Monday, January 22, 2018 Review & Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Just the other day I was talking with a friend about Valentine's Day.  The topic came around to whether or not we celebrate with our spouses.  My husband and I do not but I love celebrating it with my little loves- my kiddos. It's fun creating valentines and sending them to grandparents and I especially love the perfect excuse to simply tell my kids all the reasons I love them and have fun celebrating that.  So with Valentine's Day coming up, I want to share with you a very special piece of jewelry I had made to remind me always of my little loves. Oh... and we're giving one away too, so make sure you stick around to enter!

[Disclaimer: I have received free product from in exchange for an honest review of the products.  All opinions are my own and I only review products that I have personally tried and recommend.]

Here's the thing: I'm obsessed with pictures. I take hundreds of photos a month and I can lose hours of my life looking through old photos on facebook. I love them. Every photo has a memory attached to it and looking at those photos makes my heart so full. That's reason #1 why I love this bracelet. I can literally look down at my wrist whenever I want and be flooded with the beautiful memory behind the photo.

Before I get into what I love and don't love about this product, let me quickly tell you what it's all about:

> The company is called and it's exactly what it sounds like.

> This company makes a variety of products including lockets, sports jewelry and medical IDs. Today however, I want to focus on the product I have, the Sterling Silver Women's Adjustable Round Photo Engraved Bracelet:

> Items can be engraved with a message, names, dates or even a monogram! (Engraving doesn't delay your shipment either!)

> Picture Engraving is scratch and water resistant and included in the price. 

> These bracelets are adjustable and "one size fits all"

> All Sterling Silver is protected with a tarnish resistance to help it last for years without tarnishing.

My thoughts on it:

Now let me continue my thoughts. I already said that I love that it's a wearable photo. However, I'm also very impressed by what they do with the photo. I sent them a picture taken with my cell phone (and not a good cell phone at that!) and they had no problem using it.  They also remove any background from your photo free of charge! Even though I had seen that on their website I didn't think about it until mine came in and I'm so happy to see the focus being on me and my children and not all the hospital stuff in the background. The image is also color laser engraved so it's not just a picture on top of the charm but actually a part of it.

Here's the original photo that I sent:

And here's how it looks on my bracelet:

Cool, right?  They can also remove marks on your photos and other objects that you don't want in your photo (all free of charge.) That's very cool customer service.

Reason #2 why I love this is because it's adjustable!  I have the smallest wrists known to man kind and every single bracelet I own is terribly loose on me. Seriously, I have to punch new holes in my watches, they're that small. This is adjustable by pulling the rounded box chain through the larger ball piece.  This means that you can stop it at just the right size- no jumping up or down a notch and having to settle.

I tried to get a photo to show what the inside of the larger ball bead looks like. There is a piece of clear plastic or rubber (I can't tell) inside of it that keeps the chains from scratching each other. I can actual feel how "smooth" it pulls through as I adjust it.  I personally like this because I feel more confident that it's going to hold up after repeated use.

Reason #3 why I love it? It's dainty but sturdy. I'm not a fan of bulky chains on jewelry that I wear frequently, especially jewelry that I want to wear when going out somewhere nice. However, I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old so my delicate stuff is always in danger.  Although the chain is very thin in appearance, it's a box chain so it's definitely more durable that many of my others and I love this!

[Here's a peek at the customized engraving on the back too.]

The disk charm with my photo and engraving on it is also very thin but sturdy. I actually tried bending it in the middle with my thumb because I thought it looked thin enough to bend but it didn't budge!  And I pushed really hard! I'm very impressed with the durability in this product.

There's only one small problem that I have with it. On the website it says that the bracelet fits a 6-9 inch wrist. Honestly, it can adjust small enough to fit around a sharpie marker but mine only adjusts to about 7.5 inches at it's largest. This is plenty big for me but if you feel like you would be pushing the limits- message them and ask that they make it just right for you. I've read a multitude of reviews from others that sing their praises about customer service so I am sure they would be more than happy to oblige if you are concerned. I know... a complaint that they would easily fix for you isn't much of a complaint is it? That's all I've got!

Enough talk, here's a giveaway widget so you can enter to win one just like mine (with your own photo and back engraving of course). And if you want to do some additional shopping, make sure you use the code: val10 (that's like Victor, Alpha, Love then the number 10) and get 10% off your purchase! Boo-ya!

This giveaway is for a Sterling Silver Women's Adjustable Round Photo Engraved Bracelet from This bracelet includes a photo of your choice on the front and an engraved message of your choice on the back (valued at $79.95)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 15, 2018

Interchangable Top Felt Cookies [tutorial]

Last week I shared the details of our amazing DIY play kitchen and you may have noticed some felt food projects as I showcased the refrigerator.  I've showed you how to make felt pasta but now I want to give you a brief tutorial on how to make my favorite felt food project... cookies. Oh, but they aren't just any cookies.  These cookies can be decorated however your little one wishes (and changed and decorated again!)  All you need is some felt and Velcro to make this adorable set of imaginary play cookies.

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase through these links, you help me earn a small commission at no extra charge to you, which helps me to bring you more new content! Thank you for supporting my blog!]

Here's what you'll need:

- Soft felt (I bought a variety of colors for the sugar cookie tops, dark brown for the chocolate chips and then more of the white and light brown/tan for the cookie base and tops)

- 1/2 inch pom poms (for the "sprinkle" cookies)

- Fabric scissors , sewing machine (or just glue if no sew) and hot glue.


First you need to cut everything out. For each cookie, you will need 3 felt pieces:

- 2 identical pieces for the cookie base
- 1 slightly smaller piece in the same shape as your two base pieces (for your top decorated piece)

In addition to this, you will need to cut out pieces to create the look of whatever types of cookie you want.  I created iced sugar cookies in 4 different colors, chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies:

For the iced cookies I cut sort of squiggly edged circles out of pink, purple, blue & yellow felt.

For the chocolate chip cookies I cut small triangles out of dark brown felt.

For the peanut butter cookies I cut thin strips in the same color as the cookie (8 for each cookie) and crossed them to look like the crossed fork pattern.

For the sprinkle cookies, I simply took pom pom balls and hot glued them to the white topper piece.

After everything is cut out, you are ready for assembly! For the cookie base, simply put the two pieces of identical felt on top and each other and sew around the edge at 1/4 inch. This is my favorite thing about felt; you don't have to turn it inside out because the edges don't ravel.  The reason you need to sew them together is that it creates a "puffy" cookie.  (Tip: if you want it extra puffy you can add some batting on the inside too)

Next, cut out squares of Velcro.  Make sure you put all the hook pieces on the tops and all the loop pieces on the base so that you can mix and match tops and bottoms later.

To attach the Velcro, simply hot glue the squares to the back of the pieces.  I highly recommend using sew-in Velcro over the sticky stuff even though you are gluing it on.  The sticky stuff doesn't work well by itself and if you ever plan to use it to sew future projects, it will gunk up your needle. (so just don't even have it in your home!)

Here's how the bases look once they are finished:

...and here are the tops:

Ready for play!  Let your little one pretend to bake the bases, then decorate the tops!

{Loving this stove top? Learn how to make it here}

Cookies and tea makes for the perfect pretend play snack!

*This post has been linked up with the following blog's link parties:
The SITS Girls "Saturday Sharefest",
Skip to My Lou "Made by You Monday"
Tip Junkie "Tip Me Tuesday"

Thursday, January 4, 2018

DIY Play Kitchen [Full Details Shared!]

My husband and I love to give our children one really awesome big gift versus a dozen small gifts that will get thrown into the toy pile. We've made a giant ball pit (with almost 1,200 balls in it), a miniature workbench just like daddy's and this play kitchen.  Today I want to share with you the details of the play kitchen. A lot of time went into making this- not because it actually takes long to make but because we made it one very long drawn out process.  Tip: Just do it all at once. Just get it done so your kids can enjoy it already! I found different elements that I wanted online and some things I just made up on my own so hopefully this post will inspire you to create the perfect kitchen for your family.

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase through these links, you help me earn a small commission at no extra charge to you, which helps me to bring you more new content! Thank you for supporting my blog!)

I have loaded up this post with a ton of photos to show you all my favorite elements from this play kitchen. I have also included links to my favorite play kitchen products in case you see something you want to add to yours.   Let's begin shall we...

First up is the sink.  We created this realistic and movable sink by using real faucet fittings (get at your local hardware store or check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see if you can find one for cheap!) and a metal mixing bowl.  Just make sure the mixing bowl has a lip on the outside and it will fit perfectly into a hole you create.

Surrounding the sink is a window and some cooking accessories.  We cut a large square and I simply taped up an image I painted to the back so that the picture peeks through.  Eventually I may put something more permanent up, but if I waited for that it would forever be empty.  Then we added a toaster, a timer, a bell (mostly because my son loves it so much. We like to ding it and yell "ORDER UP!") and an oven mitt.  My favorite accessory is the Stand Mixer which spins by hand, has a speed dial and comes with accessories to make "pound cake" which is my son's favorite thing to mix!

I finished the window by adding some curtains made of this adorable dancing food fabric that I just happened to have lying around. See- this is why it's okay to just buy the fabric because you like it!  The edges are just folded over and stitched for a finished look.  On the top I made a basic casing for a dowel rod to go through. The rod has a little wood piece on the ends to keep it from sliding off and the whole thing hangs on some tiny little hooks.  I used small eye hooks and ribbon to tie the fabric back. Sturdy and easy peasy.

On the right side of the play kitchen we have a hook that holds aprons and reusable shopping bags.  Check out my tutorial on how to make your own DIY custom apron in minutes and for only a few bucks!

To the left of the sink, we created a "glass" stove top with movable dials and pretend "hot" burners.  My husband made the dials himself out of wood and attached them with a screw that allows our kids to turn the dial 360 degrees before stopping so they don't come off.

Loving those realistic looking pots and pans? They're from Melissa & Doug and they are LEGIT. My husband was so excited when my son got them for Christmas last year because they came with their own metal stand.  Of which my extremely organized husband was happy to hang in the play kitchen immediately.

To create the look of a glass top, we first put down a piece of black painted wood.  Next we placed the burners on.  I made these out of white and red vinyl that I cut with my Silhouette.

Lastly, we screwed a piece of Plexiglas to the top to give it the "glass" look and to protect the vinyl from peeling up.  I love how this turned out!  Bonus: The top is also super easy to wipe down when it gets dusty or dirty.

Beneath the stove top is an oven.  It's painted in contrast white and has a real handle attached to it.  Another piece of Plexiglas is used to make the little "peep through" window.

We used a wire shelf for the inside with some pieces of wood so that the shelf can slide in and out like a real oven.  My husband also added a washer and screw to make a "stop" for it so that the shelf wont accidentally come all the way out.

The door has hinges to help it open and close and has a magnet on the top so that it latches shut when you lift it up.

Enough about appliances, let's talk storage.  Every kitchen needs a place to store food, right?  My husband loves the bottom freezer (we don't have one in our real kitchen but he's waiting for the day that we have to get a new one so he can have it!) so of course he designed ours to have a bottom freezer.  We mostly keep ice cubes and Ice-Cream in ours.  If your kid loves ice-cream (who doesn't?) you have got to pick up this Melissa & Doug ice-cream set. It's magnetic and has cones and a box and a scoop that really works.  It's probably my sons favorite "food" toy.

On top of the freezer is a refrigerator with a few shelves (also made from the wire shelving).  We use this area as both a refrigerator and as a pantry for canned food and such.

I wish I knew what brand that big circle divider was because I would recommend it a hundred times over.  It came with all different foods and the sections are divided by type (fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy, protein). Although we don't put them up in their correct spots, it makes an AWESOME container to store it all so that all the food can be easily accessed without dumping out a big box like other containers I've seen.  On the shelf above it though is the Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set which I also highly recommend. It comes with fruit pieces stuck together by velcro that you can "cut apart" with a play knife (also included).  I also really love the little wood crate it came in too. We store all of our velcro foods in there so that they are easy to get to without digging through the other food.

As you can see, we also store the pound cake (that came with the mixer) and some DIY tea bags in there as well.

On the top shelf, we keep all of our canned foods, condiments and felt foods.  I hate to admit, but I waited a while before opening up the canned items because I expected them to be those cheap, junky ones that you see everywhere.  Oh my gosh, was I wrong. They are also Melissa & Doug (I should work for them as much as I promote their products. We LOVE M&D in  our house!) and they are crazy sturdy. They get played with, thrown around and because the lids are removable, my son often tries to cram things inside them that are much too large and yet... they hold up. It's seriously incredible.  Don't buy these at the dollar store or whatever, buy the Melissa & Doug set. It's so worth it.

Inside one tote is condiments like ketchup, mustard, Parmesan cheese, syrup and box mixes, flours and sugars.  Inside the other we store felt foods like pasta, bacon and cookies.  To learn how to DIY your own pastas, check out my tutorial here.

Speaking of storage... where are all the dishes? Plates, forks, cups?  That's an easy one: under the sink!  I love how much storage space this kitchen has.  My favorite thing about "large" gifts is that you can store the play items within the larger item. No need for a bunch of loose toys laying around.

On the left side sits a Drying Rack (this isn't the exact one we have but it's the closest I can find since I don't know the brand) which holds utensils,  plates, cups, mugs and measuring cups.  I think this would also be really cute up by the sink but in our kitchen we just ran out of space up top!  This is probably less likely to get messy anyways.  I like using the drying rack for storage because it makes it easy for my kids to find what they are looking for.  If they want a plate, they just reach down and grab it.  No need to dump out an entire box looking for 1 plate.  It also seems more "real" because I don't know about you but we don't store all of our dishes in a big box somewhere!

Next to the drying rack are two glass containers (old salsa jars!) that hold cooking utensils.  Those blue ones in the front are real silicone utensils! We have some duplicate ones in our actual kitchen.  There are mini tongs, a pastry brush, a Whisk and a spatulaThose links are not the exact product we own but similar. The link on "spatula" includes a scraper, wisk and silicone baking cups which we also use to real cook and to play cook!

On the right side I took a plastic storage container (actually the one my son's train set came in) and tossed in all the "random" leftover items.  This includes other pots/pans from food sets we've gotten, larger plates, a cookie sheet, a cupcake pan, rolling pins, etc. We then slide the waffle maker  against the side and it fits perfectly.

Don't forget about cleanup!  Since we have aprons on the right side, we figured we might as well use the left side as well.  All we needed was one nail and our Silly Sam (Which we have been calling Sweepin' Sam for 2 years now! I just found his real name when I searched the link.) hangs nicely, ready for cleanup!

My son loves his play kitchen.  It's honestly his favorite toy that he owns and he plays with it every single day. My daughter is just starting to really get into playing with it too!  My favorite thing is watching them "play together" at it, which they can do easily since it's so big!  I also love that this kitchen looks nicer and will last longer than the plastic ones you can buy at the store.  A quick search of "entertainment center play kitchen" on Pinterest will provide you will more tutorials on how to physically built/adapt yours, but I hope that my post here has provided you with some great ideas to include in your own.

I would totally tell you how to do the building part but I have no idea what he did to the guts of it.  I just said "Honey... can you make it look like this?" and he did... because he's a good husband! haha!

Seriously though, that is one happy kid.  Go snag yourself an old entertainment center and get crafting!  I'd love to see what elements you've included in yours so please share them on our facebook page because it makes me happy to see us working on the same projects <3