Friday Freebie: Easter Chick Craft

Earlier in the week, I shared a photo on Instagram of an Easter craft Dylan made:

I was asked if there would be a tutorial. Unfortunately, no, as it came from a kit I bought last year at a craft store. I have a habit of picking up little things like this on clearance after holidays and saving them for the following year.

The idea stuck in my head though and I came up with a quick freebie. It's an 8.5x11 PDF printable with my own sketch similar to the chick Dylan made. Print it out. Cut the pieces (or let your child if he/she is old enough). Color, paint, use as a template to trace onto construction paper, etc. Lots of creative options! Draw eyes or add googly ones like Dylan chose (another item I keep in our craft stash).

Click here to download the Easter Chick printable

Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter weekend!


Wordless Wednesday: Jump

Linking up to Wordless Wednesday


DIY Superhero Costume

I pinned a tutorial two years ago (yes, 2 years!) from The Southern Institute for making a superhero cape & cuff from an adult's t-shirt. Fast forward to a recent birthday invitation for a superhero party and I finally got around to making one.

I actually picked up the t-shirt at Goodwill so it cost me under $1.50. All other supplies for the cape and cuff I had in my stash. I purchased the blue/silver reversible mask at Target for $3 (purely a luck find as I passed through the toddler section).

My little superhero was more than excited. He had fun checking himself out in the new playroom mirror (finally got it hung!). Super D to the rescue!

Supplies: repurposed t-shirt; cotton fabric; interfacing; iron-on adhesive; velcro; Coats & Clark thread.


DIY Mirror

My latest Pinterest pin to become reality is a wood framed mirror for the playroom:

It's propped up for now (still need to buy hardware to hang it as it won't last long otherwise with an active 3.5 year old!) next to the basket of dress up items.

Find the original post on Shanty 2 Chic blog here. I followed the tutorial, but not exactly as I bought 1x3 boards instead of 1x4. Trent & I simply measured the mirror and cut accordingly. We actually cut the boards a few weeks ago while we had our miter saw out for updates I'm doing in the laundry room. More on that project soon!

Supplies: (2) 1x3 boards; Minwax stain; Liquid Nails adhesive; mirror.


The Croods

On Saturday morning, Trent, Dylan & I attended a preview screening of "The Croods." It's releasing nationwide this Friday and tells the fictional story of a cave family loosing the only home they have ever known (their cave) and setting off on a journey into a new world.

Aside from the fact I ended up with a migraine afterward (thinking perhaps 3D movies are not for me), we had a fun time and all enjoyed the movie.


52 Weeks Photo Book

Blurb has added new photo book templates to its already long list of book options - the Designer Collection. These 7x7 books come in 4 different styles.

I was excited to have an opportunity to try one. I spent a few hours the weekend before last putting it together on Blurb's site. My biggest problem was deciding on an idea for my book. I finally settled on a 52 weeks book using my Instagram photos. I simply linked my Instagram account and began importing the photos I wanted to use. That was my 2nd biggest problem - choosing just one photo for each week of 2012. I selected the Austin book style which gave me space for 4 additional photos on the cover (so, yes, technically, that means I have 52 weeks represented in 56 photos).

I chose to just let the photos be the focus. The only text is on the final page and back cover where I explained the 52 weeks theme and briefly highlight some of the details of the year the photos depict - places, events, people.

My book was delivered on Saturday. It arrived in perfect condition. Nice, hardcover with a dust jacket. Inside, the photos are printed onto premium paper with a lustre finish. It is a good thickness and has a slick feel.

Overall, I'm absolutely thrilled with the book. It's very well put together and showcases my photos nicely. We've all enjoyed thumbing through it reliving little details of 2012. Amazing how much happened in those 52 weeks including all the photos I didn't have room for. Think I might have a new annual project.

If you're interested in making your own book using the Designer Book Templates*, Blurb is offering my readers 20% discount. Enter code DESIGNMYBOOK. Expires 3/31/13 11:59 local time and is only good for the Designer Collection photo book templates.

*Discount fine print: Get 20% USD, AUD, CAD or EUR off your Blurb Designer Bookify product total up to $150. May only be used once per customer and on books created by you. May not be combined with any other coupons, volume discount or applied retroactively to previous orders.

Note: The Designer Collection Photo Book was provided to me for free by Blurb. The opinions expressed are my own.


Banish the Blues

Yesterday I found myself hit with what I'm calling the "Thursday blues." Almost through my 2nd full week of work here and it's still an adjustment. It hit me hard yesterday because Thursday was our playgroup day for 3 years. Admittedly, Dylan & I weren't there every time, but we were there a good number of them (plus any other day we could meet up with our friends). Add this & missing him in general during the day to the fact that I'm struggling with new software at work, our new weekday schedule, worrying that I'm doing what's best for our family, etc, etc. I was in a funk. Enough said.

I know there is never an easy answer. I know Dylan is enjoying preschool and thriving! I know I will get the hang of this software and get through this project. It's not the first challenge I've faced in my career and certainly won't be my last. I know we are doing really well at juggling our new schedule and it will continue to improve.

So, instead of continuing my pity party, I decided to list 5 positive things this week ...
  1. Flexibility for both Trent & me in our work schedules that we could keep Dylan home from school on Monday when he was sick (3rd ear infection - really, that is lucky that we've only had 3 ever!).
  2. New HVAC system installed. Still seeing $$ signs, but so worth it. I know I'll be especially thankfully when the heat & humidity come in a few months.
  3. Extra hour of daylight in the evenings plus warmer weather that equaled walks 2 nights before dinner.
  4. Harris Teeter online groceries. One less thing I have to do and this week it equaled easy prescription pick ups for Dylan and me plus his medicine was free with my VIC card. 
  5. Dylan started soccer at school. He's very excited and was proudly showing us his new t-shirt. 
  6. We have managed dinner at home every night and only one of those was of leftovers from the freezer. Our one meal out was a lunch date on Tuesday for Trent & me which is going to be a regular occurrence (admittedly it took a blocked out time on both our work calendars to make it happen).
Ok, so that was 5 + 1 positive things. :) Good sign when I find I overwrite the list. And, the weekend is just a few work hours away with a fantastic forecast (hello, 70s + sun). What was that about the blues?


Historic Jamestowne

During a trip to Williamsburg two weeks ago, we stopped first at Historic Jamestowne. It was a beautiful day minus the cloud cover and cold, cold wind. Nonetheless, the 3 of us had a fun time exploring.

Supplies: PhotoStory Templates - Set 1 by Mary Moseley; EnRoute kit by Erica Coombs.


Homemade Birdseed Molds

I've been trying to get a number of items checked off the "to do" list especially ideas I've pinned. This was a project I planned to do a year ago and was shared by Stomping in the Mud blog. Finally, Dylan & I got out on a warm (50s) afternoon and made it a reality.

  • 3/4 cup of Flour
  • 1/2 cup of Water
  • Unflavored Gelatin
  • 1 cup of Birdseed
  • Muffin tin coated with nonstick spray 
  • Straws (we used 2 cut into 3 pieces each)

Start by mixing the flour, water and gelatin.

Add the birdseed. We poured about 1 cup into our bowl. I don't have any pictures as we quickly realized it was much easier to mix with our hands versus a spoon. It really has a fun texture and cleans off easily.

After it's fully combined, press the mix into the muffin tin sections. Then insert a small straw into the middle.

Let the molds dry for several hours. Or, if you're like me and forget about them, overnight. Pull out the straws and flip the tin over on a sheet of waxed paper. The molds should slide out on their own and will still be damp underneath. Allow to sit until completely dry.

Add a string and hang for the birds to enjoy!


30 Minute Seuss Shirt

This week has been Dylan's and my first full week of school (i.e., daycare) and work. It has also been "Seuss week" at his school in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday. Each day has had special attire  - pajama day, favorite hat day, wacky socks day, topsy turvy day and black/white day.

Still being the mom who wants to enjoy her creative side while juggling the full time working schedule, I was determined to fit in a special shirt for him to wear on topsy turvy day yesterday. The description on the sheet he brought home was to wear a mix of stripes, polka dots, etc. I knew I had a few bits of Seuss fabrics in my stash. Of course, I put off until Wednesday night to do any of this which is why it quickly became the "30 minute shirt" project. I pulled out the 3 Seuss fabrics I could find plus 1 from the Eric Carle collection that coordinated colorwise, a white t-shirt from our beach photos last fall and formulated a simple idea.

I went wild (ok, wild for this girl who loves her straight lines and clean measurements) freehand cutting rectangles and then used iron on adhesive to attach. I quickly sewed somewhat angled lines (also intentional) around each patch of fabric for a slightly finished look. Then I tossed it in the wash to soften the edges.

He was very excited to try on his new shirt yesterday morning. Even eagerly posing for photos.

Supplies: Robert Kaufman (Seuss) and Andover (Eric Carle) fabrics; Coats & Clark thread; Gildan toddler t-shirt.


Wordless Wednesday: Captain John Smith

Taken in Historic Jamestowne 3/1/13

Linking up to Wordless Wednesday and Sarah Halstead


Travel Entertainment for Kids

Over the weekend we took a family road trip to Williamsburg, VA. Whether all 3 of us or just Dylan & me, one thing I've long known - traveling with a young child requires entertainment. While he will actually look out the window at the scenery a good bit now, that's never enough. Here are a few of our tried & true ideas for making road trips a success:

Car Toy Bag
I originally kept a couple of toys in the diaper bag for use when out & about. Then I saw Allison's idea of using a fabric storage cube to contain an assortment of toys and books in her backseat. I copied the idea with a small bag, but quickly saw the need to upgrade. I ended up purchasing a medium sized tote from Land's End with a zipper closure. This bag is always in our car and filled with toys and books to entertain whether we're going across town or across the state. It has come in handy for road trips and long waits at a restaurant when crayons & paper aren't enough. Most of the items following are all stored in this bag.

Doodle Board
The smaller size travels well and provides a creative outlet that is clean. Just be aware of leaving it in the car in extreme weather. One of ours was warped beyond repair over the summer when left out in the heat. Perhaps best stored in the diaper bag versus the car bag.

Travel Roadway
I found the idea of creating a travel sized car roadway on Pinterest a while back. The original idea used the top of a shoe box. I didn't have one handy so I used a small cardboard box from canned cat food. I trimmed the edges down to approximately 1" high. Then used a permanent marker to sketch a road, trees, signs and houses. This roadway fits Dylan's lap perfectly and he's driven cars on it for almost a year now. Another plus - by leaving the design black & white (or brown?), he's also been able to color it adding extra fun. It's size has also worked well as a small "desk" space to support small books for coloring.

Fabric Marble Maze
I made half a dozen of these for Dylan and his friends for Christmas 2 years ago. It's small and easy to tote anywhere - purse, diaper bag, etc. Details here.

Since he loves to color, we typically have our crayon roll with us when travel. Other fun ideas are Invisible Ink books and, our latest discovery, Crayola Color Wonder markers & books. When I wasn't able to find an Invisible Ink book late last week, I ended up buying the Color Wonder Stow & Go kit. It was a huge hit and kept him occupied most of the drive each way. We'll definitely be investing in additional books before future trips.

Button Snake
Another Pinterest idea found here. I quickly whipped up the button snake one afternoon with supplies in my house. I store it in a small fabric bag he got at a birthday party so all the pieces stay together. This simple eye/hand coordination project entertains him for a while. A lacing kit would also work.

Books & Magazines
We keep a few favorite small books in the car bag including our DIY I Spy book and a couple with digital music players (Elmo's Rockin' Road Trip). When I know we have a trip coming up, I'll often stash the latest issue of a magazine for him to enjoy on the ride.

DVD Player
Honestly, the last few trips we haven't even taken our DVD player with us! *gasp* We did try it at the start of our trip on Friday and quickly put it up. For whatever reason, it doesn't hold his attention for very long. Perhaps when he's older it will hold his attention again.

This is part of the reason we don't need the DVD player - Dylan's iPhone has a few TV shows installed as well as a number of kid friendly apps. Plus he can take photographs, make videos and listen to his own music. Since he doesn't use it the entire trip (and is limited other times), I don't feel too guilty handing it over for the ride.

Assortment of Small Toys
Think army men, matchbox cars, etc. Perhaps toys from a kids' meal or the dollar spot. Little things that your kids will find fun for imaginative play in the car and even the hotel room during your trip. But also items that you won't fret over if they get lost. Usually ours turn up under a car seat or in the pockets in the door though.

Have other ideas? Let me know. Even with the list above, we are still on the hunt for new ones. 


Friday Freebie: The One with a Fish

I was feeling a bit "Friends" inspired when I named this template. It's from the page I created for our trip to the NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island last fall. The template has 13 layers including photo masks with borders. It is free for personal use.

Click here to download The One with a Fish template


Have you missed one of my previous digital freebies? Click HERE to find them. And, don't forget to subscribe to my feeds so you won't miss future freebies!