Fun Friday: Back to “School”

Kids are now starting back to school…I always dreaded it, but I’m sure my mom secretly looked forward to it. I understand it now! Not that I don’t want my little man in the house with me. I LOVE spending time with him, but a break every now and then would be nice. He’s literally with me 24 hours a day.

I’m always looking for little activities to do with him that will keep in learning mode. He’s a smart fella and loves to learn, so I like to keep educational things at his disposal and within his reach. So when I came across some fun (and cheap) educational tools at the Dollar Tree, I couldn’t pass them up. Little man has a pretty large playroom (we turned a sunroom into his playroom at our new house), so I was able to dedicate a whole side of it to his “learning area”!

I got these teacher charts that feature the alphabet and numbers 1-10. They came in a pack together so they were just $.50 each! The numbers border came with 14 strips for $1 (I only needed 3 for the windows) and I cut up a cars/trucks border to place on either side to fill up the window.

He has a box full of books…that even overflowed to the top of the box! He also has a big 3 shelf bookshelf in his bedroom…full of mainly Usborne books (we highly recommend them!). Of course, we couldn’t forget his reading pillow! I have a CD player placed behind it and he already knows how to use it and find his favorite songs. πŸ˜‰

In the blue bucket (also from Dollar Tree), I put learning flash cards for the alphabet, numbers, animals and sight words…each $1. I also got him a 3 pack of cards that has 2 Bible oriented card games and a heroes of the Bible deck! The foam blocks are great for counting and sorting!

On another wall, I put 2 more posters…one for animals and the other for insects. Since his playroom is the old sunroom and looks out into the backyard, he sees insects all the time out his giant windows. Now he can see them up close on his posters and learn a little more about them!

He absolutely loves his little learning area and I can hear him saying his bugs, animals, alphabet and numbers even when he plays in there by himself! Some days he doesn’t even pull his toys out to play, but has books scattered everywhere and will even “read” out loud!

I caught him like this the other day…going over his letters and pictures associated with each one!

Total cost of charts, borders, card, blocks, bucket? $12…2 sets of poster, 2 borders, 4 decks of cards, 1 3-pack of cards, 2 bags of blocks, 1 bucket. (I also got a vowels/sight words chart combo and a chores/rewards chart combo for later down the road.)

While he’s still a couple of years away from going to school, I like to keep him surrounded with learning materials…and it’s easy to when you can find good deals like these!

Fun Friday! Treasure Hunting

I’ve always had a thing for hanging onto items that have a history or have sentimental value. You could almost say I’m a memory hoarder…I have about 5-6 storage bins full of “memories” from my childhood up to now…old drawings/paintings, birthday cards from family members, old t-shirts, old toys, etc. I even have a lot of my mamaw’s old stuff…some of which I may never put on display (b/c they’re honestly quite ugly), but they stood out in so many of my childhood memories, I just couldn’t part with it.

This is how funny my mamaw was…she was diagnosed with Leukemia in the late fall of 1999 and having decided that she was ready to go “home” to be with my gran, so she could finally have a cup of coffee with him ;), she told my mom and aunt and us grandkids to go through her house and lay claim to whatever we wanted, b/c she didn’t want anybody fighting over stuff once she was gone. So, what did I pick out?

1. A lovely lamp that had multi-colored glass panels in it…very similar to this one. It was in her living room on a side table for years and then was rehomed to a desk when they moved into town many years later.

2. A writing desk that had a compartment with a curved lift door on it…this is where she kept candy! The drawer is also where she kept wind-up toys that we used to race!

3. A VERY 70’s orange curved back chair, that I always sat in when in her bedroom, visiting while she would get ready. I always swore it was the most comfortable chair I had ever sat it. It went with me to college, was in my first house and has made it every move since. It currently sits in our living room…coordinating quite well with the dark wood paneled wall I whole-heartedly LOATHE. Haha!

4. Being an artist myself, I couldn’t stand by and let them sell off her paintings. She picked oil painting up later in life, but there’s just something about owning your grandmother’s own artwork. She liked to paint them HUGE too, so I have 3 giant framed paintings of hers!

I have a tendency to keep an eye out for “old stuff”! I love items with character! I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to move away from buying new items because I’m more drawn to the things of the olden days. They have more of a story and quite honestly were made back when craftsmanship and quality were far better than today.

I’ve bought quite a few things from antique stores, online market pages and even scoured relatives houses! So, when our friend, Brandon, told us about his auction house opening, I knew I wanted to go. Since it’sΒ FUN FRIDAY, I thought I’d share with you what all I got last Saturday at DuBois Auction Co.!

1.Β Piano Bench – It’s not that old, but I plan to make it look that way. It will be painted and distressed and go in the guest bedroom!

2. Ball Jars – I have a thing for Ball jars…especially the color. I’ll use these for decor in the guest bedroom and my office! These are dated 1933 and older!

3. Bowling Set and Croquet Balls – I got in a bidding war with someone over these…I wasn’t about to lose. πŸ˜› The bowling set is not complete, but I didn’t care…it was too cool! Once I got home and did research, I found that this particular set could possibly date back to the very early 1900s! It’s even in it’s original Milton Bradley wooden box. The croquet balls was one of those sentimental buys. My grandmother had a croquet set with this exact type of ball. I LOVED it! The bowling set will go in our entry way and the croquet balls will be displayed in my office!

4. Antique Wooden Ironing Board – There were a few of these at the auction and I just couldn’t resist. It was a STEAL at just $6!!! I want to somehow mount it to the wall and use it as a shelf, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s feasible. πŸ˜›

5. Vintage Coke Crate with Bottles – I know all the bottles don’t match and they aren’t all old, but I just love this! He had a few CocaCola crates, but this was the only yellow one he had. I paid a good bit less than what just the crates sell for in most antique stores and flea markets, so I was excited!

Β Brandon is having another auction this Saturday, Aug 4th at 4:00. Check out his Facebook page for all the details and to see pics of some of the items he will be auctioning off.

Whether you bought it an auction, antique store, or it was just passed down from a family member, what are some of your favorite “old” items that you treasure?

Mickey Mouse Birthday Party

I have a few friends that are planning Mickey Mouse parties, so I thought I’d share this on the blog, from little man’s party back in February. Since the party, we’ve moved and things got a little crazy so I’m just now getting around to sharing all the projects I made to help make his day special!

I may have gone a tad overboard, but I had so much fun creating all the details! I had so many, that I didn’t even have time to finish some in time for the party. Yes…I had more than what is shown in this post. πŸ˜›

The invitations! I got the idea off Pinterest. They were actually for sale on Etsy, but I knew I could recreate them for free, so I did! I included one for the parents too! The kids brought their tickets to get in to the “Clubhouse” and then got a sticker, hand stamp and Mickey ears!

I’ll start at the street and move on into the house since this is how the guests saw it!

I made this sign using some scrap wood we had from building an addition onto the house we were living in at the time. I’m a craft supply hoarder and already had the paints on hand, so this project cost me absolutely nothing…other than time. I scanned in the clubhouse logo at about 900dpi (graphic designer jargon…sorry) so I could enlarge it big enough and then traced it onto the wood with a ball point pen…which creates an indention in the wood and makes it easy to see where to paint without extra steps!

Next, I created sidewalk signs that featured all the Clubhouse characters. I bought one of those birthday bundle supply books from Walmart for like $8 and it turned out to be the BEST purchase. (Since I’m a graphic designer, I could scan anything in the book and use the graphics to create anything I wanted on a larger scale…for FREE!) The book had napkin rings, table displays, placemats, table runner, etc.) I had scanned all the characters and enlarged them so I could use them for lots of different projects! I printed out each character and spray mounted them onto pieces of cardboard (I cut up a moving box since we had plenty lying around). The only cost to me on the sidewalk signs was the ribbon (3 rolls/$1 at Michael’s) and the dowel sticks (also at Michael’s…one stick was long enough to make 3 signs…less than $1/dowel stick).

Next, I had 4 different games outside as well as an inflatable jumper!

Pluto’s Frisby Toss – $1 Store laundry baskets, signs on dowel paint sticks, stuck through basket holes and then staked into the ground. The store also had Mickey Mouse Clubhouse frisbies for $1 each, so I bought 5! Total cost…about $7

Then there was the Bucket Toss. Again…saw this idea on Pinterest. It wasn’t a new idea if you’ve ever watched the Bozo Show! πŸ˜‰ The kids obviously didn’t get the reference, but still had a blast playing it! Costs: 6 buckets – $1/each, 1×6 – about $5, screws – $3, balls – $1.50 for 12. Total = $15.50

Donald’s Duck Pond! This was a huge hit and a huge mess! The kids flocked around the pool (luckily this February day wasn’t too cold) and not much later, I had a soaked Birthday boy. I had a star on the bottom of one of the ducks and prize candy to give out, but completely forgot to bring the candy out. They didn’t seem to mind at all. We eventually had to empty the pool, but it was fun while it lasted! We already had the pool and I found the ducks on clearance for $3! Total cost = $3

Clubhouse Bean Bag Toss! This one took us a while to finish, but I think it turned out great! We already had the board from the house addition leftovers. The hubby cut out the circles and I painted it blue (we already had this paint too). I printed out enlarged characters and decoupaged them to the board. The only expense I had on this one was the fabric and peas for the bean bags…about $4-$5 total.

Then there was the bouncer! This was a gift from us and my mom! To rent one runs about $200 and just for a little more you can own a smaller one! This one has an attached ball pit and he absolutely loved it! It’s small enough that it can be inflated indoors! Of course, the kids had to take their shoes off before they got in…so I made a sign and placed it on a “shoe shelf”.

As soon as you entered the door, the kids got their stickers, hand stamp and Mickey ears. Before the party even started, I said “I have a feeling the adults are going to wear these more than the kids”…and I was right. My mom and sis even sported them the whole time! This was, by far, the most time consuming of all the projects. I got the headbands from the dollar store for 2/$1. The felt was on sale and I used maybe a yard and half?…so maybe $4-$5? I honestly can’t remember…or I intentionally blocked this project from my memory. Haha! The foam I used was a roll I got from the dollar store. I doubled up the circles on each ear to make it sturdy enough. Total cost = $12…and a TON of patience.

This is the serving table!

Cups, solid color serving plates, tablecloth all came from the dollar store. The character plates and napkins are from Walmart. The table garland is made from foam and outlined in sharpie marker. The buttons on the pants were painted on, but you could probably use stickers too. All strung together with ribbon. I used some leftover stars I cut from foam as table confetti.

I had these canvases left over from a project I had done months earlier, so this was another one that just cost me time! (I told you…I hoard craft supplies!)

The birthday banner…done in Clubhouse font! I don’t own a cricut, so all of the letters were hand cut. Not as bad as it sounds…cut them while watching TV! πŸ˜‰This is the main table set up! The topiaries I had placed throughout cost more than I wanted them to, but those styrofoam balls are stupidly expensive. I honestly don’t remember how much they cost, but I got them at Michael’s…on sale (still too pricey in my opinion). TIP: Do NOT spray paint styrofoam. It will MELT it! I already knew this, but you do not want to make that mistake and ruin them after you paid so much for them. The stars are made out of foam and the stakes are skewer sticks. I spray painted the pots and hot glued white buttons on. The crinkle paper is from the dollar store…I LOVE me some crinkle paper!

The framed pic is something I saw on Pinterest too! I intent to do it every year. It’s just too cute of an idea to not continue. Since I knew we were going to have out of town family at the party, I decided to have some wallet pics they could take with them…especially since we were getting ready to move out of town ourselves.

This was on the coffee table in the living room. We didn’t expect too many people to be in there with everything else that was going on, but wanted it to be fun too! These frames were bought at Michael’s for $1 each and painted. The Mickey stickers are just scrapbook stickers!

This is the table in the sunroom…where people could visit and eat and where we opened gifts. BTW…we had Hot Diggity Dogs! πŸ˜‰

More topiaries, but balloon ones this time! Balloons were bought at Walmart…and so was the table cloth.

He had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed this one particular birthday card!

After all the presents were opened, we moved on to the cake! My mom made my and my siblings cakes growing up and that was one tradition I wanted to do with my own kids. I helped out with his first birthday cake, but due to the overwhelming amount of projects I set out to do, I wasn’t able to do it this year. 😦 Thankfully, my mom is fully capable of still doing it by herself! Cakes sure have come a long way since I was a kid!

Once it was time to leave, each kiddo got to take home a Mickey Mouse goody bag! I made each of them the size of a small pillow case and hand-sewed the buttons on, so they could still be used once the contents were emptied out of it!

Here’s what was included in each bag! Everything cost $1 or less.

Each M&M container had a sticker I designed on it as a “Thank You”!

We had a blast and I think all the kids that came did too! I hope you were able to get some great ideas for your own parties!

See ya real soon!

Lisa

Growth Chart DIY

I got this idea off Pinterest (like so many of my great ideas), but like a lot of Pins claim, this was NOT a DIY. Have you ever run into that problem? You see a pic of a delicious cake, Pin it, come back later when you’re ready to make it and find out that it links back to a Google image or an online store? I HATE that! I’m usually pretty good about checking the link before I Pin It to my page, but this was one of the times that it slipped my mind. It looked simple enough, so I lucked out on this project and was able to recreate it the way I wanted to! While I like the style of the original that I pinned, it didn’t really match my home decor (or what I plan for my this part of my house to look like when I redo it).

I wanted to do this for my son and our 2nd child we will have in the future (not pregnant…ending rumors before they start!). We kept track of my little sister’s growth on the door frame of her closet. We didn’t think we’d ever move, but after that house being a part of our lives for about 25 yrs, my mom sold it…and there went the growth chart. 😦 I’m HUGE on preserving memories, especially in a fun way, so I wanted to make sure we could keep this growth chart no matter where we lived. I didn’t want to make it cutesie or paint it in the colors of his room, b/c I knew we’d be changing his room over the years and what 12 yr old boy wants a giraffe growth chart decorating his wall? So I decided to make it fairly neutral and match our house!

Below is the DIY for my Growth Chart! There are so many ways you can make this your own, so I encourage you to do so! Choose a different paint color, a more narrow or wider board, a different font, distress it or don’t…the combinations are endless! So let’s get started!

*TIP*Β If you’re thinking, my child is 4 yrs old and it’s too late to start this project at my house…REMEMBER that most Dr’s offices track your child’s growth each time you go in. Remember those well visits?! They most likely charted his growth for you. Ask them for your child’s height for each year you don’t remember! His birth “length” should be on his birth certificate!

MATERIALS

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1 – 1″x8″x6′ board

primer

paint color of your choice (I stuck with white b/c I’m doing a fun shabby chic look in my entry way where this will hang)

2nd paint color of your choice (if you choose to distress yours like I did…I chose a dark brown)

paints brushes (1 for painting board, and 2 smaller for painting the hash marks and numbers)

ruler

ball point pen

hash tag and ruler guides (leave a comment with your email address if you’d like me to email you my template to print out)

sandpaper (only if you’re distressing it) (I used 3 different types…rough, less rough and a smoother…just what was on hand)

antiquing glaze and q-tips (only if you’re distressing it)

STEPS

Start by priming your board. I did 2 coats just to make sure my paint would cover evenly. Primer dries fast, so by the time I got to the end of the board I could start back at the top with the 2nd coat without waiting.

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After the primer has completely dried and if you choose to distress your board like I did, paint the color you want to show through (after sanding) around all the edges. I also chose to paint a few rough spots on the board, just in case I wanted to distress in other areas besides the edges. If you are not distressing, skip to the next step.

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I tried to just stick with my primer for this next step b/c I wanted that flat paint look, but it wasn’t covering the brown well enough, so I resorted to using the white trim paint we already had at the house. If you would like to use a different color, feel free to do so! Be sure your undercoat you just painted is completely dry before painting your final coats…I applied 2.

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*VERY IMPORTANT* Figure out how far above the floor you want your growth chart to hang, b/c you will need to start your hash marks accordingly. I wanted mine to hang 8″ above the floor, so the base of my board = 8″ which meant my first hash mark represented 9″ and should be a longer hash mark. I taped my guide on the board in the proper place.

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While concentrating and measuring everything out just right, I felt something RUN UP MY LEG!!! I screamed, of course, and looked down just in time to see this fella hop off my leg and onto the drain pipe. YUCK!!! He hung around my project area WAY too long.

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I managed to recover and got on with my project πŸ™‚

Next, use your ruler to help guide your pen as you trace over your guide with your ball point pen. Be sure to press down with enough pressure to indent the wood. This is how you will know where to paint.

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See the indentations? Cool, huh?! You can try to draw your guides directly on the board, but I find this way much easier.

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Now comes the tedious part. It’s not that hard, but because I’m such a perfectionist, it took me longer than it would probably take most people. Start to paint your hash marks and numbers using whichever color your heart so chooses! I chose dark brown.

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If you choose not to distress yours, YOU’RE DONE!!! If you want the shabby chic look, let’s keep going!

Grab your sandpaper and get to town! I used the roughest grit first and just sanded away the top layers of paint around the edges until my brown undercoat started to shine thru as much as I wanted. Notice that some of my brown got sanded away too…that’s ok, I have a fix for that!

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My kiddo…isn’t he such a cute little helper? He’s the reason I’m making this growth chart…he’s growing up way too fast. 😦

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Now that you have your edges sanded the way you want them, let’s move on to fixing any areas you may have over sanded. This is where your antiquing glaze will come in handy! I got this from Lowe’s for around $8 and it will go a LONG way! I’ll be posting other projects in the future where I use this again. It’s a great product to keep on hand!

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Dip your q-tip in the glaze and apply to the edges where the board is shining thru the paint. Do this sparingly…you can always add more later if you want it darker. Rub it on and use the other dry/clean end to wipe it back off. It’ll give you that nice dirty/aged look! Continue all the way around until you’re happy with how it looks!Β Image

Let it dry and then you’re ready for hanging it!

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I have a ton of miscellaneous art hangers in a tool box, so I just scrounged around and found this one. Of course I couldn’t find the right size nails for it, so I used 2 small ones I could find. Excuse the horrible nail job…if I hammered them all the way in they would have poked through the front. :/

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Don’t forget to account for the height you want this to hang from the floor and factor in the distance the hanging hook is from the top of your growth chart, so you can place the nail at the right height on the wall! Hang it and you’re ready to go!

The best part, if you ever move, you can always take your child’s chart with you!

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What colors would you choose? I’d love to hear your ideas! Leave me a comment with how you would paint one for your child!

Also…let me know if y’all think I’m posting too many photos. I LOVE a lot of photos on “How To’s”, so I may go a little overboard. πŸ˜‰

Lisa πŸ™‚