Category Archives: Crafting Created

Christmas Decorations

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When pulling out my Christmas decorations to put out this year, I tried to look up on the blog how I’d arranged mantels and stuff last year, but I only found pics from a few years ago…since I had never posted the photos I took last year…so now I’m posting photos from this year and last year (which include a move between the two, so same stuff in a new space). My favorite addition from the past two years is the big magnolia clips with glittery centers…that came from Dollar Tree!)

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I’m realizing now that I forgot the way I set up the little birds in nests in the middle of the Christmas mantel…

    

   

Homemade “Ice Princess” Twirly dress

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So, this photo is actually from a year-and-a-half ago…when I made this little dress-up number from pretty fabrics and pieces that I was slowly collecting. It worked out, with the colors that happened to be a theme, that I could call it a princess dress or an “Elsa” dress and get Pen Elaine really excited about wearing it!

I think it all started when my Honey and I were checking out a random antique shop out of town and found a huge collection of vintage ribbon, trim, etc. from an old fabric store that had gone under and sold this antique shop all the remaining merchandise. One of the items I couldn’t resist was this wide, lacey-looking elastic trim. It’s stretchy! So, I sewed it into a double circle, with two layers for the front of the dress, to be the top/bodice for a 3-year-old’s twirly dress.

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Next, found this dreamy, ethereal fabric with little rosettes covering it, in this pale bluish-greyish color that I knew could be magical for something…and when I finally sat down to make a little dress, I gathered the to of the fabric and sewed it onto an elastic band, to be the twirly, poofy skirt of the dress.

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After roughly sewing the top to the bottom, I covered the seam with another ribbon I had bought – it’s grey velvet. Finally, for little adjustable straps, I sewed intricate ribbon going up from each side, front and back, as seen below, to be tied over the shoulders to fit. These gave it a bit of an Nordic princess or Czech look…

 

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I whipped this out as fast as I could, since it’s just for a fun dress-up clothing. She ended up getting to wear it for her first dance recital at the end of a little dance camp, since they got to dress up like princesses. For a while, she wore this over outfits all the time 🙂 Aside from this, though, I mainly limit myself to one dress a year for Easter or something, ha!

I am so thankful to have a little girl for whom to sew! For me, the fun in creating is sharing it with someone you love. As I enjoy sharing the beauty of creativity and art and God’s creation with my littles, I think how God must find pleasure in sharing the wonderful world that He created with each of us, His children.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14

 

 

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DIY clothespin gifts 

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This is overly simple, but Pen Elaine painted a bunch of clothespins that we used for Mother’s Day gifts this year. I was thinking they would make great teacher gifts, as well. I use clothespins all the time and love using the ones that my sister painted for me several years back. The ones that are simply painted, without anything glue or stuck on, really hold up the best and are useful for all purposes, so even though this may seem like too easy of a gift, they could always be paired up with a bag of chips and salsa or something like that!

The way we tackled these was one side at a time, clipped around the edge of a paper plate that held the paint choices in the middle. After completing one side of all the clothespins, they were left to dry by being clipped onto a second paper plate. Once one side was dry, we brought them back to the “paint plate” and clipped them with the unpainted side facing up. Ta-Da!

I forgot to take a pic of our finished product before they were gifted…but they ended up with swirly mixed paint finishes, as is currently the favorite painting technique of Pen Elaine 😉

  

A First Birthday Party in Neverland!

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Snuggly Man turned 1!

I had been secretly “pinning” Neverland party ideas for a while, which turned out to be very fitting since Snuggly Man never wants to grow up and is still in denial about reaching that first year milestone…he refuses any of our attempts to coax him into taking a step, still loves to be held and snuggled, cheek-to-cheek, while sucking his thumb, at all times of day. He has made the full transition to “big boy milk” with minimal protests.

Little boys should never be sent to bed – they always wake up a day older…Peter Pan

Having a Neverland theme was also just what we wanted because we got to include mustaches and pirates, Indians and a teepee, ships and a plank to walk, fairies and a friendly crocodile, all within our “theme.” I’m not good at sticking to one theme, so having an all-inclusive one was great fun. Since this was a first birthday, with more adults than kids, we got to go big for decorations and impact with just a few activities to keep the “big kids” occupied and happy. My Honey and I had a lot of fun making our Neverland dreams come true…all for Snuggly Man and the pictures.

Decorations:

To turn our house into Never-neverland, we printed out a nostalgic map with the various corners of this imaginary island and got inspired about which hangouts to create.

1. Map on display (printed from a google search)

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2. The Lost Boys’ Secret Hangout (Hangman’s Tree)

I thought this looked amazing – my Honey used his skills to tape down “puffs” of a green patterned wrapping paper I bought at Hobby Lobby’s after-Christmas sale, then hung brown crepe paper in the doorway, so we could actually “enter” the secret hideout of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys inside “hangman’s tree.”

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3. Indian Camp Teepee

For this, we followed the simple instructions for ThrifyAndChic’s $7 diy teepee – it was simple, easy, and cheap! Plus, it looked really cool, was fun for the kids, and we still get to enjoy it.

Basically, my Honey bought a long PVC pipe, sawed it into thirds, spray painted it brown (with paint for plastic), drilled two holes in the top of each, then wound and cris-crossed rope through them to keep them together on one end. Then, my part, I cut three triangles of fabric with the top corners cut off, after getting a rough estimate of length and height from setting up the poles in a teepee shape, and sewed them all together, along with extra seams to make slits for each pole. I also cut and seamed a slit in the middle of one side for a doorway.

Pen Elaine is opening her “pirate booty” party favor inside the teepee 🙂

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4. First Birthday Mantel

Of course, I strung up Snuggly Man’s month-by-month photos from the first year, so we could gasp and coo at how he had changed so much and how cute he is 🙂 (Actually I had two of his 10-month photos at the last 2 spots, since there was no 11-month posed photo in existence.) He is picture in all of his photos with a model ship (except for his 3 month photo…) that my Honey ordered online before he was born, for Snuggly Man’s “Old Man and the Sea” bedroom, so that is on the mantel. Along with a painting by my Honey of a ship crewed by lions; he painted a picture of a ship (crewed by foxes) for Pen Elaine. Finally, I hung two stars from an empty frame, for the mantel, so guests could

Follow the second star to the right and straight on til morning!

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5. Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship

For a Pirate Cove at the party, we hung a pirate birthday banner that we own, plus taped up a pirate ship cut from packing paper. I printed off Captain Hook coloring pages that kids got to color and tape to the pirate ship. Of course, what made to most impact was Captain Hook himself in attendance!

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6. Window Art: Peter Pan & Wendy Cameos and Quote

I wanted to paint something on my glass window that currently hangs by our kitchen table that would work for Snuggly Man’s birthday party but could also last through Valentine’s Day…I was being realistic about when I would get around to repainting it. So, I used this really sweet quote I saw in Anthropologie’s catalogue and added silhouettes of Peter Pan and Wendy. To make the cameos, I pulled up a googled image on a tablet, then placed it behind the window (laying flat on a table) so I could trace them with a chalk marker, then fill it in with craft paint. The quote and decorations were all with craft paint as well.

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6. Birthday Banner

For Pen Elaine’s first birthday, I made a glittery, dainty, beautiful birthday banner that gets pulled out every year, multiple times, but it definitely looks like a “girl” birthday banner. So, I felt Snuggly Man deserved a birthday “boy” banner that could be used every year, but was especially made for him. First, I pulled out some old ready-made muslin flags I had picked up on super sale from Hobby Lobby and realized I was one letter short from being able to make a Happy Birthday banner using only those. Plus, they were extra small in size and would be hard to see 🙂 So, I bought some more ready-cut pennant flags from the same material and painted the letters to spell Happy Birthday on the larger pennants and drew little chevron stripes on the alternating, little pennants. I feel like it fit the Neverland/Lost Boys theme but can also be used for any boy birthday theme in the future.

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INVITATIONS: EVITES

For Snuggly Man’s first birthday party that included a few friends and mostly family, I opted for invitations of 2015 – “evites.” These are not as cutesy as paper invitations, but Snuggly Man is a boy, and he is one, so I think he is good with evites. Plus, evites are fantastic because people actually rsvp for them, as opposed to the paper ones that rarely get any rsvp’s – in fact I usually don’t even try to get them when I send paper. Also, I was still able to include cute little sayings about flying off to Neverland for the birthday party. Instead of my family inviting everyone to the party, we went by pseudonyms: Hook, Tigerlily, and Tinkerbell invited everyone for Snuggly Man’s party. “Follow the second star to the right; think happy thoughts and you’re sure to take flight! Wear a costume if you wish or must! Instead of presents, bring faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust!”

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ACTIVITIES:

1. Dress-up Station & Indian headband craft: Since we invited guests to come in costume, I wanted to have costumes and props on-hand for anyone who forgot or couldn’t find anything around their house. So, we included pirate swords and hats, “Lost boy” masks that were really a pack of fox, owl, and raccoon masks I found in the party section of Hobby Lobby (I think they were meant for a forest/woodland creature party). I wanted to buy green fairy wings at the dollar store, but they only had red ones in stock, so we just pulled out a few costume wings we had in our dress-up box and a glittery fox mask for girly options.

I also laid out supplies on a craft table for kids to make “Indian headbands” using brown paper (cut in thirds, horizontally), feathers, crayons and stickers, and cute masking tape. Instead of waiting for glue to dry or glue sticks to work well, I gave them striped/chevron masking tape I had bought for a previous party activity to be used for attaching paper strips together to make a wide-enough headband and for affixing feathers to the paper. It worked great!

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2. Walk the Plank: In our Pirate ship area, we laid out a blue blanket and put a two-by-four on top of it with the words “Walk the Plank.” This was as risky as we were going to get with 6 to 9 kids, all ages 5 and under (and all walking except Snuggly Man).

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3. Ride the Crocodile: This not only looked cool, next to our pirate ship-infested waters, but it was such a huge hit and totally worth the 10.99 we spent on Amazon!

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4. Hook a Pretzel: All I needed to buy for “Hooking” a pretzel was a bag of pretzels, then round up my costume pirate hooks, a big bowl, and a chalkboard sign. I saw this somewhere on Pinterest and thought it was such a cute idea. The preschool crowd we had thought it was so fun. It seemed like they just loved being able to access their own snacks, and they loved showing off their skills with a plastic pirate hook.

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FOOD & FUN!

Somehow, I forgot to take a photo of the table, but we decided on breakfast tacos! Snuggly Man absolutely loves eggs, and he loves tearing into his very own tortilla, so this was his perfect party food. We bought three different types of tacos, and labeled each serving dish with a chalkboard clothespin. We also had guacamole, pico de gallo, and chips to go with them. This was a super easy food plan. I also bought green paper goods, some green paper straws, a pirate table cloth (red and white striped), and some striped napkins. I also framed an 8 x 10 picture I printed on my printer of a googled image from Peter Pan to display next to food stations.

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Plus, I made cupcakes inside of ice cream cones, which turned out great (this was my first time to try this fun way of baking them). All you do is fill each cone about 1/2 way full of the batter, and bake them as normal. I set each cone in a muffin tin, to help keep them upright. Having the cupcakes in cones made them easier to handle for icing and decorating them (less messy), and it made holding one and eating it much easier for 1-year-old Snuggly Man – Win/Win! For decorating the tops, i slathered on some store-bought vanilla frosting tinted blue with food coloring. Then, I dipped them in a bowl of green crystal sprinkles – very cute and very fast. Lastly, I used a small tube of black gel icing to draw an “X” and little dotted lines to make a treasure map – actually, I drew one and let my little sister (Sunflower) draw the rest…about 1 minute after the party was supposed to be starting, ha! She made them beautiful and super-cool-looking!

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For the big “smash cake” time of the party, I had Snuggly Man’s high chair set up in front of dark, pretty curtains so that photos wouldn’t be washed out by backlight. He absolutely loved having balloons tied to his high chair, so we got cute pics of him gazing in wonder at balloons and his very own cupcake-in-a-cone. It was magical, and the (iphone) photos turned out so precious.

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PARTY FAVORS:

For party favors, I let Pen Elaine decorate brown paper lunch sacks with pirate stickers and wrote “Pirate booty for a BOY or a GIRL” on each of them. I filled them with (leftover Christmas stocking) candy…as well as plastic gold coins for boys and necklaces for girls. (Confession: I went through my old necklaces and picked some I never wear and seemed sturdy enough to last a day or two in the hands of a preschooler.)

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I think Snuggly Man had a fun time at his party!

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Personalized “grandma” gifts

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So, we used these as Christmas gifts, but here’s some ideas for Mother’s Day or grandparents day, etc. I had seen another blogger paint handprints on little tea towels for the kitchen and matching hot pad, and I thought that was genius! To emulate, I bought hot pad sets from Walmart and looked up ideas for turning hand or footprints into art. Then, I let pen Elaine choose which cheesy artwork to use for our prints. We ended up with the heart shown above for a few, as well as a crab, some footprint birds (I decided to only use Snuggly Man’s feet after painting one with his hands.), and a dinosaur. They turned out cute and very personal!

For a card or photo display for my mom, I took a piece of finished out wood/sign from hobby lobby and glued on a wooden shape that Pen Elaine had already painted. Then, I wrote Deuteronomy 4:9 on there with paint- after hot glueing clothespins, spaced evenly, along the bottom. I determined spacing and placement by having a photo in them and marking my determined spots with pencil.

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Mommy & Me class: Pretend Play with Fake Food

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Pretend play is so important for young children – they need time and space to imagine and practice what they are figuring out in “real” life. It is easy to fill up their time with structured activities, commitments, and get caught up with our own schedules so much that we start dragging our kids through each step and “job” of the day. One of my recent resolutions has been to give Pen Elaine some play time (that includes me) before making her complete her morning “jobs” of getting dressed and making her bed, even if I still have a kitchen to clean up or breakfast dishes to put away. This does not and cannot happen every day, but it is at least on my radar and a goal for most days. However, I know making time for children is important since Jesus Christ said that He was not too busy to hold them, touch them, pray over them. Matthew 19:14 says, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'”

Sometimes a craft project can help lead to more pretend play or more intentional pretend play. Pretend play with food can be a fun time to practice table manners, thinking of other people, using proper utensils, and having mealtime conversations, to get the ball rolling.

I saw these tantalizing play food creations from oneperfectdayblog and really wanted to attempt our own. Ours didn’t turn out looking too much like actual food…although Snugly Man was fooled, as captured in the top photo!

Only supplies needed: sponges from the dollar store, paint & paintbrush, some glue optional

Pen Elaine enjoyed painting and stacking these “slices” of sponges to create a piece of cake and “cookies” (that kinda look like cupcakes…?).

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We also made paper pizzas (to look like one by Looksissquare via Pinterest) – it’s on the bottom in this last pic, we cut out the “dough,” “sauce,” “cheese,” and an assortment of toppings such as peppers, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, meatballs, etc. These could’ve been made with felt to be more durable for creating many times over.

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Fall Decorations!!!

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IMG_1729.JPGDecorating for fall is the most satisfying season because it is so warm and cozy, comes at the beginning of a new season, and you get to leave it up for 2 or 3 solid months! Plus, fall is a great time to host gatherings and have friends over, so there are lots of opportunities to share the fun of fall decorations. Now that I share my seasonal decorating with Pen Elaine, I am more in tuned to how kids can be actively involved with making the house fun and inviting for each season or holiday. Growing up, I remember getting excited every October to decorate an orange pumpkin made of construction paper, giving it shape, a stem, and a jack-o-lantern face with black markers or crayons. Now, Pinterest has opened up so many more possibilities that I forget the simple joys of childhood only need “pen” and paper sometimes, but the important thing is to let my kiddo feel special and proud of her part in making our house a warm and whimsical home.

1. Scarecrow – we made a scarecrow with an old party sign, some little-used pants and top, a hat, gloves, and Pen Elaine’s super-cute contribution: a pinwheel! Items that needed to be tied down were secured with string. Since it’s on a wooden stand that can be easily moved, sometimes I’ll stick it in the garage if there’s a big rainstorm or we are going out of town.

2. Front door hanger: Instead of a fall wreath, I had seen this embroidered hoop idea on Pinterest and thought it looked really do-able and a nice changeup. Plus, I had bought a couple giant hoops for 3 bucks each at some junk store. I ended covering my letter with yarn because that is what I had on-hand, but next time, I would want to try something else.

 

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3. I finally got around to painting a new scene/quote on my windowpane for fall. I saw so many fun quotes and verses for fall, I will have to put up a new one for November, ha! I always want to paint a pumpkin on the glass, but it never looks quite right to me…I’m just not sure what to replace it with…a tree?

 

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Here’s a picture of the hoop art. I wrapped the letter in one layer of yarn using modge podge to secure it; then I attached it to the burlap with a second, more sparse covering of yarn. I hid the loose corners of burlap by taping them down to the back of the hoop with some masking tape.

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4. Candle display tray: I had seen a candle display similar to this on Pinterest that looked straight out of Hogwarts…thus I had to try to replicate it. My collection of little glass jars/bottles finally got put to use for a spooky effect…

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