Kids Craft – Footprint Truck Art

Finished canvas #1.

When my son finally transitioned from his crib to a full-size bed, we let him choose what theme he wanted for his big-boy room. Being the typical 3-year-old, he enthusiastically chose the construction truck bedding, and announced that he wanted his room to be all about trucks.

Challenge accepted!

I bought several canvases of different sizes that fit his room and used the pictures of trucks from his comforter to inspire our very own truck painting (using his feet and hands as the parts of the trucks).

He was eager to help me with the paintings, so much so that I had to “sacrifice” a canvas to let him just smear paint all over it (this masterpiece is hanging in his bathroom… he said it was a painting of a dinosaur). Letting him have his own creative space helped me convince him to do the rest of the paintings “my way.” Win!

I let him pick the trucks from the comforter that we would copy, and he first selected the cement mixer (an excellent choice!). I used a paint brush to carefully apply paint to his hand so that I could better control the amount of paint (you don’t want it to be too globby).

I held his wrist and guided his hand to the canvas, instructing him to keep his fingers together so he made the shape of the cement mixer’s back end. Then I removed the canvas from his reach! He really does love painting and he wanted to take globs of it to smear all over the canvas. Again, putting another paper in front of him while I finished the truck painting was essential. He was happy and so was I.

Here is the comforter my son picked out from Target. We used these colors and truck shapes to inspire our art.

Using the picture from the comforter as a guide, I carefully painted the rest of the truck. Once the paint dried, I used a marker to add in the smooth lines to further define the truck shape.

We used his foot for the front end loader, my foot for the dump truck, and his tiny forearm for the back of the tanker truck.

Two smaller canvases.

After all was said and done, I realized that our paintings needed backgrounds, so I carefully added in the blue sky, buildings, road, grass, and crane. I think the end result is fairly close to the original pictures, but the important thing is that when my son looks at the paintings on his wall, he remembers the fun we had that day and is proud that he made his own art.

Try Try Again – to Grow My Own Food

seedlings
I’m trying something new this year. I planted seeds for my outdoor garden!

Try something new.

It’s out of my comfort zone, for sure, but I’ve always thought that if I wanted to try something, then I should go for it. The worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work out. This motto certainly applies to my gardening endeavors through the years.

I love the idea of being able to grow my own food… enough to actually get a meal (and not just a few berries when I’m out in the yard). So far, I have not been successful. My yard is full of bunnies, deer, birds, squirrels, and even the occasional fox. These creatures love my garden and I sometimes feel like Mr. McGregor chasing after Peter Rabbit with a crazed look in my eye as I watch the little rascal steal the vegetables I worked so hard to grow.

Last year, I covered my tiny 3 x 3 garden bed with bird netting, and it kept all the critters out, but it also practically succeeded in keeping me out too. I did, however, have cucumbers growing through mid-October.

This year, I upgraded my garden from one tiny 3 x 3 box to three permanent 3 x 6 raised beds. I have yet to figure out what type of fencing I’m going to use, but there’s a battle going on between choosing something that looks good and something that will actually keep the animals out.

I know this is an ambitious project, so I’m going to keep updating each Wednesday as my garden grows.

The first step of this months-long process was to purchase seeds and plant them. I admit I went a little overboard with my seed selections. I purchased 12 packs of seeds and I barely used half of them. Remember, each seed may become its own full plant, so a little goes a long way with the seeds.

Here’s what I will be harvesting this summer: (keep those positive thoughts coming!)

  1. cucumber
  2. tomato
  3. green beans
  4. lettuce
  5. basil
  6. marigold
  7. strawberries (although these are the only seeds that didn’t sprout!)

I have read a lot of gardening posts about the benefits of planting marigold flowers with a vegetable garden. It seems that the pretty orange and yellow flowers repel pests. I have so many pests, I will take any natural advantage I can get!

The cucumber sprouted the fastest, but doesn’t seem to be growing now that my plants have been in the trays for about two weeks. The green beans are getting so tall, I’m beginning to fully understand the expression “bean pole” when describing someone who quickly grew tall. These plants need a support system within a few days of planting!

The next step in my gardening is to fill my raised beds and get them ready for my delicate seedlings. I plan to take care of that this weekend and will update you next week!

Beautiful Book Covers

book covers
book covers
Clean up the look of your library with plain book covers.

I love collecting books and have always had a giant Ikea bookshelf in my home filled to the brim with my favorites. Lately, though, the bookshelf looks more cluttered than I’d like and I wanted a way to clean up the look of the bookshelf without actually getting rid of any of my books.

When I saw this on Pinterest originally, I thought it looked great, but didn’t get started on the project right away. Now that I have started it, though, I love the look of my shelf.

Time: about 5 minutes per book

Materials:

  • brown paper (I bought a roll of it online)
  • scissors
  • white paint marker

Instructions:

  1. Think of this as wrapping the book like a present (without using any tape!)
  2. Roll out enough paper to cover the front and back of the book.
  3. Lay the book down on the paper and tuck the ends of the paper into the front and back covers.
  4. Crease the paper on all edges of the book to mark the size.
  5. Remove the book from the paper and fold down at all of the creases.
  6. Replace the book onto the folded paper and tuck the ends in to the front and back covers.
  7. Use the white marker to write the title of the book down the spine.
  8. Put the book back on the shelf and repeat with each book.

I have been plugging away at this project for quite some time now, and each book takes so little time, that it’s not a problem to complete this. I love the way my bookcase looks!

book case
The difference between the covered and uncovered books is dramatic! The covers really clean up the look of my bookcase.

Kids Craft - Footprint Truck Art

Finished canvas #1.

When my son finally transitioned from his crib to a full-size bed, we let him choose what theme he wanted for his big-boy room. Being the typical 3-year-old, he enthusiastically chose the construction truck bedding, and announced that he wanted his room...Read More »


Holiday Wreath Tutorial

This wreath project takes about 20-25 minutes per wreath and cost only $15 in supplies.

Check out the video tutorial here.

Step 1: Gather supplies – I shopped at Michael’s craft store (with a coupon!) to get the best deal on the wreath supplies. Rather than using loose greenery, which can...Read More »


Break it Down

No, I’m not talking about singing… I’m talking about breaking down those larger projects that you would love to complete into smaller, manageable parts.

The Monumental Task

When I see projects online, I often wonder how people make time to do it all. I’m always pinning massive sewing projects, amazing gardens, and time-intensive paper crafts. When I see the tutorials online, I know I have the skills to complete the work, but my reality is two adorable, screamy, active boys who need my attention for all of their waking hours. My choices are to include them in the projects (which I do from time to time), or to only complete crafts when they are asleep (which leaves only about an hour or so each night to work.) Neither scenario is ideal.

My solution? I break my big projects into tiny bits that I can complete in about 10 minutes. I find that is about the time span that my two little boys can play independently without some sort of interaction with me. I realize that this method may stretch a project that would normally take about 2-3 hours and make it into a 2-3 week project. I’m ok with that.

How do I do it?

Each project is different, but I follow the same general guidelines each time:

  1. Gather supplies – get your key items together for the project. This usually involves a shopping trip for me, so getting everything together at the beginning of the project will certainly save time during the process.
  2. Complete tiny steps –¬†have your supplies handy and ready to grab when you can steal a few minutes to work on it. For my “daddy doll”¬†project (I’ve since completed dolls for both sets of grandparents too), I took the picture one day, printed it the next, ironed it on the next, sewed the fabric together the next, and finally stuffed it on the last day of the project. Yes, it took me longer to complete the total project, but since I had everything ready to go, I only worked on it for about 10 minutes a day, which felt like no time at all.
  3. Get help when you can – my kids love to help me with my crafting projects, so I try to include them as much as I can. We will be starting a garden in our backyard this spring, and I have been planning it for months (in my head). I found a cute tutorial for using old wine corks as seedling markers, and made my own twist on it (tutorial to come) by letting the boys paint the corks before I use permanent marker to label them. They loved painting with me, and I loved getting a tiny step of my project done while keeping them busy and entertained. (Yes, the 2-year-old wound up with paint all over himself…)

Everyone can find time to craft!