Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Nailed It - Valentine's Art

Love is in the air....

Yes, I know, it's been a while since I posted something crafty. But I promise to make up for it - really I do.

For now, here's a super easy (and relatively painless) piece of artwork for Valentine's Day.

I had been thinking about how to decorate the house for V-Day for a while. Partly because we have like two things for Valentine's Day (excluding all the wonderful printables - love me some free art), and partly because I hadn't really done anything vaguely crafty since Christmas. It was well overdue.

So, 'trolling' around on Pinterest, as you do, I came across this cute little piece that was posted from Mod Podge Rocks guest blogger, Anna, from My Life and Kids, who did this great 'DIY version' of a Potterybarn sign.

Now, I liked the idea, but there were a couple of things I wanted to change. I didn't want it that big - I just don't have the space to store it after V-Day and I wanted to 'jazz it up' (and let's be honest, I figured there had to be an easier way to do it than to print out letters, etc.). 

I took a look at what I already had on hand, and what do you know? Inspiration struck!! (and it was going to be a free craft. Gotta love that).

So, here's what I did. I grabbed one of my 8" x 10" canvas's, some pages from a magazine (side note - I wanted to use newspaper print, but it doesn't take well to Mod Podge and I really wasn't keen on getting covered in newspaper ink) that had just plain text on them, Mod Podge, a couple of brushes, chip board letters (left over from another project I did eons ago), handy dandy adhesive dots and red paint.

I painted the letters first (both sides, cause, as you know, I'm funny like that), and while they were drying, I cut the pages from the magazine so that they covered the whole canvas (including the sides) and had a few tries at working out how to lay them out.

Once I was happy with that, I broke out the Mod Podge and brush, and starting placing the pages on the canvas.

As soon as I had all of them where I wanted them and they were sticking to the canvas nicely, I coated it all twice with Mod Podge (good 30 minute dry time between each coat). I did find that when I first put them on, the print and colors from the other side of the page started to show through, but once the Mod Podge dried, you couldn't see them, so don't freak out if this happens to you. Take a deep breath, walk away and grab a coffee (or glass of wine if it's 'that' time of the day).

When you are satisified that everything is dry, work out how you want to place your letters, whack the sticky dots on the back of the letters and then add to the canvas making sure to press nice and hard (I used a paper back book under the canvas to provide support). Give it a few minutes to make sure the adhesive has done it's job and then 'voila!', easy V-Day art.

See, told you it was a piece of cake.

(And because I can't stop once I start, while I was waiting for everything to dry, I put together these fun little Valentine's for Little P to give to her classmates - thanks to Simply Modern Mom for the inspiration {and the free printable})

Cute, huh?

So, did I 'nail it?'


Life Lessons from Disney

"My daughter is NEVER going to watch ANY Disney movie." 

A friend said this to me about a year ago. She was, shall we say, 'disgusted', at how badly typecast females were in their animated movies (granted, they are just animated versions of fairy tales that had been around for eons, but this little fact seemed to be wasted on her).

"There is no way I am going to let my little girl think that if she just sits around and does nothing, that her 'prince' will turn up and take her away to live happily ever after. Real life isn't like that.' And while I get what she is saying, I think she's missing two very important facts:

One: Each of these stories does have a moral and can teach kids (both boys and girls) something, and 

Two: It's a frigging fairy tale.

Fast forward to last week, and this same person is raving about how wonderful Disney's 'Brave' is. Now, I'll give her this much, Merida is a very strong female character, but I'd like to point out a few things here:

- She's a spoilt little girl who thinks everything needs to go her way and when it doesn't she puts a curse on her Mother and turns her into a bear.

- Eventually she learns her lesson, but in the process she's managed to turn her brothers in bears, had half the castle destroyed, scared the crap out of the servants and pushed her mother to almost exhaustion.

- It's a story.

Now don't get me wrong, I love me a good animated flick (I think we own every PIXAR movie ever made, including the shorts), but when people start saying that these things are a bad influence on our kids, I kind of switch off. Yes, I agree, that watching too much of these movies (or any film for that matter) and putting too much 'faith' in them can be bad for a kid's ideals - but as long as they aren't 20 something women who are still waiting for their Prince Charming to turn up, I really can't see the harm. I see them more as a chance to teach your little one something. And that goes for all of them, not just the ones with Princesses in them. There's 101 Dalmations, The Astriocats, Peter Pan, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dumbo, Bambi.... the list goes on and on. I think at last count there are something like 52 animated films in the Disney repertoire.

Kids are going to believe a myriad of things (hello - Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy anyone?) and some of them are going to be helpful and teach them to work those brains of theirs and others are going to just be for fun (helping the imagination along). And there's nothing wrong with that. 

To each their own, I say.

Now you will have to excuse me, I am going to go and put on 'Alice in Wonderland' (now that movie is a trip).


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Choo Choo

We are on what I like to call the 'Slow Train to Pottyville'. Yes, we have been 'training' if you can call it that, for a while now, and for the most part, Little P is agreeable (not real keen on the whole 'peeing on the potty' part, but she's pretty good with the 'poopie in the potty'), but lately she's been down right miserable anytime I've put her on it. Even her teacher has said that what was a really positive start has regressed back to her just not being interested in the whole 'toilet experience'.

I have no doubt that there a multitude of reasons as to why. But that's okay. I'm not going to hound her into submission just because I'm tired of changing diapers (which I am), or that I think it's time that she starting acting like a 'big girl' (and let's face it, we kind of want our babies to be our babies for a little longer than they probably should). Yes, it would be nice if she went to the bathroom on a regular basis. Sure the money we would save from not having to buy diapers would come in handy, but you know what? It'll happen when it happens. As long as she's not still wearing diapers come pre-school (like a couple of little kids I know), then I think we are doing a pretty good job. 

Our big problem is that we don't really have a 'set in stone' schedule. I mean, we basically know what we are doing each day, but things (like life) just seem to happen and it throws everything out of whack. I can just see friends of mine rolling their eyes at that. 'Kids need a strict routine'. 'A daily schedule is important for them.' 'Structure.' 'Structure.' And one more time 'Structure.' Blah, blah, blah.

I agree, totally. If that's what your life is normally like, than 'woo hoo' for you. Our life just isn't - never has been. Little P has a bed time, and she has a regular time when she naps and eats, but other than that, it's kind of just a 'wing it and see what happens' kind of situation at our house. And for the most part, it works for us. For the most part. But with the limited time that I have with her these days, I'm not going to keep us housebound for two full days and do nothing but take her to the potty every 15 minutes. Aside from the fact that I wouldn't get a thing done, I just don't think that's how she works. 

I've contemplated the whole 'potty training boot camp' and 'train your child in three days' deals, but honestly, I don't think they would work for us (and I can just hear a friend of mine yelling at the computer screen 'You don't know till you try!!' - you know who you are). I really think for us, it's going to be a Pavlovian Experiment. You pee in the potty, you get a treat. You poop in the potty, you get a bigger treat. You do it on your own, well here's your very own large screen TV! 

Okay, maybe NOT the TV but you get the point.

Every kid is different. Some are trained by the time they are two. Some as early as 18 months, some as late as 4 years. But at the end of the day, they are potty trained, and that's kind of the point isn't it?

So, jump on board the train. We are going to take a leisurely trip to Pottyville. There's plenty to see on the way, and the company will be stellar (oh, and we have cookies).