Thursday, August 30, 2018

DIY Wooden Work Bench

You may remember me saying that my husband and I are big fans of giving one large gift for Christmas over a million little things.  Most of the time, we try to make this gift handmade.  Why?  It's just something we value and let's be fair... handmade quality is far superior to crappy store quality.  Last year, my husband not only made a gift that my son loves but also held memories for himself.  He recreated a work bench almost identical to the one his father made for him as a child.

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you. The products listed are similar to the ones I used in this project. This helps to fund future projects to bring your more DIY content!  Thank you for supporting my blog.]

Little ones love to build and create things. It's just part of being little.  We as adults, should encourage this because it helps them with their fine motor skills, problem solving and imaginative play (among other things).  There are some plastic work bench toys on the market such as this one and this one (a cheaper alternative) but if you are anything like us, you might want to build one yourself.

Here's a peek at the original bench that my husband owned as a child:


Ahh he's so little and cute!  It's also totally clear where our daughter gets that blonde hair!  My husband used this picture and what memory he had of it to build our son (our daughter enjoys it some now too as she gets older) his own for Christmas last year.  We set it out right next to the tree so that it was waiting for him on Christmas morning.

We put some peg hooks on the pegboard and hung up his hammer, which he already owned.  The toolbox was a gift that he received the day before from grandpa, which was filled with real tools of his own, such as a wrench, a level, a mini measuring tape, a plastic putty knife, some pliers, a carpenter's pencil, these adorable mini sized screwdrivers and more.  It's easy and fairly inexpensive to stock up on some basic tools and they really do have a lot of "real" tools in compact sizes- perfect for little hands!

Yep... he even got his own little hacksaw and vice.  This should go without saying- please use your judgement on what your child is capable of. Our son was very familiar with tools and tool safety so he knows how to use this tool without harming himself or others.  Our daughter is still too young to be trusted with it so it's put out of her reach when he's not using it or when she is around.

I can't tell you exactly how it was made but it's a simple shape made from wood pieces and a pegboard backing.  You can make it as fancy or as basic as you wish.  Since my husband was using his childhood work bench as inspiration, he made it look like that.  We love the simple wood look to it.

As you may have guessed, it was a hit!  When it got warmer out, we moved it into the tool shed so that our son can work at his work bench while my husband works at his own.  It's very cute to see. (I should probably come back and add a photo of that later- the downfall of writing blog posts at 11 at night is that you can't take last minute photos!)

What do you think?
Do you believe in giving "big gifts" at Christmas/holidays too? Do you ever DIY them?  If you have a little "maker" and "builder" in your life, you should whip them up a work bench just like this one! It's easy but makes for a lifetime of memories.

Friday, August 24, 2018

SOHO "Kenneth" Diaper Bag Review + Giveaway

As many parents do, I have been on a several year hunt for the best baby products. I try out all kinds of items- some winners, some losers. One area that I've personally struggled in finding that "perfect fit" has been in a good diaper bag.  I know- it seems silly but unless you are head over heels over your current one (or if you are currently expecting and in the hunt- congratulations!) then hear me out.

Here's what I've always struggled with:
1- Size. Why are diaper bags so freakin' huge?
2- Zipper/Closure. I didn't think this was going to be an issue. It is.
3- Pockets/Storage. Limited pockets means everything is thrown on top of everything else.

I was introduced to this company and had to try it out. And you guys- I. Am. Hooked. It's my favorite. Let me show you why and oh... I'll be giving one away too!

[Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was given free product from Soho Babies for an honest review of their product. All opinions are my own and I only positively review products that I personally love. Giveaway item is sponsored by Soho Babies and will be shipped directly from them to the winner.]

I'm going to get real with y'all. In the last 3.5 years I have used around 6 different "diaper bags". I discussed my issues with them above and I'll mention specifically why it was a problem and why this diaper bag solves all those problems. Did I mention it's also crazy affordable and comes in different colors? 

Issue #1- Size.
The classic "diaper bag" is gigantic. I have no idea why. I think because as new parents we all think that every single baby item we own needs to fit inside of it? Because that's exactly what I did. If I have a huge bag, I'm going to fill it. It's the law of big bags (okay, I just made that up but it really does happen!) I had 2 large diaper bags in my rotation and eventually replaced them with a small women's bag I already owned because carrying a large one everywhere was just unrealistic. 

I'll get into why that bag was a dud in the next point. This bag is the perfect size because it's got room for everything you'd need but it's a much smaller "backpack" style bag that's easy to carry and doesn't take up much space on your person, in the car, restaurant booth, etc.

Because it's a backpack, that also makes it HANDS FREE! I don't know why I never tried a backpack before but y'all it's the way to go. Especially if you have multiple kids and need both hands in a parking lot or busy store...

Or if you just want to use your hands for other things...

[Photo credit to my 3.5 year old son. Also- I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've ever actually used the phrase "FTW" (for the win). I try to be cool- ha!]

Issue #2- Zipper/Closure.
After realizing small bags were the way to go, I started using random bags I already owned. Purse style bags, tote bags, even reusable shopping bags! These had two problems: First, they had limited or no pockets (I'll get to that next) and Secondly, everything would fall out when the bag tipped over. Which was all the time. Everytime we got out of the car, the contents of my "diaper bag" would be spilled out. Not to mention all the times it gets knocked over when we are out and about.

I needed some closure. (hehe, get it?). When we traveled on airplanes I packed my large diaper bag because it had a zipper but well, again- big bags are no fun.

The Kenneth bag (the style I own) has multiple zippers as well as a large back "pocket" and 2 cup/bottle sized pockets on the outside to keep everything from falling out. The inside has multiple compartments that close up as well. Check out my facebook page to see a video of me emptying out our bag (to be posted Sunday, 8/26/18) to see all these pockets in action AND earn an extra giveaway entry!

It even has a snap that keeps the handle straps together and tidy. I like the look of it closed but it's also handy to have the straps already together if you are going to be picking it up/carrying it by the handles.

Issue #3- Pockets/Storage.
I touched on this already but the Soho Kenneth bag has a ton of awesome pockets. Not only are many of them zipper closed, others have elastic to keep the items firmly in place and there are even two thermal insulated pockets. You heard me right. That means those bottles stay cooler (or warmer) for longer.

I love these pockets located on the outside of the bag. Because of their elastic opening, they fit a variety of bottle sizes, all the way up to our favorite water bottles! (This is a big deal because these bottles don't fit anywhere- even in our nice car seat cup holders)

[See it peeking out there? I still can't believe it actually fits!]

Oh, and trust me on this whole pocket thing. I loved the small size of the bag I was using just prior to this review but it had no inside pockets. Here's the very raw honest look at how it was put together.  What a mess! Nothing had it's place and I had to dig around for everything.

Bonus Features:
Here are a few things this bag has that I didn't even know I needed but I love!

When you buy the diaper bag, you also get a cushioned changing pad, 2 stroller straps, a personal purse, and a compact diaper bag dispenser with 30 bags included.

[1-diaper bag. 2- changing pad. 3- purse. 4- plastic bag dispenser.]

The changing pad folds up to 1/8 of it's size and fits easily in an inside pocket. I like to use the personal purse to store a pack of wipes and 1-2 diapers plus some money in the front pocket for short term times when I won't need the other items.  I also didn't think I would probably ever use the plastic bags but I clipped it on my bag anyways.  Turns out, when we went to the (very muddy) park and the kids covered themselves in water and mud, those little plastic bags saved us by giving me a place to store all of their soiled clothes and shoes for the ride home.

They also work great for storing used diapers when you don't have a place to throw them away and don't want to risk them busting open in your diaper bag!

We never use a stroller anymore because my kids are only interested in walking (or occasionally being held) so I also thought I wouldn't have any use for the stroller straps. But again, they were already on the bag so I left them there. Turns out, they work awesome on shopping carts as well! I loved having the bag right in front of me to grab things out of but not tossed into the cart being sat on by the kids and buried under merchandise!

I'll admit, our bag was pretty loaded full this day and it was HEAVY. I thought the straps might not hold but even with just one it didn't fall! The Velcro was surprisingly strong.

These can be removed by the clip if you want but they aren't at all in the way so I just leave them there all the time.

Last but not least, these bags look nice. They have a lovely quilted pattern on the front and the straps, fabric and zippers are all very nice material.  They come in 3 colors: Tiffany Blue, Black and Gray. I almost got the Tiffany Blue because it is beautiful but opted for a more neutral color, thinking my husband might be more likely to use it if it was.

I was right...

I also need to point out that my husband is very picky when it comes to any kind of product. He believes in buying nice (i.e. often expensive) products because he believes they are simply better quality.  When my order arrived and we opened it, my husband surprisingly said "this is the one you're reviewing? Wow... this is really nice."  He then continued looking it over and repeated how nice it was.

This is extra funny to those who know him personally. Want to know the kicker? This diaper bag costs 3x less (THREE TIMES LESS!) than the regular backpack he bought to have for his coaching/teaching job. I swear to y'all this is true and I really think he might steal it to use himself!

This is a brand for parents, by parents and they make high quality items at a very reasonable price because we all know, we don't have a bunch of extra money to spend! Even if I hadn't received this item for review, I would definitively purchase it at retail value. This diaper bag is perfect for new parents, parents of toddlers, preschoolers and I'll be honest.. I'll probably keep on using it for myself when the kids no longer need me to carry around their stuff!

I know you want one now, don't you? How about I give one away? Just follow the rafflecopter widget below and complete the tasks to enter! Contest is open to US residents only. Contest ends 8/31/18 at 12:00AM EST    

***Make sure you're following Cut, Craft, Create on facebook because I'll be posting a few "bonus" entry options throughout the week!***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 17, 2018

ergoPouch Layers Review + Giveaway

For those who don't know me personally, I have been on a several month mega-purge of all things not completely useful (or truly meaningful) in our home. Over the last couple of years my husband and I have gotten rids of HUNDREDS of articles of clothing.  It's ridiculous we owned that much to begin with.  Having kids has only added to the amount of "things" we have.  That's why when I had a chance to try these pajamas, I jumped on it.

Wait, I got more pajamas during my purge?  Hear me out. You'll want a pair (or two or three) of your own too.

[Disclaimer: I have received free product in exchange for an honest review of them. I do not write things I do not personally believe and all opinions are my own. Any endorsements are of my own opinion. Giveaway items are sponsored by  ergoPouch and will be sent directly to the winner from them and not myself]

So what? They look like regular pajamas. Cute ones yes, but just like every other.  WRONG! You guys, I'm telling you... they are so cool!  Here's why:

First off, here's a little blip about the company just to give you some background:

Now onto why I like them so much:

First off, they are called "layers" for a reason. They are designed to be layered on and off for varying temperatures. Why do I like that so much? Instead of buying a bunch of say- summer pajamas and then only being able to wear them for a couple months, these pajamas can be worn at the basic levels in the warmer months and layered up for the cooler months. That's more bang for your buck and less stuff lying around.

Every single piece from the new collection comes with it's own room thermometer (really!) and guide to help you know quickly and easily how to dress your child for the temperature. I love this because I play the "guessing game" all the time (Is she going to be too cold in this? Will he get too hot in this?)

[The layers piece I have pictured on my daughter is the long sleeved 0.2 TOG]

Secondly, and maybe my very favorite part is the 3-way zipper. This is so cool. I was intrigued but skeptical about it until we had a chance to really try it out. There are 3 separate "pulls" along the zipper, which runs from the very top of the chest all the way through the legs and up to just as the waist in the back. 

This allows for the child to stay completely zipped up through their torso and yet we can unzip the bottom for mid-nighttime diaper changes.

This is helpful not only because stripping a baby down in the middle of the night, half asleep is no fun for anyone but also because they can stay warmer during the colder months since they will still have a majority of their body parts covered. No exposed legs or chest.

There is a zipper "cover" in the back where you can easily tuck in your zipper pulls, although I have found that we both prefer the pulls to be in between the legs. Personal preference but it's there if you want it!

"Yea, that's cool but my kiddo doesn't wear diapers anymore."  you say? Guess what? These are great for potty training and night time bathroom visits! Although we have not officially started potty training my daughter, she self taught herself starting a few months back so we will probably give it a "real" go here soon, which may include night time potty trips!  I'll keep y'all updated on how that goes but it seems like this zipper would make it a whole lot easier than other full body jammies!

It also has a zipper cover at the chest as well which not only looks nice but keeps the zipper pull from scratching and catching.

Thirdly, these pajamas really do adjust well to various temperatures. The 0.2 TOG that I have is about the thickness of a standard t-shirt but the long sleeves gives it a little extra warmth. As it gets cooler I can layer up but I can ALSO make adjustments to the pajamas themselves. The sleeves have fold-over hand mitts (also helpful for baby fingernails- ask me how I know!)  for added warmth...

aaaaand.... the feet have them too! I've seen them on the sleeves before but this is the first pair of sleepwear we've owned that has had them on the feet, which I love. We will use that a lot during the winter months! Way better than separate socks.

Let's recap: Made with natural sustainable fibers, made to last through various seasons for longer lifespan, great for diaper changes and using the potty, and includes hand and foot mitts to keep your child warmer and have less socks getting lost in the washer?

That makes me pretty happy.  How do you like them sweet girl?

They also come in some really great prints and are apparently very comfortable because we not only sleep but play in them too.  I'd love to hear what you think of this cool new layers collection and what about them you are most excited about.

Win a pair!
Oh yea, and they said I could give one of y'all a pair of your own. Who wants to win? Just complete the tasks in the rafflecopter widget below to enter! You pick the layers item, size and TOG if you win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Pretend Play Seasoning Salt

Okay, truth time. I am ALL ABOUT "Imaginative Play".  Pretend Play, kids using their minds to create scenarios and to act out situations ranging from the everyday "mundane" to the mythical and previously unconsidered.  In our home we do a lot of this. One of the most popular spots for play is our Play Kitchen (which my husband made himself. Check out the post!). My children love to help in the "real" kitchen and so in their play kitchen they can do it all and more because well, no actual hot stoves.

A while back I had started saving empty containers of different kitchen items so that the kids could have their own play version that looked exactly like ours. I forgot about this one until I went to cook pork chops the other day and the kids wanted to help season it. They were so into it that I went searching for the empty container I had and well, the rest is history...

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no additional charge to you. These earnings help to fund future projects and DIYS. Thank you for your support of my blog and happy crafting!]

Y'all, I can not get over how stinking cute this is. I'll even tell you how to make it not messy if you want ;)

It's simple to make and took me about 5 minutes total (really).

First, you need to gather materials:

- classic soft felt (snag a few 9x12 sized pieces in the craft area of your local craft store)
Fabric Scissors
- an empty (and washed clean!) Seasoned Salt Shaker

Next, cut some thin strips from each of your colors. It doesn't take much at all so don't go crazy cutting or you'll end up with a bunch extra!

From there, cut the strips into tiny little square pieces. Don't worry about making them perfect, just cut them small. If you want them to actually come out of the "shaker holes" make sure you cut them small enough for that. I cut ours just big enough that they come out the bigger "tab" opening but not the shaker holes. (because my 1 year old would go NUTS with that!)

You can choose any combination of colors, these were just some I had on hand from past projects and I thought they looked nice together like a bunch of different spices. That red felt is my favorite and actually has some black specks in it. I've used it to make strips of bacon and pasta sauce for pretend play as well. It's so cool!

Before putting them in the container, mix up the different colors to give it that mixed spices appearance.

[Yes, that's a tiny play pot. It's from our Melissa & Doug Stainless Steel Pots and Pans set which is one of my FAVORITE toys we own!]

All that's left to do is to put your little pieces inside the empty shaker container. (Don't forget to put the shaker top back on if you don't want it spilling out everywhere). I had a great little helper:

...and PLAY!

My kiddos have definitely upped their culinary game with this easy DIY. They love being like mom & dad and I love that they are able to create even more detailed imaginative play scenarios in their play kitchen.


For less than $2.00 (assuming you aren't buying the seasoning salt just for this!) and about 5 minutes of your time, this DIY is a definite win-win! Who else's kids would totally flip over this adorable play kitchen ingredient?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Super Easy Pressed Flower Pendant

Last week on my facebook page I shared a photo of a quick DIY that I was experimenting with and I had a request to blog about how I did it. I wasn't originally planning on posting a tutorial so I am missing some photos but it's so easy you won't need them anyways.

Here is the photo I shared of my DIY pressed flower necklace:

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to products you can use for this project. Purchasing through these links gives me a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.]

What you'll need:

- fresh flowers (teeny tiny ones or small leaves/petals)
- a heavy book
ICE Resin Plunger
Blank Bezel Pendants (these are similar to the ones I use)

How to do it:

First you need to find the perfect flowers, pick them and press them. HERE is a really good basic guide on the different ways to dry/preserve a flower.

These were my little wildflowers that I picked. I did not need to cut the stems, water them, etc because they were already so tiny. I just "popped" the head off of about half a dozen of them.

First I tried the pressing between a book technique... (here's how they looked before being pressed flat) A bible with some other books stacked on top of it works great for this if you aren't afraid of accidentally getting it wet/messy. Mine stayed dry.

After about 2 days I was getting impatient so I decided to try the "ironing" technique. I picked a few more flowers and gave it a shot.

It did not turn out well..

So because I'm impatient, I checked on my book pressed flowers and to my surprise they were completely dried already! I'm guessing the week+ time frame was for much thicker flowers.

Next you mix your ice resin per the instructions (roughly 2 minutes of mixing, let sit 5 minutes). After it's ready put a thin layer of resin inside of your bezel piece and very gently place your dried flower on top of it. Press down so that it's flat against the bottom of the bezel.  After the flower is in place, carefully fill the rest of it with resin so that it surrounds the flower on all sides and on top.  Pop any air bubbles you might have and wipe off any excess that may be on the edge (it should "dome" by itself pretty easily just don't overfill it)

Let dry overnight or per the resin instructions.  I actually put two flowers in mine (one on top of another) in an effort to make the white petals show up a little better. You can tell if you are looking for it but its unnoticeable to anyone quickly glancing at it.

I chose these flowers because 1- they are just so tiny and cute and 2- while playing outside the other day I made my kids these "wildflower crowns" and it just made my heart so happy that I wanted a piece of that memory with me to stay.

That's it. After the resin is fully set up, string your pendant over a chain and enjoy!

Want to share your DIY with others? Just join my facebook page and every Saturday I drop a post where you can share pictures, tutorials and even your own blog posts from the week for everyone to see!  I'd love to see some of your flower jewelry creations on there soon too!