Monday, June 23, 2014

Starry Lanterns

I took another class at B Street Mercantile last week. My life has gotten so crazy that the only time I have to be creative is to take a class.  We made lanterns in this class and I am already buzzing with ideas for future ones!

What You Need:

Mason jar with lid
Paint (gold leaf or glass paint or spray paint)
Nail and hammer
Painter's tape

The instructor had already prepared the mason jars for us.  She took off the lid and punched a hole on either side of the lid using a hammer and nail. She then strung wire through the lid rim and screwed it onto the jar.

I decided to use a gold leaf paint on my jar.

I used foam star stickers on my jar. In the future, I would not use foam. Because they are so fat and do not lay flat, it is easy to accidentally get paint under the edges. I wrapped painter's tape around the top of the jar so I could get a nice clean painted edge.

The gold leaf spread on very nicely and didn't require a lot of paint. We used sponge brushes to dab on the paint.  I let the paint dry a little bit and then carefully peeled off the star stickers using an X-acto knife.

The edges of my stars weren't as sharp as I would like. In the future, I will use regular flat stickers.  I already have big ideas for the future. I'd love to do snowflake stickers with silver paint and maybe jack 'o' lantern faces with orange paint for Halloween. I'd love to experiment with spray paint for faster and more even coverage. 

Drop in a tealight, candle, or battery-operated candle and you have an adorable lantern!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Painting Pete the Cat with Kids--A Tutorial

Last Fall, Noodlebug saw me painting and asked if he could paint too. He wanted to use a real canvas. Since you can get a package of canvases at Michael's for fairly cheap with a 40% off coupon, I agreed.

I asked him what he would like to paint and he said he wanted to do a painting of Pete the Cat. Here is his painting of Pete:

People find it hard to believe a 5-yr-old did this painting. But he did! We did it using shapes. Remember that class we took at the Schulz Museum?   That is what gave me the idea.  We broke Pete down into shapes.  Want to make your own?  This is a great adult/child activity to do together.

You will need:

  • canvas (a big one--I think ours was about 16 x 20)
  • acrylic paints  (Blue, Yellow, White, Black, Brown)--These really work best with canvas. We used the cheap kind from Michael's.
  • Good brushes--Don't use the cheap plastic kid kind. Both of you will get frustrated. Let your child use the GOOD brushes.
  • Paint Pallet--You can use a cheap plastic paint pallet from Michael's, a paper plate, or even an egg carton
  • A picture to look at for reference

1. Start with the background.  We chose a nice bright yellow.  It was a great way for him to get used to the paint and the brushes.  Keep some of this paint handy in case you need to overpaint areas for correction.

2. You'll be using a nice bright blue paint for most of Pete. Start with Pete's body. I told Noodlebug that we need to make a long skinny rectangle.  We talked about whether this rectangle should have pointy corners or rounded corners.  Help your child with placement. You can use pencil or marker first but I just let Noodlebug jump right in with paint. You can always add to or cover up as needed.

3. Next, do the head.  Depending on the age of the child, you can refer to the shape in a number of ways. Noodlebug and I talked about how Pete's head is shaped like a football. You can also tell your child to start with a long letter "U" and then an upside down letter "U" top. Or, do a smile first and then a frown on top!

4. Next, paint on the ears!  The ears are just long triangles!

5. We then gave Pete an arm. His arm is just a long skinny rectangle.

6. Pete's hand is a skinny circle. Or an oval if you child knows the term.  You can use the same shape for his feet!

9. Next up is Pete's tail!  I told Noodlebug to make a big letter C!  You child can either do a thick letter C or add another C next to the first one and connect them.

10. We return to the same shape we used for the head to do Pete's eyes using yellow paint.


11. For Pete's pupils, start with white paint. Have your child make a circle shape with the white paint in the middle of the eyes next to the top lid.  Later, you will "dot" in the black pupil.

12. Add in Pete's nose with white paint.  Pete's nose is an upside-down triangle!

13. Finally, have your child draw some straight lines for whiskers.

We added a cup of hot chocolate in Pete's hand to match the picture we were using for reference. You can put anything in his hand!  To make the hot chocolate mug in Noodle's painting, use the letter "C" for the cup handle. The cup itself is a rectangle. Noodle painted a white circle at the top of the mug to make it look more like a mug. He then painted a brown circle inside the mug for the hot chocolate and made his own swirl for steam.

There were times when Noodle got frustrated.  The tail and the whiskers were the hardest part for him. You can see that I over-painted some areas in yellow so he could start over.  Ultimately, he was happy with the result. We aren't going for perfection!  It is more important that the child have fun creating.  Try not to step in and "fix" their work. If they ask for help, then go for it! Otherwise, let them paint their vision.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Request for Pajama Pants

Noodlebug was digging through a drawer the other day and found these pajama pants:

(Feb 2011)
I made these pajama pants when he was 3.5 years old. He insisted on wearing them. Even pulling the hem out, they were definitely capri pants!  But I was impressed that my 6-yr-old could fit into 3.5 year old pants!  I wish I could say that I fit into pants I was wearing three years ago!

He asked me if I would sew him a new pair. I asked him if he would like to go to the fabric store with me and pick out his own fabric. He loved the idea and is very excited about our trip to the fabric store! I am so glad that my big boy is still happy to have his Mommy sew him things.  Looking forward to a trip to Joann's!

Friday, June 6, 2014


Today is my little one's last day of Kindergarten.  It is going to be really hard for me.

First Day of Preschool

First and Last Day of Second Preschool

First Day and Last Day of Kindergarten

From the moment you have a child, people start telling you how fast time goes.  I already knew that.  No matter how tightly you hold on and how much you try and live in the moment, it goes by too quickly.  Instead of seeing childhood as a series of firsts, I often view it as a series of lasts. The last time I breastfed, the last time he read certain baby books, the last time I changed a diaper, the last time he went to his various preschools.  I find myself worrying about some upcoming lasts and wondering when they will occur. The last time he will want me to read to him. The last time he will want to crawl in bed with me. The last time he will want to hold my hand in public. The last time he will crawl into my lap.  The worst part is that you never know when you have experienced those "lasts" until the moment is long gone.

I know that there are a lot of exciting "firsts" coming up.  I try to focus on those. Life is beautiful and want to cherish every moment.  As someone who never thought she would get to be a mom, every day is blessing for me.  Here's hoping I don't cry too much when we leave Kindergarten for the last time.

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Subscription Box Roundup

Regular readers know that I have been a fan of subscription boxes for awhile. I have tried quite a few with mixed results.


1. Lullubee Craft Kit--

This subscription service offers crafts kits in both a general format and a needle-felting specific format.  I absolutely loved the regular format.  I learned some new techniques and got to try some new tools.  My favorite was the needle-felted gnomes that I did. I only gave it up because of the expense. Lots of fun for $32/month.

2. For the Makers--

Another favorite crafty kit that offers projects inspired by design powerhouses such as Anthropologie.  Includes everything you need for each project.  I made some great jewelry with these kits but found it hard to keep up every month.  There monthly subscriptions are $29/month.  This box was my favorite.


1. Kiwi Crate--

We are long-time subscribers to Kiwi Crate.  It is such a quality subscription.  As a busy mom, I appreciate that it has everything we need for each craft and activity. I stockpiled a few over the last few months so that we could pull them out over the Summer as needed.  You can see my son building a robot from one of the crates here.  We love this service so much that I am an affiliate!  Subscriptions are $19.95 per month plus shipping.

2. Citrus Lane--

We were members of Citrus Lane for a year before my son aged out. This subscription service is perfect for families with kids 0-4.  (The service goes through age 5 but I found that the items included in the 5-yr-old box skewed very young.) They partner with really great companies like Barefoot Books and Green Toys and include some really great quality items. It was like Christmas every month for my son!  See one of our boxes here.  A regular subscription is $29 per month.

3. Appleseed Lane--

As we started to outgrow Citrus Lane, I looked for another box to supplement our Kiwi Crate subscription.  I loved the fact that Appleseed Lane was a similar model but with a focus on sicence and engineering. The box is geared towards ages 4-8. The monthly subscription is $23/month. If you decide to join, please tell them I referred you!  (Amy Malaise)  Noodlebug especially enjoyed a recent box we got that was all about magnets.  It really started to click for him after we went through all the activities.


1. Wantable--

I give this one high marks for customer service!  They are so easy to work with!  I subscribed to the Intimates box although they also currently offer beauty and accessories.  It felt like a nice way to spoil myself and I loved the large range of sizes they offer.  They actually had PLUS SIZES unlike boxes like Stitch Fix. I received lounge pants, panties, socks and other goodies for $36 per month or a one-time purchase for $40.

2. Quarterly

This is a fairly new subscription service and I absolutely love it!  They offer a bunch of different curators and boxes ship out every couple of months rather than on a monthly basis.  I started with the Nina Garcia box.  It is pricey at $100 but you only pay that every three months.  The first box I got was really great! The new one ships out in a few weeks and I will post a review!  I also subscribed to the Bekka Palmer box and the Rachel Yeomans box which should both be shipping out in the next two months. I'll let you know if I like them. Both of those boxes are $50 each.  Some of the items in the boxes cannot be purchased anywhere else.

3.PopSugar Must Have

After reading a bunch of positive reviews, I decided to add PopSugar's Must Have box to my list of subscriptions. I love how PopSugar has a nice blend of products of each box from food to fitness to fashion.  You get an excellent variety of items for $39.95 per month which includes free shipping.  It feels like the perfect way to spoil myself each month!  I stalk message boards for spoilers every month because I can't wait to see what I will get!

I will be posting more box reviews as they come in so keep checking back for more sneak peeks and information on my favorite subscription services!

(P.S. I also used to subscribe to FANCY and do not recommend it. The customer service isn't great and the products are disappointing in terms of value. Also, they included an item with a curse word on it in my box and I was not pleased.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

End of Year Teacher Gifts

I can't believe Kindergarten is almost over! Friday is our last day of school. 

Even though I just recently made gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week, I had to do a little something for the last day of school.  As I have said before, my son has three Kindergarten teachers so I have to choose something fairly affordable. I decided to do the Notebook Paper bags again that we did for gifts for our preschool teachers.  I will post photos soon.

If you are stumped for Teacher Gift ideas, check out my Pinterest board. I have found a lot of fun and fairly easy things!