Tag Archives: crafty

Green Eggs & Ham? Yes, please!

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Long and long ago, I stumbled upon a doodling technique that I kind of became obsessed with. I would absentmindedly fill random pages with these doodles. One particular day, I filled in the doodles with red and white:

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“Hmmmm,”I said to myself, “I like that. It’s very Dr. Seussy.” (And, in case you didn’t know, I love me some Dr. Seuss.) And then Crazy Me piped up and said, “Hey, what if I painted a whole wall like this?! That would be amazeballs!” Plus, I always wanted to turn our playroom into a Dr. Seuss room. So when I brought this earth shattering idea to my husband, he wisely agreed to let me do what I want. (He is a wise man.) But he also wisely suggested I do it on the shorter wall in the playroom, rather than the biggest one (which was my original plan). I promptly poo-pooed that idea. Because BIGGER IS BETTER!

But really, it was a wise suggestion, which I eventually adopted after enough time had elapsed to pretend it was my idea. And it’s a good freakin’ thing I did because these kinds of projects always turn out harder and more time consuming than you think they will, right? Of course right.

So painting one wall turned into painting all of the walls and the shelves and purging the toys and replacing the honkin’ big falling apart wardrobes where games and toys lived and replacing the light fixture and…well…you know how it is…

DrSeussPlayroom

So blah, blah, blah and yadda, yadda, yadda, here are the pics you came for. I will try to keep the commentary to a minimum and in the captions. Enjoy.

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The view from the doorway

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Facing the Nothing-Exciting-Here wall, where we will eventually hang a flat screen television, but it just gets to be boring for now.

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Storage bins for seating and toy storage. Let’s take a closer look at that Mom’s-Gone-Crazy wall, shall we?

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Whoop! There it is! Don’t ask me how long it took. It was basically eons. And I eventually recruited help from an amazing friend who doesn’t hate me for being psycho.

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And above the Mom’s-Gone-Crazy wall, we have the movies…

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…And some books. (So I forgot to go hunt down all of the Harry Potter books before getting this picture. Obviously, they’re being read. As they should be.) And also…

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Because Dr. Seuss.

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Facing the back wall.

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Another one of my crazy ideas. I actually made this shelf long before deciding to mega-doodle on the wall. FYI – Michael’s crates are super flimsy and probably not the best choice for creating precariously balanced bookshelves. You’re welcome.

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Facing the corner.

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Can we just take a moment to ogle this light fixture? It was my birthday present. How can you not love a light like that?!

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You can only play with us if you have a star on your belly. Just kidding. You can’t play with us.

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Facing the gallery wall. Let’s look a little closer at a few things…

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Green Eggs and Ham? Yes please!

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Personalized family string art. Go ahead and look up ribald. We won’t judge.

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And last but not least, our growth chart rulers. Let’s not discuss the photo of our youngest child, mmmkay?

So there it is. For the record, this is the first time (and probably the last) that the playroom has ever been this clean, which lasted just long enough for me to take pictures (because I banished the children) and then it was trashed again. I actually took a picture of what it usually looks like. But it was so bad, my camera ate it rather than let it become public.

Have any questions about what you see? Feel free to ask! I’d tell you that tutorials for several things will be coming…but let’s be honest. I have no plans to tutorialize anything here. I mean, it took me 6 months just to add the last few touches and get these pics up. I would love to answer some individual questions if you have em, though!

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I am Not an Artist

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Apparently I can’t stay away, so I suppose I’ll just keep on keepin’ on being an occasional blogger. Today I have to talk about doodling. But first a little disclaimer…I am not an artist. If you asked me to draw something that actually looked like what it represented, you’d be sorely disappointed. I haveth not such talents.

But I’ve always been a doodler. Not like a “meaningful” doodler by any means, but a doodler none the less.

And lately I have a bit of a new obsession. (I tend to be like that – find something and do it intensely for a while until I move onto the next thing, like scrapbooking, or jewelry making, or crocheting, or repainting rooms while my husband’s gone…). So it all started when I decided to print out a page to color while I listened to LDS General Conference a couple of weeks ago. I just wanted something to do with my hands while my brain focused on the messages being given. I wanted something doodle-esque and that’s what I printed out. It eventually led to “I wish I could doodle like this” and then “I might as well try.” Which birthed this (on the back of another page I printed but didn’t color, so feel free to ignore the background image showing through):

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Next thing I know, I’m looking up doodling ideas online and filling up a new Pinterest board with “tangles” as they’re often called (with the first one up there neglected and never finished being colored). It’s calming and interesting and strangely satisfying to just sit and doodle. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been exploring some of the different styles/doodles/tangles/techniques that people have come up with and it’s been fun to try my hand at them and add my own twist.

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I even went out and bought my own sketchpad, so I didn’t have to keep stealing pages from my daughter’s. That was nice of me, eh?

Anywho, my whole point in sharing all of this is that #1 – doodling can be a great stress reliever, calming technique, or time passer when you’re stuck sitting around; B – anyone can doodle something cool. I am not an artist – so far from one that’s it’s not even funny, so if I can doodle random coolness, anyone can; and Lastly – if you want to do something, just try. Who knows what will come of it?

Are you a doodler? Share something you’ve drawn/sketched/doodled in the comments!

Who Can Take Tomorrow…Dip It In a Dream…

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…separate the sorrow, and collect up all the cream?

The Candy Man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.

Welcome to Halloween 2014! A little background for those who are new to these here parts: We’re crazy. That should be enough of an intro. ;) No, really, though, we are. Or at least I am. Every year, we do a family theme for our Halloween costumes. For a little more info on that (and to see a list of what we’ve done), you can go to this post.

If you’ve browsed through my Halloween posts before, you might notice that there wasn’t one last year. And, well, that’s because last’s year’s theme was “Kids, pick something from the dress up closet, because I don’t have time for it this year.” So this year, we had to make up for it and plan ahead. The theme we picked? Willy Wonka! {Side note literary bonus…if you choose costumes from a book, you can read that book together as a family as part of your preparations. Booyah! Who needs school?! Just kidding. I do. I need my kids to go to school.}

So, without further ado, I give you six cast members from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Or as the 3 year old calls it, “Chocolate and the Charlie Factory.”

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I also need to share one of my favorite pictures from the night that I caught while I was adjusting my camera settings. I mean, what was everyone doing? Really, I wish I knew what every single person in this picture was doing at this moment:
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And now on to the individual costumes and a quick breakdown.

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Let’s start with Mr. Wonka, himself. {Funny side note: Mr. LPMD is a high school teacher and he decided to wear his costume to school on Halloween. He had his pockets full of candy and while he was walking in the halls, if any student said, “Willy Wonka!” he threw a handful of candy at them and kept on walking. One student’s response was “Did that really just happen? That was epic.”} We knew from the start that finding a purple jacket was going to be our biggest hurdle. We looked and looked, but didn’t find one. Eventually I ran across a tan corduroy one and snatched it up. While debating how I should dye it (since it was dry clean only), I had a friend tell me she had painted costumes before and had good results, so I decided to try it out. I used acrylic paint and brushed it on with a paintbrush. It worked…okay. It was hard on the corduroy, because it didn’t always get down in the gaps, so it looked painted, but then when the fabric was moved, you could see the tan color showing up. It was also splotchy where I had to let it dry (so I could move it around to paint it more or so I could stop and take care of my family or whatnot) and then start up again. It also dried VERY stiff. I think if I have to do something like this again, I’ll try the dye and see how it goes.

His hat was a grey thrift store find and also got the paint treatment and a ribbon added around it. The bow tie came from some fabric in my stash and the vest was an amazingly awesome thrift store find. It started out as a woman’s 10P blouse, but the fabric was just too close of a match to pass up, so we decided to make it work for this 6 foot guy. I ended up just cutting the front panels off and safety pinning them onto his white shirt. Whew! His costume was a lot of work.

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Veruca Salt. {This is literally the best picture of me we got. Boo.} This dress was another fortuitous thrift store find. I added the black buttons and the black ribbon waistband and that was it. Yes, I know Veruca’s dress had long sleeves, but this was good enough for me.

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This here is Charlie Bucket and his valuable Golden Ticket. Super easy “costume.” Blue turtleneck. Grey corduroy pants. Golden ticket handmade by an 8 year old. We tried to convince him to be Augustus Gloop because people wouldn’t think he was dressed up, but he was bound and determined to be Charlie. Which, really, just made less work for me.

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“Violet, you’re turning violet, Violet!” The Princess was Violet Beauregarde, partially on her way to becoming a giant blueberry. With gum. We found the blouse, pants and belt all at thrift stores. I changed the buttons out to look more like the movie and we stuffed her up with pillows. Also, I had no idea she was wearing those boots until I was going through the pictures after I had uploaded them. Se la vie.

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Well hello there, adorable Mike Teavee! This kid was so excited for his costume. Especially the toy gun and the cowboy hat. True story, I could not find a yellow button up shirt for this costume. I ended up buying a tan one at {you guessed it} a thrift store and dying it yellow. In fact, the number of things I had to change the color of for all of our costumes was kind of ridiculous. So I bought the shirt, dyed it yellow, and sewed on the fringe. That was a new experience. I’ve never sewed on fringe before, but it went swimmingly. All of the accessories we already had or bought for cheap.

Okay. This next one is just…kind of my favorite. I mean, not my favorite kid because I’m a mom and moms don’t have favorite kids, but his costume. Pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

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Am I right?! Maybe I’m biased, but that there is one good looking Oompa Loompa {who also self identifies as a “Loompa Doompa”}. This kid is a singing and dancing maniac – anything for an audience. So when he found out he could be a character who sings and dances AND would get to spray his hair green, he was sold.

Okay, enough mommy gushing and on to the costume. I made the pants and suspenders from some white fleece. And by “I,” I mean I made the pants and my mother made the suspenders and attached them to the pants. I was running out of time here, folks. Yet again, I could not find a brown turtleneck. How easy should that have been? Nope, not easy. I mean, I could have ordered one from Amazon for like $13, but this is a costume. I actually had a friend call from a thrift store and tell me she found a white one, so I told her to get it for me and then I dyed it brown. I really liked that it was ribbed, because it made painting the white stripes on pretty easy. I had planned to do his cuffs (and some socks) as well, but never got around to it. So you can just ignore the bare ankles and Lightning McQueen shoes for now.

And there you have it. Halloween 2014 in the bag. Do you do costume themes with family or friends for Halloween? Tell me some of the fun things you’ve done in the comments!

Girl On Fire T-Shirts

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Oy. Let’s just start off by acknowledging the fact that I am no good at this blogging thing. For a while there in the last couple of months, I considered just quitting altogether, but I’ve decided to buck up and continue to post stuff every now and then. So you’re stuck with me.

Today’s post is brought to you by this lovely pin. In our church, every summer we have what we call “Girls Camp” for our “Young Women” ages 12-18. Oh how I love Girls Camp! This year, I am lucky enough to be in charge of camp for the small group of  young women in our congregation (ward). The theme the girls decided on was “Girl on Fire” from The Hunger Games. (We’re emphasizing being on fire with the spirit rather than kids being forced to kill each other, by the way.)

In my search for ideas, I came across a great blog post from Better Than We Deserve from when they did the same theme. One of my favorite things they did was their bleached out t-shirts:

 

After showing them to the girls, they decided they wanted to do the same thing, so I ordered a bunch of black t-shirts and when they came, I set about to do a test one, with all of the bleaching-a-design-on-a-t-shirt knowledge I had gleaned from the internets.

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That was my SECOND try. (I didn’t even bother with pictures from the first one.) Not exactly what I was going for. So let’s just recap my failures here for moment, shall we.

Attempt numero uno: I used my trusty Silhouette Portrait to cut the stencils out of heavy card stock, and then used a spray adhesive to stick it onto the shirt and sprayed with a 50/50ish bleach/water solution. So much bleeding, you couldn’t even tell what the symbol was. At this point, I was kind of freaking out because we were supposed to do the shirts the next night, so I made a mad dash to Facebook (of course) and pleaded for all craft experts everywhere to help me.

Attempt numero dos: With some advice from friends, including the queen of freezer paper bleaching herself, I set out with confidence to try again. This time I cut some stencils out of freezer paper, ironed it onto the shirt, and sprayed straight bleach onto the shirt. Still bled like crazy (see above), but at least you could tell what the shape was, right? But the places where the bleach looks the strongest – yeah, there’s not supposed to be any bleach there.

We did something else with the girls that night and saved the shirts for later.

Attempt numero tres: I just didn’t get it, I seemed to be doing the same thing as I watched work in soooooo many videos and tutorials, and yet, crisp lines were out of my reach. But fear not, success is on the horizon. For my third attempt, I cut stencils out of transparencies, so the bleach couldn’t soak through the paper (even though it shouldn’t have with the freezer paper). I also found a spray bottle that had a more “misty” spray than the one I had been using. I used an only slightly diluted bleach solution, probably 2 or 3 parts bleach to 1 part water (I didn’t measure, just eyeballed it). I decided to forgo the spray adhesive and see what happened. And it worked!

Key things: Use a piece of cardboard in between layers of your shirt so the bleach doesn’t soak through to the other side. Make sure your spray is as misty as possible and DON’T OVERDO IT. I think this was one of my main problems the first couple of tries – I just sprayed waaaaay too much and soaked the shirt, so easy does it. You’ll start to see the bleach working in about 30 seconds or so. When your bleaching looks like you want it to, rinse that baby out right away and then wash it (on its own or with other things you’ve bleached), then dry it in the dryer and voila! Loveliness.

So last night, we finally had the girls do their shirts and I just love them. When I first started testing the bleach, I was disappointed that it didn’t make the shirts go white, like in the inspiration pictures. But, with the reddish/orangish/brownish hue that it DID turn, the shirts go well with the theme of being on fire, so I’ve changed my tune.

Here are a couple of the girls’ shirts:

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I especially love how this one looks like it has smoldering embers across the bottom:

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Here’s an up close view of the great logo one of our girls designed for us, combining the Young Women’s torch with the symbol of the mocking jay from the books:

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I love that each of the girls have a unique shirt of their own design, but that there is also a unity between them through the colors and the stencils. We had a lot of fun making them!

We have some other fun things planned for camp, so once it’s over and done with, maybe I’ll share a post about what we did. If you’re lucky.

Do you have any tips for designing with bleach? Share with us in the comments!

 

How Not to Give Your Kids a Trip to Disneyland

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Let’s just ignore the fact that it’s been nearly 2 months since I last posted and carry on as though I never left, shall we? Okay then.

For Christmas this year, Mr. LPMD and I decided to surprise our kids with a trip to Disneyland. Not a trip during the Christmas break, but for a bit later in the year, thus we needed to come up with a fun way to let them know what their gift was. (Seeing as how we live on a budget and it would therefore be replacing the majority of what they usually get for Christmas.) Enter brilliant idea numero uno: a treasure hunt.

I grew up with treasure hunts. Like, my mother is the QUEEN of treasure hunt creation. Thus it seemed only fitting to channel my inner mother and do the same, right? Part of the treasure hunt creation curse is that it MUST rhyme. Must. I blame my mother. Again. So here are the clues I came up with. (I changed the number of days because, as much as I love all of you lovely readers, I’d rather not publicly advertise when we’ll be away from home, thanks.)

Merry Christmas to you, and all of the Rays!
We have a big present
It’s really quite pleasant
But you don’t get to have it for 42 days!

I know that’s a long time, but never you fear
To find out what you get,
Don’t cry and don’t fret,
Just follow the clues that you find far and near.

CLUE #1
Look for the girl with the crazy red hairs.
I’ve heard she’s quite Brave – she might be downstairs!
{Their clue was accompanied by a new DVD of Brave}

CLUE #2
To find the next clue, you must work together,
And search the back porch, no matter the weather.
Might be buried in snow, might be stuck in a crack,
But I’ll give you a hint – the next one is black!
{Nothing fancy – just glued the clue to a black piece of construction paper}

CLUE #3
You found it! Great job! Now back inside fast,
You must put on your coats and your gloves and your hats,
And then put on your boots the last thing of all
To find your next clue (which is pretty dang small).
{Clue was hiding inside of one of the boots}

CLUE #4
Now that you’re suited and ready to go,
Walk two houses south to somebody you know.
Sing a carol or two when they come to the door,
But you have to sing loud, to get what you came for!
{I had previously delivered the next clue to this neighbor, so she could give it to them after they sang}

CLUE #5
Home again, home again, jiggity jig,
Look for the next clue with Ralph, who is big!
You’ll have to look in your bedrooms to find him
The clue that you seek will be hiding behind him.
{Clue hiding with new Wreck It Ralph DVD}

CLUE #6
Don’t you love spending Christmas with family all day?
At the hospital, people are working away!
Let’s take them some cookies and spread Christmas cheer
To brighten their day and wish Happy New Year!
{I had the next clue in the car and gave it to them after we delivered the cookies}

CLUE #7
Now head to Park City, to see Grandma and Grandpa
Tell them about all your good things from Santa!
Then look for your clue that is hiding with Hugo,
When up, up, and up to the Lego Loft you go.
{The “Lego Loft” is what our family affectionately calls the attic-level playroom at Grandma’s house and the clue was accompanied by a new HUGO DVD}

CLUE #8
This is your last clue, so listen up good!
Stay close together, as good siblings should!
If you were a present, then where would you be?
Perhaps it’s not hiding, but _______  ____  _______!

YOU FOUND IT! HOORAY!
WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY!
Now all together you can open the box,
But first let me tell you, this gift totally rocks!

 

Now…what would they find at the end of the hunt? Cue brilliant idea #2: A box, full of stuff to do in the car on the long drive to the park and a cute Mickey Mouse countdown chain and some Disney trading pins and their backpacks/lanyards from Get Away Today (where we purchased our trip) and a Disneyland guidebook and a calendar with the dates of the trip marked. Mr. LPMD contributed the idea of park maps. We gave the big wrapped box to Grandma to already have at her house when we came. It was hidden away and when the kids went upstairs to look for their clue, we pulled it out and put it front and center under the tree.

This was going to be awesome. They were going to be sooooooo excited. We tease and talk about going to Disneyland all of the time. The kids have never been there and frequently ask if we can go. We tell them that we’ll go when they can pay for it. Or when the 1 year old (who’s not a 1 year old anymore) guesses the “secret ingredient” in our dinner without any help. As in: it’s never going to happen, kiddos! So yeah, they’ll be shocked and excited. We’re going to end up with one of those home videos where the kids are told they’re going to Disneyland and they freak out they’re so freaking excited about such a freaking awesome gift. And then Disney would get ahold of the video and love it and want to use it for advertising and give us free trips to Disney parks for life. My kids would be just. like. that.

Clearly, we have some work to do in the excitement department. (And for the record, they ripped 4 links off that chain when they just tossed it aside like garbage. Punks.)

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!