Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Color Pull Toy Tutorial

DIY Toy, Homemade Toy, Learn colors toy, gross motor skills, color toy, easy toy, pull toy, color pull toy, motor skills toy, Homemade toys, DIY toy, homemade pull toy, cheap toy, DIY cheap toy

Toys are expensive and if your kids are anything like mine they tend to play with boxes, gatorade bottles and rocks more then toys that we paid for so why spend money on a ton of toys that are just going to sit there and collect dust when you can make toys using supplies you probably have laying around your house. I recently made this Color Pull Toy out of things I had laying around and it's a big hit with my babies. My six month old loves it, he mainly hits it and chews on the fabric, and my daughter (almost 2) steals it from him all the time because she likes to pull the fabric, plus we are working on learning our colors so I will probably have to make another one so they both can have one and stop fighting over this one. 

Color Pull Toy

Difficulty: Easy

Development: Child learns gross motor skills by pulling the fabric back and forth. It also helps your child learn their colors by asking them to pull a specific color.

  • Duct Tape - I used white so the colors would stand our
  • 5-10 Different Color fabric strips OR Ribbon
  • Cardboard - I cut a 6x7 piece from a diaper box
  • Scissors
  • X-Acto Knife - Optional

How To:

1. First you need to cut out different color strips of fabric or ribbon about 8 inches long. I used 7 different colors.

2. Next you need to cut out a piece of cardboard if you haven't already. It can be in any shape you want. Make sure to make it big enough to fit all your fabric strips. My cardboard was 6x7.

3. Duct the sides of your cardboard. I cut a strip, placed half of it on the cardboard and folded it over to the other side.

4. Cover the rest of the cardboard with duct tape. I placed the duct tape at the edge and wrapped it around to the other side then cut it. I repeated wrapping it until it was all the way covered; 4 times.

5. I used an X-Acto Knife to poke holes in the cardboard. I then used the pointed side of the scissors to make the holes a little bigger. Poke the scissors thru the hole and twist a little. Do not make the holes too big or the fabric pieces won't stay and will pull all the way thru the cardboard.

6. Stick the fabric strips thru the holes and tie a double knot at both ends of the fabric. Make sure your knot is big enough to keep the fabric from pulling all the way thru the holes. I had to use scissors to help poke the fabric thru the holes.


Once all the fabric is thru the cardboard and has been tied you are finished and can let your little one play with it. You may have to show them how to pull the fabric back and forth. My daughter picked up on it super fast. This Color Pull Toy is super easy to make and I  was able to make it using things I had lying around my house. I hope your children enjoys playing with it as much as mine do!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pink Elephant Birthday Party

first birthday party, party planning, pink party, elephant birthday party

My daughter's second Birthday is coming up this December so I figured I would share what we did for her first Birthday. When she was a baby, one of her favorite toys was Ellie the Elephant so we decided to throw her a Pink Elephant Birthday Party; Ellie is a pink taggie elephant incase you were wondering.  We invited the whole family down to celebrate her birthday/check out our new house the weekend before her birthday and we all had a good time and Lexi got tons of new toys and clothes. 

To save on money, I made everything for her birthday from the cake to the her outfit. You would be surprised at how much you can save from doing it yourself.

Birthday Outfit:
Pink Elephant Birthday Party, elephant birthday onesieI made a onesie with a 1 and elephant on it and a tutu for my daughter to wear. I bout all the supplies from Hobby Lobby. I bought a 12 month onesie but remember Hobby Lobby's onesies run a little small and shrink when washed so go with the bigger size. I drew a 1 and the elephant on paper and cut it out then traced it onto the fabric and cut the fabric out. I had my Grandma sew the 1 and the elephant onto the onesie because it was too small for my sewing machine to do. She informed me not to cut out the fabric until after we apply the stuff to make it stick to the shirt first though (I believe it is a sheet of fabric adhesive but may be wrong).
For the tutu I made a more simple version than I did for our wedding tutus. I bought pink ribbon, light pink tulle, and hot pink tulle for the tutu. I cut a strand of the ribbon long enough to wrap around my daughter's waist and make a bow. I then cut the tulle in 24" long strips and loosely looped them around the ribbon, rotating light and hot pink, until it went all the way around my daughters waist. I had originally planned to make a short tutu but somehow managed to make a floor length one. If you want a shot tutu I would probably but the tulle in 12" strips instead.

Toddler Birthday outfit, name block decoration
Name Blocks:
I thought it would be cute to have blocks with her name on it. I was going to put them by the door so everybody knew they were at the right location but decided to use balloons instead. I used the blocks for her one year photoshoot and as a decoration next to the gift table. They were easy to make and turned out pretty cute. To make these you will need enough boxes as their are letters in your child's name. We used bottle beer boxes for our boxes. The beer pictures showed through the pink paper so I taped a piece of computer paper on the side I was going to put letters on. I then wrapped the boxes in pink paper. My mom got this paper from her classroom but you can use wrapping paper or a cheap table cloth if you don't have access to the roll paper. I then drew and cut out letters on computer paper and glued them to the boxes.

Check out my tutorial on how to make the name blocks: Name Block Party Decoration Tutorial

High Chair Decorations:
highchair tutu, highchair decorFor the high chair I used the leftover tulle from the tutu and scrapbook paper. First you need to make the ONE Flags. Cut out three flags from your scrapbook paper and pock two holes at the top. Cut out the letters to spell out one and clue them onto the flags. String the string or yarn through them.  Next cut the tulle it into 15-20 inch strips and wrapped it around the string or yarn, evenly spreading it out around the flags. When you are finished you can hang it on the highchair. You may need to tape it to the front to get it to stay.

I hung streamers behind the highchair to cover the window and make for a cute backdrop for pictures. I rotated different shades of pink and tapped them to the window frame.

We also laid half of a pink table cloth under the highchair for an easy clean up for the smash cake.

Chalk Board Signs:
The three chalk board signs are leftover from our wedding. If you don't have any these are super easy to make. I bought three 8x10 frames from the Dollar Tree and removed the glass. Spray the back of the picture frame with chalkboard paint and let dry. I used the chalk boards to display fun facts about my daughter such as her favorite things, words she knows, how many teeth she has, etc...

"Watch Me Grow" Pictures and Elephants:
I made eight pink elephants out of construction paper to hang on the wall. I eliminated theses so we can use them in the future if needed. Four of them were hung by the highchair and the other four were hung above the food table. I also printed out a newborn picture and my daughters watch me grow photos and hung them above the food table. I taped the twelve photos to a piece of pink ribbon left over from making the tutu and tacked it to the wall.
Smash Cake, pink smash cake

Smash Cake:
I used a mini glass dish we had for the cake and used the leftovers to make cupcakes. I then decorated the cake with a bunch of icing in hopes of my daughter creating a huge mess but she ate the cake like a lady so I had to make the mess for her to get a cute picture

Check out my tutorial on how I made the Pink and White Smash Cake.

elephant party food Food Table:
- Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes
- Funfetti Cake Dip
- Animal Crackers
- Pink Chocolate Popcorn Mix
- Chocolate Pretzel Bites with Pink M&M's
- Circus Peanuts
- Pink Mints
- Cheese Balls
- Chocolate Fudge
- Pink Fruity Pebble Rice Crispy Treats (Poppin' Pebbles edition)
- Strawberry Wafers
- Pink Lemonade

After all the planning, crafting and decorating, my daughters first Birthday party was a success and it didn't break us. If you are on a budget and want to throw your child an awesome party then think of some cool DIY decorations to save on money and consider making your own Birthday/Smash cake. We spent probably a max of $50 on her party and I think it turned out pretty pink nice! Can't wait to start planning her second birthday party!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

DIY Patio Bench

In my previous blog, Re-Vamping Outside your Home, I posted a picture of our newly stained deck, finished patio, etc... but it was missing something. We had talked about making a bench out of pallets but were still in the process of trying to find them when we came across a free torn down fence from the guy down our street. We took a lot of the fence wood that was still in good condition to make future crafts with and I suggested to my husband, why not make our bench out of the fence wood. My husband got a fire pit for his Birthday and we wanted to invite the family out for a fire so we decided to make the patio bench this summer instead of next.


  • Wood
  • Saw
  • Sander
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Wood Stain

How To:

bench tutorial1. First you need to cut the wood to the length you want your bench. After your wood is cut you need to sand the wood.

2. Build the frame of the bench. Our big bench frame consisted of two 66 inch wood post and three 14.5 inch wood post.  The small bench frame is two 36 inch wood post and three 14.5 inch post. We put two nails where each post connected using a total of 24 nails for the two frames. The wood post in the middle of the frames are to help support the bench when people are sitting on it. 
bench tutorial
3. After your frame is built you need to add the legs. You will need eight square post cut to 16-23 inches long. Our post are cut to 22 inches long but most chairs are closer to 16 inches off the ground so cut them to your liking. Make sure to hammer the leg post to the inside of your frame.

bench tutorial4. Now it is time to make the top of your bench. We had to take apart part of the fence we grabbed to make this part fit. We used three 66 inch wood posts and three 36 inch wood posts for the top. Start with the front of the bench. Attach the post by hammering nails into the three small boards on your frame. Repeat this for all six top boards. You should need 6 nails for each post making it a total of 18 nails in each bench.

DIY Patio Bench, bench tutorial5. For the back of the bench we used part of the fence that was still together to save on time. We attached the fence to the bench using two pieces of wood we had laying around and some 3 inch nails. If you are making the back you will need to nail three boards to three pieces of wood that are long enough to cover the three back boards and attach to the bench, about 20 inches long.

6. Since we were making an L-Shape bench we had to make the back of the smaller bench longer so there wouldn't be a gap when put together. We attached the back the same way we attached the back to the longer bench. 

7. Once your benches are put together it is time to stain them. We stained the benches with a cedar stain we purchased from Walmart. It ended up being brighter than our deck because we put several coats on the bench since it kept absorbing it and the deck stainer was from Lowes but it will fade over time. Let Dry.

8. Once your benches have dried you can place them together. You can attach the benches together with brackets or wood but we chose not to to make them easier to move. 

Cost: We had to buy some nails and the stain ($23) but we still have some of both left. the wood was free and we already had all the tools so the bench cost us less than $20 to make.

We are planning on making another bench for the other side of our patio without a back on it so there will be plenty of seats next time we have people over but for now this bench will do!
DIY Patio Bench, bench tutorial, patio bench, L shaped bench
The finished product

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Growth Chart Ruler Tutorial

growth chart, ruler, DIY growth chart ruler, DIY ruler, homemade growth chart, cheap decorI've wanted a growth chart ruler for a while now but didn't want to fork out the $90 that Pottery barn sells them for so I decided to make my own. My growth chart ruler cost me about $6 to make because I had all the supplies but the wood at home but if you don't have all the supplies it should run around $15 max. This is a great addition to your home if you have young children because you can keep track of their growth on it and if you happen to move you can take it with you!


  • Wood Board (1 x 5 x 6)
  • Sandpaper or Sander
  • Wood Stain and Brush
  • Printer numbers or Number Stencil
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Black Acrylic Paint and Thin Brush
  • Spray Clear Gloss
  • Picture Hanger and Hammer

How To:

1. We bought our wood board for about $6 at Lowes. Pick out a board that isn't bowed and you like the grain of. The first thing you need to do is sand your board. My husband used a sander and sanded both sides of the board. If you do not have a sander you can hand sand your board, it will just take longer.

2. Next you need to stain your
board. Stain it any color you want to. We used the color Colonial Maple because we had it lying around, plus it was lighter than the other ones we had and I wanted the numbers to stand out. If you don't have any stain laying around then purchase a small can of stainer. A small can runs between $3 and $5 depending on the brand and where you purchase it from. You don't need a lot of stain for the board. I put two coats on the top (side the numbers are on) and one coat on the other side. Let Dry. I let my board dry over night just to be safe.

3. While your board is drying you can print out the numbers 1-6 in whatever font you prefer. I used Arial Black for my numbers. Turn the paper over and scribble with a #2 pencil on the back of the numbers.

4. Once your board is dry you can add your lines and numbers. I started marking my lines at 0.6" and went to 6.6". I only marked half inches, inches, and feet. Once you are done marking your lines you can trace the numbers. Line the numbers up with the foot line and outline the number with a pencil. If you colored enough pencil on the back of the paper, it should leave an outline of the number. You can kind of see it in the picture below.

5. When all the lines and numbers are on the board it is time to go over them with black paint. I used black Acrylic paint and a thin paint brush. The amount you see in the container is all I ended up using so you don't need a ton of black paint for this project.  I painted the half inch lines half an inch long, the inch lines an inch long, every half foot (6") an inch and a half long and every foot is about 2 inches long. Let Dry. I painted my lines in the evening so I let them dry over night just to be safe so I wouldn't smear then when I applied the top coat.

*NOTE: If you used a darker stain you may want to use white paint instead of black so it will show up.


6. Once the black lines and numbers dried I applied a clear gloss to the front of the ruler to lock in stain and paint. It also added a nice shiny finish to the ruler. You can use any type of gloss finish, satin finish, mod podge or just a plain waterproof finish to your ruler to lock in the stain and paint. I just used the spray gloss because I wanted my growth chart ruler to have a shine to it. Let Dry.

7. It is now time to hang your finished ruler. We used two picture hangers we had in our tool box. We placed one toward the top of the ruler and one toward the bottom of the ruler. One picture hanger will hold the ruler but we used two picture hangers to make it more secure to the wall; this way it won't move side to side and is very secure to the wall.  I also wrote "The Martini Family est. 2014" on the back in Sharpie so if it was ever lost they knew who it belonged to.

8. Once we hung out Growth Chart Ruler, I marked my children's birth heights, my daughters height on her first Birthday and my husband and my heights now. I used an Ultra-Fine Point Sharpie marker to write their names and date on the Growth Chart. You can't see it in the picture but you can see it fine in person and it does not rub off. I was afraid the Sharpie would work because of the gloss but I tried to rub it off once the sharpie dried and it didn't come off.

I hope your Growth Chart ruler turns out as good as mine did!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Personalized Tumbler

gift basket idea
Gift Basket
So my husband's Birthday is today and for his Birthday I made him a personalized Tumbler. No this is not the only gift I'm giving him... I bought him Insanity Beachbody Workout but he got that early so he could go ahead and use it. Since I gave him his main gift early, I decided I would get together some of his favorite things and put together a mini gift basket for his classroom minus the alcohol. This way he will have some snacks and drinks on hand if he ever gets hungry at work. 

My husband was talking about how he brought red solo cups to school to get the tea they provide since they no longer will be providing cups. Then he made a comment about how he thought about getting the school Tumbler if it wasn't so much money. I agreed that $15 for a tiny Tumbler that has the word Mustangs on it is kind of ridiculous so I decided I was going to try to make my own.  I spent a whole $1 on his personalized Tumbler and I'm hoping he likes it. I figured if he likes it and actually uses it then we can look into getting/making a nicer one eventually but if he doesn't use it then we didn't waste much.

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- Clear Plastic Tumbler: I bought this one at the Dollar Tree for a $1. I was looking for a red one because it is his school color but they were out. They were also out of clear and blue so I was stuck choosing from green and orange.

- Paint and thin paint brush: I used acrylic paint because I already had it but if you are buying paint, try to find something that is made to go on plastic. Use any color you prefer.

- Clear Gloss Spray: I used this to try to waterproof the paint so it won't come off when washed. Mod Podge should work too if you would prefer to use that.

-Pen & Paper OR Printer and Masking Tape

***Alternative: You can try using a paint pen to write on the Tumbler. This will be a lot easier but may not stand out as much. I would of but I didn't have one and couldn't find one when I looked.

How To:

1. First you need to wash your Tumbler to try to get all the oil off so the paint will stick better.  I hand washed mine and let it dry.

2. While the Tumbler is drying,  find a font you want to use. You can print this off, trace it or write your own.

3. Cut out your words and tape it to the inside of your Tumbler. This will show through because your Tumbler is clear. I used masking tape because it comes off easy and won't leave the inside sticky.

4. Paint over your letters and let dry. Make sure you paint a thick coat on and can't see the plastic through the paint. 

***Make sure your paint is thick and dry because if it isn't, the spray gloss will thin it and you will see the plastic through the paint. I made this mistake and had to apply a second layer of paint and gloss because parts of my M and A thinned.

tumbler, personalized cup, personalized tumbler, dollar store craft, gift idea, DIY Tumbler, teacher gift, personalized gift, easy gift, cheap gift, personalized cup, wedding party gift5. Once your paint is completely dry, take it outside and spray the paint with a thin layer of clear gloss or whatever you choose to waterproof it with and let dry 15-20 minutes (the time should be on the can)

***Make sure you hold the spray at least a foot away or it will be to heavy. I made this mistake at the top of mine and it doesn't come off.

6. Once everything dried, I hand washed my Tumbler again to make sure the paint would hold and it did. I don't know how long it will last but it works for now. I don't think the paint will withstand the heat from a dishwasher so I would continue to hand wash your Tumbler and I probably wouldn't scrub the paint super hard just incase.

I filled my Tumbler with some drink mix packets and put it in his gift basket. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. This Personalized Tumbler was very easy to do and only cost me $1 because I had the rest of the supplies at home. If I make more in the future I will probably use a paint pen instead of paint but it all worked out. My Tumbler is plain but I was making it for my husband and I don't think he would like a girly looking one. Let me know how your Personalized Tumblers turned out!!! 

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