Design Mom » make something http://www.designmom.com The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Tue, 28 Apr 2015 16:58:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Three New DIY Books http://www.designmom.com/2015/04/three-new-diy-books/ http://www.designmom.com/2015/04/three-new-diy-books/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 20:42:54 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=54982

Craft Books Spring 20153

Photos and text by Gabrielle.

Warmer weather seems to bring on the DIY and project urges at our house. It’s like April arrives and I automatically start dreaming of glitter and modge podge and paint chips. In case you’ve got the same instincts, I’ve added three new craft/DIY/sewing/project books to my collection, and I think you’ll enjoy all three.

First up, Materially Crafted by Victoria Hudgins of A Subtle Revelry.

Craft Books Spring 20154 Craft Books Spring 20159

The photography is excellent and airy, the layouts are clean and clear, but I think the thing that really stood out to me about this book is that the concepts were things I’d never seen before. They seem like really original ideas. I mean, embroidery on a vintage chair? How cool is that?

Craft Books Spring 20151

Next, this cheery, colorful book called Oh Joy! is another keeper. It’s by Joy Cho who writes a blog with the same name.

Craft Books Spring 20152 Craft Books Spring 20158

The projects in this book are guaranteed to make you smile. It’s a really happy book, and just flipping through made me want to throw a party! And I love that the ideas are new — no repeats from her blog. Yay for excellent original content!

Craft Books Spring 20155

The third book is for your kids. It’s called the Girls Guide to DIY Fashion, and it was created by Rachel Low of Pins & Needles.

Craft Books Spring 20156 Craft Books Spring 20157

See those happy girls on the cover? Well this book will teach your kids how to make every single thing they’re wearing — simple dresses, sweet accessories, even complete outfits! I’m thinking ahead to summer break and I know this book will be a wonderful way to prevent cries of “I’m bored”. If you have a mini-fashion designer at your house, this seems like a smart first book to get them creating actual clothes.

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DIY: Color Coded Towels http://www.designmom.com/2015/02/diy-color-coded-towels/ http://www.designmom.com/2015/02/diy-color-coded-towels/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 15:00:42 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=53645

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

By Gabrielle. Photos & styling by Amy Christie.

When more than one person shares a bathroom, towels become an issue. No doubt you have noticed this as well. You step out of the shower, grab a towel, and realize it’s soggy. Yuck. I do not like sharing my towel, but I get that it’s hard to keep things straight, especially if the towels are all the same color. Happily, there’s a simple solution: add a loop of ribbon — a different color for each person!

Assign a color to each family member (and another color for guests!) and proceed with confidence that next time you grab a towel, you won’t be accidentally sharing it with someone else. Plus, there’s a bonus feature. Instead of towel racks, use wall hooks in your bathroom and use the loops to hang the towels on the hooks. No more towels slipping to the floor! And hooks are space saving too.

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

I generally gravitate toward white towels in the bathroom, but for this tutorial I chose a neutral grey that I thought would both look good in photos and contrast nicely with colorful ribbon loops. Different colors of grosgrain ribbon or cotton twill tape work wonderfully for this project, or you could go with colorful or patterned towels, and then use a neutral colored loop. The choice is up to you!

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Assign a color to each family member and say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

Let’s get started. The towel confusion is over!

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Assign a color to each family member and say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

Supplies:

- ribbon – cotton or grosgrain
- towels
- sewing machine or needle and thread

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Assign a color to each family member and say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

Create a loop in whatever size you’d like, and cut your ribbon accordingly. The loops pictured are 6″ in length. Fold the towel in half the long way. Pin the loop on the fold with the loop hanging over the edge.

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Assign a color to each family member and say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

Sew in place either with the machine or by hand. Trim the excess threads. Make sure the attachment is good and strong. Optional: If your ribbon is fraying, apply Fray Check to the ends.

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Assign a color to each family member and say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

Hang and use! Easy as that.

DIY: Color Coded Towels. Assign a color to each family member and say goodbye to towel confusion in shared bathrooms!

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DIY: Flavored Sugar Valentines http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/diy-flavored-sugar-valentines/ http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/diy-flavored-sugar-valentines/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 15:00:32 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=52981

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods. Free printable!

By Gabrielle. Photos & styling by Amy Christie.

Hey Sugar! Here’s something to sweeten your day. As you know, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so I’m trying to share a few projects while you still have time to make use of them. : ) This one is a good one! Flavored sugar recipes are popping up everywhere and since they are so simple to make, I thought they would make sweet gifts for neighbors and friends (pun intended). Sugars infused with flavors help elevate the taste of the recipes they are added to.

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods. Free printable!

I’m not kidding about how easy these flavored sugars are to make. All it takes to make citrusy sugars is sugar and zest. Amounts can be adjusted so you can make just the right amount.

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods. Free printable!

I even made a tag (free printable!) for you to tie on so this treat is as adorable as it is easy to make.

Let’s make something sweet!

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods!

Supplies:

- sugar
- citrus fruit – I used oranges, lemons & limes
- zester
- chopping blade or food processor
- jars – newly purchased or recycled
- printable tags
- string

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods!

Below is the basic recipe used to create these citrus sugars, however, zest amounts can be adjusted depending on the size of your produce.

2 cups of sugar + the zest of 1 orange = orange sugar

2 cups of sugar + the zest of 2 lemons = lemon sugar

2 cups of sugar + the zest of 2-3 limes = lime sugar

To begin, use a zester to peel off the zest or outer colored part of the citrus fruit. Collect in a bowl. Use a chopping blade to cut the zest pieces smaller and stir into sugar. Or, if you have access to a food processor, toss the zest and half of the sugar into the bowl and pulse a few times until the larger zest pieces are cut down. Add the rest of the sugar and pulse until combined.

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods!

Lay the zested sugar out on a baking sheet for a few hours until it has dried out.

Collect in a jar or other lidded container and tie on a tag one of the printable tags.

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods. Free printable!

You could also add a recipe with the sugar gift.  I thought these sugars would work well in these recipes:

Orange:

California Orange Cake

Vanilla Orange Scones

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods. Free printable!

Lemon:

Lemon Cake

Lemon Lime Bars

EASY Citrus Sugar Recipe. Make Lemon, Lime, or Orange sugar and add some flavor to your baked goods. Free printable!

Lime:

Brazilian Limeade

Lime Meltaways

Any hey. These make great gifts even after Valentine’s Day has come and gone. For the holidays, for a new neighbor, as a hostess gift or party favors — I’m sure you’ll think of a dozen ways to gift them.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever used flavored sugars? Do you have a particular recipe where flavored sugars make a great addition? I hope you’ll share!

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DIY: Kid-Size Tissue Paper Pom Poms http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/diy-kid-size-tissue-paper-pom-poms/ http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/diy-kid-size-tissue-paper-pom-poms/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:00:57 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=52833

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

By Gabrielle. Photos & styling by Amy Christie.

TWO! FOUR! SIX! EIGHT! WHO DO WE APPRECIATE?!!

Over the holidays, Amy Christie sent me the sweetest little care package, and instead of using packing peanuts to cushion the goodies in the box, she used homemade kid-size pom poms instead. Such a fantastic idea! My 3 youngest went nuts for them immediately. Cheers were chanted. High kicks were attempted. Imaginary teams rallied for the win!

My kids loved the little pom poms so much, that I begged Amy for instructions so I could make some more. My kids played with them for hours and hours that first day, and the pom poms practically disintegrated. : ) I thought you might like to make some for your kids as well. And if you’re hosting a Superbowl party this year, these would make a fun addition to the gathering.

So Amy whipped up a quick DIY. Made with tissue paper and a line of stitching, these pom poms are one of the simplest projects I’ve shared here. They might be made with children in mind but I dare you not to smile while you shake them.

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

The good thing is, you probably already have tissue paper — which is the key supply for this project — in the house. In fact, if you aren’t particular about team colors, then any color will do (rainbow ones would be fantastic!). Scissors and either a sewing machine, thread and needle, or stapler round out your supplies.

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

Ready to make something super easy? Let’s go!

Supplies:

- tissue paper – the tissue packs used here had 8 pieces each
- scissors
- sewing machine, thread and needle, or stapler
- straight edge
- rolling cutter, optional

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

With the tissue paper folded in half the long way (the fold is at the top of each section in the photos below), cut the whole stack in half.

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

Fold the halved tissue stack into thirds. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

With a sewing machine, sew a line of stitching near the top (the folded edge) to connect all the layers. Don’t have a sewing machine? You can also hand-sew or staple it together.

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

Use scissors to cut up the folded sides to the line of stitching. Then cut the corners off the top section to make them more handle-like.

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

The easiest way to cut strips is to use a straight edge and rolling blade. The width is up to you. Here, they are about 3/4 inch wide. However, if you don’t have a rolling blade, you can use scissors to cut strips, doing a couple layers at a time.

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

Next: scrunch, scrunch, scrunch, and fluff, fluff, fluff!!

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

Then shake ‘em and shake ‘em good. GO! FIGHT! WIN!

Cutest, Easiest DIY: Make these Kid-Size Paper Pom Poms for Game Day!

P.S. — Love to make things? Find lots more really fun projects here.

 

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DIY: Lacey Clay Containers http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/diy-lacey-clay-containers/ http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/diy-lacey-clay-containers/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 17:51:01 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=52710

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos & styling by Amy Christie.

I could tell you that this project came about because I wanted to organize my makeup drawer (and I do need to organize that drawer), but the truth is, I got the idea to imprint lace into clay, and wanted good excuse to try it. Hah!

A few months ago, I came across a plate that had a crocheted doily imprinted onto it, and I wondered if lace would work just as well. So I combined some lace samples from the fabric store with air-dry clay, and tada!, now I have the cutest little set of containers in world. I’m using them here for makeup brushes, cotton balls, and jewelry, but I’m sure they would work fabulously on a desk as well.

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

Air-dry clay is so easy to work with. Just sculpt and allow to fully dry. It is easy to manipulate and holds texture well. Oh. And did you know air-dry clay can be tinted any color you like? I’m kind of into the ceramic look of the plain white, but if you’re craving color, the skies the limit with this project.

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

Let’s begin!

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

-air-dry clay
-rolling pin or brayer (I used sizing rings to make thickness uniformity easier)
-lace (the thicker the better)
-cutting blade
-damp towel, optional
-smooth surface or parchment paper
-containers to act as molds

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

Roll out the clay. Cut a circle for the base. Set it aside. (You might want to store it in a plastic baggie just to keep it from drying out.) Cut out a rectangle to the height you want and wide enough to wrap around the container you’re using for a mold.

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

On the rectangle, lay out the lace and roll with a rolling pin to make an impression.

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

Then remove the lace.

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

Wrap the rectangle around the container mold and use your fingers to connect the seam. The damp towel might be handy right now. Because the clay gets a little dried out while you work, use the towel to dampen the edges before connecting them. They will stick together better and more easily when if they are a little damp.

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

Then place the base circle onto the cylinder. Again, use your fingers to connect the seam all the way around. The damp towel is good here too. For the circle dish, cut a circle and then lay in a dish of your desired shape. Use your fingers to gently press the clay circle into the dish form.

Allow to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions. I found it best to leave the mold container in place until it’s dry, to make sure it doesn’t slump.

Remove the jars from the molds and then fill as you wish.

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints. Made with air-dry clay they are easy as can be!  |  Design Mom

This is such a fun project — it can be used in so many ways. I think it would be cute to do in a classroom — maybe have the kids make these as mother’s day gifts. Or it would be a fun activity at a girly birthday party. Or you could even make these as little planters to decorate a table at a wedding feast, fill them with mini succulents and then give them to guests as a party favor.

As usual, if you try this project, I’d love to hear. Feel free to send pics!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find all sorts of wonderful projects here.

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Olive Us: Cracks http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/olive-us-cracks/ http://www.designmom.com/2015/01/olive-us-cracks/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 21:19:55 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=52793

By Gabrielle.

I guarantee you will LOVE this month’s new Olive Us episode. It’s sure to capture your child’s imagination — and your imagination too! After you watch it, I hope you and your kids will picture the world a little differently next to time you take a walk together through your neighborhood — or even across a parking lot!

Olive Us - Cracks - Behind the Scenes

We first showcased this episode in the Olive Us newsletter last week and it’s getting shared like crazy. I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. Enjoy!

P.S. — Fun fact, since Olive Us launched, we’ve made 46 episodes total. You can find them all here. Subscribe to the newsletter to be the first to see upcoming episodes!

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DIY: Wooden Peg Doll Ornaments http://www.designmom.com/2014/12/wooden-peg-doll-ornaments/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/12/wooden-peg-doll-ornaments/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 22:53:16 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=52327

DIY: Wooden Peg Doll Ornaments — make a whole family!

By Gabrielle. Image by Amy Christie.

I’ve got the cutest DIY I just shared over on Babble. Use wooden peg dolls to make a little family of ornaments that looks just like yours! I kept the patterns really simple — so even non-crafters can handle this project. Wouldn’t they make a cute gift for a family you know?

Find the full tutorial here.

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DIY: Elephant Puppet from Playful http://www.designmom.com/2014/09/diy-elephant-puppet-from-playful/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/09/diy-elephant-puppet-from-playful/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 23:42:29 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=50973

Animal Puppets from Playful - a book of creative projects for kids by Merrilee Liddiard

By Gabrielle. Images by Nicole Hill Gerulat for Playful.

I’ve got such a sweet little project for you and your kids today. It’s an Elephant! The most charming paper elephant you’ve ever seen. And it’s one of the many adorable projects in the Merrilee Liddiard’s fantastic new book, Playful. You can find the full instructions, plus a free downloadable template below.

Playful - a book of creative projects for kids by Merrilee Liddiard

Have you seen the book? Everything about it is scrumptious. Every project, every photo, all the little details. Buy it so you can make fun, imaginative, totally do-able projects with your kids. And buy it because the attention to detail will inspire you!

I’m a huge fan of Merrilee. Such a fan that I sought her out to work on our Olive Us movie titles and illustrations (see examples here and here). She’s endlessly creative and her ideas spark more creativity in everyone around her.

Animal Puppets from Playful - a book of creative projects for kids by Merrilee Liddiard

This simple elephant would be terrific to make with your kids. Hang it on the wall, add sticks to make it a puppet. Or make tiny ones as cupcake toppers. Yay!

Elephant Puppet from Playful - a book of creative projects for kids by Merrilee Liddiard

ELEPHANT

1 Photocopy or scan and print the elephant template at 200%. Cut out the pattern pieces.

2 Trace the body and head onto light blue poster board and cut out.

3 Trace the ear onto red cardstock and cut out.

4 Trace the tail onto dark blue cardstock and cut out.

5 Trace the eye onto blue cardstock and cut out.

6 Trace the cheek and toenails onto hot pink cardstock and cut out.

7 Glue the eye and cheek onto the elephant’s face.

8 Punch or poke small holes into the elephant pieces where indicated on the template.

9 Using brads, attach the head, ear, and tail to the elephant body.

10 Play with the elephant as is, or tape two wooden dowels onto the back of the elephant body, one toward the front and one toward the back, for a puppet parade!

Find instructions for the horse, the bear, the fox and the bird in the Playful book!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find lots of fun projects here

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Kiwi Crate http://www.designmom.com/2014/09/kiwi-crate/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/09/kiwi-crate/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:00:12 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=50476

Kiwi Crate14

Images and text by Gabrielle. // This post is brought to you by Kiwi Crate.

——

I first heard about Kiwi Crate a year ago, but I didn’t actually try one till this week. I wasn’t sure what to expect (would my kids care? would they be too old for it?) but Oscar, Betty & June spent the afternoon with the box of activities and LOVED it. (As a sidenote, the funniest part was when Betty accidentally made a puppet that looks like an evil dictator. See below).

The 411 on Kiwi Crate is that it’s an award-winning, monthly subscription service for kids. Each crate includes 2-3 hands-on projects — they cover things like art, science, games, and imaginative play. There’s a new theme each month, and the box also includes Kiwi Crate’s explore! magazine, which features bonus activities and kid-friendly recipes.

Kiwi Crate01

One thing I appreciate is that the activities are legit — before they send out anything, Kiwi Crate tests the projects with a crew of kids to make sure everything is developmentally appropriate, enriching, engaging, fun, and universally appealing. To get an idea of what they offer, you can see their most popular crates here. And best of all, if you’d like to try it, you can save 25% on your first month subscription with code DM25.

Kiwi Crate12

My main takeaways are 1) This is genius for tiny apartment dwellers. 2) This is genius for any parent who isn’t artsy/craftsy. 3) This is genius for parents who feel like their schedule is too full to run extra errands (that’s me.). 4) It’s also hugely appealing to me because there is nothing to store or use up when you’re done. It’s exactly what you need for the projects. Nothing more, nothing less.

Kiwi Crate07

I wrote up some notes about our experience with Kiwi Crate below in case you’re curious about how your own kids might react, or how different aged kids might respond. I hope it’s helpful!

Kiwi Crate02

It’s just flat out fun to be a kid and get a package in the mail. It’s hard to beat that feeling. So right off the bat, knowing the box was just for them, they were super excited.

The activities were spot on as far as kid-appeal goes. All 3 were into it. Oscar and Betty are 9 and 8, and they didn’t need much from me to get started. We unpacked the box, located instructions for the first activity — finger puppets — and they got to work.

Kiwi Crate04

There were drawings of puppet examples that the kids could follow, but the instructions also encouraged them to make up their own puppets, and my kids were all over that. Pig noses and cow noses were swapped. Random tails were used as feet. They had a great time.

Hitler Puppet1

At one point Betty said, “Look mom, I made a man with a mustache.” I glanced up with a “That’s awesome” ready on my lips, but before I opened my mouth, I got a good look at it and starting laughing because it looked just like a certain evil dictator! Of course, Betty is just starting 3rd grade and has never heard of him before so it was totally random. But isn’t the resemblance uncanny? Hah!

Kiwi Crate05

June, who is 4, could “help”, but couldn’t do this activity on her own. So she would get assistance taking the paper of the sticky backs of the felt parts and was still totally involved. If she were my only child, this would also have been a lovely activity to do side-by-side together.

Kiwi Crate08

The kids finished the puppets and started playing with them, and I started putting the box away, thinking I’d save the second craft for another day. But they wanted more, so we dove in to craft number two — which was a mini garden.

Kiwi Crate09

They loved this project even more than the puppets! The coolest part was the soil pellets. As they used the dropper to add water to the pellets, the soil would magically grow! The kids couldn’t get enough of it.

Kiwi Crate10 Kiwi Crate13

Once the soil was ready, the kids planted wheat grass seeds and radish seeds, then June watered the soil some more, while Oscar and Betty built little fences around the gardens.

Kiwi Crate11

This second craft was definitely more complex than the first, and once the soil was in place and watering was done, June wandered off. But building the fences was satisfying to the older kids.

Kiwi Crate15

When both the crafts were complete, Oscar and Betty sat down with the activity books and went through some of the puzzles and games.

I have to say, I’m impressed! In addition to the two main crafts, the activity book is full of other ideas — there are even instructions for turning the box that everything came in into a project. I felt like we could have spaced out the activities and had enough to keep the kids busy over several days.

I mentioned this above, but the thing I liked best was that the box came with everything we needed. Nothing more, nothing less. I love that! We enjoy crafts around here, but having to buy (and store!) a box of 300 craft sticks or googly eyes when we only need a few can be a pain in the neck. It was wonderful to use up everything in the box and have nothing we needed to store. I immediately thought of my friends who live in small city apartments and thought how ideal this service would be for them!

Kiwi Crate03

A little more info: Plans start at just $16.95/month and they offer free shipping on ALL subscriptions! If you have more than one child that would be interested, they have a sibling add-on option for $9.99/month. And if there’s a project or craft material that you especially like, you can also shop for individual arts & crafts and party favors on the website.

Want to give Kiwi Crate a try with your kids? Join their Time Traveler Series to fall back in time! Save 25% on your first month subscription with code DM25. (A little note: Promotional code excludes sibling add-ons.)

Now I’m curious. Do you craft with your kids, or do you find this sort of thing hard to do as a parent? Have you ever tried Kiwi Crate? I think getting a box like this each month would be fantastic —especially for rainy days. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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DIY: Cereal Box Embossing http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cereal-box-embossing/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cereal-box-embossing/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:46:38 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=50206

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

cheerios box By Gabrielle. Photos & styling by Amy Christie.  //  This post is brought to you by Cheerios — makers of wholesome, sustainable products that families love!

 

 

When I was in fifth grade, my name written in bubble letters was how I personalized my notebooks. When I was in high school, I covered my textbooks in plain paper and filled them in with doodles — favorite band names and not-so-secret crushes. At the start of the school year, the clean surfaces of brand new school supplies offer such an inviting blank slate. For a sleek, modern twist on notebook personalization, I thought creating a DIY embossing plate from recycled cardboard would be a lovely way to add your mark to your school supplies.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

This idea came from a challenge I received from the good people at Cheerios. Cheerios has long had a focus on sustainability. Some of the sustainable features are straightforward — for example, their boxes are made from 100% recycled materials — and have been since the 1930′s!

Other sustainable features I had no idea about, but am impressed by. For example, their Minnesota milling plant uses a bio-mass burner that burns the oat hulls and creates the energy needed to run the whole plant. Then, the ashes from the hulls are returned to the oat farmers. Then, the farmers use the ashes to fertilize their crops. Circle of life! You can see more about their efficiency and sustainability on their website, or check out the graphic I included at the bottom of the post.

So their challenge to me was to create a project that uses their recycled cardboard cereal boxes — something most families have on hand at any given moment. I love a good challenge, and since we’re in the middle of back-to-school season, I immediately thought of this cardboard embossing technique and how it might relate to school supplies.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom DSC_0625-1

Making your own embossing plate out of cereal boxes offers so much variation and freedom. The sky is the limit on shapes and initials. And once the plate is made, you can emboss to your heart’s content — the cardboard form will last a long time!

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

I did a lot of experimenting to figure out best practices and have detailed them all in the tutorial below. Chances are you have everything you need in your home already  — just pull that Cheerios box out of your recycling bin and let’s get started!

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- empty cardboard cereal boxes
- scissors or cutting blade
- hot glue or white glue
- letters/shapes
- bone folder
- spray bottle
- colored paper, card stock weight or thicker
- folders, notebooks, date books, etc.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom DSC_0617-1

Decide what letters or shapes you’d like to recreate. I chose a few letters, both serif and sans serif, and a few simple shapes.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Cut them out of the cereal box cardboard. For these projects, you’ll need several layers of cardboard. Cut out the shape you want 3 or 4 times, then stick them together to make one form.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Once the letter and shape stack is thick, attach it to a larger piece of cardboard, a ‘plate’, and prepare to emboss.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

To emboss, lightly mist a piece of paper and lay over the embossing plate. Damp paper has more give and stretch.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Top the misted paper with a white piece of paper (printer paper will do) to protect it from the bone folder. Plain white paper is best so there is no color rub off. The white paper shields the paper below from getting shiny during embossing.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Rub steadily around the embossing plate, making sure to hold the paper in place. Think of this process as slowly coaxing the paper to bend to your will. It’s best to work slowly, taking extra time to gently work into corners, around text serifs, on the edges and in any openings.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

When you feel like the paper is shaped well, remove the white paper and check. Some of the corners and edges might need a little more attention. Once the image looks good, remove the embossing plate and use the bone folder to smooth any wrinkles or crinkles around the shape.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

For folders, simply embossing the actual cover is all you need to do. But if you’d like to emboss the thicker cover of a composition book or date book, the technique is slightly different — emboss a blank sheet of card stock, then glue it to the thick cover of your notebook. Pictured above is a small date book with a blue piece of embossed cardstock glued to the cover.

When gluing it to another surface, add glue to all the areas outside the embossed shape (including openings in letters), then use the bone folder to smooth down the paper.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

A few tips:

- Thicker paper worked best for this project. Card stock, thick cotton paper (artist paper) and the folders worked exceptionally well.

- When the paper is thick, like the folders, spritz the under side of the paper, the side of the paper that will lay on the embossing plate.

- Instead of trying to get the paper embossed in one pass around the shape, it’s better to make a few passes around the shape gently and firming reshaping the damp paper.

- The paper around the shape may get a little pinched during the embossing process. Most can be rubbed out with the bone folder.

Hooray for back to school! I hope you have fun with this cereal box project. If you come up with other fun ways to use these cardboard embossing plates, please share your ideas in the comments!

P.S. — Like to make things? Check out these cool projects.

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DIY: Cement Pencil Holder http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cement-pencil-holder/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cement-pencil-holder/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:00:49 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=50140

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie. // This post is brought to you by Office Depot. #TeachersChangeLives and so can you! Go here to find out more.

——-

It’s official: a new school year is upon us! And like many kids, my children have the itch to make something for their new teachers. A drawing, a little piece of origami, a sweet note. Of course, I always wonder if there’s something we can add, something to go along with the little note or drawing, that their teacher will find useful. A gift card so that their teachers can buy supplies for the classroom is always helpful, but if you’re in the making sort of mood (I am!), I thought this cement desk organizer fits the bill very nicely.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

The project incorporates two of my favorite things — fresh school supplies, and cement. Best of all, it’s not just for pens and pencils. This handsome + utilitarian item can be designed to hold any number and any size of desk accessories. The style and layout is all up to you!

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Don’t be anxious about working with cement for this project. Yes, it requires concentration and muscle (which surely you have in spades), and an odd combination of working fast and waiting. But the end product is worth it. These heavy duty holders would look handsome on any desk!

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Plus, there are lots of ways to include the kids on this project, from gathering supplies, to stirring cement, to decorating the dried organizer with Sharpies (we used silver).

Ready to get to work? Let’s go.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

- cement
- cardboard/papier maché forms
- dowels, various sizes
- wax paper
- glue gun or tape
- sander, optional

We used Rapid Set Cement All because it sets up so quickly. Of course you can use any kind of cement that you’d like. With Rapid Set, you must work very quickly. It’s good because the project will be done sooner however, it does require fast moving and it’s a little sweat inducing. : )

After a couple of tests, we decided wooden dowels wrapped in wax paper were the easiest to prep, most cost effective option. Other ‘pencil slot making’ options include wide metal dowels (found in the rebar section), various sizes of knitting needles or PVC pipe.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

First, wrap the applicable dowels in wax paper and secure with hot glue or tape. The wax paper prevents the cement from sticking to the wood (because it really sticks!!).

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Before any cement is prepped, take some time to plan the layout of the pencil holder. You can sketch it, use a grid or just lay it out. This step is vital, especially if you use Rapid Set cement. Your time is limited to get things placed before the cement sets and it’s best to plan it in advance.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

When you have your layout decided, you can prepare the cement, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Pour the cement in your form, shake it to settle the cement into the corners and edges of the form.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Place the wax paper wrapped dowels into the cement. Watch the dowels because they might shift and lean and wiggle, especially when other dowels are added. As you place them, keep shaking the form to resettle the cement around the dowels.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

As the cement sets up, especially the Rapid Set, twist and wiggle the dowels. If you leave them still until the cement completely sets, the dowels will be stuck — this advice is based on experience! Hah! Once the cement is holding up on its own around the dowels, remove the dowels, even if the whole form isn’t completely dry.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

After removing the dowels, allow the form to completely dry.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Once the cement has completely dried, peel or cut away the outer form. An optional step is to use a sander to smooth out rough edges.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Lastly, we added some metallic doodles to the pencil holder with a silver Sharpies when the cement was dry. You could create patterns, add your teachers initials with a stencil, or even keep the cement organizer plain and simple.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Then the funnest part, choosing the products to put in the slots! Fill it with colorful school supplies and tada!, you’ve made an awesome gift for your favorite teacher.

I teamed up with Office Depot for this project, because I love how they support teachers. They help spread the word about what teachers need in the classroom, and the reality of how much teachers spend out of pocket for classroom supplies.

As an extension of their #TeachersChangeLives program, Office Depot worked with Newell-Rubbermaid (the makers of Sharpie and Expo) to document the stories of two teachers and how they help students think outside of the box. Click here to find videos featuring those two teachers, plus a coupon for school supplies, so you can help your children’s teachers get what they need.

Here’s to a fantastic new school year!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find more cool DIY projects here.

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After School Snack Placemats – Free Printable! http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/after-school-snack-placemats-free-printable/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/after-school-snack-placemats-free-printable/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:00:17 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=49835

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

Photos and text by Gabrielle. // This post is brought to you by Blue Diamond Almonds.

BD Almonds Logo

It’s Back to School season! I love this time of year — really, I love anything that gives a feeling of fresh-starts and new chances and do-overs. One of the things I want to refresh as we head into fall is our snacks. Last school year we made great progress on cutting crappy food from our diet. But our efforts seemed to evaporate as summer came on. Popsicles and ice cold soda and ice cream sandwiches are hard to resist!

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

There’s no time like the present to reintroduce healthier snacks. Of course, I could just serve them up as is (and probably will on many days), but I thought it would be a fun option to make our after-school snack times a little more playful. So, I drew up some simple illustrations and had them laminated as placemats. A fox, a cat, a man and a woman.

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

The idea is basic as can be: the kids use their snacks to fill in the shapes. My hope is to provide different veggies and fruits and almonds each day. The kids will see them as fresh, new decorative options, and instead of reaching for the same old, same old, they’ll be getting more of a variety of foods than they might otherwise. Kids are happy. Mom is happy. Everyone is happy!

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

If you’d like to make your own set, it’s easy as can be. Download the free .pdf and save it to a thumbdrive, then head to your favorite copy shop. Have the .pdf printed on 11×17 paper and laminated. With printing and lamination, each placemat cost me less than $3.

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

Do you have any fun after-school snack traditions at your house? We’re always looking for new ideas!

P.S. — When we shot these photos, we tried 4 different flavors of Blue Diamond Almonds, one on each placemat. Honey Roasted Cinnamon, Honey Roasted Vanilla, Honey Roasted, and Smokehouse. Oscar liked them all, but his favorite were definitely the cinnamon. As for me, I ate the whole can of Smokehouse. : )

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Personalized Clothes for Back to School http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/personalized-clothes-for-back-to-school/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/personalized-clothes-for-back-to-school/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:00:56 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=49427

Old Navy + PS I Love You01

Images and text by Gabrielle. // This post is brought to you by Old Navy + P.S. I Made This. Dream big and customize your clothes to match your dreams! #PSxOldNavy

——-

[ Update: the original post included an announcement about in-store events at Old Navy. Total bummer, but the events were cancelled. Sad face. Still want to get in on the clothes personalization action? Check out P.S. I Made This for the coolest ideas. ]

This is so fun! My friend Erica created P.S. I Made This — the popular blog full of DIY and craft ideas. I first met Erica when we were on a panel together at an American Made event. Then, we both worked on a holiday event last fall. And then, I invited her to come Alt Summit in January. Erica is talented and smart and brings the best kind of enthusiasm to everything she does. Her latest project? She teamed up with Old Navy to encourage kids to personalize their back-to-school clothes!

Old Navy + PS I Love You02

To show you what it’s all about, P.S. I Made This & Old Navy sent clothes for the kids plus a box of craft supplies.

Old Navy + PS I Love You03 Old Navy + PS I Love You04

The craft box was jam packed with materials — stencils, sequins, paints, iron-on letters, gems, ribbon, fabric glue, a tie dye kit, and on and on. So we went to the park and got our craft on!

Old Navy + PS I Love You20 Old Navy + PS I Love You19

Olive bedazzled a dress for June.

Old Navy + PS I Love You05 Old Navy + PS I Love You07

Oscar added “Oakland” to the side of a shirt.

Old Navy + PS I Love You14 Old Navy + PS I Love You15 Old Navy + PS I Love You16

Betty thought about ribbons and sequins and tassels.

Old Navy + PS I Love You10 Old Navy + PS I Love You11 Old Navy + PS I Love You18

Ralph tie-dyed a white polo in orange and red.

Old Navy + PS I Love You08 Old Navy + PS I Love You09

Maude stenciled the back pockets of a pair of jeans.

Old Navy + PS I Love You22 Old Navy + PS I Love You17

And painted an ombre shirt with June as well.

Old Navy + PS I Love You12 Old Navy + PS I Love You21

Pockets and cuffs were embellished. Messes were made. Clothes were personalized. Fun was had by all!

Want to get in on the action? Your kids can find instructions, and inspiration videos to customize their own kids from Erica and P.S. I Made This team. Now tell me, Friends, do you ever get an urge to personalize your clothes? Maude cut up a basic tee during Girls Camp and it looks awesome. Between that and the new season of Project Runway, we’re kind of on a clothes personalization kick. : )

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DIY: Leather Earrings http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/leather-earrings/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/leather-earrings/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:14:17 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=48892

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Have you seen the new trend in tiny leather earrings? I’m loving it. So I thought it would be fun to create my own — for myself and as gifts. I love the natural texture of the leather and the soft pop of color.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Leather is an easy material to work with. It’s soft, but keeps its shape. It doesn’t fray or wrinkle (unless you really, really want it to) and the texture and color options are endless.

I tried a ton of variations and always concluded that simple is better for this particular look.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

With a few bucks and very little time, you can make yourself a whole new batch of accessories. They’re so simple and easy to make it’s barely a tutorial!

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Come and check out this easy, satisfying project!!

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

- leather*
- earring posts
- strong adhesive or hot glue
- scissors

The leather for this project can be found at fabric stores. However, because the amount needed is so little, you can find what you need at thrift stores (purses, bags, belts) or garage sales — I’ve even picked up old leather purses at Goodwill and cut up the leather for craft projects like this.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Cut your desired shape. I experimented with circles, but found that sharp, geometric shapes were much easier to trim out. I also concluded that I liked smaller shapes best. Half an inch or smaller — basically, just enough leathers to cover the earring post.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

To finish up, use glue to attach the leather to earring post.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Momleather-earrings 4.2

Allow to dry completely and then wear! What did I tell? Simple as can be. I hope you make some. It would be a fun boredom fighter for your tweens or teens — you could host a jewelry making party!

P.S. — Like to make things? Here are a whole bunch of awesome projects.

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Welcome to Summer: DIY Sun-Dye Bandanas http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-to-summer-diy-sun-dye-bandanas/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-to-summer-diy-sun-dye-bandanas/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 18:38:05 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=48832

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Gabrielle. This post brought to you by Quaker Chewy — they’re all about fueling backyard fun. In fact, they’re offering free Nerf toys! Details at bottom.

———

Last week, I told you about the Welcome to Summer party we organized with Liz and Jordan — we had the cousins over for a fun afternoon in the sun to mark the end of the school year. Each family handled two activities, which made for a full, happy, party agenda and eliminated any chance of boredom. Hah! It turned out to be a really memorable event, and I’m sure the kids will continue to talk about it for weeks and years to come.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

I was in charge of Lemonade Toasts and Sun-dye Prints. I’m excited to tell you all about the Sun-Dye process today! Liz and Jordan are writing about their activities too — a Bubble Relay Race, and a Giant Water Balloon Slingshot.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Let me start by telling you I’m kind of obsessed with sun-dyes. They are super cool and feel a little magical. Essentially, they are dyes that are colorless when you apply them, but turn vibrant colors when exposed to sunlight. My mom introduced sun-dyes to me when I was in college and I’ve been going through sun-dye phases ever since.

For this activity, we decided to dye bandanas. I couldn’t actually find plain white bandanas, so we used square cotton dishcloths instead. They’re a generous size and work as head wraps, capes, or can even be tied around the waists of little ones as a beach/pool coverup.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

The only brand of sun-dye that I’m aware of is called Inkodye. It doesn’t come in a ton of colors, but you could do a little color-mixing if you want to expand the palette. The main trick with sun-dye is you need both a low-light area and a sunny area to work in. The dye will start exposing as soon as there’s even a hint of sunlight, so you want to apply the ink, and add any objects that you want to use to block the sunlight, in low light.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Adding objects creates a pattern — we used plants, leaves, even clothespins. Pretty much any opaque object could work. In fact, Jordan told me about a friend who painted a duvet cover with Inkodye, then took a nap on it in the sun, and when she woke up, the imprint of her body was on the duvet. So cool!

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

One of the nice things about this activity is that there is some downtime. After bubble relays and water balloon sling shots, the kids could sit and relax and have a snack while the sun did its work.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

One note: I would recommend having extra dyeable items on hand, because the process is super fun! And you’ll definitely want to dye more than one item. : )

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

I love this project! Even if your kids aren’t artsy, they’ll get a kick out of seeing the colors appear in the sunlight. And it’s pretty much no fail — no matter what objects you add, or even if you add none-at-all, the bandana is going to look fantastic.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Tell me, Friends. Have you ever tried sun-dyes? Is your imagination running with objects you could use to create patterns? (Me too!)

quaker-chewy
Thanks to Quaker Chewy for sponsoring our Welcome to Summer Party and fueling backyard fun! Quaker Chewy gives kids the energy they need to play. That’s why Quaker and NERF are teaming up to fuel backyard fun, helping families get active together, right in their own backyard. When you buy three specially-marked boxes of Quaker Chewy, you can enter the codes online at http://fuelfun.quakeroats.com to get a free Nerf sports item.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

The materials for this project are pretty simple. I used:

- Inkodye
- Bandanas (really, dishtowels) — you could use anything you like! T-shirts, a bolt of fabric, a pillow cover, canvas shoes, sheets, etc.
- Sponge brushes
- Wide mouth jars (for dipping the brushes into)

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

It was such a sunny day that when we put the Inkodye into the empty wide mouth jars, the ink instantly started changing colors!

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

So we kept the jars in a paper bag to prevent exposure. Another option would be to paint the outside of the jars with an opaque black paint. Or, you could work inside, in a room with windows (or with good window coverings), and then bring your project outside for exposure once it’s prepped.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

The bottles of dye aren’t big, and I was afraid we would run out, so I diluted the ink with water. On one batch, I used too much water and the ink didn’t develop as vibrantly. But as long as I didn’t use too much, the final color still turned out as intense as it should have. That’s just a little trick to make the ink go further.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Be sure to gather your leaves/props ahead of time. The sooner you add them to the freshly applied ink, the more crisp your images will appear. Work quickly once you’ve applied the ink!

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

One other note: I would definitely recommend experimenting first before trying this with a group. You’ll want to figure out the best places to work as far as low-light and sun-light are concerned. Also, different fabrics will accept the dye in different ways. For example, our dishcloths were starched and when I first brushed on the ink it didn’t soak in well, so I had to use a spray bottle to dampen the cloth first, and then apply the ink.

I think that’s it as far as notes go. Please let me know if you have any questions. And if you try this project, I’d love to hear!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find more awesome projects here.

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Welcome to Summer: Lemonade Toasts http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-summer-lemonade-toasts/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-summer-lemonade-toasts/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:27:08 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=48691

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Gabrielle. This post brought to you by Quaker Chewy — they’re all about fueling backyard fun. In fact, they’re offering free Nerf toys! Details at bottom.

——–

Have you ever thrown a party at the end of the school year? We like to mark the change in weather with an outing or a get together. This year, we had the cousins over for a Welcome to Summer party. Jordan, Liz and I divided up the activities and turned a regular old Sunday afternoon into an epic event! There was lots of laughing, lots of mess, and everyone ended the day with big grins plastered across our faces.

I was in charge of Lemonade Toasts and Sun-dye Prints. I’ll tell you all about one activity today and another next week, in case you’d like try them out at your own parties this summer. Liz and Jordan are writing about their activities too — Fruit Kabob Sundaes and a Giant Color Fight!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Lemonade Toasts was Ben Blair’s brilliant idea. It’s simple, adorable, and was a great way to start the party and get people thinking about how much good stuff there is to look forward to in the summer.

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

We printed out a basic prompt on cardstock and cut it into strips. Then the kids filled out the strips. The wording of the prompt is: This summer, I want to ________. Here’s to ______ and ______!

The kids filled them in with things like: This summer I want to go to the beach. Here’s to surfing and sand! Or, This summer I want to read 50 books. Here’s to free time and no school!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Then, they took turns standing on a crate and reading their toasts to the whole family — with a fancy glass of lemonade in hand!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Things that are awesome about this activity:

1) It couldn’t be easier.

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

2) The kids LOVED it. It gave each child a chance to be in the spotlight. Each child could think about what they wanted to say, and each one received a round of applause when they were done. It feels good to be heard and acknowledged!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

3) Sometimes, kids doing grownup things (like toasts) is the cutest thing ever. Seeing their faces get serious, so they could concentrate and read the words correctly, then clinking their glasses of lemonade with their cousins, was as charming as can be.

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

4) It’s nice to find out what they’re looking forward to most about the summer!

I highly recommend this activity. Five stars! It really was a wonderful way to kick off the gathering, and was as fun for the grownups to watch as it was for the kids to participate.

Tell me, Friends. Anything fun you’re doing (or you did) to welcome summer vacation?

quaker-chewy
P.S. — Thanks to Quaker Chewy for sponsoring our Welcome to Summer Party and fueling backyard fun! Quaker Chewy gives kids the energy they need to play. That’s why Quaker and NERF are teaming up to fuel backyard fun, helping families get active together, right in their own backyard. When you buy three specially-marked boxes of Quaker Chewy, you can enter the codes online at http://fuelfun.quakeroats.com to get a free Nerf sports item.

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DIY: Vintage Classroom Posters http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/diy-vintage-classroom-posters/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/diy-vintage-classroom-posters/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:57:43 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=48602

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Remember the boys’ bedroom? To encourage Oscar’s love of marine biology, I hung posters of shark diagrams and catalogues. But instead of framing them, I turned them into old-school classroom-style, pull-down posters. I was so pleased with how they turned out, I promised to whip up a tutorial, and (hooray!) it’s ready to go.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

There are a few reasons why I’m so pleased with this solution. 1) It’s inexpensive — far cheaper than framing a poster. 2) It’s easy to do and not-intimidating. 3) It looks great — and adds some fun texture to a wall. 4) It’s an appropriate solution for an inexpensive poster or a temporary hobby/interest.

With kids, sometimes their interests change from month to month. In June they love the Olympics, and in July they love antique cars. As parents, you want to encourage their interests, and hang up the latest poster they bring home, but it can be hard to invest in expensive artwork or frames, knowing that their interests will likely change sooner than later.

So for me, this is an ideal solution. It makes the poster look great on the wall, but isn’t a big investment of time or money. If Oscar’s passion for marine biology continues, the posters will continue to look good, but if he decides he’s into something else, it won’t feel like a big sacrifice to say goodbye to the shark posters. Does that make sense? : )

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

I think vintage-style posters work best for this project, because we’re going for a look that is similar to the old pull-down posters used in classrooms. Those posters are what inspired this project in the first place. Anything that has diagrams or notes, or looks like it could appear in a textbook, would work for this. Botanical prints. Biology drawings. Old maps. Stuff like that.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

And the how-to process is as simple as can be. Once it is put together, it can go on the wall immediately. No waiting.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Ready to get started?

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- vintage-style poster
- roll of craft paper — I used a blue wrapping paper that was craft on the backside.
- dowel, 5/8″ diameter, cut down to the width of the poster plus 4 to 6″
- paper tape or cloth tape
- tiny brass eye screws
- twine

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Using the paper/cloth tape, attach the craft paper to the top of the poster. Use a strip of tape all the way across on both the front and back side. If you use paper tape, you have to wet the backside for the stickiness to become activated. You’ll want a wet sponge nearby to wipe across the tape. Get it nice and wet. Trim off the extra tape so that it’s the exact same width as the poster.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Next, cut another piece of tape, again, the same width as the poster. Use this piece of tape to attach the dowel to the craft paper. Put about half the tape on the poster and wrap the remaining half around the dowel — the tape won’t make it all the way around the dowel. The dowel is wider than the poster, so center is on the poster and let a few inches remain on each side.

Now, use the taped dowel to start rolling up the craft paper tightly around it. Roll toward the back of the poster. Stop rolling when you have 6 or 8″ of craft paper still showing.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Attach the second dowel using another strip of paper tape. Cut a strip of tape the same width as the poster. Lay half the thickness of the tape across the bottom of the poster and wrap the remaining overhanging portion around the dowel, again centering the dowel, with 2 or 3″ on each side.

To complete, screw a small brass eye screw on each side of the top dowel. I poked the dowel with a pushpin where I wanted each screw, then used my fingers to get the screw started, and  pliers to finish screwing it in.

Last, take a length of twine and knot the ends on each screw.

Like I said: so easy! Much less cost than a frame and looks great hanging on the wall. If you transform some posters at your house, be sure to let me know how it goes!

P.S. — Like to make things? Here are some fantastic projects.

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Wooden Postcards with Image Transfer http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/wooden-postcards-with-image-transfer/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/wooden-postcards-with-image-transfer/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:00:27 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=48173

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

When I was in 6th grade, I got to take a trip to Hawaii with my dance group (it was called the Super Steppers, in case you’re curious). One of the main things everyone told me I must do in Hawaii is mail home a coconut in its husk. No box. No padding. Just write the address on the coconut with a marker and slap on the stamps. Of course, to my 11-year-old ears, this sounded like the coolest thing a person could possibly do. There’s something so fun and funny about getting a non-standard letter or package in the mail!

These postcards are admittedly not as extreme as a coconut. But. They are made of wood! And they are awesome to find tucked in between the bills and junk mail! I’m a huge fan of photo transfers — they’re practically magic. And I thought image transfers + wooden postcards sounded like the perfect storm of fun, useable, good-looking projects.

To up the charm even more, I used historical images from New York City (available here), and I love how they turned out so much!

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

I should note from the beginning, these handmade wooden post cards are not the same as paper post cards. Due to their width and weight, they are priced similar to a large envelope or a ‘flat’. But they’re worth the extra stamp — their unique, one-of-a-kind quality makes this snail mail more like art work.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

It takes some work and patience but the outcome is definitely worth it!

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

On to the postcard how-to!

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Supplies

- gel medium – Golden Gel Medium in Regular Gel (Gloss or Matte)*
- smooth plywood, 1/4 inch thick
- sandpaper
- high resolution, toner-printed image/photo**
- foam brush
- spray bottle filled with water
- cotton rag, optional (saves your fingers a bit during the transfer)

*Gel Medium – I have only used Golden Gel Medium and since it’s worked well for me every time, I haven’t tried other products. I have used both the gloss and matte version with the same result. The medium also works to coat and protect the transfer when its finished.

**Image/Photo – A few notes:

I mention toner-printed above and that’s key. Most home printers are ink-jet and they won’t work for this project. You’ll need a toner-based laser printer — the kind you use in copy shops. So take your image into any Kinkos type place and you’ll be set.

The quality of the image or photo is the clincher for this project. Without a quality image, the transferred image will be lacking. You can use full color or black and white images.

Make sure the image is high resolution. The dimensions can be whatever you’d like but the resolution needs to be high. High resolution means a clearer picture and a clearer picture means a clear transfer. A typical high resolution for a printed piece would be 300 dpi at whatever dimensions you plan to print it.

Make sure to reverse the image. The transfer process flips it so flipping it initially (when you make your photo copy) will set it right. This is especially important for images with text.

Make sure the image is printed on 20lb paper. This is necessary. Weightier paper will inhibit the transfer process.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

First, cut the plywood down to your desired sizes. Any craft saw will work just fine. Sand the edges. For reference, the smallest ‘post card’ size pictured is 3 1/2″ x 5″ and the largest letter size is 6 1/8″ x 11 1/2″.

Prep the printed images by trimming down the paper.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Use the foam brush to spread an even layer of gel medium on the surface of the wood. Not too thick, not too thin. Try to make it as even as possible and make sure the entire surface is covered. Bare spots or globs will cause problems with the transfer.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Lightly spritz the printed side of the image and lay it down on the gel-medium-covered surface. Align the image to the edges of the post card.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Smooth out the printed image using your finger, pressing from the center to the edges. The paper is damp which makes it easier to tear — so be careful. As the paper settles, more wrinkles can appear so you’ll need to keep watch, and press them out.

Allow the paper and post card to dry completely.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

When it is dry, use the spray bottle to wet the paper surface until the image is visible.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Carefully begin to remove the paper. The first time through is typically larger pieces like the portions hanging over the edge and the first few layers of the paper. Be patient and don’t rush. Rushing can cause parts of the image to peel off leaving blank spots.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Continue rubbing away the white areas. The wet paper will ball up and peel away. I used my fingers, and I used a damp rag to remove the paper. The rag has some texture and really helps remove the paper.

After you’ve removed as much as you can, let it dry a little. As it dries, the white paper will be more visible. Repeat until you are satisfied with the look.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

When it’s finished, top it with a clear coat if you’d like.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

A clear coat can give the image a lovely texture.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

I know. Kind of an involved process for something that looks so simple and lovely. But once you practice the technique, you’re set! And I’m betting you will become totally obsessed with photo transfer projects. Antique photos from your grand parents. The faded color photos from your childhood. They’re all packed with wonderful possibilities!

Happy making. And happy photo hunting, too!

P.S. — Like to make things? Check out these projects.

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The Treehouse: Family Swing Project http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/the-treehouse-family-swing-project/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/the-treehouse-family-swing-project/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 19:02:01 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=47917

Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

Text and how-to images by Gabrielle. Family portraits by Sarah of Modern Kids. | This post is brought to you by Lowe’s Home Improvement — they have everything you need to tackle your own weekend projects, just in time for Memorial Day!  #springiscalling

——–

There are 3 reasons I’m super excited to share this project with you. 1) It’s awesome! I thought of it last fall, and the whole idea still makes me grin. 2) I’ve been sharing behind the scenes peeks on the Lowe’s Instagram stream for the last few days and it’s fun to get to finally share the finished photos. And 3) We haven’t had family photos taken since the Vintage Car photo shoot in France — 3 Christmases ago! We were long overdue and this was a great excuse/opportunity.

Sarah of Modern Kids did the portraits. She also did our French Greys portraits back in the day. She lives here in the Bay Area and it’s been wonderful to be able to work with her again!

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Betty Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

The idea for The Family Swing Project came to me last fall. We had just started to get to know our yard, and Ben Blair pointed out how pretty the view of the stream was from under this particular tree. He mentioned we should hang a swing so someone could relax and take in the view.

I loved that idea and looked up to consider where a swing should go. And when I looked up, it hit me that there were a ton of options — ten or more branches growing horizontally.

There was a lightbulb moment and all of a sudden I could picture our whole family spending a warm, lazy evening under the tree — each child in their own swing, and Ben Blair and I sharing a bench swing. We could sway and chat and listen to the stream, and just be together.

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Oscar Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

This vision has been stuck in my head for all these months, and this last weekend, we decided to bring the vision to life!

Ben Blair was the how-to master mind. He figured out how to build the swings and get them to swing properly. I’ve included a complete photo tutorial when you click through, so you can see what he came up with (and in case you’d like to build your own swings!).

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Ralph Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

They’ve only been hanging for a few days so far, but they are already a major draw for the kids, for their friends and for the cousins. It’s easy to see they are going to provide hours of entertainment, and a bucket full of memories for our family.

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Maude Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Flora June Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

We hung the swings at different heights — one particularly low swing was hung especially for June. And all but two hang from their own branch. The bench hangs from the sturdiest branch and we tried to sort of center it — with the other swings hanging around it.

The project turned out wonderfully, and it feels good to have made a bit more progress in the yard. I already said this, but the whole thing still makes me grin!

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Olive Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

Man oh man, I like those kids.

Would you like to learn how we built the swings? Keep reading.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Are you ready for a project? Here’s a photo tutorial of how we put together the swings. We started with redwood boards that we had cut to size at Lowe’s. We had some boards cut to 24″ and some boards cut to 20″ to accommodate the different sized people in our family.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We measured in 1.5″ from each side.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Then we clamped the board to our work table. We used a scrap piece of plywood underneath the board that we could drill through, and we added an old rag to the top of the board to prevent an imprint of the clamp.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We further secured the board with 2 more hand clamps.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Then it was time to drill. We used a 1/2 inch bit, because our rope is 1/2 inch thick.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Tada! Drilling done.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Next, we went over the edges of the board, and any rough spots, with a palm sander.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Now that the boards were prepped, we turned our attention to the ropes. To prep them for hanging, we used some very specific hardware — all found in bulk bins at Lowe’s (all but the carabiners, that is).

Adding metal inside the rope keeps the rope from fraying or wearing down from hours of swinging.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

And this hardware keeps the ropes in place and allows you to adjust for length.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Then, we added a carabiner (we ordered these online).

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

The carabiner then attaches to an o-ring screw.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

And the screw goes into a sturdy branch.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

This is what it looks like all put together.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Next, it was time to attach the ropes to the boards. We measured the rope, then taped it off with a piece of white duct tape. Then we cut the rope in the middle of the tape.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We used a lighter to melt the rope ends, to prevent fraying. (This step is optional depending on what type of rope you are using — obviously, if you go with cotton rope, don’t burn it!)

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We then threaded the taped + burnt end of the rope through the board.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We tied a knot under one side of the board (we used a bow-line knot). Then we leveled the board, and tied the second knot.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Once we were happy with the leveling, we taped, trimmed and burnt the end of the ropes that hang below the knots.

That’s it! If you get this far, it’s time to start swinging.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Happy building! And hey, if you get a chance to make these, or try any modifications that improve the swings, we’d love to hear about it!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find lots of tutorials, projects and crafts here. For more posts about The Treehouse, go here.

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Petit Collage Craft Book http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/petit-collage-craft-book/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/petit-collage-craft-book/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 19:01:36 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=47811

Craft Books09

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Another pretty craft book I wanted to tell you about. This one is by Petit Collage and it’s filled with happy projects for the home. So many cute ideas! I love the menu chart and the chalk family tree.

Craft Books11 Craft Books12

I’m a huge fan of the creator, Lorena Siminovich, and the whole line of Petit Collage products. I think Lorena is a creative genius — and I love watching her as a businesswoman as well!

When I first came across Petit Collage, it was a tiny online shop with a handful of sweet art prints. Now the line includes games, wall decals, mobiles, toys, prints, and the book! And each item is beautiful and made with attention to details and quality — the focus on design is so appealing to me! Plus, Lorena is a parent and creates her products with real kids and real families in mind — and yes, real kids really love them!

Is there a company out there you feel connected to that you’ve watched grow and thrive? It’s fun to witness!

Craft Books13

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