Friday, May 4, 2018

Simple Construction Themed Birthday Party

If you are familiar with my blog, you might have seen some of my older posts highlighting the details of my children's birthday parties. For some crazy reason, I like to pick themes that apparently don't exist.  At least on Pinterest- which let's be fair, in the DIY world that's where it's at. Because of that, I love to share the details with you here so that someday when you want that theme for your child's party you will be able to find a few things on the topic.

Wondering what in the world these themes were?
My son's 2nd birthday was "My Favorite Books" (perfect for kids who don't watch t.v./have favorite characters or who love reading).

The other was my daughter's 1st birthday which was a "Little One Big Adventure" theme. That theme by itself is very popular, but I found there was little to nothing out there for a more "girlish" perspective on it.

When my son turned 3 however, he wanted a 'Construction" theme. This idea was EVERYWHERE! I had so many cute DIYs in my Pinterest folder and started to get carried away. I couldn't possibly incorporate every cute idea I saw into the party. So I decided to make it simple. Often times we get a little carried away with parties and themes and we lose sight of what it's about: Celebrating this cool little guy and making it fun for him on his special day.

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links gives me a small commission which I use to help bring you more content. This is at no additional charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

I did create my own special element though (hint, hint, it's a pretty special pinata)... scroll down to see what it is. Read on to see how I went simple to create a perfect party for my favorite little guy:

Is it really possible to have simple decor that doesn't cost much, take a lot of effort and still look put together? YES. Here's how:

Step 1- Theme the food.

It's the only thing besides *maybe* seeing your kid that people actually care about. So get good food and make it fit your theme to add a little extra fun.  Here are some ideas to get you started. We themed the foods for his second birthday party as well (it's easy to do!)

Incorporate dump trucks and other construction vehicles into the food setup to help draw in the theme. We just used some we already had around the house (clean them well before putting food in them!)

Using Picmonkey or even the Paint program, create "signs" that look like they belong on the construction site. Don't forget to include your creative names for foods!

I also made those "Dig In" signs (just printed on cardstock) and taped them to a section from my son's construction themed train set!  Add a few little worker guys and some safety cones and voila! Easy decor.

Print out some "Gas and Diesel" signs for the drinks and they are done...

I'm about to real with y'all. I saw this adorable idea for construction cone cups on Pinterest. You just take tape and wrap it around plastic cups. It SUCKED. The tape is hard to get to lay flat on the curved cup and maybe I'm just not that skilled but I made about 3 of them and stopped. Never again..

To finish up the food area, I put all the utensils in a toolbox we had lying around (my husband is a shop teacher so he had about 5 of these in storage from class projects!) Even though the red didn't match I wasn't about to re-paint it. The black, white and yellow looked great in there anyways!

Again, sign made on my computer & printed on cardstock. Themed wording of course...

Step 2: Decorations

Here's where it gets real easy. Assuming your kid already has some construction toys lying around (and they probably do if that's the theme you went with) your decorations are practically done! Grab some black tablecloths, run strips of yellow streamers down the middle and smack some construction vehicles on there. Boom, done.

We LOVE this CAT construction trucks set (a few of them seen in the bottom right photo). Both of my kids love to play with them and they have held up really well, especially for being inexpensive. (and they are great for little hands).

Of course, balloons and streamers are a classic party decor for kids. And we all know that those cheap dollar store balloons will get played with more than any gift from the party.

I made one final sign for the gift "table" (or in our case, gift fireplace) that says "dump gifts here". Cut up a few streamers and add a garbage truck and you're done. (Okay, a garbage truck isn't technically 'construction' but my son was (is still!) obsessed with this toy so we had to include it. Obsessed y'all.

I also snagged these plastic safety cones and open frisbees from the dollar store hoping to create a fun game of  "ring toss" but no one really played it (maybe if it were outdoors they would have). Oh well.

Step 3- Add cake

Because, what is a party without cake? This is my favorite theme ever to make a cake because its supposed to look bumpy, messy and all dug up! Perfect for someone who can't manage to put together a cake without breaking it (ahem.. me.) Just make a cake, put it together (or don't... like my giant clumps that were mostly frosting), frost in brown chocolate and cover with crushed oreos.

Using more toys as props, set up a simple construction scene. (I recommend buying a cheap set from the dollar tree for this because these toys will get messy. We still kept ours after cleaning them off but just incase you can't get it all clean it's not worth big bucks)

Add a few of these adorable safety cone candles and remove crushed oreo in the shape of your child's age and that's it!

Use leftover crushed oreo to create "mounds of dirt" or to put in the buckets of the toys vehicles.

My son is more of an ice-cream guy than cake but he had a BLAST playing in it after everyone else had their slice.

Okay, and a little before everyone had a slice...

Okay, okay... it was pretty hard to resits playing in all the food with all these great toys around!

Did you see his shirt?

Since we own our own small business that makes shirts, we of course always make our kids their own birthday shirts. Although we do always seem to be making it the day before/day of the party #procrastination #allotherordersfirst  However, if you have a Silhouette or a Cricut you can easily make your own shirts too!

He loves his "Diggin' Being Three" shirt and always tells people it says that when we wears it! (We actually didn't heat press the back design and removed it after the party so he can wear it year round!)

I would love if you followed my small business on facebook or instagram, we have a lot of fun on there & would love to have you!

Last but not least: the pinata! 

This was my favorite element from the party and although the most time consuming, I'm so glad we had it. This was the first time I've ever made my own pinata (Pinterest is full of tutorials) and I think it went pretty well.  I made a round(ish) ball shape, painted it black and hung it from a string on the wall.

I used yellow poster boards and black cardstock and hand drew (Yes, I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm not generally much of an artist) a large crane.  For the brick backdrop I used the thicker foam board and painted it to look like brick. I did this because I didn't want paint from the pinata to come off on the wall. Turns out the 3M I used to hang it up tore the paint off the wall anyways so it probably didn't matter! Oops.

[Very] last minute I thought to print off a photo of my son and add him as the 'driver'. That's why he has lines on his face- because I have a crappy printer. Be better than be, print this ahead of time!

My son was the only one who used the pinata (it was a family only party and no other kids were there when we did it) but he still got to smash something into the wall *without getting in trouble!* and got lots of little treats. I got a really cool decor piece for the party. Win-Win.

What's your favorite element?

I hope you feel inspired to create a simple but well put together party for your Construction themed birthday. At the time my favorite was the pinata but seeing how tickled my son is about the shirt 6 months later, I'm pretty glad we made that too.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Re-purpose a Desk into a Changing Station!

I like to give my husband a hard time (as many of us do with our significant others) but I have to admit: the man steps up every single time I have some furniture based dream in my head. Whether that's a plan for a detailed wall collage, a made-up dresser design (post coming soon) or a baby changing table, I tell him what I want and he somehow magically makes it happen.

And y'all I'm going to be real honest with you. I love this changing table. I love it so much. But I've literally used it for changing diapers about a dozen times between our two children.  Oh it makes my husband so mad. He doesn't understand how awesome it is as a whole that it doesn't really need to be used for changing diapers anyways. Oops. (You never know what kind of a parent you are going to be until you are one, am I right? Turns out I'm a "change 'em on the floor" kind of mom).

So here it is as it stands in all its glory today:

Want to know the story? I'll keep it brief. I didn't love any of the changing stations that I found online or in stores. I honestly can't remember why, but they either didn't have the right kind of storage or I didn't like the color/material, etc. I explained to my husband the kind of drawers I was looking for (some very shallow for small things like nail clippers and diaper creme, others very deep for cloth diapers and receiving blankets) and he suggested that we use this old dorm room style desk that he had from college:

"That's perfect!" I thought, except I don't feel comfortable with the changing pad just sliding around on the top. So what did my amazing and patient husband do? He made a custom top for it that can easily be taken off so that someday we can use this as a desk again if we want! Here's what it looks like (pre-paint job):

It can also be flipped the other way so that the front has a lip on it instead. As you can see in the above and below photos, the wood goes down farther along the outside edges "locking" it onto the desk so that it doesn't slide around.

He made sure to include an open but boxed in area for me to keep things I didn't want to get in and out of drawers every time to use (like the wipes warmer which literally never got used- again, you don't know what you're going to use until you're in it!)  This design is so simple and easy but really hit the nail on the head in becoming exactly what I wanted.

We then painted the top attachment and the original desk in a taupe/light brown color (to match my son's Peter Rabbit Nursery)  Here's how it looked in my son's room (first photo) and then now in my daugher's room (second photo):

{Using a desk also allows you to have the perfect space underneath for a laundry basket or trashcan. We had the tall trashcan for cloth diapers off to the side}

{I can't express the frustration I have with terrible lighting in my house. You'll hear me complain about it in almost every blog post. We have these amazingly adorable nurseries and you can't tell because even my best editing still looks like an old film camera! Anyone else? Commiserate with me!}

What do you think?
Are you sold on the idea of using already owned furniture to DIY your own diaper changing station? Not only are there some more options for styles/design but you've got great underneath storage for baskets AND best of all you can easily remove the top and keep using it long after your babe has outgrown the diaper phase! I'm so tickled that my husband came up with this for us and although I rarely change a diaper on it, it gets plenty of use and love every day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Printable Questionnaire & Coloring Page about 'Grandma'

Although grandmas deserve a private island, 62 million dollars and a personal army of adorable snuggly puppies that house-train themselves & bring fresh beverages on demand, most of us probably can't give that to our amazing moms this Mother's Day. But for a grandma, hearing the sweet words & drawings from their ever-precious grandbabies is just as good. That's why I put together a few printables for you to have your child fill out (or you write down their answers for them) and color to show grandma just how special she is this Mother's Day.

You might want to throw in some chocolate too. And in my kids' mamaw's case: a large Code Red Mountain Dew.  Can't go wrong with "from the mouth of babes", chocolate and caffeine. It's the triple threat.

Just download (link below pics) and print! 

Enjoy! Happy Mother's Day. [note: on my printer I had to click "shrink to fit" so that it didn't fill it to the edge. I recommend testing one out before printing multiples to make sure your computer settings are correct.]

Download questionnaire HERE

Download Coloring Page HERE

Because I have the best mom in the world who actually reads all of my blog posts, I can't share our finished one here but I'd love to hear some of your little ones' sweet responses! Share them on my facebook page or in the comments below!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My Favorite Baby Shoes- {Review & Giveaway}

Have you ever received a gift and thought it was cute and then after actually using it you became obsessed with it?  That happens with me all the time. Or sometimes I think I'm going to love something and end up hating it.  It just goes to show that I don't know what I like!   These days I mostly buy products for my kids because, well #momlife.  When I find something really really good, I like to share it with you because I know a lot of you are moms and dads too.  Even better? When the company lets me give away a pair!!! Guys, I'm in love.

[Disclaimer: I have received free product from Clamfeet in exchange for an honest review.  I only collaborate with companies that I personally use and trust.  All opinions are my own and from my own experience.  Giveaway items are a gift from Clamfeet.]

So here's the deal. I received a pair of these adorable baby shoes (in the gwynth style) as a gift when my daughter was born.  I'm not big on putting babies in shoes but I gave them a shot when the weather got cool.  That's all it took. I. was. hooked.  She just recently has started to outgrow them so I looked up their website to see about getting more. Upon scrolling through all the beautiful prints and reading the backstory about this amazing small business I loved them even more! I'll keep it brief but let me tell you why I like them so much and what makes this company extra special:

Why I like them:

Number 1: They stay on babe's feet. Obviously this is a big deal.  We've only owned about 2 brands of shoe that actually stayed on our baby's feet.  This leads me to my next point:

{Moccasin style elastic at the ankle keeps these little shoes on and ready for action!}

Number 2: They are half the cost of the other "stay on their feet" shoe that we own.  I used to be a big advocate for the other company- that was until I found these. I'm never going back.

Number 3: They are machine washable. That's right. I literally toss them into a regular load of laundry and they come out good as new. I've washed ours multiple times and they look amazing, especially considering how dirty my daughter gets them!

{Same shoes about 1.5 hours apart after being washed in the machine with a load of kid's clothes}

Number 4: They're cute!  I'm shocked at how many cute fabric prints they have available for boys and girls.

{These are the 2nd pair we've owned, in print style June... my daughter's name! It was a sign I had to get them!}

Here's my top 'boy' prints:

And my top 'girl' prints (that I don't own... yet):

Of course, lots of these prints are actually pretty gender neutral.  They also have more solid colored options if you aren't looking for a wild print!  Check out the full list of options (because I don't have room to share them all here!)

So what makes them so special?

Not sold on them yet? How about this:

Number 1: This business is owned and operated by a woman named Julie.  I don't mean she's the big CEO that oversees everything I mean, she literally sews your shoes.  This is a true small business success story and my heart is melting over it!  (check out her instagram to see her setup!)

Number 2: All of her patterns are either created by Julie herself or independent artists (and printed in North Carolina!) How's that for unique product?

Number 3: I know I said this in the previous bullet points, but they are WASHABLE!  If you have kids already, you'll know this is enough said.

Number 4: This is a biggie.  These shoes are made from completely vegan materials and lined with an organic lining.  Do a little research on the other shoes you are buying and you will see that few use sustainable resources like Clamfeet does! Cute shoes. Great price. Good for the environment. It's a win-win-win.

{I love how flexible these shoes are! I'm a big believer in the idea that kids should go barefoot but that's just not possible sometimes. That's why I love shoes that give my child some protection while also allowing for foot movement and being able to feel their surroundings better than with a standard hard sole}

Is there anything I don't like?

Of course, no product is perfect.  I do have my complaints.  Although it says that "baby shoes" (sizes 1-5) are indoor/outdoor, the larger sizes are meant for indoor use only.  (This is because the smaller sizes are more of a moccasin style where as the bigger ones are more of a slipper sock style). I would LOVE to get a matching pair for me that I could wear out and about!  I may have to get some with a grip bottom and wear them outside anyway... be a rebel and all.  She will substitute any size shoe with the "grip" bottom though if you ask- so don't worry about your little walker sliding around!

(For the record, my daughter walked for a few months on the faux suede bottom and had no trouble sliding around as she walked- although she did have a little trouble climbing the plastic slide!) but we have mostly carpeted floors so if you have any doubts, ask for the grip bottom!

{This is the grip bottom. See my "before & after" picture above for the faux suede}

I bet you are pretty psyched about these shoes now aren't you?  Well hold on to your hats folks (I've always wanted to say that) because we're GIVING A PAIR AWAY!!!  It's easy to enter, just follow the Rafflecopter prompts below and complete the tasks.  One lucky winner will be chosen randomly on March 30, 2018.  Make sure you are following Cut, Craft, Create on facebook because I usually post some "bonus entry" options for my giveaways that you wont want to miss!

Giveaway is for (1) pair of Clamfeet shoes in the size of your choice (in sizes 1-4) and fabric of your choice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 9, 2018

Library Books (dry erase!) Sign & Storage

If you know me in person, you would know that I'm obsessed with books.  Me personally? Well no- I haven't read anything in the last 3 years that wasn't based around some parenting philosophy (and even those I skimmed for the good parts).  But children's books- yes. Most definitely. One hundred and ten percent, can't get enough, completely and utterly obsessed. It's been a while since I've counted up our books but I think we personally own over 300 stories.  We also go to the library every week for story time and to check out between 10-15 new titles.

Because we have books in every corner of our house, car and lives I needed a place to keep library books organized and separated.  This has become especially true since I've started hitting up the library's book sales. Even though I black out the labels, I still occasionally try to return a book that I bought from them! I've made my own picture frame dry erase board before and I thought I'd take the same concept and make myself a little library books reminder board!

I already had this frame because it's such a nice size and shape I was saving it for something!  Head to your local thrift store to find a big frame for cheap.  It doesn't matter what is on the mat or photo area because it'll be covered anyways!

Here's what you'll need:

It's so easy to make! 

First, remove the mat from the frame and use it as a pattern on the wrapping paper.  When cutting, make sure to give an extra half inch on each side to allow the wrapping paper to fold around the mat after it's cut.

Cut it out.

Glue down the outside edges of the wrapping paper to the mat.  For this type of project, stick glue works just fine. Cut a large "X" out of the middle and trim the wrapping paper down so that you have just enough to fold around the mat on the inside as well.

Glue it down.

Next, you need to make the actual sign.  I would have printed up something a little nicer but my printer was out of commission (as is often the case) and I wanted it done NOW so I wrote it out by hand.  It looks pretty good for handwritten and it gets the job done. If you have easy access to a printer though, you might want to type something up.

Glue it down centered in the hole of the mat. (add tape if you want it extra secure)

Put the back of the frame back on and that's it!  My son had fun drawing on it immediately.  Luckily I went to erase it shortly after because I didn't realize that he was drawing with a sharpie.  Oops!  Note: Permanent marker is not easily erasable!  Use dry erase ones for daily use!

Hang your sign on the wall above a wooden crate.  I put ours in the empty corner between my kids' rooms since library books are split between them and it's the perfect space for this!  You can attach the marker with string, or just lay it on top of the frame like I do.  It's tall enough the kids can't mess with it.

I wish I would have made my writing in black instead of grey. I thought it'd be better in making the dry erase marker stand out but its hard to see in pictures. (It's visible in person).  Otherwise, I LOVE how this project turned out. We use it every week!  Bonus- my kids love it too!