Thursday, December 25, 2014

DIY Kid's kitchen with sink and stove

The monsters love to help me in the kitchen, but as much as I love that they're learning to be independent adults, they can get underfoot sometimes so for Christmas this year the BF and I made them their own kitchen out of an old nightstand we found at a thrift store. Just kidding, the BF made it, because the electroluminescent (E L) wire took so long to be shipped (that's what I get for not choosing 2-3 day shipping in December) I wasn't able to take time away from the boys to help him out as much as I wanted to.

I found the nightstand at a Goodwill for $15; the bottom was busted so we decided to put a rack at the bottom, a tension rod and curtain and that could be the storage for their pots and pans.

We used a jigsaw to cut out the holes for the sink, oven, and faucet. The sink is secured with Gorilla Glue and we used plexiglass for the oven door, fastened with screws from the inside. We took the sides off the drawer and attached cabinet hinges to the bottom of the drawer front so that it opened outwards. BF attached a wire shelf rack and painted it all black inside the oven. The bowl and faucet we found cheap at Walmart and our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

For the stovetop we used another piece of plexiglass. We laid mosquito coil on top of the plexiglass and spray painted black over it, leaving a coiled burner shape. BF used a jigsaw to cut out a rectangle on top of the nightstand, we laid the plexiglass painted side face down, and screwed it on from the top. We also added a backboard so we could attach a small shelf to put spices or hang towels from.

Once the EL wire came in (I ordered 3 packs) BF built a box under the stove top plexiglass to put 2 under as burners, and shaped the last one as a heating element in the oven (EL wire can be cut down to size). He attached switch boxes under a switch plate we put towards the back of the nightstand near the back board, and hot glued plastic pieces to the buttons (they were too tiny for kiddie fingers) to make it easier for the boys to turn off and on. And to save on batteries (each EL battery pack takes 2 AA) and to make it easier to switch out batteries, he wired them to an old Tickle Me Elmo battery pack, cut a hole in the back of the nightstand, and mounted it there.
The monsters love this kitchen set, out of all the things they had asked Santa for, this stove that wasn't even on their radar is their favorite and I can't thank BF enough for all his help!!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Easy Peasy Lighted Christmas Wreath + Santa Letterhead

I've been really busy working these crazy night shift hours, trying to make up for lost playtime when I'm off work, and working on another upcycled nightstand project to surprise them on Christmas, so today's back dated post is going to be a super simple two-fer.

 I found an awesome wreath at Target, but the lighted ones were way more than I wanted to spend so I bought a pack of lights from their miniature section, wove it around the pine branches, and zip tied it to the back.

I found this Santa Letterhead on this site.  My 5 year old is starting to know what's up (Him: "Mom, why do you and Santa have the same wrapping paper?" Me: "Maybe he shops at Target too, I think he has good taste!") so I have to be sneaky with the letter. I learned how to write in calligraphy way back in the day (I also took Latin, I was a weird kid) and it definitely  comes in handy this time of year. You can also go for bonus points and "antique" your letter. My Santa also color codes the presents (Mommy has a pink sticker on the tag, Johnny has blue stickers, etc) to make passing out presents easier.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Upcycled Girl's Princess Desk

I haven't had an actual get your hands dirty project in awhile and idle hands are the devil's playground so I asked (begged??) my friend if I could make something for her daughter in their new house.
The BF and I found this awesome end table at a thrift store for $15, wuuuuuuuut?!?!

On the way to his house (because he has all the cool tools in his garage) we stopped by Target and picked up some wooden clothespins, a placemat and drapery rods. We chose the rods because they looked like princess scepters and that's what S is into. I chose the fox placemat instead of a Disney Princess one because 1) I had to trim the edges to make it fit on top of the desk and one of the princesses was going to end up losing a head or hand, and 2) working with all that pink and throwing Disney Princesses into the mix just hurts my soul.

We started off by taking off the doors and gutting out the inside.

BF: "Can you hold it still so I can get it in the hole?"   Me: "hehehehehehehe...."
After drilling 2 holes each through each drapery rod for support, we lined them up to the back of the table to drill the holes for the screws.
I traced out the placemat on the center of the table, and stripped that area of the vinyl so that the placemat would lie flush against the table. The rest of the table I sanded and hit with a white primer before painting it cotton candy pink. I left the underside of the table primer white, I thought it looked more girly than the splotchy brown paint that was there. After the paint dried I put the placemat in its spot, super glued where the mat and painted part of the desk met to make sure it would lay flush when I went over it with the polyurethane. After that I went around the mat with brass nails (matching the drawer handle's color) just for decoration.
I clear coat the entire table and put an extra thick layer on the tabletop, Then I attached the drapery rods to the back and tied some string (use rubber bands to keep it from slipping down the pole) and added silver painted clothes pins.
 And just for a little extra pop of color I went inside the lines with white paint using a fine nail polish art  brush.
I really hope S likes it enough to make artwork to fill up her new house :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Internet Arcade Archive

I'm not really big on gaming, but I kinda had a little geek-out moment when the BF sent this to me because these are the games I remember playing on my Atari 2600 and Turbo Grafix 16 back in the day.

The Internet Arcade is an online library of arcade video games from the 1970s - 1990s. The games range from early "bronze-age" videogames, with black and white screens and simple sounds, through to large-scale games containing digitized voices, images and music.

The game collection ranges from early "bronze-age" videogames, with black and white screens and simple sounds, through to large-scale games containing digitized voices, images and music.

Anyways, you can find hundreds of your favorite old school games here:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PVC Pipe Marshmallow Blow Gun

 A really cheap and easy way to keep the monsters busy, and a great rainy day activity (should probably be done outside so you don't get ants).

What you will need:

- 1x 1/2 inch wide pvc pipe, about 27inches long
- 2x T joints
- 2x electrical joints
- 2x end caps
- electrical tape
- wii gun scope

The pipes are small enough that they can be cut with a handsaw (don't grip too tightly if using a vice!) I used five 3inch pieces, one 5inch piece (blower), and one 7inch piece. Slap some paint or designer duct tape on the pieces if you're feeling a little froggy.


The electrical tape was added to the mouthpiece so they wouldn't cut their lips thanks to Mommy's "awesome" sawing skills. The scope is from a Wii remote found at a Goodwill and attached using clear packing tape.
Load your mini marshmallows in the barrel (and practice good gun safety!).
Last step, let them run wild and be boys!
Guess where James got shot....


Monday, October 6, 2014

Monster Front Door decoration and Please Take One/Out of Candy halloween sign

What you'll need:
- 2 different colored table cloths (I used a vinyl/flannel backed one for the face because my door has a glass window)
- I found giant googly eyes in Target's dollar spot, but you can use paper plates
- white paper plate or poster board for the teeth
- I used black duct tape for the eyebrows and mouth
- the blood spots are from a wall cling set

I don't plan on standing guard over my candy bowl all Halloween (I have to take my little Whovians out trick or treating + there's scary movies to be watched) so I made a take one/out of candy sign: 



Monday, September 15, 2014

DIY Doctor Who Kid's Dalek Halloween Costume

My kids really are my little mini-me's. No really they are, they love cooking, Chuck Berry, classic cars, and besides my boyfriend they are probably the biggest nerds I know, so it's no surprise that they ended up Whovians. As much as they love their superhero comic book Lego cartoony SyFy channel movies, Doctor Who is the only show that they will actually stay on the couch the entire time it's on, so when Johnny asked me this year to be a Dalek for Halloween I said "Challenge accepted..?" (mostly because I had no idea how I was going to make a good enough looking robot on the cheap and still comfortable for a little dude to wear at the same time.
- collapsible measuring cup set (use the 1/3 cup)
For the dalek headpiece I started by sawing a couple of Dollar Tree tumblers in half, and cut off a plastic champagne glass at the stem. I cut the handle off of the 1/3 measuring cup (I colored the inside blue because Johnny wanted his dalek to be blue) and hot glued it to the base of the champagne stem. The tumblers and the rest of the champagne were too heavy to be held up with hot glue alone, so I used *small* strips of blue duct tape to attach them, and aluminum foil to cover up the duct tape strips that were showing.

Now that was simple enough, but now I had my first problem: how do I make it stay on Johnny's noggin? Easy solution, I had bought his brother a pair of shoes a few months ago and still had the box lying around. A few strips of duct tape later and the dalek headpiece was good to go!
- small rectangular box
- collapsible measuring cup (1cup)
- pack of ball pit balls
 Start off by cutting out the bottom of the trashcan. I duct taped the dowels to the front of the trash can, poked holes in the small box for the to fit through, then duct taped the box to the trash can. The bf removed the paint roller from it's metal handle and I poked a hole through the measuring cup and slid them onto the dowels to make the weapons. I measured out the foam board so that there was 6 separate pieces, and taped them at an angle to mimic the dalek's body. The photo shows a piece of pool noodle on top of the body but I ended up wrapping only the bottom in a pool noodle (with a slit running down the and plenty of duct tape to help hold it onto the trashcan and foam boards.

I used black rubber sealant spray to evenly coat everything (regular spray paint will damage foam, you can also use clear or white sealant then go over it with regular spray paint for more colorful options) and little squares of aluminum foil to cover the duct tape holding the dowels in place. I also clipped black suspenders to the trash can so that Johnny could just slide his costume on.
The final and easiest step! Cut blue ball pit balls in half and hot glue them to the painted foam boards!
I'm not a fancy pants photographer (I'm working with an old ass camera phone here!) but the angled foam boards really do make it look more dalek-ish than if you were to just lay them flat or just slap some paint on the trash can, especially from the side. When Halloween rolls around I'll definitely be updating this post with some side pictures, and maybe some of Mommy as the TARDIS and Quinn as K9 :-|
10/19/2014 UPDATE:
My monsters won first prize in their age group at Hunt Club Farms' kiddie costume party!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

DIY Firepit

An early day off of work + kids staying at Daddy's = a very productive Momma! I was able to go grocery shopping, mow both the lawns, and build this (which freed up a lot of space on my too small deck!) before hanging out with the BF.

You will need:

- a 30"-36" firepit with removable base
- 2 bags of decorative stones or large pebbles
- 28 6"x8" RockWall garden wall blocks in palomino (or whatever color you like)
- 31 3.4"x9" RockWall caps in palomino
- a small roll of weed blocking tarp
- a shovel

1) I used a shovel to dig up the grass so it was just a patch of dirt before I laid down a 4ft section of the tarp (I did a double layer of the tarp because I really hate weeds).

2) Make a ring with the first 14 6"x8" blocks.

3) Add the bags of decorative stones, distributing evenly before adding the top ring (staggered, not directly on top of each other for more support).

4) Add the RockWall caps on top, and go ahead and cut off the excess tarp from around the stone rings.

5) Remove the fire pit bowl from it's base.

6) Place the bowl into your stone fire pit, pull out the stone caps slightly until the bowl sits flush with the stones.

....oh, and I totally used my kids' wagon to move the stones from the car to the backyard, Carry those heavy stones 2 at a time? Ain't nobody got time for that!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nautical Themed Diaper Cake

You will need:

- a 12" dowel
- wooden letters and shapes
- receiving blankets
- a large box of diapers ...size 1 is recommended because babies outgrow the newborn size so quickly (save the box!)
- a glue gun
- twine
- acrylic paint
- teddy bear
- star garland
- spool of decorative ribbon
- rubber bands

I painted my wooden shapes and letters first so that they could dry while I worked on everything else. Roll the diapers so that the decorated part is on the inside and only the white part shows, and use a small rubber band to hold them together.

Cut off small pieces of the star garland and tape it to the top of the dowel (making it look kinda like a fire cracker).

Attach 4 of the rolled diapers to the wooden dowel with a larger rubber band. Make 3 layers of these rings.

For the bottom layer, roll enough diapers to make it 4 rings wide. When you finish each ring, tie a piece of twine to hold the ring together before making the one outside it. For the middle layer, make it 3 rings wide, the top layer 2 rings wide.

Fold the receiving blankets for the middle and top layers horizontally so that they are about 3 inches wide. Since the bottom ring is larger, you will have to fold the blanket for that ring diagonally so that it's large enough to reach all around. Have a friend hold the receiving blanket in the back and tie the ribbon centered over the receiving blanket, knotting it in the back. Follow these steps for each layer.

 I attached the teddy bear using a piece of twine that I ran under his shirt and under the diapers to make it not as visible.

Attach your painted letters and shapes using the glue gun onto the ribbon. If you accidently get some on the receiving blankets, it's okay, it's pretty easy to remove once it's dry.

I strung the rest of the star garland around the top of the cake, and placed one of the wooden ships on top, then added some sock booties to make it look not as plain.

The receiving blankets I bought came in a pack of 4, so I cut out a side of the diaper box and covered it with the last blanket (to help support it, and to make it look prettier). The other 3 sides of the diaper box are still perfectly functional so I slid the cake in there to make it easy to transport in the car.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Monster Spoiling Week

So I haven't posted anything in awhile, I've been busy getting prepared to go on a year long IA (that's deployment for you civilian types) so I've been really busy with medical and screenings and paperwork and all sorts of other shit to have time to sit down for more than 5 minutes to be crafty. Now since I'm gonna be gone for a year, I obviously had to take some much needed leave to hang out and spoil the monsters crazy before momma leaves, culminating with their combined pre-birthday party since I'll be gone on the actual dates.

The first night we had a cheesey SyFy channel shark movies footie jammie party!

The next day we were supposed to go to the zoo, but we were rained out so we went to Animal Jungle instead.

By Sunday the weather had cleared up so we went to First Landing State Park to do some hiking.

Monday we did some fishing at Stumpy Lake, followed by watching the jets take off and land at the runways at Oceana Naval Air Base.

Tuesday we spent the ENTIRE day at Gator Water Park on JEB Little Creek.

Wednesday we took James to his first professional baseball game at Harbor Park to cheer on our Norfolk Tides! Afterwards we rode the Tide to MacArthur Center Mall to get ice cream before heading home.

Thursday, Johnny "bought" me a lime tree and some hibiscus plants so we did some gardening.

Friday we baked and decorated the house for their birthday party on Saturday! This party was special not just because it was an early shared party, but because in lieu of presents, Johnny had requested that his friends bring in an item for us to bring to his furry friends at Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center.

After our guests went home, we brought the cash and donations over to VBAC&AC to drop off. Thank you to all of our friends who supported our silly idea that it's better to give than to receive!!

I'm spending my second half of leave with the boyfriend, so it'll be awhile before I can get back on here with another post. Until next time, ciao!

*UPDATE: My IA was cancelled and I get to spend more time with my little monsters :)