Handmade personalized baby shower book DIY [+ tutorial!]

A while back, a few friends and I offered to co-host a baby shower for our dear friend Rose. I’ve known Rose since we were in middle school, and it blows my mind that we both have kids now. (Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were listening to Smashmouth and playing Girl Talk?) For her baby shower, I wanted to do something special that would serve as a memory keeper for the party. So I made her a handmade personalized baby shower book—and I think it turned out beautifully.

This handmade DIY baby shower book is a sweet gift for a mama to be. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis handmade DIY baby shower book is a sweet gift for a mama to be. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis handmade DIY baby shower book is a sweet gift for a mama to be. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

With a little prep and planning, plus some after the baby shower effort, I put together this baby shower book. Because I never do anything on time, I have it to Rose when her daughter was like 4 months old. But that just means I threw a baby shower that kept on giving! Right?

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Egg carton faces craft: An upcycling kids project

Upcycled kid art // Egg carton faces // Recycling project // Ten Thousand Hour Mama

One thing being a mother of two kids teaches me—repeatedly—is that just because they’re both mine doesn’t mean they’re the same. Or even similar. For example, Peeper could paint, glue, color and craft forever. Kiwi, on the other hand, will eat paint for a moment then splatter it everywhere before getting down from her chair, leaving a trail of purple and orange in her wake.

So the other day during Kiwi’s nap, I suggested Peeper and I do a craft together. We opted for something new and different—after all, when you have so few uninterrupted opportunities to do a kids craft project, you want to make it count! So we brought all our upcycled supplies onto the deck and made egg carton faces in the rare Oregon springtime sun.

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Handmade Valentine’s Day cards & free download

Forget roses and prix fixe dinners. This February 14, I just want a few handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

And chocolate.

Because always chocolate.

Ever since I was a kid, Valentine’s Day has always meant friendship and platonic love. When I was in maybe 3rd grade, my younger sister lost all her valentines. All the tiny packs of candy, the Disney-themed cards, the hand-signed doilies—gone. She was heartbroken.

Later that night, I went through my own haul. I crossed off “Catherine” on every darn card and wrote in my sister’s name instead.

I then gave her a paper sack filled with cards from my classmates to cheer her up.

It should be no surprise, then, that when I think of Valentine’s Day, I don’t get goo-goo over the romantic aspects of the holiday. Instead, I melt at the memory of mailboxes made out of Kleenex boxes, carefully writing friends’ names on Ariel the Little Mermaid cards and the chalky taste of Sweethearts I choked down in the interest of reading the messages.

Now that I have kids, I get to relive the sweet, innocent side of the holiday—partly through crafting handmade Valentine’s Day cards.

Handmade Valentine's Day cards // Cute + easy crab valentines. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

DIY kids holiday gift: Glitter handprint craft

Y’all know how much I love glitter. So when I went to make a present for my mom, aka the girls’ grandmother and a Nana who has just about everything, I knew I wanted it to sparkle. So Peeper and I made this: a glitter handprint craft that will be a gorgeous, special and one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.

(Sorry, Mom, to spoil the surprise!)

We still have a few weeks until Christmas and other December holidays, but if you’re looking for a DIY kids craft to give as a gift, look no further than this fun, simple—and yes, sparkly—glitter handprint craft!

Glitter handprints are a beautiful - but easy - handmade holiday gift kids will love to make. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Unclutter your kid’s art: Turn it into a masterpiece!

If you’re new ’round these parts, you might not know: Peeper loves art. She loves to paint. She loves to color. She loves to glue. She loves to squish her hands into finger paints and give herself a standing ovation, splattering red and blue all over the walls.

(Ok, that last one is more performance art, but still.)

All those days of keeping busy with kid crafts leads to a lot of saved projects. At one point, the kitchen counter, the wine rack, my work desk, the fridge and the dining room table were all buried under my preschooler’s crafts.

I knew something had to change. I had to unclutter my kid’s art.

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A fashionably fierce sweater craft

Kids sweater craft: Princess and the Pony

Princesses are everywhere these days.

Disney has overrun the toy aisle, Pandora stations and the playground.

Now, I’m not a hater: I adore certain Disney movies, and Peeper’s first movie was Cinderella. But I can’t help but notice that a lot of princesses are, well, passive.

That is not the case with Princess Pinecone, the titular royalty in the picture book The Princess and the Pony.

A princess book with sass

Princess Pinecone lives in a society of warriors. But her parents haven’t quite caught on: They give her cutesy sweaters instead of cool warrior presents like shields, spiked belts or—what she truly covets—a fierce warrior horse.

When her birthday rolls around, she does get a horse—sort of. Princess Pinecone gets big-eyed, doughy pony who farts too much.

But she can’t give a birthday present back, she figures, so she keeps the pony. What happens at the next warrior brawl surprises everyone.

Getting crafty

After reading The Princess and the Pony about a hundred times, I made a book-inspired craft for Peeper. And I’m not the only one: Check out the brute-inspired crafts at the Raising Fairies and Knights Monthly Crafting Book Club!

Monthly Crafting Book Club

Princess Pinecone and the rest of the brutes in the book come to realize that cute can be strong, and you don’t have to be just fierce or just adorable—you can be both.

So Peeper and I created a fashionably fierce sweater craft.

This sweater craft is great for fine motor skills—though if your little is as young as Peeper is, she may need a little help winding the yarn around the paper.

Princess sweater craft

It’s also very open-ended. There’s no “right” way for the sweater craft to look: The process of winding and stamping (and hand-slapping, if you’re Peeper) is much more important than the final product.

After all, process art helps young kids feel more confident, since they don’t “fail” to make their project look identical to the model one, writes the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

So hit up your library for a copy of The Princess and the Pony, then join us for some cozy—and fierce—fun.

Kids sweater craft Princess and the PonyKids sweater craft Princess and the Pony

Fashionably fierce sweater craft

Supplies

  • cardstock paper
  • yarn
  • painter’s tape
  • paint
  • cotton balls

Instructions

  1. Cut out a sweater shape from a sheet of cardstock.
  2. Tape one end of the yarn to the “back” of the sweater. Then have your child wind the yarn around the sweater. (You may have to help by guiding her hands or playing out the yarn.)
  3. When your child is done wrapping, tape the tail of the yarn to the back of the sweater. This will secure the yarn so it doesn’t move.
  4. Squirt out as many colors of paint as your child would like. Invite her to stamp the paper with a cotton ball (it’s so cozy, like a sweater!). The more she paints over the yarn and fills up the white space, the more contrast she’ll get.
  5. When she’s done, untape and unwrap the yarn. She’ll see the white lines left by the yarn—giving her a striped sweater!

Don’t forget to try out the other The Princess and the Pony crafts at the Monthly Crafting Book Club!

Princess and the Pony monthly crafting book club

Celebrate summer with messy painting

Art, at its best, is a full-body experience—at least according to my kids. And with summer here (happy first day of summer!), it’s the perfect time to get outside for some messy painting.

On a recent afternoon, Peeper, Kiwi and a few friends did just that. I squirted paint onto plates of shaving cream, and the kids dove in: Within minutes, we were all messy. And within minutes, we were all having so much fun.

After all, we often tell kids to be neat. Use a napkin. Don’t spill. Wash your hands. Keep your hands to yourself. 

With the weather warming up, though, it’s a great excuse to play outside. And with a little set-up—and a lot of shaving cream—you can let your kids’ creativity go wild. Come on, color outside the lines!

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