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DIY ENTERTAINMENT CENTER PLAY KITCHEN

8.25.2018


Check out this video for a quick overview of how I turned an $8 entertainment center into this cute play kitchen in the kids' playhouse. Let me know if you have any questions on how I did anything!

For a tour of the whole playhouse, check out the Playhouse Tour Video.

EASY DIY MERMAID BIRTHDAY NUMBER

8.24.2018


Adelaide's 5th birthday is coming up in September and she decided on a mermaid theme for her party. So, Pinterest lately has been about all things mermaid, pink, purple and aqua lately! I saw a pin with a number similar to this and when inspiration struck last night, this is what I came up with!

To make this, here is what you'll need:

1 Large flat piece of cardboard to cut out your number
Several sheets of cardstock in your desired colors (I used 4 12x12 sheets and had a few circles left)
A circle cutter or cutting machine to cut your circles
Elmers Glue
Utility Knife (scissors could be used here as well)
Scissors
Ruler
Ribbon & Hot Glue if you want to hang your number

To start, draw out your number on your cardboard. I freehanded mine and used a ruler to keep straight lines where needed. Grab your utility knife to cut your number out. You could definitely use scissors here, just be careful not to bend your cardboard too much.

You're also going to want to get your circles cut out. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut 4 12x12 pages full of 2" circles. Use your judgment on what size circles you think will be fit your number and give you the look you're going for. I thought these were perfect for my 20" number 5. And also keep in mind that the smaller you cut your circles, the more you're going to have to glue on! :)

Once you have your number and circles cut out, you're ready to start gluing. To make sure you have nice straight rows of "scales", choose an area at the bottom of your number to draw a straight line. You're going to want to do this as close to the bottom as possible, while still having enough space to get started as you're going to have to go back in and slide circles under this row to fill in under your line. Moving up from your line, you'll just be overlapping.


Pardon the extra black lines here, it took me a few tries to get my five how I wanted it :) Notice the straight pencil line across the bottom of the five that I used to line up that initial row of circles? Just glue down the top half of this first row so that you'll be able to go back in and fill in under those.


Once you have completely covered every teeny bit of your five under that first row, go ahead and start building on top. Line each circle up so that it completely covers the cardboard underneath and is half staggered between each of the circles under it. Basically, every other row should create a straight verticle column of circles to keep everything spaced evenly. Just keep layering.


Once I got up past the curve of the five, I went ahead and added another straight line to use as a guide to make sure everything was staying straight.


Keep layering and layering!


And add guidelines any time you feel like you may need it, or have a nice wide area to add one which will depend on what number you're working on.


(As you can see I didn't think to add this line until after I had started, and it's helpful to see how just those little bits being off could add up to a problem if you're not aware.)

Here is what you'll end up with. Pretty cute as is I think, but not quite looking like scales yet. Go ahead and let it dry completely. I left mine overnight.


Once your glue is dry, flip it over and you're going to start trimming away the excess. 


Leave a bit of overhang so that the cardboard won't be immediately visible from the sides.


Keep cutting all the way around. I didn't have any circles fall off, but if you did, just pop a bit of glue on and replace it. No biggie!

Flip it over and voila!


This will make an adorable photo prop as it is, or you can add a bit of ribbon to hang for a party decoration.




I'd say do both! Cute birthday photos first, then party decoration next! I think I'll even hang this on Adelaide's bedroom door or in her room after her party. It's too cute to recycle right away!

Good luck with your mermaid numbers and I'll be sure to share any other fun ideas I come across as I plan her mermaid party!


SHE LIVES!

(A few weeks ago on the plane to Florida)

Today, inspiration hit. Projects I wanted to start working on for Adelaide's upcoming (5th!) birthday party, a little DIY porch sign, designing shirts for Amazon Merch, a video on how I made the play kitchen in Adelaide's playhouse (finally, after it being on my to-do list for almost 3 years!) and a where-in-the-world-have-I-been? blog post suddenly seemed like the most important things to tackle. And I actually got going on a couple of things and finished one! And now, at 9:20 pm, a solid 3 hours past the time of day when I would normally be able to scrounge up even the teensiest bit of motivation to do anything other than sit on the couch melting my brain with mindless TV, I'm here at the computer with sticky glue residue on my fingers from project #2 today and digging into this blog post. 

Where did this sudden surge of inspiration and motivation come from?

I wondered when it even was when I was last regularly blogging. I started flipping back through my blog seeing months between posts for more than the last year. I can say with certainty that it was some time before Mercer was born. A lot has happened since then! I think it's time for a life update!

Let's see, how about if we go back to when Mercer was born?

Of course, having a new baby around is reason enough to cut back on extra hobbies such as blogging, but add a part-time work from home job into the mix with a 3-year-old and 6-week-old, and blogging just completely fell of the radar. Did I ever mention here that I was a stylist for Stitch Fix? Maybe? No? Yes?

If anyone ever tries to tell you that it will be easy to work 15 hours a week from home with 2 kids scream "LIAR!!!" at the top of your lungs and cut a rug like your life depends on it. (Not that anyone told me it would be easy. No one other than me, at least.)

Okay, obviously that's an exaggeration because there are plenty of people who can and do do that and even more. But I can say that, for me, 15 hours a week was a lot harder to scrape together than I thought it would be. And it just got harder as Mercer got older and napped less and less. I can only imagine how hard it would be now with him down to napping 2 (or less) hours a day! Alas, I made it work for nearly a year, until this past April when I decided to call it quits. I got tired of calling on Peppa Pig and Daniel Tiger to babysit Adelaide every time I got Mercer to sleep so I could work, and felt like that time with Adelaide and time for me to keep up with things that I value around the house and just a bit of time here and there for me to regain sanity were more important at this point in my life. 

Also, around this time last year, we tackled a fairly big home reno. We enclosed our breezeway to give us an office/playroom (the old office become Mercer's room), extra space in our dining room, a pantry and mudroom. We also replaced the tile in the hallway/living room/kitchen/dining with wood look tile that really made all the difference! There are still bits and pieces around related to that reno that aren't finished, but we are (very) slowly tackling what we can and I have hopes that one day it will be complete :) Or we will move and leave it to the next guy, haha!

Mercer also went on his first plane ride for a trip to Florida for a family reunion with Jordan's Chicago cousins and Grandmother. The plane ride went about a million times better than we thought it would (our expectations were the lowest of low, so don't get any ideas about it being a breeze ;) Overall, the trip was a lot of work, but completely worth it and I'm happy to say we did it and survived!

I've got so much more I feel like I could say to generally update on my/our lives and all of the inspiration, uncertainty, hope, and anxiety on life ahead, but I think I'll leave that all on the table for next time. And the time after that, and after that. Can you tell I'm optimistic that I might be back sooner than later? Let's hope!

MERCER'S 1st BIRTHDAY

4.10.2018



   


Our little guy turned one! I have quite a few photos to share, so I'll let those do most of the talking... We started off the day with a fun balloon filled crib just Adelaide had on her first birthday.


And since his birthday was the day before Easter this year, we rounded out the day with an Easter/spring themed birthday party, complete with a Daniel Tiger cake for the birthday boy. I had a bit of a hard time figuring out how to get the spring/Easter theme going for a boy, but in the end, I think it turned out really cute! 




^^ He dug into his cake before we even started singing! ^^ 

And the kids had tons of fun between a bounce house, of which I have no good photos :( and an Easter egg hunt with special "baby eggs" stuffed with Mercer's favorite crackers, graham bunnies, and yogurt drops, and eggs for the "big" kids... I'm having a really hard time accepting that Adelaide is becoming one of the big kids!

   

And to round out Mercer's birthday weekend, a visit from the Easter Bunny!


Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us and helped make Mercer's 1st birthday a blast (for him and Adelaide)! 

A few of things about Mercer's past month or so: Things have been improving! He still doesn't love the car, although that's been improving ever so slightly (we all survived a 3-hour car ride for his first camping trip a few weeks ago! Post on that coming soon.) He's been happier with less crying overall, playing on his own more, and napping pretty well and consistently. Our one continuing sleep problem is that morning wake up; he's still waking up sometime between 6-7am for a bottle pretty much every day, so that's probably the next issue we'll need to tackle. Other than that, the bottle/weaning process is going really smoothly! He switched over to regular milk with no issue at all and is down to just that morning bottle and a bedtime bottle. And, he has no problem with drinking milk from a cup at meal times, which is super lucky! He's been standing on his own and starting to take a few steps. He's talking a bit, his most consistent word is still "Mama" which is good with me ;) He does say "Dada" and "Ada" (Adelaide), though not with a ton of consistency. He's said "Book" a couple of times and points out every "Bir" (bird) he sees, as well as whispers some sort of "kitty" type of sound/word when he sees the neighborhood cat. He signs: more, all done, milk, water and eat and is already showing us just what the toddler years are probably going to have in store for us on the fit throwing front :( He's typically a pretty good eater, but loves throwing food he doesn't want in the floor and unceremoniously swipes everything off of his tray when he's done. He is a climber - I've already nearly had a heart attack after discovering him standing on Adelaide's stool at the bathroom sink, standing on one of her chairs and standing in one our full sized rocking chairs. He climbs the stairs to Adelaide's playhouse regularly, and loves taking the slide head first... boy through and through! He is always happier when he's outside and adores his big sister more than anything... or at least equally as much as he adores his mom when she spends the majority of her day with him on her hip... And Adelaide has really taken to him over the past few months as well, actually playing with him and asking if he can go play with her (outside, in her room, in the playroom) and that has been so awesome to see! 

We love you Mercer! Happy birthday and many, many more!


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