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DIY Girls Beaded Heart Personalized Name Necklace – Martha Stewart Jewelry

DIY Girl's Beaded Heart Name Necklace

A couple weeks ago I was chosen to participate in a launch of the new Martha Stewart Jewelry by Plaid available exclusively at Michaels. They sent me an amazingly generous box of jewelry-making supplies and I was floored by the amount of possibilities I could envision. Included were glass beads, cabochons, faceted gems, colored enamels, epoxy clays, decorative molds, findings and tools I didn’t even know existed! In the end, I decided to focus on making a beaded necklace for Chloe.

Considering my limited jewelry-making experience, it was easier than I expected. I call this necklace her personalized “Heart of a Princess” necklace. And if I didn’t think that maybe I was too old for name necklaces (I’m no Carrie Bradshaw, after all), then you’d be seeing me wearing one just like it!

Here is what you’ll need to make your own beaded heart personalized name necklace:

From the Martha Stewart Jewelry line
Supplies (shown in the above photo)
6mm faceted round blue Czech beads
Heart tag silver chain
Hearts blue Czech beads
Strand block letters silver charms
Tools
Flat-nosed pliers & Needle-nosed pliers

Other Supplies
Illusion cord
Crimp beads
Lobster clasp

Note: This makes a 14″ necklace. Extra beads are needed for a longer version.

1. Cut a length of illusion cord 10 inches longer than your final piece. Mine was 24″ long. If you want, tie an end to something (like a key ring) so you don’t have to worry about beads falling off the opposite end. The extra length allows for mishaps and chances are smaller that beads will slip off while I’m working.

2. Remove the silver heart pendants from the Heart Tag Silver Chain by bending open the jump rings with your pliers. Then cut your beads off the packaging and use a bead box, small bowls, or other storage solution to organize and manage your beads.

3. Start by laying out your name, spacing each letter with two clear beads in between (note: small clear beads come with the block letter set). Then begin adding the colored beads to one side of the name, in the order shown below in the diagram.

From each side: sky heart, sky bead, clear bead, silver heart, teal heart, teal bead, clear bead, silver heart (repeat 4 and a half times). Note: be sure the hearts are facing away from the letters on each side.

4. Once your necklace is the desired length, finish it by threading the cord through a crimp bead and a clasp, and then back through the crimp bead. Pull the end until it rests close to your necklace and “crimp” or press the crimp bead flat with your pliers to secure. Do the same to the other end. Try it on and smile!

As you can tell from these photos, the necklace is a little long yet for Chloe at age four. This should give her many years of play and wear, and may even become a treasured keepsake. I love, too, that her favorite color is blue, just like mine. 🙂

Visit Plaid Crafts: Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest
Disclosure: This was a sponsored opportunity via The Blueprint Social, which occasionally provides wonderful opportunities like this one to flex my creative wings. The project idea and opinions are completely my own.
Here are some other projects by bloggers using the Martha Stewart Jewelry line:



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A Healthy Abundance vs. Too Many Toys

Fisher Price Little People Toy Cars on a shelf

Abundance requires simplicity — because in order to have abundance in one area, you must reduce something else. You can either use your toy budget to buy a roomful of random toys or you can decide to focus on investing in only two or three open-ended toys: say, wooden blocks, a wooden dollhouse, LEGO.
— from Camp Creek Blog, Project Based Homeschooling

Yesterday, I read a post called Parenting with abundance and simplicity. The timing could not have been better. I had just spent hours organizing and sorting the kids toys that morning – a task always fraught with indecision, nostalgia and little hands trying to undo the progress I’m trying to make. I only have enough energy and motivation to do this every once in a while, so when I decide to do it, I make it count. Some things are perfectly clear, like how all the stuffed animals have a designated bin Chloe’s room, all the small junk toys (party favors, happy meal, or dollar store stuff) goes in a “travel” bin (since I don’t care if they get lost) and all play tools and most vehicles go in Leo’s room. This is not to say, for example, that Chloe doesn’t play with the trucks, it’s just that she almost never does, but she’s free to play with them whenever she wants.

One of the toys that has gotten the most cooperative play in our house from both kids is the play kitchen. You may have seen it in the background of other photographs because it is near the dining table and family room. The concept written in the Parenting with abundance and simplicity post clearly reflects what I’ve seen in the kids’ creative play: That because we have an “abundance” of play dishes and pots and foodstuffs, there is almost never a reason to fight over anything. They are content to play together. The kids have tea parties, pretend to make dinner, feed each other… it is a pleasure to watch. They get really involved and I can almost see their little brains at work while they concentrate on their self-directed tasks. It’s usually quite peaceful… until Leo decides it is more fun to throw plastic fruit across the room (or at each other). Or it’s time to clean up. Even then it’s fairly easy because its fine with me as long as everything generally makes it back into the cabinets.

The Abundance concept makes me realize something else… Chloe and Leo often fight over the blocks. We have four different types (duplo, classic wooden, mega blocs and a generic brand – not including Legos). I always thought it was cool that we had a variety, and rotate bringing them each down for play. But what if we had double of just one or two sets? Would the kids play longer and possibly collaboratively? Would Chloe complain because she is out of a certain color before she is finished implementing her idea? Would she stop trying to steal them away from her brother causing him to then knock down her structure in frustration? Also, now that I am thinking about it, Chloe usually says she’s ‘finished’ once she’s used up all the blocks. So what if there were a lot more blocks to use? Would she then spend twice as long and be twice as involved in her project as she currently is? For example, the photos in the previous post were taken when she was ‘all done’ – both times because she didn’t have anymore blocks left. Do you see my light bulb moment here?

This leads me to the other things they most often fight about. The biggest one, naturally, is the iPad. I’ve taken to putting Chloe’s Netflix shows on the regular TV (using the appleTV) and letting Leo have uninterrupted time with the iPad. Otherwise, it’s a pushing/pulling match with Chloe yelling and Leo pulling her hair. Another thing the kids have been fighting over lately is Leo’s new cozy coupe that his Aunt Katherine sent for his birthday. But there is no way we are fitting another one of those in the house, despite how much play it gets!

Anyway, this whole abundance thing really makes sense to me. Yes, kids should learn to share, but yes, providing an abundance of well-chosen open-ended toys also allows for meaningful benefits I hadn’t considered before. This is a parenting concept that sort of rocks my world.

 


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Preschool & Toddler Activities

Chasing bubbles in the back yard

It is not even summer break, yet I already feel like I’m having a hard time keeping the kids busy. On one hand there’s the advice that says it is good for kids to be bored, because it forces them to be creative with the tools (or toys) they have access to. On the other hand, I’ve also read that boredom actually puts a lot of stress on a young brain, which science has shown to be unhealthy. All I know is when the kids are bored, they make this mama C.R.A.Z.Y.!

Since Leo’s second birthday is coming up in a couple weeks (and since my parents want me to buy Leo’s gifts for them), I have been happily researching some new games and activities I think would keep him occupied he would like. I’ve given him one gift a bit early, the Design and Drill Tool Kitby Educational Insights. He took to it like fish to water. Anything with pieces and moving parts is fascinating to him. It’s the smaller of the three sets, but I wanted to give it a try first. I’m poised to buy more bolts and an extra drill so his sister can join him. I love to have them working on a project together. The other sets come with pattern sheets that older kids can follow.

Speaking of patterns, Chloe is definitely aware of them in both shapes and colors. Here are a couple of her creations from just this past week. These were projects she designed completely on her own. All I got was a “Mom, come look what I made!” at the end. Plus, I’ve got to hand it to her, she takes Leo’s interference a lot better than I would if I was trying to concentrate on a creative project. I usually try to give them a little time to work it out (like with the colored plastic blocks), but if Leo cannot control himself from knocking down her buildings down over and over (like the wooden ones today), then I will remove him and give her some peace to work.

We also do a lot of arts-and-crafts type projects. Here was a project from yesterday, where the kids drew on popsicle sticks and I helped lash them together with tape (the classic “raft of popsicle sticks” project). It kept them both busy for a short time, and we did an “experiment” at the end to see if they would sink or float. However, Chloe was not happy to have the colors in her raft began to wash away. Whoops. I forgot that they were washable markers (the only kind I’ll let her brother near). By the way, Chloe told me that picture was of her and me that she drew on the sail.

And sometimes, I just throw my hands up in the air while saying “Whatever!” and go pull out something I’ve been saving – like these animal masks that I ordered for Leo’s upcoming party. Part of me wants the kids to be surprised, but part of me also knows that it wouldn’t hurt for them to get played with a little before the big day. It was surprisingly fun! We made silly faces in the bathroom mirror, trying on the different animals and finally I had to run and get my phone so I could take a couple pictures. This is the face of a child happily engaged in the activity she is doing at the moment. A photo worth a thousand words to this mommy!

 


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Let’s Roll! Morning Meal Idea for Little Hands On-the-Go

We have some busy mornings during the week in our household. Whether it’s preschool, scheduled activities, play dates, or just running errands, it is nice to have a go-to breakfast to feed the kids when we’re running low on time.

At ages one-and-a-half and four, my children are at the height of picky eating. When we are running behind, the best I can content them with is cereal or a breakfast bar. But when I have a few extra minutes to spare (or if I’ve planned ahead, which isn’t unheard of), then I’ll make them up a hand roll. They’re fresh, quick to make, and easy for little hands to hold (which means less mess in the car)!

Here’s my method:

  1. First, take a slice of bread with the crust cut off. Regular wheat or white works best, as heavily seeded breads don’t flatten very well.
  2. Flatten the bread with the heel of your hand. I usually put a second cutting board on top before pressing down which helps make the slices nice and flat. This probably sounds like an odd thing to do, but a big difference between a hand roll and a sandwich is that everything is contained inside the hand roll. If you give a toddler a traditional sandwich, then you’re likely to have bits of filling dripping out all over.
  3. Choose a spread or filling from whatever you happen to have on hand. It could be as simple as butter or strawberry jam, but most often I use two ingredients, like the one shown here which is ham and cream cheese on wheat. For step-by-step photos click here.

Optional: Fold a piece of paper towel and wrap it around the base of the roll. Seal the paper towel edge down with a piece of tape. Not only does this help keep the roll together, but it keeps little hands cleaner as well.

Here’s a list of other filling ideas:

cheese and butter
peanut butter and jelly
cream cheese and raisins
turkey and avocado
canned pumpkin and cranberries
hazelnut spread and bananas
ham and mayo
hummus

Now, I know what you may be asking: why not use a tortilla or pita instead of a flattened piece of bread? Well, you certainly could. Our toddler finds bread a lot easier to bite and chew, and the preschooler prefers the taste and texture of bread over tortillas. This way I just have to make one variety and they are both happy. Sometimes I even make one for myself while I’m at it.

Tip: If you’re using a less flexible filling like cheese or banana, then it helps to cut it into pencil-sized chunks. Place the thin chunk on one side and then roll it, which will put the cheese in the center. Otherwise the cheese will make the hand-roll too bulky and not close properly.

To even better balance the nutrition of a hand-roll breakfast, I like to include a side of fresh, travel-friendly fruit, like grapes, apple, orange segments, or banana, plus a sippy cup with milk or half water/half juice.

And there you have it – a healthy meal to fuel those little bodies that you love, even when you’re feeling rushed!

This post is part of BlogHer’s Rush Hour Tips editorial series, made possible by Got Milk?


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Bike Trailer Adventures

Have I mentioned that we bought a bike trailer? Do you have one? Do you love it? I have been wanting one since last summer, made a few inquiries, scanned the “for sale” listings. We asked ourselves would we use it? How much should we spend? Where would we even store it? Then autumn came and we decided to wait and look into it again this summer.

One brand we kept seeing was InStep. The parents we talked to said it was a good deal for the price (also because it doesn’t come with the stroller attachment, which we decided we wouldn’t need), and we started looking again. Then David noticed the InStep Take 2 Double Bicycle Trailer went down to $68 on Amazon (score!). We decided to go for it!

We’ve now been on two bike rides with David pulling the trailer. Both times the kids LOVED it. Both times I was so happy to be back on my bike again. There was a time past that mountain biking and snowboarding were a big part of my life. Eventually, I left that life behind. Before Chloe came along, I would still occasionally ride with Barkley trotting beside me. After Chloe, well, it was just one of those pastimes that went by the wayside for a while.

We are going to have so many bike trailer adventures this summer, I just know it! Next on the agenda: to finally get these kids some helmets! Chloe has been making a push to learn to ride her own little bike  with training wheels. She is particularly motivated since our road is full of kids on bikes. Also, earlier this year I decided to buy a micro scooter for Leo (for his birthday, I told myself). I wanted to give him the chance to keep up with his sister and I figured that might be his best shot.

Bring on summer!!!

 


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Mother’s Day Photo Album Scrapbook

As I mentioned yesterday, I was invited by Michaels to join the Make Every Moment Count Blogger Challenge to create a scrapbook project for displaying memories. I also talked about how this would be a perfect gift to give my mom for Mother’s Day, since she doesn’t use a computer and never gets to see all the stories or photos of her grandchildren that I post on my blog or Facebook.

Take a look at how it turned out!

The cover is one of my favorite parts. It’s like getting a bouquet of flowers that she’ll be able to enjoy over and over.

Here are some spreads and detail shots:

All of these photos come from posts I shared here on Paperseed, so I also printed out the writing that went with them. That way, my mom knows where we were or what we were doing at the time.

Originally, I was hoping to find a ready-made album in which I could just insert pages. Nothing was quite what I wanted, so I ended up making one from scratch using cover stock and two paper fasteners. You can see them in the photos below:

I love the flexibility of paper fasteners, because it lets you add or delete pages whenever you want, but doesn’t add bulk like ring binders do. It takes some scoring and folding to have everything line up properly, but when its done it has a very clean, streamlined appearance. Here’s a view of the bound edge:

Anyway, I’m off to the post office in a few minutes to get this sent priority mail to the opposite coast. My hope is that Mom will feel like she’s getting a big surprise hug worth of memories and joy in this little book. I don’t tell her often enough how much she means to me. It’s nice to have a yearly reminder to tell her so.

 

Need some tutorials or inspiration for your own scrapbooking project? Michaels has a list of videos and a lookbook here .


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Make Every Moment Count Blogger Challenge

Photos for Scrapbooking

Did you know May is National Scrapbook Month? I’ve been invited by Michaels to join the Make Every Moment Count Blogger Challenge to create a scrapbook project for displaying memories. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought this would be the perfect time.

You see, my mom and I live on opposite sides of the country. With the cost of flights and school schedules and the logistics of traveling with two small kids, we don’t get to see her very often. Also, heartbreakingly, she has recently undergone difficult months of chemotherapy and side effects. From here, all I can really do is call her up, or send her a care package to show we’re thinking of her. I have been meaning to send photos of the kids for ages. She doesn’t have a computer, so she doesn’t get to keep up with all the photos and stories of the kids I post here or on Facebook. A scrapbook would be an ideal Mother’s Day gift for her, don’t you think?

scrapbooking page supplies

scrapbooking page supplies and stickers

Here’s a look at some of the beautiful goodies I purchased with my Michaels gift certificate. I better get on it, though. I need to get it in the mail tomorrow if I want it to arrive in time!

Need some tutorials or inspiration for your own scrapbooking project? Michaels has a list of videos and a lookbook here .


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5 Mother’s Day Gifts for $5

Mother’s day is this Sunday! It seems everywhere I look there are gift ideas with price tags in the triple digits. Just to prove that that you can show her you care with very little $, here are 5 extra budget-friendly Mother’s Day gift ideas for $5 or less, including a couple DIYs. But truly, a simple phone call can make a difference. Your mother is priceless, so be sure to take a few moments to tell her so.

Mother's Day Photo Cards from Target

1. Target Photo Greeting Card. For the same price as buying a traditional Mother’s Day card, you can create your own personalized 5×7 Photo Greeting Card for just $3.99! There are several nice designs to chose from. You know she’ll love it!

2. A Cheryl’s Cookie Greeting shipped straight to her door ($5 includes shipping). I can personally vouch that these butter cream cookies are delicious. Don’t you think it would be a cheerful treat for mom to find in her mailbox?

trader joes body butter

3. Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter ($4.99). Have you tried this yet? Super rich and creamy with a sweet coconutty fragrance. Lots of natural ingredients, too. Mom will love it after showering or before bedtime , especially for tired hands and feet.

DIY Wooden Popsicle Stick  Seed Plant Markers

4. Herb Garden Markers DIY. The things you can make with popsicle sticks! These garden markers are pretty and practical, and Lil Blue Boo has a great tutorial and a free download to show you how.

DIY Paperclip Earrings

5. DIY Paperclip Earrings. Learn how to make these unique paperclip and string earrings by Evie S. from her post called Art From Everyday Objects: Paperclips + String. Definitely unique!

 


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On Craving Solitude

Overlook on the Pacific Coast Highway Towards Manzanita

I’ve read somewhere that there are two kinds of people. The first kind gains energy by being social and spending time around other people. The second kind makes their own energy, but needs to recharge by being alone, often in pursuit of things they enjoy. I am definitely the latter. While I enjoy an occasional get-together, I know that I NEED time to myself.

It is hard to believe, but this Sunday was the first time in four and a half years that I had a full day completely to myself.

Why had it taken me so long? Maybe guilt. Maybe always feeling like I needed to be there for the kids. Or make family time happen on the weekend days that David is home and not out fishing. I told myself that doing what was good for my family was the same as doing what was good for me. But over time I’ve realized that is not right. What is good for me is what is good for me.

haystack rock, cannon beach, OregonHaystack Rock, Cannon Beach

So, on Sunday, David took the kids to the zoo in the morning, and I packed myself for a day trip doing whatever I wanted (after I ran a couple errands, of course). I packed an extra jacket, a pair of sandals, my camera, a book, and the dog and headed to the beach.

Oh. My. Goodness. I felt positively giddy knowing I could do whatever I wanted! I could take my time, listen to whatever music I wanted, sing at the top of my lungs. I could stop anywhere to look around and take photos (which I did). I could eat wherever I chose for lunch, not worrying if it was kid friendly. I never felt rushed, or impatient, or worn down. I felt carefree and unburdened. Like being fully alive again after being only half-alive for a while.

Giant Driftwood, Manzanita

Needless to say, it was very good for me (and for Barkley. He doesn’t get many opportunities to wander off-leash like this). We were so happy, the two of us.

Eventually the day ended and we returned. And we were fine with that. Glad to be back, feeling refreshed. That was a couple days ago, but the effect of that time still lingers. I can tell in the way I have gone back to doing the same old things – making meals, changing diapers, interacting with the kids. I have more patience, more energy, and a better attitude.

bruce's candy kitchen, cannon beach, oregon coastA shot from inside Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, Cannon Beach. I treated myself to a piece of dark chocolate-covered seafoam and some haribo gummi cola bottles.

It is true that I don’t have the proverbial “village.” My generation is increasingly spread far and wide from what used to be traditional extended-family units. Its unfortunate. But it doesn’t mean I can’t have days like this when I need them. I don’t like the idea of leaving my children and husband behind, but in the end we all benefit.

What I need to do is make this a priority for myself. Hopefully, with practice, it will get easier.

The photos above are ones I instagrammed during my day. Do you use instagram? I finally decided to join the tide couple weeks ago. You can find paperseed on instagram here.


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Adorable Animal-Inspired Clothing for Kids

Brown Bear DressBrown Bear Girls Dress by Wild Things Dresses

I have seen some of the cutest little animal-inspired outfits and accessories lately. My kids would love them, I have no doubt. What kid wouldn’t? They are the perfect blend of daily-wear/play clothes and dress-up costume, all in one.

Here are a few of my favorites, including a neat DIY tutorial at the end for kitten flats that would be awesome for any age!

Fox Knit Scarf by Tre Melarance
Kids Fox Knit Scarf
Kids Fox Coat by Little Goodall
Kids Fox Coat Jacket
Girls Baby Mouse Dress by Wild Things Dresses
Gray Girls Mouse Dress Kids
DIY Cat Toe Shoes by Kate at Scathingly Brilliant
DIY Cat Kitten Painted Shoes

 


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“No Soliciting” Door Sign Printable

Welcome friend, we'd love to talk, but if you're a stranger, please don't knock. No soliciting.

Do you get a lot of door-to-door sales people in your neighborhood? We get one occasionally, and I am never happy about it. Somehow they always seem to choose naptime, and inevitably wake the kids by ringing the doorbell (which also makes the dog bark). Grr!

For the past few years we’ve had up a small, laminated “no soliciting” sign right underneath the doorbell. It has definitely cut down on the disturbance, and we’ve actually seen people come up the porch steps and then leave immediately. Hooray! But then there are those people who just don’t care, or say that they didn’t see it (really?!). Which makes me wonder if a bigger sign might be in order.

Welcome friend, we'd love to talk, but if you're a stranger, please don't knock. No soliciting.

I saw a cute one on Pinterest a while back (which I’m still looking for), which made me wonder if I could come up with a clever phrase of my own.  It is surprisingly challenging – if you sound too rude, you can put off those that you want to greet, yet the wording needs to be clear enough that the people you want to stay away understand your intention. You know what I mean?

The rhyme above is one that I thought up in the car the other day. It lets friends know they’re welcome, but tells strangers that we are not interested. What do you think? Is the message is clear?

Would you like your own copy to print? Because if so, you can download a printable copy of this same sign by clicking HERE or by clicking on the image at the top of this post.

Original doorway image taken from here.


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Minimalist Parenting Downloadable Ebook Giveaway!

Minimalist Parenting Co-Authors Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest

Happy Wednesday! I know I promised a free printable for today (which I promise to have tomorrow!), but we ended up going to a last minute birthday dinner for a family friend and I didn’t have time to pull it all together properly. You understand, right? I love writing for this blog, but sometimes life throws some surprises to which I just have to say yes. 🙂

However, I have some wonderful news to share! I got an email yesterday from the lovely Mrs. Asha Dornfest. She is providing one lucky Paperseed reader with a free downloadable e-copy of her brand new book Minimalist Parenting! If you read what I wrote here, or read her blog Parent Hacks, then you know that I am a big fan and that this book is filled with quality information and tactics on modern parenting without all the fuss and bother (well, at least ways to minimize the fuss and bother!). I am really enjoying my copy and I know that you would, too!

Just leave a comment here on this post before Friday at 5pm PST. The lucky winner will be chosen using random.org and notified via email (so be sure to provide one). Since the prize is digital, this giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. Best of luck!

Update: Charlotte is the Minimalist Parenting Ebook giveaway winner! I will be emailing you shortly with the code. Congratulations!!!

 


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DIY Chalkboard Painted Platter

DIY Spray Painted Chalkboard Platter
David and I have been married for almost nine years. Since much of our wedding was a DIY affair, we have several items leftover from that event, including a set of large serving trays from Ikea. To be honest, I’ve hardly ever used them, mostly because I don’t like the strange graphic on the front. At the time, they were just what we needed, and the image was easily covered by tissue paper or whatever was on it. I figured it was time to make them less ugly and more useful.

This is where chalkboard paint comes in. I used Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint in Flat Black. It took a couple coats to get the coverage I was looking for (see below), but the finish turned out surprisingly nice! I didn’t do any prepping either, just made sure it was clean and dry to begin with (I learned on this project that I do not like the effect of starting with a primer).

DIY Spray Painted Chalkboard Platter Steps

Ta-da!

Now I have an elegant serving platter that works for all occasions. And, even better, the kids have fun drawing on it! We have had it now for about 8 months and the chalkboard finish still looks as good as new. I will say that it doesn’t erase as easily as I’d like, but a simple washing with soap and water removes all traces of remaining chalk dust. Overall, it is quite handy, and gets more use now that when we first bought it.

Kids playing on the chalkboard platter

Do you like chalkboards? Or chalkboard lettering? Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a free printable as well as links to some lovely chalkboard fonts. See you then!


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Minimalist Parenting Book Launch Party

Minimalist Parenting Signed Book

Happy Monday! I hope you had a lovely weekend! I did something a little out of the ordinary this weekend, and decided to attend the launch party for a book called Minimalist Parenting. Have you heard of it? Since I recently began using twitter again, I was seeing links from one of the people I follow, who happens to be co-author Asha Dornfest of Parenthacks. I love the idea of minimalist parenting. There is so much information overload these days – books, experts, web sites, opinions, self-tests, studies… how can a parent who wants the best for his or her children not get overwhelmed?

Anyway, my husband was off fishing on Saturday so I had to take the kids with me. I admit I almost didn’t go. It was held so close to bedtime, but I knew it was a book I’d want to read, plus I wanted to support my fellow Portlander. And I’m glad I did! I got to meet Asha (who was so friendly, and completely gracious about my kids jumping off the stage while she was giving her talk) and got a signed, personalized copy! I’ve only just started the book, but I am already looking forward to the chapters on “Minimalizing your Home” and “Meal Planning for Real Life.” I truly think that anyone who comes to read here at Paperseed would find Minimalist Parenting an easy, thoughtful guide that focuses on whats important to us as individuals and parents.


Want to learn more? You can check out the Minimalist Parenting web page here, or join me in doing MinCamp, a free companion workshop which includes a different daily task each day for 14 days.  I signed up on Saturday and got my first email today. The task took only a few minutes and included an exercise in narrowing down what my personal priorities are as a parent. It seems simple, but we all know writing things down helps to keep us focused, even if we’re off track (as I know I get. A lot!). If you do end up reading the book, I’d love to know what you think of it!

P.S. Good news! Asha has provided a downloadable copy of Minimalist Parenting for one lucky winner. Just leave a comment on this giveaway post before Friday at 5pm PST to enter!

P.S.S This post is not a paid review, just my own personal opinion and experience.


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This and That: Links Worth Sharing

Kale Soup with carrots and beans

Friday is finally upon us! I have some amazing reads worth sharing this week. You may have already seen them from my twitter feed, but each of these ring with truths that have me shaking my head. And a couple are sure to make you laugh.

First, though, I wanted to share a recipe for Kale Soup. I tried it at my wonderful friend Greta’s house this past weekend and it was so good! Hearty and healthy with only basic prep and cooking time. I don’t have her exact recipe, but I was able to make it up from what I remembered. It is a lot like the one shown above from The Curvy Carrot, except with garbanzo beans and no cream. I also threw in some some turkey meatballs that I had from the freezer. This made a delicious lunch the next day (instagram photo here) and even the kids ate some!

 This post was my favorite read this week – about the four bases of a mom-to-mom relationship, amusingly called a ‘mom-lationship’.

Don’t miss reading The Sad Reality About Life as Adults, a Wake-up Call for Kids. The comparison chart had me laughing out loud!

And lastly, you have probably already seen this video of Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, but just in case you missed it:

Have a wonderful weekend!


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Wall Decor: Laser Cut Vinyl Record Clocks

 Vinyl Records made into laser-cut recycled repurposed clock art

For a long time, one of the more popular posts here on Paperseed was Melting a Vinyl Record into a Bowl. This was one of the first projects I shared (6 years ago!), and it was actually an experiment by my husband. Its funny to go back and read the comments, too. Some people had, um, strong opinions about “doing something so stupid as this.” But you know, it was truly an interesting project. Since then I’m reasonably sure that many more records have been altered into something other than their original intent, and I’m glad to know that sharing our results helped someone else.

Anyhow, one of my favorite shops on the Oregon Coast, Unfurl, recently posted these neat laser-cut vinyl record clocks ($40ea). Pretty cool, huh? I am not sure who makes them, but after a little research I think it was an Etsy shop that made it big.

If I was going to pick, I’d probably go with the elephant one. You can see more options here. Looking at them also makes me wonder if something similar can be done with a dremel, but don’t worry, I don’t plan on trying that any time soon.

Which one is your favorite? Do you feel strongly about re-using things that you feel still have value? Or are you inspired by seeing items turned into something completely different as long as they are still useful?


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Before and After: High Chair Seat Cushion & Cover

Hauck Alpha Chair with New Seat Cover

Ah, the plethora of kid stuff. I don’t know about you, but I thought we’d get by with a lot less gear than we actually have. I’d done my homework, read reviews and comparison shopped. I’d wanted to make the right choices the first time around. But the truth is, you don’t really know what will work until you try it in your own home with your own kid. Our first high chair, for example, had great reviews, two trays, folded for storage and could convert to a small chair for later. It sounded great in theory, but despite all those things we never liked it. The footprint was too wide, it was heavy, the trays were too big too clean in the sink, and we never folded and put it away between meals. What’s the point if it was going to be used 3+ times a day? We used it for both kids for the least amount of time possible.

As soon as Leo was old enough we switched him to a booster and tray set that sat on top of one of our dining chairs. It worked fine for a while, but I could see that Leo couldn’t rest his legs comfortably, plus it was too high to push under the table. We would all occasionally trip on the back legs. I began to look for other options.

Thanks to craigslist I found a like-new Hauck Alpha Chair for a bargain. It was and is the perfect chair for Leo. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll limit myself to saying that it is super sturdy, adjustable, comfortable, promotes good posture and he can climb into it easily by himself. It also matches the rest of our dining chairs (unlike Chloe’s Ikea Urban Junior Chair). Winner!

We’ve had the Alpha chair since January and just recently took the seat and the foot plate down a notch to accommodate Leo’s growth (my little boy is growing up!). Actually, the only thing I didn’t love about the chair was the seat pad. It was thin and lumpy. If food spilled on it, it would immediately stain. More like a bib than a seat cover. Yuck. Here is the “Before” photo:

Time for a new seat cushion! Here is what I sewed up to take its place:

Much improved wouldn’t you say?

My cushion cover skills were limited to the one I made for our storage bench years ago. This time I had to buy the foam padding and add a strap down system, too. Luckily it was easy to find a sheet of foam at Mill End and it easily cut down to size (the sheet was so large, that I also ended up making a cushion for under Barkley’s dog bed). I used the same strap/velcro system as on the original pad (see above photo), but I chose PUL (or polyurethane laminated fabric) for the covering. It is water resistant and popular for cloth diaper covers. It is easily also easily wiped clean or washed, and came in prints suitable for a young boy.

Leo sitting in his Hauck Alpha Chair

Much better!

So far the seat cushion has held up nicely during the past couple months. Makes me glad I took the time to do it right. Do you have a chair that could benefit from a new seat or cushion cover?


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Holland America Tulip Festival

Walking the u-pick tulip field with Chloe

Have you ever been to a tulip festival? Chloe and I came upon one by chance yesterday. We were a few hours into our homeward journey from a friend’s house north of Seattle and were more than ready to stretch our legs. This festival was at the Holland America Bulb Farm in Woodland, Washington. Such a sight! So many colors and so many gorgeous varieties. I’ve seen pictures of masses of blooms, but to see it in person…

smelling the bright pink tulips

This was our first tulip farm experience. We stayed about an hour, enough to browse the garden gifts, sample some “deep fried popcorn”, sniff some different varieties and wander among the u-pick area to select the stems we wanted to take home. Of course, I also took a lot of photos. While most of our drive had been rainy, the sun just happened to come out when we arrived. For the record, I did not alter the color of these photos at all. They were truly that rich and vibrant against the gray intensity of the sky.

In the colorful tulip field

smelling the yellow tulips

I’m so glad we took the opportunity to stop. It is so easy to focus on the destination, and not take time to savor the journey. A fitting and memorable reminder to “stop and smell the roses” (- er, tulips). Don’t you agree?

 


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Photo Friday: “Natural Light”

f/2.8  1/4000  iso 100

I shot this photo on Easter Sunday. You can tell that she is wearing the same dress from the egg hunt, but she didn’t want to change into anything else. Normally I don’t like to have a subject right in the middle of a photo, but I think it kinda works here. Photo Friday link up here.

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