I posted last year about our attempt to makeover our backyard into a more natural play space and we've been working slowly and steadily on it since. Once idea I'd seen on Pinterest was a tic tac toe game using rocks so an a day trip recently we stopped by a beach and collected some smooth round rocks to do a Pinterest Test Drive to see if it worked as well as it appeared to online. Here is the process and our verdict on if it was a Pinterest Win or Fail…
We have found that having an Art Gallery dedicated solely to the children's art work helps them to feel proud of their work and also makes a fun focal point for a family room or play room. I've got all the details on how you can make your own living art gallery in our post today.
I love pinning ideas for things to do with my kids, organizing our home, and meal ideas (don't we all?). I realized recently, though, that I was not actually TRYING many of these ideas so I've decided to do some test drives on my pins to see how well they really work.
My daughter's stuffed animal situation is out of control so I decided to start with figuring out how to wrangle them. I've tried some of my own ideas in the past but her beloved collection has outgrown all of my efforts...
Here's my super easy tutorial so you can make custom clips for any occasion (especially adorable for a parade of Cupid babies on Valentine's Day).
I love crafting but most of the time these days my crafting consists of a lot of glitter, white Elmer's glue, and crayons. When Michele Muir of Hue Design Studio on Sullivan Street in Halifax's trendy North End invited me and a few other local bloggers over to check out her space and take one of her workshops I was first in line. A craft-er-noon? With new friends? And no glitter? Sold!
Michele is an interior designer who opened her own decorating boutique last year. Her charming shop is packed full of gorgeous items like paint and wallpaper from the UK's Farrow & Ball (she's one of their only two retailers in Nova Scotia), custom designed throw pillows, adorable accessories like artwork and unique pull knobs, and a complete selection of Canadian made FAT Paint and FAT Paint products.
Michele got us settled in with snazzy FAT Paint aprons and a counter filled with snacks and told us a bit about the process and the paints we'd be using. FAT Paint is a chalk-style paint and is Canadian through and through. It is owned and operated in BC by a brother-sister team, Victoria and Bradford Lambert, and it started in September 2012.
Hue Design Studio is one of only three Nova Scotian retailers to carry this product and the only one in Halifax. She offers regular workshops, such as FAT 101, for people who want to learn how to use this paint - no experience necessary! She also offers Sign Making Workshops with FAT Paint which is what we were doing.
I decided to make a sign for our Dining Room to post each day's dinner menu with a Bon Appetit! stencil. Choosing the colour was the hardest part for me but I finally settled on Dutch Door, a deep burgundy red and chose Antique Wedgewood for the lettering.
We sanded down the wood then got started with the painting. I hadn't used chalk-style paint before and really loved the texture and how well it covered the board, even with just one coat.
We let it sit for about 20 minutes while we noshed and talked blogs and family. It was so wonderful to meet some of my favourite bloggers, reconnect with ones I'd met before at BlogJam, and learn about some new blogs I'm now following.
Once the second coat was dry I taped on my stencil with painter's tape and put a dab of the Ancient Wedgewood on a plate.
Michele showed us how to remove most of the paint from the brush so it didn't bleed on the stencil and then we went at it.
Okay, I changed my mind. My favourite part isn't the first swipe of paint any more. It's removing the stencil. WOW. I need to start using stencils more often and Hue carries a whole stack of them that I can't wait to start collecting.
Once this dried we brushed on, then rubbed in, some FAT Wax to seal our creations and give it just that extra bit of oomph to the colour and look.
When I got home I finished the last bit of my project which was adding a painted chalkboard on the bottom. I taped off the edges and covered the stencilled part with newspaper and used some black chalkboard spray paint on the bottom.
After a hour or so I peeled off the tape and the next morning I hung it up on the wall with that night's dinner menu displayed.
Thanks so much to the East Coast Mom Media
group for connecting us and, of course, to Hue Design Studio - the workshop was a fantastic way to spend an afternoon and would be a great activity for a group of friends or family who want to get together and try something new, and leave with something beautiful.
You can find Hue at 5585 Sullivan Street in Halifax (steps away from the Starbucks in the Hydrostone) and at www.huedesignstudio.ca
Disclosure: I was provided a free Sign Making Workshop from Hue Design Studios but all views are my own.
Check out the blogs from the other crafters who attended that day and see their creations!
It's a classic case of second child syndrome. Miss M had a darling nursery and, when we moved house when she was almost two, I spent ages designing the perfect little girl room for her to grow up in. Mr M got a sweet frog pond themed nursery for himself, but around age one I started adjusting it to suit his interests (cars, cars, and CARS) but it just never felt like it was coming together right.
I had a mishmash of furniture and decor that I kept trying to put together to make work but I couldn't settle on a colour scheme or a way to make his room cute and car-themed without it looking like a garage. I made him some sweet (and easy!) curtain tie-backs (tutorial here) with a car and bus, and a name art sign with cars (tutorial here) but otherwise it just felt thrown together; I think mainly because there was pretty much every colour in the rainbow in there and it came off as very haphazard.
Then, for Miss M's birthday, we surprised her with a (new-to-us) big girl matching bedroom set. She upgraded from her toddler bed, random night stand, and the purple dresser that used to be her Dad's that I updated last summer (check out that tutorial here).
As a result Mr M was now the proud owner of a purple dresser to add to his multiple personality room theme.
I finally took pity on our poor second child and decided to refresh the dresser again and, in turn, commit to a colour scheme for his room. After much waffling I decided to go with a bright green (Behr's Springview Green) to act as an accent to the navy blue rug with tiny multi-coloured polka dots that we nabbed at Target's going-out-of-business sale ("Target! Come back to Canada! I miss yoooouuuu!").
I pulled all the drawers out and took them to the garage, along with a little red table I'd scored at Value Village. They were all getting the green treatment. First thing was to unscrew the new handles we'd put on the drawers and then each surface got a good scrub down with the sandpaper. The little Ms were very (un)helpful with this part. I may have spent most of the sanding time diving after various pieces of sandpaper that kept heading for Daddy's car in the garage. Last thing was a quick wipe-down with a damp paper towel to remove any sanding dust and they were all prepped.
When I got the kids down for nap/quiet time, it was time to paint (squee!). The helpful folks at the home improvement store suggested I get paint with primer already in it (best invention ever - that coat of white primer is the boring-est coat to do).
I slapped a coat on each drawer and the table, then a second one the next day and they were done. Easy peasy. Hubby helped screw all the handles back in and I set them up in Mr M's room.
I am really digging the green against the white. The photo makes it look a little darker than it is but you get the idea.
I'm so pleased with how the colours all look together - bright and fun - and now his room is starting to feel like it's actually intentional and not just the random leftovers from his big sister. Plus it only cost me the price of a small can of paint to give him a quality, custom piece of furniture - double bonus in my books!
Both of my kids have those room darkening curtains which work great at night-time. In the daytime, however, I find because they're so snug, they're hard to slide along the curtain rod to open them straight across. I decided tie-backs would work better than inching them open each morning, and then inching them closed at night.
I didn't want to spend much money and I wanted something cute that fit the room themes so I came up with this little hack that's worked perfectly and cost about $5 each set - all you need are medium to large Command hooks (depending on the thickness of your curtains), a glue gun, and little wooden decorations.
I found the decorations at Michael's Craft Supplies with all their wooden things. I don't know technically what they're for but they have tons of shapes and designs and even blank ones you can paint yourself if you're so fancy. They cost less than a dollar each.
I did Miss M's first and got her a couple dragonflies to go with her nature themed bedroom. I finally found ones for Mr M's room this week as I'm in the process of updating his space to a big boy car themed room so I got a car and a bus for him.
It's so simple to do and takes all of five minutes. Stick your Command hook up on the wall where you want the curtain to open. I eyeballed it but measuring would probably be more sensible. Make sure the open part is facing away from the window (as shown below).
Then fire up that glue gun and get your little decorations ready (peel off any price tags or other stickers on them).
Generously glob some glue on the hook part.
Then press the decoration on the hook, making sure it sticks out a little past the end of the hook to give you more length to hold the curtain with. Press down for about thirty seconds to make sure it's secure.
Then do the same on the other side. Let them sit for a couple hours before trying them with the curtain to be sure the glue is fully dry. And then you're done!
Miss M, has had hers up for almost two years (*update they've been up for almost five years now!) and we use it daily. One came off a few months after the initial application, but a quick dab more glue and it's never come off since.
So there you go - custom curtain tie backs that take very little time and money. Plus the kids both love them!
Now that Mr M's interests are showing themselves more I've been starting to transition his room from his pond themed nursery to reflect what he truly loves - cars. Well, anything that moves really, but especially things that move on wheels. He'll be two in a couple months and has been in love with cars since shortly after his first birthday.
The first thing I did was create some name art for his wall. I Pinterested my heart out until I found a great idea from a blog called Mason's Roost. It's ALL OVER the interwebs when you search for name art using cars. Sadly, the blog no longer seems to be there and I haven't been able to find a link to the actual instructions.
So I had to make up on my own version. I decided to scrap the shadow box concept and to use his whole name instead of just one letter. I bought basic white wooden letters from the craft store for his name.*
I painted each one with a couple coats of flat black acrylic paint and let it dry completely.
Then, the fun part. I had tried to find or make a stamp for the dotted lines on the road but couldn't find one so I bought coloured duct tape and then snipped off a piece, then snipped it in half and placed it on the letter. This was the most tedious part of the job and there were several pieces of tape that I cut incorrectly that had to be tossed. Once it was done though I LOVED how it looked against the black.
Next step was to place the cars on it. I bought a value pack of dinky cars that included some of his favourite vehicles (i.e. busses and trucks) and then spread them out so that there were three or four per letter. Pro tip: Double and triple check that they're all on the right side of the road. I had a fire truck and sports car set up for a head on collision that I had to redo.
Get some super duper glue (that dries clear preferably) and dab a little on each wheel of the car and press it on carefully. Make sure the letters are sitting somewhere that they won't need to be moved or get bumped for a couple days and let them dry REALLY well. Like a day longer than you think. The last thing you need is a not quite dry car falling off in the middle of the night once it's hung up.
Finally, I used Command picture hanging strips with velcro (no affiliation, just came across them and love how they work!) for hanging them. They go on flat which makes it easier to ensure it's level, and makes it look really clean on the wall.
I love the 3D look of it and how it really pops on his light walls.
Mr M went crazy for it and wanted to pull the cars off at first, but once I explained that they weren't "real," just decorations, surprisingly he seemed to get it. He likes looking at it and naming each vehicle.
*In the interest of privacy I just photographed the M in his name but I did the same concept for the rest of the letters in his name and it didn't add too much time (other than the duct tape lines - with a good stamp that would cut the time down significantly).