Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fireworks Art for kids

As much as my monsters fight me on bedtime, they never manage to make it to midnight on New Years. Here's a way for your monsters to enjoy "fireworks" and still make it to bed on time (besides the early Netflix countdowns of course).

Cut the ends of paper tubes into strips (the longer the strips, the "showier" the fireworks).

I used paper plates to pour the paint into (easy clean up = bonus!) and let them have at it.

End result:

The monsters' art came out much better than mine, but they gifted them to their Poppa before I could take a photo.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

DIY Play Ice Cubes

What good is a refrigerator if it doesn't keep your food cold? Good thing we made ice cubes for the monsters' refrigerator they got on Christmas, and you can too!

We took Lego blocks and stacked them about 6 blocks high. Wrap the mini Lego tower
in non-stick foil (non-stick on the inside of course). Take out the Lego blocks and pour in clear pony beads.

When you have enough, place them the foil covered pony beads onto a lined cookie sheet, baking at 425 for about 20 minutes, or until they are melted. *Note: make sure your windows are open when doing this!

After they've cooled, remove the foil. You'll have to use a belt sander to grind down the edges. My boyfriend used pliers to hold the cubes while he did this so he wouldn't grind his fingers too.

The end result? Some pretty legit looking ice cubes for your little monsters to play with!

My boyfriend came up with this random idea out of nowhere, what "weird" ideas have you had that turned out great??

Friday, December 25, 2015

DIY Upcycled Kids' Refridgerator

This year's big Christmas present for the monsters was like several projects in one. It took awhile to get it all together, but when it was done, boy was it worth the work!

We knew we wanted the fridge to match with the kitchen we, I mean, "Santa" built them last year, and to have that classic round vintage look. After a few months of looking, the boyfriend was able to find the perfect toy box to make it out of at a thrift store, and at only $4 what a steal!

Now to stand it upright and not have it fall over the boys, my boyfriend traced out and cut a base from wood (making it sloping to account for the roundness), and drilled it to the bottom and lower back making it stable.

For the inside, to divide the refrigerator and freezer parts we made and attached a heavy board as a shelf, anchoring the screws to the toy box door divider and the back where they'd be hidden from view.

To make the inside of the door flat like a real refrigerator door shelf, we measured out more wood boards and attached them place.

After a few coats of paint, the shelves were made using cabinet shelves and an ice bucket you can pick up at Wal-Mart or Target.

If you do your measurements properly, you can attach the door shelves to the boards using the screws holding the boards on.

For the coil wiring at the bottom, we attached a 3 connector A/V cable (ends removed), and covered the wires with plastic edging from an old table, and spray painted it.

We went with retro looking door handles (attached with *really* long screws to the back of the boards), and for an extra touch of authenticity we double sided taped on a vintage appliance decal to complete the look!

It turned out great if I do say so myself! And because it started off as a toy box, it can stand up to abuse from my monsters and their little friends that come over to play.

Oh, and what good is an ice box with actual ice? Click here for the instructions!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tooth Fairy Letterhead

We recently had a visit from the tooth fairy, and if your smartie pants kids are anything like mine (and can actually recognize your handwriting), you're going to have to get a little creative. Here's a link to a FREE Tooth Fairy memo for you to type on for your little one from Sassy Designs:

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Curtain Rod Multi-Stocking Holder

Sometimes when you have a combined family (or treat your fur babies like your real babies) you end up with too many stockings. Stores know this, which is why every year they put out a new style of stocking holders (and stockings!!) that won't match last years so you have to buy a new set(s) whenever there's a new addition to your family. I'm too anal retentive to have mix matched stocking holders, and though I can't find 9 coordinated stocking (the betta fish counts too!) I can at least do something about the first problem.

I used 4 of last year's stocking holders (you may need less depending on how many folks are in your family) and a rounded curtain rod. You can either place the rod on or thread it through the hangers if you have ones like mine. Space out your stockings evenly and jazz it up with a string of battery operated lights!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

DIY Christmas Lights Stealing Grinch

I LOOOVVVEE Christmas, but hate the high electric bill that comes along with all the decorating. My boyfriend says I am the "Who" to his Grinch, so here's a post for minimum decorations, but still gets the point across :)

...Also we were able to build 2 Grinches with about $45 in material (not including what we already had lying around) when these are being sold for upwards of $175 each on Etsy; I'm not bashing those that are lucky enough to be able to find a money making hobby but I'm also all about saving money.

What you'll need:
- 4'x8' 1/4in thick plyboard
- paint: red, white, grinchy green, black, yellow
- pencil
- projector
-  jigsaw

We searched on Google Images for a good picture that we liked, doubled it, and fit it onto one page using powerpoint, or MS Paint if you're lazy like me. We then took that image and projected it onto the 4'x8' plyboard and traced it out with a pencil.

After they are traced out (takes a few hours!), cut out your Grinches with a jigsaw.

After they are cut out you can start your painting; I added a clear acrylic coat afterwards to help keep it from rotting or the paint from running.

Use the leftover pieces of plyboard to build a base or stake to attach your Grinch to and display!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

DIY Cat Window Perch

Okay, so this next project was made up by my boyfriend, meaning that I have no measurements to go off of because much like Heath Ledger's joker he just does things... Don't worry, I'll edit them in later...

What you'll need:
- 2x 1" pipe corners
- 2x 1" pipe T's
- 4x heavy duty suction cups
- 22"x16" felt (we used leftovers from Felix's Yellow Bag of Tricks project)
- 2x 1" pipes, cut to 18"
-2x 1" pipe for the sides, cut to 12"
- 4' hanging wire
- 2 hanging wire clips

Cut and fold 2" flaps onto all sides of your felt. you will sew these so there's a pocket to insert the pipes through.

After you've inserted the pipes you can connect the T's on the side that will face the window and corner fittings on the outside. Drill small holes in to the open ends of the T's to hang onto a couple of the suction cups.

Remove the corner fittings and drill 2 small holes right next to them to thread 2' of the wire through, clamping the ends on both sides. Attach the other end of the wire to the other 2 suction cups and clamp the ends.

Make sure that the perch is level so kitty doesn't tumble out!

Felt of flannel are excellent fabrics because they have some give (our cat is 9lbs and jumps into it, so far he hasn't broken it) and they hold warmth, but you can experiment with other fabrics if you have a heavier cat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Garland for Kids

My oldest monster had a Fall Harvest class party recently and the call went out for Room Moms to come up with activities for the children, so of course I had to volunteer! What kid doesn't like bringing inside and showing off the biggest leaves they can find (and then crumbling them up on the carpet for Mom to clean!!!); here is a way to do that with less mess.

What you'll need:
- felt squares in 4 different fall leaf colors
- 4 large leaves (different kinds)
- red felt squares
- darker green felt squares for the apple leaves
- 3-5ft of twine
- printer paper for tracing on
- hot glue gun (I used fabric glue when we did this in glass)
- scissors
- sharpie

Start by tracing out your leaves on the printer paper (I have 4 pictured, but only chose 3 to leave room for the apple shape).
Cut the cut-out shapes to use as stencils on your felt squares.

Cut 2 small perpendicular lines near the top of the shapes. This will be to thread the twine through, if you do it more towards the center they will flop over and not look as pretty when hung up.

Use your fabric glue or hot glue gun to glue the leaves to apples, being careful not to cover up the cuts for the twine.

Thread your twine through your shapes and display your little monster's handiwork!

TIP: If you're doing this as a school activity it helps to pre-cut at home and separate in Ziploc bags.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dancing Baby Groot Kid's Halloween Costume

My babies. I love them soooo much. I'd do anything for them. I love them. I love them. I love them. That's what I keep repeating to myself when I'm staying up way past my bedtime working on their Halloween costumes. "Well then why don't you go out and buy costumes for them?" Because I'm too much of a nerd to buy when I can make, my kids (and I) are too unique to dress up like everyone else, and because the look on my sons' faces when they wear their cosplay worthy (at least in their eyes) costumes makes it all worth it. So when littlest monster wants dancing Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.... and asks "pweeeeassse?" with those big baby eyes.... Mommy makes him a dancing Baby Groot costume.

What you'll need:
- lamp shade
- foam gym floor mat square
- adult suspenders
- bag of moss
- brown hoodie, a couple sizes too big
- dark and regular brown felt squares
- one square green felt
- hot glue gun
- black sharpie

The first four items I found at a thrift store, the rest I already had lying around the house.

Cut the metal parts off of the lamp shade and trim the floor mat to fit a few inches deep into the upside down lamp shade. Make sure it's wedged in really good so it doesn't pop off when your kid is walking around.

Cut a hole out for your child to be able to fit inside. You can make a small one at when you're first working on it, but eventually you'll have to cut it fit around your child's belly with the hoodie (and layers if it's cold outside) on.

I sewed the suspenders to the *bottom* of the upside down lamp shade. The reason why we're using adult size suspenders is because we are going to stretch them up through the floor mat hole, to wear directly under the hoodie. I bought the hoodie a couple sizes too big because I wanted him to be able to wear warm layers under his costume and because the bottom half of the hoodie needs to be under the gym floor mat (I've never seen a tree with a belly button, have you?).

No comes the labor intensive part: cutting out and hot gluing the bark. I did an under layer of thin dark brown (with a few regular brown mixed in) felt bark strips, with a layer of bigger approximately 6"x3" pieces of bark on top. I used the sharpie to outline each uniquely shaped piece and to add a wood grain look to them. For the hood instead of lining it with bark I made a crown of twigs by folding a square in half to give it depth, cutting the twig shapes on the front and side and gluing it to a felt headband to wear as a removable crown.

For trick or treating my son had on his thermal sweater and olive (tree root?) colored pants. He stepped into the lampshade and we pulled the suspenders over his shoulders then put on the hoodie. Once this was one we wedged the floor mat square into place and placed the moss on top.

Complete costume by dancing to Jackson 5's "Want You Back" and saying "I am Groot!" all night instead of Trick or Treat.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Yo Gabba Gabba Birthday Party

My youngest monster is obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba. If you aren't familiar with this NickJr show then you're reeeeally missing out; I watch it even after the boys have gone to bed just because  of how rad the special guests are. Created by the lead singer of The Aquabats (hence all the awesome musical guests!) it appeals to both kids and parents, so much that the characters were invited as special guests to Coachella in 2010. Oh and best part, because it was created by a guy actually established in the music industry the songs are super catchy but not in the annoying Barney kid of way.

I wanted to make the little dude's party special and label all his foods to go with the theme. Some ideas that you could use:

- Plex's Pretzels (chocolate dipped pretzel sticks)
- Toodee's Fruitees

- Plex Mix (chex mix)
- Brobee Burgers
- Muno's Munchie's

- Razzle Dazzle Lemonade
- Dance Pops (cake pops in the character's colors)

Short post today, I have to get back to the downside of parties, cleanup, womp womp!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Day of School Chalkboard Template

Today was the day I've been dreading ever since I first saw those two pink lines six years ago - the day my oldest "baby" goes off to Big Guy school. Even though I'm a tough guy mom I knew I'd be a crying mess seeing him off at the .bus stop, but I also wanted to memorialize this day, but I can't if I'm crying and sobbing.... so like the good planner that I am we did his first day photo shoot the weekend before.
You can find free printable chalkboard signs for every school year from Yellow Bliss Road (you can also find last day of school signs here). You can put it in a frame for posing, or like we did, glue it onto a wooden board for a more rustic look.
Another good idea is to take a "baseball card stats" photo with whatever you child happens to be into. It'll be interesting for you two to go back through the years and see how much they have changed, especially if they're anything like mine, who can be quite a character!
I've cropped out his name and school, but you get the idea.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lonely Sock Chew Toy for Dogs

Washer and dryer gremlins, I hate them. Always shrinking my favorite shirts, ripping my bras, and stealing my socks. I can't do anything about my ripped up bras, but at least I can recycle the left over sock making my little girl one happy pup.

What you'll need:
- an orphan sock
- a clean soda or water bottle, neck ring, label, and top removed

Step only (seriously, there's only one step)

Put the bottle inside and tie it in a knot. Now give it to your dog.

My crazy girl loves this simple toy about as much as the fancy shmancy chew toys I get her from the pet store, she'll carry it around the house so happy that she has a toy that she doesn't have to share with the cat. Just goes to show that just like with human kids you don't have to spend too much to make your fur kids happy.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kid's Organization - Toothbrush tray

Okay a super simple "Why didn't I think of that?" post today....

A nifty way to get your kids organized and they won't even know that they're doing it. Putting everything on a tray keeps it all in one place instead of one toothbrush in the sink, the other behind the faucet where the littlest monster can't reach it so he's screaming for help when you're helping the other one put his toys away... An olive oil dispenser for the mouthwash for a little pop of color, and rinse cups because the bigger monster doesn't want to use the same cup his brother drooled all over and "he spit in the cup because he's a baby I DON'T WANNA USE IT!"

You're welcome...?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Felix's Yellow Bag of Tricks - Cat Tree

Remember the cutie patootie I adopted last month? He's being doing so great in his new home but I feel like he's missing something...

Whenever he gets in a fix, he reaches into his bag of tricks!

I can't call myself a proper nerd if my cat doesn't have his signature magic bag! But how to start?

The dude found this old cat tree one day; building a boxed-perch and the re-carpeting of the scratching post (and carpeting the box) was pretty easy.

Now the actual carpet bag was a little harder to make...
Click here for pattern. Just be sure to paint your design on it before sewing it together!
We lined the yellow flannel fabric with carpet so that Felix would be both nice and comfy, and not tear up the bag. Instead of a cardboard base like it says in the picture, we made a bigger carpeted box/perch for the inside of the bag, adding durability and support. 
Since the dude built this, and once again (!) he forgot to take step by step photos I'll try my best to list out what was done. For the perch bottom of the bag, he cut out a hole big enough for Felix to climb through and wrapped the carpeting around the opening so he wouldn't scratch himself running in and out.
The top was left open, propped up by drilling two Ikea cabinet dividers onto the long sides of the inside box/perch after it was all assembled. The handles came from an actual carpet bagger style bag that he found at a thrift store  

How far have you gone to spoil your fur baby? Show me in the comments below!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Twin Storage (Captain's) Bed

Besides my retro kitsch d├ęcor throughout my house, I'm also into minimalism which is why the idea of a captain's bed in the boys' rooms appealed to me. The rooms are already mall enough so why take up valuable play space with a baby dresser that they're going to out grow?

Unfortunately being made out of particle board and plywood (doesn't help that they like to have jumping contests on it either) the captain's beds that I bought my oldest has started falling apart. At least the bed gate on the youngest's  captain's bed has kept them from Evel Knievel-ing off the bed so it'll last longer, right..? The original inspiration (and free plans!) came from Ana-White, but because Johnny's bed rests long side against the wall, we made some modifications to include storage where the headboard would go, but still kept the storage on both sides in case we ever rearrange his room. Basically all four sides are storage, because having more options is always good. With a few differences in measurements which I'll include below, the steps are basically the same as the ones on Because we didn't want a repeat of the "falling apart because these damn kids won't stop trying to jump to the moon" we went with actual lumber instead of plywood or MDF which brought the materials price up, but that's a personal choice. Also, we ended up not using the wood glue, and we used the metal slat holders from his old bed (and a couple of the slats cut down to the new size to fit), but I will still include those measurements in case you need them.


- Measuring tape
- Square
- Pencil
- Safety glasses
- Drill
- Circular Saw
- Brad Nailer
Cut list for END BASES:
4 – 1×12 @ 39″ (Tops and Bottoms of the End Boxes)
2 – 1/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 15″ x 40 1/2″ (Back of End Boxes)
4 – 1×2 @ 40 1/2″ (Top and Bottom Trim)
4 – 1×2 @ 12″ (End Trim on End Boxes)
4 – 1×12 @ 15″ (Sides of the End Boxes)
2 – 1×12 @ 12 3/4″ (Center Divider of End Boxes)
Cut list for SIDE BASES:
4 – 1×12 @ 49 1/2″ (Tops and Bottoms of the Side Boxes)
2 – 1/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 15″ x 51″ (Back of Side Boxes)
4 – 1×2 @ 51″ (Top and Bottom Trim)
11 – 1×3 @ 15 1/2″ (Slats)

4 – 1×12 @ 15″ (Sides of the Side Boxes)
2 – 1×12 @ 12 3/4″ (Center Divider of Side Boxes)
Following the directions linked from Ana-White above, put together your side and end bases using the above measurements.
Oh yeah, and don't forget to paint it... We used a Minwax stain with polyurethane in it to help protect it from Tonka Trucks and Hot Wheels crashes.
Now when it came to the slats, we recycled the metal slat holder (just about the only usable part left) of my monster's old bed, if you do that then you'll have to double and triple check your slat measurements for what works best for you, otherwise follow the instructions from Ana-White.
You could always add hinges and doors to the boxes, but we decided to go with baskets we found at At Home (formerly known as Garden Ridge).
Literally 2 days later...
Post pictures of your creations in the comments below! Or let me know if I could've written directions better!