Category Archives: Crafts & DIY

She {hearts} Advent

This is a little late in coming considering that the first advent Sunday has already passed, however I thought there may be a few of you, that like me, procrastinate. And there’s nothing to say you can’t jump into something in the middle of it, especially if the only thing holding you back is a lack of wreath.

I am relatively new to observing this season with a wreath and lighting candles. I bought one about 5 or so years ago, a nifty little one that used tea candles. I even had the foresight to purchase a few extra packs of the traditional purple and rose candles. I have by no means been faithful in remembering to do our reading and light our candles daily these past 5 seasons, but I knew that it was something I wanted to continue. Last year I really had to piece together the leftover candles from previous years, since by the end of the season you only light the last Sunday’s candle for a few days  there is always left over, whereas the first Sunday’s candle has probably needed to be replaced (those little tea lights don’t last long). Anyhow, last year should have been the time I would prepare for this year, knowing that I would not remember to buy the candles in time. But I didn’t. Which brought me to this past Sunday, the first Sunday of advent and no purple/rose candles.

So instead I just rummaged around for things I had on hand, and came up with this:

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A beautiful bamboo tray given to me recently for my bday and 4 pillar candles I had stashed in the garage. Just yesterday I added the tulle after buying some at a craft shop since I did want to incorporate the purple and rose colors. I love how it turned out, and look forward to having more burn time then the little tea lights allow.

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DIY Advent Wreath Ideas

Wreath: Use a simple 4 candle holder (or 5 if you want to include the Christ candle). Or to “make” your own, get creative like a thin log round or matching vases. Of course you can just use what you have on hand like a bowl or a plate/platter, they both work great.

Candles: Again you can use what you have. They certainly don’t need to be the purple and rose, or if you want to keep to that tradition wrap the candles you have in ribbon, tulle, twine, or use this cool idea (tutorial here) and you can print a graphic (or the word of the candle, like HOPE and JOY)  in the right color to apply to your candle.

Decorate: Not needed, I put little bells around ours, you could find some fresh greenery, or small ornaments, etc. Have fun and make it your own!

*Never leave your candles burning unattended! And remember to be extra careful if you add embellishments as they can be additional fire hazards.*

She {hearts} DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just a few weeks away. Have you gotten your little one’s costume yet? Are you thinking about trying to make theirs this year?

Below are a dozen links to some ideas to help get you started!

Lego from Disney’s Family Fun

Gnome from Disney’s Family Fun

Cookie Cutie from Disney’s Family Fun

Jellyfish from Disney’s Family Fun

Superhero Costumes from Martha Stewart

Cheerleader from Martha Stewart

Flowers from Martha Stewart

Little Red Riding Hood / Big Bad Wolf from Martha Stewart

Shark from Fiskars (owl, witch, & bumble bee also featured)

Flower Pot from Dollar Store Crafts

Jack in the Box from Martha Stewart

Peacock from Creative Christy

She {hearts} Metamorphic Toys

Do you write “love notes” to your family? You will often find me tucking away a cute little note in my son’s lunch box or my husband’s suitcase to remind them just how much I love them and can’t wait to see them again. So when I got a chance to review the Metamorphic Toys Everythingland Mailbox, I knew this would be an easier way to leave those little notes, and also get them involved in writing them as well.

Metamorphic Toys, the maker of Eco-Friendly Educational Art Toys must have been after my heart upon it’s conception. We are a house full of creative souls and unique artists, but we also like to keep things clean and simple too. The Everythingland Mailbox comes bare as can be, a raw and blank canvas of Made in the USA recycled materials. I love how my kids were able to exercise their minds by discussing how we were going to decorate and personalize the mailbox, before ever opening a jar of paint or holding a marker in their hands. They talked about their favorite colors and shapes, and what was going to go where on the mailbox. They even spent a lot of time picking which of the Eco-Art U-Stick’Em’s they were going to use. My 3 and 5 year old didn’t come up with a very cohesive theme, but they did work together and the end product was a creation of their own imaginative minds.

Now, the mailbox sits in the living room, where everyday someone leaves a cute little note of love and appreciation for another member of the family. I am a big fan of “warm fuzzies” and that is what you get when you read a letter or receive a colored picture, that is made especially for you, found in the Family Mailbox.

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Metamorphic Toys, maker of Green Toys that Inspire Creativity and Imaginative Play would love for you to check out ALL of their products, found on their website.

 Product Sample Provided

She {hearts} homemade kitchen cleaning products

In an effort to try and reduce our carbon footprint on the planet, as well as save as much money as possible, I have turned to making some of my own homemade cleaning products lately. And in the age of Pinterest, there is a plethora of recipes and instructions that can be found with a simple tap of your touchscreen telephone.

I have taken the bit of knowledge I already have had and combined it with the recipes I found and came up with some great, homemade products that are so easy to make, you may even have the ingredients already in your kitchen!

1. All-Purpose Cleaner 

Ingredients:

1 part white vinegar

1 part water

5-10 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oils

5-10 drops of Lemon Essential Oils

I decided to add Tea Tree Oil for it’s powerful, yet safe disinfectant qualities, and the Lemon Oil for a fresh, citrus-y scent (and also to mask the vinegar smell because I’m not a fan of it). I put it in a spray bottle and keep it on our counter so I can get to it easily. This cleaner can be used just about anywhere, from the counters to the floors and everything in between.

2. Drain Refreshener

Ingredients:

1 Cup Baking Soda

1 Cup White Vinegar

Pour Baking Soda down the drain. Pour Vinegar in on top of it and QUICKLY cover with drain plug so the foam goes DOWN your drain, and not right back up. Let sit for 15 minutes or so. Then rinse with LOTS and LOTS of hot water. I have also been told that this is a good way to unclog a kitchen sink as well (and if you are using this to unclog, let the solution sit twice as long before rinsing). Fortunately, I have not had a clog in my kitchen drain yet (knock on wood), so I only use this to help clear out any junk that might be hanging around and giving it that funky smell.


3. Dishwasher Detergent

Ingredients:

1 Cup Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda) (this can be found in the laundry aisle)

1 Cup Borax (this can be found in the laundry aisle)

1/4 Cup Kosher Salt (NOT Table Salt)

1/4 Cup Fruit Fresh (this can be found in the canning section)

I will admit, this product is working wonderfully for me, but I have read  that many people have to tweak it to work just right. It all depends on if you use a separate rinsing agent or not, or how hard your water is. But believe me, once you figure out what works for you, you will be pleased at how much money you can save and how much cleaner your dishes actually end up being.

I can’t tell you how much I have learned from my favorite website, One Good Thing by Jillie. All of these homemade cleaners I mentioned were found on her site, some I followed her instructions to a “T” and some I changed a little bit.

Do you make your own cleaning products? If so, please share your secrets!

She {hearts} Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July! What does your family have planned to celebrate? I think we’re just going to hang close to home this year. With the 4th falling on a Wednesday and having to work Tuesday and Thursday, it makes it difficult to celebrate on the actual 4th! We will however be celebrating with friends and family this weekend!

The photo to the right shows what our calendar that hangs on our refrigerator looks like for this month. Allie Grace made this calendar at her pre-school for her Daddy for Father’s Day. Each month has her hand print but her hand is decorated based on a theme/holiday from that month. To replicate this artwork you’ll need blue and red finger paint. Paint your child’s palm blue and their fingers red before pressing their hand down on white paper. Once the hand print has dried you can draw stars on the paper in the blue area with darker blue marker. If you have a white-out pen, that makes even better stars too!

I did go to the grocery store yesterday to pick up some things to make a simple everyday dessert, just a little more festive, for us to have after dinner tonight! Star Spangled Ice Cream Sandwiches (photo & recipe from Disney Family Fun) All you need are cupcake liners, popsicle sticks, mini ice cream sandwiches and red, white, and blue sprinkles! First skewer the sandwiches onto the popsicle sticks. Next, press the exposed filling onto a plate full of sprinkles and place sandwiches into cupcake liners to help keep the mess to a minimum! It’s that easy!

 

Need something to wash it down with? Try this Patriotic “Mocktail” for the Kids! (Image and recipe from Baby Center)

4th of July Kiddie Mocktails
Adapted from Family Fun. Makes 1 12-ounce (tall) glass.

3 oz fruit punch
3 oz blue Gatorade (not sugar-free)
3 oz diet 7-Up or Sprite (must be sugar-free; so diet only)
ice

Fill glass 1/3 full with ice cubes. Pour fruit punch almost (but not quite) to top of ice cubes. Fill another 1/3 with ice cubes and slowly pour blue Gatorade almost to top of cubes. Fill final 1/3 ice cubes and slowly pour sugar-free Sprite. Add straw and voila! How does it work? The drink with the highest sugar content stays on the bottom… super fun 4th of July drink!

I have an entire board on Pinterest devoted just to 4th of July recipes, crafts, decor, etc.

 You can follow all of my boards here.

 

She {hearts} Pick Your Plum

There’s just something about a pile of crafting supplies that gets me excited and inspired. Be it pretty fabric, jewelry supplies, assorted buttons, or funky washi tape, the wheels start turning and I’m ready to create.

Needless to say, I was delighted to discover Pick Your Plum. With daily deals on swanky crafting supplies, Pick Your Plum provides the most current, high-quality supplies at killer prices. PYP’s daily deals aren’t limited to crafting supplies, either, but also include baking/party supplies, home decor, accessories, and clothing. Supplies are available in limited quantity, so PYP encourages crafters to “Get it before your neighbor does”!

I have ordered supplies through Pick Your Plum many times now. Between cupcake liners for my daughter’s birthday, blank wood pennants for a bunting for my son’s room, jewelry supplies, and perfect-sized little notebooks, I have been more than satisfied with the customer service, packaging, and quality that I have received through Pick Your Plum. This is definitely a company that cares for its customers and is passionate about its products.

Visit Pick Your Plum to sign up to receive daily email alerts containing the deal of that day. Also, “like” Pick Your Plum on Facebook, as PYP updates the daily deal on Facebook even before sending out the email of the day. They also offer gift cards, which would be the perfect present for any creative person in your life.

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Pick Your Plum offers daily deals on great baking and craft supplies, home decor, accessories, and more at can’t-beat prices. Get it before your neighbor does!

She {hearts} Freebies

Pick Your Plum is offering a Plum box full of assorted crafting swag (worth $25!) to one lucky reader!

To Enter:
Follow the easy instructions on the Rafflecopter widget!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A winner from the U.S. will be chosen on Thursday, June 14 2012. Please see our Giveaway Rules for further details.

Product Purchased

She {hearts} Teacher Gifts

 

I found this on Pinterest and thought it was such an adorable idea. I made some for Dustyn’s Preschool Teachers. I put a little drawing from Dustyn and a note from me in the cup along with the little packets to add to water. They really loved them. If you go here they have where you can print the little flags.

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I love that this makes a great teacher gift and it is not that expensive. Plus the teachers can you the cups for a long, long time.

What are you doing for your kids teachers for the end of the year?