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Flashlight Valentine Card: Making it your own

I’ve gotten several lovely comments on the Flashlight Valentine Card printable, including one from Melissa. She wrote:

These are so cute! I was sitting here trying to design my own cards for flashlights. Nothing was working so off to Google I went for new ideas and bam I found your post. Thanks for the download. You saved my afternoon.

Isn’t that so nice? So then, on a whim, I replied with my thanks and mentioned how I’d love to see her end result, if she felt like sharing. To my delight, she followed up soon after with these two photos and a reply:

Hi Emily.  Attached is a couple pictures of what we did.  I had found the flashlights in town.  Loved how cute your finger ones were.  The kids were so excited to give them to their friends – I have 3.  I had been struggling all week trying to find just the right font.  So I was very excited to find your printable.  I didn’t have white card stock since I had planned on printing the ones I created on a kraft colored paper.  The colors would have been more vibrant had I used white card stock.  But I still like how they turned out. Thanks again for sharing your work.

Well, those words made my day! And also, I found it very interesting to see how Melissa chose to use a hole punch and secure her mini-flashlights with curling ribbon. I think they turned out great! Neat!

Thanks again, Melissa, for taking the time to share your project and for allowing me to share it too! 🙂

 

 


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Before & After: Spray painted rocking chair DIY

I am often amazed at the spray painted transformations that you find among DIYers on the internet. So many inspiring projects! I wanted to give it a try, and this was my first painting effort – a wooden rocking chair that Chloe’s grandparents found for her. It looked to be well-used by the time we got it, with stains and pencil marks and a replaced dowel on the back. But Chloe loved it and so did I. It just needed a little freshening up.

Since there are plenty of “how-tos” on spray painting, here are a few things I learned from this project:

1. Keep a large cardboard box for a ground cover. It doesn’t blow around like plastic.

2. Don’t use primer unless you have to. I wanted to do this project “right,” including primer for best adhesion and coverage. However, the primer was rough and somewhat gritty, which required more sanding. I realized too late that the original chair would have been fine un-primed, and would have saved a lot of work.

3. One can of spray paint was not enough. This meant that I had to make a second trip to the store, and with a new baby and toddler, it took a while until I could get back there. Also, the first can of paint didn’t spray very well. I thought it was my technique, but it turned out there was just something off about that particular can.

4. In the case of this chair, it was better to start with it turned upside down, giving it a good coat(s), letting it dry, and then finishing it right side up.

5. Try not to let weeks (or months) go by from start to finish. Because I left it with a coat of rough primer for a long stretch of time, Chloe kind of got out of the habit of sitting in it (that or because the cold set in, she now prefers her little upholstered rocking chair instead). However, we have another kid who will love it once he gets a little older (and a big reason we didn’t choose the color pink!).

 


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DIY Baby Mustache Pacifier + Printable Template PDF

Doesn’t it seem like the majority of the really cute “make for baby” projects are geared toward girls? I was reviewing the baby craft tutorial list and saw only a few for little boys. That got me thinking. What would be a fun and easy project to make for the baby?

How about mustache pacifiers!

These are hilarious. I’ve included the above printable pdf to download with several different styles. Handlebar mustache, anyone? Or perhaps a curling fu manchu? There are both Soothies and Avent pacifiers in our house, so that is what I used for sizing. You can cut the shapes straight from the printed sheet or use the template to cut the mustaches out of felt, as I did. Double stick tape worked well, although, if your child is older, you may want to do a better job of securing it, perhaps with hot glue or super glue.

Score one more for the boys club!

Common sense precaution: These are just a novelty. You probably shouldn’t leave your child unattended while using a mustache pacifier.

Copyright Note: Downloads are for personal, non-commercial use only. In addition, please do not redistribute or modify any of the templates. If you’d like to link to the pdf, please link to this post directly. Thanks!


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Live Butterfly Garden

My go-to gift for kids this summer has been Insect Lore’s Live Butterfly Garden. After about the third gift, and hearing rave reviews, I finally ordered one for myself Chloe. Basically, the kit comes with a mesh “habitat” container in which to place the caterpillars once they become chrysalides. Before that happens, you have to order the caterpillars online or by mail using the code from the kit. Ours came in about a week. It included 5 tiny caterpillars in a clear plastic cup, complete with food. We’ve been watching them grow daily, and now they are huge! Just this morning we found the first one attached to the roof, within its chrysalis. How exciting!

When I looked at them again around lunch time, I noticed the chrysalide was shaking like a leaf. I took a video of it below. According to the pamplet the shaking was “a natural instinct to ward of predators.” Huh. The other caterpillar attached to the roof looks like it’s praying, utterly still with its head reverently bent. If I become fanciful, I can imagine it in a medatative state, gathering its focus and praying for strength for the miraculous metamorphosis to come.

5 Crazy Painted Lady Butterfly Facts:

  • She tastes with her feet.
  • She has 10,000 eyes.
  • She breathes through her abdomen.
  • She can lay up to 500 eggs.
  • She may travel 1,000 miles in her lifetime.

Anyway, it has been interesting, and I really hope to see them transform. When I was in grade school we did a similar project, except almost all of the class insects failed. Majorly disappointing. It is nice to have this opportunity again, and to share it as a family. Hopefully this time it will be a success and we’ll have beautiful butterflies to release in a couple weeks!

Update: See photos of our emerged butterflies here!


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Bird silhouette magnets + template pdf

I’ve been meaning to make a little handmade something to put in the mail for someone who likes birds. I finally sat down and came up with this – felt bird magnets! After choosing some simple silhouettes, I cut them out of stiffened eazy felt. Then I cut the same shapes slightly smaller out of a re-used piece of adhesive magnet to apply to the back. I hope she likes them!

Would you like to make a set of your own? If so, you can click the image above or download the bird silhouette template pdf here.


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Recycled Gift Crafts

blog action day

In response to this year’s blog action day on the environment, I thought I’d list 7 recycled craft ideas that I really like, including links to their instructions. Besides ending up with a wonderful, handmade gift (for you or someone else!), recycling also conserves energy, natural resources, saves landfill space, and most of all, saves money! So instead of throwing away that moth eaten sweater, scratched record, old candles, and empty glass jars, use them instead to create these useful recycled crafts…

Recycled Envelopes
Make unique envelopes by recycling calendars, magazines, maps, sheet music or any other unused papers that you might have lying around. There are several places where you can download templates, including here, here or here, or you can simply find an envelope you like, unfold it and trace.

Recycled calendar kitten envelopes from kimmzy’s flickr photostream

Recycled magazine paper envelopes from janick’s flickr photostream

Recycled Sweater Crafts
I can’t resist these projects made from old sweaters. Leave it to Martha Stewart (and her staff and guests) to come up with such beautiful handmade items. Here are instructions on her website to make recycled sweater mittens (including video!), pouches, pillow covers, soft toys and stuffed animals, christmas stockings and a felted knitting basket.

Homemade Gel Air Freshener
Air fresheners are a nice way to reuse smaller glass jars from baby foods, jams, and fancy condiments. You can even learn to punch fancy lid designs by adapting this project. Add a little extra flair with descriptive labels or decorative embellishments.

gel air fresheners

Pinecone Firestarters
Cozy winter fires are so fun. I only wish our house had a fireplace! Nevertheless, its nice to use all those pinecones in our backyard for something. According to Orvis’ website, pinecone firestarters are “an environmentally friendly and totally sustainable way to start a fire,” plus “there is no messy residue because the wax burns away completely.” So save those chemically treated firestarter sticks and use these babies instead! The perfect opportunity to use up the wax from old, burnt-down candle ends. Instead of paying a small fortune at Orvis or LLBean, it’s easy to make your own firestarter gift baskets. Try these directions here, here or here.

pinecone firestarters

Melted Vinyl Record Bowl
This is a project I’ve mentioned before. These bowls are so easy and fun to make, and there are a ton of old records just waiting to be recycled in this way. Because of the hole in the center, these bowls work best for larger items like fruit, or candy, or it can be used as a catch-all for keys and wallets.

recycled record

Recycled Paint Chip Business Card Holder
I’ve also written a post on these before, but I still think it is one of the coolest projects. Plus these could be used to hold more than just business cards – maybe a tiny set of note paper or sticky notes, or a miniature stack of bookmarks made of recycled greeting cards, even toothpicks! The possibilites are endless. Instructions and templates can be found at Designverb.

recycled paint chip business card holder

Plastic Bag Messenger Bag
My husband found this video on youtube for making a messenger bag by ironing plastic bags. It’s a bit more involved, but the result is SO COOL! Check it out:

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