Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Paper Cup Chess

I know. I know. It's been forever since I posted, but what can I say? I was having too much fun celebrating the holidays to bother writing, but now it's January so back to business.

Christmas at our house brought a lot of new toys, but the games our older boys received have reigned supreme. They can't get enough of Old Maid, Checkers, Candy Land, and CHESS. Yes, I said chess. Our 6 and 4 year old boys have been begging to play. I blame J.K. Rowling. Once they heard about "Wizard's Chess" they just wouldn't stop asking about it so I broke down and played with them with my husband's old set. One broken pawn later, I knew we had to get the boys their own chess set. That is when inspiration struck. What about making a kid friendly chess set? Behold the fruit of our labors ('cause of course the boys helped).

What do you think? I think it's pretty brilliant because its cheap, recyclable,   and stackable! (I always appreciate space saving design.) Best of all the boys could make this themselves. I found a free graphic for chess pieces here. I downloaded it and exported the image into Microsoft Word where I messed with it a little (i.e. changed the colors and copied and pasted so there were enough of each piece). Then I printed it.

I got paper cups in two different colors then the boys and I began cutting and pasting the old fashioned way, with scissors and glue sticks. That's really all there is to it.

For a chess board we are using a floor mat we have from our giant checkers set, but I plan on making a chess board too. I'm thinking of using some butcher paper or maybe even wrapping paper. I also think a nice big piece of white felt and a sharpie might do the trick too. We'll see…

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Favorite Homemade Ornaments

DIY Ornaments
Clockwise starting at the top. Christmas Word Ornaments, Felt Owl, Wooden Stockings, and Felt Polar Bear
When I first started collecting my own Christmas ornaments, I knew I wanted many of them to be homemade. Making my own ornaments sounded fun and personal, cheery and bright. My husband agreed and our very first Christmas together was trimmed with dollar store trappings and our homemade creations.

felt squirrelTimes haven't changed too much around here. I still shop at the dollar store and I still like to make a lot of our Christmas decorations. I thought I would share some of my favorites:

The embroidery hoops I did last year are a lovely reminder of the reason behind the celebration. I love the typography and color and size they add to the tree. It can be difficult to find an economical way to add oversized ornaments to a tree, but I feel like every tree needs a few. You can read all about how I made the embroidery hoops here.

The felt bear and owl were also made last year. I didn't really appreciate the awesomeness of felt until last year, otherwise I would have been making these all along! I plan to make a few every year. I hope to have a menagerie eventually. You can find a ideas for making felt ornaments like this here.

The oldest ornaments here are the wooden stockings. I made those when my oldest was a newborn. I purchased wood stocking cutouts at the craft store, painted them white, and then mode podged some gorgeous tissue paper onto each side. I still love them.

My very favorite homemade trimming though is the metallic, circle garland you see throughout the photos. That was a serious labor of love. It was a simple process, but making 30 feet of garland takes time.

metallic circle garlandI circle punched metallic card stock then sewed the circles together on the sewing machine. Each circle you see is actually two circles. I wanted the garland to be double sided, but the paper wasn't, so I placed two circles back-to-back.

This is a great way to save money if you're pinching pennies because garland is expensive. However, if money isn't too tight and you find garland you love at the store, just buy it! You can always wait for the after Christmas sales or use a coupon, but I wouldn't recommend making garland unless you really enjoy a good crafty project or want something unique. I wanted to try this and I love the result. I also love that since I didn't use traditional Christmas colors, this garland can be used for lots of occasions.

Well, those are my favorites and here's how they look on my fabulous White Fir tree. I love me a live Christmas tree!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Procrastinator's Advent Calendar (15 Minutes or Less)

easy advent calendar
True to form, I have been delaying projects until the very last moment. I plan and imagine ahead of time a lot, but the actual execution of a project…*sigh* I admit: I am a procrastinator.

Last december I intended to make an activity advent calendar. I was still contemplating it right up until about December 15th at which point I said, "Forget it." This year, I determined to prevail. I still procrastinated (since I did it on December 1st), but not by as much!

The beauty of this advent calendar is anybody can slap it up in 15 minutes or less.

All you need is:
25 paper treat bags, or envelopes, like here Martha Stewart
Sharpie marker
Masking tape
Paper straws for a star (optional)

The process is simple. Lay out your paper treat bags in any configuration you choose. Number them. Then tape the to the wall with masking tape. I added a star and contrasting bag for the tree stump. Fill with notes or stickers. Ours has notes with activities to do and scriptures to read, because it helps us remember the true reason for CHRISTmas.

God bless us everyone!
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