Category — Crafts
I’m procrastinating. I finished 1 of the 6 chapters I’m authoring for that derm textbook I mentioned, so 5 more to go and they have to be done in ~2 weeks. Eek! I started with a topic I know well since I published a paper on it last year, so the others will probably take me more time. I know it would be wise to get them all done asap, especially since Heather is coming to visit this week and we’re taking her on an adventure about 6 hours away from here for her birthday this weekend! [Note: every day is an adventure with 3 toddlers, but this will be a particularly exciting one because, not only will we be traveling with them in tow, but we’re also going someplace amazing!].
3 clues to where we’re headed: 1) Polygamy Porter, 2) Mountain bikers’ paradise, 3) Dinosaur fossils. What do they have in common, you ask? Utah! The particular area we’re headed represents extremely unique terrain for hiking, cycling, and mountain biking. Last time Travis and I were in Moab was prior to kids, and we went there to mountain bike (we biked Slickrock, and Travis did Porcupine Rim without me, since I didn’t have a death wish)! It was spectacular and the rocks are made out of sandstone, which has unusually strong grip such that you can climb what would appear to be a vertical rock without slipping or spinning your tires. I left a LOT of skin on those rocks the last time we were there, but it was worth it! Although we’ve since sold our mountain bikes, we are so excited to go back there and share those gorgeous landscapes with Heather and our kids. It is going to be an awesome weekend. We’ll be doing lots of hiking and playing this time! This was our life before kids:
That was me in the above photos; this is Travis below:
Another VERY exciting thing going on in my life right now is a little company 2 friends and I have started up. I met 1 of my “business partners” (whose blog has a giveaway going on right now!) through the Vietnam adoption community a few years ago. She and I have become really close friends (yes, IRL), and her sense of fashion, crafting / sewing ability, loyalty, and reliability (plus the fact that she’s super fun to work with and to be around) led me to asking her if she’d come on board to help me get an invention off the ground. Our other “business partner” is my best friend through medical school, who I’ve blogged about before. The 3 of us have a product we are launching. We had some help with an idea early on (Sheryl, you are amazing), when we started working on it way the hell back in 2008, and have since turned it into an adorable solution to a problem that MANY of our kids have in common.
Sorry for being cryptic, but we’re planning on launching it very soon and I promise you will be among the first to see its unveiling! And of course, you’ll have dibs on winning and reviewing our invention. Currently, we’re working on our product packaging (if you have experience here, we’d love some help!), logo design, web design, and all the final touches. It’s a REALLY fun project and I’m super proud of our product. I’m hoping we can get it off the ground before I start residency in June. I never knew how much goes into developing, marketing, and selling a little invention! Initially, we hope to sell through our website, in kids’ boutiques, at craft fairs, etc. You know, start there and eventually land in T@rget. Hey, a girl can dream…but stay tuned and you’ll see what I’ve been working on in my free-time lately; it’s pretty neat.
Oh, and only 14 days until I find out IF I’m going to be a dermatologist any time in the near future…and 17 days until Match Day! Ok, I’m off to dip my gnawed off fingertips in a tub of aquaphor again;)
March 1, 2010 5 Comments
I am a HUGE fan of creative arts and crafts projects with kids. The hardest part for me is coming up with a project idea, actually making it to the craft store, remembering everything I need for that particular project, and not overspending because I am forced to buy way more than I need (since everything comes in packages of a million). Also, as an aside, it is a NIGHTMARE to take toddlers into Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc. We break at least 1 thing almost every time we visit…not so cheap. SO, when I came across the craft kits by Faber-Castell’s Creativity for Kids, I JUMPED at the chance to check out one of their kits with my kids. They have put together VERY creative arts and crafts projects with all the supplies you need into a neat little kit. There’s no hot glue gun necessary, no sewing, and nothing labor intensive. Stress-free, cute, fun, convenient, inexpensive, creative projects that take the pressure off having to come up with the ideas or collect the supplies yourself. The hardest part for me was choosing WHICH kit we wanted to try first! Here are just a few of MANY creative options (Pop Up Book kit, Wee Enchanted Garden kit, Mini Tea Set kit):
I let Jack help decide, and together we picked the sock puppets, which all 3 of my kids loved:
If you can’t tell from the pictures below, I saved this craft project for a snowstorm day!
WHAT’S UP FOR GRABS:
- Winner’s Choice!! Faber-Castell is sponsoring this awesome giveaway and allowing the winner to pick any kit from their Creativity for Kids website’s collection.
HOW TO ENTER:
- Browse Creativity for Kids website, come back and drop a comment on THIS post before midnight, November 22, telling us which kit you will choose if your name is drawn by random.com as the winner (something other than the ones I’ve mentioned)
- Check back on November 23rd to see the winner. You’ll have 48 hours to claim your prize, so don’t forget to check!
EARN EXTRA ENTRIES (up to 3 extra entries):
- Earn 1 additional entry by tweeting about this giveaway with a link to this post – drop another comment here with your twitter ID
- Earn 1 additional entry by blogging about this contest and drop another comment here linking to your blog post
- Earn 1 additional entry for post about this giveaway on a chat group, Facebook, My Space, etc. and drop a comment letting us know which of those you did
You may enter up to 4 times total if you do all of the above for additional entries. Enter before midnight, November 22rd. Drawing will be done at random, and the winner announced November 23rd.
November 15, 2009 64 Comments
[Note: check out this family’s blog for a cool adoption fundraiser – it’s a calendar with GORGEOUS photos from Vietnam]
Today is long overdue post about the Toddler Disneyland we built in our basement this summer. I have a few more posts for the basement series and a couple giveaways to get to as well, but I’m going to revisit the basement by first highlighting the most creative part, the playhouse. I stored up every ounce of creativity I was born with, which wasn’t much to begin with, and used it all up on this little pet project of mine. I’m SO proud of it, if you can’t tell!! To give credit where credit is due, I found inspiration in this family’s playroom, and we found an amazing contractor, looking for work on Craig$list, who completed the most incredible, cheap, skillful execution of my design. [To be fair, Travis did a lot of the work, including all the trim and the cute touches.] If you are in Colorado and would like info, he comes with nothing but the BEST recommendations Travis and I could ever give anyone, so feel free to drop a comment or email me.
In the process of designing the playroom, I spent countless hours googling “creative play spaces,” or “basement playrooms,” etc. Which gives me an idea…how fun would it be to do a post on creative kid play spaces that exist in the homes of REAL PEOPLE in REAL LIFE, as opposed to homes featured on HGTV? As in YOUR homes (unless you’re a celeb, in which case I’m full of $hit because I’d totally want to feature your playroom here too;)?! Everyone who has a kid(s) knows creating a playroom / play area is about how to use the (sometimes) little space you have in a way that maximizes its function. I don’t care if it’s a tiny little corner, a big basement, or a nursery…email me a picture(s) of your creative play space with a short description and your blog address if you have one, and I’ll compile it all into a post on CREATIVE KID SPACES belonging to REAL people in REAL life! Email that to me (laurie at goodhappenings dot com).
Back to our basement playhouse…we had a small, awkward space to work with downstairs in one area that was sort cut-out like a closet, and at first, Travis and I were inclined to put a desk there and make it a study nook. But that was when we planned on using the basement as “adult” living space. We had plans to build a wet bar, where the kegerator would live, a media center, and Travis’ fusbol table was going to have its own special spot, like it did back in the old days (pre-tots). Bwahahaha!! An arts & crafts table, playhouse, slide, train table, and 3’x 4’magnetic chalkboard later, we are glad we didn’t use that space for ourselves because our kids really love their playroom, and so do we. And it’s going to be CLUTCH in the winter.
I wanted the playhouse to look like a real house, like a replica of ours, so it has trim, roof shingles, windows, a working doorbell, their own little light switch that control recessed lighting on the 1st and 2nd story (a special type that doesn’t get hot), a ladder going upstairs with a slide exiting the 2nd story window (because all real houses have that feature, of course;).
The doorbell…pushing that thing just never seems to get old:
The downstairs playroom (kitchen, ladder upstairs, recessed light on a kid-controlled switch):
Here’s a view from upstairs looking downstairs (the slide is on the bottom, lefthand side of this picture):
So, I’m serious, send me your pictures!! Your creative playspace doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just highlight an area you made kid-friendly and fun. It’ll inspire lots of other ideas from lots of other people who need a creative spark for their homes. Someday I’ll re-write this post and do a Mister Linky so we can all share the cool bars, media, and wreck rooms we built for ourselves and our adult kids! But for now, it’s all about the tots.
November 10, 2009 7 Comments
We have been doing LOTS of arts and crafts around here, which has been a blast. The biggest hits so far have been 1) making magic wands 2) coloring wooden snakes (the kind that have the joints between each wood segment, so they really move like snakes), 3) making leather & jelly bracelets with beads and bells, and 4) creating pipe cleaner spiders (take 4 of them, twist them around the center, and bend the pieces to look like spider legs. You can add googly eyes to the center too). These are all SUPER cheap & easy projects you can get supplies for from at any craft store. I’ll tell you about our magic wands if you’re looking for something fun to do with your tots as the weather gets colder and arts & crafts season is kicked off…
- Wooden dowels ($1.99 for a bag of – this will be the stick part of your wand. Dowels come in all different diameters, but I chose the 3/8” x 12”. I wanted a thickness that was sturdy enough that my kids couldn’t snap it in half, but not so thick that if one beat the other over the head with it we’d have to run to the ED;) Like my criteria?!
- Felt (4 pieces for $1) – for the stars that top the wands; this will be the part you see
- Foam paper ($4.99 for a pack of TONS of colorful sheets you can use in a million other craft projects) – for the star on top of the wands; this will make up the firmness of the star, but it will be lined by the felt on both sides
- Ribbon (assorted pack $2.99) – I cut these into all different lengths
- Hot Glue Gun (or whatever kind of glue you use…a stapler could probably be used with regular glue in place of a glue gun if you are resisting buying that craft tool that pretty much screams “mom” in my eyes! But hell, I drive a freakin minivan, so I’m not afraid of owning the damn glue gun anymore;)
- Bells (small size so the weight doesn’t prevent the ribbons from twirling) – optional; can be tied to the ends of the shorter ribbons to add a jingle to the wand (in case you’re worried it won’t be annoying enough to have a child obnoxiously waving a wooden stick with ribbons in everyone’s face;)
- Rhinestones / jewels – optional
- Glitter – optional
- Puffy Paint – optional
- Googly Eyes - optional
How to Make a Magic Wand
- Take your foam paper and cut out the shape of a star. I used a play-doh cutter thingy to trace mine out beforehand because I stink at free-handing stuff.
- Take the piece of felt you want showing as your star, fold it in half, and use the foam star to guide you in cutting out the star shapes (folding it in half will allow you to cut 2 identical star shapes out of the felt at once). *you should now have 3 identical star shapes: 2 made of felt, 1 of foam paper*
- Now use your staples or hot glue gun to stick the felt stars on either side of the foam star, such that the foam is on the inside and only the felt is showing – set that aside now to let it dry.
- Glue your ribbons to the top of the wooden dowel (the flat part of one end)
- Glue the star on top of the ribbons (on top of the dowel). This is probably where a stronger type of glue makes things way easier. I just plop a clump of scorching hot glue on top of the dowel and smoosh the star on top, holding it there until the glue dries. Be careful, that $hit gets HOT!
- Then I let the kids choose if they want to add rhinestones, googly eyes, bells (which I tied onto the ends of shorter ribbons), glitter, puffy paint, etc. Word to the wise – if you’re adding bells, you should tie them at the end of REALLY short pieces of ribbons (see the cheetah patterned wand in the middle photo on the left). That’s because if you tie them to the end of a long ribbon 1) the wand becomes a serious weapon, and 2) it adds significant weight to the ribbon and keeps it from twirling whimsically, like any real fairy / wizard / magician wand should;) Just my 2 cents.
VOILA! Now you can play fun games and go along with the “magic” of your child’s new wand. Jack likes to use his to turn us into different animals, for example. There are lots of other cute things you could do too, like paint the dowel, etc., but we stopped there and these wands have been a HIT at my house. Check out my little wizards in action:
We also bought a $1.99 unpainted wooded mini treasure chest that I think we’ll use this afternoon. We’ll let the kids paint it, put some rhinestones inside, hide it, draw a treasure map, and let them go to town trying to find it. Cheap thrills!
October 11, 2009 7 Comments
Ok, so I’m finally going to start posting about our basement playroom, which still has some final touches to go, but is mostly complete! I’ll do this in a series of posts, since I have a couple fun giveaways to do along with the unveiling of the different areas of our playroom. The areas include “the schoolhouse,” “the playhouse,” and the “train station.” This post is about the schoolhouse.
The “schoolhouse” area of our basement has a few corresponding giveaways that I’ll do 1 by 1, and in the interest of full-disclosure (always my advertising policy), we did receive Rust-Oleum paints so that I could use and review their specialty product line while making a magnetic chalkboard for this area of our basement. The giveaway posts will follow.
I am so excited about how our little “schoolhouse” area turned out.
It’s basically an arts and crafts area with a built in table where the kids can work on projects, and a magnetic chalkboard we constructed ourselves.
If you’re interested, here’s what we used to make it:
- Rust-Oleum Magnetic Primer
- Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint (we used a green tint, but can choose from 12 different colors)
- Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) from Home Depot (ours is 3’ x 4’) / Lowe’s – Travis drilled this into the wall with his favorite power tool
- Baseboard trim we picked out at Home Depot / Lowe’s – cut at 45 deg angles to frame the MDF
- Wood glue to hold the baseboard trim and brick molding (see below)
- Brick molding to hold the chalk from Home Depot / Lowe’s – incidentally, Finley noticed this would make the perfect stepstool and the boys decided to copy her. As it turns out, the weight of 3 skinny toddlers was apparently too much for the wood glue and the brick molding fell off. We’ll have to try drilling it in.
All we did was paint the MDF with the Rust-Oleum magnetic primer (3 coats), then paint over that with the green chalkboard paint (3 coats). We would have just done an entire wall as a magnetic chalkboard, except that our house has a knock-down finish, which is textured, so it would not have worked well as a chalkboard or magnet board! Also, the primer and paint from Rust-Oleum are cheaper than the versions by their higher end competitors, but they are still pretty expensive (too expensive to do an entire wall). We found that it really takes several coats to have decent magnetic properties and make the chalkboard finish look smooth. If you don’t have a wall you want to devote to a magnetic chalkboard, and you don’t want to buy MDF (it’s not super expensive, but not that cheap either), you can also consider making a chalkboard out of a kids’ table by painting the top or even just using a piece of cheap cardboard. We’ve never used the spray paint version of chalkboard paint, but Rust-Oleum does make that too, which is probably a less messy and much quicker project.
As an aside: Rust-Oleum also makes a dry erase paint which would also be cool, and we may end up painting the crafts table top with it because they’re always drawing right on the table anyway…might as well be able to erase it instead of always having to repaint it!
August 15, 2009 10 Comments
I’m soooooooo not, but my sister-in-law, Heather, got me this awesome book called The Super Duper Art & Craft Activity Book, by Lynn Gordon, and I am having so much fun with it (btw, I am not getting any kickbacks from advertising this book)! What I love most about the book is that many of the craft projects are really simple and use materials from around the house and/or yard. We picked the Rock Zoo for our morning craft project because it was a good one for all 3 of my munchkins…we collected some rocks from outside, brought them in, then I let the kids pick the googly eyes they wanted for their rocks. I busted out the hot glue gun (and there may or may not have been another incident…ahem) and affixed the eyes. Then the little ones colored with markers on their rocks and let me and Jack help draw noses and mouths. When the babies went down for a nap, Jack and I really went to town sprucing up our rock animals!! Jack named them (from left to right): Dinosaur Rock, Froggie Rock, Exercise Rock, and Silly Hair Rock:
And because I was feeling inspired, we then moved on to a very simple diorama (not from the book). In case you don’t follow my Tweets, Jack was running around telling everyone about the “diarrhea” mommy helped him make…that made for some interesting introductions. Jack decided our “diarrhea” would be dinosaur themed, so here’s what we ended up with (the tree is made of sticks and leaves from the yard, and the campfire is also made of yard twigs):
I’ll try to post about our arts & crafts projects more in case anyone is interested in some easy, creative toddler projects, tested and reviewed by me and my brood first of course. You probably all realize that if we can do it, you can too.
And here are a few pictures for Gramma and Aunt Heather of the kids in their new bathing suits. We have a bit of a situation, as Jack never wants to take Lightning off…I’m finding myself doing the laundry everyday to keep up with his daily request to wear his Lightning bathing suit.
May 7, 2009 7 Comments
MATERIALS - I got mine from Hobby Lobby because the selection of tulle colors at Michaels was pathetic.
- Two 6″ by 25 yard spools of tulle - if you want to make a solid color tutu, just get 2 spools of the same color. I like the two-toned tutus best, so I get 1 spool of one color and 2nd spool of a complimentary color. Finley’s St. Patty’s Day tutu is emerald matte tulle ($2.99) and neon green sparkle tulle ($4.99).
- Braided Elastic - this is the waistband of the tutu. I chose the 1″ size ($1.59).
- Tape Measure - to measure the tulle and your child’s waist
- Stapler or Glue Gun (unless you can sew) - this is to adhere the 2 ends of the elastic waistband
- Scissors or X-Acto Knife and cutting surface - to cut the tulle and the elastic
- Circular container / Cylinder - I used Jack’s dinosaur tub, but a paint can would also work
- First Aid Kit - in case you get a 3rd degree burn using your hot glue gun…just sayin’
- Measure your tutu model’s waist. You’re using elastic, so it doesn’t have to be EXACT. Make a little mark on your elastic band.
- Subtract 1-2 inches from that waist size and glue one end of your elastic to that spot and make your cut so that you have a circular piece of elastic. You subtract 1-2 inches from their actual waist size because pulling on the elastic to make the tutu will cause it to stretch a bit. Example: I decided Finley’s should be ~16″, so I actually glued it to be ~15″ before adding tulle. [Ignore that the elastic pieces I'm using as examples are different colors in these pics]
- Put your elastic around your cylinder:
- Cut strips of tulle ~20-24″ long, depending on the length / poofiness you want your tutu to have. I actually cut Finley’s to be 18″ (but she’s only 25″ tall!). You will be folding the tulle strips in half, so Finley’s tutu is actually only 8″ long (and it’s a tutu, so of course it doesn’t hang straight down). It’s hard to guestimate how many strips you’ll need, but you’ll go through almost the whole spool, so just cut until you’re tired of cutting and then move on to the next step (you can always go back and cut more tulle when you run out).
- Take 2 pieces of the same colored tulle and line them up on top of one another (you can just use 1 strip of tulle if you want, but I like a poofier, fuller tutu, so I doubled up)
- Fold the pair of tulle over on itself to make a U-shape.
- Take the U end of the tulle and shove it over the top of your elastic band.
- Take the free ends of the tulle and put them through the U part, which is around the elastic band, and cinch it down to make a knot.
- Repeat steps 5-8 with your complimentary tulle color. You can alternate colors every other one, or more than 1 consecutive knot with one color and then alternate to the other. My tutus are made alternating every other
- Push them all together so there’s no elastic left showing and make sure your knots are tight. That’s it, you’re done!
How freakin cute and easy was that?! And look at the cuteness that follows tutu-making!
I thought someone would see the humor in Finley wearing this shirt:
And a somersault for posterity:
March 12, 2009 31 Comments