Friday, July 30, 2010

a little black bench

I found the bench on the side of the street for free, light blue velour cushions and all.  I wondered for a while what to do with it.  I needed something fairly durable and kid and pet friendly which the cushions were not.  I finally decided to make a wood seat out of 2x4 boards and paint it all black.  It cleans up easy, holds a lot and looks great in the back yard.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

polly pocket cozy

For boys week we feature the cute little car cozy and today I found a cute polly pocket cozy from Chris at Pickup Some Creativity.  I was trying to think of something like this for my girls and here it is. I love it!

She helped her kiddos make gifts for each other for christmas and this was one of them.  They made the car cozy as well.  These could be made from scraps  and old jeans you already have.  Very cute idea!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

plenty of paperdolls

I love finding a really great toy. One that involves using kids imagination and creativity and one that they will play with for hours. After finding these Minime Paper Dolls paper dolls a couple of months ago, I finally ordered them.  They meet all the above specifications and my cute little ten year old has been busy ever since.

When ordering the doll I was able to customize it to look like her and have her name put on it.   I chose the "print it yourself" option,  received the pdf file the next day, and the fun began.   I love the cute vintage look of of the doll and outfits and my favorites are the fairy tale line and the girls in literature line.

 These dolls would be so cute as a gift and even more fun in a gift basket with one of the books (Little Women, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, etc).  The paper doll party package offered on the website would make for a fabulous little birthday party/ tea party and the outfit of the month would be a happy little surprise at the beginning of each month. 
The website offer great tips and tricks.  We searched out the little "sticky strips" to hold the clothes on and are thinking about laminating the doll and clothes.  And thanks to the print it yourself option when we made a little mistake in creating the first doll (leaving her within toddlers reach) and were able to just reprint her.
If you have little girls, these dolls are definitely worth checking out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

summer skirt

I found this cute skirt over at MADE and I just had to make one for my daughter. It is the perfect skirt for the summer and so easy to make.
I adjusted the pattern by adding a few more inches to each piece to make it bigger. This pattern is easy to make smaller or bigger as needed.  Click here for the complete set of instruction by Dana from MADE. A great skirt for spinning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

girls bloomers or "francie pants"

I found these francie pants at the beginning of the summer and loved the idea and so do our girls.  These have become a favorite item at our house.

They are  a cute little pair of shorts to hide the underpants of your little girl that loves to wear dresses and also loves to climb trees, hang on monkey bars, jump on the trampoline, and roll down big grassy hills. There name came from the saying"I see London I see France".  They have a cute little description of the name here.  These are also great to hide the underwear hanging out of her leotard and to wear under summer nightgowns.

Because of my need to be frugally creative I tried to figure out a way to make these and this is what I came up with.  

The easiest way was to start with a pair of leggings that I already had.  I cut them off to the length that I needed.  I left these a little longer so we could use them as shorts or francie pants.  I then just hemmed the bottoms.  To get the ruffle edge I stretched the fabric as I zigzagged the edge. 

The next idea I had was to copy that same pair of legging for a pattern and cut them out of an old t-shirt (or any knit fabric that you have).  I folded the t-shirt in half and then cut it out.  This gives me two pieces on the fold.  I turned my leggings inside out to examine how they are sewn together.  I made two seams, one that goes in the center front and back and the other is the crotch seam.   I decided to add a little heart on the bum for fun.  

With a little girl starting kindergarten this year this is on our list of things to make for school.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

new for you doll clothes

We have a few new contributors here at Simply Home and Family and today we would like to introduce you to one.  Holli has been sharing her ideas with us for about a month and as you can probably already tell, she has a wide variety of amazing talents.  She can decorate, sew, garden, cook, cut and style hair, create fabulous projects with paper and fabric and could easily work as an event and party planner.  One of her many skills involves being able to create really cool stuff out of old, used, or worn out items.  With Holli, recycling, repurposing, and upcycling take on a whole new meaning.  This week as we are sharing ideas for girls, we thought we would share her new etsy shop, HolliCycle
She is just getting it started, so there is much more to come, but check out her cute doll clothes.  These little outfits, created from recycled fabric, have been headed out the door in birthday wrappings for a while now but today they are available for all. Thanks for the cute products and ideas, Holli.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

peanut butter play dough

This edible play dough mixes food and fun all in one.
Our favorite recipe comes from Disney's Family Cookbook.

Peanut Butter Play Dough

1 1/2 cups instant dry powdered milk
1 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp. honey

Mix all the ingredients together well and knead until smooth.  Store the dough in the refrigerator.

Play, create, eat and enjoy.

There are two kinds of dry milk- instant and non-instant.  It is important to use instant.
The instant dry milk granules, may make the dough seem a little lumpy at first
but it will smooth out with kneading.
I like to measure the peanut butter and honey with a 1/4 cup cookie scoop. 
It makes it fast and easy to scoop, measure, drop into the bowl, and clean-up.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

family photo booth

This is a great way to capture real and silly moments together as a family.  Find a little area to create a booth,  pin up blankets, put up a shade canopy, or designate a area under the tree.   We set out a few funny hats, glasses, and props.  Take four pictures and then format them into photo strips in your favorite program (publisher, photoshop, etc).  Print them out on photo paper and cut them into strips.  We then hung them up on a ribbon with clothes pins to display them and then everyone could grab them as they go.

This is a great way for everyone to take home a memory of a family reunion with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents that they may not get to see very often.  This could also easily be adapted to a birthday party, a wedding, or any other kind of party.   

Monday, July 19, 2010

my family tree

Who doesn't love looking at pictures of your family. Well I was on a mission to find the perfect family tree for me. So I came a cross this idea at Studio 5 made by Kelly White from Heartland Paper. It is so fun! Plus I can use all of those Christmas cards with family photos on them for this project. It is also magnetic so that the pictures can be changed or added to.

I added a leaf to each picture to give it a three dimensional look, that includes their name . You can even included their birthdays too. The picture on the left better shows what the leaf looks like, and on the right the picture is on the tree.
to make this:
14 x 26 piece of sheet metal                                                    
2 pieces of scrapbook paper for background
2 pieces of scrapbook paper for border
scrapbook paper for tree
1 x 1 pieces of wood (to glue pictures on)
Mod podge
Letters for OUR FAMILY TREE (used Cricut)
glue stick
hotglue gun
Click Here for the tree pattern, and Kelly also gives a step by step instructions as well. (note: I made my tree twice as big. The pattern will fit on a 14 x 14 piece of metal so just cut the trunk on the fold and double the branches. You may need to make minor adjustments.)

Directions:  After you have cut all the pieces that will be needed. Mod poge on to the sheet metal.  I then glued every thing where I wanted it and mod poged the whole thing. Let it dry over night.  Cut and glue pictures on to the wood squares and hot glue magnets on to the back of each of the pictures. Cut out leaves and write names on them, then attach them on to the pictures as well. Once your magnetic family tree is dry add all of your pictures.

This is a great gift idea for all those people who seem to have everything. I made one for my grandmother and she loves it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

family fun at the annual bean auction

As we head into the last month of summer, my kids' anticipation grows for the annual family party, and spending a few days with Grandpa and Grandma on the farm.  The weekend is filled with tubing down the river, checking out the animals at the county fair, and a tent full of giggling cousins. 

The climax of the whole event comes on Saturday when the time arrives for the annual bean auction.  On this day dry beans become just as good as Jack's magic ones. 

This is how it all works:
Every family is asked to donate a few auction items.  The items can be handcrafted, certificates for services, gently used toys and household items or things just purchased for the auction. - This year Grandma is already on her hunt for school supplies, great dollar store finds, and gift basket fillers.

The event begins with everyone purusing through the various products available on display.  Some of the things pictured below include a quilted table runner and crocheted hats from my extremely talented sister in-laws (high ticket items), a great frame filled with pictures of our grandparents, homemade bread and jam, toys and games for the kids, and a box of cereal that went for an amazing number of beans after a bidding frenzy from the college crowd.

After everyone takes a seat, a list of several questions is read.  To all those to whom the questions apply, beans are distributed.  For example, each person who made their bed that morning receives one bean. 
Other questions that might be included are: 
Have you done the dishes this week? - one bean
Are you starting school in the fall?  -two beans 
Did you see the sheep at the fair? - one bean
Have you moved in the last year?  3 beans
What is Grandpa and Grandma's anniversary?  -3 beans and one more if you know how many years they have been married
We usually throw in some questions that have to do with events(good and maybe not so good) in the past year like  -2 beans if you have traveled outside the country this year or -10 beans if your house was flooded this year, etc.
We usually have about 20 questions so some need a cup to hold all their beans.

When the questions end, the bidding begins!  We use two auctioneers to keep the party hopping and children of all ages start bidding for treasures that can only be paid for in the beans that they earned. 
We only have a couple of rules. 
--No combining beans with others to bid but buying something for someone else is totally fine.
--Go easy on the little people and have a great time.

We have a really big family and this is a good way to get to know each other better. This auction is great entertainment for everyone and is good for at least a hour of fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Hello all you Simply Home and Family followers.  I am not a usual poster, but I could not stand idly by and watch my wife post about boys.  I therefore claim today's post as MAN TAKE-OVER!!!!  I've got something to say about boys and the men we grow into.  In a world where men are trading in their work gloves for hand moisturizer and their Mustangs for Mini Coopers, it is time we take a stand and return to our roots in an attempt to help our young brood know what it really means to be a man.  So just for today, I am taking the reigns and clearing away the aromatic frills of this blog and smear them with a healthy splattering of leather and sawdust.

Understandably, it is impossible to shove everything it takes to be a man into a few paragraphs, or a few years for that matter; instead I want to tell you about something you can use to inject your boys, and maybe the man you have playing video games on the couch everyday, with raw testosterone.

I came across this book a couple of years ago and it immediately brought back sandlot memories of my boyhood filled with playing baseball for fun with my friends, creating forts and figuring out how to use all the knots we learned in scouts.  The book is called The Dangerous Book for Boys.  It covers things like building a tree house, secret codes, dinosaurs, making a go-cart, the history of great men and great battles, astronomy and using a compass.  It even tackles one of the greatest mysteries all boys throughout time have tried to make sense of...girls.  There is also a board game that goes along with it that helps you use the skills you learned.  You can take a better look at both the book and the game by following the links.

So tell your boys to turn off the video games and TV and discover what it really means to be a Man.  Soon they will be treating you, and other women, with proper respect, replacing old batteries with ones they made from quarters and heading off to a nearby fishing hole to catch supper.

Remember boys:  respect women and girls everywhere, grass stains and skinned knees are honorable and pockets are for cramming.

Monday, July 12, 2010

gone fish'n

Being a mom of 3 boys and knowing that is hard to find fun projets for them. Lets face it is fun to make cute stuff for girls and ideas are endless. Well I ran across this fun idea      From an Igloo and just had to try it. My boys love fishing. And now they can go fishing rain or shine. I made mine with numbers and letters on the fish so that my youngest can learn as he fishes. You can even make them in plain colors so that they can learn their colors as well.  Or play a math game for the older ones. Ideas are endless.

What you need
*wood dowel
*metal washers
*yarn or string
*fabric scraps
*sewing machine and/or needle and thread

We have had so much fun with ours. I hope you have just as much fun.
Happy Fishing!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

boys' cuff watches

I stumbled across a tutorial for these cuff watches a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love this idea! I have 2 boys of my own and am always looking for fun, crafty ideas specifically geared towards boys. They are so sporty and won't break your budget...most items came from a dollar store! The idea comes from Larissa over at Just Another Day in Paradise. If you want one for yourself...go HERE.

Friday, July 9, 2010

little boy knee pad pants

I found this cute little tutorial for these knee pad pants at MADE.  I have followed dana's blog for a while.  She has some great ideas and patterns.  She shows you how to make your own pattern from a pair of pants that you already have.  She teamed up with a few other bloggers a while back to celebrate the boys in their lives.  There are some really great ideas here if you have a minute (or more like an hour) to look.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

car caddy

Picture from handmadebyjill

This fun little carry along is one that any boy would love.  I love this project from the Homemade by Jill. blog.  Check it out;  she has lots of great do it yourself ideas.  

Jill also directed our attention to this cute car mat designed by Lisa Storms from the Fiskars Craft Blog
Soo Cute!
picture from fiskars

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

birthday banner tutorials

We have a little birthday banner that I made out of paper but I have always wanted to make a fabric one. Here are three fun tutorials that I found.

This one  at Mamma Tortilla is made from denim scraps.

I love the detail on this one form Moda Bake Shop.

Pickup Some Creativity shares some tips and tricks and also has a template for the cute cupcake in the middle.  

These all have full tutorials.  This could be personalized for any theme, color, or style to match your party.  

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