Monday, July 30, 2012

Make It Monday: Modern Note Clipboard

My experience is that the spot next to the phone gets cluttered up with all sorts of odd papers and cards that rarely seem to find a home. To combat the problem that impedes on my rare dusting missions, I put together this handy Modern Note Clipboard.

What you'll need:

1 X 4 piece of wood, 16" in length - finished with routered edges and sanded smooth (thanks Jonas!)
Paint in your desired colour
Paint brush
Cutting mat
Rotary cutter

Fancy paper
5 clothespins
Mod podge or similar
Small paint brush
Hot glue


Step 1. Paint the wood in your desired colour, dry between coats. I chose black to match my decor.

Step 2. Cut the fancy paper to the size of the clothespins and affix it to the front of the clothespins with a thin layer of mod podge.

Step 3. Once the paint is dry mark the spots where you want the clothespins mounted and use hot glue to secure them in place. I mounted one in the centre, two 1" from each side, and two centred between the centre and side clothespins. I mounted them about 1.5" from the top of the wood panel.

Step 4. Secure it to the wall. I drilled two holes in the back of the wood panel and mounted it on screws in the wall.

And now I can dust my counter with ease.

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Make It Monday: Ladybug Cake Pops

These cake pops were a big hit for the Ladybug Birthday Party celebrating Sophie's 3rd birthday!

What you'll need:

1/2 of a 9 x 13 cake, cooled
2 1/4 cups of prepared frosting
1 12 oz package of red Candy Melts
24 lolly pop sticks
Cake pop stand - Craft foam works nicely
24 brown M & M's
1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
White and red candy sprinkles


Step 1. Crumble the cake in a large bowl and mix in the frosting until well blended. Place the mixture in the fridge for about 25 minutes until it's nice and cold. This step is extra easy if you use an electric mixer for crumbling and blending.

Step 2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the cooled cake mixture in 1 1/2" balls and place on the baking sheet. Refrigerate the balls for 1 hour until firm or 10 minutes in the freezer if you're in a hurry.

Step 3. Melt the candy melts according to the package directions, dip the lolly pop sticks 1/2" into the candy coating and insert into the cake balls. Return the baking sheet to the fridge to allow the cake pops to firm up again.

Step 4. Remove one cake pop at a time from the fridge, dip it into the candy coating and stand upright in your cake pop stand. Place one M & M on the front of the cake pop and hold gently until it is slightly set and doesn't slide around. Continue with the rest of the cake pops.

Step 5. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Fill a sandwich bag or piping bag with the melted chocolate and trim the tip to a suitable size for detailing the ladybugs with spots and stripes. Pipe one stripe down the middle of the cake pop starting at the M & M head. Pipe small dots on either side of the stripe.

Step 6. Squeeze the remaining melted chocolate into a small bowl. Working with one cake pop at a time, use a toothpick to place three dots of melted chocolate on the M & M. Using tweezers place two white sprinkles on the melted chocolate dots to form eyes and one red sprinkle on the remaining chocolate dot to form a nose. Using the toothpick add a dot of chocolate into the centre of each white sprinkle to form a pupil. Ah yes, if the tweezers in the directions didn't scare you off and you made it this far I apologize ;) On a positive note after you finish this step you'll be practiced up for a competitive game of Operation.

Note: You can also add chocolate sprinkles as antennae for the ladybugs. I only did one because I found it tricky to make them point upright.

Cake Pop Storage
Once you've finished making your cake pops, do NOT return them to the fridge as it will cause the candy coating to sweat when you take them out. The candy coating and chocolate will harden at room temperature.

Cake Pop Stand
If you don't want to purchase a stand or expensive craft foam, find a handyman like my husband to make a simple stand like this one. He used 2 x 6 lumber and drilled holes 2" apart and about 2/3 of the way down into the wood. I covered it in tissue paper and glued on some fake leaves for added decoration.

 This dirt cake is a simple two layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting covered in Oreo cookie crumbs.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

DIY Play Kitchen

If you came here after reading my Ladybug Birthday Party blog post, then SURPRISE! Here's the big present created by a handyman Dad and an artsy fartsy Mom.

Yup, that's right, Jonas and I combined our skills to make the coolest kitchen a little girl could ever want. I'm a lucky girl to have such a super husband that listens to my hair brained ideas and makes my dreams, I mean Sophie's dreams, come true.

Here's the before and after shot.

We started off with this old TV stand I acquired off of Kijiji. Jonas used his amazing carpentry skills to turn it into a kitchen.

If you really want to know...
Here's what he did:

- Removed the top shelf and backing entirely
- Removed the lower shelf and trimmed the sides down to the height of the cabinet doors
- Switched the hinge on the left cabinet door so it opened downward
- Cut out a window for the oven door
- Added new wood to the back and top to create the backsplash and counter
- Used a router to shape the edges of the counter and backsplash
- Cut a hole for the sink and faucet in the counter
- Added a divider inside the cabinet to create two equal spaces
- Cut down the inside roll out tray to fit just one side of the cabinet
- Added grooved wood inside the left cabinet to fit the oven tray
- Attached a wooden spoon to the left cabinet door as an oven handle
- Cut down to size and attached the utensil holder on the side of the cabinet
- Screwed wooden thread spools to the stove as stove knobs
- Attached a stainless steel faucet to the counter

Here's what I did:

- Painted the oven door, baseboard and stove top with white gloss paint
- Painted the oven interior and burner plates with black gloss paint
- Spray painted the wooden spoon handle and thread spools (stove knobs) with gloss black paint
- Painted the countertop with leftover Giani Granite Countertop Paint from my kitchen redo
- Painted the sides, back and backsplash with red interior paint (the same colour as my kitchen walls)
- Painted the inside of the cupboard door with chalkboard paint
- Glued a fog plexi glass window to the inside of the oven door
- Attached mirror decals to the inside of the oven and the rooster mirror on the side of the oven
- Attached a push button light to the interior of the oven
- Attached a fancy new handle to the cabinet door
- Affixed adhesive tile to the backsplash
- Added small triangle stickers to the stove knobs

As anticipated Sophie was ecstatic with her brand new kitchen. That looks just like Mommy's.

 No doubt her BFF Ava will be even more excited to come over for play dates now.

Happy 3rd Birthday Sophie!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Ladybug Birthday Party

It dawned on me back in May that a themed birthday party is the thing to do for kids. Well, I asked Sophie what kind of birthday party she wanted and after a few weeks of her saying she wanted a chocolate party she finally blurted out ladybug so I took it and ran with it.

Ladybug Invitation - personal information removed of course.

Thanks to The TomKat Studio Ladybug Invitation post for the inspiration!

Hand Print Ladybug Treat Bags

A little personal touch with Sophie's hand print. Rubber stamps made simple work of the "Thank You!" and names printed on the bags.

Ladybug Cake Pops

These were a big hit. Click the title to link to the directions on how to make these cuties.

The Bug Cake

In my opinion, a birthday party just isn't a party without a cake. Meet the dirt cake with M&M bugs and one big chubby ladybug cake pop.   PS. Sour cream is my secret to a moist cake.

Ladybug Crackers

Ritz crackers, herb and garlic cream cheese, cherry tomatoes and black olives. Voila! These got soggy pretty quick. I think a sturdier cracker would be better.

Red balloons and streamers tied it all off. And the little birthday girl was a happy party goer indeed.

Come back on Thursday if you want to see what's underneath this flowery wrapping paper

Hint: A handyman Dad and an artsy fartsy Mom created it! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Make It Monday: Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder

Crafting while camping isn't a regular occurrence for us believe it or not, but we were out at the lake for 10 days and when our friends and family headed home after the weekend we had a lot of down time. This bird feeder project kept Sophie and I busy for a good hour.

What you'll need:

Plastic bottle with a cap
Exacto knife
Tree branch

Step 1. Forage for fallen tree branches. This was Sophie's favourite part.

Step 2. Cut two X's in the bottle directly opposite each other at the lip near the top of the bottle.

Step 3. Push a tree branch (12 - 14" in length) through the X's. This will create two bird perch's. 

Step 4. Cut a horizontal slit 1 cm above each "bird perch" and cut two parallel slits upwards from either end of the bottom slit. This will create a top hinged door (see images below) that prevents bird seed from spilling out while it's hanging.

Step 5. Fill the bottle with bird seed. Be sure to cover the holes with your hands to avoid spillage.

Step 6. Hang the feeder from a tree branch by tying string around the base of the bottle.

Now wait patiently for the birds to come flocking... still waiting... okay we give up. Enjoy the bird seed birdies!

Happy Monday!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Make It Monday: Pin Cushion Jar

Until recently, my straight pins have been stored in the original small plastic container they came in. I also didn't have a pin cushion. So after each sewing project I would meticulously lay the pins side by side in orderly fashion. Okay, so that's a lie. I would end up with little piles of pins in random places throughout the house. I saw a pin cushion jar in the Canadian Living magazine awhile back and decided it would be the perfect solution. A little home inside for a pile of straight pins and a cushion on top for any stragglers. 

What you'll need:

Canning jar with a separate screw band and metal lid
Needle or sewing machine
Cotton stuffing
Hot glue 

Step 1. Separate the metal lid from the screw band of the jar, trace it onto the cardboard and cut it out.

Step 2. Lay the cardboard circle on the fabric and roughly draw a large circle about 2 inches out from the edges of the cardboard circle. Cut out the fabric.

Step 3. Hand stitch or machine sew a basting stitch around the outside edge of the fabric circle leaving a 1 cm gap between the start and finish of the thread. Pull both ends of the thread so the fabric starts to form a pouch (see image above).

Step 4. Stuff the cotton filling into the pouch and place the cardboard circle on top. Pull the loose thread edges taught and tie a knot. You now have a small pin cushion.

Step 5. Push the cushion through the metal screw band and hot glue the metal lid to the base of the cushion.

You're done. Store pins and buttons or other craft notions in the jars with a functional or decorative cushion on top.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Review: Kandoo Foaming Handsoap

Review: Kandoo Handsoap for Kids

After a 5 minute rant on the phone my brother convinced me to write a blog post about Kandoo foaming handsoap for kids. This may be the beginning of a new relationship between myself and my blog. Lucky or unlucky for Kandoo, it is the first “victim” in my review series.

Parents in the potty training stages of parenthood are well aware that things get messy; very messy. So any little gimmick out there that can ease the pain of this particular life challenge is appealing. This is why I got suckered in to buying the Kandoo soap.

I made the silly assumption that Kandoo meant “can do,” nope this is a definite “can’t do” for my toddler.


Difficult to pump. My toddler has not once been able to press down on the pump to achieve the goal of having foam come out. Instead the liquid just dribbles out all over the sink and rarely does it end up on her hands.

Purple is messy. If you were imagining white or clear liquid dribbling all over the sink well that doesn’t seem so bad. The next problem is the soap is bright purple. Thus, now the sink is bright purple; and the faucet; and the floor; and the cream coloured hand towels!

Scary image, I know! Epic horror film music is playing in my head as I look at this nightmarish photo.


Washable. Fear not, Kandoo's claim that it washes out and doesn't stain is absolutely true. However, unless you want guests to walk into a horror scene like the one above you'd best plan on cleaning your bathroom every time your little one finishes washing up.

My Conclusion:

Kandoo does not live up to its name. Parents purchasing this product are likely doing so in order to allow their child some independence and to free up some of their own time. The difficulty of use leads to an incredible mess, which altogether defeats the purpose of purchasing this product. Expecting 1 extra minute of independence for a toddler, parents will be disappointed with an additional 5 minute clean up and more laundry to do.

Don't be fooled, the smug look this soap pump has is not because it's proud of its usefulness. It is laughing in your face as you wipe up the purple disaster that is now your bathroom.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Make It Monday: Rock Plant Markers

Everything in my vegetable garden has sprouted and is well on its way to producing some delicious veggie goodness to our dinner table. These plant markers would have been much more useful to have before everything in the garden sprouted, but what can I say, I often feel inspired to create something even or especially when it is completely unnecessary.  

Believe it or not, this little project was my break from bigger projects. Naptime for the kid's is often when I tackle big things, but this particular afternoon I felt like watching TV and painting rocks allowed me to feel less unproductive. Yup, makes no sense, I know.

What you'll need:

Clean rocks
Letter stamps
Black ink or acrylic paint
Fine tipped paint brushes
Various colours of acrylic paint
Varnish Gloss
Soft bristled paint brush


Step 1. Using the letter stamps and ink or acrylic paint stamp the names of the plants onto the face of the rock.

Step 2. Paint an image of the plant next to the name. Try a google image search of plant clipart for ideas on simple designs.

Step 3. Once the paint is completely dry apply 1 or 2 coats of Varnish Gloss to protect your artwork from weathering. Allow to dry completely and you're done.

These little rocks have a lovely home in my vegetable garden. Sophie had a great time identifying the picture of the vegetable on the rock and pairing it up with the correct leafy greens in the garden.

Happy Monday!