Thursday, March 31, 2016

MAM Personalized Pacifiers (Review + Giveaway!)

Do you know what I love about Fridays?  No... it's not because it's the end of a work week.  I'm a stay-at-home mom so I'm pretty sure every day is the same work day.  It's because on Fridays I get to tell you all about my favorite products and give you FREEBIES!  Now you may have heard me talk about this company before, but that's because they are honest-to-goodness our very favorite.

[Disclosure:  I received pacifiers from the MAM company for review.  All opinions are my own and in no way am I obligated to write a positive review.]

{Remember this photo from my last pacifier review?  It's my favorite one, I couldn't resist sharing again!}

MAM Pacifiers.
Ah, what would we do without you?  Well... we would probably have a lot more screaming car rides, drawn out bedtimes and maybe a few extra rocks in our mouth at the park.  Since the first time we tried pacifiers until now (a year and a half later) MAM is the only pacifier that my family trusts for our son.

Most importantly, my son loves them.  It's his favorite and there is no denying his love for these pacifiers.

{This was my son when I went to get him out of his crib after a nap.  I guess he wanted to make sure he took *a few* extras in case he might need them.  Three of those I even tossed in as I was getting ready to pick him up!}

See what I mean?

I also love:
- That they are always BPA free
- The silicone nipple which is designed to stay in babies mouth AND (this is an important part for nursing mamas) it makes an easy transition from breast to pacifier and back.
- That the shape has been designed with jaw development in mind.
- That they come in their own self-sterilizing case.

That's not all they do.  Check out my last review on them to read more about what I love.

Oh, and they are totally cute.  Does it get any better?

Whaaaaa?  That's right my friends, MAM lets you personalize your pacifiers to say anything you want- from your child's name, to a nickname, phrase or birthday.  Growing up I could never find anything with my name on  it (I'm Kelsie not Kelsey) so personalized stuff was like GOLD to me.  To this day, I will choose a personalized item over a standard item every.single.time.

"Chubby Bunny" is one of our many nicknames for our son.  Since he started walking he has thinned out a bit but he still has the cutest little round belly and cheeks.  Anyways, he will always be our chubby bunny.  That's actually how we got the name for our business- "Chubby Bunny, Happy Home".  Did you know that?

{Had to get a photo of him sleeping because he moves so fast these days all the photos are a blur!}

MAM let's your personalize your pacifiers in the following ways:
1. Pick a size!  They have 0-6 month and 6+ month.
2. Pick a color!  Choose from Pink, Blue, Green, Grey and Purple!
3. Pick a personalization! You can create wording in up to 2 lines with 10 characters on each line.  You also get to choose between Helvetica and Comic Sans font.


The price point is a bit higher than their regular pacifiers. A 2-pack of their standard pacifiers runs around $7.49 and the personalized 2-pack is around $19.95.  I know, I know... but before you rule these out consider this: personalized pacifiers would be great for kids in daycare, nursery or anywhere where their pacifier might get mixed up with someone else's.  Having their name on it would save their caretaker from a possible mix-up.  The same could go for siblings if you don't want them sharing.  Like I said before, I am a big fan of personalized items and I have always been willing to pay a little more for those types of products (and you always will because they are made especially for you!)

They do get cheaper (per pacifier) the more you get too :)

Or... you could just win some right now.

If you entered our last MAM giveaway, you have already started on a few of the entry options!  Only 3 (super easy) ways to enter this time so make sure to do them all!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Unique Window Frame Decor {with photos & details!}

Happy Wednesday y'all (or whatever day it happens to be as you read this).    Today I wanted to share with you a little craft I made last summer.  It's a piece of decor made from an old window- BUT WAIT...  Now before you close this tab thinking this is the same old window piece you have seen everywhere, let me explain why it's not.  There are a three reasons I made this:

1. We have had this lovely 6-panel window sitting in our basement since 2012.  We were going to hang it at our wedding but let's just say that this DIY Bride ran out of time and totally forgot. I felt bad that my husband put in effort getting it and making it able to hang that I wanted to do something with it.

2. I participate in the Open Class (adult) division of our local 4-H and they had a new category called Memory Makers *I think* and it seemed like this frame could be used some way for this project.

3. Uh, hello... frame decor is adorable.  The only reason I haven't made one sooner is because I just didn't want one full of pictures only (or pictures and blank space for writing or fabric or whatever).  Pinterest only made my longing worse without giving me the answer I was looking for.

That's why I made this...

[Can I start by saying I'm so sorry for the terrible photos!  Our home is not lighting-friendly and it took all I had to just keep a funny window refection out of the photos and brightness editing only goes so far.  This was not a craft I could just put under better lighting.  Try to see the project through the awful photos.]

So why is this different?  It doesn't just include random pictures.  Each set (top and bottom) goes together to re-create an important memory.

For example: The first set in my window includes the date, location and some descriptive words (such as "will you marry me?" and "down on one knee" to memorialize when my now-husband and I got engaged.  I also included "Our Big Adventure" because that's what we called our Route 66/Grand Canyon trip and it turns out it was the start of our big adventure too!

On the bottom of this set I included a photo from us in the spot we got engaged, the pamphlet/map from the trail we were hiking and some little buttons for decoration (the soda top says "Road Trip" which I thought was a perfect fit).

For our wedding set, I included a photo and my favorite card from our "guest book".  So simple and powerful- "Be happy, Stay happy".  The wife in this couple actually passed just before I made this so that adds an extra special element to this piece (they were a beautiful example of how a marriage should be and I love to be reminded of that.)  For the birth set, I included our first family photo, the hat he wore in the hospital (it was the cutest little pumpkin outfit) and an "it's a boy!" decoration that my in-laws hung in our house.

For the other two sets I also included the dates and detail words (such as "Mr & Mrs" or "I love you" for the wedding and information like time and weight for my son's birth)

On each set, the top panel was filled with the descriptive words, dates and locations in varying fonts and sizes.  I rotated white, black and grey vinyl at each word/set of words to keep each phrase together.  This was done directly on the glass so the color of the wall shows through!

I painted the wood with a medium brown paint and added white paint to add a sort of distressed look.  I would have left the paint exactly how it was when I found it (naturally distressed!) but the muntin bars (the pieces that divide the sections) were a different color so I had to make them all match.  This window is actually one large piece with "fake" muntin bars to give the illusion of 6 separate panes.  Another thing my husband did because I wanted it that way for the wedding (oops!)

That's It!
What do you think about this window craft?  The scrapbooker in me has to have information along with her photos and so I love the way this turned out!  What would you put in yours?

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Turn old Leg Warmers into Pants in under 15 minutes!

I have been itching to do today's craft for a long time and just kept putting it off for other things.  I don't know why I did this though because the entire project took only 15 minutes- start to finish!  And honestly, that was with me stopping to take photos so it's probably even quicker than that.  I absolutely *love* the finished product.

So here's the story.  I had these amazingly adorable little leg warmers that I never wore (because I'm not cool enough to pull them off).  I couldn't bare to sell them and have kept them around FOR YEARS waiting to find some way to re-purpose them.  When my little guy came along I decided that I would use them to make lounge pants for him.  It was perfect!  Pants are basically just two legs, which is exactly what two leg warmers are (I know, that was such a smart statement- ha!)

Depending on the fabric of your leg warmers, the size may differ but with no extra cutting down my leg warmers made pants for my (on the short side) one and a half year old.  If you want a smaller size, use the same instructions just cut it down a little.

{Seriously though, those leg warmers are totes cute aren't they?}

All it takes is SIX easy steps.  This post includes a lot of photos to help you along the way but it's super easy.

Step 1: Measure your pants.

Using an existing pair of pants, figure out how long the leg needs to be.  Place a pin on the leg warmer at the same spot as the groin where the two legs meet.  I used two different pairs of pants just to double-check the fit.  Both pairs had the groin seam (is there a better name for this?) in the same spot which is always reassuring!

Repeat on both leg warmers.

Step 2: Cut your opening.

Going from the pin that you marked, cut a straight line all the way up to the top of the leg warmer.  If they had a string running through the top like mine did, remove the string and cut the leg warmers with the hole at the cut.  This isn't of top importance but when you go to fold it down and re-string it as pants you wont have a random hole on the inside giving you trouble.

Repeat with both leg warmers.

Step 3: Pin the two leg warmers together and sew!

Don't forget to turn your fabric inside out before pinning.  If you have a design that needs matched together, now is the time to carefully line those up.  If you look at photos later in this post you will see that I neglected to do that on the back of the pants (arg! so frustrating) and was able to correct it by the time I got to the front.

Use your judgement on whether or not your fabric needs more reinforcement.  I thought this would be the case for mine but one straight stitch at 1/2 inch held strong!

Step 4: Measure the top of the pants/Make a casing.

Once finished sewing, turn it right side out again.  Hey... they actually kind of look like pants now!

Next, bring in your previously owned pants and figure out where the waist needs to be in relation to the split at the legs.

Fold the fabric down into the inside of the pants.  Sew another straight stitch along the entire waist at roughly 1 inch below the fold (where the dotted white lines are above).  If you want to make it fancy with a double needle, that looks very professional but if you don't really care (like myself) one stitch will get the job done.

If you are folding down several inches, cut some off before sewing.  Just make sure you still have enough left for the stitching to "grab" both layers 1 inch down.  This is going to be the casing for your drawstring.

Step 5:  Cut a hole for the drawstring.

On each side of the center seam on the front side of the pants, cut a small hole for your drawstring to come through (1 on each side, 2 total).

Step 6: Insert the drawstring.

Depending on your fabric you might want to add some fabric fray to keep the holes from getting bigger after wearing/washing.

Yea, I forgot to do this before inserting my drawstring.  I could have just taken it out but the babe was awake and trying to "help" so I didn't have time to dawdle.  Learn from my mistakes.

Use a safety pin on the end of your drawstring to make running it through the casing easier.  I used the leftover string that I took out of the leg warmers but your local craft/fabric store will have some as well.  You may sew up the ends if you like or you can simply tie the ends in a knot.

That's it!  So easy and such a fast project.  I kind of wish I had kept more of my old legwarmers around (not like the kid needs any more clothes!)

Because leg warmers are made of a stretchy material, these pants can stretch over little one's bottom without having to angle your pieces at all!

...and since the bottoms of leg warmers are already finished, these pants have a crisp cuff at the ankle that we never even had to make!  Gotta love projects that practically do themselves.

I love them too buddy.  Thanks for helping me keep this adorable fabric around just a little longer.

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Silikids Review + $50 Gift Package Giveaway!

I'm ashamed to say it, but we throw away a LOT of trash in our house.  We try hard to recycle and since our toddler has become more picky (is that the right word?- he liked it 2 hours ago) we are starting back up with a compost pile (will he love it tonight?  Will we throw it all away?  Who knows...)  That's why I LOVE products that help us leave a little smaller footprint on our earth.

[Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products mentioned in this post for free from the Silikids company to try out.  However, all opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.  Giveaway items are from the Silikids company and are not in exchange for a positive review.]

In comes Silikids- a company that creates products from... (did you guess it by their name?)  SILICONE!  "The Silikids mission is to be the alternative to plastic, bridge the gap between great design and affordability and improve the way we live!" As a sidenote from me, Silicone is also easy to clean and super fun (hello- you can draw on it!)

I tried out 3 different products from this company:

The first time I saw this I was in love. If you've been around this blog for long (or if you came over from our most popular post: DIY Photo Map) you might have guessed that our family likes to travel. What you may not know is that we love to take driving trips. Our favorite vacation ever was following historic Route 66 with (I swear to you...) literal HAND DRAWN maps that were not to scale and wonderfully imperfect. I love maps. I love feeling the paper in my hands as I unfold the roads ahead of me. I also love anything with states on it and am really digging this new trend of state pride apparel (I still need to get an Indiana love shirt!) So you can only guess that I had to have this map for my son.

 It also comes in this awesome container.  Yea, I'm excited about a container because (1) Kids love containers and this has become a favorite play toy for my son and (2) It's awesome for storing things on the go.  You can fit this map plus some spoons plus a bib inside of it, pop on the lid and toss in your bag.  Just FYI in case you want to make life easier.

Usually though I just fold up the map, toss it in my diaper bag and go.  The silimap actually folds up like a real map- so.stinking.cute.

Because it's silicone, your kiddos can draw on it with marker and it (very easily) wipes clean.

 As you may notice, my son is still a little young to understand the whole coloring concept.  Luckily in our home, we believe that making messes is a critical part of learning.

I'll admit, this product is not being used to it's full potential.  I think it would be better geared towards a slightly older child (my son is 1 and a half) but I am still glad that I have it now so we can start integrating it into his routine.

 Plus, if you fold it in half it really mutes the noise when your toddler bangs the salt and pepper on the table.  We use it for this purpose almost every single time we are out and about.  Maybe he will be a musician...

I can't wait until my son really gets into coloring on it, moving around snacks into the different states or (as I saw on the Silikids Instagram page) sticking stickers on it.  Why didn't I think of that?  He loves stickers!

He does seem to love it already though...

Next, I tried out the Siliskin Reusable Snack Bags

My favorite thing about these is that you can write on them. Remember me saying that we throw a lot of food away? It's not just because my toddler changes his mind on what he likes. No... it's also because I forget when I made leftovers and am too scared to try and eat it yet still keep it in the fridge for tomorrow- just in case I decide it isn't old after all (I'll let you in on a secret- I always throw it out). I've considered painting the lids on all our tupperware dry erase so I can put the date on everything.

Silikids did something to help fix this problem. These little bags are great for storing leftovers and you can write on them with marker! I like to write what is inside them as well, but even if you didn't they have a little peek through window so you can see what you put inside.

{I like to write on mine with washable Sharpie marker which comes off in the dishwasher, but regular washable markers work great too!}

They stand up on their own once food is inside them, are dishwasher safe (always a win in my book) and are microwave safe so you can heat your food up without switching containers.

They come in a 2-pack and lay flat for easy storage. I am hoping they come out with a "mini" version someday because I rarely every fill mine full. I could have an entire refrigerator filled with these bags. (As you can see from my photo above, I use a lot of mini containers). Even at their current size though, they are skinny so they don't take up much space at all!

The only problem with these is that the top doesn't create a tight seal. That's fine for regular storage but if you happen to put strawberries in them and put it inside your diaper bag, prepare yourself to be cleaning red juice off of everything (go ahead, ask me how I know.) Oh well, lesson learned.

Lastly, we tried out Silispoons. Have I mentioned that these names are just fun to say?

I'll be honest- I wasn't really in the market for a new spoon. My son has several kinds of spoons that he seems to use just fine (and he mostly uses his hands anyways) but was given these to try out. I will admit that they are very different from the others that we own. For starters, the head of the spoon is shaped like a shovel so it helps little ones to... well, shovel their food. It does seem to do that.

What I do like about the shape though is how deep it is.  We have some spoons that are very flat and food falls right off of them.  The handle is kind of big too.  My little guy is small for his age (sorry kid- small parents) but has a little bit of trouble holding onto the spoon where it is widest.  He does like to hold it at the very end and push it forward though.  Hey, whatever works!

Lastly, the handle is made with textured silicone "bumps" to stimulate tactile experience but also to help when those poor little teeth are coming in!  Since we've been teething for eternity for a while now, this seems to be the real winner when it comes to these spoons.

Not convinced? In comparison to plastic, silicone is:
- Always BPA free
- Always DEHP free
- Hypo-Allergenic
- Inert
- Resistant to High Temperature
- Dishwasher safe
- Microwave safe
- Freezer safe
- Does not harbor bacteria

[Overall, I love what this company is doing in terms of reducing waste and coming up with cute, innovative products.  I think some of the products will be used more as my son gets older, but I plan to keep these items in use in our home now and for as long as he uses them.  Just don't be upset when your 1 year old doesn't care about learning his states yet...]

Want to try it for yourself?

Enter to WIN a $50 Gift Package of Silikids products!

*There are FIVE ways to enter, so be sure to open up all your options.  Some can be done daily as well, so come back each day to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Scrapbook Layout for B&W Photos or Detail Shots

Two weeks ago I posted about wanting to get caught up on my scrapbook, especially since my little guy is a year and a half old and I'm still not done with his birth photos- eek!  Because of that, I wanted to share with you one of my all time favorite scrapbooking spreads.  These photos were taken when my son was less than 10 days old by Hartsough Photography (that's her facebook page- go show her some love).  I wanted to hang these photos on the wall in a collage but I also wanted to have them in a scrapbook.  I'm so glad I did.

I hope this simple but stunning layout will inspire you to  scrapbook your own black and white photos and/or detail shots.  Black and white photos are often difficult to use because we can get "stuck" using matching papers and decorations and end up with all black/white pages.  Creating a spread with a large number of photos (like you may have in "detail" shots of baby or wedding) can seem overwhelming and leave us with pages full of pictures and no "design".  This layout solves both of these problems...

and it's just so lovely...

Here are a few easy tips for creating this look.

1. Pick a subtle background in the "sort of close to white" category.  I used a creme/nude color with a faint floral design.  You don't want this to be your splash of color but you do want to have something outside of a solid white or black so that your photos stand out.

2. Pick a splash of color.  I chose a light blue because it stood out (without being gaudy) and it's perfect for my sweet baby boy.

3. On your first page include:  A large title that stands out, a "main focus" photo (I chose a black and white shot that showed his entire body since the rest of the photos were detail shots) and another photo if you still have space.

I've always wanted to frame a photo through the middle of a picture (is there a name for this?) but have never been able to make it work- either because my focus takes up the entire photo or because there was too much "background" for a frame to look right.  This photo was perfect and I love how it turned out! 

4. On the second page, make the focus the photos but keep it clean.  Using squares and rectangles, I filled the page with photos and papers in slightly different sizes that lined up in even rows.

5. Make sure to include a spot for a story explaining your photos.  If the pictures are self-explanatory, don't forget details like date, time and location!  You might remember it now but will you in 20 years?  I wrote a brief letter to my son describing our feelings the first time we saw him; how we fell in love with all his little details from the moment we met.

6. Lastly, include some sort of decoration.  I recommend making it fit in the square shape as much as possible to keep the shape.  I created this one with my Silhouette by simply typing up the words I wanted to use and trying to connect the letters as much as possible (because it looks neat and because it's less tiny pieces I have to glue on separately!)  Those words describe the pictures and all the little things we love about him.  It doesn't have to be fancy to make a big statement, especially on a page like this.

That's it!  Following these 6 simple steps you can create a crisp and clean yet warm and lovely scrapbook layout that brings out the beauty of black and white photos and displays a multitude of pictures without losing the design element.  I hope you enjoyed this post.  I would love to see the spreads you have created and always appreciate your comments!  Now, onto the other million photos I've taken of him...

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Decorating Tips #6 & #7 {Collage Poster and Shelving Tips}

Oh my goodness, I am being bitten by the crafting bug BAD.  I don't know if it's the eminent spring time coming (although I do love a snowy winter!) or the fact that we've been on the nursery series since the new year or just because I'm feeling like I haven't created anything truly new in a long time but I NEED. TO. CREATE.

{Even little man wants to craft}

Whew... anyone else feeling this way?  I also set a "New Years Resolution" of sorts for myself to get caught up on my scrapbook.  I've decided to work on our wedding scrapbook later (it's fair to say I'm already behind on it.  We will be married 4 years this summer) and instead catch up on my son's scrapbook spreads before I start to forget all the sweet little details.  It does make me feel a little better than my mom is still working on pages from my childhood but not that much better because- well... the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (sorry mom!)  Needless to say, I'm feeling the crunch on that project as well.

So here is the deal.  I'm finishing up this nursery series in the next two posts (this one and the next) and starting on some new crafty crafts.  That's right, crafty crafts.  I'm excited to get back into the swing of things and get some new stuff made!  Whose with me?  I said... WHOSE WITH ME?!

Decorating Tips from our Nursery
Because I promised to share these ideas but because I'm getting crafty-anxious, I'm including several in this post.  Don't worry, they are all easy to do so you won't need a lengthy tutorial.  Enjoy!

"Magazine Style" Collage

Remember cutting out photos from your favorite magazines and putting them together in a collage?  It's the same idea but instead of snipping out pics of your favorite teen hearthrobs, cut out photos in the theme of your nursery (or whatever room you are decorating!).  This decor was a gift from my crafty sister-in-law and I love it so much!  She included different scenes from the Peter Rabbit story, plus a "Title" across the top.

This would be so easy to do with any theme- even with photos of scenery you like, places you have been or just general photos that make you happy!  Imagine one in the craft room with "crafty" images like fun scrapbook papers, plus pictures of scissors, hot glue gun, etc. or inspirational crafts!

Simple Ways to Decorate Shelves

I asked my husband to build two shelves on the wall because I felt like the space needed something there and because we needed a place to set all the random pieces of decor (such as blocks, china and display books).  With a few simple pieces, this space was used to not only house these items but to display them in the room.

We also have about 5 bins full of books- but that's a whole other story.

Add themed decor.  My mom made these wood blocks for my son and they are so pretty I wanted to display them.  What a simple way to show off the theme and nothing says "baby" like blocks!

Just behind the blocks is a Peter Rabbit china set from when I was a baby!

Tie in as many pieces as you have to create one larger theme.

{Once my son realized this *talking* Peter Rabbit doll was up there, it was no longer a decoration.  He loves to cuddle him!}

Signs take up a bigger amount of space and are perfect if you wanted something in that spot without adding another shelf.  I had my husband hang the shelves one higher than the other and then hung this sign from the higher one.  It created a more unique visual display than straight shelving and of course- it's Peter Rabbit themed!  (That's the first line from the story)  It's just painted wood with vinyl lettering.

As an easy last touch- add a simple vase with matching colored stems, flowers, etc.  We stuck with lots of green and beige/brown (Peter Rabbit color!) with accents of creme to pull in the wall color ["sugar cookie"]

If you still have some items you want to display, carry it on to tops of dressers as well!  Here we have a special book with his photo in it, his baby book, more china, etc.

Your Turn!
All it takes are a few simple steps to create a beautiful room with minimal effort (and cost!)  Starting from scratch can be difficult but hopefully you have found some helpful tips during this nursery series.  Head over to this post for last week's decorating tip.  Come back next week for our final nursery post on how to MAKE YOUR OWN changing table (with compartments!) out of an old desk!

Happy Crafting,
Kelsie Ann