Category Archives: Hipie DIY & Crafts

Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume

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Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume | LazyHippieMama.comI have found, in the past few years, that I have a ridiculous amount of fun crafting with duct tape. I couldn’t give you any logical reason but, judging by the fact that there is an entire aisle of the stuff in my local supermarket, I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Last year, Sweet Hippie Daughter came up with a wonderful idea for a robot costume made out of duct tape and odds and ends from around the house. It came out beautifully and held up brilliantly through a night of trick-or-treating in some of the most miserable Halloween weather we’ve had in quite a while.

This year, when we started to look at $65 Disney Store costumes, I remembered how much Toddler-saurus Rex loved the hat from that costume and an idea was born. The hat would be recycled and the boy would be the cutest little water-proof alien on the block! Also, $5 worth of tape sounded significantly more reasonable.

I started with a roll of silver tape and some old footie jammies that had holes in the toes. I kept telling myself I was going to mend them but, since he’s got half a dozen other pair of PJs, the reality was he probably would have completely outgrown them before I got around to it.

Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume | LazyHippieMama.com

I cut the feet off just below the elastic at the ankles and began taping over the entire thing from the bottom up, keeping the legs stretched open as roomy as possible.  I like to do the back side first because it creates a little bit smoother look in the front but it really doesn’t make a huge difference either way.

Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume | LazyHiippieMama.com

When I was done with the back I flipped it over and did the same thing to the front. I taped across the whole thing. Unless you start with something that is 2-3 sizes too big your duct tape suit isn’t going to have enough stretch for your little one to put it on with the zipper anyway. More on that in a minute.

I do suggest leaving an inch or so of uncovered fabric at the shoulders. It will make it much easier for your little one to move his arms.

I left a little patch of the PJs showing, only because I thought the little “space mission” insignia on this pair of PJs was perfect for the outfit. Normally I would have just made it solid silver and maybe drawn a “patch” on the breast with a colorful Sharpie or something.

Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume | LazyHiippieMama.com

When it was all done I added a few embellishments made from bright green tape, including a ray-gun holster made out of an old cell phone case I found stashed in a junk drawer.  They do sell reflective or glow-in-the-dark tape which might be a good idea if you have trick or treating after dark in your area.

For the gun I covered a cheap plastic toy gun with silver tape.

Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume | LazyHiippieMama.com

Once the whole thing looks just like you want it, flip it face down and cut it open.  If it’s roomy enough you will be able to get away with cutting it only from the neck to the seat. This one was too snug for that so I cut straight down both arms and legs as well, leaving the cuffs around the wrists.

Have your child put it on like a backwards coat and then use a few strips of tape (or a several strips if you want to make it look seamlessly perfect from the back but Lord have mercy on you if the child has to use the bathroom and they’re fully duct taped into their costume!) to fasten it shut. In the photo I did a pretty minimal job because I knew he’d only be wearing it for a few minutes, but you get the idea.

Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume | LazyHiippieMama.com

And there you have it! One sweet little alien!

If you’re wondering about the hat, like I said, it was recycled from last year’s costume but it’s just a stocking cap. The antenna are made from pencils covered in tape with little balls of foil stuck on the ends.

When I was finished, I did have the thought that a pair of silver space boots just may be in order. It would be simple to make them from old rain boots, but I’m not sure if I’ll get that ambitious between now and Friday. We’ll see how it goes.

Easy DIY No-Sew Alien Costume | LazyHiippieMama.com

Happy haunting!

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Re-purposing An Old Crib

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Just for the record - we haven't made him sleep in this one for quite some time, he just decided to spend a little time remembering the good old days.

Just for the record – we haven’t made him sleep in this one for quite some time, he just decided to spend a little time remembering the good old days.

Toddler-saurus Rex outgrew his crib several months ago. We knew that it was time to move him into a big-boy bed but we already had the crib. He liked it! And for some reason this boy… the boy who will jump from the top of the staircase, launch himself into the deep end of a swimming pool and climb a ladder like a spider monkey stayed in the crib. He would wait, patiently calling for Hubby or me to come get him, every morning.  We would come into his room and tell him he could get up, at which point he would easily climb out of bed by himself and follow us downstairs.

I don’t get it, but I wasn’t about to complain!

Why would I end this arrangement?!

But, alas, then we moved into the new house.  The crib was used when we got it and, though I never checked, it’s probably been recalled because every crib in the US that’s more than 10 minutes old has been recalled for one reason or another. It was getting a little rickety. It really wasn’t safe for him anymore and I certainly didn’t feel comfortable giving it to someone else for a younger baby to sleep in.

Maybe he can sleep in the dog bed? He seems pretty content in there!

But it was still so pretty! And I couldn’t see just tossing all that loveliness in the landfill.

What’s a Hippie to do?

Repurpose it, of course!  I had Handsome Hippie Hubby tear it apart to its pieces and drag them all to the new house which he did with no complaining – even though at least one full load of what we moved was “pieces of stuff I’m sure I can use someday.” He’s a great husband!

Yesterday was the day… I figured it out!

We had a spot in the yard where an old tree stump had been ground out and the hole filled in with dirt from the field next door.  The grass hadn’t yet grown over it so it was just calling for some kind of creative treatment.  As I stood there, staring at the bare earth, trying to figure out what I wanted to do it came to me.  The rectangle of earth was just a little larger than a baby crib.  EUREKA!

I dug out the corners and buried the legs enough to give it some stability, tied the corners together with a length of wire and planted peas all around the edges. As they grow they can climb the sides creating a little “hidden fort.”

I painted an old piece of plywood I swiped out of a friend’s burn pile (Yes. I admit it. I save other people’s garbage, too.) as a tic-tac-toe board with painted rocks as the markers. A few colorful touches added some fun and it’s ready to go!

The finished product! Now to wait for the peas to grow...

The finished product! Now to wait for the peas to grow…

I am having so much fun at the new house – with all this space to build things like this.  What whimsical creations have gone in your yard this summer?  Tell about them or share your links in the comments.

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Save A Little Green, Be A Little Green This Christmas – Part One – Gift Wrap

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My family loves Christmas time!  We are those people.

Every year, just before Halloween (yes, I said just before) we start to get itchy.  Can we listen to the Christmas music yet?  Put up the lights? Start baking cookies?

If you are the person who thinks stores should wait until after Thanksgiving to put out their Christmas stuff, we are the people that irritate the heck out of you… standing in the new holiday displays in mid-October trying on Santa hats and singing, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

It’s not that we don’t love the other autumn holidays.  In fact, autumn is wonderfully festive at our house. We trick or treat on Halloween, celebrate a birthday in October and 2 more in November and we always look forward to a big family feast on Thanksgiving.

It’s just that Christmas is so fun.  It’s a complete delight to the senses! The smell of pine and fresh baked goodies, the sight of the beautiful lights and decorations, the taste of a dozen different holiday treats, the sounds of the music, the feel of coming into a warm, cozy house after putting up decorations in the chilly outdoors.

And, as Christians, it’s an exciting time of year in terms of our faith, too.  Christ is born! God is with us! There is hope!  If you are a believer and you really listen to the words of the Christmas songs you can’t help but get the chills.

So, you see…. we are those people.

Now that you know that, I can admit this:  Christmas is a very hard time to be green.  There are food colorings, artificial flavors and GMOs, wrapping paper, batteries, electric lights and… ugh… the bane of every parent’s existence… plastic packaging!

I applaud those who are so dedicated as to be “zero waste” during the holidays.  Truly, you guys are awesome and an inspiration.  But I guess I’m just not there yet and, judging by the number of plastic Santa lawn ornaments I see, I don’t think most other folks are either.

Still, there are some ways that you can reduce your red and green carbon footprint over the next several weeks.  In Part One of this multi-part series I’m going to suggest that you can save yourself enough cash to keep yourself in peppermint latte for the month by not buying wrapping paper.

In the US there are FOUR MILLION TONS of trash from gift wrap and shopping bags each year! (source)  A lot of wrapping paper is made from recycled materials and is recyclable, certainly if you’re in a rush choosing the paper made from recycled paper is a better option, but the recycling process still takes a lot of resources. Reduction is always the gold standard!

Consider a few of these ideas from people far more clever and talented than me.  (click the photos to view the source and see just how they did it):

 

I can see Toddler-saurus Rex having a blast painting with these homemade stamps and the price - pretty much free - is just right for our budget!

I can see Toddler-saurus Rex having a blast painting with these homemade stamps and the price – pretty much free – is just right for our budget!

You can use the white or brown paper that's used to pack shipping boxes, or even brown paper bags to wrap your gifts. This link has some great ideas for adding a bit of sparkle.

You can use the white or brown paper that’s used to pack shipping boxes, or even brown paper bags to wrap your gifts. This link has some great ideas for adding a bit of sparkle.

 

A nice bottle of wine AND a funky pair of socks are two of my favorite things!

A nice bottle of wine AND a funky pair of socks: Two of my favorite things!

If you are willing to put a bit more effort into your paper you can create these gorgeous, elegant gift boxes from any old paper scraps you have!

If you are willing to put a bit more effort into your paper you can create these gorgeous, elegant gift boxes from any old paper scraps you have!

 

I adore this little package wrapped in old sheet music. It's so elegant!  This site also has several other great ideas, like using old photos to decorate your packages.

I adore this little package wrapped in old sheet music. It’s so elegant! This site also has several other great ideas, like using old photos to decorate your packages.

Your old map is the perfect wrapping paper for the traveler in your life.

Your old map is the perfect wrapping paper for the traveler in your life.

What else have you used as instead of traditional gift wrap?

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$3 + 1 hour = an awesome robot costume! (easy instructions)

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If you don’t have a costume for your child yet, don’t worry! If you have $3 (or an existing abundance of duct tape) I can show you how to make a great robot costume in about one hour!

On Friday of this week we were invited to attend a Halloween event on Saturday.  Because we never plan more than 2 minutes ahead, I still hadn’t gotten or made costumes for my kids (what?! I have days and days before Halloween!).

I found a ghost for Toddler-saurus Rex.  It had belonged to one of his cousins in Halloween past and, with a few nips and tucks, would be just right for him.

Oooo! Scary ghost!

little boy is a ghost for Halloween

Sweet Hippie Daughter, on the other hand, has outgrown everything in the dress-up bin.

“We need to go to the store and buy a costume,” she said.

“That’s not going to happen.” I told her.  “You have clothes and leotards, hats and scarves and makeup.  There’s a whole cabinet full of fabric. There are masks in the dress-up box.  Figure something out.”

She sat and pouted.  “I need you to help me. I don’t know what to do.”

“I will help you with the details, if you want, but you need to come up with something on your own. Go figure it out.”

She stomped off.

5 minutes later she was back with a pair of ratty sweatpants, a stocking cap, a roll of duct tape and a gleam in her eye.  “I have an idea!

As promised I helped with the details of how to construct, but the ideas were all hers and I thought she did a great job! Every part of the costume was made from items she found lying around the house.  We did run out of duct tape and so we had to spend $3 on a second roll but I was totally OK with that. (You will need about 1 large roll of tape to make a costume this size – about a girl’s size 8.)

At the event, she was a huge hit and I was one proud mama!

Here’s what we did:

smiley face in a white stocking cap.

 

The hat for the robot costume is partially finished.

 

Little girl in a robot costume hat

The hat is all done! We used a pencil, eraser down and tip up, with a ball of foil on top, for the antenna.

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how to make a robot costume from duct tape

We started on the back sides of the pants and worked our way up the legs, one strip at a time. When the leg was covered we flipped the pants over and covered the front.

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pants for a duct tape robot

Finish the hem by folding one piece under to make a clean edge. We left the stretch waist uncovered to make it easier to get them on and off. This was covered by her shirt.

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duct tape robot instructions

We did the shirt pretty much the same way as the pants, except we didn’t cover the shoulders or arms right away.

 

instructions for arms on a duct tape robot

I had her put the shirt on to do the arms. We left the shoulders and elbows un-taped so that she would have a more comfortable range of motion.

I had her put the shirt on to do the arms. We left the shoulders and elbows un-taped so that she would have a more comfortable range of motion.

 

back of the duct tape robot

We cut the shirt, straight up the back, to get it on and off easily. When we went the actual even I “sealed” it again with a single piece of tape.

 

We cut the shirt, straight up the back, to get it on and off easily. When we went the actual event I “sealed” it again with a single piece of tape.

the shirt for the duct tape robot is all done. It just needs some embellishments!

duct tape robot is all done

All done! Now for the fun part…

adding buttons and wires to the duct tape robot

She added a “power box” with a bottle cap switch and wires coming out and a few “programming buttons” made from bottle caps and wooden building blocks – all duct taped onto the shirt.

She added a “power box” with a bottle cap switch and wires coming out and a few “programming buttons” made from bottle caps and wooden building blocks – all duct taped onto the shirt.

The glasses were the finishing touch.

The glasses were the finishing touch.

The glasses were the finishing touch.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email, Facebook or Twitter to get all the updates.

If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve! 

 You may also enjoy:

Knights for Kingdom Rock

The Duct Tape Warriors – How to build a knight out of duct tape

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DIY Toddler Swing From Recycled Materials – As seen on Pinterest Fail!

 

 

 

 

The Duct Tape Warriors

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A quickie post for my fellow Kingdom Rock VBS leaders or anyone who suddenly finds themselves in need of a knight made out of sticks and duct tape…

If you are like me you thought the knight in the Decorating Places video was awesome but you weren’t quite sure how to build him.  I asked one of the guys at church to help me out by building me a scarecrow frame.  This is the picture I gave him, from Google Images:

scarecrow-a

It was the perfect shape but it was WAY too big!!!  We cut about a foot off each “arm” and each “leg.”  Then we used the pieces we cut off as feet so our knights could be freestanding.  This will give you a knight that is about 5’8″ at the shoulder… give or take an inch or two.

Then my sweet, kind, dear asbestos friend came over and we spent an evening giving the guys some shape with duct tape and card stock.  Having no plan, we were just winging it.  We did not stuff the card stock with any filler except in places like the elbow joints where it just seemed to need a little extra padding to maintain its shape.  In these pictures we were just getting started with the legs.

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Then, we went nuts with the duct tape. We wrapped those boys up like mummies from head to foot.  I’m sure you could use foil as well but duct tape seemed sturdier and our knights will be at a festival and on a parade float before VBS even starts so they needed to be pretty strong.

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We used a bucket and a small waste basket from the dollar store for heads.  The more silver knight got a poster board shield, taped to his arm and a pennant made from a bamboo garden stake and a red napkin.  The other guy has a fabric tunic – just a piece of fabric draped over him and stapled down the side, and a cardboard sword.  The design on his tunic is made from card stock and taped on.

both knights

Sir Maclemore

The Black Knight

We had great fun!  I hope you do too and I hope this was helpful for you.  If you’re doing Kingdom Rock and have pictures of your decorations to share please feel free to link up in the comments.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  

The Awesome Pallet Chair (or My Recycled Garden, Part 2)

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Just in case you haven’t figured it out I’m a bit of a lazy hippie.  The hippie in me loves to be out in nature. The lazy part loves to lounge.  Yet I’ve never had a really great outdoor lounge chair… until now!

I started building with pallets when I needed a compost bin and I was instantly hooked.  It seemed like it wasn’t much harder than putting together a kit from Ikea.  It’s not always perfect wood.  It can be a little splintery and, if it’s been left outside a long time, sometimes a bit rotted. On the other hand, it’s got a great look to it, it’s very sturdy (if it’s not rotten) and it’s generally free.

About 40% of the hardwood harvested in the US is used to build pallets and 20% of the wood in our landfills is pallets. Think about that. How long does it take to grow a hardwood tree?  We use it a few times and throw it in the trash. That doesn’t even account for the millions that get burned every year!  So, by building with pallets, you are being a good steward of the earth.

You do need to be aware of your materials.  Some pallets are treated with very harsh chemicals or used to ship items that may leave them contaminated with e. coli or other bacteria.  Spiders of all sorts, as well as other insects, like to nest in pallet wood.  I’ve seen plans for baby cribs and kitchen tables made from pallets.  Please be wise in matching your materials to your project.

I’ve found that big stores that use zillions of pallets don’t want to part with them. They have a system in place to reuse and recycle and keep things cost effective. However, if you know someone who has done a big home improvement project they probably have a pallet or 3.  Small businesses may have 1 or 2 outside the back door. Farmers often have a handful that get tossed in a burn pile.  Many places sell them to recycling companies for $1-5 and would be just as happy to sell them to you.  Craigslist is loaded with them. Put the word out that you’re looking and you’re sure to find some at little or no cost.

This project started with some pallets that had been tossed by a company that deemed these no longer strong enough to hold the heavy electronics they ship.  They were missing boards and had some rotten pieces and were in generally pretty rough shape.

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I pulled off the bad pieces and merged them together.  I stacked them with the strongest, smoothest one on top and then nailed the fourth (the one pictured above which had the longer side. I had to add a board to the other side to make them match.) Once I got past that it was a simple matter of nailing everything together and painting it.

Toddler-saurus Rex helped.

Toddler-saurus Rex helped.

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The supports in the back give it a lot of sturdiness.  I just used 2 of the boards I pulled off the big pallet.

The supports in the back give it a lot of sturdiness. I just used 2 of the boards I pulled off the big pallet.

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A little side note, the paint was recycled too! Paint is extremely toxic to put in a landfill and it’s difficult to find places to dispose of it so people are happy to give their leftovers to someone who can make use of it.  I asked for paint on freecycle.org and had 6 partial gallons by the next day.  I chose red because it was bright and plentiful.

All together, with no tools at all except a hammer and a paintbrush this project took about 3 hours.  Now I have a fabulous big comfy place to lounge in my magical garden while the little Hippies splash in the kiddie pool.  Hooray!

Yesterday I picked up four new pallets in near perfect condition.  Which project to do next? Hmmm…. time to visit Pinterest.

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  

Dancing With Fairies and Watching For Dragons (or My Recycled Garden, Part 1)

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Forgotten Language by Shel Silverstein

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the house fly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. . . .
How did it go?
How did it go?

I’m not a big fan of poetry but there are a few poems that strike a special chord with my heart.  This is certainly one of them.

When I was a little girl we lived next door to my grandfather and I spent many of my days playing in his yard. It was an extraordinary yard.  The lot was nothing special… a largish village lot right on a busy highway. But the yard…. oh! What a yard!

One corner was a garden. The garden was overflowing with melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, potatoes and all things fresh and delicious. It was bordered with gorgeous flowers in every color of the rainbow.  I can’t count how many hours I spent crawling along the rows next to my papa, munching on fresh onions that were still just a little dirty (“A little dirt never killed anyone,” he’d tell me.), the warm sun beating down on my shoulders.

There was a massive lilac bush that I can still conjure the scent of.

Papa hung a swing made from a piece of wood that still had the bark on one side from a sturdy branch of a huge pear tree.  I would swing and eat fresh pears while bumble bees buzzed around me, feasting on the juice of the over-ripe fruit that had fallen to the ground.

Over the back door was a trellis covered in grape vines. The grapes were green and a little bitter and smelled like heaven.

The sidewalk that led away from the cellar entrance was shaded with roses growing in a tangle of thorny vines on the arbor overhead.

Oh! It's just so unbearably romantic to the 11 year old girl in my heart!

Oh! It’s just so unbearably romantic to the 11 year old girl in my heart!

There was an old chicken coop, no longer in use, where he stored his garden tools and he let me use one corner as my own little playhouse. I spent a lot of time pretending to be Mary Ingalls in that little shed.  I always wanted to be Mary because she had such pretty eyes and long blonde hair (and her husband was more handsome than Laura’s).

In a hidden corner was some sort of cinder block structure that had been started years earlier and never finished. In there we had a huge sand box and every year around the edges bunnies would build nests in the long grass and raise their sweet new babies.

The entire length of the yard was bordered with a white picket fence (overgrown with rhubarb and pumpkins) and JUST on the other side of the fence were the train tracks.  During that time there was a tourist train that would run on those tracks – an old steam engine.  I would wave at the conductor and he waved back every time.

In those days I lived in a magical land and I spoke the language of the flowers.

I sang with the fairies and hid with them, watching for dragons and spying on them as they munched the branches of the nectarine trees.

I lay on my belly in the dirt and watched the worms do their work and I told them all my secrets.  They listened without judgement and whispered back with tales of the extraordinary enchanted caverns they were creating beneath the garden.

Then I grew up.  I put aside childish things. I moved to the city and focused on making money and climbing the corporate ladder. I fussed over my name-brand clothes and I ordered sophisticated over-priced drinks.

I was miserable.

I’m sure there are people in the world for whom that life is true bliss but it just wasn’t for me.

I went off in search of that elusive “something” and boy, did I search. I looked all over the planet!

I found the man of my dreams and we started the family that holds my heart.

He taught me to give thanks for the good things I have in this moment, instead of always searching for something else.  It turned out I had a LOT to be thankful for.

He reminded me that there is great value in the feeling of cool grass under your feet.

I said, “someday we will live in our perfect dream house and I’ll be able to create a yard just like my grandfather had – a place full of magic where nature is nourished and appreciated and I am nourished in return. I’ll be able to fill it with beautiful things and wonderful spaces to sit and enjoy life.”

He smiled in his patient way. “Yes. Someday.”

And then I figured it out.  My grandfather didn’t move into that space. He loved the space he had.  He didn’t spend a lot of money. He hung a broken piece of tree branch and called it a swing. He turned the earth and planted the garden and, only after that love poured out of him did the fairies and dragons appear.

So I’ve spent my spring barefoot in the yard.  My fingernails are chipped and dirty. I have a definite farmers tan and more mosquito bites than I care to count but I can’t remember the last time I’ve had so much fun!

It’s not done yet. Are gardens ever done? I don’t remember Papa ever finishing his. There was always something being planted or pruned or moved or painted.  The creation of the space is as organic as the things that live in it.  But I like to think I’m off to a good start.

First thing first, I had to make a space for the fairies!  I’m quite certain, as I was building this I could almost grasp the language of the flowers again.  It’s getting clearer every day.

The fairy house.  It's made from twigs and bark out of the yard and decorated with colorful stones and odds and ends from around the house.

The fairy house. It’s made from twigs and bark out of the yard and decorated with colorful stones and odds and ends from around the house.

Fairy parking. Their cars are MUCH nicer than mine!  The empty rock is the dance floor.

Fairy parking. Their cars are MUCH nicer than mine! The empty rock is the dance floor.

The disco ball and sign above the dance floor. "When you plant your garden make sure to leave room for the fairies to dance."

The disco ball and sign above the dance floor. “When you plant your garden make sure to leave room for the fairies to dance.”

The heliport. I bought this at Saver's because a tiny pink heliport for flying magical creatures was just too wonderful to pass up.  $1.99.

The heliport. I bought this at Saver’s because a tiny pink heliport for flying magical creatures was just too wonderful to pass up.

Here's the whole thing, from a few steps back.  In case you were wondering; You, too, can achieve this awesome soft-edged look to your photos. Just feed your toddler a peanut butter sandwich and let him play with your camera before you go out to take photos for your blog. The sticky-figured boy in question is fascinated by the giant, colorful flowers.

Here’s the whole thing, from a few steps back. In case you were wondering; You, too, can achieve this awesome soft-edged look to your photos. Just feed your toddler a peanut butter sandwich and let him play with your camera before you go out to take photos for your blog. The sticky-figured boy in question is fascinated by the giant, colorful flowers.

Come back in a day (or 3 or 4) and I’ll share some more of what The Hippies have been building in their yard.  There are swings and birdhouses, feeders, a tiny “ode to the desert” (where I met Handsome Hippie Hubby) and so much more.

Last week one of Sweet Hippie Daughter’s friends came over to play.  She wandered around the yard for a while and then plopped down in THE AWESOME PALLET CHAIR (I’ll do that post next) and said, “I really love it here.”

Victory!

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I Love VBS!

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One of my most favorite activities of the year at church is Vacation Bible School.

I love getting ready for it! There’s  painting and decorating, creativity, music, and fun.

I love the event itself! A whole week of watching children’s eyes light up with wonder as they play and learn and grow is a beautiful thing.

I really hate cleaning up… but that’s far away so we just won’t think about that.

This year we are using Group’s Kingdom Rock format.

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Last night our church had our 2nd Annual Talent Show.  We have a Wednesday night dinner and study that runs all through the school year and then breaks for summer.  We thought it would be a great time to advertise our VBS with a promo of “The King’s Kitchen.”  Each person got a personal invitation to VBS at their place setting, rolled like a scroll and tied with a ribbon and a few extras were on hand in case they wanted to take one for a friend.

It was such fun putting it all together that I thought I would share the idea of a preview event and some pictures of our “King’s Kitchen” in case you are doing the same theme and can use any of the ideas.  They were very simple and super inexpensive.  We bought the big banner from Group for $29. It will go outside in the front yard of the church now. We’ll use it on a parade float next month. And then it will be a part of our VBS at the end of July.  Everything else was just stuff from around the church. We spent $4 on streamers and $1.99 on the hoola hoop in the center of the streamers.

We centered a hoola hoop over the middle of the table and ran multi-colored paper streamers out from there.  In the middle of the hoop we hung an old candle holder wrapped in fake ivy we found in a closet in the church.

We centered a hoola hoop over the middle of the table and ran multi-colored paper streamers out from there. In the middle of the hoop we hung an old candle holder wrapped in fake ivy we found in a closet in the church.

Everybody looks so happy when there's food involved!

Everybody looks so happy when there’s food involved!

Our big Kingdom Rock sign was impossible to miss so everyone was sure to see the dates and times of our event.

Our big Kingdom Rock sign was impossible to miss so everyone was sure to see the dates and times of our event.

The kids were so excited to come into the "fancy" dining area.  They were so funny with their "royal manners" and "proper accents."

The kids were so excited to come into the “fancy” dining area. They were so funny with their “royal manners” and “proper accents.”

If you’re wondering how to decorate your kitchen I hope this gives you some ideas.  To follow the rest of the decorating as it happens or get more info about our VBS event you can visit www.blissfieldemmanuel.com.

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DIY Fail!

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I was told by more than one reader that it was nice to see that, sometimes (usually?),  DIY projects don’t turn out as planned and I had a special request to give my “fail” picture the headline treatment, so here it is.  As the old saying goes, “if you can laugh at yourself you’ll never cease to be amused.”

This project came together (more or less) eventually and you can read about how I did it here, or you can go to the site of the original tutorial and actually follow the instructions.

Hope this brought you a mid-week smile!

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!  

 

DIY Toddler Swing From Recycled Materials

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I have an almost-2-year-old who LOVES to swing.  I have often thought of  how nice it would be to have a swing  for him in our yard but I’ve just never gotten around to getting one for him. Then I saw this post on Pinterest:

Click the picture to go to their great tutorial.

Click the picture to go to their great tutorial for this totally recycled swing.

And, just a day or two later I saw this commercially made swing that costs over $100:

Click the picture to go to the manufacturer's site.

Click the picture to go to the manufacturer’s site.

These two swings morphed inside my brain. I uttered the words that daily test my husband’s patience.   “I could make that!” I went rummaging for supplies. I knew I had an old pair of jeans with a poorly located tear that I’d been saving for just such a moment as this. I remembered the wooden ladder  in the garage.  Those rungs would be perfect! I could get a bit of rope at Dollar General for less than $3. I was off and running. Below is everything I learned. Be sure to read all the way through to the end BEFORE you start the actual construction process for yourself.  This is VERY IMPORTANT!

Step one:

Find an old wooden ladder.  If you have a saw, cut 4 rungs out of it.  If you don’t have a saw use the claw end of a hammer, a screw driver, a power drill and the heel of your shoe to break 4 rungs out.  Or just go buy a saw.  The other way can be difficult.  Not that I did it that way.  I’m just guessing.  *ahem* GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Step two:

Drill 2 holes in each rung.  Make sure that they line up to the width and length that you want them or else you’ll end up with 2 sticks that have extra holes in them.  Not that I did that either.  I’m just sayin’…. GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Step three:

Cut the legs off your old jeans.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep four:

Thread the front and back dowels through the belt loops of the jeans. GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Step five:

Lay your side dowels on top of the front and back dowels and thread your rope over, under, round and round the FRONT BAR ONLY.

Pay no attention to the extra hole.  Just... you know... measure twice, drill once.

Pay no attention to the extra hole. Just… you know… measure twice, drill once.

Fling your rope over a tree branch and repeat step five with the back holes of your dowels and VOILA!  You have a new swing for your little toddler that cost less than $3 and kept an old ladder and a pair of jeans out of the landfill.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep six:

Put the baby in and watch him fall in love with the new toy you hand-crafted with love. GE DIGITAL CAMERA Uhm. Wait. Aw, crap. He doesn’t look very happy at all.  Although, honestly, at this point I was laughing so hard I thought I might wet myself.  I can’t even imagine what my neighbors must have been thinking! OK… that didn’t work out. Back up.

Step seven:

Find smaller pants.

Step eight:

Take your swing down and repeat steps 4-6.  With the smaller pants I found I had to cut slits to fit the dowels through because the loops weren’t big enough.  Be strategic about this to be sure the remaining fabric/seams are strong enough to support your little one’s weight.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERAStep nine:

Chase your now VERY reluctant child through the yard, catch him and jam him, totally unwilling, into the new toy you have lovingly hand-crafted for him. Twice.

Step ten:

Wait for a moment until he realizes that things have improved. GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA Much better!  I wondered if sitting on the seam of the jeans would be uncomfortable for him but he didn’t seem to mind at all.  He wanted to swing for a very long time.  I did trim the rope and straighten it out after the trial run.  The pictures from “step eight” are actually the finished product. Enjoy!

Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?

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If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!