Sunday, March 24, 2013

Love Banner

It's a little overdue, but here is the Love Banner from the Toddler Valentine's Day party.  It could work for birthday parties, tea parties, classrooms, or just a sweet decoration in your house.

We've been up to our eyeballs in planning a 2nd birthday shindig (more "why I haven't been blogging" excuses!).  I've done so many great things and made a ton of great printables, but we are also all about the surprise element for our guests.  After the party, you'll get pictures and printables galore.  Keep an eye out!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Toddler Valentine Party

There isn't much that's sweeter than a group of toddlers on Valentine's Day.  They did crafts, exchanged Valentines, made and decorated cookies, and made a mess befitting of five kids.

I came across this great idea on Pinterest: sewing streamers together using long stitches and tight tension.  The result is a really cute ruffled streamer.  I hung the balloons from the top, which gave the illusion they were floating.  To do this, I taped a piece of thread on top of the balloon, tied it in a knot around the tape, and taped it to the roof.

The party was post-lunch and post-nap for the toddlers, so I didn't do too much for food.  And I tried to avoid sugary foods.  Here is what we served:

  • Toddler Party Mix
    • shreddies, yogurt covered raisins, cheerios, mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries
  • Homemade Heart-Shaped Goldfish Crackers
  • Fruit Kebabs
    • punched small heart shapes out of watermelon, pineapple, and cantaloupe; put on popsicle sticks.
  • Strawberry-Banana smoothies
    • cups and straws were on the table.  I poured some for the kids when they asked.

Young toddlers are unpredictable and aren't usually interested in extremely structured activities.  For this reason, I kept it simple.  I set up little centres around the kitchen for them to explore as they wanted.
  • Valentine Mailbox Decorating: Stickers, felt pieces, and other embellishments they could easily stick or glue on a paper bag.
  • Votive Candle Holder: smear glue/water mix over a baby food jar.  Stick tissue paper hears to the jar and cover with glue/water mix again.  Let dry.  Use as a candle holder.

  • Cookie station: roll out cookie dough, cut out cookies, bake, ice, and decorate with sprinkles.

  • Sensory bin: Pink rice (dyed by me), pom poms, heart jewels and some scoops and spoons.

I didn't want any messy clothes and I wanted a nice party favour for the kids to take home.  I decided to make aprons for each of the kids.  The girls' aprons had hearts and the lone boy's had a mustache.  The kids looked incredibly cute wearing them and they provided excellent photo opportunities.

* I made the banner above the aprons.  It should be up as a free printable soon.

We asked everyone to bring Valentines for each other.  Our Valentine for the kids was a tub of homemade playdough.  We got the containers and bags from the dollar store.  I designed the labels, which we printed and stapled on.  They read: "You make me feel squishy inside."  I'll be posting them as a free printable soon.

The girls also got some hair bows.

I also wanted to give each of the kids a nicely iced cookie.  I thought this was a great opportunity to try out royal icing.  It wasn't as hard as I'd thought, and I learned a lot.  Consistency is everything and I didn't get it quite right.  Next time!

And that's it!  It took a lot of planning, but it was worth every second.  Toddlers are adorable.  I love mine. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Valentine's Day Matching Game

I really really love printables.  I love finding blogs that offer great ones, especially for free.  Who doesn't love free?

So, here is Little Renn's first printable - a Valentine's Day Matching game!  My daughter loves to play matching games.  Who doesn't?

Two notes:
  • I don't have Illustrator anymore, so I'm not able to work amazing magic in *gulp* Publisher.  
  • I also don't have a colour printer.  I got sick of paying for ink, so I got a laser jet.  So no fancy photos or set ups in this post.  Just the basic guts.

Here's how you do it:
* Click here to download the matching game.
* Print it (colour is better).
* Cut them out.  (Scissors, punches, x-acto knife - whatever works for you.  You'll get the nicest edges from punches or an x-acto).
* Mix them up and play!  If you want to be fancy, get a cute bag or box for them.

Here are some alternative uses for the cards if matching games aren't really up your alley.  If you're older than 3, this is probably you.
  • Cupcake toppers
  • Mini-valentines
  • Glue them to a valentine mailbox.
  • Make a garland.

I'd love to know what you think!  Leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

No offense Pyrex...

...but your new stuff kind of sucks.

Would you want this?


My husband doesn't know how lucky he is - I'm cheap.  I scavenge thrift stores for cool stuff (mostly Pyrex and vintage toys).  This is my hobby.  Not spas, designer clothes, or other costly adventures.  I love me some Pyrex.

And the nice part is - it's relatively easy to come by.  I don't think I've ever been to a thrift store that didn't have a piece of Pyrex.  But I only buy what I like.  That is super important.  It's waaay to easy to get sucked into buying everything.

Don't bother wasting your money on eBay or at antique stores.  They rip you off.  (Confession: I did buy the yellow Mod Kitchen one on eBay.  It was very reasonably priced and located in Ontario.  I'll never do it again....promise!)

And shout-outs to people who have contributed to my collection:  The lovely Grandma Coco and my wonderful sister.  Anybody else that wants to give me vintage Pyrex, I accept.

Do other people collect Pyrex?  Yes.  Do people have cooler collections than I do?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  I challenge you to Google image search "Pyrex" - there are no words really.  Breathtaking doesn't really do it justice.

AND: I'm not encouraging people in my area to begin this collection.  I'm not looking for a fight in the aisles of Value Village.  I'll just be the creeper following you around the store.  I've done it before and I'LL DO IT AGAIN.

Toddler Entertainment tip:  Read books often enough that you can recite them from memory while typing a post.  I apologize for any coherency issues.  Multi-tasking is haaaard.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Life seems to get in the way of blogging.  Too busy, too lazy, uninterested...I can use all those excuses. But I'm determined to get back at it.

We are going to be hosting some very sweet toddlers for a Valentine's Day party, so I figured sprucing up the place was in order.   Project number one: A Tree of Hearts.  This should have been a "couple hours" project, but it was an "over a week" project. (Crafting with a toddler takes a bajillion times longer).  But the project itself was simple:

A Tree of Hearts

- heart template
- fabric of choice
- ribbon or string for hangers
- a tree branch

1.  Cut out two hearts from each fabric.
2.  Cut a length of ribbon/string for hanger.
3.  Place the ribbon/string between the two hearts (remember to put the hanging part on the inside; leave a little bit hanging out so you'll catch it in the seam allowance.
4.  Sew around the outside of the hearts, leaving about a 1" opening for turning.
5.  Turn it, stuff it, sew it closed!
6.  Hang them on a tree branch.

* Tip: to get really great little points at the bottom, backstitch a couple times as you're sewing on each side.  If you look closely at mine, you can tell how long it took me to figure this out.
* I COULD NOT figure out how to get the center part of the heart to turn nicely with the ribbon.  Switching to smaller ribbon helped, but getting a nice upper internal point is IMPOSSIBLE.  Help?

Finding a decent tree branch was the hardest part for me.  I had to dig through a pile of twigs on the side of the road on a cold winter's day.  And I had to walk five miles up hill, both ways....

Toddler entertainment tip of the day: Putting on "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! entertained the kiddo for 1/60th of the time it took to write this post.  And the adorable dance moves weren't bad either.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baby Giraffes

Working in an office full of men is likely a challenge.  Telling them you're pregnant likely wouldn't result in an appropriate amount of excitement, or so I would assume.  So, someone in this situation deserves a special little something...some baby giraffes!

It's too early to know whether this special little bundle will be a boy or a girl, so I made a boy giraffe and a girl giraffe.

I used a minky fabric for one side and some graphic prints for the reverse.  Some colourful grosgrain ribbon for the tail and back, and they were done!  I would have loved to put a squeaker or bell in them, but unfortunately I had neither on hand.

I used this pattern from the Craftin' It blog.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Spy Bag

Quick and affordable are some of my favourite words when it comes to crafting.  And for this I Spy bag, all materials came from the dollar store.

An I Spy bag is filled with filler (vase filler, rice, etc.) and lots of miscellaneous items.  Whatever you can find at the dollar store or thrift store.  Then play I Spy!  Ask your child to find an item in the bag.  Or just let them play by themselves.  They'll love it.  

It's great for toddlers and even older children (I can see my kiddo's uncle enjoying this very much). It's nice for sensory play, as well as vocabulary development.  It would also be a great road trip toy.
This is just what I had leftover!  

One pencil case with clear opening 
Filler (vase filler, rice, etc.)
Pom poms
Googly eyes
...whatever you want!

(don't use a pencil case without a clear front...this was an
extra I had laying around)
1.  Turn your pencil case inside out.  Sew along the line (*see picture to the right), leaving 2 inches or so open.  (I would recommend a short stitch length, as you want to have this baby sewn up tightly).
2.  Cut off the excess above the sewing line (this will include the zipper).
3.  Turn the pencil case right side out.
4.  In a large bowl, add your filler and a few of each item you bought.
5.  Give it a mix with your hands.
6.  Carefully pour everything into the pencil case.
7.  Sew closed.
8.  Give to someone special. :)