Super Simple Toddler-Friendly Valentines

ToddlerValentines

This toddler-friendly Valentine’s Day craft really is easy enough to warrant zero tutorial for how to make it, but Beany had such a good time with her piles of pink hearts the other day, I thought I’d share our super simple project.

ToddlerValentines3

Basically, you just cut out a gazillion hearts of different sizes, supply your kiddo with some tape and crayons and then let them go to town.

ToddlerValentines4

The raccoon and cat required a bit more direction from me (though I bet 3- or 4-year-olds would have a pretty easy time with it), but the “heart with hearts,” as Beany calls it, was 100 percent her. She carefully colored and taped each of those things, and boy oh boy, was she proud.

ToddlerValentines2

We got a good half an hour of fun out of this, which for a toddler is pretty amazing. And I stuck a few pieces of magnet tape on the back of our creations once we were done, so now they’re living happily on the front of our refrigerator, where the tiny artiste can see her work on display any time she’s in the kitchen.

Are you crafting up any Valentine’s Day fun yet? Do tell!

XO,
Katrina

Looking for more Valentine’s Day fun? Check out these DIY fortune cookie Valentines!

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Wrapping Week 2013: O Tannenbaum

Twine Trees 3

Well, we started the week with Beany’s favorite wrapping project, and we’re ending the week with Jared’s, though I’m not sure whether it’s his favorite because he loves how it looks or because he had a hand in the process. I originally planned to break pencils into small pieces, glue those together to make the tree shape and then wrap that in twine. Of course, that would require me to break loads of pencils into lots of pieces. Evenly. All the while trying not to get pierced by pencil shards or covered with lead. I was in my watch-me-use-my-super-strength-to-snap-this-pencil-in-half pose when Jared suggested I cut some cardboard into triangles and use that instead. The man is a crafting genius.

Twine Trees 5

Twine Trees 4

I must say, the little twine trees do make me pretty happy every time I look at them, but then again, I suppose that’s in their job description. Christmas trees are natural happiness makers, and never have I seen one that I didn’t instantly love. Twine wrapped or not, they’re certainly good at what they do.

Twine Trees 2

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What you’ll need:
• a few scraps of cardboard
• twine
• decorative twine or ribbon
• small red pompoms
• hot glue
• gift box
• white or brown craft paper (optional)

How you do it:
If you’re planning to wrap your package with craft paper instead of adding trees straight to the gift box, go ahead and do that first. Then cut your scraps of cardboard into four small and one slightly larger tree-shaped triangles (make sure that, when wrapped with twine, they’ll fit on the top and sides of your box).

Use a dot of hot glue to attach the twine to the back of your first cardboard triangle, down at the bottom. Once that’s held in place, begin wrapping the twine tightly around the triangle so as little cardboard shows through the front as possible. Add a few dots of hot glue on the back along the way so the twine stays tight. When you get to the top, cut the twine piece and secure it at the back with a last dot of hot glue. Repeat with the remaining four triangles.

To add a little something extra to the bigger tree for the top of the box, wrap a decorative piece of twine or ribbon around the triangle a few times. Secure it at the back with hot glue.

With your present wrapped and/or gift box closed, use hot glue to attach your twine-wrapped trees to the top and sides of the package. Finish them off by gluing a small red pompom to the top of each tree.

Twine Trees

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Wrapping Week 2013

That’s  a wrap on Wrapping Week 2013! I hope you found some inspiration to make your holiday gifts just as fun and special on the outside as they are on the inside. Happy, happy wrapping to all!

XO,
Katrina

Wrapping Week 2013: Ready to Mail

Flat Bow

My love for paper is pretty intense, and I could probably be happy for an unreasonably large amount of time surrounded by cardstock and stationery. But no matter how strong that love might be, watching an hour’s worth of bow-making get crunched and smooshed by way of suitcase, mail or toddler hands is not my idea of a good time. It’s pretty, yes, but sometimes you have to cut your losses and get creative, if anything for the sake of your own sanity.

Flat Bow 3

I know I said yesterday’s wrapping was the easiest of the week, but this one is nearly tied. The idea behind it is simple: uncrunchable, unsmooshable wrapping, complete with a bow. Decorative craft tape (Washi is my favorite brand) is so, so handy for projects like this — and loads of things, really — and is incredibly easy to work with. The tape also happens to be innately cute, so only a touch of cleverness need be involved on your end. By fashioning a couple different tape patterns into the shape of a simple ribbon, you’re left with a festive gift box that’s still flat, smooth and in little danger of travel-induced mangling. No broken bows! No last-minute fixes! Whew! Sometimes stress free is the way to be.

Flat Bow 4

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What you’ll need:
• two patterns of decorative craft tape (Available at most craft stores. Target, too!)
• gift box
• white or brown craft paper for wrapping (optional)

How you do it:
If you’re wrapping your gift box with separate craft paper, go ahead and do that first. Then using the first pattern of craft tape, wrap a straight piece around the gift box horizontally and another one vertically (they will form a sort of plus sign shape).

Take your second pattern of craft tape, and fashion a bow shape on top of the straight pieces you already put down. Because you’re working with straight edges, it’s easiest to make two small triangles that meet at points in the middle and then add two short straight pieces coming from the center (the ribbon overhang, per se).

Flat Bow 2

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XO,
Katrina

Wrapping Week 2013: Pretty in Polka Dots

Polka Dot 4

The other day I was hanging up some laundry to dry and realized that between Beany and me, we could rock a polka dot nearly every day of the week. The entire doorframe of the master closet (the designated drying spot in our humble abode) was filled with a smattering of spots in varying sizes and colors. Shirts, jammies, sweaters, leggings: the list goes on. Apparently if it’s dotted, we’ll wear it. I suppose it’s only appropriate that our Christmas presents feel the same way.

Polka Dot 3

Polka Dot 5

This polka dotted wrapping paper was the easiest of the bunch this week and makes for a pretty adorable package in relatively little time. You could switch up the colors, too, for a fun confetti-inspired look (think a rainbow of polka dots scattered across the paper). Or you could dot them in a different pattern, maybe lines or waves. Let the polka dotting begin!

Polka Dot 2

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What you’ll need:
• white paint
• an old-school pencil with a new (flat) eraser
• craft paper
• twine
• white cardstock
• scissors

How you do it:
Roll out a piece of craft paper large enough to wrap your package (you can weigh it down with something heavy on the edges if it starts rolling back up). Using the pencil eraser as a stamp, dip the flat end into the white paint and press it onto the wrapping paper in a polka dot pattern. Add as many or as few as you’d like. There’s no wrong way to polka dot!

Finish the look with a quick wrap of twine and a matching white bow. (For the pictured bow, I used simple white cardstock and followed the tutorial for making these shopping bag bows.)

Polka Dot

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XO,
Katrina

Wrapping Week 2013: Fa La La Felt Ornaments

Felt Ornaments 4

Ever since I made these felt cookies for Beany and my niece last Christmas (which are holding up amazingly well and still favorite toys in our house), I’ve been toting around a ridiculously large supply of scrap felt. It’s like when you’re eating dinner at one of those gigantic-portions Italian restaurants, and no matter how much spaghetti you keep piling away, that magical bowl has no real end. Inevitably, after what feels like hours, you and at least someone else at the table raise the white flag and utter that oft-spoken line: “We really should have split this.” So, anyone care to share some felt?

Felt Ornaments 2

Luckily, there are worse problems to have than a felt abundance, especially considering Pinterest’s dandy knack for turning any searchable term into an onslaught of DIY projects. The idea for this wrapping venture came from a quick shuffle through the felt drawer. A few cuts, a little twine and some quick gluing later, and someone’s getting a felt-happy gift box this year!

Felt Ornaments 3

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What you’ll need:
• a few small scraps of felt in various colors
• matching pompoms for the ornament tops
• twine
• scissors
• hot glue
• a gift box and/or simple craft paper

How you do it:
Start with a plain gift box or fully wrapped gift. You’re basically just gluing the ornaments you’ll make to the outside, so it’s easier to start with the present already wrapped. Decide where you want the ornaments to be on the outside of the package, and carefully hot glue your pieces of twine in place, leaving a space for the ornaments to “hang” on the end.

Now it’s time to cut your felt scraps. For each ornament, you’ll need three equal-sized circles of felt (mine are each about 1 inch in diameter). Fold the first circle in half, and put a few dots of hot glue around one of the folded edges. Working quickly (but carefully! Hot glue is hot!), fold a second circle in half and press one of its folded sides firmly against the circle half you just glued. Make sure the edges are lined up, and hold in place until the glue is set. Repeat this step to attach the third felt circle to the other fold half of the second. When all is said and done, you should have three folded felt circles attached together (they should be able to open sort of like a folded-up fan), with one folded end of each outside circle still free.

Glue the two outside ends (the outside folded sides of the outside circles) flat to the gift box where you already glued your twine. When open, it should form a perfect fanned-out circle. Add a matching pompom to the top of each ornament.

Felt Ornaments

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Hope your week is going well so far! We’re due for more snow here this afternoon. Yippee!!!

XO,
Katrina

Wrapping Week 2013: Holly Jolly Reindeer Prints

Reindeer Prints 6

We got our first real covers-everything-and-makes-the-world-look-pretty snow last night in Boston! Woo hoo! After living in North Carolina for two years, where we barely, barely got anything that could count as flurries for nearly the entire stay, I think Jared and I just assumed that moving to the Northeast would mean bunches and bunches of snow, as early as or earlier than anyone else. But our family in Missouri has had quite a bit already this year. Even Texas has been snowy! So now we can officially stop feeling gipped. The snow has arrived! And even if it will only last the morning, it’s a pretty sight indeed. And nothing’s better than hearing a tiny 2-year-old voice greet the day with a lot of: “Oh, wow! It’s nowing! It’s nowing! Mo! Da! It’s nowing!”

Reindeer Prints 3

I finished up all five wrapping projects for the week yesterday, and Beany got to choose which one to share first. I shouldn’t be surprised that the Rudolph-loving girl picked the holly jolliest of the bunch. She loves the little pompom noses, and of course anything reindeer is a win with her this time of year. Get your tiny helpers in on the action, too! Never was a fingerprint too small to make a proper reindeer.

Reindeer Prints 5

Reindeer Prints 4

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What you’ll need:
• washable craft paint in a few colors
• an inky black pen or thin marker
• small red pompoms
• glue (I used hot glue, but good ol’ Elmer’s would work, too, especially with kids)
• tape
• festive twine
• brown or white craft paper

How you do it:

Cut the brown or white craft paper into a piece large enough to wrap your package. Lay it out on a flat surface (it helps to weigh down the edges with something heavy), and get ready for painting. Dip your (or your kiddo’s) finger into the paint, and add a smattering of fingerprints in various colors across the wrapping paper. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it, so add as many or as few as you’d like.

Once the paint has dried, use your inky pen to add two dots for eyes and two antlers on each fingerprint.

Wrap your package. Then use your glue to add a red pompom nose to each of your reindeer on the top and sides of the box. Add some festive twine, and you’re done!

Reindeer Prints 2

Reindeer Prints

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Is your wrapping party in full swing yet? How are you decking the packages this year? Let’s hear it!

XO,
Katrina

Let’s get wrapping!

Wrapping Week 2011

How did Christmas get to be less than three weeks away? I know, broken record, broken record. But has this past month flown by, or what? I’ve amazingly finished my shopping already, which is pretty unheard of for me this early in the game, but that just means there’s lots of wrapping around the corner. And guess what! On Monday, we’ll commence Splash of Something’s annual holiday Wrapping Week! Yahoo! That means five straight days of fun wrapping ideas to put you in an elf kind of mood. I’ll be wrapping things up this weekend (literally, those boxes don’t wrap themselves, y’all) and ready to share all the fun next week.

In the meantime, enjoy a little inspiration from Wrapping Weeks gone by:

1. Buttons
2. Reusable fabric
3. Magazine bows
4. Snowflake punch
5. Monogram

Wrapping Week 2012

6. Boy likes bike
7. Fingerprint Christmas lights
8. Mod Podge glam
9. Shopping bag bows
10. Paper snowflake

Check back next week for more wrapping fun! And happy weekend to you!

XO,
Katrina

A Very Merry Toddler Tree

Beany's Tree-small

When I was little, I kept a closely monitored countdown to Christmas on a large dry-erase board in my family’s kitchen. This was old school, mind you. Every day, I’d erase the number and write in a new one, sometimes adding snowflakes or stars or something else festive once the countdown broke into double digits. For the three years we lived in this particular house, I kept that countdown going — year round.

I don’t bring this up to point out the fact that I was am one of those crazy Christmas people who listens to holiday music in June and starts decorating the day after Halloween (yes and yes). Instead, I think it’s a pretty great example of how awesome my parents were. From January to December, they’d watch as a sizeable corner of their kitchen command center was commandeered by a pint-sized Christmas enthusiast. My spirit, though overflowing and inevitably overwhelming at times, was never squelched in that house. It was always accepted, always nurtured. And that, my friends, is how you become a bona fide adult with a yearlong Christmas countdown widget kept soundly on your computer’s dashboard.

Holiday Photos

I’m happy to report that our little Beany seems to possess this rare but wonderful Christmas-all-day-every-day gene that marked so much of my childhood. She’s into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in a major way, and since her first viewing of Frosty the Snowman just a few weeks ago, she’s willing — if allowed — to watch it on loop at least three times before tiring of it. She recently added the phrase “It’s owing!” (snowing, per toddler speak) to her rapidly growing vocabulary, and she goes crazy bananas for the reindeer snow globe that’s currently sitting on our hallway table. She even sat for a photo with Santa already this year (a tale for another time). “Ho, ho, ho,” she says when she sees it. The girl is a Christmas genius.

Beany's wreath

So what do you do with a 2-year-old who shows an early love for the holiday you hold so near and dear? You decorate her room, of course! Yes, it’s early. Yes, Thanksgiving is still coming. Yes, she loves it. Here’s how you do it:

Beany's Tree6

Beany's Tree5

Beany's Tree4

Beany's Tree3

Beany's Tree2

Beany's Tree7

My basic plan for DIYing a holiday tree for a rambunctious toddler was to keep everything as kid-friendly and non-breakable as possible. Beany is genuinely pretty good about leaving things alone if we tell her not to touch them, but this is her tree after all, so it needed to be safe for little hands. So after stringing a pink and white chevron ribbon around the branches, we decked it with ornaments made entirely from cardstock and tape.

Rudolph record

For those wondering, the tiny tree is from IKEA ($14, I think), as is the $2 pink pot it’s sitting in. The paper and tape I already had, so the entire project cost a whopping $16, which is about perfect for decorations that may or may not remain intact for the duration of the holiday season. The wreath was another IKEA find that was quickly jazzed up with pink ribbons from Michaels, and the Rudolph record is something that’s been in our home for quite some time (see Christmas-obsessed explanation above).

Here’s hoping it’s the first of many trees for our Christmas-loving girl. ‘Tis the season for passing on traditions!

XO,
Katrina

An easy peasy, no-sew craft to keep your coffee cozy

Coffee Cozy1

Last December I wrote an article for Carolina Parent magazine about super simple gift ideas your kids can make (or help make) themselves, and though I think I posted most of them not long after the article came out, this one slipped through the cracks. As luck should have it, the chilly weather and warm-drink season is upon us, so I figured now’s as good of time as any to share.

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Coffee Cozy2

DIY Coffee Cozy

What you’ll need:
• a clean sock
• felt
• scissors
• fabric glue
• buttons

1. Measure 3 inches down from the top of the sock, and cut a straight line across.

2. Add embellishments using felt pieces, buttons and fabric glue. Allow glue to dry completely before using the cozy.

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Super fast, super simple, and super kid-friendly. Beany loves just about any craft that involves buttons, so she might be whipping up a few more of these herself come Christmastime (spoiler alert, grandmas!). Or maybe we’ll do some of those adorable button trees floating around Pinterest. Man oh man, that website is the stuff.

Happy weekend, pals!

XO,
Katrina

Doll skirt DIY and a note to younger me

Model Bunny2

Yesterday, with deadlines looming and work to be done, I spent the morning sewing a new skirt for Beany’s beloved Bunny, the doll whose been the favorite naptime, bedtime, all-time companion for more than a year but whose received affection — and countless trips through the washing machine — was beginning to take its toll on her delicate pink attire.

The skirt itself is nothing too fancy: just a small scrap of fabric, hemmed at the bottom and gathered at the waist with a thin piece of elastic. It’s simple, but Beany was instantly pleased and has since taken to dressing and undressing Bunny again and again and saying, “Uh oh” every time the skirt comes off. Throughout the process though, while sewing a skirt for a stuffed ballerina, I kept thinking about how funny it would be for my younger self to see me now.

Bunny Skirt2

If I could speak to my 17-year-old self and tell her how things were going nearly 10 years later, I suspect that teenage Katrina would be a bit surprised to find how things turned out. She’d be surprised to find she was married already, even more shocked to hear she was a mom and probably stunned to learn that, though she does, as she always planned, spend nearly every day writing and editing for career and for hobby, she does so in chunks of time that come wedged between playing princesses, building block towers and rereading the same Dr. Seuss book until its pages begin to wear.

Model Bunny

My 17-year-old self couldn’t fathom working from a desk in the living room, with toys and dolls running rampant around her, rather than at a fancy office in a big city. She couldn’t imagine scheduling interviews around naptime, and she definitely couldn’t imagine singing the Cat and the Hat theme song a record six times back to back just so she could finish proofing the last two pages of a magazine before she and her leg-clinging co-worker could break for lunch. More than anything, she couldn’t imagine that this work-from-home lifestyle, though stressful and busy and seemingly constant, would be worth every ounce of tough that came along with it.

My teenage self wouldn’t understand breaking from business to sew a doll skirt or working well past midnight because you spent the morning picking clovers. She probably wouldn’t understand any of it — and that’s completely OK. In fact, if I could talk to my 17-year-old self, I might not tell her much at all. I’d say that great things happen, that she should keep dreaming big and working hard and following her bliss because some of the best things in my life have turned up when I didn’t know for sure what I was reaching for.

Bunny Skirt3

So yesterday, I sewed a doll skirt. Today will be another adventure. Fortunately, I have a pretty awesome girl to keep me company.

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Bunny Skirt

Easy DIY Doll Skirt
Or: How to dazzle your daughter with new a skirt for her BFF 

What you’ll need:
• small piece of fabric (for Bunny, who is about 8 inches tall, I used a 4-by-20-inch rectangle)
• thin piece of elastic, long enough to fit around the doll’s waist
• matching thread, scissors, pins and all that handy sewing paraphernalia

How you do it:
1. Start by cutting your fabric into a rectangle. To determine the size, measure how long you want the skirt to be (keep in mind that the fuller the skirt, the higher it will bounce up), then add 1 ½ inches to allow for seams. For Bunny’s 2 ½-inch skirt length, I cut the fabric 4 inches long.

Measuring for the width is a lot more forgiving because you’ll be bunching the skirt around the elastic. I recommended going anywhere from three to five times the width of the doll. Bunny’s waist is about 4 inches, so I cut my rectangle 20 inches wide.

2. Sew a ½-inch hem on one of the longer sides of the fabric piece; that will be the bottom of the skirt. Then sew a 1-inch hem on the other long side of the fabric, making sure to leave enough of a gap between the fold and the stitch so the elastic can go inside.

3. Loop the fabric into a circle so the two short ends meet, and, with the rough sides of the fabric facing outward, sew the two short sides together without closing up the 1-inch gaps  on top where the elastic will be fed through.

4. Cut your elastic to whatever width you need, adding ½ inch for a small seam. Hook a safety pin to one end of the elastic, and, while holding the other end, feed the safety pin through the 1-inch gap at the top of the skirt until it comes out the other side. Sew the two ends of the elastic together so they hold tightly (I did two separate stitches for extra hold).

5. Close up the gaps at the top of the skirt now that the elastic is in, flip the skirt right side out, scrunch and shift the fabric so it’s even around the waist and you’re done!

Model Bunny3

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Have you done any sewing lately? Any impromptu projects that turned into big hits? What’s the day to day like in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear about it!

XO,
Katrina

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