Category: DIY

A camera to carry your camera

Finding a unique yet stylish camera case can be sometimes daunting.  When I first invested in a good camera, I felt pressure to use the case that so generously came with the camera, but I hated it.  I’m never a fan of lugging around the typical black bag. Happy Sew Lucky has created the perfect solution for us. The Retrotastic camera camera bag pattern creates this iconic design inspired by the Diana camera sold in the 60’s.  And because it is a pattern, you are saving dollars and creating a fantastic product with your own hands. One fat quarter...

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Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess puts the cross in cross-stitch

I want to live at Downton Abbey. I want a Mrs. Patmore to cook dinner and a fleet of Annas to clean up and a closet of gorgeous, beaded dresses.  Unless my husband ends up being a long-lost heir, I doubt all that’s in the cards. But at least I can have this adorable cross stitch of one of my favorite characters. We’re in love with Downton Abbey, and I’m a huge fan of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played with panache by Dame Maggie Smith. Every week, she manages to steal the show with a perfectly proper put-down,...

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Getting kids excited about gardening

I envy those people (you know who you are!) who pick fresh tomatoes from their garden before making a bruschetta with ingredients all grown in their backyard. Believe me, I have tried to be one of these people. But, I was born without a green thumb. This has led me to unbelievably friendly relationships with my local farmers and Farmer’s Markets. But this fabulously cool idea allows me to have my cake–or really, kale salad–and eat it too, all while getting the kids involved. In the Koop packages varieties of seeds in an egg carton, all equally intriguing and...

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Arrrrrrr that’s a cute Valentine’s Day carrrrrd!

On Valentine’s Day, not every kid wants to hand out cards with Barbies and Care Bears. For the rest of them, we love these too-cute pirate themed Valentines cards that you can make yourself (for almost free!) Mer Mag’s free printable Pirate Valentines are a little more involved than the list of super easy Valentines printables I just rounded up, but not so involved as to eat up your entire weekend. In fact, after you print either the boy or girl pirate cards from the free PDF, the only thing left to do is affix a wee felt heart...

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Easy Valentine’s craft ideas that we heart

I always love seeing what’s new and fun at Martha Stewart Crafts around the holidays, and especially Valentine’s Day. Or as we like to think of it, That Day That All The Glitter Ended Up in The Rug. But I’ve taken the time to parse the ones that require professional letterpress machines and MFA degrees, to find the ones that even the less crafty among us could pull off with the kids. First of all, the sweet spot hearts craft (left) is just brilliant. All you need are sheets of candy dots cut into hearts, then some construction paper...

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Print your own Super Bowl championship shirts, right from home

No matter what the outcome of today’s game (go New England!), I hope my kids see a game that reflects the best in sportsmanship (beat the Giants!) and a commitment to trying really hard (whoo! Tom Brady!). Oh, and I may care a little bit about who wins. Which is why I’ve got my eye on a super-cute printable, iron-on image that my kids could wear with pride if (when?) their team wins the big game. And, yeah, there’s one for that other team too. Love Party Printables has a whole roster of cartoon kids holding a little banner for...

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Ever wanted to make your own stamps? Me too.

Ink stamps give everyday notes just the right amount of pop. I’ve always been interested in making my own designs but until this ridiculously cool product was created, that seemed just way too complicated. Yellow Owl Workshop puts all of the pieces in The Print Workshop Carve a Stamp Kit, which is just too cool. A linoleum cutter with six blades is perfect for carving owls, elephants, and so many more. There’s even a handy book included to give you great ideas and templates to get you started.  Keep in mind that this is not a kids’ toy–while there...

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Vintage suitcases that need never travel again

I have always had a major love for vintage bags and suitcases, and am so lucky to have some inherited from grandparents and great aunts. A few are in use (so great for gloves and scarves!) but none quite like this totally awesome DIY nightstand. When I saw this vintage suitcases nightstand project at Cupcakes + Cashmere I thought, WANT. (Really. Just one word. It was kind of primal.) It’s as simple as stacking several suitcases and placing a beveled mirror on top. You might want to stuff the suitcases with old blankets or tees though–I’ve found that some...

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Adorable printable chore charts. Whining not included.

I’ve used, and subsequently retired, countless chore chart systems for my family, mostly because they end up being just a bit too involved for my busy life. But these simple, printable charts might just be exactly what I’ve been looking for. I figure if mom of four Gennifer Bursett designed these printable chore charts, then they’re worth giving a try with my own foursome. What I love about these in particular, aside from the direct DO YOUR CHORES reminder (which I find myself saying all too often), is that they’re a blank slate, allowing you to add or remove different chores whenever you...

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A stitch in time makes a great Valentine’s Day gift

My husband and I do Valentine’s Day Lite, meaning that we will not be forking out $200 for a fancy meal, or buying each other expensive jewelry or electronics as a sign of our devotion.  But that doesn’t mean I am totally comfortable with handing him a greeting-store card and calling it a day. Which is why I love this little token of my affection that is personalized, handmade, and won’t break the bank. Cozy Blue’s “I Love Us” cross-stitch pattern reminds me of initials carved in a tree, but this version is a lot easier to hang on...

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Your fortune: A very sweet Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day creeps closer, I’ve been looking out for treats that don’t list corn syrup or “chocolate-y” filling among the ingredients. One ingredient I do like: Felt. And that’s pretty much all these adorable fortune cookies are made of. The Valentine’s Fortune Cookies from Helen of CMP favorite Curly Birds is ridiculously adorable. You can tuck your own fortune inside and send it off in your kid’s lunchbox on the 14th, leave one at each place setting at breakfast. The box of 3 cookies plus fortune slips is only $8, but Helen, being as awesome as she is,...

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Student by day; Jedi by night

Labels are a necessary part of school life, but don’t go to the dark side and use marker on masking tape. With these free Star Wars printable tags, you don’t have to. Whether your kid goes to the Jedi Academy or PS 81, these labels will look sharp hanging from a backpack or lunchbox or taped to the tag of a coat. All you have to do is download the PDF from Living Locurto, add your kid’s name in the white box, and print. Tada! Your padawan is ready to go. There are hanging tags, which would be great laminated,...

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A printable 2012 calendar that does more than track the days

When we discovered French site Tiny-Us last year, we were taken with their mission to sell paper dolls and other printables as a fundraiser for a local school for children with disabilities. And now I’m just as taken with their new 2012 printable calendar. You pay whatever you want, and get a PDF of the calendar to print. What’s really sweet is that after each month is through, your children will have two new paper doll outfits to look forward to. Give generously–every bit of your donation goes right to the Présence charity. Nice way to start the year. –Liz...

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Printable calendars for 2012 that the kiddos will love too.

One of the cool things about ordering printable calendars from Etsy artists, is (besides the whole money saving thing and the whole support an indie artist thing) that you can discover cool things from all over the world. In this case, these adorable printable calendars are straight outta Hong Kong. The printable 2012 animal calendar from Etsy seller Loopz is ridiculously adorable. I could imagine hanging it right in a nursery, because uh, we new moms tend to forget what day it is. And I think the kiddos will adore looking forward to a cute new critter each month....

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The most beautiful free printable gift tags to top off your holiday wrapping

You could cover my house with all the leftover wrapping paper I have accumulated throughout the years. But, for some reason, my gift tags have a way of disappearing right when I need them most. Fortunately, I’ve uncovered a ton of cool printable gift tags that you can print right from home. –Christina How About Orange has rounded up a whole bunch of free printable tags that range from whimsical to sophisticated. My favorites are Sass & Peril’s clean, modern tags (shown above) which also include a Happy Hanukkah tag. Fifth and Hazel’s printable Chevron tags are super easy...

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12 festive holiday gift wrap ideas

If you’re like us, Christmas Eve day is going to be spent in a big gift wrap frenzy. As much as I love those brown paper packages tied up with string, I really love when the gifts I’m giving look as festive as the holidays themselves. Here, 12 of my favorite ideas for wrapping gifts that will make your packages stand out from the stacks covered in store-bought paper. They’ll almost be too nice to open, though my anxious kids will beg to differ. –Christina   This clever yarn-wrapped gift for kids comes with a little present on the...

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Kawaii Five-0

If you’re a go-getter sewing type who hasn’t quite go-gotten around to making all of your Christmas presents yet, you need to check out two adorable sewing books by Choly Knight. Sew Kawaii! and Sew Your Own Pet Pillows will have you practically delirious from all the cuteness. Seriously. I can hardly type this post because I’m overwhelmed by the all-out adorableness of the jellyfish purse in Sew Kawaii! I haven’t tried any of the projects, but most look doable by a novice like me – only a few are marked as intermediate level. So I love the approachability...

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Personalized stamps for the holidays? There’s still time!

Okay, Cool Mom Picks is a safe space where I feel like I can admit this freely: I’m starting to panic a little. The gift-purchasing isn’t going as planned. I keep seeing all these amazingly fabulous personalized gifts–that I should have purchased two weeks ago. Here’s one shop that can still help you out. Rock Paper Scissors offers a huge variety of personalized items. A lot of the designs are a little…cute. But if you poke around, there’s such a huge selection you may find something you love. One thing we could all use this season– the personalized self-inking...

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Handmade Holidays: Ten DIY gifts that don’t look like you cheaped out

If you’re the type who likes to fill your holiday gifts with handmade love, we’ve got a whole bunch of beautiful ideas for you. My grandmother was a crocheter who made such hilariously bad gifts (sorry, Grandma!), they were the highlight of our holidays. Thankfully, Grandma was a great sport who laughed the loudest. But after looking at these 10 beautiful and interesting handmade gifts, I think maybe I could follow in her footsteps (in a good way) and create something of my own to give. Crafty moms? This one’s for you. –Christina 1. RETRO MAGNETIC PAPER DOLLSMy girls...

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A step up from Hanukkah gelt and candy canes

Not to be dissing those chalk gold-wrapped coins with an actual chocolate content of about .03%, but if you’re going to treat your dreidel winners with sweets this Hanukkah, we’ve got a better idea. The Hanukkah chocolate disks from CMP fave Rogue Confections are just beautiful. There are two collections but I happen to love all these pretty menorahs. For 18 bucks you’ll get 6 gorgeous chocolate disks–your choice of dark, black or white–that make a fitting place setting treat at the table, or just a reward for the kids at the end of the party. These are not...

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Thanksgiving printables and craft ideas that are a lot easier than cooking a turkey

I consider myself fortunate that I do not have to cook Thanksgiving dinner—as does most of my extended family, as they will tell you. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t help all you hosts out with some great (and inexpensive) Thanksgiving craft ideas, to can help you dress up that Thanksgiving table with more than another side dish. –Christina Happy Thought’s colorful 3D turkeys would look so cheerful on each place setting. They come as a PDF, but you don’t have to tell anyone how easy they are to print and assemble.  From the cute coloring placemats for the...

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Simple, seasonal crafts for the not-so-crafty

Back before I had kids, I was actually pretty crafty. But add four bundles of joy and I’m struggling to think of something to make for dinner, let alone what to do with empty egg cartons. Well, thanks to this new book from one of our fave craft bloggers, Marie LeBaron, I can whip up seasonal activities in a matter of minutes, most of which don’t require me to spend a ton of money at the craft store. I’m already a huge fan of Marie LeBaron’s lovely blog Make and Takes so I’m not surprised that her new book...

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Because kids really do say the darndest things

Between a personal blog, a paper journal, Facebook and my memory, I have plenty of places to jot down those hilarious things my kids say. The problem is, I have too many places. But mama Alexandra of the creative Kinderpendent blog has designed a sweet little template that makes it so much easier to keep those quotes in one place. And other than your sweat equity and a few supplies, it’s totally free. Kinderpendent’s Quote Books Tutorial offers step-by-step instructions for making your own little booklet in which to record those statements you never want to forget, from earnest...

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Your kid: The next Paul Klee

I’ve tried to encourage my tween’s intense love of all things art since she was a wee thing. To fuel her fire, we have loads of art books from “open-ended” coloring books like Rosie Flo’s and those by Taro Gomi, to more academic tomes with pages of famous artwork from which she can draw (heh) inspiration. Our latest find brings together the free drawing she loves with the works of some of the world’s most famous artists, and it is the perfect addition to any young artist’s studio, even if that “studio” is also your dining room table. Let’s...

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The coolest Halloween printables – go forth and be crafty!

With the money I’m spending on Halloween costumes and bags of candy, I’m not about to drop a fortune on decor too. So, I’m so pleased to have found so many affordable (and free!) printables that don’t require me to do much of anything or spend much of anything. This is way easier than finding a costume that my precocious ten-year-old and I will agree on together. Throwing a bash? Anders Ruff’s Haunted Halloween Printable Party (above) includes such pretty hues and special touches, it’ll look like you spent a fortune. You don’t have to tell a soul that it...

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Smencils: A no-sugar Halloween treat that is no trick

My kids are at the age where their Trick-or-Treat bags return home weighing almost as much as they do. At this rate they’ll be up to their knees in mini-treats until 2012. So I’m often looking out for other things to hand out at Halloween parties, or when the doorbell rings–but that are still cool enough to keep your house from getting egged. Well hooray for Smencils’ new Halloween packs! The new Spooky Smencils and Spooky Smens would definitely make my kids forget about another pack of Sweet Tarts. For years, my kids have been sniffing these yummy-scented pencils...

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Furniture even a kid can build

I love family projects that are truly intended for the whole family. You know, instead the kind where on parent works (and gets frustrated), the other parent helps (and offers constructive advice), and the kids sit waiting impatiently. Sprout, a US based modern furniture company now offers families the opportunity to do just, that with a crafty new line of convertible kids furniture. The concept is simple–great accent or playroom pieces made from recycled wood that your child can actually help put together with (ta-da!) not a single tool. Watch their video tutorials and you’ll see,  it’s almost like putting...

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DIY: animal storage jars from all those figurines lying around

I am so not a crafty mom. I’ve said it a zillion times. But this here tutorial is so easy, and the results so awesome, even I can do it. The animal craft jar project idea at House to Home is literally as easy as gathering up all those animal figurines you’ve got lying around (I know you have them), gluing them to a recycled glass jar lid, and spray painting them a bright color. Let dry, then fill with all your kids’ craft supplies. I might suggest using a plastic jar (think the whopping jars of mayonnaise) and...

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McSweeney’s is turning little book lovers into book writers too

After our local Border’s bookstore closed, I became a bit “woe is me” about the future of books. I’m one of those people who just can’t imagine sitting down my kids for a bedtime story with my iPad in my lap. So, I’m rejoicing over this excellent “read it and then create your own” book bundle from Dave Egger’s own McSweeney’s Books, which is doing its part to keep the genre vibrant, exciting and, most importantly to me, paper. The McMullens Bundle includes three beautifully illustrated hardcover picture books, as well as The Author-Illustrator Starter Kit of blank books....

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Take my heart, please.

Some mornings, as I leave for work, my daughter says, “Mommy, give me something from your bag so I can remember you!” I reach in and pull out a business card, a pen…anything will do really. It’s become a sweet little tradition between us. But now I think I have a new thing with which to send her off to school that’s better than a dog-eared ATM receipt. The second I saw these first day of school felt hearts I was smitten. So basic, and yet so adorable. And the price is just right. Of course, the price can...

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