Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Trixie the elf has been busy keeping an eye on Sophie and Willow this holiday season. She's also been busy getting into all kinds of mischief around the house. Here are some of the things she's gotten into over the last few days.

Modeling Mom's jewellery.

Exploring the Christmas tree decorations.

Hanging from the light fixture.

Leaving Sophie a special message with Cheerios.

Eating candy from the gingerbread house.

Trying on the magnet shoes on the fridge.

Having breakfast with Little People.

We're having a blast with Trixie, our homemade version of the Elf on the Shelf. For more elf mischief ideas see my first post here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Make It Monday: Mustache Mugs

Mustache's seem to be greeting me everywhere I go lately. Even post-Movember they are still out and about, but seem to be taking on different forms. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and create my own tribute to the mustache by creating some mugs depicting facial hair styles. Here's a written tutorial using two different ceramic paint types.

What you'll need:

Ceramic mug
Ceramic paint pen or pots
Paintbrush (if using paint pots)

Step 1. Trace or draw a mustache onto your mug. Keep in mind you'll need to choose the correct side depending on if the beverage consumer is right or left handed.

Step 2. Paint over the sketched mustache. If you're using the paint pots and a paintbrush you'll need to do a couple of coats.

Step 3. Allow to dry according to the directions of your paint product. The paint pen I used required at least 4 hrs to dry and at most 8 hrs before heat curing in the oven. The paint pots I used required 4 days to dry before heat curing.

Step 4. Heat cure the mugs in an oven according to the paint product directions. Both products I used required placing the mugs in a cold oven, setting the correct oven temperature, baking for the allotted time once the oven reached the set temperature, turning the oven off, and opening the oven door slightly to allow the mugs to return to room temperature slowly.

Note: The heat cured finish for the mugs I made using ceramic paint pots was not dishwasher safe even though the directions say it should be. I didn't test the ceramic paint pen mugs in the dishwasher. I'd recommend hand washing your hand painted ceramics.

I created this set of "famous" mustache mugs to contribute to our work silent auction fundraiser for the United Way. It brought in a whopping $75. I used the paint pen to make this set.


I made this set, including a "his" and "hers" pair and 4 personality mustache mugs, as a secret Santa gift for a coworker. I used the ceramic paint pots and a fine point paintbrush to make this set.  

With these mugs anybody can sport a stache!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Santa's Elf - Our Christmas Tradition

I love Christmas and the holiday season in its entirety. Now that I have children the magic and the excitement of believing is overwhelming. At 3 years old Sophie is in awe of the beauty and miraculous happenings that come with the season.

I get a certain tingly feeling everytime Sophie's eyes light up in amazement. So for my own indulgent reasons I decided to begin a new Christmas tradition to ensure that those bright eyes would grace our home every single day without fail. I am an avid Pinterest pinner and have come across several pins about the Elf on the Shelf. One can purchase the whole kit and caboodle somewhere, but instead of spending money I decided to adopt the general idea and run with it.

I started by purchasing this little figurine from my local dollar store for $1.50. 

With the addition of some craft felt, hot glue, a couple of gems, and my handy sewing machine the little diva was transformed into Trixie, one of Santa's elves from the North Pole.

The Story

On the night of November 30th this sparkly gold package arrived on our front step.

Attached to it was a very important letter to Sophie from Santa Claus.

Dear Sophie,

It was very nice seeing you at the Zoo Lights on Monday and I’ll see if I can put a Spiderman under the tree for you this year. You’re getting so big. That’s why I’ve sent this special gift for you. In this box is someone very important and I would like you to take good care of her.

Her name is Trixie. She is one of my elves. She will need to stay with you until Christmas Day. I am counting on you to look after her. Trixie has a job to do while she’s staying with you too. When you go to bed each night she will come back to the North Pole and tell me how good you’ve been. When you wake up in the morning Trixie will be back at your house.

Trixie, like all elves, can be a bit mischievous. When you find her in the morning she might be doing something silly. I hope she doesn’t cause too much trouble for you.

Remember to be a good girl and take care of Trixie for me.

Love Santa 

As you can see, it was love at first sight. Unlike the original Elf on the Shelf, Trixie doesn't lose her magic when someone touches her so Sophie is free to play with our little visitor to her hearts content.

And without fail each and every morning Trixie is up to something silly and Sophie's eyes light up in amazement every time.

A snack with a new friend.

An early breakfast.

Kisses from the salt & pepper Claus's.

A pony ride.

Stocking acrobatics.

A drawing for Sophie.

Story time with the fairies.

I'll post more pictures of Trixie's antics as the days go by and Christmas approaches.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Make It Monday: Animal Figurine Ring Holder


Do you ever set your rings in random places in your kitchen while you're washing dishes or kneading dough? I do. And I often forget where I put them. This funny little elephant figurine has now become the new home for my rings when I'm working in the kitchen.

What you'll need:

Plastic figurine
Acrylic paint
Varnish gloss 
Medium terracotta pot base
Spray paint
Hot glue


Step 1.  Spray paint the terracotta pot base with a high gloss black spray paint or your colour of choice. Re-coat as directed and allow to dry completely.

Step 2. Paint your plastic figurine as desired. Once it's dry apply two coats of a clear varnish gloss to seal the acrylic.

Step 3. Trace the bottom of the terracotta pot base onto felt and cut out. Hot glue the felt to the bottom of the terracotta base.

Step 4. Hot glue the feet of your figurine to the terracotta pot. Now it's ready to guard your jewellery while you slave away in the kitchen, hooray!

Happy Monday!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Make It Monday: Bathroom Tiered Storage

This was a fun little project I decided to put together to store the random bathroom accessories that occasionally clutter my counter. Fun fact: It's also a dollar store creation that cost me a total of $2 to make.

What you'll need:

1 medium terracotta pot base
1 small terracotta pot base
1 mini terracotta pot
Black spray paint
Black felt
Hot glue
Optional: 1 miniature plastic animal
Optional: Acrylic paint


Step 1. Spray paint both terracotta pot bases and the mini terracotta pot with a high gloss black spray paint, or whatever colour you prefer. Re-coat as directed and allow to dry completely.

Step 2. Trace the bottom of the medium terracotta pot base onto the black felt. Cut out the circle of felt and adhere it to the bottom of the medium terracotta pot base with hot glue.

Step 3. Using hot glue adhere the bottom of the mini terracotta pot to the centre of the medium terracotta pot base. Then run a small amount of hot glue around the top rim of the pot and secure the small terracotta pot base on top.

Step 4. Optional: Using acrylic paint jazz up your miniature plastic animal. Once it's dry hot glue it to the centre of the top of your tiered storage unit. This ugly red and black rooster got a lovely coat of cranberry acrylic paint before being deemed suitable as a tiered storage topper.

Now it's ready to take on the task of holding the bathroom counter clutter.

Happy Monday!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Make It Monday: Cardboard Tube Pumpkins

These sweet little pumpkins are simple and inexpensive to make. A great fall craft for preschoolers.

What you'll need:

Makes two pumpkins
Empty toilet paper roll
Hole punch
Orange paint
Paint brush
Green pipe cleaner


Step 1. Cut the toilet paper roll into 6 equal rounds. Punch one hole in each round. Paint the rounds orange and allow to dry completely.

Step 2. Cut the pipe cleaner into two 2" pieces (stems) and two 3" pieces (leaves). Curl the end of each 2" piece up like a snail (See picture above).

Step 3. Insert 2 cardboard rounds into one other one so the punched holes line up. Insert one 2" curled pipe cleaner through the holes from the inside out, forming the stem (See picture above).

Step 4. Wrap one 3" length of pipe cleaner around the stem to form two leaves. Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the remaining cardboard rounds and pipe cleaner pieces.

These can be displayed in a vase as a fun table centrepiece or strung up as festive garland on a mantle or in a window.

Happy Monday!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Willow's First Birthday

This post has been a long time coming. We celebrated Willow's first birthday a month ago and I'm just now finding the time to sort through photos and share the fun on my blog. This is likely going to be a common occurrence now that I'm back to work full time.

The Invitation

A black and white photo with simple circles was the design for the invitations this go round. I'd say my self taught Photoshop skills were a success on this one. Although I created the invitation on my own, I can't fully take credit for the design. I found inspiration by sifting through invitations on Shutterfly. But I will take a great deal of credit for birthing the adorable little girl on the card.

The Cupcake Cake

The cake recipe I used is quite possibly my all time favourite. It is the White Almond Wedding Cake found on Allrecipes.com. I added a few drops of red food colouring to make the cake batter pink and baked it in the form of mini-cupcakes and a few regular sized cupcakes.

I find it easiest to a make a cupcake cake by first figuring out the layout before icing the cupcakes. It took me a few tries to figure out how to make a bunch of mini-cupcakes look like the number one, but I eventually succeeded.

Here is my personal icing recipe:

Almond Buttercream Icing

1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk

Cream together the butter and almond extract. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat well. Add the milk, mix until light a fluffy. Add food colouring as desired.

And voila, a sweet cupcake cake for Willow's first birthday.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Make It Monday: Paper Bag Puppet Puppy

One for the kids! A classic paper bag puppet. At Sophie's request this one's a pink puppy named Sophie of course.

What you'll need:

Paper bag
Construction paper
Glue stick


Step 1. Using construction paper, draw and cut out ears, eyes, a nose, tongue, belly and tail.

Step 2. Position and glue your cut outs onto the flap side of the paper bag. You're done! It's that simple. 

Put on a show.

Happy Monday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Make It Monday: Bamboo Frame Jewellery Display

Keeping in line with my recent organized life theme, here's a project I put together to display and organize my jewellery collection, in hopes that it will allow me to easily jazz up my work outfits when my office time increases in the fall.

I was inspired to create this display after seeing a few photos of large picture frames used in a similar fashion. I wasn't able to scrounge up a large, empty picture frame so I opted to create my own using dollar store bamboo.

What you'll need:

4 pieces of bamboo - 40" in length
Hand saw
Spray paint
Hot glue
Picture tacks
Wall mount hooks


Step 1. Measure and mark two of the pieces of bamboo at 15". Cut with a handsaw and sand until smooth. Spray paint in a colour of your choice. You will end up with two 15", two 25" and two 40" pieces of bamboo.

Step 2. Align one 40" length of bamboo at a 90 degree angle over top of one 25" length of bamboo, overlap as a cross 2" past the intersection. Knot a string of hemp, approximately 3 arm lengths long, around the bamboo and create a crisscross wrap. Finish with a knot, secure with hot glue, and trim the excess hemp.

Step 3. Repeat step 2 until you have a rectangular frame with two 40" lengths of bamboo on top of two 25" lengths of bamboo.

Step 4. With the frame laying flat, position one 15" length of bamboo at a 90 degree angle on top of one long side of the frame, 3.5" above the corner intersection. Once again with a 2" overlap. Cross wrap, as before, with 3 arm lengths of hemp.

Step 5. Repeat step 4 using the remaining 15" length of bamboo. Position it at the opposite corner of the first 15" length of bamboo as shown in the above picture. 

Step 6. Turn the frame over so the back is facing you. Hammer picture tacks below each of the two short bamboo posts, this will prevent them from sliding downward. Reinforce the two short bamboo posts with a loop a of hemp tied around the outside end of the short post and the frame, see image below. This will give the post the necessary sturdiness to hold heavy bracelets.

Step 8. Mark the height that you want your jewellery hanging at. I tied one directly below the top of the frame for earrings and two others midway down to hang necklaces. Tie a piece of hemp from one side of the bamboo frame to the other as tight as possible at your desired height and tack in place from behind to avoid the string from sliding downward once your jewellery is hanging.

Step 7. Measure and mount two hooks on your wall to hold the frame. Hang and populate with jewellery and photos.

Happy Monday!