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!

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!!!

Sophie’s First Paintings

So, I was on the bus Saturday, running errands when a passenger saw this canvas painting I was holding since I was running to the store to scan it. The passenger complimented me, telling me “what a great job I did.”
I immediately told the person that I didn’t make it, my daughter did – and he looked even more surprised. But his stop came and he got off the bus…

So, I’m totally not sure if he assumed that because:

  1. I’m in a wheelchair, my artistic ability is limited to fingerprinting  – or -
  2. Because Sophie is that great of an artist that her work can be mistaken as a painting by a 30-year-old.

He did seem rather shocked when I explained my daughter made it. Of course that could support reason #2 and that we might see her art hanging in a museum some day…. or we could be back to the wheelchair issue – and he was shocked by the fact being I am in a wheelchair, and have a child. Who knows, but I’m doubting I gave birth to a mini-picasso! Such is a typical day in the life of a mom on wheels. :)

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But yes, this IS Sophie’s painting. I was trying to come up with a great first Fathers Day Gift back in June when I was at Michael’s getting supplies to finish a customer order… Sophie started grabbing at a canvas display when I realized that painting a canvas would be fun! So we got a 2pk of 12×12″ canvases, some non-toxic acrylic paint, and went out in the grass and let her go at it in a diaper! She even made a 2nd painting for her grandmother in India:

She had a blast. I’d put a little paint on the canvas and then she’d go at it. Once she was ‘done’ with each little bit she’d sit and wait for me to give her a little more. Once the whole canvas was painted she didn’t want paint any more – even when I tried to add more paint!

She did pretty good! no paint in the eyes or hair! When she was done, we carried her inside and gave her a bath – the paint peeled right off! :)

Here’s a video of my future little etsy seller hard at work on her first paintings:

Sophie’s 1st Birthday Party

I’ll never forget the morning when Sophie was 5 weeks old that I went to dress her in her Zutano Itzy-Bitzy outfit we took her home from the hospital in… It fit just 5 days before, I washed it (of course) and panicked thinking, “oh no! her clothes shrunk in the laundry!” Well, the clothes didn’t shrink – Sophie had grown out of her first newborn outfit. Already!!!
 That was the day where I immediately realized I’d have a 1st birthday party to plan…  so I got started that very afternoon by buying fabric to make her a birthday dress!Over the next few months I started poking around at party supplies. Everything had such a “theme” to it in stores, but after looking through hundreds of “themes” and not loving any of them, I finally decided to start from scratch and come up with my own decor and scheme. :)Her birthday is July 1st so we were having a holiday weekend (Independence Day) party so instead of doing red, white & blue, I went with a red, pink & turquoise as the primary color scheme!

We had over 4 dozen people coming to the party, and since we live in a small apartment we decided to rent a function hall so we’d have enough space! We also hired Allison from Twice As Nice Photography to come do photos since I knew we’d be too busy to, and I’d regret it later!
So while we were inside setting up, Allison took Sophie outside for some birthday photos with her little friend, Anvi:
Since we had so many guests coming, I decided to skip the goodie bags, and do a candy buffet instead! Then I purchased some paper goodie bags from sweetestelle on etsy so that guests could pack up their own bags!

I also designed labels for all the candy & food, had them printed into cardstock at staples (which you can easily submit your order online, then have it shipped or pick it up), then I mounted them onto placecards from Paper Source.
I made her a “Happy Birthday” banner out of circles using a template I found on Martha Stewart’s website, then found some mini red clothespins at Paper Source to attach the “happy birthday” letter circles to twine.
The walls behind the table were a bit drab – it was just a room divider from at the Elks Lodge. So, two rolls of solid color wrapping paper from Paper Source did the trick of covering it up! :)
I found great classic candy jars at Target and found some unique ones at Home Goods to add different shapes to the table and hunted down candy in pink and red all over.
  I also found a great blog with instructions for  DIY: Chocolate Dipped Pretzels and made 100 pretzels for $20! With the leftover melted candies, I drizzled them onto white chocolate covered pretzels to add some festive color!

For the beverages, I made labels to wrap around the bottles of soda and water that matched the invitations, then printed those at Staples as well! Then cut them and taped them over the existing labels!
Another tricky thing was trying to come up with party favors for 20 kids – ranging in age from toddler to 14 years old, including a few with special needs! After going to several party supply stores and seeing mostly “junk” that a parent would throw out after 2 weeks or that would wind up in the next years yardsale, I decided to make my own birthday hats out of brightly colored fabrics (prints are by Riley Blake Designs) and then make pinwheels & cloth balls.
For the pinwheels, I bought Martha Stewart’s pinwheel kits but disliked the patterns in them, so I bought 6×6 pads of paper – Lime Twist by My Minds Eye – and cut new pinwheels!
I have an etsy shop – littlefreeradical where I sell cloth toys I make. So making the balls was easy since I do it all the time! The toddlers had fun with them, as did the 10 & 11 year olds!
So, I’ll be adding more party packages in my etsy shop soon for birthday hats and cloth balls! (I already offer packages for tutu’s as party favors!)
  Of course if you have a party with a lot of people, you must have a lot of food!
I also made an easy banner out of a 6×6 pad of paper – Lime Twist by My Minds Eye.
I just cut the paper into triangles, holepunched the corners, and strung it on twine!
Best of all, It only cost me about $6 to make!
But one of the most important things in life, is having a friend that you can count on,
who will let you know when you have something on your face:
And of course, by the end of planning for this party, I was full of D.I.Y. ideas for her 2nd birthday party! Next time, I hope to have the decorations & party favors done weeks in advance so that I can save the days before to prepare the food! I’d love to do as much home-made next year as possible and the cost will be much cheaper now that I have party ware & serving dishes that I can use year after year!
 Happy 1st Birthday, Sophie!
Photo Credits: Allison LeBlanc from Twice as Nice Photography