need:
-one mid-size piece of cut wood
-a carving knife (I used an old pair of scissors that I don't care about)
-a felt tipped marker (optional)

Start by brushing off your piece of wood. You'll want it free of as much dirt
and loose bark as possible to avoid making a huge mess on your dining
room table. My wood log didn't have much bark left on it, though this would
be just lovely with a bark covered log too.

Find the "face" of your log.
Shift it around, look for the best looking side to showcase your artwork.
I then used a pencil to lightly trace what I wanted to carve, don't worry
if you don't follow this line exactly, you can go over it with an eraser
later and no one will know!

Start carving!
This sounds difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised that this
took me less than ten minutes with my old pair of scissors.
Remember this shouldn't be perfect, it's supposed to be rough and simple.

After I was done carving, it didn't stand out like I'd envisioned, so I grabbed
one of my kids brown markers and just very lightly went over my carved letters.
I didn't want to fill them with the ink, just highlight them.

Before and after using a felt tipped marker to highlight the carving.

And that's that. This couldn't be simpler, or sweeter.
The perfect declaration of love for an understated Valentine's Day
kind of family. I'm so excited to see what my husband thinks
when he gets home from work.

Thanks for popping by! Happy carving!

Feb 4, 2011

Crib Mattress Pad

I've got a real quickie to post today. Seriously, it took me ten minutes!

I like to have a little layer of something between our vinyl covered crib mattress and the crib sheet. A little extra air circulation to keep my babies from waking up all sweaty and clammy.

I've often just laid a towel over the mattress and then put the fitted sheet over top, but the problem with that is that it is super tricky to get the towel to stay put while working the crib sheet on, and sometimes it shifts around while the baby is doing gymnastics in the crib.

I once bought a crib mattress pad, but after one
wash it was torn to pieces so back to towels I went.
I figured there had to be an easy solution to this problem, and boy was I right!

Four pieces of elastic,
one bath towel,
a little thread and bam!
You've got a crib mattress pad!

Start by cutting four pieces of elastic, measuring 6.5" each.
I wanted to use nice, wide elastic,
but I just didn't have enough, so I used what I had.
Use wider elastic if you can, I think it will hold tighter
and be easier to work with.

Starting at one corner of your towel, measure 6 inches out, fold the end
of the elastic under about 1/4" and pin your elastic in place.

Use a zig-zag stitch and secure it well. I went over each of my seams quite a number of times to ensure strength and durability.

Take the other end of your elastic and sew it 6" down the other side of the same corner. Repeat this with the other three corners and you're done!

How easy is that?!

Lay the towel over your crib mattress, slip the elastic behind each corner of the mattress and your little one will be all set for a comfy night of rest.

Feb 2, 2011

A Fun Morning

I love my kids.
They're not perfect, but they sure are a lot of fun!
We're getting a little stir-crazy around here. Spring cannot come soon enough!

So this morning when the kids saw I had a big batch of bread dough ready to
be shaped, they really wanted to get in on the action. I thought, why not?
I had them quickly put away their Mega Blocks and
wash their hands while I wiped off the table.

I sprinkled the table with a little bit of flour, gave them each a small lump of
dough and a rolling pin and let them each form their own mini-loaf of bread.

Goodness those little knuckle-dimples are just edible!

They were thrilled! Sometimes I forget that the mess doesn't matter,
it's worth their giggles and smiles and the great memories.

After giving them a few quick pointers on how to shape a loaf of bread,
they both tried their best and had so much fun playing with the dough.

Everybody's a comedian! Believe it or not, this was the best picture in the bunch.

What a treat for them to eat a slice of bread that they helped to make!

So, go on and give it a try!

If you're interested, here's a link to my favorite bun recipe.
I usually add some whole wheat flour and flax seeds to the mix
instead of using only all-purpose flour.