Category Archives: Projects/DIY

8 Autumn Crafts for Kids

Fall is officially here which marks my favourite season of the year! The air is crisp, the trees are aglow in hues of red and gold, it’s not too hot, not too cold, perfect for your favourite sweater and PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte for you non-coffee drinkers). AND awesome and fun activities and crafts that both my kids and I enjoy together. So in this post I would like to share a few with you.

1. Thanksgiving Turkey

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Using simple materials like scrapbook paper or coloured construction paper, glue and markers your child’s hands are now the “feathers” to this Thanksgiving wall art.

2. Autumn paper chain decorations

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Cut strips of cardstock or construction paper to 1 1/2-2 inch widths and glue or tape together. Alternate Fall colours and use for decoration over doorways or the mantel. Use grey or black to look like old prison chains for Halloween decor.

3. Autumn Napkin Rings

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This craft has to be my favourite for so many reasons! a) cheap materials b) my 4 year old loved making them and c) they look gorgeous for a Autumn/Thanksgiving table. We recycled toilet paper rolls (yep!), collected birch bark from wind-fallen trees and the ground (don’t harvest from the live tree because this can cause damage or even kill the tree) and used fake foliage bought at Dollarama and created something completely beautiful and unique.
First, cut the toilet paper tube in three equal sections (approximately 1.25 inches). Then cut a strip of birch bark to size, enough to wrap and overlap on the toilet paper roll ring. Using stick glue, paste the birch bark in place. We also used a paper clip to hold the bark in place while it dried. After this step it looked like we had a bunch of sections cut from a birch tree on our table.

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Little Man used his safety scissors to cut the leaves off of the fall garland we bought for $1.50. Then, using hot glue (I did this part) I glued the leaves and a few embellishments to the front. I actually covered the seam/overlap of the bark which hid it nicely. The result was better than expected and Little Man is so proud of his craft. In total we made 10, some with wood buttons, some with added berries that also came on the garland of Fall leaves. You could also use fake flowers for use if your napkin rings all year round or use rings made of a more durable material like PVC pipe.

4. Give Thanks Banner

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I made this banner last year out if recycled blank envelops and coloured cardstock, string and glue. Something so simple and pretty that kids can enjoy doing. This is the type of craft that you can make really fancy using glitter or high quality materials or you can make more child-like with scribbles, stickers and the use of your child’s own handwriting. Whatever you do, just make it a fun time with your kid and try not to have high expectations or a picture perfect image in your head. Which brings me to number 5…

5. Fingerprint Tree

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My inspiration for this craft comes from the recently popular in-lieu-of-a-wedding-guest-book idea. I bought an art canvas and paints at the dollar store and started by painting a large tree sans leaves. As you can see, my children and I created the leaves using our fingerprints. I had an idea in my head how I wanted it to look and was mortified when Little Man started applying green dots with a cotton swab to the area that shouldn’t have leaves. He told me it was the leaves falling. I had to remind myself that perfection means beans to a 4-year old. This was an art project we were doing together; it didn’t matter what it would look like in the end, it’s the time we spent together. So…I went with it and even added more. It didn’t turn out too badly either. I even added red and gold glitter because everything is better with glitter.

6. Halloween Treat Bags

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These treat bags are made from coloured paper bags which you can buy at a variety of dollar stores. I used black paper and permanent markers to decorate. These would be so cute for Halloween treats at the door or for your child’s classroom. Little Man was excited to draw the circles for the Ghost’s eyes and mouth. If I had known he would draw that mouth that big I would have cut it out with black paper and pasted it on like I did with Frankenstein’s monster’s hair (would have kept down on the Sharpie fumes).

7. Halloween Candle Jars

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We had loads of fun creating these candle jars! It can get a little messy so prepare your space beforehand. Recycled mason jars, glass pasta sauce jars and baby food bottles became a hit when we used a little Mod Podge and a lot of imagination. First, cut strips or squares of tissue paper in the colour of your choice. We used white for a ghost, green for Frankenstein’s monster and orange for a Jack-o-Lantern. You could easily use green for a witch’s face, or white for a mummy. Then we used a paintbrush and “painted” on the Mod Podge onto the glass jar. We then overlapped the tissue paper strips and sealed it with another layer of Mod Podge on top. Once dry, Little Man helped cut out shapes for the faces and we glued them on. We let the jars dry overnight and then added a tealight. They are now on my mantel and look great!

IMG_4626.JPGSo easy, a 4-year old can do it. Seriously, Little Man made the little pumpkin and the little ghost ones all by himself and helped cut the eyes and mouths for them all. I thought of adding raffia around the mouth of the jar but because I used a real tealight and not a flameless candle I decided against it in case it caught on fire. By all means, dress it up if you wish.

8. Dried Leaf Collage

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One of our favourite things during the Fall season is going on nature walks through the park or the trails in the woods. Along the way we collect pretty leaves, flowers, bark and pine cones. This year we dried and pressed the leaves at home and created a collage. Arrange leaves and other things on cardstock or paper and glue or tape in place. Or place inside a frame or shadow box. Little Man bought me a keepsake photo box last year that you can paint and decorate yourself. I haven’t painted it yet but I added a few of our dried and pressed leaves and flowers to make an Autumn themed box. Voila! Autumn art!

Enjoy these Autumn crafts and remember, it’s not what it looks like, it’s the time you spend together.

Cheers!
-Kathryn

Little Man’s Room Makeover

This momma has been busy busy busy redesigning Little Man’s room to a colourful, playful retreat. I guess I could be considered either brave or just nuts for painting horizontal stripes in an older home where it can be a challenge finding just one level surface. I think the advice that I would give to anyone also considering taking on this sort of challenge is to pick a method and stick with it. For example, I decided to do stripes 10 inches in width. However, after measuring 10 inches from the ceiling along the length of one wall, I had almost 2 inches in the difference from one side to the other. That certainly wouldn’t work for level stripes. So what I did was mark out and tape a guideline using a level and Frog Tape and then used a 10 inch square (I used a piece if scrapbook cardstock cut to size) to mark out the rest of the lines. I continued to use the level to ensure my lines were straight and parallel. I’m going to be honest, I almost lost my sanity during this stage; All that taping and making sure it was perfect…seemed like it took forever!

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Once everything was taped including door frames and window frames and base boards, it was now time for painting. I started with the dark blue, Sico “Electricity”, and painted 3 coats. I also used this colour inside the closet; just solid blue, no stripes.The orange “Desert Sun” was next and I was at first a little disappointed with the colour; it didn’t look like the paint swatch at all! Thankfully after the second coat and it started to dry, it started looking much better. The lighter blue is called “Electric Glow” and I wanted to use this colour for the larger midsection stripe as well as two 10 inch stripes on the bottom and the top for balance and symmetry and for the ceiling. We only used a gallon of each paint colour but we were really pushing it and almost ran out of the “Electric Glow” (I say ‘we’ because the husband helped…a little).

The issue with the lighter blue was that it needed several coats for good coverage. It was so light that at first it was very difficult to see against the previous creamy/off-white colour (colour of the smaller stripes between the main solid stripes). You may also notice that the lighter blue is shinier than the darker blue and orange. That was a serendipitous mistake which just offered a different texture/ depth to the room. I told the husband to pick up the lighter blue in eggshell finish, but after I painted the first coat, I noticed that it was not. It’s actually a pearl latex finish but looks nice nevertheless, especially on the ceiling where it reminds me of a Spring sky and reflects a bit of light.

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The width of the smaller stripes is just the same as the Frog Tape which came in 1.41 in x 60 yards ( 36 mm x 54.86 m). You could have thinner stripes just by choosing a lesser width of tape or you could have no thinner stripe between the larger stripes at all which would result in moving the tape and retaping several times (ugh! Not going at it!). You may also notice that the paint bled under the tape a little. Frog Tape is supposed to be the best for sealing the edges and keeping paint out but I was disappointed with its result with the darker blue. I even made sure the tape was pressed against the wall really well but it still lifted in a few spots after a few days.

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After the painting was completed and edges and corners touched up, the tape was removed for the reveal. We switched out his double bed which we had for the convenience of company for a smaller twin bed so that he would have more room to play. Little Man’s room is still quite the disaster with toys and such but he has been quite happy about the change. He loves the colours which he helped to pick out himself and the new Thomas and Friends decals for his walls. All he needs now is the Thomas bedding and maybe the matching curtains. The space feels much more kid-friendly and is now a place where he can come and play with room to move. Little Man is happy so that means this momma is happy! Even if I went a little crazy in the process.

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Hope you like it too ūüėČ
-Kathryn

Nursery Reno

My husband and I bought our first house last August, and after living in rental property after rental property, we’ve been so excited about renovating and painting to make it feel like our very own. We obviously can’t do all we want to do in the one shot but one of the first things that I wanted completed was the nursery for the new Bambino. We had done so much in preparation for our first child that I felt so unprepared (or maybe just lacking in¬†something)¬†for baby #2. He needed something special; I needed something or some process done to welcome his arrival.

His room is fairly small (about 8.5 feet by 10 feet) so there is only so much you can do to such a room. Here is what it looked like pre-move-in:

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I knew I wanted to do a chevron wall, which is¬†hugely on trend right now, and¬†I didn’t want to spend too much money either. I looked online for tips on painting a chevron wall and gathered tips from various sites and, at 8 months preggo, I started the process. My brother and sister-in-law offered to paint it for me too (thank you thank you thank you) so all I had to do was prep the wall design and tell them what I wanted.

Here’s what I did:

I didn’t need to paint or prep the wall as I liked the cream color that was there. If you want to have a base color or several colors for your chevron wall, I suggest paint first.

Step 1: Measured the wall for the chevron pattern, divided by 2 to get the centre of the wall. With a level and straight edge, drew a line down the centre of the wall. This¬†was the starting point for drawing the pattern. It’s best to do it this way so the wall looks balanced instead of having one chevron shorter than the other on the opposite side of the wall.

Step 2: Using a 12″ ruler and¬†a 12 x 12 piece of cardstock from my scrapbooking supplies, I marked out points in a 12 x 12 grid pattern using the centre line as my guide. Don’t use the ceiling or floor as your guide since houses sometimes shift¬†and may cause uneven or irregular lines.¬†Using the straight edge and level I connected the points to make the zig zags (well, I did a good deal of it…my brother finished the lines for me, thanks bro!).IMG_8351IMG_8350

The lines weren’t very clear so I drew in the lines in red to show what’s going on. 12 x 12 inch squares in a grid-like pattern and then, using a level and straight edge, lines from point to point.

Step 3: Tape the lines for a sharp edge. Frog Tape works best; less paint bleeding under, sharper lines.

Step 4: My Sis-in-Law did all the painting (bless her heart). She used a small roller, 2 coats of this beautiful blue color, and when mostly dry, removed the tape. I also had the opposite wall painted entirely blue and one solid stripe above the crib painted blue.

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Here’s how the nursery turned out:

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imageThe blue stripe above his crib. I bought wooden letters from Wal-Mart to spell his name, painted them, and attached them with velcro squares to the wall. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.

Little Man wanted to help too:

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I added some other touches as well:

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I made the E wall art with a re-purposed frame and old buttons. The bedding and¬†valance¬†set we bought at Babies R Us, the rug was from Rug Room in St. John’s, NL.

The paint and supplies came to approximately $40. We bought a gallon of paint and used maybe half of it.¬† Next for this room is some map art that¬†I’m in the process of making (on the hunt for particular frames) and a shelf for his keepsakes and piggy bank. I’m sure Bambino loves it! Hope you do too.

Cheers!

-K

UPDATE:

IMG_0979I didn’t quite find the frames I really wanted for the wall art for Bambino’s room but I did find some okay ones at Wal-Mart for $4 each and I painted them satin white. The maps I found in an old textbook my mom used to own in High School. I just love how the colours of the old map coordinates with the walls and his bedding set. The blues and greens and splashes of orange and red are perfect for a little boy’s room. Why maps in a baby’s room? To prepare him for a world or wonder and discovery, to show him how small we can be in relation to the rest of the world that God has created, and also maybe because¬†his momma is¬†a geography teacher. Apparently I’m not the only one¬†intrigued by¬†this map¬†trend. Google or search Pinterest and see for yourself. I’m on the lookout now for a globe lamp or maybe I’ll mod podge some map pieces to his lamp shade. Hopefully Bambino will get the travel bug early; “Oh, the place you’ll go” little one!

‚ÄúSo be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¬ĺ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.‚Ä̬†¬†-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!