• Kids,  Tips & Tricks

    Keeping Toddlers Occupied

    I am not claiming to be the brilliant person who came up with the genius idea for using a cardboard box as a toy.  Until recently, I had never seen or thought of the idea of giving my kid crayons for coloring inside of a box. Crayons and boxes are two of my son’s favorite things. So combining them together worked like magic. This is such a great way for keeping toddlers occupied.

    Step one:
    I let my toddler climb into a large, ordinary, cardboard box. (I am not sure why it looks like he doesn’t have feet in this picture, but he does. Two of them.)


     Step two:
    He was given a few crayons.


    Step three:
    I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed my free time.

    As expected, he just had the best time playing in there.


    To keep the fun alive, the sides were reinforcement with duct tape.


    Crayons in a box is such a simple idea. I just wish I would have found this idea sooner.

    If you had a box large enough, do you think adults could have this much fun?

  • Kids,  Sew

    Octonauts Costumes and DIY Sailor’s Hat

    The Disney Jr. show, Octonauts, is a favorite in our house. So it was no surprise to me that our little ones choose to be Kwazi the cat and the polar bear Captain Barnacles for Halloween. There are not commercial costumes for these characters, but lucky for my two, I love any DIY challenge.

    Costume 13

    An orange shirt and pants were the base of the Kwazi outfit. Felt triangles were attached to a headband for the ears. My little guy made sure I even cut a tiny chomp in one of the ears just like Kwazi’s.The eye patch was also felt. This worked great for a 3 year old because he was able to shift it slightly to see while still maintaining the pirate look. I used felt for the tummy and collar. The tail was a awesome find from the dollar store.

    Costume 11

    To make the hat, I drew the pattern for the main portion of it on the fold of a piece of paper. Next, I traced it on to felt and cut out four equal pieces. The rounded triangles are about 4 inches wide and 5 inches tall. Assume a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

    Costume 2

    Then, I pinned the pieces side by side together and sewed them to form this cone like shape.

    Costume 3

    To make the brim of the hat, I cut a strip of felt 15 inches long and 3 inches high. The dark blue piece was cut for the stripe around the hat. It measures 15 inches long and only 1/2 inch high.

    Costume 4

    With the cone still inside out, I attached the brim to the hat with pins.

    Costume 5

    Using a sewing machine, they were sewed together.

    Costume 6

    Costume 7

    To hem the hat, I turned the whole thing right side out. I folded the edge up, pinned and sewed.

    Costume 8

    After that, I folded the brim up.  That’s when it starting looking like a hat.

    Costume 9

    Finally, using my trusty hot glue gun, I attached the stripe and the Octonauts logo. (The Logo, I found here and printed it out on printable fabric.)

    Costume 10

    This hat could work for so many different costumes, without the Octonauts logo of course. With different fabric it could make a cute hat to accessorize a sailor’s costume.

    A little blue sweat suite is what I snagged at Target for Captain Barnacles.  His belt and collar I cut out of blue felt. His Octonauts hat was a much more complicated variation of the Kwazi hat. I’ll spare you the frustrating details of making that one. Using a white hat we already had, I attached two felt half circles with safety pins for the ears.

    Costume 12 

    The boots for both costumes are their winter boots I covered with, you guessed it, more felt. I took two pieces of felt pinned them together along the outside and hot glued them. Once dry, I flipped them right side out and slid them back onto footwear.

    Costume 1

    Although it was a lot of work to get these costumes together for my boys, I am very pleased with how they turned out and more importantly, so are they.

  • Home Decor,  Kids

    Fringed Streamers

    We are planning a little birthday soiree’ for our daughter this coming weekend, so I wanted to stop in quick and share a fun party decorating idea. As you probably already know, streamers are super inexpensive, so this project totally helped the birthday party budget. All you need is crepe paper streamers, scissors and a little bit of time. I whipped about 40 of these out in an hour while watching the series finale of Gossip Girl on Netflix with a tear in my eye. Don’t worry. None of them got wet.

    Fringed Streamers 1

    First, start out by figuring out how long you want your streamers to be. I wanted mine to hang from the ceiling and pool on the floor, just a bit, so they ended up being a little longer than 8 ft. each.

    Fringed Streamers 2

    If you are lucky, you will have a helper to keep you off on task and make you a spot of tea while measuring.

    Fringed Streamers 3

    Next, fold the streamer in half a bunch of times until it is a manageable length to work with.

    Fringed Streamers 4

    Then, working along one edge, make cuts almost half way into the middle, about every 1/4 inch.

    Fringed Streamers 5

    After that, turn it around and fringe the other edge, lining up your cuts with the middles of the fringed pieces on the opposite side, but still not quite snipping to the middle.

    Fringed Streamers 6

    Lastly, unfold the streamers and admire your new party embellishments.

    Fringed Streamers 7
    The party girl loves them!

    Fringed Streamers 8

  • Crafts,  Holidays & Seasons,  Kids,  Tips & Tricks

    Trick-Or-Treat, Smell My Feet

    Trick-Or-Treat, Smell My Feet. That phrase is so weird, right? Who the heck even thought of it? Feet totally creep me out, but I absolutely love Halloween and trick-or-treating. So, let’s not talk about my fears and focus on the things that I adore.

    It is so much fun to embellish everything with creepy décor and pumpkins in the fall. And I love to come up with costumes for Trick-or-Treating each year and watch as my kids go from door to door collecting goodies. Instead of going with the whole plastic pumpkin buckets and/or plastic bags this year, I decided to take the classic pillow case candy bag and vamp it up a bit for a cool candy carrier that any kid would be proud to sport.

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 1

    I love that these treat bags can be so versatile and hold a ton of loot for my kids (which I will kindly raid of all chocolate and caramel items post October 31st.)

    These are the supplies I used for this project:
    – 1 king sized pillowcase (a standard size will work as well)
    – Printed Template
    – Freezer Paper
    – Acrylic Paint
    – Fabric Medium
    – Sponge or Spouncer
    – Pencil
    – Scissors/Craft Knife
    – Iron
    – Ribbon
    – Sewing Machine (Optional)

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 2

    Since I had an extra unused king sized pillowcase in storage, I opted to use that, although any size will work. My huge pillowcase would have been too big for either of my kids to lug around by itself, so I decided to cut it into two pieces, sewed up the sides and hemmed the tops, which created 2 separate bags. You could also do this with a standard pillowcase, but the bags will end up being just a bit smaller than mine. Or you can skip all of the cutting, if you prefer a bigger sack, and proceed onto the part with the freezer paper. Below is a photo with all of my cutting, sewing and hemming lines. The left side of the pillowcase is the open end where the pillow would be inserted.

    Does this make sense? Because Emily didn’t get it at first, but that isn’t all that uncommon. *wink*

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 3

    After my bags were ready, I tore off some freezer paper just a bit bigger than my prints. (I had two different simple prints which I made in Photoshop, but anyone could easily whip up the same thing in a Word document. I used the font Boogaloo, found {here} and my own bat design, which you can download {here}.) Each print was taped to the waxy side of the freezer paper (facing up) and then I traced the letters and image on the matte side with a pencil.

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 4

    Once everything was traced, I used a craft knife to cut it all out.

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 5

    Next, I centered and ironed the freezer paper, waxy side down, onto the bag. You can see here that the middles of the R’s, O and A were also cut out and ironed on to complete the letters.

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 6

    Then, using a small cup, I mixed black acrylic paint and fabric medium in a 1:1 ratio and applied it on top of the freezer paper stencil using a spouncer.

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 7

    After waiting eons for everything to dry, I peeled the freezer paper off of the pillowcase bags to reveal my finished stencils. This is where you hear the angels singing. Ahhhhhhhh.

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 8

    Then, all that was left was to add a couple of ribbon shoulder straps to each bag. I attempted to use the sewing machine to attach them, but after a few hiccups with that whole process (my sewing machine hates me,) I opted to hand sew the rest of them on. Pain. In. The. Butt. However, totally doable for those of you without sewing machines.

    Pillowcase Halloween Bags 9

    Besides a few little leaks on the letter “K” of the word Trick, I think that they turned out pretty great. They are super sturdy and can easily hold 5 lbs. of Jolly Ranchers, so I think they will be good to go when my kids drag them around the neighborhood in a few weeks.