Monday, October 2, 2017

Thanksgiving DIY Hand Print Shirt

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I want to share one of my favorite holiday DIY's with you.  I love the idea of preserving my child's sweet little hand print for years to come but it seems that paper crafts get stuck in the memory box never to be seen again.  They are also less likely to hold up over time- that's why I love working with fabric! Although my son can't wear this shirt year after year, I know that for years it will be as perfect as the day he wore it and when he gets older and I have a t-shirt quilt made for him, I get to include this shirt on it.



[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing products through these links does not cost you any extra.  Thank you for supporting my blog through your patronage and through affiliate links!]


{My sweet boy at the tender age of 1}


Here's what you'll need:


Blank T-shirt (I personally like this brand. They also have a variety of colors and short & long sleeves options)

- Felt (This is a great price for a bundle. You can also buy individual sheets at a craft store)

- Thread (If you don't already sew, buying a  assorted collection like this is much cheaper if you need multiple colors)

- HTV & Silhouette or Iron on Letters

- Scissors and a Needle

- Paper & Pencil







Here's how to make it:
I didn't take step by step photos since I made this a couple years ago but it's so easy you wont need them.

[Step 1] Trace your child's hand on the piece of paper.  Cut around the outside of the design and then cut the "fingers" off (keep them in order so you remember which is which!)

[Step 2] Using the paper hand/fingers that you just cut as a pattern, cut a hand from brown felt and fingers from the colored felt.  This will be the body & feathers of the turkey.

[Step 3] Hand stitch the turkey parts onto your shirt.  This takes a little longer but I like the look of it over machine stitching for this craft.  I recommend using thread that matches the felt for each piece.  I do not recommend using heat-n- bond or fabric glue (non sewing alternatives) with felt.






[Step 4] Using thread, make legs, a beak and an eye.

[Step 5] Using your Silhouette machine, cut out your child's name and the year (or age) out of HTV.  Don't forget to mirror it before you cut when working with HTV!  If you don't have a cutting machine, iron-on letters (link in 'materials') will work just fine!






That's it!
Every time I see this shirt I think back to the first year he was able to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast and how much fun he was to watch! Those little hands have grown but he'll always be my baby and I'm so glad I have this memento to keep forever.




Friday, September 15, 2017

National Baby Safety Month TIPS + Giveaway

As a mother of two, I am constantly trying to keep up with baby safety, whether it's about safe sleep, car seats, nutrition, or more.  It seems like the game is always changing on us so I look for brands that are trusted and work to keep our little ones safe and comfortable. I also love when we get little "cheat sheets" that help us along the way.




[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Opinions are my own but safety and product information is being redistributed from the #NationalBabySafetyMonth posts.  Giveaway products are sponsored by MAM and ergoPouch but the giveaway contest is being run by Cut, Craft, Create.]



That's why I wanted to share this information for #NationalBabySafetyMonth (September) and I hope that you'll share these tips with any new (or "veteran"!) caretakers you know.  Psst: we're giving away AWESOME BABY PRODUCTS at the end of this post so stay with me til the end!


Safety Tips You Need to Know

September is #NationalBabySafetyMonth, sponsored annually by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This month-long event increases consumer awareness of baby safety issues and the safe selection and use of baby products. For the past 40 years MAM’s top priority has been the development of products for the well-being, safety and health of babies that make life easier for parents and allow them to focus on the joy of family. 







As parents, nothing is more important to us than the safety of our MAM babies. In observance of #NationalBabySafetyMonth @MAMbabyUSA is posting safety tips to help raise awareness of key things we can all do to protect our babies.




  • Strap in for Safety.  Did you know that falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in children ages 0 to 19? Daily about 8,000 children in the US visit the emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. This September, JPMA is focusing on strap safety! Safety belts and straps should always be used when available, whether it’s on the go, in the car, and even at home. Visit www.babysafetymonth.org to learn more about how to create a safe environment for your child!






  • Always place baby to sleep on their backs.  A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that about 2 in 10 babies are placed to sleep in incorrect positions that greatly increase the risk of SIDS.

Babies should *always* be placed to sleep on their backs. Placing babies to sleep on their sides is just as dangerous as placing babies to sleep on their stomachs, since they are likely   to roll over on to their stomachs while sleeping.






  • Consider pacifier usage when placing baby down for sleep and remember that the pacifier may not be reinserted once baby falls asleep.Pacifier use is shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. MAM supports the AAP published guidelines for pacifier usage. Check them out here: http://bit.ly/AAPInfantSleepSafety
Read more here if you’re interested in more information about pacifiers and how they reduce the risk of SIDS:





     


  • Before placing a pacifier in baby’s mouth, check to see if there is any damage or signs of weakness. Pull the nipple in all directions and throw away the pacifier at the first sign of damage or weakness. Pay extra attention to your child’s pacifier as teeth emerge, which can occur as early as 1 month. Be sure to replace your baby’s pacifier frequently – once a month or every two months.


 






  • Always monitor your baby’s body temperature. Your baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash and rapid breathing.  One of the best ways to ensure your baby can regulate their body temperature while they’re asleep is to dress them in natural fibers like cotton, bamboo and merino.

ErgoPouch (pictured) is a great choice when it comes to correctly dressing your baby for sleep. The correct, tog (warmth)-rated swaddle or wearable sleep bag/suit will allow you to not use blankets, which can place babies at risk of SIDS. You can see the complete ergoPouch collection at www.ergopouch.com.








  • Ensure that your baby’s crib meets CPSC standards and that everything in your nursery is free of harmful chemicals and toxins. Check that the crib of your choice is not on the CPSC recall list, here: http://bit.ly/cpscCribRecalls. Just as important is ensuring that your baby’s crib is placed away from (1) windows, where drafts and sunlight can put your baby at risk, and (2) drapes/blinds, which are strangulation hazards.

Our friends at Micuna Usa (pictured) offer a collection of safe, stylish cribs made of sustainable materials like solid Beech Wood. Check out their wide variety of cribs here: http://www.micunausa.com/shop-products/








  • Place baby to sleep on a firm mattress covered by a fitted sheet that meets current safety standards. Remove ALL soft objects from the crib: bumper pads, blankets, pillows and stuffed toys. A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that almost 15% of babies are placed on non-recommended sleep surfaces each night while over 90% of babies have loose, soft objects in their cribs that pose suffocation risks. Please make sure to carefully check your baby’s sleep environment for these dangers to protect their safety.

Looking for a great, breathable crib mattress? Our friends at at Newton Baby (pictured) make Greenguard Gold Certified breathable, washable and recyclable crib mattresses that are specially designed for baby’s health, safety and comfort.  The innovative design allows air to flow freely for optimal breathability and temperature regulation. Check out their awesome products at www.newtonbaby.com







  • The SIDS institute says give your baby plenty of interactive tummy time.  This should never be in a bed, a good place for this is on the floor.  Never leave baby on their stomach unattended.  Play with baby as he/she does baby push-ups. 

Gathre offers a great selection of wipeable, waterproof bonded leather mats -- functional pieces that appeal to the modern mom's personal aesthetic.  Choose the perfect mat for playtime with baby at www.gathre.com!








  • MAM pacifiers come in four sizes: newborn, 0-6, 6+ and 16+.

Each size was developed with pediatric dentists and developmental psychologists to provide your baby with the ideal pacifier at each age and stage.

These sizes are recommendations for your baby’s maximum comfort and safety; if your baby likes a MAM pacifier that is not the ideal size for his or her age, not to worry! It is still safe to use as long as all other safety guidelines 
http://bit.ly/mampacifiersafety are followed.












{Giveaway Time!}

Now that you're "in the know" on these amazing safety tips, let's help you practice them! One winner will be chosen to win a $40 MAM gift package (which includes the new perfect pacifier, bottles, teethers, drinking cups and oral care items) as well as an ergoPouch ergoCocoon swaddle sleep bag! Just follow the prompts on the widget below to enter!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


About MAM
MAM combines technological innovation, medical function and contemporary design to develop superior baby care products that support a baby’s development from day one. Since MAM developed its first pacifier in Vienna in 1976, it has evolved to become a global authority on baby care product design and quality. Today MAM products are used by families in over 60 countries and on six continents. To find out more and view MAM’s baby care range of award-winning pacifiers, bottles, cups, teethers, oral care items, coordinating accessories and gift sets visit www.mambaby.com.

About ergoPouch & the swaddle sleep bags
The ergoCocoon ‘no origami’ baby swaddle sleep bags are designed to be both easy to use and difficult to escape from. The simple zip up design will keep baby snug and securely swaddled without the need for complicated wrapping. Made from skin-friendly, breathable organic cotton for superior comfort, the ergoCocoon is acknowledged as ‘hip-healthy’ by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for its ergonomically designed bell shaped bottom which provides extra leg room for healthy hips. For those bubs that like a little more freedom or are ready to transition out of a swaddle, the ergoCocoon has poppers in the armholes that can be used to convert from a swaddle to a sleeping bag. Tog rated for warmth, there is an ergoPouch swaddle to suit every season. For more information visit ergopouch.com.

Melbourne, Australia-based ergoPouch was founded in 2009 by Alina Sack.  As a mother, Sack drew on her own personal experiences of sleep deprivation to come up with innovative products designed to help babies and kids get a better night’s sleep.  The award-winning ergoPouch collection includes premium quality baby swaddles, sleeping bags and sleep suits available from birth to 6 years of age sizing.  All ergoPouch products are made with natural fibres including Organic Cotton, Bamboo and Merino.  ergoPouch products offer great functionality and versatility with swaddles that can easily transition to a sleeping bag, and sleep suits that convert from bags to suits with legs for easy use from bassinet to stroller. 
For more information visit www.ergopouch.com.



Thursday, August 24, 2017

DIY Apron in minutes!

As we continue our "play kitchen" themed posts, I HAD to share this easy DIY with you.  I'll be honest, this was a gift from mamaw (my mom) but it's so easy that I can tell you how to do it in 3 simple steps.  Better yet?  It's totally customizable! Pick the color, pick the design, pick the name, pick the fabric print! The options are endless! Even better yet? It doesn't have to be just for play.  Let your kiddo(s) wear it while they help in the real kitchen or... make one for yourself!


DIY Apron in Minutes!



[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing through these links does not cost you anything extra but it does pay me a small commission which helps me keep doing what I'm doing.  Thank you for supporting my blog!]



Step 1: Buy a blank apron.


I'm not sure exactly where she purchased this one but a quick amazon search will bring you to a wide variety of options. This one comes in several bright colors for under $5 a piece or you can snag this 12-pack of assorted colors for under $9.  (the assorted pack is more the style of our apron and I love it. I might have to buy this and make some more aprons for my daughter and their friends!)



Step 2: Add a name/design


Using your Silhouette (or pre-made heat transfer letters if you don't have a Silhouette) design your name and cut out from heat-transfer vinyl. You may also add a design under the name for a little extra something.  These can be purchased for personal use in the Silhouette Store, or create your own. [Don't forget to mirror your design when working with HTV before cutting or your letters will be backwards!]



Step 3: Make a pocket.


Using any spare fabric that you have (or go buy some new) make a basic square shape.  Fold under the edges and sew onto the front of your apron for a finished look.  My mom got this fabric because it matched well with the blue apron and it was 'cooking' themed but my son is OBSESSED with the avocado on it (he loves avocado and guacamole!) so good job mamaw!






That's it! Seriously.
It's crazy easy and super fast. I think I'm going to buy that 12-pack of different colored aprons and make several of these for my son's little friends. Russell wears his almost every time he plays in the play kitchen (which is about 467, 842 times a day) and loves it so much.  Well worth the few bucks and couple minutes I'm sure it took to make.  What would yours look like?






Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Felt Pasta DIY

If you follow me on facebook (if you don't, you should) you've seen me share numerous updates on the ah-mazing play kitchen that my husband built for our kids.  I can't wait to share the deets with you but blogging takes time and time is something I don't have a lot of these days.  Nonetheless, I wanted to get the ball rolling to sort of force myself to make time.  Because, y'all I really want to share my projects with you.



To get things moving along, I'm going to share a few posts of some smaller kitchen details.  Then I'll get myself all excited about it and stay up until 4 am some day and share the whole thing... because that's how I work.

Today's topic: Felt Pasta!

Seriously though.  It's insanely easy (and quick) to make and even more adorable.

[Ravioli]



Step 1: Buy felt.  I got mine at JoAnn fabrics on the bolt. I bought a TON of this fabric because I planned to make a variety of pasta noodles.  It was plenty because an entire batch of ravioli takes about 2 inches of on-the-bolt felt.  Really.  Also get some batting. I prefer the kind that is on a roll because it can easily be cut into a square shape but it doesn't really matter. Anything between 1/2-1 inch is perfect.

Step 2: Cut your felt into squares using straight scissors, making them slightly larger than you want your finished product to be. You will need two squares per ravioli.  I recommend cutting them with a straight edge first, then pinking shears later only because I like the front and back "zigzags" to line up perfectly and that's hard to do before you sew. Also cut small squares of batting for the center puffy part of the ravioli.

Step 3: Sew up three sides of the ravioli, leaving room on the edges to trim with the pinking shears. Stuff your batting square into the opening that you made and stitch the fourth side shut. Finish with the pinking shears to complete the "ravioli look"



Felt is the perfect material because you never have to turn your seams. Just stitch everything on top and the edges wont fray.  It's a beautiful thing.



[Spaghetti]



Step 1: Buy felt. I used the same felt for the spaghetti and ravioli.

Step 2: Cut the felt into strips making them as wide and long as you desire.




That's it.  Yea, this one is super easy. Because the spaghetti is so skinny, the felt can be torn if roughly pulled apart. Luckily, it holds up great to normal wear and since it's so easy to make it's really not a big deal. (we haven't replaced any of ours yet but do have a couple "stretched out" pieces)


Bonus Step: Marinara Sauce: I LOVE this sort of mixed red color felt.  This was also purchased at JoAnn fabrics but over in the craft section in a 8.5x11 size piece. Just cut a few pieces of this for the perfect "spaghetti sauce". The color is so dimensional it's just perfect for this!




If your kid loves Parmesan cheese as much as mine does, clean out a real container after you've emptied it and put it in the play kitchen. I didn't fill it with anything but he loves pretending to sprinkle cheese over the top! Boom- fun and free.





Felt is so easy to work with and it's so cute compared to some of those cheesy store bought play foods.  It looked so yummy, even his little sister wanted to try a bite!







Sunday, July 30, 2017

Stuck On You {product review}

Growing up with the name Kelsie (spelled "ie" instead of the more common "ey") I struggled to find any sort of product with my name on it.  Anything from touristy vacation junk to fancy jewelry... if my name was available you can bet it was with an "ey".  This is course made me want it even more badly, so I eventually became obsessed settled for monogrammed items with a simple "K".  The older I got I found some companies that did personalized details on the spot but they were hit and miss on the quality of the products.  Needless to say- I appreciate a good custom name product.

[Disclaimer: I have received free product from Stuck On You in exchange for an honest review of the products.  All opinions are my own and I only review products that I have personally tried and approve of.]




That's why I was tickled to see this company made up entirely of personalized name products!  #ohmyheart.  Even better- they have a TON of different products to choose from.  I even found that they have a slew of products that actually help me stay organized.  Boy, do I need that.  Because I wanted to try out a range of items so I got something for myself, for my toddler and for my baby.    Here's what I found:


A few things about the company:
- It was founded by Carrie Felton more than 20 years ago when she needed to label her first child's belongings for daycare...Stuck on You has since grown and expanded to offer personalized backpacks, water bottles, lunch bags, bento boxes, bag tags, hats, stationery, gifts, puzzles, onesies, bibs and so much more.
You read that right. 20 years.  Apparently it was around when I was searching for some cool Kelsie with an "ie" stuff!

- They have an amazing Back to School section of products.  Everything from bags to lunch boxes, labels, apparel, stationary & more. They even have pre-made value packs that are divided by need (camp, pre-school, 5+ age school, baby, etc), design and theme (like "emoji" or "year of the rooster")

- Their purpose is to:
   > Celebrate the individuality of every name (whoot whoot.  Kelsie with an "ie")
   > Bring joy to new parents with unique, timeless products for every child.
   > Save families time, energy and money.
   > Prevent lost property and arguments over children's belongings.
   > Help families kickstart a more organized life with clearly labeled kitchen, linen, cupboards and wardrobes. (I plan to take advantage of this once I figure out how I want to even begin!)

Personalized Wooden Name Puzzle
Let's start with the baby.  My son has a name puzzle so I thought my daughter might like to have one someday as well.  They have different options available in this style depending on the length of your name.  Although she is only 6 months old, she seems to like it already!





Why I love it: - The knobs stick up and are really easy to grab (she can easily grab them herself).
- The colors are very pretty. I only wish the white was a little easier to read.
- The wood is surprisingly sturdy and it feels like it could withstand play despite being thinner.
- I love that it comes with a felt cover (which can also be personalized!) and that once it's in the cover, you can stand it upright and the pieces don't fall to the bottom.



{Bright, crisp colors and smooth edges!  Note:  Many of the letters are too small for unsupervised play though- especially with a 6 month old.  It does include a sticker warning about chocking hazards so please parent responsibly!}




{Felt case keeps everything together and easy to transport and store}




How it could be better:
- I wish the white letters were a little easier to read. With the light wood behind it and the knob in the middle, some letters are harder to read. Close up though, this isn't a problem at all!



Mini Book Bag
Okay, my son isn't in school yet but he loves the idea of going to school.  Plus- who doesn't love having their own personalized backpack to carry all your goodies in?



Why I love it: - They allow you several ways to personalize it. You pick the size (I chose the mini), color, design, personalization and even the font that the name appears in!
- It has plenty of space for several items to fit inside it.
- The zippers are easy for little fingers to grab.
- It comes with adjustable straps to fit your child perfectly.


Check out this short video of me giving a closer look at all the awesome details in this bag!  
(links safely to the blog's facebook page. I could not for the life of me get the video to load on this post! Sorry!)


How it could be better:
- I would love to see more color options in the future! I chose the Seafoam Green (which I love) but it was the only non "blue or pink" option available.  Maybe also more "big boy" designs, although I do really love that tee-pee.



Markers
Next up is their pack of 11 brightly colored markers.  I got these for my toddler who loves to draw! Verdict:  They are a hit.



Why I love it: - The markers are GREAT quality.  Sometimes drawing products that aren't the "well known brands" aren't great quality but these markers are amazing.  The color is so vibrant and they draw smoothly.  I was so pleasantly surprised by this.
- Each marker has 2 ends: a "fine point" and a broader point.  Twice as much fun!
- The caps on the 2 different ends are the same. Why does this matter? Because my toddler can put the caps back on whichever end without creating a meltdown from it just being a little off. Thank You Stuck On You. Seriously.
- They allow you a ton of space to write your name.  I only had "Russell" written on it but they allow for enough characters that I could have done his first, middle and last name (which is not short!) with room to spare!
- They come with their own plastic bag/case that can be re-closed and used for tidy storage. I.E. no loose markers everywhere.


{Colors are vibrant and great quality!}



{Skinny design makes it easy for little hands to hold}



{Each marker has a fine point and a thicker point for double the fun!}



How it could be better:
- Nothing.  Literally nothing. These are amazing.  Maybe if it came with some magic that transformed my toddler into a person who remembered to put the caps back on when he was finished.  No?  Okay then nothing.



Weekly Desk Planner
I'll be honest, I apparently didn't read the title because I thought this was a monthly planner and was surprised at how small it was.  Then I realized that it was a weekly planner and thought "oh, that gives me lots of room to write my plans!" So... in reality it's not what I expected but it's actually better (and apparently I need more sleep because I missed the word "weekly" right in the title!) #momlife




Why I love it: - It's a weekly planner. I love that it's size fits right on your desk and this layout gives you SIX squares to use for each day!  I like to fill in my specific plans (like appointments) in black, things that need to be done anytime that day in pink and "get it done as soon as you can fit it in" stuff in blue.

- It has a space at the top for you to write what dates that calendar page spans.
- The design is super cute. When you order you can pick your personalization (and like the markers it allows for many characters), the font and the design.  The calendar also comes in your chosen design in 2-3 different color schemes so that it's different from the week before.





How it could be better:
- I wish it came with an option to hang or stand up on it's own. Even one of those little pop out tabs on the back would be great.  I do so much moving around on my desk that laying it flat will either result in it being covered up or torn.  It is sturdy enough to be propped up against the wall on it's own though!
- I also wish that it ran Sunday-Saturday (It's Monday-Sunday).  That almost gets me every time I go to fill out a new week!  Although this setup is nice for easily filling out whole weekend plans as one note.


Here are some products I didn't try but am totally in love with:
Lunchboxes when my kids are in school I'm coming back for these.
- Allergy Tags & Stickers [as far as I know] my kids don't have any common food allergies (only kiwi... weird huh?) but boy would these be amazing for kids that do! They include the child's name, allergy and even a picture in bright, clear images that are easy to spot and read.
Reward Charts Cute design- check. Child's name right on the chart- check.  Stickers to apply that track the child's progress- check. 
Diaries Private journals are so important to growing youth and having one with your name on it seems so special and personal.  I would have LOVED this as a kid (aaaand okay, I love it now).
Wooden Baby Blocks These are absolutely beautiful.  You receive the blocks that spell out your child's name but I would love to see them just sell a full alphabet set (with the option for duplicates so you can spell your child's name with repeating letters)


Overall, I'm very impressed with this company and all that they have to offer.  I think I've only begun to scratch the surface of the organizational possibilities and once I quit being a hot mess get better at being organized, I think I could really get into the labeling side of this as well! Which is your favorite product?