Category Archives: Crafts

Boo Boo’s Halloween Costume

Halloween has come and gone. And though Boo Boo doesn’t eat candy – at all – I still somehow ate too many Halloween goodies…cause, you know. I couldn’t let them go to waste.

Because he doesn’t partake in candy or really care about dressing up, I was originally going to skip the fuss, and make it easy on myself. Until I remembered Boo is in daycare now. Of course he needed to get dressed up, because all of the other kids would be dressing up. And there was no way my little guy was going to be left out.

So I devised a plan for a super simple costume. A duck. Though my guy doesn’t talk yet, he does like to quack, so it seemed the obvious choice. I was going to sew a felt beak and eyes to a hoodie and that’d be that…Until I got carried away and decided that the hoodie needed feathers. Lots of feathers. Like, feathers covering the ENTIRE THING so that it really looked like a duck, and not just a hoodie with a beak. So I ended up cutting out hundreds of felt feathers and stitching each one on individually (I’d originally planned on using fabric glue but my test didn’t turn out).

Duck costume

Duck costume face

In doing so, I found myself in a mad dash to complete Boo’s costume in time. I worked on it every spare second I had, and stayed up late every night. All other chores and activities were ignored (the house became an absolute disaster)….but I managed to finish in time.

Duck face

Boo Boo in his duck costume

But Boo’s costume isn’t really the point of this post (though it turned out awesome).

The point is that I got to craft something. And it felt GREAT.

It made me realize that even though my free time is extremely rare these days, I still need to try and carve out a little time to make. And by “make” I mean to actually produce something tangible – editing pictures or writing a blog post just isn’t enough. I need to work with my hands. I need to use my creative imagination which tunes out all of the random noise and garbage that can creep into my head.

When I’m making something, I have a goal. I feel like I have a purpose (I mean, other than keeping my children alive of course). I think about how I can improve upon my initial idea, and strategize how I’m going to execute it. During the actual “making” I’m focused and calm. And when I finish whatever it is I’m making…I feel a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Just for me.

And I need a little more of that these days.

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Activity Tower

Some time ago I came across the concept of an activity – or learning – tower. Which is effectively a raised and enclosed space that puts your little one at counter level so they can participate in the goings on in the kitchen.

I looked into buying one, but the cost was….expensive. And shipping was even more so. So I started looking into alternatives, and discovered a ton of people who’ve hacked the IKEA Bekväm step stool to create their very own (much more affordable) activity towers. After perusing a few of them, I decided it was totally do-able. Either with my dad or, ahem, for my dad!

I forwarded him an example (this one), and he said he was game!

So during our visit to Kemptville at the beginning of March, I brought along a Bekväm stool, we went to Home Depot to pick up some wood, and my wonderful dad made Boo an activity tower in time to bring it home with us!

Boo in his activity tower 1

Boo in his activity tower 2

It was immediately a HUGE hit. So much so, that I felt its absence when I took it apart and brought it downstairs to paint – which put it out of commission for 2 whole days.

I used an outdoor paint to ensure maximum protection against water – super important as I’ll often station my little man at the second sink with me as I do the dishes, and he’s prone to dumping cupfuls of water onto himself, the tower, and the floor. But that’s ok. As long as he’s having fun and keeping busy, and most importantly not crying and pulling on me to pick him up, I’m a happy mama.

Boo at the counter

So now, instead of struggling to get meals prepared, or do some cleaning in the kitchen, I can station him at the counter with me, and we “work” side-by-side (and by “work” I of course mean he empties the contents of the dish rack back into the sink, or on to the floor…but at least he does so peacefully!).

Boo examining the contents of the dish rack

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Finger Painting!

With all this cold weather it’s been tough keeping Boo occupied and entertained all day in the house. When I’m home alone with him I’ll often get him to “help” me with chores in between play breaks…he “helps” me clean closets, the bathroom cupboards, and vacuum (he’s seriously cute as he attempts to manipulate the vacuum cleaner). I try as much as possible to turn it into a game until, of course, he starts throwing things into the toilet.

Sigh.

When I’m working, however, Boo spends his time with the nanny. She is, of course, all about Boo. There are no household chores, or grocery shopping trips to take him on…it’s all Boo all the time. So when they can’t go outside, it can get pretty repetitive pretty fast. I mean, there’s only so many times they can read The Very Hungry Caterpillar or quack like a duck together (though, to hear Boo go on and on quacking, I think he’d be pretty pleased to quack all day long…that, and eat yogurt). So to keep him occupied on these cold cold days, I’ve been busting out the craft supplies for the two of them to enjoy.

Most recently….it’s been finger paints:

Crayola Washable Finger Paints

I’d been debating making edible finger paint, or just buying some….considering my lack of time, and my little guy’s tendency to put nothing in his mouth, I figured we were safe with just buying it…especially when I found this four-pack on sale at Toys R Us for under $3.

Of course he went and wiped his face with the back of his paint-covered hands….I think he looks particularly mischievous here (we’d already wiped the worst of the paint off)!

Boo looking mischievous

Apart from the odd face wipe, and dropping paint-covered items on the floor, Boo took the whole endeavour pretty seriously. He concentrated very hard on manipulating the paint with his fingers, as well as with a number of different brushes and foam brushes.

Boo painting with his fingers

Boo examining a paint brush

Which isn’t to say he didn’t get excited whenever a new blob of paint was put before him…

Boo gets excited about painting

Boo smiling with paint on his face

In the end, we had about five pieces of original Boo art….two of them stood out and have been taped to the cupboard door. I liked how bright this one is, and how you can really see how he manipulated the red paint with his fingers:

Boo's Red Period

And this is my favourite:

Boo's bird in a nest

That night while giving Boo his dinner, I kept looking at it (it was on the kitchen table drying)….and I realized there was a very distinct bird in a nest:

Close-up of Boo's bird in a nest

Sure, it’s kinda like finding shapes in the clouds…but this is one hell of a bird, if I do say so myself!

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Boo Boo’s 1st Birthday

Last week my little man turned one! I was far more excited about it than he was. Obviously.

Despite his lack of interest in getting older I still wanted to make the day special. So we spent the morning playing together, and having his 12-month photo shoot:

Boo in 12-month onesie

After a big hug, kiss and a “Happy Birthday” from both Mama and Dada, I dressed Boo in his 12-month onesie made by his Nana. As you can see, he was very thoughtful that morning, obviously contemplating his life so far, and what it means to be one year old.

Boo in his jeans and moccasins

Once he’d finished with his deep thoughts, though…he got on the move…

Boo poking Mama's glasses

…he very closely examined Mama’s glasses…

Boo laughing

…which for some reason was lots of fun!

IMG_5468

Mama and Boo Boo dancing to celebrate ONE YEAR OLD!!! Hurrah!

Boo and his Jeep

As the day wore on, though, Boo started to get a little pensive again (i.e. he was getting sleepy).

When Boo went down for his nap, that’s when I got busy decorating!

Sesame Street Pom Poms

I’d seen Sesame Street pom poms on Pinterest previously, and decided they’d be a great low-cost, but high impact, decoration that I could re-use in Boo Boo’s room after his birthday. A week or so before the big day I bought tissue paper at the dollar store and made each pom pom using 5 sheets, cut in half (making each pom 10 sheets thick – so nice and full). I already knew how to make poms from my wedding, so this was a cinch. There are tutorials everywhere for poms. I won’t bore you with another one.

I had plenty of card stock and construction paper in my craft stash for the faces, which I mostly drew free-hand (except for the eyes…I think I traced a stacking cup for those). Once everything was cut out, I used double-sided tape to adhere the faces to the poms.

Here’s a close-up of each character (I’m quite proud of them!):

Grover Pom Pom

Grover Pom Pom

Big Bird Pom Pom

Big Bird Pom Pom

Elmo Pom Pom

Elmo Pom Pom

Cookie Monster Pom Pom

Cookie Monster Pom Pom

Oscar the Grouch Pom Pom

Oscar the Grouch Pom Pom – this one was my favourite!

1st Birthday Napkins

To stick with the Sesame Street and primary colours theme, I bought a green dollar store tablecloth, yellow paper plates, and – my only decoration splurge – 1st Birthday Elmo napkins from the party store.

Boo Boo's presents

And of course there were presents!

When Boo woke up, we explored the house and its new birthday decor:

Boo looks at his presents

Boo looking up at his stack of presents. I think he was eyeing the Elmo gift bag, and the Big Hugs Elmo that wasn’t wrapped (it was delivered earlier that day….so no time to wrap it!)

Boo and balloons

Besides the Sesame Street poms, I’d also hung balloons throughout the house at “Boo level” for him to see better, and play with.

After enjoying the decorations, we went for a walk to the park. I’d intended for Boo to have a ride on the swings…..only they were already gone!! Completely completely gone! (It wasn’t just a matter of the swings being taken down for the winter – the whole swingset was dismantled and gone…they’ve been working on improvements to our local park, so I can only hope new (and better) ones will be put up next spring.)

Boo and Mama on a walk

Boo and Mama enjoying the fresh air on his Birthday walk!

Boo playing in his room

Back at home Boo seemed to once again be contemplating the meaning of life…

When the husband got home from work, he was probably more swept up in the idea of Boo’s birthday than Boo! So we opened up a present right away – Big Hugs Elmo:

Boo, Dada and Big Hugs Elmo

Dada, Boo and Elmo!

Boo Boo and Elmo

Boo was so excited to see Elmo move, talk and sing to him!

After playing with Elmo, Boo Boo’s Grandma and Grandpa came over for dinner…..and this is where I suddenly don’t have very many pictures, as I got busy giving Boo his dinner, eating dinner, trying to entice Boo to open his presents (and then basically opening them for him).

I did, however, take pictures of my cake!!!

Cookie Monster Cake

Boo Boo’s Cookie Monster Cake

After debating and torturing myself over what Sesame Street character to make – I decided to make two cakes. A Cookie Monster cake to celebrate with Boo Boo’s Grandma and Grandpa, and an Elmo cake to celebrate with his Nana and Gramps (still to come – the Elmo cake currently resides in my freezer – I have a sneaking suspicion it is neon red).

I tackled it in two parts….one night I made the cake and then put it in the freezer. The next night was reserved for the icing….and what a LONG night that was. I haven’t decorated a cake in years. No joke. I think I was still living with my parents in my childhood home. So this was an experience. Luckily, I have a Michael’s about 5 minutes away so I was able to purchase all of the supplies I needed, including some ready-made black icing.

The cake itself was a simple yellow cake, and the icing buttercream (with LOTS of colouring!). I used the recipes from this post by Kelly Luna, minus the cookies and cookie dough. It turned out amazing! So so delicious. So much so, that my mother-in-law (whom I’d been warned might not be too keen on blue icing) had a second piece! Wow!

I’d love to tell you that Boo Boo went crazy for the cake and dived right in….but nope. He kinda poked at it a little. I put a small piece into his mouth and he seemed interested in the new taste….but overall, he didn’t seem too impressed :(

Boo Boo and his Cookie Monster cake

Boo Boo and his Cookie Monster Cake

Maybe he’ll be more into cake number two (he is very attracted to red, so here’s hoping the Elmo cake proves more enticing)!

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St. Dorothea: A Necklace in Gold and Red

Awhile back my mom had a request: “Make me a red necklace”…having received no further information (casual, dressy, full, sparse, gold, silver, whatever), I took a look at what red beads I had available, and let inspiration take over…

Still drawn to those filigree-type discs I’d purchased awhile back and which I’d used for San Marco, I got to work, and ended up with the following:

Using mostly small floral disks and red glass beads, I created the main necklace….then, using bent and beaded eyepins and one large central disk, I created the pendant component:

Because the gold disks still reminded me of St. Mark’s basilica in Venice, I thought I’d look to its beautiful gold mosaics for this piece’s final touch: its name. While perusing the listing of saints that are depicted in the basilica, I came across St. Dorothea – the patron saint of florists – with red flowers and red detailing on her robes. The fit couldn’t be better.

It got me wondering, though. Who was she? So I decided to look her up in an extremely un-scholarly way to discover the following:

Dorothea lived in the Roman province of Turkey in the early fourth century AD, during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian. As it happens, Diocletian was a real nasty bugger when it came to persecuting Christians (he had a whole era named after him: the Diocletian persecution). After executing her parents, Dorothea was tortured, and then offered leniency if she would only renounce Christianity, worship the Roman gods, and take a husband.

She politely declined the offer, stating “Do what you have to do, that I may see the One for whose love I fear neither death nor torments, Jesus Christ….It is He who invites us to the garden of His delights, where at all times the trees are covered with fruits, the lilies are perpetually white, the roses ever in their freshness….”

Since she wouldn’t give in, Dorothea was sentenced to death. On the way to her execution she was mocked, and asked by the lawyer Theophilus to “… send him apples or roses from the garden…” She promised to do just that, and then was promptly beheaded. Afterward, an angel is reputed to have fulfilled her promise – bringing three apples and three roses to the lawyer; an event which shocked him into converting to Christianity, and ultimately led to his being martyred as well. [ source 1 2 ]

…as a result, she is always depicted with roses.

Huh. I kinda just liked that she was wearing red.

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