Sunday, 26 July 2015

Making Our Old Toys Feel New // A 5-Day Challenge

Do your children own plenty of toys but all that original charm when they were first brought home seems to have worn off? Are you a frustrated parent who has seen these perfectly good, yet abandoned toys ignored for too long? Do you want to participate in a challenge to get your kids excited about their toys again? 

Each night when the kids go to bed I am challenging myself to create a "new" play scene with their existing toys and objects found in my house. Each morning the children will discover an invitation to play at a new scene. I'm limiting myself to 30 minutes per night to work on this because sometimes I can get out of hand and could easily end up working on this for much longer! But I love that precious time when the kids have gone to bed and my husband and I can spend some time together. Thirty minutes seems like a fair amount of time to give up to work on a project for the kids, but still enjoy some evening relaxation too. 

Items Required for this Challenge:
Toys & Objects that already exist in your home or yard
Paper, Markers, Stickers & Tape to create a backdrop (optional) 

Absolutely nothing new should be purchased for this project. All items should already exist in your home, especially the toys! We are looking to reuse the toys that your children already own, to get them interested in those forgotten items that need new life. 

Here are the details of the scene that I set up tonight.

Day 1: Dinosaur Land
Items Used:
  • Dinosaurs
  • Plastic Eggs
  • Magnatiles
  • Sticks, Rocks, Leaves

Let's hope that the kids enjoy finding these play scenes every morning, but more importantly I hope it reminds them how many fantastic and fun barely-used toys they have. And I really hope that you all join me in this challenge- I look forward to seeing the scenes you create and hearing your children's reactions!

*Post edited to include the daily challenge.

Day 2: Frozen Faraway Land
Items Used:
  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Tin Foil 
  • Cookie Tin Cover
  • Purple & Blue Magnatiles
  • Miniature Frozen Characters from the My Busy Book Frozen set 
  • Miniature Frozen Characters from the Frozen Kinder Eggs
  • Elsa Magiclip Figurine
  • Polar Bears
  • Legos 
  • Miniature Dragons & Unicorns
  • Craft Stars

Day 3: Construction Site
Items Used:
  • Lego Duplo Building Blocks & Figures
  • Various Construction Trucks & Tractors
  • Rocks
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Kinder Egg Containers

Day 4: Under the Sea
Items Used:
  • Fish, Shark, Whale and other plastic sea creatures
  • Turtle Fabric Finger Puppet
  • Found Rocks, Seashells & Sea Glass
  • Green Tissue Paper
  • Ariel Magiclip Figurine

Day 5: Warehouse Fire in Chicago
Items Used:

  • Wooden Blocks
  • Ikea Wooden Train Tracks
  • Lego Spiderman
  • Various Micro Vehicles
  • Various Figurines 
  • Washi Tape

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Ways to Washi // 5 Kids Room Ideas

In the short few months that I've been writing this blog, you may have noticed that I have a fondness for washi tape. I used it to display our salt dough creations in this first post here. Washi tape was used again in this recent post where I created a wall display. And you can also find it scattered in other posts from embellishing Mother's Day cards to hanging artwork. 

So what exactly is washi tape? For any crafter out there, you already know that it's a multipurpose, decorative tape with a million and one uses! Every color and pattern can be found in a variety of widths, sold at any big box craft store or online through Etsy. I love to decorate with washi tape because it's easily applied and can be removed with little effort and no mess.

For this blog post I'd like to show you how I've used washi tape within my son and daughter's shared bedroom. Perhaps you'll be inspired to add a little colour and pattern to your own room's design! 

1. Adding a pop of colour to a plain dresser.

I purchased this off white dresser before my daughter was born, intending it to be a piece that could grow with her over the years. It currently holds girl's clothing on the left side and boy's on the right. The walls in their room are cream and the carpeting is beige so to add a tiny hint of colour to a pretty plain palette, washi tape is the answer. It allows me to indulge in whatever color or pattern I'm loving at the moment but without the mess or permanence of paint.  

2. Creating a custom art installation on an empty wall. 

On Pinterest, houses are a major "in" design element, especially when searching through boards on children's rooms. House shaped shelves, blocks and even beds can be found everywhere. Trends come and go but a bit of washi tape allows you to play along with a trend, for just as long enough as you would like. 

To create this piece I measured out an outline on the wall and connected the marks with a blue and pink striped washi tape. Sometimes this house frames my daughter's doll house. Other times it serves as a photo backdrop or a place to play pretend. 

3. Making wallpaper for a dollhouse.

This dollhouse began it's life as an Ikea bookshelf. A bit of scrapbook paper and varying widths and designs of washi tape transformed this ordinary white bookshelf into my daughter's first dollhouse.

4. Adding rooftops on a "house" display area.

That "house" theme I mentioned above is pretty popular in my own kids' room. As previously blogged about, my DIY acrylic display area needed a roof to complete the look and washi tape solved that need, while again adding some bright colors into the room. 

5. Enhancing a simple kid's table.

Adding red polka dot washi tape to an Ikea Lack side table is a super cute and easy way to create a playful setting for the kids. Tea time never looked so delightful!

So have I convinced you yet that you need some washi tape in your life (or at least somewhere in your home)?! Or are you already a huge fan of washi? How do you use it in your craft projects? I'd love to hear the ways in which you decorate with washi tape!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Cupcake Topper DIY // Fourth of July

Tomorrow is America's Independence Day! While it may be just another Saturday here in Dublin, we'll still be celebrating with some red, white and blue cupcakes. 

Here's a super simple way to jazz up those party cupcakes (even the store bought ones can use a bit of homemade decoration)! 

Supplies Needed:
Star Stickers (Found ours at Target $1 bin)
Bakers String
Scotch Tape
White Paper

Cupcake Topper How-to:
1. Stick the star stickers to the white paper
2. Using the scissors, cut out around the stars
3. Turn stars over and tape a toothpick to the back of each star
4. Cut pieces of string at varying lengths and tape to the back of star
5. Accent strings by adding smaller star stickers to the tips of the string

Dessert decorations- check!!!

Pies & Gents would like to wish all our American family & friends a very happy Fourth of July! Have a wonderful and safe weekend! xoxo

They may live in Ireland, but they'll always be my little Americans ;)
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