Kid’s Craft Organization

I had way too much fun with the organization for this post.  I had a 3 drawer plastic drawer system where I kept all of the kid’s crafts in addition to a couple of small plastic bins for the overflow. It was a good system, it was an effective system, it was a small system. The problem was that, as my older son got, well, older, he used a bigger variety of craft supplies. And now I have a 1 year old who is also capable of scribbling, flinging finger paint and lovingly tearing up every piece of paper I give him. So now I need more supplies….and a bigger place to put them. Well friends, I have found the perfect place. Who remembers when I did a 15 Minute organization on my den cabinet? The bottom half of the cabinet ended up empty and was just waiting for the perfect organizational project. I moved the CD cases elsewhere and freed up the whole cabinet for my new Craft Storage System!

I knew I wanted a good way to store construction paper so that I could easily grab any color I wanted for the kids. I also wanted the kids to be able to reach it. Before, a search for one piece of construction paper resulted in a giant rainbow mound of paper on my floor. Enter the office organizer…

Kid's Craft Organization (2)

I was a little giddy when I realized that we had this organizer in our office and it was currently empty, awaiting it’s organizational life mission. So I spent a ridiculous amount of time separating our construction paper by color and ta-dah!

Kid's Craft Organization (3)

I put this on the top shelf of the den cabinet and used the bottom of the cabinet to stack several craft items, such as a travel craft case, a box of stamps and ink, and a large markers set.

Kid's Craft Organization (4)

I purposely left space in this cabinet for future craft kits that I know will magically appear in our house.

I still had a million other craft items though and needed a place for them. I decided to use the original 3 drawer storage system for 3 categories: Paint, Coloring Books and Play-Doh. It’s amazing how Play-doh seems to breed when you’re not looking and suddenly you have a litter of little Play-Doh containers.

Kid's Craft Organization (1)

I had also acquired a collection of craft idea books and seasonal craft papers, along with sticker sheets and scraps of construction paper, which I know I’ll absolutely use so I can’t throw them away, right?  I needed to organize these and I shopped my home office once again. I had a small file box that wasn’t being used effectively so it became home to all of these loose papers. I also busted out a few of my favorite organizing tools…file folders, my labeler, and some pretty decorative tape.

Kid's Craft Organization (6)After a little labeling, here is what I came up with:

Kid's Craft Organization (7)

Kid's Craft Organization (8)

The first section is for craft books, then I have a folder for each major holiday that we do crafts for. Keep in mind, this is different than my Holiday Organizing books that I made for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween. Those books include some craft ideas and photos, but the craft folders pictured here are for coloring pages, holiday cutouts and the actual items needed for the crafts. I also have a folder for sticker sheets and another folder for the construction paper scraps.

By the way, I know I’ve mentioned my little ‘helpers’ before, but I just had to share a photo illustrating how I usually organize around my house.

Kid's Craft Organization (5)It’s not easy, but it’s fun!

Anyways….I wanted a good way to organize all of the little craft supplies that end up tangled in a giant crafty mess. I have 4 clear storage boxes which I grouped items into and labeled the boxes.

Kid's Craft Organization (9)

I also had a storage ottoman that was underutilized, but so very cute.

Kid's Craft Organization (10)And it just so happens that the storage boxes I had fit upright in the ottoman.

Kid's Craft Organization (11)So now I have all of our craft supplies perfectly organized and there is even room for more! I’m so excited to have this project done and to be able to craft without drowning in a pile of felt and googly eyes. :) And my favorite part is the construction paper!

Construction Paper Holder - B&Y

~Erin

Kid’s Magnet Board

I finally finished a project that was way too long in the making. It actually went through several concepts and incarnations before I got to the final product. I wanted to make a magnet board for the kids that I could keep in the ‘monkey cave’ in their room.  I’ll go into more detail on monkey cave another day, but basically it is a second closet in their room that we converted into a little play area for them.

The first magnet board concept was a board painted with magnetic paint. I went to Home Depot and they actually had 2′ x 4′ sheets of craft wood that was thin, durable and fairly smooth. They cut it into two 2′ x 2′ squares for me and I painted them with magnetic paint.

I did two coats of the magnetic paint with a small roller. Once that had dried, I painted 2 thin layers of paint I had used for my pantry. I used as little paint as possible for this part because the magnetic paint loses some of its’ magnetic properties under too many layers of latex paint. My plan was to add some decorative trim around the edges and have a cute and finished looking magnet board. Before I was able to complete that step, I came across this at a yard sale:

It’s a large cabinet door front that was just begging to be up-cycled into something fun. I actually got 3 cabinet door fronts in different sizes and I have no idea what the other 2 will turn into yet. Pretty much as soon as I got home from the yard sale, I took the hardware off of one and sanded the door front.

After that, I applied a couple of layers of Kilz primer. Now learn from me here, people. I did NOT stir the primer as well as I should have and when I first started applying it, it looked like I had just poured some Elmers glue on there and then topped it with a heavy dose of olive oil. It was completely separated and it was a horrible mess. I let it dry and then tried to re-sand, but it created little bubbles that are still there to this day! Sooooo, stir primer extremely vigorously and then apply thin coats until you get the coverage desired. Also, make sure to allow ample drying time. My patience was tested here and I think I went in a little early with the re-coats!

I painted the trim with some green paint I had left from another project. I forgot to take a photo of this step, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I considered using the magnetic paint again, but decided to try a sheet of metal. I bought a thin piece of metal from Lowe’s and cut it to fit the inside of the cabinet door panel. I used tin snips, which wasn’t easy on a 4′ piece of metal, but we had them around so that’s what I used.

I knew I wanted to cover the metal with fabric before I put it in the ‘frame’ so off to my local fabric store I went. Normally when I go into a store and someone asks me if they can help me find anything, my standard answer is “No, thank you, I’m just looking.”

When I went in the fabric store and the lady asked that question, my answer was….”I need a cotton fabric that won’t wrinkle and is easy to iron, and is fairly thin but not easy to tear and I would like a light color (but not too pastel) and it should have a little bit of a print on it (but not too distracting) and it can’t clash with light green.” Poor lady.

So I went home with my thoroughly searched for fabric. Although I felt all of my requirements above were important the two most important were that it was fairly wrinkle-free and that it was pretty thin. If I had used a thick fabric, the magnets would not stick as well. I ironed my new purchase and then my husband and I glued it around the metal sheet using Liquid Nails. I made sure to pull it taut so that it wouldn’t wrinkle on the front. Then I put a bunch of books on it and left it overnight.

The next day, we glued the fabric covered metal to the inside of the cabinet door and let it sit under books and weights for another 24 hours. Then, finally……A Completed Project!

I love it.And more importantly, the kids love it. I set it in our play room/ guest room for the kids to see it and play with it. When I said I was going to put it in Monkey Cave, you should have seen the meltdown. Evan insisted it had to stay in the playroom. So, the playroom it is. But I kept looking at the lonely Monkey Cave wall where I had envisioned the board. I decided a magnet board was going in there whether Evan liked it or not! So I went back to my original 2′ x 2′ board with magnetic paint. To be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to cut, paint and glue trim around the edges. However, I had recently gone to a teaching store (my new favorite place!) and picked up some monkey paper borders. They didn’t work for my original intended purpose so they were just laying around. I decided to cut them to size and glue them to the edge of the 2′ x 2′ board.

Now I have two equally cute and functional magnet boards in different parts of our house. Are there about a million things I would do differently next time to make the finished product better? Yep. But for now, I’m pretty happy. One more Before & After? Okay!

~Erin

Quick Halloween Pic Banner

I wanted a cute was to display the kids Halloween costumes through the years so I decided to make a little Costume Photo Banner to hang up in October. I had just created my ‘Halloween Through the Years’ photo album with my favorite pics from the holiday each year. But I wanted to have 1 photo from each year which was actually hung up for everyone to see.
This was a really easy project that only required a few items:

-Photos

-Scrapbook Paper

-Tape

-Yarn

-Hole Punch

I printed 1 4″ x 6″ photo from each of the past 5 years (please note that our son is only 3 so the first 2 years photos are of our dog in costume). Then I rounded the corners so they would look a little more ‘finished’.

I cut out 5″ x 7″ pieces of scrapbook paper and rounded the corners of those as well. Then I taped the photos to the scrapbook paper and punched 2 holes in the top of each.

Then I just took the yarn and threaded it through the holes and taped the whole thing on our entertainment center.

I hung it up with tape and I didn’t tie the string at either end so it will be easy to add another photo. When I run out of room in  of, I’ll just get another piece of string. So easy and so cute. It’s a great way to look back at the costumes over the years.

I love easy projects!

~Erin

Halloween Party Wrap Up

Last night was our first (and hopefully the first of many) Halloween party. I actually spent days prepping for this because a) I love Halloween b) I love theme parties and c) I love planning things. I was joking with my husband that I like planning for a party almost as much as the actual party itself. (almost!)

So I pulled most of my decorating and craft ideas from Pinterest, blogs and magazines. Here are a few:

The first decoration I put up was a spider web made of yarn, which I found here.

In the same post with the spider web tutorial is a link to a paper bat tutorial. These were super easy and made a great accent to the other decorations.

We actually had a lot more bats in the living room, and next year I want to do even more. We also had the obligatory carved pumpkin.

You can’t tell from the photo, but this pumpkin is HUGE! We went to a pumpkin patch and traded in the ‘normal’ size pumpkins we got with admission for 1 ridiculously large pumpkin.

For food, I decided to bake chicken with pesto, marinara and Parmesan cheese. It was super easy and we made a lot, so I see chicken marinara leftovers in our future for the next 4 days.

I wanted some of the food and drinks to have a Halloween touch, so I tried a couple other ideas I found. My pumpkin juice boxes were inspired by some Mummy Juice Boxes I had seen both here and here. I needed white duct tape for the mummy’s and all I could find was an industrial size roll of the stuff. Since I didn’t need 500 yards of white duct tape, I snagged the normal size bright orange roll of duct tape and made pumpkin juice boxes.

I used felt for the stems and leaves and construction paper for the faces. Thanks to my husband who spent a lot of time gluing eyes and noses!
I pulled off the straws before I wrapped the boxes in duct tape and then I just taped the straws to the backs once they were finished.

The grown up version of juice boxes was a crock pot cider. My husband and I had looked up dozens of recipes online (it’s incredible how many ingredients some people put in their cider). And it was a fun week trying the recipes until we found the perfect combination. There were all sorts of test ingredients…cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, orange juice, apples, rum, brandy, whiskey. It turns out that the absolute best combination is: apple juice, rum and cinnamon. That’s it!

I also made a cupcake ghost, which I saw in Family Fun magazine’s October issue.

For chips and salsa, my husband carved out two medium size pumpkins to perfectly fit 2 bowls we had. They made perfect serving pieces and we set them up with a wicker pumpkin which held the plastic silverware.

I set up a craft table for the kids. Most of their time was spent running frantic circles around the house, wielding plastic tools, a fake lawnmower, a large red ball and handfuls of candy and cupcakes that were grabbed as they flew past the dessert table. It was craziness and I’m not sure how our house is still standing. But after the main sugar high wore off, I asked who wanted to do a craft and almost every kid followed me in the dining room. Amazing!

I had set out several different activities:

But the hit of the craft table was the Pipe Cleaner Spider. I found them here and they were so cute and easy. They were from Homemade by Jill. Follow her on Pinterest here, she has some great Pin Boards. I made a few changes to the spiders, such as adding the ‘googly eyes’, but the concept was pretty much the same.

Tip Alert!:

Here is a tip I will absolutely use for every craft table I set up from here on out if I can. I took a shallow storage bin and put everything needed for this craft inside the bin – pipe cleaners, google eyes, glue, and scissors. Then I set an example on top. I also had a bin for felt and cotton ball ghosts, which had it’s own glue and scissors. It made things so much easier and efficient. If I was just doing one craft, I would probably lay everything out on the table. But with multiple crafts, we just picked one and I opened that bin. The table stayed cleaner and I knew I had everything I needed.

And I couldn’t leave the adults without an activity, so I had a Halloween Trivia Game. It included 10 Halloween questions and the winner received a little gift basket.

The party was a blast and I hope to continue the tradition next year. Happy Halloween!

~Erin

 

Closet labels – gone right or wrong?

I recently made some clothes dividers for my kid’s closet. I was inspired by a few different versions from Pinterest and blog land. As I searched I realized how popular these are becoming. Most of the one’s I found have sizes for baby clothes, such as Newborn, 3-6 months, etc. However, I decided this was not the direction to go (even though I have a baby) because I don’t have more than one size hanging in the closet at any one time. So I decided to go by type of clothes. Here are the categories:

-Short Sleeve, Long Sleeve, Pants, Jackets

Since I have 2 boys, I wanted a set for each of them, so I needed 8 total dividers. First I bought some wooden O’s at Hobby Lobby and got out some craft paint I already had:

I painted the backside of the O’s, which didn’t go quite as planned. I have mentioned before that my craft skills leave something to be desired and I have actually had these craft paints in a ‘craft supply drawer’ for about 5 years. So some of the paint was a little dry and didn’t cover well. I figured that was ok because they would be the backside of the labels. However, it still looks like my 3 year old did this part of the project.

Then I traced the O’s onto scrapbook paper and cut out the paper.

Then the plan was to Mod Podge the scrapbook paper onto the O’s, sand down the edges, and put a coat of Mod Podge on top. Easy right? Well, not so much. When I tried to cut out the paper with an exacto knife, the paper was a little rough around the edges. Sanding will take care of that, I said to myself. Well, I just started sanding away more and more of the paper so I threw my hands up in disgust at my sandpaper and left it on the floor of the garage.

When I put the Mod Podge over the top to seal it a little bit, it just left visible streaks on the paper instead of drying clear and smoth. Maybe it’s my Mod Podge naivety and I just don’t know what I am doing, but I definitely did not like the finished result at all. It looked sloppy and jagged.

Luckily I had only done 4 O’s in the first round, so I made some tweaks for round two. First off, I decided not to paint the backs of the 2nd set.

After I had traced out the O’s, I Mod Podged them on and LIGHTLY sanded the edges. Then I just used a clear coat spray on top. This added a little protection but there were no brush strokes.

Time for the labels! I just made the labels in Word. I did some on transparent paper and some on cardstock, so I could see how each style looked.

You can see how I did labels for the 4 sections, but I also did the letters ‘E’ and ‘O’ because I was making a set of each kid.After I had glued almost all of the transparent letters on (just using a VERY light layer of Mod Podge), I realized I liked the cardstock on Evan’s better. Too late! I had already done 3 out of 4, so one of E’s got the cardstock and is now mismatched. Then I did a quick once over with the spray sealer.

You’ll notice that the ‘short sleeve’ label is on the left side while all the others are on the right. This is because the short sleeves are on the right side of the closet and everything else is on the left, so I wanted to make them as easy as possible to read.

You can definitely see the rough edges, but I do like the overall look. When I first started this project, I was daydreaming about how I would write my blog post on it. I would leave you with all sorts of encouraging words and inspirations like “These turned out better than I imagined” or  “This was so easy and fun” or “I love how quickly it came together”. Buuuuuutttt…..they didn’t turn out nearly as good as I thought they would, it was not an easy project and it took FOREVER! But I”m still proud of myself for pushing through the project and again, I learned a lot from my mistakes. And I actually have some great ideas and lessons on how to improve them for next time. Yes, I am already plotting a project redo!

Initial Baskets

I am not a creative person by nature. I like the idea of creativity, but it is not something that comes naturally. So I, like so many others, have turned to Pinterest for inspiration. Today’s project comes from something I repinned from my blog friend Kelly’s board. See her other pins here!

The concept was to cover wooden letters with book pages. My plan was to do this with the word READ and put it in the boys room. But I wanted to test it first, so I got two small wooden letters. I chose E and O because that’s what the kids names start with:

Then I bought a Winnie the Pooh book at a used book store. I told the guy at the store I was buying it to cut a couple pages out and I thought he was going to faint. But I assured him it was for a reading corner project and that no other books would be harmed in the making of this project.

I flipped through the book until I found a picture I thought would work size-wise for the letters. Then I cut a square of the page out for each letter and glued it to the top of the wood. I used Mod Podge for the first time ever!

Then I took a super sharp craft knife that I got for an art class in college. When was the last time I used that thing? The art class in college …and that was a looong time ago. I flipped the letters upside down and cut the extra paper off. When I flipped them back over, they looked like this!

I loved them! I sanded the edges a little and then used a couple coats of a  spray adhesive over the top just to protect them. Soon I will be posting about the other, similar project I was doing at the same time. It was NOT so easy breezy as this one.

I wanted to do something really cute with the letters since they turned out so good. I knew I had two wicker baskets in the boys room so I decided to attach the letters. I didn’t have any specific to attach them with, but I was able to find some small picture hangers in the garage, so I just hammered them into the back (well, actually my husband hammered them in while I fretted about the wood cracking).  But it was all good!

Anyways….I put a piece of string through each bracket and tied them to the baskets. Ta da!

Cute labeled baskets which are personalized, fun and easy to make. They look adorable in the boys room….now I just have to figure out what to put in them….

I’m kind of liking this DIY Craft stuff. More to come!

~Erin

 

http://cobwebscupcakesandcrayons.com/

Bejeweled

I don’t have very much jewelry. I’m not a girlie girl and I don’t accessorize often. But I do like to gussy it up now and then and one thing I know is that if things are easily accessible, they are used more often. I was excited about my tackle box used as a travel jewelery case, which I mention here. However, my jewelry downfall is that all of my stuff was stored in little boxes or baskets all the time. I never saw it, so I never wore it. Enter the jewelry board project!

I wanted a pretty place to at least hang my necklaces and maybe a few bracelets. So I started the materials search. I found a cute frame at Goodwill for $4.99. I probably could have found one cheaper, but it was the right size and I found it right away, so I snagged it! And it already had the picture wire on it so I wouldn’t have to worry about how to hang it. I knew that I had some squares of cork at home that I had already bought, so between those two things, I was off to a good start.

Then I cut the cork to fit and actually stapled 2 pieces together to make 1 piece for the frame. I wanted to cover the cork in a pretty fabric, but instead of buying material, I shopped my house! I had an adorable shirt that I never wore because when I put it on I felt like I was 5 years old….

Forgive all of the wrinkles….I dug this puppy right out of the ‘Donate’ bag in my laundry room. So I just cut off the back of it to wrap around the cork board. However, it was so thin, you could see right through it. Soooo….I cut a piece of material out of a sheet that I had paid a couple bucks for with just something like this in mind. First I wrapped the sheet around the cork and then the yellow fabric from the shirt. I stapled them at the back so they wouldn’t shift.

Now that’s not very pretty, but I knew that it was the back and I was also going to cover it with a piece of cardboard.

I knew I was going to stick pushpins in the board, so I tried to get all cutesy. Big mistake. My plan was to take some leftover textured spray paint and give them all this great textured finish. Um….here’s what happened:

Riiiiiight. If you remember from my post on making plastic Bag Holders, this whole spray paint thing didn’t work out so well for that project either. So, I just found some clear push pins that would work just fine. Back to the frame…..

I actually liked the color of the frame, but the shade was a little too close to the color of the yellow fabric, so I painted the frame gray and then sanded it a little to lightly distress it:

Here’s what it looked like at this point. Cute, but a little boring:

So I added a few embellishments that I dug out of the hardly used scrap booking supplies:

Once I added the jewelry, I ended up covering a lot of the embellishments, so I actually moved almost all of them to the frame and …Ta Da!

The whole thing cost about $7.00 between the frame and the cork. I already had the material, leftover paint, sandpaper, staples and tacks. Yea!

Lessons learned:

1) If you are going to do a project like this, buy thicker cork or be prepared to double up the sheets. A standard tack was too long for the cork I had so that’s why I put cardboard behind it to make it thicker.

2) If you want to be able to rearrange the tacks or pushpins, use a durable fabric that can handle a little wear and tear. The fabric I used was extremely thin and fragile, but I knew that once the pushpins  were in, they were going to stay.

3) DO NOT try to spray paint pushpins :)

~Erin

Just a beginner

So in my journeys through blog land, I am constantly coming across cute diy/craft projects I would love to try. The problem is that I’m not very crafty. I try my darndest and usually disappoint myself, but I get an A for effort. I have oodles of scrapbooking stuff, but it sits mostly unused…It’s sits well organized, but still unused. I also have a plethora of yarn, material, paint, and other stuff I just ‘know I’ll get to someday.’ Because I WANT to be crafty. I mean I desperately want to be!

So, I’m taking baby steps. Today’s project was finding a cute and cheap way to store plastic trash bags in my bathrooms. Up until now, they have just been shoved under the sinks, only to have me find that they have somehow grown and multiplied and now take up about 80% of the space. I had to get these under control!

So I took two empty containers I had been saving for just this sort of thing (one was a powdered Gatorade container and one was for powdered baby formula).

My plan was to cut one small hole in each lid so I could get the bags out and then cover the bin with scrapbook paper. Easy breezy right? Well, I hit a couple of roadblocks:

-First, the diameter of the cans was bigger than my scrapbook paper so the paper didn’t fit all the way around! I thought to myself: “Not only is this under my bathroom counter, but if I turn the uncovered part to the back, no one will see right? Well, in theory that is correct. But I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my first craft project so sub par.  So I cut an additional strip of paper to cover the blank areas.

-New problem! Now there were two visible seams on each container. Again, I could have just turned them around, but no! I needed a way to cover them. So I took some ribbon and glued it down the length of each seam.

-Ta da, right? Well, no. Now the space in between the ribbons looked weird and empty so I needed to add something. So I found some scrapbooking letters I had and personalized a little bit.

-Now for the lids. I thought I was soooo smart. I was going to use up the rest of a can of textured spray paint we had to paint the lids since they were either bright white or bright purple. So I started spraying. Well, one of them got a giant pool of spray paint in the middle and then I ran out of the paint when the other one was halfway done. After the paint dried, the ‘pool’ didn’t look so bad so I used that lid. I just used a different white lid for the other one and it doesn’t bother me.

So here they are!

Bag Holders – Before & After

A homemade, cute and essentially free place to store my little trash bags! And after one day, my husband said “I already used your little trash bag holder thingy”.

Cute and useful!

More projects to come!

~Erin