Friday, March 23, 2012

Busy Bags

A friend of mine asked if I wanted to be a part of a busy bag swap, and I was all over that! We ended up having 6 people, and we each are doing 3 busy bags, for a total of 18 bags. I'm so excited to see what else I get.

My bags are pretty simple, I tried to keep it that way for my 2 year old but still be interesting to a 3 and 4 year old. 

The first bag has popsicle stick puzzles. I just used the sample pictures from my computer and glued them to colored popsicle sticks I found at Joann's.
 For the second bag, I cut shapes out of craft foam and punched holes all the way around. Not quite as sturdy as the classic lacing cards, but they still work nonetheless. And a shoestring for lacing, which is quite important because you want the stiff, plastic end so it goes through each hole easily.
 Last but not least, an "I Spy" bottle. I found a bunch of small items around my house and at Joann's and Walmart and put them in clean water bottles filled with rice. It makes it easier if you put half the rice in, then the small items, and fill 3/4 with rice. You want to make sure your items will fit through the mouth of the bottle, I had to cut one apart after the dice I bought got stuck. Interestingly, our Yatzee dice fit just fine, so I stole them... I photographed all the items and labeled them before putting them in the bottle. I printed the photograph and laminated it.
I can't wait to see the other bags I am getting, it will be nice to have something other than books and cars to entertain the babies when we are out and about.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Toy Storage and Bookshelves

My little man's toys were getting out of control, and I needed a better solution than a laundry hamper to dump everything in. I love the IKEA Trofast storage system, but didn't like the price tag. I found this tutorial on Ana-white and knew I could pull it off.

I bought the actual bins from Ikea, because I figured at least those were inexpensive (I paid $50 for all of them).
 I thought I would save money by getting the lower grade plywood, but the time I spent filling and sanding would have been worth the extra money for a nicer finish. I don't have a router, so I had a friend of mine cut the grooves for me. He actually used a radial arm saw to keep the lines perfectly straight.
 All in all, I am extremely happy with the result and my little guy had a great time helping me organize his toys!
As I am looking at these pictures, I realized I never posted about the book storage! I found the instructions on ana-white.com (amazing site!). They were super easy to put together, and work much better than stacking the books on a shelf where they inevitably were knocked to the floor.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Snack Jars

For Valentine's day this year, I wanted to do something on the cheap, but still fun and personal. I came up with the idea to make snack jars for Joe to keep on his desk at work. He is blessed with great genes and can eat anytime, anywhere and not gain a pound. I'm pretty sure he still within 5 pounds of his weight from when we got married!

I found these glass canisters at Target. I saw them and knew they would work perfect.
 Since I had three, I thought "YUM" would be charming to etch on the canisters. I printed out the letters in the size and font I wanted and cut them out. Now here is the tricky part (and I have no pictures!) I put the letter on the sticky side of contact paper, so that when I adhered the contact paper to the canister, the letter would be facing the correct way.

Then I used an Exacto knife to cut around the letter, thus creating my own stencil...I have to get creative when I don't own a silhouette. Someday. I then covered the exposed glass with etching cream and let it set for 5 minutes.
 Then rinse off the etching cream and check to see if there are any areas that didn't etch completely. Do those areas over again. I find that if I don't put a thick enough layer of cream on the glass, the etch looks spotty.
 Remove the contact paper, and voila! you have some super cute canisters that any husband would be proud of.
 Joe may or may not have put them on top of his filing cabinet so all his colleagues could see them when they walked past... gosh I love that man.
 Each time a snack runs out, I just buy him a different treat to put in it to keep snacks interesting.