Pokemon Inspired Valentine (with free printable!)

Valentine’s Day is coming!

Was there ever a more fun day at school than Valentine’s Day?

Decorating those shoeboxes, writing a valentine for all of your classmates, and reading the valentines from your secret admirers… Not to mention the CHOCOLATE!

Something happened a few years ago, and they just don’t make Valentine’s like they used to. They no longer contain the teeny little envelopes. They stink.

I’ve been enjoying all of the professional looking homemade valentines all over Pinterest, so for the second year running, I’ve made my own! It’s inspired by my daughter’s latest obsession, Pokemon! Okay really, I guess they aren’t my own – they are my daughter’s. And someday when she actually shows an interest in making her own crafts, I will totally step aside and let her do it. Until then, let me at em!

Supplies for the project

I started by printing my valentine onto some thick paper/cardstock. I’ve included a link below so you can print off the valentine for free! This is my first publicized Photoshop project- woohoo! I also used some scissors, packing tape, and a ziploc sandwich bag.

Packaaged pokemon toys

I ordered a bag of assorted Pokemon toys from Amazon. Well, I am told they are Pokemon… The reviews were good, but I guess you get what you pay for! They are perfect for four and five year olds, though.

To attach the little pocket monsters to the valentine, I simply cut off a corner of the sandwich bag. Using the packing tape, I sealed up the side that no longer had a seam, inserted Mr. Chu, and used another piece of packing tape to attach the bag to the valentine.

I love how fun these are! All of my daughter’s friends and teachers will get a fun little toy, and it’s less candy filling those kids with craziness!

And I just can’t get over how happy Pikachu looks to be included in a Valentine!

Here’s a link to a free printable – I’d love to see what you do with it, so please share your results if you use it!

Download Pokemon Valentine

 

PS – If you haven’t resubscribed to my blog, don’t forget to do so since it’s been moved to new hosting! Share with all your friends, too! Everyone’s doing it.

Alternative Advent Calendars

With the last of the turkey made into soup using the broth I made from the turkey carcass, I can officially call Thanksgiving DONE! And now I can say…

I

LOVE

CHRISTMAS!

This is my favorite time of year, hands down. It takes everything I’ve got to put up Thanksgiving decorations after Halloween and not just go straight to Christmas. I revert back to my 6 year old self when it comes to December time, so to be able to hold it all together, I plan a bunch of fun Christmas related activities to last throughout the month.

December 1st is often kicked off with the start of an Advent calendar. Did anyone ever actually hold themselves to eating only one of those tiny little pieces of chocolate a day until Christmas? I never could as a kid, but my daughter has been pretty good at it so far. Anymore, there are a multitude of Advent calendars to choose from – you are no longer limited to that tiny square of chocolate wrenched out of it’s plastic shell. Here are some fun ideas for alternative Advent calendars, which range from cheap to pricey, and easy to involved. By creating your own calendar, or by purchasing a fun new kind of calendar, you can feel like a kid again experiencing something new each day of Christmas time!

Toy Advent Calendars

I don’t know if these are technically new, but I’ve noticed them more and more lately and actually bought one for this year. Advent calendars are available for sale by many different toy companies, like Playmobil, Lego, Disney, Fisher Price, Play Doh, and Barbie. While these are considerably more expensive than your $1 chocolate calendar, they do provide a longer lasting, tangible reward. The calendar I chose was a Playmobil Advent Calendar whose pieces add up to make a family Christmas scene. What I enjoy about that is that the pieces can become a part of our holiday decorations and come out year after year – IF my daughter doesn’t abscond them as part of her toy collection. Either way, it’s a fun way to see a scene build day after day and make the excitement last for 25 days, rather than 24 days of anticipation for 1 big day.

DIY Drink Advent Calendar

tada

This calendar is definitely not for kids 😉 With the help of some PVC and spray paint from a hardware store, some Advent stickers from the Target Dollar Aisle, and many, many bottles from my local grocery store (Hy-Vee has a great selection of mix & match craft beer), you can put together an advent calendar that will bring 25 nights of deliciousness.

beer

This calendar isn’t just limited to beer, either – mine contains craft & vintage sodas in glass bottles, as well. If you’re a fan of just one beer, you can certainly fill it with 25 of your faves.

To construct the tree, I had a 10ft section and a 2ft section of 3 inch diameter pvc cut into five inch sections. You’d think 5 inches into 10 feet would work out to not require so much extra, but when you account for the small amount removed from the cut itself, it adds up. Using PVC glue, the sections were attached together to form a Christmas tree shape, with 4 pipe sections at the base for the trunk. Spray paint added the festive colors.

advent-stickers

Next, I used the advent stickers to top each bottle cap and loaded the tree up!

My husband is really looking forward to picking his bottle each morning and putting it into the fridge for a cold drink in the evening. It was really fun to put together as well. I’m not a beer drinker, so if I were to make one of these for myself, I’d have to get a much bigger diameter pipe to hold the wine bottle and would likely need rehab after the holiday season! But for someone that drinks an occasional beer here and there and likes to sample many different kinds, this is a fun gift to put together. I’ve paired with it a taste tracker so that he can remember which of the drinks he liked, and which weren’t as great.

Santa Beard Calendar

finishedsanta

Who else remembers the advent calendars that soda companies gave out for free where you glued a cotton ball a day to Santa’s beard? I know they are truly a thing and not just my imagination, because I’ve met one other person who remembers this, and surely two people can’t be wrong!

santatwo

I wanted to recreate that memory of my childhood, but also wanted it to be more permanent than a sheet of paper & cotton balls. With the help of a friend, I had a Santa head cut out of pine. Using Rustoleum Magnetic primer, I painted the bottom half of the santa head with two coats of the special paint. This paint is loaded with iron filings that make it magnetic upon drying. One drawback to this is that it is super expensive – so find a few friends that want to do this project along with you and split the cost.

After applying & drying the magnetic paint, I painted on a Santa face. You do not have to be an artist to do this if you have carbon paper – this was not free handed! Do not let this intimidate you. If you have a santa pic that you love, just use the carbon paper between your wood & print out to put the lines onto the santa to guide your painting. Instant artiste.

Finally, using some white pompoms scored from the quite successful Target Dollar Aisle and some glue & magnets, I made 25 beard balls (need a better name) that stick to the beard, despite my fears. Success! Instant Santa Beard Advent Calendar.

There was so much excitement that she couldn’t hold still for a second picture…

DIY Jar Advent Calendar

jar-calendar

A pretty jar, some scraps of paper, and a pen make a really simple & quick advent calendar. Cut out 25 strips of paper and determine what you’d like to add to them each day. You can either start with 25 pre-filled items and pull one each day, or fill them out as you go and end up with 25 filled tags at the end of the day. Here are some ideas of what to write:

  • 25 favorite Christmas memories
  • 25 acts of kindness to perform during the holiday season
  • 25 types of baked goodies to make (if you have all the time in the world to bake daily)
  • 25 Christmas movies to watch
  • 25 Christmas stories to read
  • 25 Christmas songs to listen to
  • 25 bible verses to read
  • 25 Christmas themed activities to kill the time while you wait for the big man in the red hat
  • Have children write nice things about their siblings and read them each day until Christmas (you may want to pre-read these and remove the element of surprise)
  • Any combination of the above

Alternatively, you could use this as a perpetual advent calendar by reusing the same scraps over and over again. On each scrap, leave a lot of room for writing. When you draw a scrap for the day, write your best memory of that day. The next year, you start over with new memories being written right below the previous year’s memories. It’s a great way to keep a Christmas journal that you revisit year after year.

Envelope Advent Calendar

envelope-bunting

Similar to the jar calendar above, you can use an envelope to hold a daily treasure for the days leading up to Christmas. Fix your envelope to a cute bunting using some safety pins, or just tape them strategically around your home or on your fridge.

Treat Crackers

crackers

While not diet friendly, making 25 holiday crackers with your favorite holiday treat is easy if you can save 25 toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper tubes. Simply fill them with your treat of choice and wrap them in some leftover wrapping paper scraps. Then hold yourself to only opening one per day!

 

Even though we now have a variety of advent calendars around the house to keep us busy until the big day, my daughter insists that she still needs the $1.99 chocolate advent calendar or her holiday will not be complete. There’s no pleasing some people! This is one craft project where you can let your imagination go wild and turn anything into a 25 day long activity that fits your family, home, style, tastes, and effort levels. Remember – putting together a red & green paper chain still counts as crafting!

Thanksgiving Dollar Tree Craft Challenge

Can anyone believe that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away? I sure can’t! Maybe it’s the warm weather we’ve been having, which I loved at first, but I’m actually starting to want weather that is more fall like to get me into the holiday spirit.

At any rate, it is truly coming quickly. It’s not too late to create some easy, quick, and cheap décor for your home to help usher in that Thanksgiving feeling faster than a blobby cylinder of purple sour “cranberries” will. It’s another Dollar Tree Craft Challenge!

For this project, you will need:

vase

  • Plain glass vase – or other vessel – from Dollar Tree
  • Tissue paper in fall colors – or colors of your choice – from Dollar Tree
  • Mod Podge – not from Dollar Tree, but a versatile supply that will be an investment in many craft projects. This should really be in every crafter’s tool box!
  • Brush to apply mod podge – this could come from Dollar Tree! I use the spongy brushes for this, but you could use a standard paint brush in any size just as easily.

 

To start, tear or cut your tissue paper into small bits no smaller than the size of a quarter, but no larger than the size of a post-it-note. You could really do them in any shape – if you like a more uniform look, cut them into squares. For a more random or unplanned look, rip the paper into different shapes. There are no rules in craft club. That’s not true. There are rules. But for this step, go wild.

tissue-scraps

To affix these to the outside of the vase, we will start by working in small sections to put a base layer of mod podge onto the vase. Mod podge does tend to dry quickly, so I work one piece at a time by putting down the mod podge in a layer that I think is the size of the piece of tissue paper, then putting the tissue paper down on it. Smooth any wrinkles out as much as you can, but tiny wrinkles here and there won’t impact the overall piece.

basecoat

tissue-apply

For my vase, since I had lost my yellow tissue paper somewhere so only ended up with red and orange. Because it was going to be difficult to really alternate two colors, I didn’t worry about placing a red next to a red or an orange next to an orange. So placement of colors/shapes of paper is entirely up to you as the artist. Depending on if you want a uniform piece, a random piece, or a logically random piece (red, orange, yellow, red, orange, yellow…), you will place your pieces how you like them. Don’t stress it, though. This is a Dollar Tree craft, after all! If you don’t like how it turns out, Goodwill it and head out for another $1 vase.

 

 

Once you have a section with a few pieces of tissue paper glued to the vase, go over these with a top coat of mod podge. This will put a good seal on the pieces, making them stick for a long, long time. Mod podge has different finishes – the product I was using has a matte finish, so I tried to keep my top coat thin to avoid having too much of a cloudy appearance once dry. Mod podge does dry mostly clear, but the thicker you put it on, the cloudier it is. I’ve never used a glossy mod podge, so if you use it, let me know what you think of it!

Repeat this process until your vase is as covered as you want it to be – base layer, tissue paper, mod podge! The tissue paper is great for this project because it’s thinness allows for a really great adhesion using less mod podge, and it also still allows for some light to shine through. Allow this to dry for at least 24 hours before handling or using.

flowersdone

 

I finished my vase with some fake flowers that I also got at Dollar Tree! For a $1, I think this looks pretty good!

Things that are coated with mod podge are not food safe, and not all finishes are water safe, either. I would also not recommend using mod podge for anything that will hold a candle or be near a flame as all glue finishes should be considered to be highly flammable. Here are a few alternatives if you were using this on something you hoped to be able to eat off of, wash, and/or use with a candle:

 

  • Food Safety: Mod Podge is non-toxic, but is not recommended for food touching surfaces as it would have to be tested and approved by the FDA to be considered food-safe. If you are doing a glass plate, mod podge your decorations to the BOTTOM of the plate so that the top can still be used for food. This would make a really cute charger or saucer!
  • Waterproof-ness? (not a word…) Mod Podge is not water proof. That said, you can get items wet by accident and not lose hope. You can even clean items that have been sealed with mod podge with a lightly dampened rag. But I wouldn’t submerge anything that’s been Mod Podged in water. There is an Outdoor Mod Podge and a Dishwasher Safe Mod-Podge, however, even the outdoor mod podge is not water-proof and is water-resistant. Using the outdoor version would be your best defense if what you’re making will be in wet elements, but it’s still not fool-proof. I have not personally used the Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge to be able to recommend it or not, so if you have, please share with me your thoughts!
  • Flammability – I always assume anything that has glue or sealant or paint to be highly flammable. Actually, I assume EVERYTHING to be highly flammable. Thankfully modern technology has come up with flameless candles – which are basically tiny flashlights that look like tea lights or other candles. I like using these as much as possible when decorating as I don’t have to worry about the cats starting their tails on fire or my daughter starting herself on fire, or falling asleep without remembering to put them out. This vase would look really pretty with the glow of a flameless candle coming out from it!

 

For more Mod Podge related questions, you can visit their website at https://plaidonline.com/mod-podge/brand/home.htm or their blog at http://modpodgerocksblog.com/ where they have some extensive tutorials and Q&As that will surely inspire you and answer any lingering questions you may have.

As always, I’d love to see your version of this if you attempt it, or anything inspired by this! Please feel free to share in the comments section.

 

 

 

Kid Friendly Art Project – Toy Prints

It is a dreary, dark, rainy day today. And honestly, I’m not all that sad about it. It signals the coming of fall, and the end of summer. Fall is my most favorite time of the year! It’s like spring, but less mushy. This fall will be a difficult time for me, though, since I am returning to school and am currently in a night class that takes 12 hours a week for 7 weeks. My mom guilt is hitting hard since it keeps me from my family for 3 nights a week, and on some of those nights, the only time I will see my daughter is before work/school that morning.

To counteract that mom guilt, I’ve been trying to fit in as many family activities in my free time as I possibly can. That does mean burning the candle at both ends for me, but it’s only for 7 weeks, right? It’s all temporary! I’ve chosen the sunniest project that we’ve squeezed in recently to bring a little vitamin D to your day.

This project was actually inspired by a tangled slinky. Trying to untangle it, I ended up just bouncing the bottom of it around on the coffee table and noticed that the action was similar to stamping something over and over and over again, which led my mind into imagining it was bouncing in some fresh paint and then bouncing on a clean canvas and leaving it’s imprint behind. My mind is colorful – what can I say? It got me wondering – what other toys could be used to make unique prints on a canvas? I discussed it with my husband and daughter, and I was affirmed that this was not one of my crazier ideas, because it got them thinking about it, too. So since I already have a stash of paint & blank canvases in my craft studio, we were off to the Dollar Tree to get some toys that could act as neat prints!

artists-tools

This project is great for more than just busting boredom, or getting those creative juices flowing. We had a really fun time looking at different toy shapes and trying to find out if they would have a distinctive shape. Even my 4 year old daughter was grasping the concept – when she wasn’t just trying to get new toys. It made us think about things and shapes in a different way, and that kind of spatial, conceptual thinking can be hard to reign in with children (and to inspire in adults), so it’s a great thinking method to foster and develop. Yes – this toy is  a pull tractor – but what does it look like just from underneath? What kind of shape would it leave behind? Would you stamp it – like the pony hooves – or drag it – like the sand roller? How would it be distinctive – or, how would you know afterwards which toy it was that left that shape behind?

The toys we ended up choosing were a plastic dinosaur, pony, the broken slinky, a tractor with a pull behind cement mixer (though we couldn’t figure out how to attach the cement mixer to the tractor – that’s what you get for buying toys at the Dollar Tree), and a sand roller, which I guess is used while playing in sand to leave neat imprints in it? I felt a little bit like we were cheating with that toy, but it was neat so I let it slide. The only thing I put my foot down on was a rubber bouncy ball. Not only did I think it was only a ploy to get another rubber bouncy ball (how many bouncy balls does a child need), but even if we did use it, I did not want a ball covered in paint bouncing around my porch – even if it was outside! I didn’t want to try and get hot pink acrylic paint off of my siding, or out of my hair, or off of one of the high up windows. So I was mean mom about the bouncy ball 😉

platysarus

Funny story – when we got the dinosaur, we were so intent on looking at the foot shape that I didn’t realize until we got it home that I have no clue if this was ever an actual dinosaur, or if this was just another Dollar Tree toy fail. Thoughts? Anyone know what this is? Duck Billed Platysaurus?

getting-ready

I had two blank canvases and some assorted acrylic paints. Using a piece of cardboard from our recycle bin as a palette, we were ready to go!

tractor-tires

We did the tractor first with bright pink paint. The tires were a little too small to leave a distinctive tread – the paint seemed to just go onto them so thick that it was hard to see. But in some places if you look close enough, you can see it, and the two tracks right next to each other made it a distinctive print.

first-set-of-dino-tracks

Next up was the platy-sarus, which left the two little blue foot prints on the page there. My daughter was getting pretty dramatic with the dinosaur stomps, hence how high in the air he is. He was really stompy.

pony-hooves

The pony hooves left four distinct purple prints. I feel like this toy was chosen just because my daughter really wanted a pink pony to add to her pony collection, but that’s okay, too.

slinky-rings

We used light green for the slinky, and sadly, this was the most disappointing of the toys. It didn’t bounce up and down and all over like I thought it would. Instead, the viscosity of the paint held it to the canvas once it hit the canvas, so it really had to be pulled up and then forced back down to be hard enough to stick. It did not act as bouncy as we thought it would. In hindsight, using an ink maybe, instead of a paint with a level of thickness, might have made the bouncy prints we thought it would have. But we were still happy with the “forced” placement of the green rings.

sand-roller-2

Last up was the sand roller, and since this toy was remarkably wider than the other toys, we were going to need more paint spaced out on the palette. So we used all of the colors already on the palette for a sort of muddled rainbow effect (without mixing them into an icky shade of brown). If you asked my daughter, this was her favorite tool, and the one she was looking forward to the most. It worked like a paint roller does, only it left wavy lines rather than just a solid block of color.

After that, we went back with the other tools to fill in areas that looked empty, or to add more prints from those that we thought were under-represented. Since the colors were mixed up on the palette, we didn’t stick to the colors from before and ended up using the random colors on the prints.

finished

Our finished prints! I really like how these turn out! I am hoping to find some cheap pop-in frames to put these in and hang them on the wall in the toy/play area in our family room. You can definitely see the pony hooves and the roller marks. The dino prints are a bit more hidden, but there. What I like most about these is how I remember so vividly making them whenever I look at them. I can remember shopping for the toys and trying each one individually to see how it looked. And I can remember my daughter’s sense of wonder when we saw what they did. Maybe I’m just sentimental, though.

Clean up from this project was quicker and easier than setup. The cardboard went back into the recycle bin, and the tractor and slinky toys went into the garbage. The pony hooves and dino feet got washed off for future play, as did the sand roller for play at the sand pit next summer. If I hadn’t decided to wash them and just toss them, I would have only been out $3. Since I did this outside on our front porch, I wasn’t worried about paint splatters on anything.

Other applications I could see this for would be for remembering a special toy or item that doesn’t hold a function, but still holds a special place. If you have a certain color theme in a nursery, this would be a neat way to incorporate those colors in a fun, homemade print. A lot of baby items have distinctive shapes, too – like little baby shoes, pacifiers, teething rings… Although I wouldn’t recommend holding onto any of those once they’ve been used for painting. My daughter is old enough (most of the time) to know not to chew on toys, so I worry less about her ingesting the paint. And she’s nearly 5, so I’m sure her immune system is pretty strong by now (right?).

It can be a challenge to do projects like this with kids – they are messy, they have short attention spans, and sometimes they are just so unskilled (amateurs). Just kidding… But seriously – if you’re a perfectionist, or a naturally control-driven person, it can be hard to let go. Give this project a try, though. If your child understands WHAT each item can do, they can mimic it pretty well. Clean up is minimal, and it’s easy and quick, and if your child is like mine and drawn more to experiments than art, it can be a way of experimenting how different toys look that will still capture their curiosity. Putting art into children’s lives is so beneficial that it should never be seen as a waste of time, but an investment into their future success and creativity. I only wish there was more of an emphasis on that in schools! But I’m not a teacher, nor do I wish to be 😉

Crib Upcycle, Part 2: Clothes Drying Rack

Earlier, I told you about how I had planned a 3 part project using all of the parts of my daughter’s long since outgrown crib (you can read about that here). I’m ready to share with you part two of this use it all adventure – my new clothes drying rack!

Done Open

This part of the project involved using one of the long panels of the crib that held the little bug inside with vertical slats.

Crib Slats

It also involves the use of power tools – namely, a circular saw and a drill. I’m pretty proud of myself, I’m not going to lie. If you’re ever nervous about using power tools, spend a day volunteering with Habitat for Humanity on a site build, and you’ll quickly learn more than you ever thought you’d learn. Continue reading

Crib Upcycle, Part 1: Memo Board/Photo Hanger

Anyone else out there a parent? A few of you? I swear, there’s never been a time in my life where I’ve spent more money on things I’ve used so little. The baby swing, the cloth diapers, the adorable clothes, the bottles… I guess I could have had more than one baby to make these items have a little more life, but that seems like a lot of investment just to get more use out of a bottle! 😉 I’m a one and done mom. More power to you if you have a large brood, but my family feels whole as three.

One of the biggest investments my husband and I made was the crib. Paired with the matching dresser/changing table (which is now a “buffet” that is storing towels & washcloths in my hallway), the total came up to right around $300 – and that’s cheap compared to the fancy furniture some parents buy! What can I say? I’m frugal.

Thankfully, most of our baby items found new homes after they grew out of usefulness for our family. We loaned out the crib once my daughter was in a big girl bed to a friend that had need for two cribs at a time, but I’ve found that there is little need out there for used baby cribs. It seems that among families that don’t mind buying new, the crib is something that is rarely bought used. There are those that buy everything used, which is a great way to be – but when it came down to it, I felt a little bit attached to the thing once it found it’s way back to me. Sure, there were other things I kept, too – some baby blankets, some of the cutest little teeny tiny baby outfits, a couple special toys… But those are easily packed away into my special things chest.

The decision was made – keep the crib, but upcycle it into items that are more purposeful. The internet is FULL of furniture upcycle ideas, and cribs are definitely up there in terms of reusability. I’ve divided the parts of my crib into three projects of varying difficulty. I’m using the whole buffalo, as it were. (Is using that phrase cultural appropriation? Or offensive? I hope not. It isn’t meant that way..). No parts left behind (except maybe hardware, and a couple little bits and pieces that I cut off here and there)!

Crib Part 1 CoverThe first project is by far the easiest and takes about 5 minutes and a small investment of hardware. I was actually inspired (who am I kidding, I totally stole the idea) by a friend of mine who did something similar (not even similar – absolutely the same thing) in her living room.

By taking the metal grid that holds the mattress and hanging it on the wall, you now have a lovely, large picture or memo hanging grid.

Grid Close Up

I use clothespins to hold the items on. Clothespins are also great to customize with some acrylic paint, markers, glitter, spray paint, washi tape… Another fun thing about this is that it’s magnetic – so you can use magnets where they will fit.

Hooks

To attach it to the wall, I used my husband some large sized screw in hooks and just hung the grid right from them. That’s it – easy peasy.

Photo Hanging Grid

I did say this was the easiest of the projects. One piece of the crib used, a pile more to go! What do you think? Is this too “out-there” of an idea for you, or are you going to kick your toddler out of their crib early so you can get a head start? Let me know what you think!

Veggie & Fruit Print Table Runner

You may recall a while back I posted about an Ikea haul (here)– it included this table runner:

Table Runner
$5.99 Marit Table Runner – SCORE!

I was excited this weekend to finally put some work to it. I had planned on doing some sort of print on this using a handcut woodblock, but I was waiting for the perfect idea & inspiration to strike. Inspiration struck, but it wasn’t in the form of a woodblock and was instead an old school project that came to mind. I’m so glad it was, because I was able to involve the whole family and teach my daughter a fun trick.

Did you ever try this out as a kid? I remember carving stamps out of potatoes, but never using the natural shape of the vegetable to act as a stamp. It was a lot of fun. First up – you will need veggies:

Veggies

Not pictured was the celery. I forgot. Continue reading

DIY Decorated Shoes – Galaxy Print

Finished Galaxy Shoes

Personal note – I am having the hardest time switching from PC to Mac. Eesh! This post has been 3 weeks in progress due to trying to find a way to store my photos. Everyone starts somewhere…

Onto shoes!

Have you ever bought shoes for children before? It’s ridiculously expensive. Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like to spend more than $15 on a pair of shoes for someone who won’t fit them for more than 6 months. That’s nearly impossible, I’ve found. A pair of sneakers for my daughter generally start at $23 at the cheapie store, and that’s without the licensed character on the shoe. And none of them are truly that cute.

This is part of the reason I started painting/decorating my daughter’s shoes myself. Why pay $27 for a pair of Dora sneakers when you can get some plain canvas shoes for much cheaper and make them personalized and unique and supa dupa cute???

thumb_WonderLucy_012_1024
These are some Wonder Woman shoes I painted for my daughter, as worn in her Wonder Woman photo shoot. Photograph taken by Lupo Photography of Omaha. By this time, the shoes were already showing some age, but still holding up!

I’m going to be making a series of DIY decorated shoes and sharing those with you. Up first is my current obsession – GALAXY PRINT! Continue reading

Beauty from the Kitchen – strengthen your hair with a quick trip to the fridge

Hair Mask Titled

I blinked, and it’s nearly the middle of June – meaning more than half of 2016 has passed (nearly). Holy cow! Why is summer always the busiest month?

My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary at the beginning of the month. 10 years of marriage, and 14 years of being together. Sheesh! So we decided to go big and went to Jamaica!

Jamaica

Like that photo? I hope so – I had to pay the resort $15 for it (ugh).

This is the first time I’ve gone to a resort/beach vacation like this, unless you count the time that we drove across the country to spend a day in the frigid Atlantic ocean. Or the time I was 13 and spent 2 days in Florida with my church’s youth group. It was nice to spend some days just lying on the beach in the sun, but I was glad to come home. I missed my kiddo, and if I had to spend another day with sand everywhere – including my hotel room bed – I was going to freak out.

Beach Bound

Ahh – my little trip to paradise. I may have enjoyed the sun and the salt water and the ocean breezes, but my hair did not. My hair wasn’t in the best of shape from being colored, but it was absolutely wretched after that trip. I would brush it and hear all of the strands snap as my brush got stuck in the snags. My hair is thin enough as it is – I can’t afford to lose any hair to unnecessary breakage! Even using my deep conditioner and Olaplex formula did not help.

I was pleased last night to try out this hair mask I’ve had on my to-do list, and was so happy with the results! My hair is soft again, and I can brush it with minimal tangles and breaks. The protein helps to build stronger hairs, and the oil is so moisturizing. The best thing is that this took about 3 minutes to prepare using ingredients I had in the kitchen.

Hair Mask Titled

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp honey

 

Whisk these ingredients together and apply them to wet hair. Leave in for 30 minutes, and then wash out and follow up with your normal conditioning ritual.

That’s it. It truly is that simple & easy. My husband would point out that while I was letting it rest, not only had I put a grocery bag over my hair to keep it all contained, but I was unaware that the receipt was still in the bag and didn’t realize it until seconds before getting into the shower… You may choose to leave the receipt out of your mix – it is optional 😉

If you have long hair, or very thick hair, I would recommend doubling the batch. I used the amounts above, and for my thin, mid-back length hair, it worked out well.

I will definitely be making this a part of my hair care routine – anything that is as natural and simple as this really makes my day!

As for life in general, I like to say I’m going through a 1/3rd life crisis. Look for some changes to happen – including an option to shop for some of the homemade bath & body products I’ve been having a blast making lately!

DIY Designer-Inspired Pillows

There are many things that excite me about DIY. I like the process of making something. I love the finished product – when it turns out. I like being able to make things that other people might find valuable. And sometimes, it’s just nice to know I can make something myself, even if I don’t need to. For example – marshmallows. Making them myself is hard work, and not really necessary, but have you tried a homemade marshmallow? Totally worth it.

And sometimes, a DIY is just a way of cost savings. I bought these throw pillow covers and pillows from Ikea, and painted them in a fun blue ombre, for really cheap. Pillows like this from a retail store would have cost much, much more, and they would have actually meant less to me.

Finished Pillows

These were so easy, and fun to make. If you can pull a paint brush in a line (straight-ness not required), you can do these, too.  Continue reading