DIY American Flag Pallet ((Happy Fourth of July!!))

Hey y’all and Happy 4th of July Eve!!  We’re packing up and headed to Lake Murray for my momma’s annual (huge) July 4th party, but daddy had to work this morning and Cohen and I were up super early, so we decided to craft a bit!!  I wanted to bring a one-of-a-kind hostess gift to my momma (attn ladies – never show up to a party empty-handed, without a gift for your hostess…even if it’s your momma, lol).  I was kicking a volley ball around the front yard with CJ and noticed the pallets I begged Andrew to bring home last year because I just HAD to have them RIGHT THEN, but of course never did anything with.  So, I brainstormed and noticing the lines of the pallet wood, decided this would be a quick and easy DIY!  It’s even quick and easy enough to do today, tonight or even tomorrow morning just in time for your 4th of July celebration!!

S U P P L I E S

  • Pallet (mine is the standard large size)
  • Acrylic* paints (red, white and blue) *make sure to use acrylic if your pallet is going outside – a water-based paint may run if it gets wet)
  • Paint brushes (I had this pack of 3 in the closet, so it was perfect for the 3 different colors)
  • Painters tape
  • A smaller detail brush for the stars

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S T E P S

1.  Use painters tape to tape off the square for the blue section at the top left corner of the pallet (this is pretty since the natural lines of the pallet are already there).  I just taped off where the vertical middle board was on the back of the pallet and since there was space between the horizontal boards I didn’t have to do any horizontal taping.

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2.  Start alternating the red and white stripes by painting every other horizontal pallet board.  This is where the kids can really help.  Just make sure to paint some red or white paint to mark which colors to use on which board (learned this the hard way).

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I left the vertical boards on the back of the pallet unpainted because I wanted to bring out the natural wood color and a rustic feel, but of course you can paint those as well!  May even look REALLY cool with some kind of designs painted on them!!

3.  Let dry (shouldn’t take too long) and peel the painters tape off.  Paint in the square with the blue paint and set aside to dry completely before the next step.

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4.  My original thought was to use a paint pen to perfectly create the stars, but I was out of acrylic paint pens and like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to use the water-based one I had because I know that with this being outdoors at the Lake it’s going to get wet.

So I found a smaller-bristled detail paint brush and tried to paint a star.  FAIL.  I’m used to using paint pens and I’m awful at controlling a paint brush unless it’s wide, even strokes, so I went with a sort of ‘asterisk’-ish looking star.  I ended up loving the way it turned out because it gave it a little more character (and having to paint 50 perfectly pointy stars stressed me to no end).

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5.  Let dry completely (always the hardest part!) and display!  Voila!

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(((Cohen VERY quickly tired of me trying to tell him what to paint and where (2 year olds, am I right!?!), so I gave him a small block of wood I found in the garage and told him to go to town.  Easier on him, and WAY easier on me.  So that’s what you see him painting in the picture above…and of course I have to give a shout-out to his finished product.  I think I love it even more than mine!!)))

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From my family to yours, I hope you all have the best Fourth of July holiday ever filled with fun in the sun, fireworks and LOTS of amazing cookout food!

H A P P Y  B I R T H D A Y ,  A M E R I C A ! ! !

XO LJ

“Mouse” Money! {an easy Disney DIY gift}

This past weekend, my Sister-in-Law (who is not only one of the best moms I know, but one of the hardest workers), channeled her inner-Pinterest side and came up with a super creative Easter Egg Hunt for my niece and nephew.  The best part about the hunt was that with each clue came a letter…which, when put together in the end, revealed that they’re headed to Disney World for their birthdays!  ((Talk about the best moment ever for a 5 & 7 year old…OMG, wait – how are they that old?!  And how am I that old!?))  Anyway, while I take a second to collect myself, enjoy this adorable collage Abby posted on Instagram of the event:

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Fun, right!?

Since they live in Michigan and we live in NC, we usually just send online gift cards for their gifts because it’s easy and what’s more fun than getting to pick out your own gift?  But because this birthday was a little bit more special with their trip, I wanted to make their gift a bit more special.  I first thought of the gift cards they have at the register in Target for Disney World or the Disney Store.  But that also seemed a bit less special, so I figured why not decorate my own $20 bills and send that?  Actual money is more fun than a gift card anyway (and $20 to a kid seems like $1M)!

Thankfully, it crossed my mind that I wouldn’t want to hand over a really cool $20 bill with Mickey and Minnie all over it to a clerk at Disney World who would just throw it in with the other plain Jane bills.  So I Googled images of $20 bills and thank God I did because it turns out that coloring a set of Mickey ears on Andrew Jackson and putting stickers all over an actual bill is considered ‘defacing US Government’ and is punishable by law.  {{with my luck, this is totally something I would be unintentionally arrested}}.  So I downloaded a copy of this $20 bill (download yours HERE) and go to decorating!  You can download an image of any bill, in case you’d like a lesser value or if you’re a baller and want a Benjamin or something.

I wanted the stickers to look like they were actually printed on the bill, so I made sure to find some with a transparent background and settled on THESE from Hobby Lobby.  They have the best sticker selection around, so even if you didn’t have a Disney theme, you could probably find whatever stickers themed for you and your gift!

I colored a Mickey ears hat (the pinnacle of ALL Disney World souvenirs!) on President Jackson and decorated Will’s bill with Mickey and Goofy and Aubrey’s with Minnie and Daisy.  I used the rest of the stickers on the card that I hand lettered and on the outside of the envelope to really tie the theme together.

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In the envelope I also included a check for the amount of actual cash that we were gifting (don’t forget this step because in the same way that defacing a dollar bill is a Federal offense, you can’t actually ‘spend’ the printed copy).

So now Aubs and Will have money to spend and a fun keepsake to remind them of their birthday Disney trip!!

XO LJ

Boo-Boo Bunnies {{a fun & sugar-free Easter DIY & a free printable!}}

When I was little we had these little guys all over the house.  My super creative momma would make them for Easter gifts and they were always in our Easter baskets (mostly because while they’re intended to be used for boo-boos, I’d always play with mine instead…and I’m sure my brother would bury him along with the little green army men in the backyard).

In my head I have these dreams of actually sitting down and creating all of these fun mommy DIYs that I remember my momma doing from childhood or that I see on Pinterest, but the truth is I barely know what day it is and rarely do I get the chance to wash my hair.  So I was thrilled when my momma called to ask how many boys and girls were in Cohen’s class so she could make them each a Boo-Boo Bunny for their Easter party.  Considering they’re super cute and kids love them (and it’s an awesome break from all of the sugary-filled Easter eggs from this past week’s egg hunts and parties), I knew these would be a hit.  Plus, ALL kids get scraped knees, bumps and bruises – so putting an ice cube in the back of one of these is a great way to dry up the tears and replace them with a smile!

The best part…they’re super easy and only cost a few bucks to make!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Standard sized washcloth.
  • Small rubberbands (the ones that are used for the Rainbow Looms are really great – and really cheap!)
  • Googly eyes
  • White pompoms
  • Ribbon
  • Glue

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STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS:

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{because I didn’t actually make Cohen’s bunnies and I wasn’t about to ask my mom to take a picture of each step, I found this awesome picture tutorial from The Southern Institute}

BRINGING THE BUNNIES TO LIFE (my favorite part):

Simply tie a super cute piece of ribbon around the bunny’s neck to hide the rubberband, glue googly eyes on the head, a small pompom on the front for the nose and a larger pompom on the back for the tail.  Easy peasy!  (If you’re as imaginative as my son, this is also the part where you give the bunny a name.  This is Cohen’s new bunny – let me introduce you to Sully…we’ve been watching a lot of Monsters, Inc this week).

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FREE DOWNLOADABLE POEM:

I knew from the look on my husband’s face when he came in and saw 10 washcloths twisted into bunnies that some people may not be privy to the Boo-Boo Bunny, so I found this adorable poem on Pinterest and created a 3×5 print to attach it to each bunny.  I just used a mini clothespin to attach the card to each of my bunnies, but ribbon or twine would look cute too!

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Get your free download of the poem HERE.

Because these were going to each kid in Cohen’s class, I put each bunny and poem in a cute Bunny treat bag, but my favorite way to gift them is to just nestle them into an Easter basket.

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Your kids will love it and trust me, when you’re little and scrape your knee, the Boo-Boo Bunny does actually make you feel better 🙂

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H A P P Y  E A S T E R!!

XO LJ

Valentine’s Day DIY Heart-Shaped Crayons {and a FREE Printable!}

When we were little, I remember my momma making homemade crayons for my brother and I.  She would put them in regular cupcake tins (which were still SUPER cool), but as I was trying to brainstorm a fun and unique Valentine that my 2yr old could hand out during his VDay party on Thursday, this crazy idea popped into my mind!  And it turned out AWESOME!  Be prepared to be the coolest momma ever (with incredibly minimal and inexpensive effort!  DOUBLE SCORE!!) when you make these custom crayons for your kiddos.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (seriously, there are only 2 things on the list!)

VDAY 1

  • Crayons (I used new box of 64 Crayola crayons, but this is a GREAT way to use those millions of bits and pieces from broken crayons that you can’t figure out what to do with).
  • Silicone baking molds (I used heart-shaped molds that were on special at Michael’s because of the VDay holiday, but you can use any shape mold, custom for any event – just make sure it’s a silicone so it’ll be easy to pop them out once they’re melted).

WHAT TO DO

  • Peel the paper off the crayons.  This took the longest time (for 64 crayons, approximately from the beginning of Frozen until Elsa finished singing “Let It Go”).  The blue ones seemed to give me the most trouble…not sure why, I mean blue is my favorite color.  Oh, and MAJOR DISCLAIMER: don’t peel crayons after recently getting a new mani.  I’ve completely ruined the polish on my thumbnail.  Better yet, just let your kids peel them.  Done and done.

VDAY 2

  • Break each crayon into 4-5 pieces.  I found this to be a great stress-reliever.  Also, something my 2yr old could do to help ‘contribute’.
  • Fill the molds halfway with broken pieces.  You can be totally anal like me and pick and choose color schemes and fill each mold individually, or you can realize that kids don’t care one bit about the time you took to perfectly coordinate each crayon, and just fill them at random.

VDAY 3

  • Put the mold(s) on a baking sheet and bake at 400* until they’re melted (with my oven, it took about 10 minutes).
  • Take out and let cool COMPLETELY.

VDAY 5{{Don’t worry if they come out looking a little less than pretty.  This is what mine looked like and trust me – once you pop them out and turn them over they’ll be beautiful!}}

  • Once cool, pop out of the mold, and that’s it – YOU’RE DONE!

VDAY 6{{See…pretty!  I told you.}}

Now if you’re making this for Valentine’s Day, like I am, you’ll also need small baggies to package them in.  And what’s a Valentine without a cutesy saying to go along with it?  Click here for the FREE PRINTABLE VALENTINE TAG (hand lettered by yours truly!)

I used a small decorative clothespin to attach my tag to the bag, but ribbon would be super cute too!

VDAY 7

That’s it!  There are tons of silicon molds in various shapes and sizes, so keep this idea in mind when it comes to favors for birthday parties, homemade gifts or just for a rainy day activity with your little ones!

XO LJ