Magnetic Monthly Calendar

diy magnetic whiteboard monthly calendar

WOW!!  Another year gone, where did it go?

This year I’m determined to master this ‘organization’ thing.  With a home based business, four kids and numerous pets, I definitely need to be on top of my game, but my life usually melts into one busy chaotic mess!  No more excuses for missed appointments, no more mornings chasing my tail looking for supplies for a forgotten school project, just a calm & relaxed life.  Well a girl can dream!

I spent many hours on Pinterest, so what’ new you say, but it was necessary research, Okay.  I know there are lots of tech savvy apps out there to help but I’m a visual person.  I need to write things down, make lists and display them somewhere I can’t avoid them.  I decided a magnetic calendar would work best for me, as I have a ton of magnets available, but I wanted to be able to write on it too.  I looked around for a chalkboard or white board that was also magnetic but the only ones available were quite expensive.  So I made my own, using an old frame I had and wrapping paper left over from Christmas.  Its an easy project and looks great in your kitchen, office or school room.

Supplies:

Picture Frame with a plastic not glass insert.  I used a 16 x 20 inch poster frame I purchased a few months ago from Walmart.  It was a simple frame with a thin black plastic edge, but I added an old ornate white wood frame over the top to make a statement.  Choose a frame that fits in with your decor.                               Galvanized Sheet Metal, which you can find at Home Depot or Lowes – Wrapping Paper – Double Sided Tape – Permanent Marker – Ruler – metal cutters.

magnetic calendar how to

The first thing to do is take the frame apart.  Cut the metal sheeting to size with a pair of metal cutters, using the cardboard backing of the frame as a template. Next cover one side of the metal with a piece of wrapping paper and stick down the edges with double sided tape or glue.  A light coloured simple pattern works best, so that any notes you write on the board will show up.

diy whiteboard calendar

Then you need to measure out the grid for the calendar and draw the lines on the back of the plastic insert of the frame with a permanent marker.  I drew boxes that were 2.5 inches wide by 2 inches deep, leaving a little space below the grid to add a To Do/Shopping List.  You also need to add the days of the week above the grid making sure that you write them in reverse so that when the plastic film is flipped over the words will be the right way round.  I actually cut the days from a sheet of adhesive vinyl using my Cricut as I didn’t trust my handwriting to be that clear.

Now all you need to do is reassemble the frame, add the magnetic numbers and month or simply write them on with a dry erase pen, and start organizing your life!

diy magnetic whiteboard monthly calendar

 I love the splash of colour the magnets add, plus its quicker to change the days up from one month to the next, and you can also use them to hold appointment cards or notes. If you would like to purchase a set of number magnets or month magnets they are available in my Etsy store, just click on the links.

Happy New Year to you all, 2016 is going to be a good one. I can feel it!

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Counting Down to Christmas

felt advent calendar

Advent Calendars are one of my favourite Christmas traditions. I have fond memories of me and my sisters racing to the kitchen each crisp December morning to be the first to open that day’s door on the calendar and see what was behind it.  Its a tradition that I have continued to share with my kids and each year I try to come up with a different idea. I’ve been working on quite a few pillow orders lately so this year I turned to my fabric stash for inspiration!

I started with some charcoal grey felt and cut a piece about 16 x 25 inches.  I turned over the top and stitched it down to make a slot for a wooden dowel (or stick brought back from a dog walk in my case).  Then cut out 5 strips 2.5 x 12.5 inches in cream felt and stitched those on to make the pockets and added our name to the top in red felt letters.  If you don’t have a sewing machine then you can simply glue the pieces together (a hot glue gun works best).

diy advent calendar kit

I created the numbers with my button maker (alternatively cut out felt numbers and glue on) and pinned them on in a random order so its more fun to find the right day and then cut out little cards from scrapbook paper and popped them into the pockets.  On each note we add little activities and ideas to do each day to celebrate the season & spend special time with each other.  For example: build a snowman together, make smores over the barbeque, take a drive/walk to see the christmas lights, have a hot chocolate treat, make cookies for friends.  You can add little gifts or candies in some of the pockets too as an extra surprise.

If you don’t have the time to make your own calendar this year, the felt pocket calendar, and also the number pins are available in my Etsy store

Paper-Tree-Advent-Calendar

This is last year’s advent calendar.  A special portable design as we were travelling to visit friends and family.  Instructions on how to make it are here.

There’s still plenty of time for you to craft your own calendar ready to celebrate the month of December!  Here are a few more ideas I love, to inspire you.

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For those of you who are handy with a saw and want a more rustic decor this one’s for you from the DearLillieBlog

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These beautiful paper ornaments can be used to decorate a tree, adding one each day - Silhouetteamerica.com

Advent Main Brick Wall Solo

A colourful Christmas tree - www.velcro.com/blog

Whatever style of calendar you choose, have fun counting down the days till Christmas.

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Gifts Mom will Love

This Sunday is Mothers Day, and as a thank you to all the mothers, grandmas and just awesome women out there I’m offering a 15% discount off my entire store until the end of May. Simply use code MOMSDAY15 at checkout and treat your Mom, or just treat yourself you deserve it!

For me, Mothers Day is about showing Mom just how much she means to you, letting her know she is appreciated and loved even though you may not always show it. So kids if you’re listening here are my ideas for the best Mothers Day gift ever.

A HANDWRITTEN NOTE – Write a heartfelt letter or card to Mom that she can keep and reread from time to time.

TIME - This is the most precious gift you can give, so spend the day with Mom doing what she loves to do.

BRUNCH - Make Mom her favourite breakfast or as the weather is going to be so great this weekend, plan a picnic in the park.

RELAX - Take care of the chores for her so she can relax and read a book, you know that one she’s had since Christmas and still not got around to reading.

HANDMADE GIFTS - For me, these are always the best gifts to receive, so much love and care goes into creating them. Here are my top picks from around the web. Note to my kids: number 1 is so pretty and its recycled too!

 

mothers-day-gifts

1 Colourful Flower Tins – Dosfamily.com

2 DIY Cashmere Cup Cozy – Setting for Four

3 Keepsake Box – A Night Owl

4 Pom Pom Bouquet - craftingagreenworld.com

5 DIY Nautical Rope Vase - JulieBlanner.com

6 Kids Artwork Towel – Setting for Four

7 Baking Cannisters – ThePaintedHive.net

Happy Mothers Day to all you lovely moms, stepmoms, moms to be and grandmothers.  Have a wonderful weekend relaxing and getting spoiled!

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diy photo frame whiteboard

It feels like party central in our house at the moment! This past month we’ve celebrated 2 special birthdays (an 18th and a Sweet Sixteen) and had family visit from England.  That’s a lot of memories to capture, and our fujifilm instant camera is just perfect for recording all the fun.  Point, click and the photo appears right before your eyes. Only problem was we had nowhere to keep them. A few found their way to the fridge, others to a shelf and the rest were stuffed in a drawer.  I wanted to create something to display the photos where we could write captions or notes to each other and this is what I came up with.

diy whiteboardA fabric backed frame which does double duty as a whiteboard and photo holder.

Its a simple and inexpensive project, and adds a great pop of colour to our kitchen.

diy photo display board

You will need:-

a frame (I chose one with perspex instead of glass as I wanted it to be safe for my kids to write on)

fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap

felt or adhesive letters

double sided tape

glue

string

pegs

pushpins

scissors

diy whiteboard tutorial

First you need to take the frame apart and cover the back of the frame with your choice of fabric or paper.  If you are using paper you can simply cut it to the same size as the backing but as I was using a thin fabric which was quite slippy, I wrapped it around the backing.  Make sure you pull it tight to get out all the creases before taping it down and neatly trimming the edges.

kitchen quotes

To personalise the frame a little I handcut letters out of felt and glued them to the fabric. We dance in our kitchen – a lot!  We even have a disco ball hanging above the island with a coloured spotlight to reflect coloured dots all around the room while we cook and entertain, so this seemed the perfect quote.

this kitchen is for dancing

Then you simply put the frame back together. To display the photos I wrapped lines of string around the front of the frame and secured them on the back with a pushpin.

diy whiteboard

You can use pegs or paperclips to attach the photos to the string and add your own messages by writing on the perspex with dry erase markers. When you want to switch up the photos you can wipe the frame clean.

polaroid camera display board

How do you record your family birthday celebrations?  Let me know if you create your own memory board.

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The Luck of the Irish

shamrock garland

Its St Patricks Day next week, Tuesday the 17th to be exact. We are not Irish and usually don’t celebrate this holiday, but as my brother in law is visiting (and did I tell you it just so happens he trains with London Irish Rugby Club) I thought we should make an exception this year. Plus after this brutal winter we need a party!  Having not had a St Paddy’s day shindig before I searched the web, any excuse to browse Pinterest, and found some great ideas.  Here are my faves.

lucky

1. Four leaf clover wreath - Blue Sky Confections

2. Paper Shamrock Garland - Lia Griffith

3. Shamrock Spinach Chips - Zakka Life

4. St Patrick’s Ombre Cake - Cupcakes and Cashmere

5. St Paddy’s Day Party Photo Booth Props – PureSimpleThings

6. Green Beer – The Mix Bartending Services

st paddys day invitation

Here are the invitiations I created for the event, stylish fridge magnets, in handmade brown paper bags! That way our guests won’t forget.

I’ve sewn several metres of shamrock garland this afternoon, now to tackle the food. Hope these ideas will inspire your own ‘Emerald Isle’ party.

st patricks day decorations

I’ll post more photos of the festivities on Instagram and Facebook so join me there!

Be Lucky

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Valentine Heart Garland diy

I’ve never been a huge fan of the commercialness of Valentine’s Day, but I love the sentiment.  Its the perfect excuse to celebrate the people I LOVE and let them know just how special they are!  A gift from the heart (preferably hand made) is what Valentines means to me.

DIY heart garland

This year, in place of the usual card, I chose to make something a little different – Paper Heart Strings.  I have several strings hung in my studio window and I love how they twirl and the shadows they make on my wall.

recycled valentine ideas

These heartstrings are so easy to make (and won’t break the bank)  I already had all the supplies at home. I used old magazines but scrapbook paper, giftwrap or wallpaper would work just as well.  I made a heart template out of cardstock and then traced and cut out all my hearts.  I used 12 in each strand but you can make them any length you wish.

paper heart valentine

Next I sewed each heart strand together, leaving a 1″ gap between each heart and making sure I left longer threads at the top of each row so I could tie them up.  At the end of each string I added a strip of paper so that I could write a little message of love.  If you don’t own a sewing machine then simply use twine and glue to attach the hearts.

paper heart decorations

And Voila.  You can hang several heart strings as a decoration or send a single strand to someone you love, with a heartfelt message attached.

valentine diy gift

love you valentine

How will you be celebrating this year?  Are you pro or anti Valentine’s day?

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A Scarlett Tradition – our Advent Calendar

I love this time of year, and my favourite part is the countdown to Christmas. It’s become a tradition in our house to create our own advent calendar and, in place of gifts or chocolates each day we do an activity as a family to celebrate the season!

Recycled advent calendar

Over the years our calendar has taken many forms, including ornaments on a twig tree – magnetic gift boxes arranged on the fridgenumbered envelopes – gift tags in a frame, but this year needed to be a little different as we will be travelling for half the month. Our calendar is a fun way to celebrate the countdown to Christmas and it keeps us laughing and focusing on the real spirit of the season during the chaos and busyness that December brings.

Kids activity advent calendarAs we won’t be home for the holidays this year, but instead travelling around stopping with various friends and family along the way, our calendar has to be compact and mobile. I decided to make 24 cone shaped christmas trees using various green patterned scrapbooking papers I had lying around, each one slightly smaller than the last.  I cut out red flowers and numbered them 1 to 24 and attached them to the trees, adding a small tag with the day’s activity written on the back.

Family Activity Advent Calendar

This is how they all looked before I stacked them into one big Christmas tree.  I chose activities like, taking a walk around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights, watching a christmas movie, making paper ornaments, baking cookies for our neighbours and my favourite, having an indoor snowball fight using paper or styrofoam snowballs. I can’t wait to open this one!

For a great list of activity ideas check out adrielbooker.com.

Paper Tree Advent Calendar

Once all the trees were finished I stacked them all in order one on top of the other.  To keep the trees together and to make transporting them easier I placed them all inside a recycled Tim Hortons’ coffee cup, their festive designs make them a perfect choice!  (Being a coffee addict has its advantages). I turned the cup upside down and placed a wooden skewer through the already made hole in the centre of the lid and then fed it through all the paper trees, adding a glittery star to the top.  The cup then fits over the tree to keep the calendar safe when travelling.

Recycled advent calendar

Day one has been ‘opened’ and the activity of decorating the real christmas tree completed.  As we remove the little trees each day we can create our own minature forest on the dresser.

Christmas tree advent calendar

Celebrate all the little moments with your family this season and share the joy.

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Are We There Yet! (my top 5 tips for surviving a road trip with kids)

The finishing line is almost in sight, no more packed lunches, homework, last minute surprise projects to complete and no more dragging my kids out of bed, yelling at them (I mean encouraging them) to hurry up, or we’ll be late, again!  Summer is on its way and for our family that means “Road Trips”.  With four kids, and the cost of air travel, its really our only option and fortunately my kids love them, (my 12 year old feels cheated if our holiday destination is not at least 5 hours drive away!) We’re fairly good travellers but it can still get a little rough after hours crammed in a car together! Here are my top 5 tips for a fun Road Trip experience.

1. Keep Them Entertained – We have the usual DVD player in the car and the kids bring their favourite electronics but are favourite way to pass the time are still the classic games I played when I was young.  We always collect the license plates of all the US states and Canadian provinces. We have a book that stays in the car and each trip we try to better the record from our previous trip.  Hawaii is proving elusive but we have managed to check off Alaska!  Ispy is another favourite, for the younger ones we look for something of a specific colour instead of beginning with a certain letter to make it easier, although the kids can get quite specific “I spy something that is duck egg blue” for example.

Car Bingo is always a hit.

road trip bingo

Last year on our trip to New England I made these activity sets for everyone.  They contain a magnetic tic tac toe board, bingo and pages to journal or doodle on.  Plus word search and spot the difference puzzles and are favourite game dots & spots – you take it in turns to join two dots together with a line and whoever completes the most boxes wins. They were a hit and as everything fits perfectly into a tin it was easy to take with us into restaurants and to the beach to continue the fun. I’ve had quite a few requests from friends to make these, so have added them to my Etsy shop.

road trip tic tac toe game

road trip games

2. Breaks – We try to stop every 2 hours for bathroom breaks, and to stretch our legs. Plan interesting breaks along the way, taking in a great view, or historical spot, or just stop at a local park and play a quick game of frisbee to burn off some energy before sitting still again for a few more hours. At rest stops where space may be limited pack chalk for a quick game of hopscotch or bring a jump rope.

3. Snacks – Pack snacks and lunch for the journey, its much better than the type of food available at the service stations and then you can stop when your kids are hungry.  For snacks on the go try and pack foods that are not too messy and have garbage bags and wipes on hand too, someone will always spill something! As we don’t all get hungry at the same time and to avoid squabbles I pack everyone their own lunch bag with their favourite foods (limiting the amount of sugar so they are not all bouncing off the seats).

4. Surprise Gifts – A long journey can get boring, so to avoid the chorus of “Are we There Yet?” I wrap a few surprise gifts and hand them out when we reach certain points in our journey, to boost morale! I choose things they can play/create with. Pipe cleaners are great for making into creatures or jewellery or if you are my two boys – swords!  Another favourite are sticker books, window markers (must be washable or Dad will not be a happy camper!) and embroidery threads for making friendship bracelets.

5. Patience – Pack lots of this. This should have been number one really because however well you plan things will go wrong, that’s life!  Try not to stress and go with the flow after all this is part of your holiday, enjoy and have fun!!

In case you haven’t been near a TV in the last few days, The World Cup has started.  It really shows off the multi cultural spirit of Canada, everyone wearing their team colours & flags everywhere!  Whenever we are in the car, either on the way to school, the grocery store or soccer practise we try to identify all the different flags we see.  A friend of mine suggested that I make a bingo card for my activity set with all the flags so we could mark off the ones we have seen.  Such a great idea (thanks Michelle) and so I did!

We have had so much fun with this, and its a great way for the kids (and me) to learn a little about world geography  If you’d like to play along with your kids too then you can download this bingo sheet and print it off.  So far we have marked off 22 of the 32 countries! Let me know if you manage to see more!

world cup

download-buttonThese bingo cards are strictly for personal use only. If you are kind enough to share please do not link directly to the downloadable file, but to this page instead.

Whatever your plans are this Summer, I hope that if it includes a road trip somewhere, that these ideas will help. I’m always looking out for new ideas, so if you have any tips for stress free Road Trips let me know in the comments below.

Happy Travels

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Last Minute Ideas for Easter Decor

This weekend its Easter, our first big family gathering of the year, although in our case substitute friend family, as our biological family live too far away!  Our traditional egg hunt, where all hidden eggs are colour coded to avoid unnecessary squabbles, is followed by a long dog walk in the forest, and then back home for a great big nosh up! I don’t usually decorate the house too much for Easter but do like to dress up the table. If you are like me and leave everything to the last minute, these ideas might inspire you.

These bunny eared napkins are perfect for both formal and casual get togethers.

ft_msl03bunny01_l.jpg Martha Stewart

These sugar cookie nests are a sweet way to show everyone to their seats and double as a party favour.

Great Ways to Celebrate with Succulents

This week its my daughter’s birthday and at the top of her wish list were plants for her bedroom.  Succulents to be precise, which are a perfect fit for a plant neglecting family such as ours! Just a tiny bit of water every few weeks and they will flourish, plus they come in such a variety of shapes and colours.

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Spring is still struggling to get a foot hold here, and its a great way to help it on its way and bring nature inside.  I bought these mini succulents at Home Depot (plus one other little plant I fell in love with) and found the white gravel and glass vases at the Dollar Store.

succulent terrariumI added a little soil, recycled from a pot in the back yard, to each of the vases and repotted the plants. Next I sprinkled a little of the gravel on top plus some small pebbles borrowed from our gravel pathway and Voila, a beautiful inexpensive and green gift

succulents as gifts

Succulents are a popular floral trend for weddings and other events.  There are such a wide variety of shapes and colours –  dusty blues, minty greens, pinks and purples and they work in both formal elegant affairs and rustic backyard get togethers. Here are a few ways you can incorporate them into your next celebration.

Succulents make great eco-friendly favours – even better if they can do double duty as a place setting – they don’t need much soil so can be potted into almost anything, teacups, votive holders or wine corks. Once they get home your guests can replant the cute greenery in their garden to cherish the day!

Living-Favor-Succulentsweddingchicks.com

As part of the table centrepieces, they add a contemporary feel to the formal dinner party or a rustic charm to an outdoor shindig! The best part is they require so little water and fuss that they can be prepared well in advance of the event and will last long after its finished. No problem with wilting flowers!

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For your wedding bouquet they can be mixed with any flower or stand alone for an equally stunning arrangement. Have you ever thought about what happens to the bride’s bouquet after the wedding.  It can be dried but the colours will begin to fade. Imagine replanting your bouquet and taking a small cutting from it each anniversary as a reminder of your best day ever!

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Succulents can even be used to dress up your cake to continue with the theme!

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Hope I’ve inspired you to use some of these unusual plants for your next celebration big or small! Let me know in the comments if I did.

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