Play it again, Kid: Upcycled Vintage Jaymar Kids Piano

When I take a trip to an antique shop or thrift store, the thing I enjoy the most is the element of surprise.  Sometimes I come away with nothing and other times when I least expect it I find something rare.  Speaking from experience antique shops tend to have pieces that are in better physical condition. Thrift stores such as Goodwill often times are stocked with basement throw aways and estate sale clean-ups.  Many of these items are not well cared for and in some cases downright abused.  I have come across items that I wanted to rescue, but I felt with my skill level I could not save them.  It always leaves me with mixed emotions.  On this day I was about to leave the store.  The husband and I have been regularly stopping in searching for a vintage rotary phone.  Not only have I always wanted to upcycle one of these phones, My husband and I love the loud ring it produced from our childhood memories.  We have missed many calls at home unable to hear our landline phone ring if we are in a certain part of our house. Upon taking one last stroll through the cluttered furniture aisle, my eyes wandered and there it was staring back at me! It seemed too good to be true: a vintage Jaymar Kids Piano. The toddler apprentice and I had been out shopping last year around Christmas at The Christmas Tree Shop, and stumbled upon an adorable kids baby grand piano.  She loved playing it and I could barely peel her off it at the store.  The price tag was a bit hefty weighing in at $89.99.  When we left the store without it,   I couldn’t get that little piano out of my mind and finding the vintage Jaymar at Goodwill seemed a bit like the product of fate. As with any upcycling story there are challenges to be faced and this adorable piano was no different.  The wood in many places was peeled away, It had its share of loose nails, and a large crack spreading across the base and back of the piano.  Incredibly, all the white keys worked perfectly and all, but one of the black keys worked perfectly.  The plastic keys were more yellow than white as is what happens to plastic stored under certain conditions with age.  It did not have a price tag so I took it up to the associate at the register. Even in rough shape I was surprised it was priced at a mere $5.99!

Vintage Kids Jaymar Piano Est 1960's

I snatched it up and brought it home.  I may not have found the rotary phone that I was searching  for that day, but I was surprised and delighted to find the piano.

Despite its charms, I knew very little about the toy.  I grabbed my laptop and did some research.  Thanks to Old Wood Toys.com  I was able to read about the history of the Jaymar company.  The toy company produced wooden novelty trinket toy through World War II.  After the war the company exclusively produced kids pianos and puzzles.  The company officially closed it’s doors in 1990. When I searched on Ebay, there were a few for sale, many of them in rough shape with price tags ranging from $39.99-$89.99.  On most, keys were broken. I concluded I had gotten a very good deal on this toy!

Jaymar Kids Piano

Since the piano did not come with a bench, I had a kids unfinished step stool that I thought would repurpose and stand in nicely as a piano seat.

Unfinished Step  Stool

I decided the cracked area of the piano would benefit from decoupage.  I believed the Mod Podge and fabric would reinforce the cracked wood and prevent it from spitting further.  I chose black and white music note fabric from Joann Fabric.  I used a white brush on acrylic primer to paint the entire piano after cleaning it thoroughly with a damp cloth.  I measured the area I wanted to decoupage and cut a piece of fabric to fit.  Once the paint was dry, I applied Mod Podge generously to the cracked area underneath with a foam craft brush, and carefully applied the fabric smoothing it put with my hands.  Once dry, I applied three more coats of Mod Podge over top of the fabric allowing it to dry between coats.  I then painted the entire piano with several coats of black acrylic paint with an appropriate sized paint brush.  I painted parts of the piano white for emphasis.  While the piano dried between coats, I worked on repurposing the step stool into a piano seat.  I traced the seat surface on to the back of the music note fabric with a pencil.  I cut out the fabric with scissors and placed it aside.  I painted the entire chair black except for the seat which I planned to decoupage with fabric. Once dry, I applied Mod Podge to the seat and applied the traced fabric.  I applied three coats over top of it to seal it.  Once the Mod Podge was dry I used a Polyurethane clear semi-gloss sealer to add a final protective coat over the piano and the piano chair.

Upcycled Vintage Kid's Piano

The one frustration with this project was the yellowed plastic piano keys.  I would have preferred a method to whiten them, but after doing some research decided not to mess with the patina on the keys.  I have read everything from sanding the keys with fine sandpaper or cleaning them white toothpaste.  In the end, I decided the risk of damaging the function of the piano was too great and simply used the corner of a Magic Erasure pad to throughly clean the keys.

Play it again kid, restyled kids piano

 

Have any safe plastic whitening tips?  I would love to hear them!

Materials used:

Black and White Acrylic Paint

White Acrylic Primer

Large and Small Paint Brushes/Foam Craft Brush

Mod Podge

Polyurethane Clear Sealer

Fabric Of Choice

Scissors

Wet Cloth or Magic Erasure Pad for cleaning

Kids Piano/Kid Step Stool (for seat)

 

Fun with Chalkboard Paint: Kitchen Cabinet Memo Board

One day I was standing in my kitchen staring at my boring cabinets when the idea came to me! My daughter loves playing with chalk and drawing.  The hubby and I often have the need to communicate through various “notes” left around the house.  We could really use a better way to communicate.  What better way then to create a family chalkboard?  I had often thought about modifying our kitchen cabinets in some way and this was a fun first step.   I was eager to try one of the most talked about craft items on the web, chalkboard paint.   My idea was to use the paint to create a chalkboard on the side of the kitchen sink cabinet, but the ideas for its use don’t end there.  Be sure and check out Brit and Co  40 Creative uses for Chalkboard paint and you will be amazed at all the fun possibilities.

I went to Joann Fabric and picked up some black chalkboard paint.  It was regular priced at around 6 dollars, but I used a 50% off one regular priced item coupon which knocked the price down to below 3 dollars!

DSC_0166

When I got home I cleaned and prepped the area of cabinet I planned to paint.  The bottle recommends 2 coats, but I used 4 total as I was attempting to paint over laminate.

DSC_0165

The project was relatively easy.  I used a brush to apply the paint allowing it  to dry thoroughly between coats.  The top side of the sink was damaged so I used a strip of fabric across the top to cover the area and add a little “pop” to the chalkboard.  I applied the fabric strip using Mod Podge and covered it in Polyurethane since it could be exposed to water being in such close proximity with the faucet.

DSC_0174

I waited about 24 hours for the final coat to dry before using the chalk. It worked beautifully!

DSC_0196

Now we can leave each other messages, post  holiday greetings, and our daughter can use her imagination and draw!

DSC_0198

And yes if you are wondering those are Peeps on a stick my daughter is holding.  Happy Easter Everyone!

 

 

 

Why Not DIY? Toddler Sensory Play Table

When I first heard about sensory play, I loved the idea!  It allows a child to explore their world at home (and get a little or a lot messy in the process) It has many benefits and plays an important role in child development.  It allows all children to explore their world with all of their senses, sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste.  It boosts language skills, stimulates developement and helps children who have autism or are on the spectrum and children with sensory integration dysfunction disorder.

Many of you have already seen the sand and water tables sold at the big box stores in the summertime.  This is a similar concept.  These outdoor sensory play tables are easy to recreate indoors from items found in your home. I had seen a few home-made versions of play tables on the web and thought my 33 month old daughter would love playing with one.  I had tried a simple plastic bin on the floor, but it became too messy.  I had to come up with a better solution.

DSC_0061

I had an old end table in our attic that we hadn’t used in years.  I thought this would make a great foundation for this project. I found three great red, yellow and green plastic bins at a thrift store, that would hold various sensory play materials. You can use rice, sand, elbow macaroni and so much more in these plastic tubs.  Just remember to be mindful of your child’s age and whether certain materials may pose a choking risk.

First, I painted the entire table.  I used red acrylic paint and covered the table tops and legs.  I allowed it to dry between coats. Full coverage was a total of three coats of paint.

DSC_0064

Once the table was completely dry, I used Mod Podge for the initial seal and a layer of polyurethane to protect the table if it were to get wet during messier types of play.  I cleaned the plastic bins with soapy water and used a total of 12 Phillips head screws (4 per bin) and an electric screwdriver to anchor the bins to the table.  It was important for the contents of the bins to stay in the bins (mostly) and this would also not allow them to tip over.

DSC_0068

I had an alphabet puzzle and animal magnets lying around the house.  I thought these would add a fun element the to project while encouraging letter recognition.  I decided to spell out my daughter’s name on the front of the table and for the sides place the alphabet puzzle pieces on either side of the table: ABC,XYZ. The animal magnets I placed on the front of the bins.  I used a hot temp glue gun to permanently adhere them to the table and the bins.

DSC_0079

I went to Dollar Tree and purchased the materials for the bins.  These were the items I thought a child her age would have fun playing while minimizing mess:

plastic Easter eggs

fake coins

rice

elbow macaroni

left over alphabet puzzle pieces

pom-pom balls

great to also include shovels and cups.

I also picked up a foam number puzzle.  I had space on the back of the table, so I hot glued the puzzle sans the pieces to the table for additional educational play.

DSC_0077

I dumped the items in the pins and hid the coins, letters and poms in the macaroni and the rice. This also helps a child’s fine motor skills.  The plastic eggs went in a separate bin.  The play table was now ready for a curious 2 1/2 year-old girl to explore her senses. She loved it and it kept her attention for a long time!  She loved digging and pulling out the coins and letters and running the rice through her fingers.

You can create themed bins, and change materials as much as you like. Check out a few more ideas for DIY sensory tables.

DSC_0074

DSC_0078

“Be Mine Daddy”…. Valentine’s Day Kid’s Craft Ideas

On this Valentine’s day morning, many areas of the country are beginning the task of “digging out” after yet another treacherous winter storm hit the east coast overnight.  Just days before the same winter Nor’Easter  wreaked havoc in other parts of the country such as Georgia and the Carolinas. On top of it,  the little one and I have been battling a series of winter colds and are being forced to spend much of our time in the house due to the lousy weather.  Despite this, we have managed to make the best of these situations and have spent a lot of quality time together as a family.

I wanted to make my husband something special for Valentine’s day this year, and as with most of my creations,  I like to get my 2 1/2 year-old daughter (Also known as the toddler apprentice) involved in the process. I also knew that my husband being the wonderful dad he is, would appreciate the fact that his daughter helped mommy make his gift with “her own little hands.”  I have seen many great Valentine’s day kid’s crafts online via Pinterest and other sites, and I had many ideas swirling around in my head. I saw a great project courtesy of the Roylco kids craft blog (which I follow, and love) and although I decided to create my own version,  The Roylco project was quite inspiring.  Be sure to check it out!

For this project you will need:

Black, Pink, Red and White Construction Paper

Scissors

Kids White School Glue

Black Marker

White Non Toxic Kids Craft Paint

Frame (Optional)

First, I dipped my daughter’s hand in the white paint after pouring it on a paper plate. I pressed her hand on the black construction paper.  This was challenging and it took a few tries after the first two attempts became slightly smudged.  There is no greater excitement to a little one then “messy fun” so she didn’t seem to mind the multiple attempts at getting it right! Once I achieved the desired effect I allowed the construction paper to dry. After about an hour, the paper was dry and ready.  I drew different sized hearts on the red, white and pink paper and carefully cut them out.  The little one enjoyed squeezing the glue on the hearts and sticking them to the paper!

Valenine's Day Kid's  Craft fun!

Such a Good Helper……

Next, I wrote little sayings in the hearts.  I thought this would be cute, but if you prefer it, you can skip this step.  I wanted to make it more personalized for him.  I then found a great glass frame in our attic to frame it in. Now we have a great piece of Valentine’s Day wall art for years to come, permanently immortalizing our daughters little two year-old hands forever. (Can’t you tell I am an overly sentimental person?)

Valentine's Day Kids Craft For Daddy

The apprentice and I also made a Valentine’s Day glass jar lamp.  I had some great left over heart themed scrapbook paper I won courtesy of Ray’s So Crafty’s Labor Day Giveaway.  I have made several jar lamps, and like to interchange them on the light bases, depending on the mood, or for holidays.  I simply cut the paper, applied Mod Podge to the glass and adhered it around the jar carefully matching up the seam.  An easy, simple decoration guaranteed to warm hearts during this frigid Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day Jar Lamp made with Scrapbook paper and Mod Podge

“On The Upcycle” would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Valentine’s Day.  Hoping you are able to spend it with those you love today!

Mini Terracotta Christmas Tree Decorations

I am always on the lookout for great kid’s craft ideas. Tis the season with the holidays around to corner, to take a break from the hustle and bustle and sit down with the kids for quality time. A great blog I follow, Easy Crafts For Children, posted a wonderful and unique christmas craft I think you will all love! Be sure and stop by to say hello to Izabel from the UK!

Character Fabric Fun: Star Wars Candle Made With Mod Podge

Recently, I posted a kids chair project dedicated to the eternal kid in me.  A part of me that lives on despite my quickly advancing age. The chair was based on a favorite movie of my husband and I, The George Lucas Sci Fi classic Star Wars.  I always wanted to make an item dedicated to the classic movie, but I had no idea of what direction to go in. The thrift store circuit is hit or miss and lately I have been off the mark.  To pass the time, I have been browsing around a Joann Fabric store during my lunch break.  I tend to stay away because buying fabric in such a setting can get expensive. I like to keep project costs at the very minimum and recycle as much as I can.  Even when I chose only to browse I was often inspired by all of the fabric colors and creative possibilities.  All the choice and accessibility can be hard to resist!

It was to my amazement one day that I stumbled upon character fabric.  They have everything from Hello Kitty, Marvel, Family Guy, just to name a few, and best of all they had three different styles dedicated to Star Wars!  The fabric was a bit pricey ($14.99 a yard), but as luck would have it,  I was able purchase a large”scrap” piece for just under five dollars! I finally had my idea and “Star Wars Kid’s Chair” was born.

Star Wars Fabric Decoupage Kids Chair

What to do with the extra fabric?  I actually have quite a bit of it left, and I decided to use a smaller piece and make my hubby a Star Wars candle. Then it hit me!  With the holiday’s quickly approaching,  character candles made with fabric make fun gifts.  The best part about the candle is when lit it illuminates the characters and they glow, once again fun for the kid in all of us.

I purchased a few glass pillar candles from the dollar store and applied Mod Podge to the outside glass.  I trimmed a piece of fabric large enough to wrap the candle, but with minimal over lap. Any seams or overlapping of fabric will be visible once the candle is lit. I applied the fabric to the glass and applied a layer of Mod Podge over it to seal it onto the glass.  Allow to dry and it is ready to light!  Once the candle is used up, just remove any excess wax and drop a tea light in to illuminate it.

Star Wars Mod Podge candle chracter fabric

If  Star Wars isn’t your thing, no need to worry because with all the character fabric out there, you can make any novelty candle you like! May the force be with you….

“On The Upcycle” Top 5 Free Kids Craft and Educational Websites

Recently, I find myself  seeking out new ideas and activities for my two year-old that are both educational and fun.  My daughter loves to draw, play on the computer and sing along to music, Old McDonald Had A Farm, Elmo’s Song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just to name a few!  Incorporating the activities she loves and enjoys with learning has proved to be a very effective.  There are many sites on the web dedicated to educating through various activities and games.  Some websites require fees while others are totally free!

Today, I share with you my top five favorite kids websites in no particular order, but equally wonderful!

leading to reading_thumb[1]

Leading to Reading: is a child education site for children from 0-5 that offers games, online activities and resources for grown-ups.  They encourage language developement and learning through reading.

abcya_logo

ABCya.com: is a free educational site for kids ages 5 and up.  This free site features computer games and educational activities. All of the activities on the site were created or approved by school teachers!

2013-hoawg-logo-200

Hands On As We Grow: This blog style site is packed with kids craft ideas and activities.  What better way to explore a child’s imagination than by making crafts together? This site promotes sensory, and creative development through fun family arts and crafts.

sesame_street_wallpaper_1278413620

Sesame Street.Org: Monsters, Muppets and Friends Oh My!  The gang from Sesame Street, (my personal favorite) promote learning through free games and activities, such as word and number games, and online coloring and painting.

bg-logo

Super Simple Learning and Songs: A wonderful website featuring both free and paid content, my favorite part of this site is their You Tube channel, packed with simple songs for you and your toddler to sing along with together that promote learning and language skills.

My daughter’s personal favorite? Twinkle Twinkle Little Star