Monday, September 30

31 Days - Handmade Gifts {for everyone on your list!}

You guys. Tomorrow is October. Is it just me or did that come out of nowhere? If you've been around a while you know that every October I like to link-up with the Nester and tackle a month-long 31 day series. Two years ago I wrote about 31 Days of Hidden Potential and last year (when I put in a ton more work) my topic was 31 Days of 2x4 Projects. This year I'm trying to really mix it up again and do a totally different topic, so I'll be writing about.... 31 Handmade Gifts for Everyone on Your List!

I know handmade gift are fun to give & to receive, but it's hard to pull them off sometimes. So I'm going to do my best to keep things pretty quick and simple (and as affordable as I can). And to make sure we hit everyone on your list I'm going to break the projects down into week long categories. Here's our agenda for the month:

So for the first week we'll be tackling gifts for babies (and things that will be helpful to moms & dads of babies). Week two will be gifts for kids that can work for a range of ages, and most of which will be pretty gender neutral. Week 3 will be gifts for the all the ladies you know, some practical and some just plain pretty. Week four is gifts for the guys (which I think are the hardest to find gifts for!). And the last week will be miscellaneous projects - things you give to neighbors or coworkers, and maybe even a gift wrapping idea or two. 

Everyday I'll be linking up the new post right here. Just click the picture and it will take you to the tutorial for that day! I'll be adding the buttons as I get them ready, but if you click on one before the day it goes live you'll get an error message. So be sure to come back for any gifts that catch your eye!

Friends and family... don't be surprised if any of these show up in your stockings this year. Girls gotta work with what she has. But the good news for the rest of you is that I won't be using all these gifts this year.... so I'll be hosting a GIVEAWAY for all the extras at the beginning of November! Seriously, guys, you'll want to be here for a chance to check a few things off your Christmas list.

I've got a great start on the series so far... but with my two babies running around (well, one running and one being carried) I'm a little nervous about the time crunch. But I'll be doing my best to get each post out on time! And hopefully by the end of the month we can all have a great start on our lists for this year. If anyone else is interested in tackling your own 31 day series, you can join the fun and link up at the Nesting Place!

Thursday, September 19

DIY Family Rules Art {free template}

I always love seeing family rules art. Seriously, who ever thought it up was a genius. But I've never found one that was right for us... either the words weren't what I wanted or the size was wrong or the price was just too much for us. So I finally jumped right in and made one that fits our home (and our family) perfectly. And I even made a template so you can make one too! I will warn you, this takes longer than you think it will. But it will save a good chunk of change and you'll end up with a sweet piece of art. :)

Here's all you need to make your own:
  • 1 x 12 pine board cut to 41.5" long (you can buy a 4' long board and have them cut the extra off for you at the store)
  • primer
  • background paint (I used leftover white paint from our kitchen)
  • letter paint (I used black acrylic, but a paint pen would probably be easier!)
  • download the template here (sorry guys, it's pretty grainy. I didn't save my files right and I'll have to start over when I get a chance. But it should be good enough to get you going!)
I started by listing all my favorite family rules quotes. Some I've seen on other pieces and some were new things that are important to our family.

Monday, September 16

What I Like About You

This is going to be a bit of a stray from my usual topics, but it's something I think is important – so just hold on to your hats! Let's start with a little bit of background... I grew up in a pretty big family. My twin sister and I were the oldest of seven girls. (No brothers, it was all estrogen in that house!) My next-oldest sister is 8 years younger than me, and the youngest is 16 years younger, so we were definitely the older sisters of the family, by quite a bit. Being a girl, and growing up around so many girls, I can definitely testify to the fact that girls tend to struggle with things like self-esteem and body image. For realz. And as much as I still struggle with it, it's something I always wish my sisters wouldn't have to. I mean seriously, they are a smart, talented, and beautiful group of girls, but I don't know if they even realize that about themselves.

So when I got a chance to participate in Dove's self-esteem campaign for young girls, it was an opportunity I had to take. This campaign is all about helping girls realize how awesome they are, just the way they are. Perfect. The activity was actually a really simple concept:

Share five things you like about one another and five things you each like about yourselves. Focus on physicality, personality and character traits.

So I called up my sister S on Skype for a little chat about how great I think she is.

Ignore the awkward happening down in the corner.

Not gonna lie, I felt like it was going to be super weird and awkward, since it's just not something we typically do. The very idea of it made me uncomfortable. But we just dove in and it turned out to be really great! We both just listed our favorite things about ourselves and then about each other and we picked some from each category (physical, personality, character). We fidgeted in our seats the whole time but when it was over we pretty much felt super awesome about ourselves. So don't let your nerves stop you! And seriously, do this with all the young ladies in your life - whether it's a daughter or a niece or just a friend. I'm sure we can all use a good reminder that we're okay just the way we are. :)

Friday, September 13

Busy Bag Tutorials

This is a round up of all the busy bags I've made. As I make more I'll link them here as well so they are all in one convenient place. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 11

Shape Matching Cards Busy Bag

This is my last busy bag for now. I have a few more in the works so I'll add tutorials for those when I get a chance. Today's bag is for shape matching cards. This are a little advanced for B right now, but he'll grow into them soon enough.

For this project I hit up the dollar store again and found these packs of foam shapes and a pack of pre-cut foam cards (the same ones I used for my bean counting game, there were plenty of cards for both busy bags!)

Monday, September 9

Dyed Pasta Busy Bag

Don't worry guys, just a couple more to go. I expect you all to have a nice pile of busy bags by the end of the week. Today we're adding a bag with lots of possibilities - dyed pasta!

All you need for this bag is pasta, rubbing alcohol, and food coloring. I picked pasta with big holes in case we decide to make necklaces or something. But you can use any fun shapes!

Saturday, September 7

Rainbow Rice Busy Bag

This is one of B's favorite busy bags. Rainbow rice! He had a lot of fun helping me make it, too.

All you need for this is white rice, vinegar, and food coloring.