Where is Summer? The Birds Are Angry: Decoupage Kids Craft Bird House

It hasn’t felt much like summer over here.  The pool is up, the flowers are planted and beginning to blossom, but it is 52 degrees and the rain is cold! I am left to ponder the question, where is summer?

The good news: Rainy days are a great time for kids crafts.  All the more reason to plan a project the toddler apprentice and I could accomplish together.  The little one loves to watch The Disney Collector on You Tube. The DC Collector has become a bit of an internet phenomenon among the five and under crowd, and my daughter is no exception.  She enjoys watching those carefully manicured hands opening and revealing various toys and treasures. It was while watching these videos my daughter discovered her love of Angry Birds.  The birds must be angry that the weather has not been cooperating!  They could sure use a house I thought to myself!

I also thought decorating a bird house would be fun project to do together. I purchased an unfinished,  wooden bird house at Joann Fabric.  They were on sale for .99 cents.

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I then went online and downloaded some Angry Bird images.  You can use character stickers if a printer is not available.

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I cut the images out with a pair of scissors and placed them aside.

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We painted the bird house together using red and blue acrylic paint.  It required two coats.  We then placed the painted bird house aside to dry.

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Once it was dry, I used Outdoor Mod Podge to apply the images to the bird house.  I then added a layer of Mod Podge over top of the image. Although Outdoor Mod Podge provides added protection from the elements, if left out it will eventually weather.  I added a coat of polyurethane to provide additional protection and prolong the life of the bird house.

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Once the bird house was dry we used a “C” Shaped hook like this one to hang it.  Lets hope that now that our little backyard friends have a place to call home, they won’t be such “Angry” little birds anymore….

Materials Needed:

Unfinished Wooden Bird House

Angry Birds, images or stickers

Outdoor Mod Podge

Red and Blue Acrylic Paint

Clear Polyurethane (optional)

Paint Brushes/Scissors

C Shaped Hook (For Hanging)

Hot Summer Nights: Paradise By The Back Porch Light

This past memorial day weekend, my husband and I were determined to get the yard ready for summer.  My daughter received an Easy Set Intex Pool from her Uncle and Aunt for Christmas and we could not wait to get the pool setup and operational.  My daughter’s 4th birthday this year will have a pool party theme, and the date for the party is quickly approaching.  My husband and I leveled out the ground in the area the pool would be placed.  We laid down a tarp and spread the pool out.  These inflatable Easy Set’s are great starter pools, and in our case the simpler the better since this is our first attempt at putting up a pool.

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We inflated the ring with a pump, and from the inside smoothed out the lining.  It took all day to fill.  The next day, we hooked up the filter, placed chlorine tabs in the floater, and assembled the ladder.  The water was very cold, so I hopped in to the pool for a test run.  For the most part everything went great and the set up was easy.  I was disappointed to find some parts in the lining that were not as smooth as we had wanted.  I can’t stress enough the importance of making sure the ground is clear of any debris and level.  Even after all our careful work, what seemed smooth at the surface was not always the case.  Once the weight of the water pressed the ground flat, some rocks and roots underground seemed to appear out of nowhere through the lining.  That being said the only way to remedy this would be to drain the pool and remove the debris from the area to smooth it out.  Until it is necessary to do so, we are going to take our chances.  I would feel guilty wasting all that water!  Luckily the pool came with plenty of patches if needed.

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We purchased a few fun summer signs from Dollar Tree and lined the fence with them for added decoration.

I  also accomplished a few smaller projects.  I had a decorative metal star that I picked up at Christmas Tree Shop.  It was on clearance and I was never happy with the tan color.  I surmised that this was most likely the reason why it was on clearance.

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Since it was Memorial day and the house was decorated in Americana….

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I had some extra Rust-Oleum red spray paint, and I sprayed on a quick coat.  I like the star better now that it is red and I purchased it for half the price!

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The other area I wanted to address was the corner of the yard by the pool. There is a rather large tree stump in this area.  Some time ago, I blogged about ideas here.

I struggled with what to do with this stump for some time.  This weekend that changed.  I decided to make it a fun project for my daughter and I to do together.  I had an old broken wooden TV tray.  I removed the table top from the legs and screwed it on to the tree stump surface.  My neighbor had given me some decorative, shells, glass pebbles and decorative rock. I thought it would be fun for us to create a mosaic table top for it.  I used some old tile grout and glue in one and spread it onto the table surface evenly.  The toddler apprentice and I then applied the rocks and glass pebbles.  We wiped off any excess grout and allowed it to dry overnight.  I used the unused legs of the TV tray as a garden trellis, another great re-purpose!  My goal was to use as much of the table as possible. Mission accomplished!

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I placed the shells around for decoration.   Now Mommy has a place to put “her” sippy cup and relax by the pool, while my daughter has fun exploring and playing with the various sea shells.

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Since this spring has been a bit sparse in the rain department, our grass took a hit and much of it died.  Once all the yard work was done, we raked the yard and spread out grass seed in the hopes of bringing our lawn back to life!  Once the grass grows under our feet, our little backyard oasis will be complete!

What do you have planned for your backyard oasis?  Do you have any summer projects you are eager to complete?  How do you like to kick off summer?

My Neighbor Let it Go: Disney’s Frozen Wooden Toy Chest and Bench

My neighbor approached me one Saturday morning last spring. He was cleaning out his garage and asked if I wanted to look at a few items before he put them out on the curb. One of these items was an unfinished toy chest/bench that had been sitting in the back of his garage taking up precious space.  It had been purchased with good intentions, but he had never gotten around to finishing it. I immediately jumped at the chance to own such a wonderful piece of furniture.  It was unfinished wood, so this meant no scraping, stripping or priming.  My kind of project!

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I am always amazed at the generosity of people.  When it comes to neighbors, I am truly blessed.  I thanked him profusely and happily took in the unfinished item. It immediately filled a dire need. My daughter had accumulated many toys, and this was a great way to store and organize them.  So, there it sat unfinished and full of toys for almost a year in our daughters playroom.  I had no idea how I would finish it. I entertained various ideas that went nowhere.  Sports themes, traditional refinishing, Disney Princesses, just to name a few.  Then it hit me one day after my daughter had viewed the movie Frozen for the 50th time!  Why didn’t I think about it until now?  I emptied her toys out and placed them in bags.  I went online and looked up a Frozen color palate.  I chose 4 colors from Joann Fabric and Craft Stores Craft Essentials acrylic paint collection. I ended up using three bottles of each color, except for the pink (I only used 2) I went online and printed out some Frozen graphics that I wanted to use.  I set my printer to the largest setting possible.

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The toy box needed about 2 coats with some minor touch ups after drying. Once the final coat was applied, I allowed the piece to dry thoroughly overnight.

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The next day, I applied Mod Podge to the front and lid with a foam brush, and carefully applied the prints.

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The piece needed some “pop” so I decided to purchase some wall decals from Babies R Us to use as accents.  If you do not have access to a printer some of these images would also work great for decoupage.  I decided to apply the left over decals to my daughters bedroom wall.

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I then applied Mod Podge to the entire piece to seal it. For the majority of the toy box I used a foam brush to apply the Mod Podge, on the lid I used a “fluffy” mini paint roller which gave a snowy effect when the Mod Podge dried.

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I was happy how the piece turned out, and it looks great in the playroom!  When my daughter saw it finished the smile on her face said it all!

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Materials:

Wooden toy box

Mod Podge

Paint/Brushes large and small

Foam craft brush, scissors

Frozen Prints Or Decals

(Colors used from Craft Essentials sold by Joann Fabric)

Mediterranean Blue

Panic Pink

Caribbean Coast

Sailing Sky

Length of project: 2 days (total)

The Happy Card Project: Put A Little Love In Your Art

We all know how wonderful it feels when you have a chance to brighten someone’s day.  Sometimes, it is a simple gesture, lending a hand to someone in need, or a few words of encouragement when someone around us is feeling down.  Although many of us would like to contribute to those in need financially, there are times when this is not possible.  That doesn’t mean it is impossible to give.  One of the most precious gifts you can give is time.  This past July 4th weekend, the toddler apprentice and I put aside some time between bbq’s, fireworks and swimming, to sit down and make cards together.  I recently reconnected with an old friend on Facebook who brought a positive movement to my attention.   It was started by her daughter Corinne Mattia.  Corrinne is a psychology student and describes herself as an animal lover, and eternal optimist.  The idea is called  The Happy Card Project.

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The Happy Card Project’s mission and message is simple:  We brighten our own lives through brightening the lives of others.  They aren’t looking for money or donated goods.  Their motto? Some pursue happiness while others create it.  The Happy Card Project want your homemade, or store-bought cards you may have around the house.  These cards can then be personalized with encouraging words, stories, or anything  intended to brighten someone’s day.   Donated cards are then delivered by the Happy Card Project Team to local hospitals, pediatric facilities, homeless shelters and senior living homes.  Their goal is to simply brighten the spirits of others.

The first 200 cards collected will be donated to the Homeless Bus a charity based in New York City.  The  Homeless Bus, Inc. has made over a 1000 trips to Manhattan providing immediate needs to the homeless from a passenger bus every Saturday night since 1992.  To learn more about this wonderful example of what just a few people can do to make the world a better place, and for ways you can help please visit: The Homelessbus.org

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Continuing to follow along with the “On The Upcycle” tradition, I decided to recycle some old greeting cards.   The little toddler apprentice and I sifted through an enormous amount of craft scraps, old cards, stickers and scrap-book paper.  She enjoyed going through these items, and chose a few cards that she liked.

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This was my first attempt at making handmade upcycled cards.  I have seen some beautiful examples of card making on the web and in the WordPress community.  One such artist resides at  The Cobweb Emporium.    These cards are well crafted, elegant and detailed.  Please be sure and stop by and pay Cob Webs a visit.  Trust me, my card crafting skills pale in comparison!

The apprentice and I worked together using the hand over hand technique. She helped me cut the images we planned to use from the old greeting cards with her safety scissors.  I had some unused card stock and it fit the envelopes I had perfectly.

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We then decorated each card and added the words Hope,  Cheer and Love. She especially enjoyed gluing the various pieces on the card stock and applying stickers.   Once the glue on the cards was dry we wrote notes of encouragement inside.  The more “adult” cards we signed from the family, and for the others we told a brief story from our three year-old’s point of view.  On the back of the cards we wrote “Made with love and little hands helped.”  We created a total of six cards using materials we already had available at home.  The cost was minimal and consisted of the postage needed to mail the cards.   I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon with your kids then doing crafts, and at the same time brighten someone’s else’s day!

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If you would like to spread some good cheer and encouragement to those in need, The Happy Card Project will continue to collect cards going forward for various charity organizations.

You can follow The Happy Card Project on Facebook Here.

If you would like to get involved and have cards you would like to donate to the cause, please send them to:

The Happy Card Project

PO Box 3802

Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

We mailed our cards today!

Crib Rail Repurpose: Children’s Book Wall Rack

Recently, we began preparation to move my daughter from her crib to a toddler bed.  When we chose a crib for our registry, we made sure it was a convertible style crib that would grow with her.  We were looking for what most consumers want, quality at a reasonable price.  We chose   the Graco convertible crib in espresso finish.

Graco Crib

It appeared sturdy on the showroom floor and was priced right.  Initially, I was happy with the crib.  Then 18 months later, I notice a few of the metal springs had broken off the frame they were welded on.  One by one the springs broke off.  The crib needed to be reinforced with bungee cords.  We knew this bed would not last like we had previously anticipated. We were forced to come up with an alternative and purchased a new mattress and a toddler bed.  The original mattress was torn by sharp edges left where the springs used to reside.  This was a big disappointment.  We were expecting to use this convertible through her toddler years, but it was not to be.  The crib finally gave way and it was obvious it was no longer safe.  Luckily, the new bed was purchased and was on standby and we were able to quickly make the switch.

I am happy to report that the toddler apprentice loves her new “big girl” bed and the toddler bed experiment has gone surprisingly well!  She lays down and falls right to sleep! We were surprised how quickly she has adjusted.

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When I dismantled the crib, most of it was broken and not salvageable.  The rail was still in decent shape.  I had seen some ideas online upcycling old cribs ranging from Repurposed crib benches  to crib rail Garden Trellis’s.  I wanted to keep this project simple.  I was preoccupied by a much larger, more daunting, task cleaning my daughter’s messy playroom!  I filled one trash bag with broken items and another with items to donate to those in need. This emptied one toy box for additional storage which reduced clutter.

My daughter has a large book collection she acquired before she was even born.  At my baby shower, the guests brought a signed book instead of a card. I loved this idea, but I did not have an ideal way to store all the books we received.  They basically sat in a wooden box on the playroom floor.

I thought the crib rail would be a great alternative way to display her books, and keep them off the floor.  Since I was struggling to get her room organized, and did not have the time,  I decided to leave the crib rail in its original finish.  It also matched the playroom well.

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If you would like to change the original color, a can of white latex primer works well.  Once dry, paint as desired.    I also suggest using longer screws to anchor each side of the crib rail to the wall. When doing this, lean the crib against the wall on a slight angle so the books can hang over the rails.  I did not have the proper screws handy, so I had to improvise and use one smaller screw through the first rail.  This worked, but the trade-off  is that the first rail cannot be used for display.

Repurposed Crib Rail Book Rack

I love it!   Being the sentimental fool that I am, it also is nice to keep a piece of the crib for nostalgia!  I also repurposed her changing table into a kitchen shelf.  If you missed it,   You can view that project here.

 

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Repurposed Crib into a children's book rack

 

Prayers For Savannah

Thank Heaven For The WordPress Community

Today, I put away the paint and the Mod Podge to speak from the heart. When I began this humble little blog over a year ago, I really had no idea how wonderful the Word Press community would be!  You all have taught me so much, and although we have never met in the “real” world, your experiences and willingness to share, has helped me through some tough times.    As people we are all faced with different challenges every day and it really is all about the attitude we choose in order to get through it.  I am so grateful to anyone who stops by to read or leave a comment and if you have, you already know that I will gladly return the good will with a blog follow, and try my best to stop by all of these wonderful blogs to keep in touch.  I find myself snuggling up in bed at night with my lap top, desperately trying to wind down from the average hectic day reading about your lives, stories, ideas and it is truly inspiring. One blog in particular has inspired me like no other and I thought I would share that blog with you today.  That blog is The Crayon Box Chronicles. cropped-colored-crayons-macro-wallpapers_35031_2560x16004 My toddler apprentice has been enrolled in a prekindergarten special education program.  She has been getting speech and occupational therapy.  We try to exist day-to-day, hoping with the continued success and progress our daughter is making, that one day we will be able to put this behind us.  Of course the future is still unknown, and that is the hardest part.    Her therapists  have encouraged us to engage her in sensory play activities.  I created a DIY version of a Sensory Play Table.    I began searching  Pinterest and other Word Press blogs for ideas and that is how I discovered the Crayon Box Chronicles.   Heather shares some amazing play activities that she enjoys with her son and I have enjoyed reading and following.   She was overjoyed to find out she was pregnant with a girl, but during a routine 19 week ultrasound, it was discovered little Savannah Hope had  CDH, congenital diaphragmatic hernia.   It is a birth defect in which the diaphragm does not close as it should allowing the organs to crowd the chest cavity.  This does not allow the lungs to fully develop.  A heartbreaking diagnosis during what is usually a time of joy. I have never met Heather or her family, but was amazed to see the amount of love and grace in which this family is handling the many daily obstacles, and those which lie ahead.  There is nothing more inspiring than love for a child and HOPE which just happens to be this little blessing’s middle name.  It puts life in prospective, and it certainly reminds us all to live life to the fullest every day, and not take one day on this earth for granted. For those who wish to donate, they have an active fundraiser campaign going on now.  For anyone that has gone through the devastating effects of a chronic illness, understand not only the emotional toll, but the financial one as well.  That being said, if you are able to donate you can do so here.  Any amount is appreciated by the family, but if it is impossible to give, There is something this little girl needs now more than anything and that is your positive thoughts and prayers. 10463061_10152144293807006_5027494006055771139_n Little Savannah and her family are in the battle of their lives and are requesting as many prayer warriors as they can to fight this battle along with them. They have set up a  facebook page that documents Savannah Hope’s CDH  journey, and brings further awareness to this horrible birth defect which according to the CDH awareness website  CHERUBS  effects 1 in every 2,500 births (1,600 cases in the U.S. alone each year). Stop by for a visit, like and share.  This amazing family is looking forward to your kind words, and prayers for their little girl.  It will give them strength during the toughest of times.  Show them why the Word Press blogging community is the best there is! Peace and love to you all Danielle (On The Upcycle Mom) Precious Baby Girl e3bf3223-3da4-4527-b078-2d1e288ace9a Prayers For Savannah Hope

Forgotten Angels: A Horse Rescue With A lot Of Heart

This past weekend, I took my daughter to a wonderful, non-profit, local horse rescue called Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue.     The rescue saves healthy horses that are sent to slaughter and sick and abused horses in need of intervention and care.  Their mission is to promote public awareness of needless horse slaughter and animal abuse.   They involve the local community through events, and activities teaching patience and kindness to all creatures.  You can also follow the cause on Facebook.

We could not have asked for a more perfect weather.  The sun was shining and it was a perfect day to spend on the farm.  The toddler apprentice was particularly enchanted by Snowflake a 7 year-old mini mare up for adoption.  She enjoyed feeding all the horses and donkeys carrots, and handfuls of plucked grass.  She even had a chance to sit on Snowflake’s back.  For those of you unfamiliar with my past, for many years I worked as a Vet Tech and have a deep love for helping sick, unwanted and abused animals.  It is especially sad how we treat our horses who evolved with us through time and have contributed so much to our evolution and humanity.   I want to pass this love, and respect on to my daughter, and it made me smile to see her face light up just being around these gentle creatures.

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My daughter feeding Snowflake, a miniature horse currently up for adoption.

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We had great conversation with one of the volunteers on the farm about all its residents and learned about the rescue which has been operating for the last two years.  I also had an opportunity to engage another hobby of mine photography.   I photographed the animals and they did not disappoint and seemed to love all the attention, and “Ham It Up” for the camera.

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PHOTOS: Residents of The Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue

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“Dreamer”

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“Noel”

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“Glory” The rescue is raising money so this blind horse can have eye surgery.  You can donate here.

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“Wendy”

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“Stanley”

Currently, The Rescue Sponsors a program where you can adopt a horse for the month for a donation.  Please see the following link for more information. http://forgottenangelsequinerescue.com/photo.html    They also accept donations large or small, and you can also purchase Rescue “Swag” at their online store to help raise money for the cause.

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Our daughter was especially good on Saturday, and her daddy gave her a small reward which she “happily” donated to her horse friends.  I was told that thanks to our daughter’s efforts, the horses would have more carrots to snack on.

In Memory Of

Pickles

 

“Pickles” Photo courtesy of Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue

This post is dedicated to Pickles.  We met Pickles during our visit briefly, but she was not feeling well.  Pickles was an elderly horse who sadly developed colic that due to her age, she could not recover from.   She passed away later that evening.   It was a huge loss to all those who loved her as Pickles was a kids and rescue favorite.  We are blessed to have had a chance to meet Pickles on her final day.  God Bless this beautiful horse forever free crossing the Rainbow Bridge.