Wednesday, July 31, 2013

too much??

One day last week I came home to a wonderful surprise... my label maker had arrived! That night I could hardly wait to get the kids in bed to check it out (I know, pretty sad). I was amazed at all of the different font and border options and before I knew it I was printing all of them, just to compare. I decided to stick them to a sheet of card stock for future reference.

... and then I got a little carried away.

Who doesn't need a little flip book outlining all of their favourite label options? It's kind of like cleaning your soap or vacuuming your vacuum, but it makes me happy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Simple Mason Jar Decor...

There seems to be no end to the decorating and organizational possibilities of the classic Mason Jar.  It's classic design is well recognized and it's function stretched to the limits! This year Ball released the Heritage Collection, a blue mason jar that comes in vintage inspired packaging. These blue jars have been all over the web, inspiring DIY decorators once again!

I thought that the Heritage Collection would be hard to locate, but was pleasantly surprised to find that they are readily available at many of the stores I shop in every week! I grabbed a box of six and am now trying to decide how to best use them! Look at all of these fabulous ideas...

And they look so pretty with fresh flowers!

So many beautiful options... can't wait to get started!

You can check out how I decided to use my Mason Jars here!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Benedetti Buzz... {an adorable summer craft}

I have made quite a few "blogging friends" over the past year. It's always really fun to connect with people that have the same interests and interact with them using various forms of social media... but I am super excited to say that one of my "real life friends" has joined the blogging world! Jenn and I have been close friends for about 5 years now and we have always enjoyed many of the same interests (crafting, cooking, party planning). I am so happy that we can now add blogging to the list!!

Today I wanted to share one of her posts with you, an adorable homemade bug jar! Jenn and her two kiddos had a great time making this little home for the insects that they find on their daily excursions. It is a super simple craft and can be made from supplies you already have on hand.

Be sure to stop by Jenn's blog Bennedetti Buzz to check out her quick tutorial and some of her other posts (don't forget to cheer her on with a comment or two)!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Organizing Craft Supplies ~Card Stock~

If you know me, or have been following for awhile, you know that it has always been my dream to have a space in my home to dedicated to crafting and sewing. Our new place has a great little loft that Rob and I have set up as a shared office. My half of the office (maybe spreading a little into his domain) has plenty of room for sewing and craft supplies and I am really excited to get it all set up! First up on the craft supply list... cardstock!

I found this great paper organizer at Home Goods and loved the colour right away. It was a pretty  great deal at $19.99 and goes really well with the fun wall hanging that I had already picked up!

Each paper tray has a small slot for a label that I knew they would look great with a chalkboard finish.

To make the labels, I simply cut the out a rectangle, added a Martha Stewart Chalkboard label and then trimmed the edges. 

It was easy to divide my cardstock collection into three categories (white/ivory, colour, and pattern). I wanted to make sure that the paper would sit nicely in the tray so I covered three pieces of cardboard with a patterned paper and placed each board at the front of the three trays. The cardstock is easy to access and will no longer get creased and damaged in the bin I used to keep it in. 

This little project makes me so happy! I absolutely love the way it looks! I know I'm not the only one who gets this giddy over organizing craft supplies... how do you get organized in the craft department?

Linking Up

A Bowl Full of Lemons

Friday, July 19, 2013

Henry is 11 months!!!

It is crazy to me that in one month's time I will have a one year old! I now completely understand why it is the youngest child's fate to be forever referred to as "the baby"! However, in looking through the pictures that we have taken so far this summer I can definitely see that our little bug is growing by leaps and bounds and looking more like a toddler all the time.

Henry is not walking yet, but getting pretty brave about standing up by himself. He crawls around the house with such enthusiasm that his poor knees are swollen and bruised at all times. He still only has 6 teeth (which he has had for 5 months) but uses them to try lots of new foods. He has become much less patient with being spoon fed, grabbing and swatting at the spoon and squealing until we give in and let him have a bite of our sandwich, or pasta, or whatever is on the menu for the night. Henry is finally consistently sleeping through the night!!

Last month I missed snapping a 10 month photo of Henry, but I do have this side by side comparison of him and Andrew, enjoying a ride in the stroller at 10 months of age. The similarities between the two are pretty obvious; their eyes and nose are practically identical, but their differences are what I find the most interesting. Andrew, from day 1 was referred to as "all boy" (a silly comment when you think about it). Henry, on the other hand, has much finer features and I have been asked on more than one occasion "how old my little girl is"! I guess he is kinda pretty!

So, next month is the big 1 year celebration! Andrew and Henry's cousins, along with my Mom and sister, will be visiting us here in Baltimore. It wont be quite the event that Andrew's parties have been so far (we know nobody in this city!) but I can't wait to watch him smash a cake and be the centre of every ones world for the day!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fabric Covered Storage Bins

So, it seems we have unpacked the house, for the most part. Boxes are emptied and drawers are full. However, when we packed up to travel to Baltimore, we only brought the essentials: clothes, toys, books, crafting supplies (of course). We bought new furniture but the house is definitely a bit sparse. I am really missing all of the little things that make a house a home; picture frames, pretty vases and baskets to coral and organize our stuff.

While we unpacked, I held onto a number of boxes that could be repurposed for something around the house. The first area that begged for some organizational attention was Henry's change table. He is one wiggly little bug when it come to getting dressed and it is super important that the essentials are close at hand to make quick work of the task. These Fabric Covered Storage Bins were a quick project that look great sitting on his change table.

Using a hot glue gun I attached a long strip of leftover fabric to the outside edges of a sturdy cardboard box.

I carefully tucked the edges of the fabric around the corners of the box and used card stock, cut to the appropriate size, to finish the inside. I also added a couple of blue Martha Stewart tags that can be found at Staples!

I love the way these fabric covered storage bins make mundane organization a little more pretty! I have used one to hold diapers and wipes and the other for various toiletries and a few toys to help distract Henry while having his diaper changed. 

Henry's room is still really empty, but bit by bit it will come together! 
Check back soon for my first attempt at homemade curtains!

Linking Up

Domestic Superhero
A Bowl Full of Lemons

Monday, July 15, 2013

Patterning With Preschoolers

It is really hard for me to believe, but my little man will be old enough for school in September! As a December baby he will most likely be among the youngest in his class, and this along with his rambunctious personality has me concerned with his ability to focus in the classroom. We have been working on many of the literacy and numeracy skills that he will need for school, and it has been very important that they remain super engaging in order to maintain his interest. This summer, my goal is to continue learning in fun ways, but to begin including more activities that will improve his ability to complete a task.

Patterning is a great skill to work on with children of all ages. It lends itself easily to crafty activities that kids can get excited about. This morning, Andrew and I created a fun "Snack Necklace" that had him learning about patterns, counting and developing his fine motor skills. As an added bonus, he sat in a chair and focused on the project for almost ten minutes (more than you can expect for a three year old)!

For this patterning activity we used Fruity Cheerios. We started by identifying all of the colours that we had to work with and then Andrew selected three different colours to use in his Snack Necklace. I drew three cheerios in the appropriate colours to use as a planning guide.

Andrew placed one cheerio under each drawing and then we placed those cheerios on a bobby pin attached to a length of yarn. Andrew pulled the cheerios to the end of the piece of yarn and started again.

After repeating these steps a few times, I challenged Andrew to try two rows of his pattern. We practised counting the pieces of cereal as they were added to the necklace. 

Andrew was quite proud of his finished product and is really looking forward to wearing it to the park later today so that he can snack on the go!

Here are some other learning activities that your little ones might enjoy!

Domestic Superhero

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

DIY Menu Planning Board

Hello! I hope everyone is having a great week. Our second week in Baltimore is resembling life in London, naps and meals have returned to normal scheduling and everyone is better off for it! We still have many boxes to unpack but the essentials are in working order which makes me feel 100% better. I just don't function without some semblance of order!

It is this need for routine that lead me to hang the first piece of decor in the new place. Quite a while ago I made a weekly menu board. Having the week's meals planned out it extremely helpful for me. It gives me an action plan at the grocery store which saves both time and money and I like that I don't get stuck at 5:00 with nothing in mind for dinner!

Our weekly menu is far from gourmet. I like to try new recipes now and then, but for the most part it's quick and easy through the week!

To make this menu board I used an old picture frame and some scrapbooking paper to lay out a template for the menu. I also created a box to jot down items "To Buy" that I don't normally have on hand. The paper is behind glass, so I can use dry erase markers to write down our meals and easily erase for the next week. 

I have been using this menu board for over a year now. I don't always update it and I don't always follow the plan. However, I do find that it's the weeks that I have taken the time to work out a menu for that go the smoothest!

Do you work from a weekly menu? Where do you record your plan?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Guest Post - Kid's Friendship Bracelets

Hello! I am happy to say that our journey to Baltimore went very well. We have been working hard to get the house functioning and have had some fun along the way! I will be back later this week to share some pictures of our first week, but for now I have one more guest post from the very talented Megan. Megan blogs over at Chaos Served Daily, a great place to check out for a little creative inspiration!

I have a new crafting addiction…Shrinky Dink sheets that you can send through your inkjet printer. Yes, they make those! Just think of the possibilities! I came up with these bracelets when a writer from Military Spouse magazine asked if I had any ideas for gifts kids could give to their friends when they’re moving (as mine are in a couple of months). I made some similar bracelets last year, using word beads with inspirational words such as “Believe,” “Hope,” and “Create” on them, but that really didn’t work for a five-year-old. So I put on my thinking cap, looked over my craft stash, and spied some Shrinky Dink for Inkjet sheets I bought on a whim last year (when I had a coupon and nothing to use it on at Michaels). But what if you can’t find those? Well, you could use regular Shrinky Dink sheets and let your little artist draw charms, or you could use alphabet beads to spell out a name or word. See, easy peasy, and all sorts of ways to be creative with this!

Here are the supplies you’ll need: Embroidery floss Shrinky Dink Inkjet sheets a 1/4” hole punch Computer and printer Oven for shrinking the charms 1. Design your charms, or print these on a Shrinky Dink Inkjet Sheet:


If you design your own, print them at 50% opacity, or they’ll be way too dark when they shrink. 2. Punch or cut the charms out of the Shrinky Dink sheet. Use the hole punch to make the holes for the thread to go through. I place mine on a piece of brown paper bag to bake them. Bake according to the package directions.


3. Cut three lengths of embroidery floss to about 24” each. Thread all three strands through the charms from the back. Then loop back through from the front to the back to hold it securely in place. To finish it, braid each side to the length you’d like and tie a knot in the end. Cut off excess, leaving a few inches to tie it. I also put a drop of E6000 under the thread on the back of the charm, as well, to secure it even more.



4. To make an alphabet bead one instead of the charmed one, cut three strands of embroidery floss to about 24”. Thread the alpha beads on, with all three strands going through the middle beads. For the first and last bead, thread two strands through, then tie the third strand to the other two, securing the word where you’d like it. Again, braid to the ends and you’re done!


These will be a perfect little gift for Princess Thundercloud’s friends on the last day of school. The rainbow “Friends” is even boyish enough that she approved it for the guys in her class. I’m still trying to come up with some cool ideas for the boys’ classes…although they think these are pretty cool, too…but they’ll have to learn to braid. Thundercloud and I have some tired fingers already! By the way, you can see these ideas and lots of others in the June issue of Military Spouse magazine…woohoo! Thanks to Leanne for letting me share these bracelets can find me over at Chaos Served Daily, crafting cool projects, cooking yummy treats, and generally sharing the entertaining chaos of Army life!