Tag Archives: crafts

Magic Tree House Reading Chart

My daughter’s school had a cute “No TV Tuesdays” reading campaign last month. Several teachers volunteered to call random students on Tuesday evenings to see if they could catch them reading!

After dinner we usually spread out around the house finishing different activities before bedtime but for No TV Tuesday we just hung out together in the family room reading. The campaign really kick started independent reading with our kids.

I wanted to encourage Savannah and Luke to keep reading and somehow praise their efforts without it turning into a bribe so I decided to make a book chart on the door in the kitchen. They have come to enjoy the Magic Tree House Books quite a bit and I was having trouble keeping track of which books they had read, and which ones I needed to get for them from the library. Having a central chart has been helpful to me in that regard!



I used some brown wrapping paper from Dollar Tree for the background and card stock for the leaves of the tree. I wrapped a small box in the same wrapping paper to make the tree house and drew lines on it to make it look (sort of) like the tree house in the book. The ladder is made of Popsicle sticks and washi tape.

I wrote the names of the first 28 books on different pieces of card stock; they’re supposed to look like stacks of books, not sure if I hit the mark with that part or not. I make a little mark next to each book when they have finished reading it. Savannah also started making mini-books and gluing them to the tree.

It’s not Pinterest worthy, but my kids like it and they have a visual goal for reading through this series! Plus it only took me less than a half hour to make. Yay for quick crafts.

How do you encourage and reward reading at your house?


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Filed under crafts, DIY, home life, Kids Activities, parenthood

Washi tape tree

We have a relatively small tree, it was perfect in our quaint abode that we lived in for five years when the kids were very tiny. But with more ornaments, and a higher ceiling in our new house, I wanted more hanging space.

The Mr. said “no” when I presented the 100 dollar 10 footer I found on craigslist. He said I already had a tree in the living room and one on the porch, so a third wasn’t needed. I backpedaled, trying to think of a valid reason why the purchase was needed.

“There are three persons in the trinity. So obviously we need three trees,” I said.

So. Lame. I know. I totally lost the discussion.

But I really do need some hanging space, particularly for the beautiful ornaments the children have been making each day this advent.

Enter in a double pack of washi tape I found on sale at Michaels, for something along the lines of two dollars.


It’s repositionable, so it will make it easy to hang our card stock ornaments!


I did eight rows of tape and it took me about five minutes! I bet this would be a cute way to display Christmas cards too.



I love easy Home dec crafts! It makes me feel so good to check one item off my insane list of things to do this week!


Filed under crafts, DIY, home decor, Kids Activities

Halloween 2014

Halloween was so three weeks ago, but I worked so hard on everyone’s costume I just had to share!


For the first time in forever, everybody had a handmade costume. Even me and Keith.

It all started with an oops- I purchased a Frozen pattern from Joann’s that had a photo of a child Elsa and adult Anna. As I was cutting out the pattern pieces it struck me that the sizes were in numbers when I was expecting S-M-L and that the smallest size looked huge for Savannah.

Keith offered to go to Joann’s and buy the right pattern. Which was awesome because I was about to cry at that moment.


I spent every spare minute working on costumes from about Mid October on.


Sydney’s costume was the warmest and most practical for a Buffalo Halloween. She made a cute Olaf!

My costume was partly following a pattern and partly winging it. I found an image of Anna’s embroidered top and used my Silhouette to trace it and create a freezer paper stencil.

I used fabric paint to recreate the embroidery on an old gym tank.

Savannah loved having is us Frozen characters for her class party. Her joy was worth any smidge of embarrassment I felt walking down the elementary school halls with my costume!


Savannah was one of EIGHT Elsa’s in her class. There are eleven girls in her class: 8 were Elsa, one was Anna, one was a clown and one was a cowgirl.


Luke was Kristoff. His costume was pretty simple. I used an old t shirt of Keith’s and cut the sleeves and neckline. I added faux fur and trim to the shirt, paired it with jeans and his sisters old wannabe Uggs from last year. I sewed up a set of brown mittens and put a black slouchy beanie on his head to complete the look.


Keith was Sven the reindeer. His costume was a felt poncho that I hot glued faux fur to. I sneezed all night after making it from all the snippets of fur that flew everywhere!

It was fun, and slightly embarrassing to stroll through the neighborhood all decked out with he kids, but they had a blast and loved that our whole family were characters from the same movie.

I wonder what they’ll ask me to do for next year!!!


Filed under crafts, DIY, home life, Kids Activities, Kids Clothes, recreate, sewing, Silhouette Projects

Big Boy Room Progress

My little man is growing up.

He runs, he jumps, he swims, and he climbs (out of the crib). It’s time for the Big Boy Room.

We’ll be needing that crib for the baby soon enough. For the time being, Sydney’s in a basinette in our room.

I found an inspiration room on pinterest and made my own twists on it. We’re going for the “hunter/ explorer” theme and this is the progress we’ve made so far:

Bedding- I bought the bedding from (gasp) Pottery Barn. Honest, it’s the only Pottery Barn purchase I think I have ever made. It was crazy wicked on sale, so I don’t feel too guilty, and making a quilt myself at this current juncture of having a new baby in the house would probably send me to the nuthouse (so said my loving and level headed husband).

I made the throw pillows with some duck cloth I had on hand and stuffed them with an old pillow cut in half! I used my Silhouette and freezer paper to create the name and antler stencils.

Window Coverings- I saved some money by NOT purchasing the coordinating valence from Pottery Barn. I just made my own with $5 worth of fabric.

Organization- I used my Silhouette to make hanging labels for the drawers for organization (more on household organization next week!).

Some things we have left to do:

  • Wall Mural- We’re thinking an acacia tree of some sort. I have a board on Pinterest if you want to weigh in on the candidates!
  • Hanging decor
  • Bear rug- I saw this on the Cabella’s website and decided it was too expensive, so I am going to DIY a bear rug for a fraction of the price.
  • Storage
  • Reading Nook
  • Lighting

Good thing we’re not in a huge rush to get this all done. Slow and steady wins the race!

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Filed under crafts, DIY, home decor, recreate, sewing, Silhouette Projects, Upcycling

Dollar Store Crafts Part 1- Flip Flop Wreath

I confess, I am somewhat obsessed with crafts you can make with Dollar Store Finds. So much that I have recently done four different (highly useful!) crafts with dollar store items.

Behold, the flip flop wreath. An ode to summer, shades, and kickin’ back.

My favorite dollar store is Dollar Tree. I picked up 4 pairs of childrens flip flops there and two pairs of sunglasses. I had the leis and made the paper pinwheel, flower rosettes, and “Welcome” sign with my Silhouette SD.

I cut a circle out of cardboard that I had on hand and used my hot glue gun to attach everything and weaved two leis in between the flip flops. The whole thing cost about $7 dollars. Not bad considering store bought wreaths will set you back a whole lot more!

Next up is a Dollar Tree art wall to artfully (hehe) display children’s artwork!


Filed under crafts, DIY, home decor, Silhouette Projects

Staircase Basket Tutorial

I’ve got junk on my stairs, you’ve got junk on your stairs, we’ve all got junk on our stairs. Stuff that belongs upstairs but is downstairs, stuff that belongs downstairs but is upstairs. It’s always on the steps.

My husband keeps saying junk on the steps is a hazard for our children so he puts the staircase junk in a pile NEXT to the stairs, and said pile then migrates its way all over the dining room, the hallway and gets lost in the great abyss of messiness that our house tends to be.

BUT! Enter the staircase basket. No, not one from Bed Bath and Beyond that will set you back 40 bucks, but one that is practically free!

Really! You can do this! You might have everything on hand already!

What you’ll need:

A few boxes that will fit your staircase (I used a diaper box and another random box I had in the pantry)

Duct tape

Fabric of your choice for inside and outside of the box (maybe something in your remnant pile? The fabric I used was left over from some pillows I made for the living room a while back)

bias tape or ribbon for edges of box and embellishments

Box Cutter/ Scissors



Mod Podge

Hot glue gun


1- Take your box, set it on the stairs

2- Draw a line on the back of the box to mark the top edge of the stairs. DO NOT CUT THIS PART!

3- Cut the back corners of the box from the top of the box down to the line you just drew. Now you should have a flap that will sit on the second step of your staircase. This flap will give some stability to the upper shelf section of your box.

4- Place your second box/ cardboard configuration on top of your cardboard flap. Duct tape away!!!

5- Measure and cut your fabric and start mod podging it to the outside of your box. This process takes a while, so set up camp somewhere that you can leave your box undisturbed while the mod podge dries.

6- Once the exterior is dry, start mod podging your interior fabric.

7- After the interior is dry, add a ribbon or double fold bias tape to the top edge to give your box a finished look. Add ribbon or trim if desired! I used my hot glue gun to attach my bias tape, but you could probably mod podge it as well.

Ta daaa!!! A staircase box to hold all the junk!

Happy crafting, organizing, and containing the clutter!




Filed under DIY, home decor, recreate