We’ve just returned from a week-long vacation to Florida, and while the rest of the world is defining big aspirations for the year ahead, I’m setting a goal to crawl out from under a massive pile of laundry before returning to work on Monday.
It’s not even October yet, but we’re in full-on Halloween mode at our house. This weekend we set up a small cemetery in our front yard … more on that soon. In the meantime, here are some lanterns that Jenna and I made recently using a simple melted crayon technique. You can read the full tutorial on Modern Parents, Messy Kids today.
Jenna has asked to be a skeleton princess for Halloween. While past years have been filled with ladybug, kitten and other sweet costume themes, this year is the first time that something on the spookier side has been requested. Kind of a turning point, I think.
In addition to her dress (which we purchased here), she’s also asked for matching jewelry. We decided to make the jewelry ourselves, and last weekend we got started on a few rings and necklaces. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, and even if I don’t dress up this year, I’ll definitely be sporting some matching skeleton princess rings.
When I wrote this post earlier in the week about copper spray paint, I mentioned a similar project using copper contact paper. And while I had purchased the contact paper along with the spray paint, I hadn’t actually completed said project. Over the course of the week, I attempted to cover a small cylindrical vase with contact paper. Wow. I had no idea how difficult it would be. The sides of the vase were perfectly straight - no tapering at all – and, yet, there seemed to be no way the paper would adhere smoothly to the vase.
So that’s when I started thinking, how can I make this easier? (more…)
We returned from our vacation with quite a few seashells that we collected on the beach. Today on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, I’m sharing a project for remembering your vacation while also storing your souvenir treasures.
This weekend I attended a class on vertical succulent gardening at the Dallas Arboretum. I don’t think I would have figured out how to create a structure strong enough to support sideways plants and soil, so I was pretty excited to have an expert walk me through step-by-step. And I haven’t yet installed my garden along a wall, but when I turn it sideways, it seems to stay in place pretty well.
We started with the following materials:
Wooden Frame (our instructor made his own out of fence wood)
Light soil suitable for succulents (our instructed recommended this soil mixed with crushed shells)
Here are the steps we followed:
Step 1: To create a strong framework, we cut the plastic netting and black mesh into rectangles that were slightly larger than the size of our frames. We pressed the plastic netting into the frame and stapled it along the inside of the frame; we repeated this step with the mesh fabric and trimmed both so that there wasn’t any extra coming out of the frame.
Step 2: Fill the frame with soil. We used a mix of lightweight soil and crushed shells. While sand is often mixed into soil for succulents, our instructor cautioned against this because it adds extra weight to the structure.
Step 3: Secure the flat piece of wood to the frame using screws.
Step 4: Once the framework was complete, we selected our succulents and arranged our design by setting the plants on top of the grid before we started planting.
Step 5: To plant each succulent, we cut a small square out of the netting and mesh – cutting an almost 2-inch square per 3 inch plant. Inserting each plant into the grid was the hardest part. We had to push all of the soil in the frame out of the way and then push the plant in, using a pencil to help push the base of the plant further into the soil.
I’ve been working on Jenna’s closet for an upcoming post on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, and one of the items in need of an update was her mirror. It’s a basic, tall, white-framed mirror that we most likely purchased at Target or IKEA years ago. It’s held up pretty well, but it just didn’t fit the girly look I was going for.
My solution: add a border of paper half circles to create a scalloped frame.
Here’s how I did it. For a more sturdy and permanent solution, you could also use balsam wood circles (found at many craft stores) painted in any color.
Buzzfeed recently asked me to participate in their DIY craft series. I was thrilled to be invited but also a bit intimidated. I’m crafty in a glitter and glue gun sort of way, but the theme was Lightbulbs. Eek. Luckily, my husband knows his way around Radio Shack and was willing to dedicate quite a bit of time to creating battery-powered lights to make my lightbulb centerpiece idea see the light of day. Thank you, Joe. I could never have done this one without you.
My children don’t actually understand the rules of dominoes, but they love aligning the little pieces in all sorts of configurations and carefully stacking them sideways only to knock them down in a quick procession. This year, I made a set of Valentine’s themed dominoes using small rectangular pieces of wood purchased at the craft store and paper-punched heart shapes.
This time of year, I always start to crave greenery. Winter has just taken hold in Texas, and I’m already wishing for Spring. My response is usually to buy indoor plants, something I’ve done in full force this year. I also added a new terra cotta planter to our growing collection of containers, and over the weekend I painted it white and added a large gold heart. Now I’m ready for Spring and Valentine’s Day.
I’ve been seeing all sorts of hand-drawn dishes popping up on Pinterest lately. Using no more than Sharpie markers and plain dinnerware, it seems you can create gorgeous designs. I love the look of these – and the idea of Jenna designing her own set of dishes – but was a little skeptical about how well the markers would work. We tried it out this weekend, and the results are pretty awesome. I think I might need to run to Ikea soon to buy more inexpensive china.
We each drew our our designs on the plates. For me, it was a little intimidating to get started. I don’t draw very well and there’s little possibility for correction with the markers. I tried to wipe off an area that I wanted to redo, but the color didn’t budge. It seemed to dry immediately. I later discovered that the color doesn’t hold up very well in the dishwasher, so if you end up with a design you don’t like, just wash the dish in the dishwasher instead of baking it in the oven and it will likely come off entirely.
Once we were finished with our drawings, we baked the dishes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and let everything cool in the oven before removing.
This was a ton of fun for both Jenna and me and the markers worked really well. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to hold up in the dishwasher. I tried washing them in the dishwasher and the design of one plate was perfectly intact, while another disappeared entirely. For now, I’ll probably hand-wash them.
I think our designs are pretty adorable and would work great as teacher gifts and Valentine’s Day gifts. I also think I might try this as a children’s activity during our next dinner party.