Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Relaxed but Revving Up!

We got back from our family vacation to California on Sunday evening.

beach collage

On this trip we logged 28 hours in the car, visited 2 grandparents, 6 aunts and uncles (4 of them being greats to Jace), 4 cousins and 3 second cousins. We also had some wonderful family time as just the three of us at a house my grandparents own on the coast in Cambria.

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We had lots of time on the beach—some playing on the sandy beach and some walking on the rocky beach.

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I loved having so much time to take it easy after having such a busy few weeks of cleaning before leaving.

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Jace loved having so much time with Mommy and Daddy’s full attention on him.

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And he proved to be an amazing road trip traveler! The activities I had packed were great (as seen in THIS POST) and there were even a few things we never got to doing. I thought of one more road trip tip: if you’re staying somewhere over night along the way, pack a separate bag with just what you need for the night—toiletries, pajamas and clothes for the next day. That way you don’t have to unload your whole trunk and the suite case for a stop that only lasts a few hours.

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And the best part about coming home? My parents house sat for us while we were gone and did some wonderful projects around our house which included cleaning some nasty stains out of our carpets and painting Reese’s room! I love how the color turned out.

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And it was so fun to hold up a few of the items I have for the room against the wall color and see it’s going to come together exactly how I imagined.

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I’m also realizing just how much I have to get done in the next four weeks. I’ve been saying all along for so many things, “I’ll do that in August.” Well, August is here so it’s time to check things off the list! I made the window covering for the nursery today and I’m just hoping it all works out when I get it hung later. It’ll be a fun project to share with you! I’ll also be having a BIG garage sale this weekend full of boy clothes, craft items, home d├ęcor and furniture. Do you have any garage sale tips for me? This will be the first one I’ve done at my home.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Road Trip Activities for 2 Year Olds

 Road Trip Activities for 2 Year Olds

About a month ago I started pinning ideas for how to occupy my two-year-old on our upcoming 28 hour round trip road trip to California. I found some great inspiration, but my favorite idea came from The Growing Garcia Family where she created activity packs, each intended to last 3 hours. I loved the idea of being organized and helping ration all the fun for the entire trip, so I began coming up with idea for how to fill six three-hour time blocks for Jace. While that would bring us 10 hours short of the entire trip, I figured there would be some napping and just watching out the window time in there as well.

Activity Pack #1

Road Trip 1

-Let’s Go to the Zoo peek-a-boo book by Fisherprice (bought at Kohls)
-Tomas the Train magnadoodle and book (bought at Walmart)
-Little Einsteins video
-Old cell phone (we found it in the garage and saved it for the trip so it would be something new)
-Sheet of stickers

Activity Pack #2

Road Trip 2

-Color Wonders Dora coloring sheets and half a pack of the coordinating markers (bought at Walmart)
-Honk! Honk! book (favorite that we already owned)
-Cars the movie
-Another “new” cell phone
-Lightning and Mater toys to go with the movie.

Activity Pack #3

Road Trip 3

-The Incredibles Movie
-Cars, Trucks, Planes and Trains peek-a-boo book by Fisher Price (bought at Kohls)
-Elmo phone (toy we already had that’s a favorite)
-Stickers
-I later added a favorite magnadoodle to this pack as well.

Activity Pack #4

Road Trip 4

-Colors Sticker Book (bought at Walmart)
-Color Wonders blank paper (bought at Walmart)
-Half a pack of Color Wonders markers (bought at Walmart)A
-Sports Balls magnetic activity (posted about HERE)
-Little Einsteins video

Activity Pack #5

Road Trip 5

-Let’s Go to the Farm peek-a-boo book by Fisher Price (a gift from a year ago, but can be found at Kohls)
-Animals Sticker Book (Bought at Walmart)
-Little Einsteins video
-Magic Nuudles (bought at Joann’s)
-Animals Magnetic Activity (posted about HERE)

Activity Pack #6

Road Trip 6

-Elmo I Can Do It book (was a gift)
-Color sorting magnetic activity (posted about HERE)
-Numbers Sticker Book (bought at Walmart)
-Toy Story video
-Buzz and Woody toys (Woody not pictured)

Road Trip 8

Each of these items packs were put in their own plastic grocery bag and then all the bags were placed in a flexible rubber tub. I also included a few general items that weren’t assigned to a specific activity pack.

General Items

Road Trip 7

-Clipboard (bought at Walmart)
-Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs video
-First Words Sticker Book (bought at Walmart)
-Mini DVD player
-Bubbles
-Stickers
-Cookie Sheet (bought at The Dollar Tree)

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The bubbles were included to help him get some energy out at rest areas. In new surroundings it can be sometimes hard to get him to move around much, so I thought these would help him loosen up. The whole tub was placed at Jace’s feet, behind the driver’s seat so I’d be able to easily access it throughout the drive.

As we’ve now done almost half of the driving for this trip, I have some feedback about how these activities worked. Some of my general observations are:

-Since he’s two, he definitely will keep asking for some of his favorite activities from before, or isn’t interested in the movie pulled out with a pack. So we haven’t strictly stuck to only what’s in each pack for that amount of time. Instead, the packs help me ration what we do have and keep a lot of items a secret still. By him not being able to just see and choose whatever he wants, there’s a surprise factor. I also keep myself in the mind set of “these things need to last three hours” and try to engage him more in each of them rather than just moving onto the next toy the moment he seems bored.

-The sticker books are a HUGE HIT! One book can last us a full hour. Considering they only cost $1/each, I’d say that’s a well spend dollar. He isn’t able to peel out the stickers himself, so we just kept handing it back and forth to each other. I’d peel off a sticker, turn to the correct page in the book, and hand them to him, telling him to put the sticker where it goes. My little guy likes to do things correctly, so he’d look over the whole page first, find the matching picture and then carefully place it on the page. When we were all done with the stickers, he then took about 15 minutes just looking through the book.

-I had read the suggestion to put coloring pages on a clipboard and this trick has worked very well. I just put one sheet on at a time, and hand him a ziplock baggie with the markers in it. He likes taking the time to carefully put the caps on, so he’s able to handle it. When one falls, though, I don’t worry about it because these only mark color on the Color Wonder paper. We did have some frustration when he accidentally emptied the bag and I couldn’t find the blue marker from where I was sitting.

-The stickers not associated with a book were also a big hit because he got to do whatever he wanted with them. And since he had a bunch, he had fun. His stuffed kitty and blanket ended up with several, three were placed on the buckle of his car seat, and Mommy and Daddy were sporting a few as well.

-The Peek-a-Boo books also are a great time filler. With the new ones that he’d never seen before he spent close to 20 minutes on each page just opening and closing the flaps and looking at the pictures. I’d suggest pre-opening the flaps though if your child is 2 and a half like Jace because he had a hard time opening most of them for the first time.

-We already had our own mini DVD player, but we borrowed my mom’s for this trip because you can turn the screen around and lay it flat. This made it possible for Jace to just hold it in his lap like an iPad. This was so much easier than trying to balance it somewhere.

-We only pulled out the bubbles once, but they were great to have then.

-I had worried that these wouldn’t be able to fill up 3 hours, but with the movie included in that time, it was a pretty accurate estimate of time filler.

I’ll update this again once I have more feedback about the other activities.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

3 Magnetic Activities for the Little Ones


I’ve been very excited for our family vacation to California, just not so excited about the long car ride. While planning it out, I knew I needed to come up with some great time fillers for Jace since were anticipating 28 total hours of him strapped to his car seat. I’ve been so impressed by all the cookie sheet magnetic activities I’ve seen in blog-land that I knew I needed a few for my kiddo.

Magnetic Activity 2

My time leading up to our departure was filled with cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, so anything elaborate, time consuming or super DIY was definitely out of the question. I found these adorable wooden, pre-painted animals in the Walmart craft section for only $0.57 each, which was definitely worth the time it would save me! I made a few simple trees, clouds and a sunshine out of cardstock, and stuck magnets to the back.

Magnetic Activity 1

And now Jace can make fun little scenes with his characters, as well as anything else he can imagine up.

Magnetic Activity 3

For the second activity I thought it would be a good idea to use some of the button surplus I shared with my Facebook followers the other day. And since Jace loves sorting things, I thought a color-oriented activity would be perfect. I glued strips of colored cardstock together and attached magnets to the corners on the back.

Magnetic Activity 4

Then I simply chose five buttons of each coordinating color and stuck magnets to the back of these as well.

Magnetic Activity 5

My third activity is my favorite. I found a bag of foamie stickers in sports balls shapes at Joann’s.

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Drew the images of four of them on a large piece of cardstock and stuck magnets on the corners.

Magnetic Activity 7

And chose five of each matching ball and put magnets on the backs of those as well. Since these are stickers and I didn’t want them sticking to anything but the magnets, I left the backs on them and just stuck the magnets to those.

For each of the activities the magnet pieces were put in ziplock baggies and the plan was to hand him the cookie sheet with the baggie and to let him do the work himself. I only pulled out the sports balls one on our way down, and he seemed to enjoy it a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing his reaction to the rest of them, and planning on pulling them out for something fun to do while we spend the week at the coast.

I’ll be back in the next day or two to show you what all I packed to keep him busy in the car and how it all worked out.

Thanks for stopping by!

A Clean Room!

Right now my little family is trying to stay cool in the 100+ degree weather in the Fresno, California area. We're very happy to be headed to the cooler weather on the coast in Cambria tomorrow. After spending the past two weeks cleaning my house from top to bottom (and going to bed every night so sore and worn out), I was very ready for vacation! And after all that hard work and keeping you updated on the progress, I just had to show you my CLEAN craft/guest room! All that's left is to move out the furniture! It makes me so happy. I hope you have a great week!






Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Organized {and well contained} Gift Wrap

Organzied and Well Contained Gift Wrap at Made it on Monday

As I mentioned in THIS POST, I’ve been doing some MAJOR cleaning in my house! Until yesterday, all gift wrapping supplies (which included an excessive amount of gift bags) were stored in a large Rubbermaid drawer and a box in the closet of my craft/guest room. I didn’t really want to make room in my new, limited space craft closet, so I turned to Pinterest for some help. The OCD Life showed a great system from The Container Store specifically for this purpose while She’s Crafty inspired me by repurposing some wire kitchen storage.

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After making the top of my dryer visible again (yes, this is the much-improved version of my laundry closet), I realized the wall beside it could be perfect for storing my gift wrapping items.

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A quick trip to Walmart resulted in getting the Mainstays 3 Pack Cabinet Rack for only $7.44

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We mounted the largest, single shelf piece lower to hold the rolls of paper, the smaller single shelf piece for gift bags, and the double shelf for tissue paper, ribbon and bows. I could easily fit several more rolls of wrapping paper there. They can stay in on their own, but I wanted to keep them upright, so I mounted 3M Tab hooks on either side and tied a ribbon across the paper. On the opposite wall (not pictured) I hung a few large 3M Tab hooks to hold the larger gift bags.

I’m thrilled with the results and thrilled that my laundry space is clean now. And, I probably shouldn’t admit to how many times today I’ve opened the closet just to smile at it.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, July 13, 2012

A Little Bit of What I’ve Been Up To

I have been busy, busy, busy this week, but don’t really have anything crafty to show for it.

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My parents get here in 4 days, and in 7 days we leave on vacation (wahoo!!!!). I usually have very reasonable goals for what I’ll accomplish/clean before my mom gets here, and typically fall majorly short thanks to us getting sick or something like that. This time I have HUGE goals and I am determined to achieve them. This may seem pretty basic, but for someone like me who doesn’t operate in clean mode all the time, making a list of everything that needs to happen in each space in our house, followed by when I need to have it done by helps me to not be so overwhelmed that nothing gets done. I love being able to cross items off my list!


craft room clean up
One major item on my list is getting the current guest/craft room completely cleaned out. It was a disaster. The difference between cleaning it out and just cleaning a room was that I couldn’t just put things away… everything had to be consolidated to fit into Nolan’s closet. Which means lots of purging. I first just went through the room on hands and knees, picking up trash and bagging anything that was obviously going to Goodwill.

At that point (in the first picture), I felt like I was really achieving something since the look of the room was improving. But then I moved onto the closet and other storage spaces and stuff was just coming out with no where to really go. I sorted into four categories—keep, donate, throw away and garage sale.

And today a good friend of mine came over to help sort and clean things up. She was wonderful because she was able to sort through what I had, organize it, and help me feel more compelled to throw stuff away! So I still have plenty to do in there, but we made a HUGE dent.








closets

Along with cleaning out the craft room I’ve done some big time cleaning and purging in our room. As I explained in THIS POST Nolan’s closet is becoming my new craft/sewing space and he and I will now be sharing my closet. Before I could move anything out of the guest room, I had to clean out Nolan’s closet to make space. It’s the left picture above and there is the same amount of space on the opposite side of what is shown. He had a lot of clothes packed into that space. Mine is the one on the right now that both our stuff is in there. Between items from my craft room and both our closets, I’ve now taken 9 trash bags full to Goodwill and 5 bags to the trash. I’d say this was a much-needed clean out! I’m very proud of how I’ve sorted our things. We have two dressers in our room, but right now one is holding my maternity clothes and the other is half full of my non-maternity clothes and half full of Nolan’s clothes. Some cubes we bought at Costco a few years ago have come in very handy for keeping things organized in the closet.

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While I haven’t really had any down time this week, until now I’ve used any time I’m watching TV to crochet tons of circles for a rug I’ll make for Reese’s room.

If I feel adventuresome, make a crochet rug for Reese's room... a good project for while watching TV

I was inspired by Heater at Like a Cup of Tea who is wanting to knock off this $700 rug by crocheting flowers and then stitching them together. I figured I’d keep it simple (and couldn’t find a flower pattern that laid as nicely as the inspiration rug) and am just doing basic circles of varying sizes in the colors of Reese’s room. I’m really excited about how it’s going to come together!

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And finally, the quilt I ordered from Kohls and the Vintage Modern by Moda fabrics I ordered from Poppy Seed Fabrics arrived and they are all perfect! I love them!!! Finishing the Little Dresses Art and getting these items makes me so anxious to get her room painted so I can decorate. But that’ll all happen in August, after I get the room cleaned out and go on vacation. Oh my! This summer is flying by!

I hope your summer is going well and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Little Dresses Art

Little Dresses Art

I am so excited to be finished with this project! I first introduced you to the idea in this post where I asked for your opinion about paint colors. Then I updated you here that I chose to go white with the bulk of the paint with the coral/pink trim. And then I showed how it was all going to fit together in this post. And now that these little dresses art pieces are finished, I think I can officially say they’re one of my favorite projects I’ve ever made!

Little Dresses Art 2

My inspiration came from these beautiful prints that you can buy from Just Bunch on Etsy. I picked up three large cupboard doors from the ReStore—they’re each 19.5x19.5”. I was so thrilled to find the perfect shape/design and that they had more than one!

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I fell in love with the Vintage Modern line by Moda for Reese’s nursery. And as far as I’ve been able to find, Poppy Seed Fabrics is the only place you can find the entire line and purchase the fabric by the yard. I ordered fat quarters of six of my favorite materials and then cut out little dresses and embellishments from them.

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The final touch that I absolutely love is that I glued buttons onto the dresses to add some extra dimension.

The project was really very simple to do, it just took time between the steps. I first painted my cupboard doors with several coats of white paint, followed by the pink on the raised outer portion. I then made a dress pattern and traced it onto the three fabrics I chose for the main dresses, followed by cutting out the detail pieces in the contrasting materials.

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One step that I think was key was that after cutting the fabric pieces out, I used Fray Check on all of the edges. I didn’t want little threads fraying off while I Mod Podged them onto the boards. After the Fray Check dried (it dries clear), I spread Mod Podge over the center white portion of the board and then positioned the dress where I wanted it.

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I received this rubber tool from Mod Podge for my recent sponsored post. In the past I’ve used a breyer to smooth out material as I podge it (as seen in this post), but now this will be my go-to tool. It was perfect for making sure everything was smooth with no air bubbles or wrinkles. After that I just added some more Mod Podge and used the same method with the accent pieces. Once it was dry, I gave all three boards a couple coats of the Mod Podge Super Gloss Sealer that comes in a spray can. And finally, once that had dried, I glued on the buttons.

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Now I can’t wait to be able to hang these in her room!

Thanks for stopping by!

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***While I was provided the Mod Podge materials in exchange for a review with compensation, all of the opinions expressed here are my own.***

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Firework Shirt

I’ve had a lot of fun these past three Independence Days making a little something special for Jace to wear. Our first Fourth of July with him I made a little Yankee Doodle Romper

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And then last year I kept it simple on top and made some patriotic plaid shorts…

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And this year I kept it pretty simple again…

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I picked up a Garanimals t-shirt on sale at Walmart for $2.50 and then went to town making paint dot fireworks.

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After doing the fireworks I felt like it could use a little something extra so I wrote “O say can you see!” curved down from the neckline and “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” by his left hip. Paired with some blue and white seersucker shorts, he was pretty adorable and festive.

family on the 4th

After a fun BBQ with friends, our little family of three went to the park for the fireworks show our town put on. Jace loved being up late and thought it was too fun to just play with us on the blanket. I felt like it was one of those perfect evenings of having fun and making special memories before his world gets turned upside down and he’s booted from the position of only child.

Next year it’ll be fun having two kiddos to dress up, especially since I’ve been saving some red and white striped and blue and white striped jersey serger scraps that will make the perfect firework hair bow!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you had a great 4th!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Happy Bloggy Birthday & Defining Myself as Blogger

Made it on Monday is two years old. My first post was on June 28, 2010. Starting this blog came at a time when I was in desperate need of a creative outlet, and continuing it helped me to be a happier wife and mommy. You can read more about why I started my blog here.

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The Red White and Blue Star Wreath was the project that started it all. I wanted to enter it in The CSI Project’s Red White and Blue challenge. I figured it would be silly to enter something from a blog with only one post, so I added a few fillers first.

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My first post was about the dress shirt turned onesie I made for Jace to wear to my little brother’s Graduate’s Ball at the Naval Academy.

Since then I’ve had fun decorating my house, competing in Crafting with the Stars and So You Think You’re Crafty, sewing for me and done a whole lot of creating with just about everything else in between. I love the friendships and connections I’ve developed through blogging and look forward to continuing.

I’ve also gotten to know myself as a blogger. For a while I was pretty determined that I could make this blogging thing a business and sought out sponsors and pushed myself to post almost every day, constantly thinking through what I could be creating and putting pressure on myself to keep up with the “big girls” blogging style. But now that I’m home full time I just don’t need the therapy that crafting used to provide. Not to mention, as Jace gets older his allowance of my sewing time is decreasing.

Over the past two years I’ve seen several bloggers shut down their sites or stop posting because it just became too much to keep up with the demands and expectations of running their blog as a business. I don’t want to get to that point. So instead, I figure the occasional content is better than nothing and I create when the inspiration hits. I don’t hold myself to a schedule, and I don’t need to apologize for it. I love having sponsors, but I only have them if they seek me out. And I love doing sponsored posts (hey, the extra income, though small, is nice), but I’ll only do them if they actually fit with what I would normally post about here. And I’ll still participate in link up parties, but only if I really have the time to put into what is asked of me in return, which means I only link up with a few parties a week. And I try to respond to comments.

I want this blog to remain what it started as—a creative outlet to help keep me sane. So in the times of sanity, you’ll probably see less of me. And in the times of insanity, you’ll probably see a lot of me. I’m guessing after this new baby comes, you’ll be seeing a lot more of me again! Thank you so much for being such wonderful readers. I love each and every comment that gets left, I enjoy watching my stats because it shows me what people like to see, and it is fun to watch the number of followers increase over time. But I’m not driven by any of those things. Instead, I like knowing I can inspire others to create, just like I am inspired by others daily.

Thanks so much for sharing this blogging experience with me!