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Tutorial: Yarn Snowman

My friend Rachel has recently been introduced to Pinterest.  Yes, that means she has been totally sucked in to the awesomeness of the DIY crafts and home decor ideas.  Because she joined when she did, she quickly got hooked on all of the great holiday decor.  She told me about one cute idea she saw, a snowman wreath, and we decided to make one but the post from the Pin didn’t include much of a tutorial.  The idea was so cute and easy that I decided to make my own tutorial that includes our alterations.  Enjoy it, and if you like it, please Pin it!

The Project:  A snowman wreath or wall hanging made primarily from styrofoam balls, yarn, and wire.

Supplies Needed:

  • Three sizes of styrofoam balls (any color, but if I did this again I would choose white…you’ll see why later).  We used balls that were 6, 5, and 4 inches in diameter, cut in half
  • A large knife to cut your styrofoam balls (this will allow you to double the amount of craft you can make with your supplies).  Alternatively, you can buy styrofoam half circles (pre-cut balls), but we couldn’t find three sizes like that.
  • White yarn.  I don’t know anything about yarn, but find something that fits your budget.  Don’t get anything too thin or it will take forever to wrap the balls enough.  We got what was on sale.
  • Wire.  We used dark green floral wire and while it worked okay, we weren’t able to recreate the hat from the original Pin.
  • Decorative ribbon for the snowman’s scarf.  The original idea had a kind of burlap scarf which we loved, but we chose something different (after spending a ridiculous amount of time in the ribbon section of Michaels).
  • Buttons for the snowman’s buttons.  I just used what I had in my sewing box.  They aren’t perfectly matched, but that’s okay, it adds character.
  • Hot glue gun
  • Pliers or other tools for working with wire (wire cutters)

1.  Cut styrofoam balls in half.

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It’s harder than it looks, but it’s worth it for double your craft results.

2.  Wrap each halved ball with yarn.

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Find your own style for doing this.  Rachel did hers very carefully and I did it quickly.  They both ended up looking great, so I don’t think there’s a “right” way.

3.  Use wire to attach the balls together.

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We just looped some wire through the yarn on each ball and pulled it tight and twisted shut.  It’s okay if it isn’t stiff, he can move around a bit.
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4.  Make your snowman’s arms with wire.

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Rachel and I did ours differently.  She used two pieces of wire (one for each arm) and used the pliers to twist them around to look like primitive stick arms.  I used one piece of wire and just twisted the ends to be his hands (they ended up looking a bit like mittens!).  I stuck the wire through the yarn in the back to hold it in place.

4.  Use hot glue gun to attach buttons.

 

5.  Tie scarf around neck.

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At this point, we tried in vain to create the hat from the original Pinned idea.  There was no way we could make it work.  Eventually we gave up and decided he was cute enough without a hat.  We just didn’t have enough wire to make it look right.  I did end up purchasing a coil of wire from The Dollar Tree to try to work with, but I haven’t tried it yet.  If I end up doing it, I’ll update this post.

All in all we each spent $25 at WalMart (we could have gotten away with less if we’d tried a few different stores) and were able to make four snowmen.  We did have to purchase more yarn, but that is cheap enough that it wasn’t a big deal.  We each made one snowman to keep and one to give away as a gift!

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Check out Krista’s other Holiday Tutorials:
[button link=”http://www.playdatecrashers.com/2011/11/tutorial-muffin-tin-advent-calendar/” color=”red”] Muffin Tin Advent Calendar[/button]

[button link=”http://www.playdatecrashers.com/2011/11/wish-list-mama-stories/” color=”red”] Mama Stories[/button]

[button link=”http://www.playdatecrashers.com/2010/12/super-easy-craft-tutorial-photo-block-puzzle/” color=”red”] Photo Block Puzzle[/button]

Muffin Tin Advent Calendar Tutorial

Muffin Tin Advent Calendar Tutorial


This is the first year I will be doing an advent calendar with the boys.  Our first December with children, we were in a really strange place in our lives, having just moved to a new town with a newborn.  We were living in someone’s (very nice) basement and were struggling to make it feel like home.  The next year, I was very pregnant (and very tired) with our second son and could not imagine adding another thing to our routine.  This year?  I’m ready.

The Christmas Angel I didn’t want to buy an advent calendar for several reasons:  I’m cheap, I don’t love the options out there (though I didn’t do much looking on Etsy…), and I really wanted it to be customized for our family.  Many of the advent calendars in stores are great for a 9 year old but won’t work for my toddler and preschooler.

I did some searching on Pinterest and did find some great ideas.  My friend Rachel (you’ll read more about Rachel and our little “Craft Corner” later) told me about one she saw where you cover a muffin tin with Christmas wrapping paper and let the kids poke through a hole each day and pull out a surprise each day.  I liked the idea, but it seemed a little messy, like one wrong rip and you’ve messed up the whole thing.  Then I saw several other muffin tin versions, but ya’ll?  They looked HARD to make.  I figured there had to be an easier way.

There is, and this is where I share it with you…

The Project:  A Muffin Tin Advent Calendar where each day you remove that day’s number/date and pull out a strip of paper with a special holiday activity to complete that day.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 metal mini-muffin tin with 24 cups.  Hopefully you already have one and aren’t planning to use it for the next 24+ days.
  • Several sheets of scrapbooking paper or other pretty paper/cardstock.  The more Christmasy, the better!
  • Magnet sheets or rolls.  I used the rolled-up kind with adhesive on one side, but if you just have some spare magnet stuffs lying around, you could make that work.
  • A Sharpie or something else to make your numbers…You might get fancier than I did.
  • Paper and pen for your advent activity strips.

1.  Make a template for your circles to cover each muffin tin.

Make your circle template
I did it by doing a pencil rubbing of the muffin cup and then just cutting it a bit larger to make sure it would cover the hole.  In hindsight, I might have made them slightly smaller, because there is a bit of overlap.  You could also use a glass or other round shaped item of the appropriate size to trace.  You’re smart, I’m sure you can do it better than I can!

2.  Cut out 24 circles from your scrapbooking or other pretty paper.

Scrapbook papers
I used four different papers and ended up cutting six circles from each one.  Get creative here, folks.

3.  Arrange your circles on the muffin tin the way you want them to look on the finished product.

If you want some kind of pattern, now is the time to figure that out.

4.  Put your circles in a stack in order and number them 1-24 using your Sharpie.

Number your circles

5.  Cut your magnet pieces for each circle.

Cut your magnetsCut your magnets
I wanted mine to go all the way across on the upper portion of the circle so it will “grab” more of the metal on the muffin tin.  (This is where I stray from most of the muffin tin advent calendars out there.  I did NOT want to make 24 magnet circles.)

6.  Affix magnet strip to circle and repeat until completed.

Muffin Tin Advent Calendar

7.  Write out activities for advent and place them in the muffin cup that corresponds with the day you will do it.

Write your own activities

This is where you’ll need to think a bit.  What special things will you experience with your kids before Christmas Day?  What do you want to do or see?  If there are certain days that will work best for certain activities, make sure you put that strip in that day’s hole.  The nice thing about this style of advent calendar is that if your schedule changes, you can move the activities around!  For example, I know we’re going to be out of town for several days in the middle of the month, visiting my husband’s family.  I’ll be putting in activities that we will be able to do while we are there.  Need some ideas?  Check out this list!

Day 11's Activity is to "Learn a new Christmas song"!

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What activities will you be putting in your advent calendar?

Online Sewing Class

Tutorial: Haircuts At Home

We really need to stop referring to our youngest son as “Baby.”  He is almost 14 months old, is walking, and is starting to talk (well, mostly jabber, but you know what I mean).  After he turned one, my husband and I started to start using his name more around the house, but our 2.5 year old still almost exclusively calls his brother “Baby.”  Yesterday, “Baby” got his first Big Boy Haircut and now more than ever I realized that he is growing up!

I started cutting Miles’s hair when he was almost 2.  He had one “professional” haircut, his first, which we had done almost one week exactly after his brother was born.  I was looking at pictures from Spencer’s homecoming and was embarrassed about how long Miles’s hair had gotten!  It was a big deal, he got a certificate, took all kinds of pictures, everyone was there for it.  But after the first one, the idea of taking two little ones to a salon on a regular basis nearly gave me a panic attack, so one day I took the plunge and gave my first haircut.  Today, I’ve decided to share with you my tips for giving haircuts at home.

  1. Wait until your child is in a happy mood – think full bellies and freshly napped.  As a bonus to yourself, why not wait until you’re in a good mood as well?
  2. Think about your location and what you will need.  What kind of chair will your child sit on?  Inside or outside?  Do you need to put towels or a sheet on the floor if inside?  Do you need something for distraction?  Our needs have changed depending on what age and stage the boys are at.  When I first started cutting Miles’s hair, he needed a movie playing to distract him.  Now he will sit quietly and cooperate perfectly.  I have done haircuts in the living room, the kitchen, the bathtub, and mostly recently on our deck!
  3. Set up your haircutting area with all of your supplies.  I have a little bag that contains a comb, two pairs of haircutting scissors, and a little mirror.  I also set up a spray bottle with water and a pillowcase and a clothespin to make a cape for the boys.  (If you use electric clippers to cut your kids’ hair, tell us your tips in the comments!)
  4. Once you’re all set up, start by spritzing your child’s hair a little but not too much!  I think we all know that bad things can happen if you cut too-wet hair!
  5. Start small. It doesn’t have to be a drastic haircut to make it look better and more polished.
  6. Layers are your friend! I pull a section of hair up and away from the head and cut at a slight angle.  Then I get a section next to the part I just cut and do the same, trying to match up the new lengths.  Little boy haircuts are pretty easy, because you can just kinda run your fingers through their hair and ruffle it up and it’ll look super cute.
  7. It’s just hair. Don’t freak out if you do an awful job on the haircut.  (Feel free to freak out if you accidentally poke your child with the scissors while trimming.)  It’s always fixable.  I worried before I did the first one that I would have to either call a salon or an ambulance.  I’ve (so far) had to do neither!

What do you think?  Do you cut your kids’ hair or do you leave this one for the pros?  What tips do you have?

Super Easy Craft Tutorial: Photo Block Puzzle

Let me start this tutorial by making a confession. I am not crafty. I’m barely even creative. But I have high aspirations of craftiness. I want to be able to knit, crochet, sew, quilt, and create brilliant designs with minimal supplies. Unfortunately, most of my attempts turn out looking like a preschooler created them…and I almost have a Master’s degree! *sigh* Someday remind me to tell you about the Lovey Disaster of 2009 when I made what looked like a gingham voodoo doll for Miles.

So when I say a craft is easy, I mean it. Even I could make this one look good.

This project, a Photo Block Puzzle, was our MOPS craft a few months ago, and I loved it so much I ordered some more blocks to make a few for Christmas presents. I gave one to my husband’s grandmother, my boys’ babysitter, and my mom. They are really simple to make, so if you have the supplies handy, you can whip some of these up really quickly if you need a personalized gift for someone special.

Supplies Needed:

  • Six (6) photos, 4 x 6 size
  • Six (6) 2″x2″ wooden blocks (There are a few online retailers where you can find them. You will definitely save if you buy them in bulk. Here is one example of a place where you can purchase them.)
  • Photo trimmer, like this Craft Lite Cutter
  • Scissors or other device for additional trimming
  • Glue (Glue sticks or regular school glue works)
  • Mod Podge (*Optional, but recommended!)
  • Sponge brush for ModPodging (*Optional, but recommended!)

1) Use a trimmer to trim each photo into 2 inch squares (Hint: Trim into two long 2″ strips first, then two more cuts to make six 2″ squares.)

2) Arrange your first photo on the wooden blocks and use glue to attach photo pieces to the blocks. At this time, you’ll want to line up the corners in a way that makes sense. You will probably need to trim along the edges after the glue dries, so if it’s an outer piece, make sure if there is overage that it goes out the outer sides, not the inner sides, so that it looks good when the puzzle is put together.

3) I recommend letting the glue dry before attempting to trim off any excess photo edges, otherwise your photo pieces might slide around and make you frustrated (not that I say this from experience or anything…). Use good scissors or maybe an X-acto knife to do this.

4) Repeat steps 2 and 3, making sure to mix up the block pieces so it is more of a challenge. Unless of course you want it to be easy!

5) Once everything is all trimmed and dried, use your sponge brush and ModPodge to seal the blocks, paying special attention to the edges. This is an optional step, but it will really extend the life of your puzzle blocks and protect them from spills and grubby toddler fingers. I recommend doing it in two shifts, doing all but two or three sides, letting it dry (which doesn’t take long!), and completing the other side.

6) Sit back and enjoy your handiwork and marvel in your creativity. (*Ironic smirk optional)

A few tips:

  1. Choose pictures that aren’t super-similar. For my first set, I used all pictures from our trip to the pumpkin patch — BAD IDEA. It’s pretty difficult to find which pumpkin field goes with which picture.
  2. Be careful where you set your blocks down while they dry. I accidentally put a few of mine on a place where a drop or two of ModPodge had dripped, and I had to redo those sections.

I have gotten so many compliments on these, and not just thinly veiled pity compliments. Real, honest-to-goodness compliments!
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The One with Life Updates and Whatnot

If you clicked this post looking for a tutorial or giveaway, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This is going to be a stereotypical lifestyle blog post about what I’m up to this week. I won’t call it a diary entry if you won’t, mmkay?

"Aww, man! Mom's going back to work??"

“Aww, man! Mom’s going back to work??”

So I started a new job on Tuesday! Hooray! I announced it a few weeks ago but didn’t get any details. I’m working part-time (15, maybe 20) hours a week at a private Christian school in a neighboring town, organizing their lunch program. I’m not making stew and potatoes, those of you who are picturing me in a hairnet, I’m picking up boxed lunches from the deli, putting delivery pizza on plates, and making sure the meals get to the kids who ordered it. I wouldn’t say it’s a glamourous job, but so far it’s fun! I would rather deal with kids than grumpy adults any day!

Also, we got to take a quick child-free weekend trip down to Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg, TN over the weekend. We went with eight other couples from our church and fun was had by all. With Monday being President’s Day, we got to make it a long weekend and visit overnight with my parents. It’s always so nice to get away, with or without our kids.

Next week is Spencer’s third birthday (THREE, can you believe it??) and he has requested a Toy Story themed birthday party. You’ll recall that last year his party was all about Octonauts and that required a lot of homemade decorations. I can’t say I’m too disappointed that there is an abundance of store-ready decorations for Toy Story birthday parties.

In case you’re wondering what we’re doing with the kids while I’m working, here’s that whole convoluted tale:  my job, being part-time, doesn’t pay enough to cover MWF after-school care for Miles  AND 3-day a week daycare for Spencer (at least not enough to cover it and make it worthwhile), which is what would be ideal on days when Miles goes to preschool. Tuesdays are my husband’s day off and he can work from home on Thursday. So right now, Spencer goes to the office with Brandon while Miles is at school, then Brandon picks Miles up, they all go home for lunch, and Brandon works from home until I get back from work. Tuesdays and Thursdays they are all home.

So that’s the latest on me! I think I haven’t quite adjusted to the idea that this is our life now, that other than weekends, I won’t be the one making my boys’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut into triangles, every day. As I start to get into our new routine, I’ll share with you any great tips and tricks I “discover,” but I promise not to pretend to be an expert on the life of a working mom. Those of you who have done it forever have much wisdom to share with me, and I would love to hear your feedback on how to make it all work!


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The Top 12 Posts of 2012

This whole blogging and writing on the Internet thing can be weird sometimes. I’m not great at accurately predicting which posts will be a huge hit with you, the reader, and what will bring in outside, unique traffic. I always find it interesting to look back over a time period and see which posts were the most popular. Last year, Jamie and I shared the top 11 posts of 2011 and I thought it would be fun to do the same for 2012, except of course with the top 12.

12. Siri & Me

11. My Happy Accident:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Dip

10. Review:  Body By Vi (Visalus Sciences) which is one of our oldest posts!

9. A Hunger Games Party!

8. Muffin Tin Advent Calendar Tutorial

7. TwinTrexx Carrier

6. Wish List:  Starfall

5. Kinderwagon Hop:  Double Stroller Review

4. Octonauts Halloween Costumes

3. Octonauts Party Time! (Part 2)

2. Tub Toy Tip

and the #1 post of 2012…

1. Octonauts Party Time! (Part 1)

Do you blog? What was your favorite post that you wrote this year? Link to it in the comments!

Christmas Blahs

*sigh*

What on earth is wrong with me this year? I cannot get myself into the “Christmas spirit” (whatever that really means)!

I started out well enough, getting our Christmas tree up the week after Thanksgiving, a perfectly respectable date for that activity. I decorated the rest of the house, even did some Christmas shopping with my friend that week, though most of the presents for my boys have been picked up over the past few months. We went to see Santa, saw a Christmas parade. But now that we’re in Crunch Time (ELEVEN DAYS until Christmas, people!), I just don’t feel Christmasy!

We’ve barely touched our muffin tin advent calendar that I worked so hard on last year. I have yet to wrap one present. I still have Christmas presents to make and buy. We haven’t made a bunch of adorable Christmas crafts. We haven’t made a big batch of Christmas cookies, mostly because I’m trying pretty desperately to finish the Cinchspiration program on a strong note. I haven’t sat down to watch one classic Christmas movie, only one Lifetime Christmas movie (and I planned to review a corny Christmas movie each week!), and we haven’t taken a nighttime drive to look at the Christmas lights.

Tea Collection offers free shipping on December 16th with promo code SLEIGHBELLS.

I’ve decided that maybe it’s a combination of two things:

1) Last year, I set the bar super-high. It was our first Christmas with the boys in our new house after a string of temporary housing situations. We moved from the town where my husband and I went to college to a new small city three months after our oldest, Miles, was born. We lived in someone’s (very nice) basement, then on to a home that we rented, but having our own home made everything just feel *right* last year. We finally felt settled in our new little hometown and I wanted Christmas to be perfect. It pretty much was, but now I feel like I gave every bit of my Christmas soul last year and there’s none left for us this year.

2) Is it possible that as I get older, my memories of Christmases past are so glamorized by the passage of time that the conditions have to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for it to feel like Christmas now? I need it to be cold, have that feeling of snow in the air, strangers bursting into Christmas carols, no one fighting or bickering, hot cocoa flowing like water, the sound of reindeer bells jingling in the background at all times…It’s like I want it to look like a Hallmark Christmas movie before I can feel it. Do we just have a ridiculous notion of how Christmas is supposed to look, sound, and feel? Probably. Maybe I’m a casualty of the Pinterestization of America, where I feel like it’s my duty to knit everyone a personalized Christmas sweater, decorate cake balls to look like Santa and his elves, and take incredible Christmas portraits. Perhaps this just a #FirstWorldChristmasProblem.

Or? Maybe I’m just lazy.

See? We did one craft, at least!

Perhaps I need a visit from the ghosts of Christmas past, present, or future to make things right. Or maybe I need a megadose of Christmas Cheer in the form of “Elf” on repeat.

I have gone back to taking D and B vitamins, and fish oil capsules that helped me get through the early Seasonal-Affected days of 2012, when I found myself wanting to stay in bed all day and contemplate the meaning of life. Can you get Christmas Cheer in pill form? Do they maybe sell that at Whole Foods? or is that maybe a North Pole specialty that I need to order online?

I don’t want to sound like a total Scrooge and make you feel sorry for my kids. We’ve been reading Christmas stories, going to Christmas programs, singing Christmas songs, so they’re getting the 2 and 4 year old Christmas experience. The problem is just me.

On that note, I open the floor to suggestions:  How do you get yourself out a holiday funk and in the right mood for celebrating? Are you feelin’ the Christmas spirit this year?

Christmas Advent Calendar App Review

Today is the traditional start of advent, the season of waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Many families use this time to do fun and meaningful activities with their kids using an advent calendar like the one I made for my boys last year.

Another way families can participate and celebrate advent is by using the free Christmas Advent Calendar app for Christian kids and schools. This lovely and simple app allows you to count through the days of advent and view a scene from the Bible and a scripture verse for the day.

Here’s what you need to know about the Christmas Advent Calendar app:

  • It’s free and contains no in-app advertisements or in-app purchases!
  • It has a new illustration and Bible verse for each day, Dec. 1-25.
  • Parents and teachers can look ahead at all of the illustrations and Scripture verses to prepare accompanying lessons or activities.
  • Each day’s screens are shareable, so you can share the good news about advent by email easily from the app!

The Christmas Advent Calendar app works on iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini or iPod touch, iOS 4.3 or later. Click here to see the download page on iTunes or search for “Christmas Advent Calendar” and it’s the app by Barcelona Multimedia. Look for this shooting star icon that’s easy to find and recognize.

 Enjoy this time of anticipation with your children during advent!

Do you use an advent calendar with your kids?

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*I was asked to share this free app review with my readers. I received no compensation for the review.
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DIY Mess Kit Bags


Camping is fun, but it has the potential to produce a lot of trash.  Any time you’re in a new location, you almost have to start over, creating a living space for everyone in your party.  That can get messy.  Seeing as how camping is supposed to get you closer to nature and all, leaving nature with a big bag of trash doesn’t make much sense.

One way you can reduce the amount of trash created on a camping trip is to use washable dishes and silverware for your meals.  Taking a mess kit bag is a great way to take control of the dish situation while camping, and I have an easy tutorial for you to make one of your own for your next camping trip!

Items Needed

This is an easy, no-sew (well, no sewing machine sew anyway), no-pattern project that you likely have all the supplies for already in your house.  Here’s what you need:

  • One hand towel (or dish towel) for each bag
  • Thick, sturdy string or a shoelace (one per bag) for a drawstring
  • Needle/Thread/Scissors
  • Items for mess kit:  reusable plate, bowl, cup, spoon, fork (whatever floats your boat).  I purchased some of my plastic wares at Dollar Tree and paired them with items I already had.
Disclaimer:  I do not sew. I own a sewing machine but I cannot use it. I do not know crafty words, so consider this fair warning that if you are knowledgeable about such crafty things, you may be rolling your eyes or giggling a lot through this tutorial.

Start with the Drawstring

The first step is to lay out the hand towel flat, horizontally, so that the widest sides of the rectangle are the “top” and “bottom.”  The “top” edge is going to be where you make the pocket for the drawstring (shoelace) to draw and cinch through.  If there are tags, cut them off and the tag side should be facing up because it will be the inside of the bag.

Lay the shoelace along the top edge, about half an inch down.  Fold the top edge of the hand towel down over it and pin.

 

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if it’s going to bother you if it’s uneven, feel free to measure.  Once pinned, make sure the shoelace can still move freely through the pocket you’ve made.  (The “right” way to do something like this might not be to sew it with the shoelace inside, but this made much more sense to me, I’d rather not have to feed a shoelace through a long towel tunnel.)

Sew along the line, either by hand or machine (it’s going to be rather thick, which is another reason I didn’t attempt to use my machine).

 

Yeah yeah, I used black thread and it’s an off-white towel.  It’s for the woods, people.  Same thing for the horrible job I did making the stitches even.  I don’t think the raccoons will care.

Fold and Stitch

Once you have sewn your pocket, fold the towel so that the drawstring is doubled over on itself and line up the corners to pin.  Again, make sure you’re looking at the “wrong” side of the towel.  Tie the ends of the shoelaces together so they don’t get lost up in the towel.

 

Sew along the outside edges of the towel.  I used an admittedly horrific whip stitch (that’s a thing, right??), going along the bottom and up the side. I didn’t worry about looks, especially since this will be the inside of the bag.  (Crafters, are you cringing right now?)

Finishing Touches

Turn the towel bag inside out (or I guess it’s outside in), making sure to push out the corners.

Fill the bag with your mess kit items and pull the drawstring closed!

 

You did it!  You’re ready for a camping trip with reusable dinnerware!

 


$0 Weekend Project

Ever since we started nearing the time when Spencer would move from his crib to a toddler bed, I began thinking of what we could do with the crib.  It is a drop-side crib so we couldn’t re-sell or even give it away and though it can be used as a full-size headboard and footboard, we don’t currently have a room where we need or want a full-size bed set up full time.  I stumbled across an idea on Pinterest for using an old crib as a desk and though we have a kid-size desk, with two young kids at home, I need more room for both of them to work.

The basic idea is that you disassemble the crib, set it up like it’s going to be a daybed without side rails, and use what was the crib’s bed surface (minus the mattress) as a desk.  Depending on your particular crib, you might need or want to paint part of all of the crib/desk, which is what I did.  Here’s a link to the tutorial from A Little Learning For Two and the Pin so you can re-Pin if you like it!

I debated about painting the dark wood another color (like white) and using black or green chalkboard paint on the writing surface, but after asking for some opinions, I decided to leave the wood as is and paint the desk part.  I had some bright blue paint leftover from giving new life to a cheap table I got from Craigslist and the paint guy at Lowe’s told me that you can use any flat paint as chalkboard paint, you really don’t need to buy special paint.  And at least in my case, that is true!

The second part of my weekend project was completing something I tried on a whim after seeing it (where else?) on Pinterest, making child’s seating out of plastic storage crates, foam, and fabric.  I thought this one looked easy enough because instead of having to sew, you just use one of my favorite craft tools, a hot glue gun!  Check out the full tutorial at Tupelo Honey and re-Pin it from here!

I’m still toying with the idea of putting cork boards and hooks along the back and sides of the desk to hold supplies and creations.  I’ve done a few things, like putting up two pocketed folders to hold creations and a hook on one side to hold smocks (AKA old t-shirts) for messy projects.  I put some containers to hold coloring books, crayings, and other supplies and my major kids craft supplies (glue sticks, construction paper, pipe cleaners) are in clear plastic drawer storage underneath.  As far as adding other things, that might be something I do more if/when we use it for homeschool or homework, because right now it will mostly be used for our letter crafts and Play-Doh!

See more photos here!

So far, this has been a “free” project:

  • Crib – Upcycled
  • Paint – Still around from last time
  • Plastic crates – Upcycled
  • Fabric – Found
  • Foam – Found

Do you have any great ideas for what to do with the back of the desk?  What would you put up there?



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