Easy to make Sensory Foam!

As I continue to explore sensory ideas for the kids, I came across a fluffy looking foam.  Now my Pre-kindergartners are happy as a clam with a “car wash” or baby bath activity.  So I knew that they would love this foam.  It’s even safe and great for younger toddler age friends.

SO here is all I needed…a hand mixer, dish soap, and liquid water colors.  I’m sure that food coloring would work just as well, but if you haven’t seen Liquid Watercolors before, check them out!  I love discount school supplies brand, but I’m sure there are others out there.
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Hand mixer, dish soap, and water colors…so simple!

The fluffier you want your foam, the less water you add.  I added just a little soap to the bottom of the bowl, and added about 3 cups of water and a few drops of water color, and put the mixer on high.
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Lot’s of bubbles!
 Before long the foam starts to thicken up.  This is also a step that you could have the older kids help you with.  Turn it into a science and math project!  Make the measurements, and then predict what will happen to the liquid once you start mixing it together.
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Getting fluffier!
I did a variety of colors, and dumped them into our larger sensory bucket.  The kids loved the rainbow effect!
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Add in different tools and materials for the children to explore a variety of ways
This was ocean week, so I added some sharks and whales, and second bucket with plain water for rinsing.  We used cups, spoons, watering cans, measuring cups, funnels, and all kinds of other exploratory tools.  The kids had a blast!  It can get messy, but that’s ok!  And the best part is, this was totally free!  I had all of the necessary ingredients right in my kitchen.
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Look how foamy and fluffy this looks.  The kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on it!
If you decide to experiment with some sensory fun, let me know what your kids think!

Peakle Pie

Linked to I heart Naptime and creative jewish mom

Shelf Reveal!

Everyone ready for the big reveal?  I teased you all yesterday when I showed how to make a quatrefoil stencil, and now I’m ready to show you how I used it!

First up it was time to sand the shelves.  I used a power sander, cause there were too many shelves for me to tackle it by hand.  But if you don’t have a power hand sander, a good old block and piece of sand paper would be just fine:

 Once everything was sanded, I wiped them down with a wet towel, to get rid of all the saw dust, and let them thoroughly dry:

 Once everything was completely dry, I used 2 coats of primer, whatever I had lying around the house was good enough!

 After I let the primer completely dry overnight (follow the back of the can for drying times) I proceeded with two coats of paint.  Again, I was lucky enough to have white paint on hand at home, and didn’t need to purchase anything.  Love that!

 I again let this dry over night to make sure it was good and ready.  Now it’s time to stencil!  (Refer to my post from yesterday about how to create a stencil).  Because I wanted my darker paint to be the lines, I decided to trace with a pencil.  If you are using your contrasting paint to fill in the middle, go ahead and paint right over the stencil.

I laid down my stencil, and then used a couple pieces of painters tape to make sure it was securely in place:

 I then used a pencil and traced all of the lines.  I would then peel off the tape, and move my stencil up or to the side, and continue tracing, until the whole board was traced:

Once everything was traced, I used my free paint sample from Valspar, to paint inside the lines:

Once everything was dry, I went over it again with a second coat of paint.

The next thing I did is completely optional, but I thought it gave my shelves a nice pop.  While perusing my local craft store one day (Michael’s for anyone curious) I found some cute shelf liner for only $3.  Seemed like a good deal to me!

The liner has a convenient grid on the back, so it is easy to cut straight lines, and make the right size.  Make sure to measure your shelf before cutting!  This is super sticky, so watch out!  I cut the size I needed, peeled off the back, and stuck it onto my shelf.  I then used an exacto knife to trim the edges off:

 I then used a wet paper towel to smooth down the liner, and my rubber roller to help ease out any air bubbles:

 Make sure you trim your liner so that it is not covering the seam, this will be important when you are putting your shelf together:

The final step was to use the cute roller Valspar sent with the sample, to paint the top of my shelf, and cover the edges.  I liked this look better than just the plain white, but it’s totally up to you!

Once everything was good and dry, it was time to start assembly.  I have a lovely blister on the inside of my finger from the screw driver.  Ahhh the price of beauty!

 I again chose to use the circle stickers that came with the shelf to cover up the screws.  Once I painted over them you could barely even see them.

Here she is all put together.  The baskets are empty for now…but not for long!

 What do you think?  I’m loving how it all came together!  Time consuming, yes, but so worth it!  The best part is, I only used about 1/3 of the paint sample, so there is plenty left for the second shelf.  I do have a matching shelf…but I’ve only gotten as far as priming, so it will be a while before she is up and running.

Break down of the cost:
     Bookcase:  $20
     Sanding materials:  $0, already had
     Primer:  $0, already had
     Paint:  $0, already had
     Contrasting Paint:  Free!  Sample from Valspar
     Stencil:  $0, made myself
     Shelf Liner:  $3

So for $23 I went from this:

Not exact model

To this!

Improvement, no?  Thanks for stopping by!

Simply Living

Faux Capiz Shell Chandelier

If you can recall from last weeks Stuff I like Sunday, I highlighted the gorgeous paper capiz shell chandelier that Brenna from Design Sponge made:

I decided that this looked easy enough, and would be the perfect addition to the mini-overhaul I’m working on in my bathroom.  This is what I had to work with:

Bare light bulb, yuck.

Cute huh?  Definitely in need of a makeover!

First thing I did was gather my supplies…wax paper, parchment paper, ironing board, and iron.  Ready, set…Go!

wax and parchment paper

The parchment paper is used so that when you iron your wax paper, the wax doesn’t melt all over the iron or board.  Nothing worse than going to use the iron the next time and having melted wax all over your clothes 🙁

You are going to need to iron together 3 sheets of wax paper, so tear off 3 equal squares of paper.  Then tear 2 sheets of equal sized parchment paper

Now you are going to make a paper sandwich.  First layer is a square of parchment paper, lay this down on the ironing board.  If you do not have an ironing board, lay a towel down to protect your surface and put the parchment paper on top of the towel.

Now lay down the 3 pieces of wax paper, on top of the original layer of the parchment paper.

Add the second piece of parchment paper on top of the layers of wax paper.  Mine wasn’t quite big enough so I ended up adding an additional piece of parchment paper to cover the edges.

paper sandwich

You should now have 5 layers…parchment paper, wax paper, wax paper, wax paper, parchment paper.  You are ready to iron!  Set your iron on a low setting, and iron over the top layer of parchment paper.

iron on top of the parchment paper

I then flipped the wax paper over and ironed again to make sure there were no bubbles.  Using the 3 sheets of wax paper help to give the appearance of the Capiz Shell.  Here are a couple examples of what your wax paper will look like once it is all ironed together:

Follow the above steps for multiple sheets of was paper.  You will need a bunch of them…trust me!  I went through over a roll of wax paper.

Now is when you would get out your handy dandy circular hole punch.  But, if you are a super cheapo like me, and don’t have a circular hole punch….there are some extra steps to follow.  This was probably the most tedious part of the whole process…

I went off in search of a circular object, approximately 2″ across, that I could trace.  I found my “grown-up” piggy bank, and the cork in the top was the perfect size:

I took one sheet of the pre-ironed wax paper, the cork, and a pencil and got to work tracing…

Here is what you should end up with:

hard to see, but it is a bunch of traced circles!

In order to save cutting time, I stapled together 3 sheets of wax paper:

Then it’s time to start cutting.  You will need a whole bunch of circles, so follow the above steps numerous times:

 Now it was time to start forming my strings of circles.  I found some white string to use.  Make sure the measure a couple extra inches on the end, because you will be tying the strings onto your basket.  I left about four inches hanging off the end.  I laid everything out on paper, so that my hot glue wouldn’t drip onto the top of my table.

 I decided to make my strings about 8 circles long.  Here I lined them up to make sure everything looked ok:

Begin attaching the circles to the string with a small dot of hot glue.  I attached each circle directly to the string, rather than to each other, in order to allow more movement.  Get ready, because this process takes forever!

 Here is what a string of the circles looks like completed:

Now I went off in search of a basket to use for my light fixture.  I found an old wooden one, and spray painted it white, to help it blend in.

Later on, I did end up cutting out some of the base of the basket in order to allow more light to shine through.  I will show you this further down in the tutorial.

It is now time to begin tying on strings of circles.  I started at the bottom and tied on each string at every third intersection on the basket:

Each time that I moved up a row on the basket, I used one less circle, in order to create a layered look.  For example, all of the bottom strings have 8 circles.  The next layer has 7 circles on each string, the next level has 6 circles on each string, etc.  By the time I reached the top my strings only had 3 circles attached to each string.

Here is what my basket looks like with the first few strings of circles attached:

I attached my basket to the light by attaching 3 white paperclips, and stringing them from the basket to lip of the previous light fixture that was installed.  I evenly spaced the strings of paperclips so that the basket was hanging evenly:

Now you just continue to tie on strings of circles:

Once I got to the very top of my basket, I used the glue gun to glue the circle directly to the basket.  This helped to eliminate the wood showing at the top.  Here is what it looks like completely covered:

 Here is what it looks like from underneath where you can see how I removed the center of the basket to allow for more light flow:

And a couple more finished product shots.

 What do you think?  It’s certainly not perfect, but I think it has come a long way from the lonely light bulb that was there to begin with!

Overall I was pretty resourceful and was able to complete this project almost entirely with materials I already had at home.  The only thing I had to purchase was the wax paper and parchment paper.  Overall, I spent less than $5.  Love it!

If this is a project that you are considering doing yourself, please be forewarned that it takes FOREVER!  This was certainly not a one day project.  Things would have gone a lot faster without the need to cut out each individual circle, a hole punch would be a wise investment.  However, it certainly isn’t impossible without one!

Happy crafting!

Simply Living

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Bathroom Topiary

As promised, here is a tutorial for the cute little bathroom topiary you got a sneak peek of over in my Finished Wall Art post.

I originally got the idea from Greenbean’s Crafterole (her’s are way cuter than mine!), and decided it was time to put my own spin on the cute decoration for my mini-bathroom overhaul.

First stop was good old Target.  I was able to pick up 50% of my supplies there…the rest I had lying around the house.  Here’s what you need:

All of the supplies I purchased came from the $ spot at Target, woohoo!  Bucket, ribbon, and Loofah (2/$1).  I actually purchased the ribbon for another project, but it fit right in.  Now for the supplies I had lying around – Chopsticks (which I used for a dowel, you can use anything.  If you remember from my last topiary project, I used an unsharpened pencil), glue gun, tissue paper, and colored gems.

First step, cover the dowel in ribbon.

Cover dowel (chopstick in my case) with ribbon

I added a small dot of hot glue, attached the ribbon and started wrapping.  I only covered about 3/4 of the way down the chop stick because the bottom half will be covered inside of the bucket.  Once you get down as far as you need to go, end with another dot of hot glue to secure everything.

Now, make a rather large glob of hot glue on the uncovered end of your dowel (chopstick in my case) and attach to the center of your bucket.  Hold in place for at least 30 seconds while the glue cools down and firms up.

You should then be able to let go and your dowel will be securely in place.  Because I didn’t have any empty ribbon rolls hanging around, I just rolled up tissue paper to use as space fillers.  Again, this step is so that you need less of the gems to fill the bucket.

I then attached the Loofah.  Cut off the excess loop of rope. (this is so you can hang a loofah in the shower, but you don’t want it hanging down from your topiary.  Just be careful not to cut it too close, because this is also what holds to Loofah together!)  I then found the center, added a generous amount of hot glue, and stuck on top of the dowel (chopstick).  Hold in place for at least 30 seconds to make sure the glue has cooled down and firmed up.

If necessary, add more glue to make sure everything stays in place securely.  Once everything seems fairly solid, it is now time to add the decorative filler to the bucket in order to cover up the tissue paper.  I happened to have gems lying around that were the perfect complimentary color to my bucket.

Excuse the blurriness!

Now, your topiary is complete!

 Don’t you think its a whimsical but cute accessory for the bathroom?  I love how they turned out, and I think the added pop of color brighten up the room immensely!  And the best part?  This project cost my $2.50!  I did end up making two, which came out to $4 (buckets – $1/each, Loofah – 2 for $1, ribbon – $1, everything else I already had at home) talk about a bargain!   Here they are in place:

 Stay tuned for another bathroom spruce up project later this weekend…and the full bathroom reveal next week.  Thanks for stopping by!

Simply Living

I was featured at:

Free Paint!

I just got my free sample of Valspar Paint in the mail today!  Head over to facebook, “like” Valspar, and then click on the Power in Color Tab.  Every day starting at 9am, they give away 1,000 free samples.  Limit of one per household, only while supplies last.

I ordered mine last saturday, and it just came in the mail today!  You can choose from 3,000 different colors.  I received my 8oz. sample, two mini-rollers and a tray, coordinating color chips, and a $5 coupon for Valspar paint.

Excited for my next project….remember what I created here with a simple 8oz. paint sample?  Get yours today!!  I love free!