GIVEAWAY: vinyl wall art

We have another great giveaway for you today from Vinyl Wall Art!

I’ve shared several times here recently about using vinyl decals with DIY projects including bookshelves & prant boxes.  I totally ♥ decals!  They are SO easy to use and far less time consuming then having to paint wall murals or detail work on smaller DIY projects! You can have a great piece of art in just minutes!

Remember our IKEA PRÄNT box hack? I used these awesome birch tree decals that Vinyl Wall Art was nice enough to custom-resize & inverse for me:

I love their decals – I first found them when I was pregnant and drooling over thousands of decal listings on Etsy. I wanted a tree for Sophie. I looked at dozens, but kept going back to Vinyl Wall Art’s tree… And of course when I went to order their tree, I saw the birds! So I ordered the tree & the birds for Sophie’s wall.

My husband painted her nursery on Mothers Day 2010 for me, and then after 2 weeks (recommended time for paint to dry before applying decals) he put them up for me:

Sophie loves her room, and one of her first words was “owl” (pronounced “all) – she’d stand in the crib looking up at her owl in the morning. She likes her birds along her crib rail too. :)

I loved Vinyl Wall Art’s Forest Decal Kit but didn’t have a good wall in her room to use them, so I figured when we buy a house, I’d put them in her new room!

Then one day, my college roommate, who is adopting a baby from Korea,  posted photos of her daughters room which have the tree decals I love, so I asked her if I can post some pictures of Zoey’s room!

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Vinyl Wall Art has a ton of other awesome decals on their website as well as available through etsy. And they were kind enough to offer to sponsor a giveaway for our readers for $25 gift certificates for 2 lucky winners so you can try their projects for your own home or DIY projects!

Wall Vinyl Art will provide a “voucher” that is as good as a PayPal credit – you can use it to pay for the item as well as shipping cost – what ever you want. It will maintain a positive balance until used, so you don’t have to use it all at once if you want to buy a few small decals at a time!

Enter via Rafflecopter.
Giveaway is available worldwide!


organic elephant giveaway – in celebration of Luca’s arrival

As a member of The Artisan Group, I had the opportunity to include one of my elephant softies  in a gift bag for Hilary Duff & her baby boy back in November made with organic fabric sponsored by
Birch Fabrics  from their Mod Basics collection and filled {with love} and bamboo-blend fiberfil!

This week, Hilary sent out this message on Twitter:

“Welcome to the world, Luca Cruz Comrie!  
Tuesday evening, we became proud parents of a healthy 7 pound, 6 ounce beautiful boy.”
So, in celebration of Luca’s arrival, we thought we’d give away an elephant softie identical to the one we gifted Hilary & Luca with in November! He measures 6×9″ and is the perfect pal for your favorite kid!

Enter our giveaway below for a chance to win the elephant above! Giveaway ends at 11:59pm April 1, 2012


a Rafflecopter giveaway<a href=””>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.

These elephants are available to purchase for $20 at Little Free Radical on Etsy! 
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DIY IKEA Hack: CIRKUSTÄLT children’s tent makeover

When I went to IKEA last fall to get the LÄTT children’s table & chairs and APA toybox for Sophie, I saw this awesome little CIRKUSTÄLT children’s tent  on display for just $19.99!!!

of course for that price I wanted to buy it, even if I disliked the colors but loved the shape/style and the size of the tent!

Of course, when you offer a tent for under $20, everyone wants one, so IKEA in Stoughton was sold out. I went home and looked online to see if New Haven, CT had any… then looked IKEA to IKEA to see if I could have a friend of of state ship one to me. everyone was sold out. and I was bummed. I found it on eBay in UK, but international shipping would have meant I’d pay $65 for the $20 tent, so I stalked IKEAs product availability online for weeks waiting til they got the tent back in stock.


But all the weeks of waiting gave me plenty of time to plot exactly what I did want to do with my tent!
I went back to IKEA to look at how it was assembled and realized it was 2 round hoops – one for the bottom, and one for the top, with 4 supports that run up the sides in a ‘tube’ of material, secured into plastic pieces at the bottom (see assembly instructions). For an experienced sewer, it seemed easy enough!
So when the tent was finally back in stock, I called my husband at work and told him, “we need to go to IKEA tonight!” I wasn’t going to take chances of it selling out again!  So, I brought home the tent and sat on the couch watching movies while I dissected it piece-by-piece with a seam ripper to see how it was assembled and to make a template for a new tent!

First, I removed the hoop from the casing it was sewn into for the top of the tent structure. But, I decided to keep the grey tent bottom it came with, so I had to separate the bottom from the rest of the tent. so along the seam, I used scissors to separate the sides from the bottom.

Next I measured out the pieces. Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, I decided to use the following measurements.

Constructing the tent sides:

  • Front Doors were 13″ wide x 28″ tall  so I cut 2 pieces 15″ x 30″ to allow for 1/2 in seams – knowing if it was slightly too big in width, it would just overlap more in the front.
  • Tent Sides seemed to be approximately a 97.5″ circumference so I cut a piece 100″x 30″
  • Sculpted flags – I pulled one off (with a seam ripper) and made a template to cut 16 flags (32 pieces).    
  • Pole Supports – I made these much wider then necessary because I wanted to use contrasting fabric. for the bottom, I think I cut 3″ wide strips and ironed the sides under.
  • Pockets –  I made 2 pockets with a 13×7″ finished side.

I sewed & ironed the 16 sculpted flags, and then ironed under the edges of the pole supports.

Next, I hemmed the door sides and bottom, then sewed the doors to the sides using a french seam (if you don’t know what this is, watch this video tutorial) for a finished edge.

Then I took the big piece of material and laid it out (on a very very big table!) so I could pin the pole supports and flags into place:

I stitched these into place. but ended the pole supports about 2″ from the top since I didn’t want them sewn into the seam with the roof since the poles needed to go through them!

I wanted to add 2 things that the CIRKUSTÄLT didn’t have: windows & pockets inside! So, once the flags & supports were stitched down, I laid the tent out to cut 2 windows in the sides, then laid out pockets to sew on the back wall, in case Sophie wanted to store toys or books in her little hideout. :)

I contemplated forever trying to come up with a window shape… when I saw the bathroom trash can and had my “ah-ha! moment” so I used it to make a template!

To sew the shape, I used bias tape, snipping the corners to overlap them! Then I stitched the shape in place, leaving the corners “loose” to give it a little character!

I also used pink scraps from my “hoop support”  to create tie-backs for my curtain – with velcro on the inside.

Final step for the tent walls was sewing the pockets in place to the back wall!

Constructing the Roof:

  • Tent Roof - I decided to do it solid color, so I just used the seam ripper to disassemble a section of 4 triangle pieces – then cut 4 of that shape on my fabric.
  • Top hoop support – on IKEAs tent, the top hoop is tunneled under the sculpted flags. I wanted to use it as a way to accent the design, so I cut 2″ wide strips of fabric for this.
  • Pole Supports – For the roof supports, I ironed  Wrights Quilt Binding open to tunnel the support through!

To sew the roof, first I sewed the 4 triangle pieces together for the top of the room. Instead of sewing with “right sides together” (the normal way you make a seam) I did it backwards with “wrong sides together, since the seams would be covered by the pole supports – this keeps the inside of the tent from having any seams!

Next, I ironed the hoop support in half. then opened it out, pinned it to the roof edge with rough sides lined up with the edge and stitched along the crease (1″ from the edge) I forgot to take a photo of this step (oops!) but in the photo below, the top of the pink hoop support that this step will form.

After the pink hoop support was in place, I pinned the pole supports into place for the roof and stitched them down starting just above my pink edge.

When the tent is done, this is how it will look from the outside:

When assembled, the poles will show at the corners because I couldn’t easily make a casing for the hoop and the poles without stitching over one of them.

Attaching the Roof to the Sides:

Next was the tricky part: putting in the hoop and attaching the sides to the roof! This required LOTS of pins & lots of patience!

It’s a bit tricky to explain since I forgot to photograph this step. but the pink hoop support that I sewed around the edge of the roof is where the metal hoop is going to sit. I loosely pinned it into place before getting the sides just so that the basic shape was formed.

Next I matched up the 4 pole supports on the sides and pinned them to the roof. Then pinned the rest of the sides into place. Because I didn’t want “rough edges on the inside of the quilt, I covered this seam with bias tape and sewed it into place over the bias tape!

Here is a diagram of how all my finished seams look from the inside of the tent:

At this point, the roof & sides are now attached!
Attaching the Top to the Bottom:
To attach the tent to the original grey bottom, I used packaged quilt binding again!

There are 4 plastic pieces that the tent poles go into for it to stand up. so I pinned them into place (on elastic, then pinned the ‘grey floor’ into place, and sewed around it twice (for reinforcement). It looks like this:

Then put the poles up inside the supports and your tent structure is done! Last thing you need to do is the flag!

Creating a Flag:
For the Flag Pole - I disassembled the existing flag to get the shape of the base they made to attach it to the roof.  as you can see, it’s a bit of an odd shape!

I cut the round(ish) base out of the fabric I used on the roof and stitched around the inner circle, then stitched the inside and outside together with the binding inside (to attach the ‘flag pole’ to its base) & trimmed it with bias tape.

Next, I used scrap quilt binding as the flag pole, and cut a green circle to slip over the top! I stuffed the circle with fiberfill and stitched it to the top of the quilt binding.

I didn’t love the triangle shape flag IKEA used and decided to make my own shape. Then I cut an “S” (for Sophie) which I put on with heat ‘n bond, then stitched in place.
To keep its shape, I used interfacing in between the layers, sewed it, then flipped it right side out, top stitched along the edge & put it in the quilt binding – where I sewed along the edge. the bottom was still open, so put a piece of wire inside (for a little support) then firmly packed it with fiberfill.
The CIRKUSTÄLT tent’s flag velcro on to the roof. I decided just to stitch mine down by hand, so I tacked it on in 4 spots!

To create a comfy floor inside, I got a 3 foot round rug that fit inside. The tent’s diameter is 39″ so 36″ is a great fit!

Here are a few more photos of the details:

The Doorway:


The Pockets
The Window:

I have no clue how many hours this took. Lots of plotting & I made it over the period of several days. Sophie & her friends LOVE her tent! And of course it matches great in her room – the fabric is Monaco by Monaluna – same material I used for her bedding and some of the room accessories!

 I think at this point, I can totally add “fabric engineer” to my resume. ;)

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DIY Organization: Toy Storage with IKEA products

Since I’ve spent the last week posting DIY projects I did in my daughters room, today, I’m going to show you how I put all these projects together using IKEA’s Expedit Bookcase for toy storage!
Originally, I had started out using itso cubes from Target (which I had already owned) for toy storage. It worked great, but as a parent in a wheelchair, I had a hard time reaching bins that low on the floor to clean up & get toys.

I tried re-stacking them differently but felt it was too risky to stack the cubes too high in case my 1 year old decided they would be great to climb. Instead, I started from scratch with toy organization.

First, I went through all the toys & resold the ones my daughter had ‘outgrown’ or had no interest in. Then I had some $$$ to work with to buy something to organize with, and I could see what I had left for toys to work with!

Next, I plotted on trying to figure out what I could do with the limited space I had in Sophie’s room. The wall I had most of the itso cubes on was  67″ and I realized IKEAs 2×4 Expedit storage was 58 5/8″ – perfect! So I started playing around with IKEAs shopping list to see what combo(s) I could afford to do for under $250, and I came up with this:
So I headed to IKEA to pick up the parts! I’ve done EXPEDIT units several before so assembly took under an hour for all of it!  Also, I decided to add the 6″ legs for 2 reasons: 
  1. They brought the height of the bottom row up to be better in my reach from a wheelchair so I can easily access the storage!
  2. To keep the top out of my daughters reach (for lamps, jewelry box, piggybank etc)
Now I have drawers for toys such as puzzles, doll clothes, little sets of toys, and board books plus I have cupboard doors to put larger toys behind

Then I added a few of my other DIY projects for additional storage-

$13 PRANT Boxes I painted and added decals to, for storage for additional toys & books:

The canvas bins I (re)covered  are great for storing stuffed animals & blocks!

My drawstring toy sacks fit great in one of the canvas bins to separate block sets:

On top of the EXPEDIT storage I have the $20 GRÖNÖ lamp set I made shades for:

Then I put them all together, and we have very organized toy storage for under $300!!!

Of course there are always a few favorite ‘oversized’ toys – like Woofer & H2 Woah!, and since the sections in EXPEDIT are approx 13x13x15, I needed an additional spot to store a few bigger items, so that is what I use the $15 IKEA APA toybox for. I made the lid into a magnetic chalkboard so the lid itself doubles as an extra toy!

And for a table to play at, I hacked IKEAs $20 LATT Table & Chairs:

And above the table is our DIY wall shelves for books!

So, between our EXPEDIT storage, APA Toybox & wall shelves for books, all the toys have a place which makes them easy to clean & neat to keep stored! And, if we get to the point that there’s not enough room for all the toys, then that’s when it’s time to sort through some, and get rid of what we’re not using!

So that’s the tour as for how we used my DIY Tutorials at our house! :)

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DIY IKEA Hack: $20 LÄTT children’s table & chairs makeover

I’m in the middle of turning Sophie’s room from a “nursery” into a toddler room.  So I spent November sorting out “baby” stuff to make room for toddler-type activities & furniture. I spent weeks looking through various websites at kids table & chairs, trying to find the perfect set for Sophie for x-mas. Everywhere I looked, I’d be spending an easy $100-200 (sometimes more) for products I liked.

The Table & Chairs:
Just when I was about to give up on the idea of an activity table for Sophie’s room, I noticed IKEA had this LÄTT children’s table & chairs set for only $19.99.

It totally wasn’t my style and the colors in her room were totally different then pine/white, but the size was perfect for her small apartment bedroom,  so I went ahead and spent the $20, unsure of exactly what I would be doing with it… but I knew I’d figure it out once I had it. :)

The Artwork

I’m a big fan of sites like Zulily & The Mini Social. I love getting their daily emails with new products. I figured I’d watch for a few days and see if I got any ideas on what to do with this set as well as look for other ideas for a toddler room. I didn’t find any table inspiration, but I did keep seeing sales for Children Inspire Design’s prints. I had Zulily credit, and immediately fell in love with their My Roots Collection when I saw it! My husband is from India, and I was born and raised in the United States – with roots on my fathers side back to Richard Warren on the Mayflower in 1620. How perfect could it be to incorporate a world map into her room? So naturally I had to work this in somehow.

Fabric & Paint

I spent much of November shopping around for ideas. I hit up Lowes and bought a bunch of random Valspar paint samples in colors I loved too.

A few days later, I was poking around at fabric and Birch Fabric’s Circa 52 collection caught my eye! It was designed by Monaluna – who designed the other fabric collection I had used in Sophie’s room. It was about to be released so I figured I’d buy some and work it into her room, somehow!

I painted the pine Hibiscus Pink on Sophie’s LÄTT table in December… and was still trying to make up my mind about exactly what to do for the white tabletop insert…

I thought I’d measure the tabletop when I was considering using wall paper or wrapping paper to cover it… and I realized, it was approximately 18×24 – the same size as my world map that I had been trying to find the perfect frame for – the “Aha Moment!”

Materials I Used:

  •  LÄTT children’s table & chairs set distributed by IKEA – for $19.99 USD
  • Artwork: World Map from Children Inspire Design’s “My Roots” Collection (regularly $50 – can often be found on Zulily & The Mini Social much cheaper)!
  • Samples of Valspar Paint: Hibiscus Pink & Urban Pulse – available at Lowes for $3
  • Half Yard of Woodland Party Fabric from Birch Fabrics “Circa 52″ Collection designed by Monaluna
  • 18×24″ Plexiglass – available at Lowes for $8
  • 1). Artwork: World Map from Children Inspire Design’s “My Roots” Collection
    2-3). Valspar Paint: Hibiscus Pink & Urban Pulse – available at Lowes
    4). Unfinished Table & Chairs: LATT available for $20 at IKEA
    5). Fabric: Woodland Party from Birch Fabrics “Circa 52″ Collection by Monaluna

How I Made It:

The Table
I got the map out of the tube it mailed it and thought it looked decent with the Hibiscus Pink paint I had already painted the table… So, I sent my husband on an errand to Staples to laminate the map!

Assembling the table with the map was definitely a 2-person task!  In order to fit the map in the slots intended for the tabletop (as shown in IKEAs assembly instructions), we had to trim it slightly for a perfect fit. then we used clear packing tape along the edges to attach it to the white table top (we tried without but it kept slipping out). The white table top slides inside of the sides/legs of the table (see instructions). it’s a very tight fit with the added thickness of a laminated piece of art. But it canbe done! It took us about an hour but in the end, the table looked awesome:

In order to protect the map & make it last, I made a trip to Lowes to get a piece of plexiglass cut to lay into the table. It cost $7.95 for an 18×24″ piece (medium weight), so I had the guy trim 3/4″ off each side to “fit it” into the table. at home I cut small squares out of the corners for a perfect fit!

The Chairs
Next, I painted the chairs with Urban Pulse Valspar paint (which I’m also using for other things in her room). Deciding on which fabric to use was the hardest part, but I finally decided on Woodlawn Party from Birch Fabric’s Circa 52 collection. Ironically, I bought the Valspar paint before I saw the fabric, but the color match was perfect! :)

So I cut 2- 12×12″ squares of fabric, and then got 1/2″ foam and cut it to fit the seat size. I used glue dots to keep the foam on the seat while I stretched the fabric over the foam, then taped it onto the bottom of the chair using clear packing tape. Then, I assembled 2 sizes of the chair (instead of 3, as shown in IKEAs assembly instructions), popped the padded seat in the center and screwed the other half of the chair to the first half.

Alternative Hack Ideas:

  • Wrapping Paper
  • Wallpaper
  • Fabric Table Top
  • Any 18×24″ art work

DIY: bookshelves for kids

Since today is March 2nd – which means it’s Dr. Seuss birthday and National Read Across America Day, I thought I’d make today’s DIY project Seuss/reading themed!

This is a DIY project I’ve been slowly working on for my daughter that I finally completed the other day! While browsing pinterest, looking for ideas for a toddler room  last fall, I saw this pin:

I checked out The Sweet Survival’s tutorial and immediately thought, wow I can totally do that for Sophie! So the next time I was at my fathers house, I asked if we could cut the wood to make it! I intended to do it myself, but his workshop isn’t entirely wheelchair-accessible so he offered to cut it for me.  I knew I wanted to put them between the windows in Sophie’s room, so I gave him the measurements I wanted to make them, and in less than an hour, he emerged with 3 bookshelves made from wood scraps he already had! Since he had a nail gun, he thought it would be easier assembly to do it that way.

So I brought them home and puttied the holes and sat staring at them for days trying to figure out what I wanted to put on them! After painting Sophie’s LÄTT children’s table & chairs from IKEA,  I fell in love with the Urban Pulse color and thought it would be a great color for the shelves…

But once they were painted, I went back to staring mode, trying to figure out exactly how to decorate them. I spent hours on Etsylooking for decal ideas but a lot wouldn’t size properly for a 5×20 shelf front…  and then I saw this Dr. Seuss quote:

I messaged Showcase66  to see if they could resize it for me so I could split it in 2 and put it on the front of the bookshelves – and they said they could!

Applying the decals from Showcase 66

So I continued poking around to see if I could find something else I liked to add a little color, since these were going on the only white wall in her room when I found these chipboards on twopeasinabucket (scrapbooking site)!

I thought they totally looked like fun, so I ordered 3 packs of them and painted them in multiple colors. Then I used wood glue to attach them to the bookshelves, and the shelves were all done!

To hang them, I just used sheet rock screws and drilled a hole through the shelf to hang it right onto the wall! I put the bottom one in my 19-month-old’s reach, but kept the top one a bit higher for now since we are still working through the issue of reading vs. tearing books! But as you can see, she’s very excited to be able to get books by herself now:

DIY medical supply roll

In honor of Rare Disease Day 2012, I thought I’d share a D.I.Y. post to help out people living with IV access and central lines!

I hate disorganized bags. And forgetting medical supplies when leaving the house. I often find myself digging through bags behind me in my wheelchair, trying to find a saline flush, heparin lock, alcohol pads or extra batteries.

Inspired by “crayon rolls” I thought I’d design a “med supply roll” to fill with flushes, alcohol pads & a spare battery! Just fill it up, roll it and take it with you!

  • 2 pieces of same fabric for outside and inside – 10″ x 22″ *
  • 1 piece of coordinating fabric for pocket – =10″ x 22″
  • 1 piece of interfacing for lining – 10″ x 22″ *
  • Disappearing ink fabric marker or pencil
  • Ribbon 24″ -36″
  • Ruler

 * measurements for 10ml flushes – if you only use 5ml flushes, 8″ x 22″ will work! 

1. Cut Fabrics as directed above.
2. Iron interfacing to “wrong side” of outside fabric following manufacturer directions.
3. Iron “pocket piece” in half longways and place the pocket against the “inside/lining piece” with rough edge lined up with bottom of lining.
4. Starting at the right, mark lines 2 inches apartfor flushes & batteries:

  • For the first one, mark it in 2.5″ instead to allow for seam allowance.
  • The final pocket on the left should be slightly bigger if you want to accommodate alcohol pads.

TIP: I did this on my ironing board, and poked pins in the right spots first to make sure  I spaced the pockets correctly before marking on the material! – then used the pins to pin it to the lining as I marked each pocket!

5. Pin pockets to lining.

6. Sew straight lines to attach pocket piece to lining & trim excess thread!
7. Take the ribbon and fold it in half. Sew the folded edge onto the center of the left side of your IV roll, with the ribbon facing the inside.

  • About Ribbon Size: If you want it to wrap twice around your roll use 36″ – otherwise 24″ will work for one time around!

8. Pin the outside/back piece on top – right sides facing each other as shown in photo #3.
9. Sew around the outside edge with 1/4″ seam – leaving a 2″opening on the right side (opposite side of the ribbon)which will be used later to flip it right side out! – NOTE: I left my opening starting just above my pocket.
10. Clip the corners diagonally to reduce “bulk” when turning it right side out. :)
11. Turn it right side out pulling through the opening from step #9

12.  Using a pointed (not sharp) object (ie: knitting needle/crochet hook, chopstick, dowel, etc), push the seams and corners out and iron it flat. Here, I used the Martha Stewart Bone Folder since its got a nice point and helped push the edges out. :)
13. Finally you top-stitch around the edges about 1/4″ in (which will also sew your hole from step #9 shut) – stitching close to the outer edge.

Fill it up with your supplies, roll it, tie the ribbon and you’re all done! :)

And, since it’s Rare Disease Awareness Day, I’m giving away my demo medical supply roll to ONE lucky winner! 
(giveaway closed)

NOTE: This tutorial is for PERSONAL USE ONLY. If you wish to make these to sell, I ask that at least $2 from each one made goes to benefit a medical-related charity!!! - If you plan to sell these, please contact me first! Thanks!


last minute d.i.y. gifts from kids

Here’s a quickie D.I.Y. project I did with Sophie tonight for her grandparents:

I was a bit ‘stuck’ on what to get my parents. Really, when you’re in your 50s, you don’t need anything. But I also didn’t want to give them “junk.”
When it occurred to me in IKEA a week ago, why not get two of IKEAs 9×9″ RIBBA framesfor $9.99 and let Sophie paint the mats and put her picture inside… then they can bring it to work for their desks. :)


Source: via Crystal on Pinterest
I already knew Sophie would love painting them – I had her fingerpaint a canvas for Father’s Dayin June.So, after she was done making art all over her high chair tray with her macaroni and cheese, I washed her hands and took her to the bathroom for her D.I.Y. project!I typically don’t do DIY projects IN the bathroom, but seeing as a 17-month-old + paint = very very messy, I figured it would be easiest to plop the painted mini-artist right in the tub as soon as her masterpiece was done, and tile + tubs are MUCH easier to clean then walls & carpet. (last time I let her paint, I took her out in the grass). So, I got a couple containers of Martha Stewart Acrylic Paints (non-toxic), the weekly grocery fliers and the mats from the RIBBA frames ready for her arrival. Boy was she excited when she saw!!!! but I quickly had to explain that the fliers were there to sit on so we can play with paint, NOT so we can tear them up. ;)

I’d let her pick which color, then I’d squirt a little paint on the mat, and she would paint with it. Then I’d let her pick another and let her go at it!

As soon as she was all done, I put her right in the tub and cleaned up the floor!!! Then I let the paint dry, then re-assembled the frames! :)

Supplies Needed:

  • Frames with mats
  • Photos (or additional art to frame)
  • Non-toxic Paint
  • Newspaper or Fliers

Time Involved:

  • 5 minutes prep gathering supplies
  • 10-15 minutes to paint both mats
  • PLUS: 10 minutes in the tub!

So it took about half an hour start to finish!
I’m sure she will be very proud of herself when she wakes up and sees the framed art!

GIVEAWAY: Holiday B. toys shareaway

It seems that every festive occasion in our family involves B. toys! At my baby shower, Sophie got Elemenosqueeze, Dr. Doctor, and Zany Zoo – before she was even born! Poppitoppy joined our home soon after and immediately became one of her favorite toys!
Last Christmas at our house was a very B. toys Christmas. Under our tree sat an Alphaberry, an orange Hellophone, red Funkeys, Snug Bugs, Fish & Splish, and Whacky Ball.  And of course we’ve gotten a few new B. toys in the past year including a Critter Clinic for her 1st birthday,  Sugar Chute instead of an Easter Basket, and for random special days we got Hugs :) Links, Times Square, A-Maze Loopty Loo, H2 Woah! 
It’s so hard to pick our VERY favorite toy! but Poppitoppy is right at the top of our list!!! – right up there, to the point that Sophie dressed as Poppitoppy for Halloween!
Of course when a company makes a very awesome toy, sometimes you end up with duplicates – or in our case triplcates! Yes, we managed to receive 3 Poppitoppy toys! While Sophie was excited to see Poppitoppy #2 – and be able to carry one in each hand and press them at the very same time we decided to save the extras to SHARE with people who didn’t have their very own Poppitoppy! :)

Sharing Poppitoppy #2 with our clinic: After a visit to our “Family Practice Clinic” when my bored one-year-old found a drawer of plastic speculums that she felt made perfect drum sticks for the metal biohazard trashcan  (the result of what happens since the clinic didn’t have Parum Pum Pum for making music), we decided Poppitoppy #2 looked like an awesome clinic toy to entertain kids while waiting for exams or to distract from the pain of getting a shot. There are no little pieces that can get lost, and it’s easy to clean between small patients!

Sharing Poppitoppy #3 (and #4) with YOU!!!: Of course we still have one more Poppitoppy toy we still need to share! When we told our friends at B. toys that we’d love to share our extra toy, they loved the idea – to the point that they wanted to share a Poppitoppy too! So here is what we are going to do:

One lucky reader will have a chance to win not just one, but TWO Poppitoppy’s
  • One is for your favorite child (or your favorite kids to SHARE)
  • The other is for your favorite charity!!
How To Enter:
You can enter for your chance to win by entering this giveaway via Rafflecopter. You must open the post for the giveaway widget to appear (click on the post title). Rafflecopter makes entering giveaways super quick and easy – and allows for a random winner to be easily chosen!
  • Mandatory Entry: leave us a comment below telling us what your favorite children’s charity is, and why that charity is important to you! 
  • Extra Optional Entry (to increase your odds) in a separate comment: Tell us about your own favorite toy in childhood! Why was it special to you?
  • Be sure to check off each of these tasks as complete for rafflecopter to ‘recognize’ your entry!


  • ONE winner will be chosen   – plus a Poppitoppy for your favorite charity!  
  • Live outside of the US? no problem! We are happy to SHARE with readers all over the planet!!!
/*{literal}{/literal}*/ a Rafflecopter giveaway<a href=””>You need javascript enabled to see this giveaway</a>.
Oh, and while you wait for the share-away to end, be sure to stop by the B. Quotes and read some words of wisdom from kids – or share some of your own child’s quotes!

Don’t forget to come back on  January 1, 2012 to see who we are sharing these great products with- winner has 48 hours to claim their prize! –
and we have a few more upcoming giveaways so “follow us” to stay tuned for future share-aways & giveaways!

Links You Might Love:
B. toys: facebook | twitterblog website
Little Free Radical: facebook | twitterblog etsywebsite

B. toys-inspired Poppitoppy Costume

You know when you go to the store in August and see the Halloween costumes are out “already” – or go in October, and Halloween isn’t over, but the Christmas stuff is already out? Yeah. Well, I’m going to do the opposite: It’s 4 days away from Christmas, and I’ve finallyfound a few minutes to tell you about my daughters Halloween Costume. ;)So I sorta “missed” Sophie’s first Halloween in 2010. My husband thought we NEEDED to go to Washington DC that weekend to the March to Keep Fear Alive/Rally to Restore Sanity. I figured we weren’t missing much – Sophie was just 3 months old. And all the infant costume options were pumpkin, cow,   ladybug, butterfly and dog. I thought I’d wait til this year when she could actually enjoy dressing up.

Of course the question was, what would Sophie want to be?  I really couldn’t see her as a pumpkin, she’s not the ladybug or butterfly type – plus I couldn’t imagine getting her to wear wings… So I watched for several weeks to see what Sophie loved… Then one day as I was watching her play with her B. toys Poppitoppy – one of her favorite toys – I realized it looked like something I could turn into a costume. After all, I sew cloth balls for a living, right? :)

Of course the question was HOW to create a Poppitoppy out of fabric – beyond the balls! So after spending a weekend going store to store at the mall, looking at various halloween costumes to see how they were assembled, I went home to attempt it!

I started with a dress top. I went through my patterns and found my Sophie Tunic from SisBoom and decided to use the back of that bodice & sleeves.

From there, I created a clear vinyl dome – like a large ball!  I attached that to yellow material with piping & coat hangers to give it a nice round shape… and then attached the pink base to that with an orange band filled with elastic, and connected that to a holographic material attached to the bodice! Then, I made a mini-version of my cloth balls and filled it!

Sophie was SO excited to see it done! It was quite heavy for a costume but she did just great running around in it! She knew she was Poppitoppy  and kept carrying her toy around with her. :)

We went trick or treating at 2 malls. of course she only brought home 2 pieces of candy because she was too busy making the balls bounce around by running & showing people her toy Poppitoppy to be bothered by collecting any loot!

But she did end up getting an awesome treat in the long – run when she won Inhabitots Costume Contest!

She was beyond thrilled to open the package from them when it arrived, only to find out she had won her very own Oeuf Ghost with Removable Mask! Plus a $100 gift certificate, but she’s more interested in the ghost for now. :)

Of course since it was Halloween, we had to make our OWN treats to share, so why not make Poppitoppy out of candy too??? Because, is it me? or does Poppitoppy also look a lot like those candy eggs you get from the vending machines? add some Sixlets, and you’ve got mini Poppitoppy candy! :)

So yes, we had to share some of these with Team B. - who thought  our Poppitoppy costume was  UnB.elievable! :)

Stay tuned to our blog to enter another Share-away – this time for your very own Poppitoppy!!!

An Elephant for Hilary Duff

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve been a member of The Artisan Group since April 2011. In September, I had the opportunity to send some of my cloth balls, elephants & a stacking ring toy to GBKs Primetime Emmy’s Celebrity Gift Lounge before the Emmy’s.

Recently, I had another opportunity to include a product in a gift bag from members of The Artisan Group for actress and singer-songwriter, Hilary Duff, who is expecting a baby boy – due in March! Other members were sending gifts such as jewelry for Hilary, onesies, hats & bibs, so I thought I’d include an elephant from Little Free Radical. :)

I only had 2 weeks to get it completed & shipped, so I had to make a fast decision on what materials I’d like to use… I contacted one of my favorite companies – Birch Fabrics – an awesome organic fabric company – since I knew their storyboek line was a hit with celebs at the GBK Primetime Emmy’s Celebrity Gift Lounge –  and they offered to sponsor the elephant for Hilary’s son with materials from their Mod Basics collection – which is scheduled to be released in January!
Of course the hardest part was choosing ONLY 2 fabrics to use!  I showed 2 fellow TAG members, Kassi (owner of Rumour Has It) and Shannon (owner of Sweet Stella’s) – both of whom are moms of little boys – and we decided on the birdie spokes in aqua & abacus in orange! I love how it turned out!!!

Birch Fabrics are 100% organic cottons – treated with love, not pesticides.

And this little elephant is filled with love & environmentally friendly bamboo-blend silky fiberfil.

If you love this elephant, Little Free Radical will be adding to our eco-friendly selection of toys in January when Mod Basics & Commute are released – but keep your eye out for some other new products coming soon – made with Storeyboek – as seen at GBKs Primetime Emmy’s Celebrity Gift Lounge!

announcing the winners of our B. toys shareaway

Our B. toys shareaway ended Sunday night, so it’s time to announce the WINNERS:
My mini-assistant was the one “sharing” her duplicate toys so I figured instead of letting pick, why not let her pick who she was sharing with?!? So I printed all the comment entries on my blog, and realized that B. toys Fish & Splish was the perfect “container” for drawing names from:


Winners of the Hellophone:
Neelam Shroff

Neelam’s Charity Choice: Make-a-Wish Foundation
“I would like to nominate Make a Wish Foundation. Both my children have mitochondrial disorder (mitochondria is the organelle that produces energy in our body and in mitochondrial disorder the body doesnot produce enough energy to sustain life functons, and it is usually progressive and fatal in nature). Though my kids are on the milder spectrum, I have many friends who have kids who are very sick and these innocent ones are fighting continuously for their life. Make a Wish Foundation has been great to bring a smile and cheer back in their lives. They have granted wishes as wide ranging as that of Disney trips, cruises, meeting a celebrity hero, doing a therapy room etc and they are deserving of this giveaway.”
Winners of the FunKeys:
Kristin G.
Kristin’s Charity Choice: March of Dimes
“My favorite children’s charity is March of Dimes. I always get the mailers and take time to read the kids stories. We give what we can(plus the little mailing address labels they send are super cute ;) I feel like I am really blessed to have a healthy baby and the best way I can be thankful for that is to help out other families who have sick babies. Great giveaway!”

So Kristin & Neelam – I’ll get your toys shipped to you this week!

Neelam – let me know if you have a chapter preference for Make-A-Wish Foundation so I can relay the info to B. toys! Would you like to share them with  India’s Make-A-Wish chapter or one of the US chapters?

Kristin – would you like to send the phone to the Louisana Chapter for March of Dimes?

Enjoy the toys!!! :)
Watch our blog for more giveaways & shareaways!
We have a Diwali one starting tomorrow, and another B. toys share-away next month!