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Retail Therapy: Praying for Rain

Top Modern Rain Barrels

Here in NorCal, Fall has not yet arrived.  We are still enjoying a warm Indian Summer, but I am hopeful that in a few weeks Fall will make a real appearance and with it RAIN.  2014 has been reported to be one of the hottest years on record, surely the result of Global Warming. For those of us here in California, that has also meant a terrible drought.  I am hopeful that once Fall is really here, it will come with rain and lots of it. This year I don’t want all that good rain to go to waste; I want to capture it. In order to do so, we need a good rain rain barrel. While function is important, I don’t want to compromise on modern design. Here are the best 4 rain barrels I’ve found that manage to combine form and function without breaking the bank.

1. Madison Rain Barrel Fountain

2. Athena Decorative Rain Barrel and Planter

3. Mayne Rain Barrel

4. Charcoal Rain Barrel

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DIY: Minecraft Scavenger Hunt and T-Shirt Printables

As promised, I’m following up my Minecraft Birthday Party post with instructions and printables for our super successful Minecraft Birthday Cake Scavenger Hunt and T-Shirt Party favor.

First up, here is the down low on the Minecraft Scavenger Hunt. I debated for a long time about whether they should find an assortment of random items for their inventory, or do something more specific. I decided to have the kids look for the ingredients to make cake. It was a birthday party after all. I also had them look for ingredients to make candles. In this case I modified the recipe for a torch, making the recipe 2 sticks and 1 coal. Technically it should be 1 stick and 1 coal, but in Minecraft that gives you 4 torches. I needed more candles/torches. So, if your kid is turning 8, you could double the torch recipe, but for odd numbers like 7, 9 or even 10, you have to approximate.

Free Minecraft Scavenger Hunt Printable

 

DIY: Minecraft Scavenger Hunt Instructions

1) Print Recipes.

2) Tape up Recipes so that kids who are not as familiar with Minecraft know what to look for.

3) Print Ingredient Cards on stock paper, you don’t want these to be flimsy.

4) Trim the Ingredient Card sheets into 4.  Faint lines are provided for cutting ease.

5) Hide the Ingredient Cards around your house or backyard.

6) Instruct the kids on what to look for, emphasizing that it’s a team effort to “make” the birthday cake

7) Once all the Ingredients have been found, bring out the cake.

Download Recipes Here:

Download Ingredient Cards Here:

DIY Minecraft T-Shirt Party Favor

DIY: Minecraft T-shirt Party Favor Instructions:

1) Print Creeper faces onto Iron on Transfer Paper

2) Trim printed images

3) Iron on according to instruction provided with your Iron on Transfer Paper

4) Done!

Download 2×2 Minecraft Creeper Images here:

N.B.: There are some Iron On Papers that print the image as a mirror, some that do not.  In the case of the creeper design, it doesn’t matter. However, if you are using a different design where direction is important, pay close attention to the instruction provided with your particular brand of iron on paper.

 

 

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Interior: Beachy Preppy Boy’s Room Reveal

This summer I decided it was finally time to give our Monkey’s room a makeover to make it more functional and lure him into spending more time there.  I started with a Beachy Preppy Moodboard that I felt would better reflect his sunny personality.

When we bought the house, his room looked like this:

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After the demo/construction was over, we threw furniture into his room and it looked like this:

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Not very inspiring, right?  His room was an amalgam of furniture we’d previously had in different rooms in our old house. Nothing in the room was planned and designed in the way his big brother’s room had been.

I am very happy to say that his room now looks like this:

Beach_Preppy_Boy_Room_03 copy

But like all good things, revamping his room took a plan.  While a moodboard is a great place to start and always gets my creative juices flowing, if you actually want to increase functionality you need a plan.  In this case, I wanted to increase storage and provide him with a desk, all while keeping a good amount of floor space free for floor play.  So, I sketched a layout. I always sketch first using pencil and paper, but for your sake I’ve transferred my drawings on to the computer, so they don’t look so rough.

Bedroom 2 - v1

Bedroom 2 - v2

The plan really helped me figure out how big a desk I could/should have, how to reposition the bed in order to gain storage space, etc.  I think you can see from the Before & After shots that his room was really transformed.

Beach_Preppy_Boy_Room_23 copy

Originally I was looking at a Crate & Barrel desk, because I loved the white and walnut look, but I couldn’t get over the fact that it had no drawers for keeping notebooks, pens, etc.  He doesn’t yet use the drawers, but I know that in the long run drawers will serve him well.  After much online browsing I chose the Alex desk from IKEA.  Clean. Simple. Modern. With drawers!

Beach_Preppy_Boy_Room_16 copy

The other key piece I needed was a shelving unit, and I knew immediately I wanted to use the Fjalkinge shelves by IKEA.  Tall. Clean. Tons of storage and with an option to add a set of drawers.  For the record, I believe that with kids you can never have too much closed storage.

Beach_Preppy_Boy_Room_24 copy

The other key piece was the bed.  I wanted to reuse his old bed but needed to give it a facelift.  I always hated the black drawers on his Flaxa bed, but gave them a new life simply by covering them with cork contact paper.  I knew I wanted to mimic the walnut/white look, but after investigating the cost of getting walnut veneer, I decided the cork was a far simpler and cost effective solution.  To give the cork a richer look, I rubbed on some walnut stain.  Don’t you think the drawers are much improved from their previous black?

But the pièce de résistance is the headboard that I made.  I actually found the headboard on the side of the street and it looked like this:

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I knew I wanted to salvage it, but it was too tall and too wide.  So, I had my hubby cut it down.  Then came the not so fun job of removing all the upholstery.  You wouldn’t believe how many nails this piece had!  And, while I love the detail of the original headboard, I am not a skilled enough upholster to make a striped fabric work flawlessly around all those curves.  So, I decided to stuff curves with batting, while reusing the original horse hair fill that the headboard had.

Beach_Preppy_Boy_Room_07 copy

Quite a transformation wouldn’t you say?  The striped fabric really ties the whole room together with the blues, yellows and tans.  I can’t remember how much I paid for the fabric but it was on clearance since it was the end of the roll.  I had bought it a few months back thinking I might use it in the playroom, but once I put my moodboard together for this room, I knew I had to use it here. It’s perfect!

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My big score for this room was the bedside table which I scored at an estate sale for $5.  It’s an original midcentury piece by Drexel.  Similar pieces usually sell for $100+.

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The art on the wall really gives this room personality.  The big painting was a score at a thrift store, also just $5.  The color block print is from Society 6.  The “Have Big Dreams” is a print that I made for him and have turned into a FREE printable you can download.  The photos are an assortment of photos I took with my iPhone over the last year.

Beach_Preppy_Boy_Room_12 copy

Beach_Preppy_Boy_Room_06 copyBeach_Preppy_Boy_Room_17 copy Have Big Dreams - Free Printable

Download the “Have Big Dreams” free printable here:

Isn’t it so much brighter and happier?  Monkey even said, “Mommy make me a cool room.”

Source List:

Ikea Hack Flaxa Bed, Ikea; Alex Desk, Ikea, Fjalkinge Shelves, Ikea; Knappa Pendant Lamp, Ikea; Sanela Curtains, Ikea; Nyponros Bedding, Ikea; Modern Weave Rattan Storage Containers, West Elm; Stacking Boxes, West Elm;  Blue Chair, Target; Desk Lamp, Target;  Geometric Trash Can, Target (no longer available); Turquoise Basketweave Throw Blanket,Target; Geometric Accent Lumbar Pillow, Target (no longer available); Small Yellow Arrow Marquee Light, Target; Greek Key Wool Rug, Zulily (no longer available); Assorted Frames, Target, Homegoods, Aaron Bros; Eyeball Sconce, Urban Outfitters; Vintage Bedside Table, Drexel; Vintage Brass Swallows Wall Decor, Ebay; Vintage Yellow Globe.

 

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Celebrate: Simple Minecraft Party and Games

Easy DIY Minecraft Birthday Party Cake

Our Big Boy just turned seven.  I can hardly believe how quickly time has flown by. For this occasion he wanted a Minecraft party so I put together a minecraft inspiration board. The party details ended up being simpler to pull off than some of the parties I’ve done in the past, mostly because some very generous souls have some fantastic FREE printables to use. Sadly though, I hardly took any pictures of this party.  I didn’t even take pictures of the table, decorations or a close up of the cake when I finished setting up. That said, what matters most is that Big Boy and his friends all had fun.

What made it feel like a Minecraft party was all the Minecraft food, labelled with food tents created by Printabelle and available via Catch my party.  I customized some of the food tents to better reflect what I was serving by dropping in a JPG and switching out the name.  For instance I found a picture of  “Oak Planks” and paired that with graham crackers.  The most popular food item was a shot glass of blue jello which I had labeled “Water Bucket”. You can see the remnants of the jello in the photo above.

Minecraft Party & Games

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DIY Minecraft Banner copy

I made a DIY Minecraft Birthday Banner using the free printables, but downsized the letters in order to print two letters on one piece of paper.  For my last party I printed a banner that used a ton of printer toner, so I was a little wary.

For the cake (pictured above), I was planning on having a local bakery replicate one of the simpler Creeper cakes I’ve seen on Pinterest, but was quoted $110! I decided to DIY a Minecraft cake using chocolate cake and green buttercream frosting piped to look like grass.  I cut the cake and layered it into a hill and added a few ready made Minecraft figurines to animate the scene. Total cost, less than $20.  The kids were thrilled with the cake and ate it all up.

Minecraft Birthday Party & Games

The games had me stumped for a while. I wanted to capture the spirit of Minecraft, but needed the games to exist in the real world. I left out a bunch of foam swords for free play, but also planned 4 structured games.  The games were good because they got the kids to mellow out a little between sword fighting.

Minecraft Birthday Party & Games

We started with a Minecraft Bingo, using fantastic free printables from here.  The time this mama spent on putting together the bingo cards is truly out of this world. I am ever so grateful for her saving my sanity. Plus the game made the kids concentrate and practice their reading. Win-win.

Minecraft Birthday Party & Games

Then we played a game of Musical Squares.  Essentially the same thing as musical chairs, except the kids were going in circles around square pieces of colored construction paper. Easy game to put together and brought out all the competitive juices.

The next game was a Minecraft Scavenger Hunt.  This was Big Boy’s favorite. I had the kids hunt for the ingredients necessary to make a cake using a Minecraft recipe.  I also had them find the ingredients necessary for torches, to be used as candles for the birthday cake. Everyone scampered around the backyard looking for the ingredient cards.  Once every card was found I brought out the cake.  It was nice to have a game that required teamwork after the two first games that really brought out the individual, survival instinct.  I’m going to include my own FREE Minecraft Scavenger Hunt Printables in my next post, as my thank you for those who have shared before me.

Free Minecraft Scavenger Hunt Printable

Lastly we had a piñata.  Everyone loves a piñata. In the past, my piñatas have required adult intervention in order to get the desired explosion. But now that Big Boy is bigger so are his friends and the piñata got demolished!  Initially I was going to order a Minecraft piñata, but they were more expensive and custom, so I opted for a pirate’s treasure chest piñata that was readily available and removed the pirate’s skull to make it a Minecraft chest. No fuss, no muss.

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The party favors is where I got a little more creative. I found green pencil boxes at the dollar store that had little squares on the top and personalized the boxes with their names printed in Minecraft font. Perfect! I filled the boxes with DIY Minecraft T-shirts I made. The T-shirts were a huge hit, some of the kids put them on as soon as they opened their boxes. In the boxes I also included one giant lollipop, which was actually an eraser. Lastly, I also included one small treat: a gold ingot boxes filled with M&Ms.  My next post will also include a FREE Minecraft T-Shirt printable and instructions.

DIY Minecraft Party Favors

DIY Minecraft T-Shirt Party Favor

The party was a great success, just wish I’d documented it more.  Now, I just have to make sure Big Boy sends out his thank you cards for all the awesome gifts he received.

 

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DIY: Modern Halloween Treat Bags

If you are planning on distributing Halloween treats, either in class or at a party, why not dress them up.  Here is a round up of the best DIY modern Halloween treat bags, with links to instructions and printables.  They are cute and for the most part, super easy to DIY.

DIY Modern Halloween Treat Bags

 

DIY Instructions for these cute, modern Halloween treat bags can be found:

1) Paper Ghost Pouch, 2) Bat Pillow Box, 3) Halloween Milk Carton, 4) Boo Treat Bag Printable, 5) Spooky Eyes Gift Tag, 6) Geometric Ghost Boxes

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