Flower Mirror DIY

I was going to call this “Kid’s Flower Mirror DIY” but then I realized that it’s so cute I would probably hang it anywhere in my house and therefore eliminated the word “kid” from the title. Let’s just say if you like fun mirrors, this may be the one for you! I’m finishing up a playroom for my daughter and I always add mirrors to rooms that need a little help with natural light as they help to bounce what light there is around the room. I was going to just hang a plain ol’ mirror, but then I realized that it may be the perfect opportunity to turn a round mirror into something a little more playful, and that’s when the flower mirror idea was born! It’s super easy to make—I’ll show you how!

Supplies:
-round mirror (I used this 18″ one)
-wooden circles (I used these 6″ wide circles)
epoxy for mixed surfaces (like gluing wood to metal)
-paint in your choice of color
-X-acto knife or utility knife
-painter’s tape

First, you’ll want spread your “petals” out so that you can see how many you need (I used 10). It’s up to you if you want them all to be touching or have some space between them, but I spaced them so they were all as close together as they could be while being evenly spaced.

Once you know how many you want to have, you can paint your petals your desired color! I actually think leaving the wood grain could also be pretty if you have a set of circles with a nice grain pattern.

Once your petals are dry, use a piece of cardboard to cut out a circle the same size as your mirror. Flip all your petals over and arrange them in proportion to the cardboard mirror so they are where you want them to sit on the real mirror. Use painter’s tape to tape the petals together and tape them to the cardboard as well for stability. Gently flip the petals and cardboard over so the petals are right side up (you may want to slide it off the table onto a large flat tray or cardboard piece and then flip them all together to keep it more stable).

Once the petals are right side up, place your mirror on top where you want it to sit and and use the painter’s tape to mark where the location of the mirror should be so you can easily see where to place it when the glue is added. Make sure to think about where the top and bottom of your mirror is so you can decide how the petals will sit in relation to how the mirror hangs! I also cut off a large chunk of the top middle petal (the part hidden by the mirror) so that I could still access the hanging tab at the top of the mirror when the petals were glued on. I suggest adding folded tabs of tape onto the top edges of the mirror so you have handles to hold onto as you lower the glued mirror onto the petals—super helpful!

Flip your mirror over and add your glue to the underneath edge of your mirror. Carefully flip your mirror back over and use the tape tabs (or hold onto the sides of the mirror) as you carefully place the mirror back within the tape guidelines. Place some heavy books on top of the mirror edges and allow the glue to fully set. Once the glue is set, carefully remove the painter’s tape and cardboard from the mirror and petals and your mirror is ready to hang!

How sweet is that?! I love how it’s fun and whimsical without being super over the top. I think I’m going to make that area into a reading corner (that little white swivel chair is so cute) so it will be super cute to watch her read books under the flower. Whether you make this for a kid’s room or for a room where you’re a kid at heart, I hope this helps brighten your space! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Flower Mirror DIY

I was going to call this “Kid’s Flower Mirror DIY” but then I realized that it’s so cute I would probably hang it anywhere in my house and therefore eliminated the word “kid” from the title. Let’s just say if you like fun mirrors, this may be the one for you! I’m finishing up a playroom for my daughter and I always add mirrors to rooms that need a little help with natural light as they help to bounce what light there is around the room. I was going to just hang a plain ol’ mirror, but then I realized that it may be the perfect opportunity to turn a round mirror into something a little more playful, and that’s when the flower mirror idea was born! It’s super easy to make—I’ll show you how!

Supplies:
-round mirror (I used this 18″ one)
-wooden circles (I used these 6″ wide circles)
epoxy for mixed surfaces (like gluing wood to metal)
-paint in your choice of color
-X-acto knife or utility knife
-painter’s tape

First, you’ll want spread your “petals” out so that you can see how many you need (I used 10). It’s up to you if you want them all to be touching or have some space between them, but I spaced them so they were all as close together as they could be while being evenly spaced.

Once you know how many you want to have, you can paint your petals your desired color! I actually think leaving the wood grain could also be pretty if you have a set of circles with a nice grain pattern.

Once your petals are dry, use a piece of cardboard to cut out a circle the same size as your mirror. Flip all your petals over and arrange them in proportion to the cardboard mirror so they are where you want them to sit on the real mirror. Use painter’s tape to tape the petals together and tape them to the cardboard as well for stability. Gently flip the petals and cardboard over so the petals are right side up (you may want to slide it off the table onto a large flat tray or cardboard piece and then flip them all together to keep it more stable).

Once the petals are right side up, place your mirror on top where you want it to sit and and use the painter’s tape to mark where the location of the mirror should be so you can easily see where to place it when the glue is added. Make sure to think about where the top and bottom of your mirror is so you can decide how the petals will sit in relation to how the mirror hangs! I also cut off a large chunk of the top middle petal (the part hidden by the mirror) so that I could still access the hanging tab at the top of the mirror when the petals were glued on. I suggest adding folded tabs of tape onto the top edges of the mirror so you have handles to hold onto as you lower the glued mirror onto the petals—super helpful!

Flip your mirror over and add your glue to the underneath edge of your mirror. Carefully flip your mirror back over and use the tape tabs (or hold onto the sides of the mirror) as you carefully place the mirror back within the tape guidelines. Place some heavy books on top of the mirror edges and allow the glue to fully set. Once the glue is set, carefully remove the painter’s tape and cardboard from the mirror and petals and your mirror is ready to hang!

How sweet is that?! I love how it’s fun and whimsical without being super over the top. I think I’m going to make that area into a reading corner (that little white swivel chair is so cute) so it will be super cute to watch her read books under the flower. Whether you make this for a kid’s room or for a room where you’re a kid at heart, I hope this helps brighten your space! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Waterproof Table Cover DIY (For Arts + Craft Time!)

I have to confess that as a mom, I struggle a bit with having messy fun and letting go of control over trying to keep things relatively clean at times. It’s not that our house is perfectly clean (it’s like really, really far from that usually!), but I still try and keep messy crafts to the outdoors for easier cleanup when possible. That’s all fine and good if I can just move an activity outside and we still get to paint cardboard boxes or have a mini car wash (or dinosaur wash—Lola’s favorite!), but there’s a good six months out of the year here where that’s not really possible, so we have to bring the crafts indoors!

I’ve been wanting to make a simple waterproof cover for our breakfast nook table for a while now so we could paint/craft in that space with less worrying about mess and I finally made one! I even added some large piping to the edge of the table cover as a lip to keep paintbrushes and markers from rolling off the table constantly, which keeps me from having to fetch a crayon or marker every 20 seconds as they just naturally seem to want to roll onto the floor (and keeps the floor cleaner as well!). While it is a large item to sew, it’s still a pretty easy thing to make—I’ll show you how to make one, whatever shape table you have!

Supplies:
-waterproof fabric* (I used this as I was looking for a more natural waterproof fabric)
-sewing machine
-straight pins
-large piping (I bought 4 yards of this piping)
-fabric scissors

*The yardage you’ll need will depend on how big your table is! My table is 42″ round and I did a 6″ tall side and had plenty with the two yards I ordered, but not all fabric is the same width so make sure you think about that too.

First, you’ll want to measure the table you’ll be covering and add a 1/2″ to each side so you have a 1/2″ seam allowance all around. I added a tiny bit more to my top panel measurement just to make sure it wouldn’t be too small for the table, so I would suggest doing that as well. Cut out a piece of cloth those dimensions. My table is relatively small so I just turned it upside down and placed it on top to trace and add 1/2″ around—haha! Then, cut two long strips of fabric to make the side panel that were 7″ wide. You can get a good idea of how long you need your side strip to be by adding up all four side measurements of your square or rectangle table (with that 1/2″ seam allowance included). For a circular table like mine, you can measure the diameter of the table (add 1″ for the 1/2″ seam allowance on both sides) and then multiply that number by 3.14 to find the circumference. Remember that from math class!? I would add 2-3″ to that number to have a little extra and that’s how long your side strip will need to be. Since it’s a long strip, you’ll probably have to join more than one strip together to get your total length. So just face the right sides together of two strip ends, sew them together with 1/2″ seam allowance, and flatten the seam allowance and top stitch the flaps down for a more finished look. Once your top is cut and your side piece is long enough, take your top piece and pin your piping 1/2″ in from the edge all along the top of the fabric (so you want the rope part of the piping to hang over that 1/2″ mark … my piping had a 1/2″ fabric allowance on the other side of the rope so I could just line it up with the edge exactly). To finish your trim when you get back to where you started, just cross over the ends and you’ll just sew over the hump of where they cross. You can buy a special piping foot for your sewing machine (just look into which fits your make and model of machine if you want to get one), but I usually just use a zipper foot as that’s what already comes with most machines and it works well enough. Load your zipper foot onto your machine and position your needle so you are sewing just on the outside of the rope part of the piping and sew all the way around (you’ll have to help it a little as it goes over the crossed ends hump at the end). Once the piping is in place, pin your side panel to your top panel, right sides together with the piping in the middle. To find the exact length your side panel should be to go all the way around perfectly, pin it all the way around and when you get back to the beginning again, pin the panel together where it should close so you can sew it together with a 1/2″ seam allowance on both ends and trim any excess fabric. Then sew the two ends together (with that 1/2″ seam allowance), push the seams flat and topstitch them down to have one long connected side panel. You can unpin a few inches of the side panel from the top piece if you need a little slack to sew the panels together, just re-pin it back on when the two panels are attached. Sew all the way around with your zipper foot taking care to sew just on the outside of the piping rope sandwiched between your fabric (you should be able to feel where it is with your fingers pretty easily). Once finished, you can trim your 1/2″ seam allowance to a 1/4″ one if you would like for a little less bulk.
And now you have your piping at the connecting point for your top and side panels!
To finish your cover, fold under the bottom 1/2″ of your side panel and sew the folded edge all the way around. That’s all! Now your table cover is ready to use!

How legit does that look? I love that I can throw something on the table that won’t slide around (like when I just try to put a piece of cardboard under projects), it’s waterproof, wipeable, and the piping lip is great for catching items before they roll to the ground. If you wanted to make piping out of your waterproof fabric so it was all waterproof/wipeable you could do that too! I think it’s great for kids to be able to get messy and do lots of creative projects, but I also like easy cleanup and less chores on my long to-do list, so this is a win for everyone (and waterproof smocks like this one help save laundry too!). So far this has been a huge hit for watercolor painting and wipes off really easily when we’re done—let’s get messy! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with ACS for Desktop Actions.

Cloth Party Favor Bags (With Free Printable!)

I don’t know about you, but anytime I go to an event where there are gift bags for the guests when you leave, well, I always feel like a celebrity picking up their “swag bag” on the way out of an Oscar’s party or something. Giving out little gifts to your guests is a great way to say “thank you for coming” and let them know you appreciate their effort and presence at your event. While it’s totally up to you what items you want to fill your favor bags with, we partnered with Canon USA to share a cute printable so you can customize some cloth favor bags to be as cute as the rest of the decor at your celebration (and you can do it all yourself at home)!

Supplies:
-cloth favor bags (I used these 5″x7″ bags)
-Canon Light Fabric Iron-On Transfers Paper 
Canon PIXMA TS9521C printer
-fabric scissors and iron
favor bag printable (right click to download)

Download the favor bag printables and print them out onto iron-on transfer paper. The Canon PIXMA TS8521C is perfect for craft projects, and Canon just came out with their new new light fabric iron-on transfers paper that we’re loving! You can use it for lighter colored fabrics and the color quality really comes through! If you want to make these at home we have one design option with four of the same designs on one page for making lots of smaller bags like I did and then another option with just one design per page that you can scale up as needed for larger bags. The files are already mirrored for you so they will look right once you iron them on the bag.Cut out your designs with scissors to leave a 1/8″ border all the way around the design. Place the designs face down onto the center of your bag and iron your designs on per your iron-on sheet instructions (I pressed mine with a dry iron on the cotton setting for 60-90 seconds).
Once your designs have cooled, slowly peel off the backing and reveal your design!

How sweet are those?! We made a few different types of designs so there would be one that could work for birthdays, kid parties, baby showers, weddings … basically any party you want!

Depending on what your party is, you can fill your bags with whatever you like! Things like candy, little toys or stickers are great for kid’s parties and small beauty items and candles are fun for showers … the possibilities are endless! I like that these cloth bags can be reused as gift bags again by the guests or they can also store lots of things around the house (I save and use small cloth bags like these when I pack for trips—super helpful for organizing my daughter’s suitcase to hold socks or hair accessories, etc.). I feel like I always appreciate extra little touches like these at events and I love that you can easily batch make these at home with a printer and an iron. These cutie bags are a great end to a fantastic event and I hope that they make it onto your party list soon! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop. Graphic Design: Mara Dawn.

A Pep Talk For New Moms

Parenting is the best thing I’ve ever done, but also the most difficult. In my lowest moments, I feel like a piece of my soul has been chipped away, never to return. I know that sounds dramatic, but it happens to all of us! It’s hard work.

After adopting two children in two years, I learned a thing or two about the highs and LOWS of parenting. It’s a roller coaster for the emotions and there have been so many days where I needed a massive pep talk by the end of the day. So I thought I would leave one here for anyone who might need it. 🙂

You are doing great! 
If you don’t read the rest of this, it’s OK as long as you hear this: You are amazing. 

It’s so easy to focus on what you didn’t do perfectly today, but there is no such thing as a perfect mom. If you’re doing your best, you are doing GREAT. Remember, no one knows how to parent your children like you do. You were made for this!

Take care of yourself. 
I understand how hard it is to take the time to go get a massage or schedule lunch with a friend or even just leave the house for an hour alone. This is really hard for me when I’m overwhelmed, but it’s part of my job to stay healthy. Do whatever you need to do to “put your own mask on first.” That can mean a lot of different things, so just remember that your health really matters. Take any chance you can to recharge your batteries.

Do you need an internet break? 
If you are going through a tough time and all of a sudden everyone on the internet is REALLY annoying, maybe take a little break. You won’t miss that much. It will be there when you get back. Getting offline can be a great form of self-care.

Have you tried therapy? 
The best thing I did for myself as a new parent was start regular therapy sessions. In past decades, there was more stigma around therapy; now most people I know go regularly. I’m so glad therapy has become more “popular” because in my experience it’s helped me work through things faster and stronger. I can’t recommend it enough. Even on weeks when I don’t feel like I have anything “big” to talk about, I’m always happy I took the time to go.

Let go of guilt. 
One of the biggest things I had to get over as a new mom was my guilt for not being everything I was before kids anymore. There are days (and months) where I am just not the friend or the granddaughter or the business owner that I want to be. There are times when I’m not able to be a 10 out of 10. I had to let it go. Part of being able to balance and juggle my new life is giving myself permission to cancel something or to not volunteer for everything, or to realize that there will be so many years in my future where I have more to offer—but that time is not now. In the years I have little kids in my home, they take up a lot of space in my heart and mind, leaving less room for other things, even important ones. I had to accept this. I hope you can too.

Tune out shame—especially from yourself.

If you’re still reading, I am sending you the biggest hug. I know it’s imaginary, but I still hope you can feel it! Being a parent is not easy, it’s a marathon and it’s OK to do it imperfectly. I hope you feel seen and supported today. I hope you find a way to take care of yourself or give yourself a break—you deserve it!

xx- Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

25 Things To Do With Kiddos When Stuck At Home

These are weird times, my friends. Believe me, I feel it too. I know a lot of you have also had to scramble and rearrange your lives to have your kids at home more than usual this past week (or are potentially facing that prospect in the near future) and I’m in that same boat as well, as we’ve had our daughter at home with us for the past two weeks instead of in daycare. We’ve definitely had to be more creative and pull out a few tricks (and make a few desperate online orders!) to help fill the time, so I wanted to share some of our favorite things we’ve done so far (and a few that are on my to-do list) in case they could be helpful to any of you as well!

1. Sticker books: Elsie talked so much about these books that I had to get one for Lola a few months back and they are really fun! They also have animal versions which are really cute and we love these reusable sticker ones as well that I usually bring out for car trips (they have some large scale versions too).

2. Do kids yoga together: We usually take Lola to a free yoga class at the library on Mondays, but now that that’s out I found this fun series of kids yoga videos and she loves them! So far, the farm and jungle ones geared towards smaller kids are her favorite and we can either do them with her or they’ve also been helpful when I’ve had to make dinner to help keep her engaged for a bit.

3. Scavenger hunt walk: Get outside in some nature if you can! While playgrounds are out for now, being outside in general isn’t off limits. Whether you are in your yard or going for a walk around the block (with appropriate distancing if you pass someone), take a printable list with you and check off all the items you can find! Rainy day? Don’t worry, there are indoor versions too!

4. Make pet rocks: On your walk, keep an eye out for some good rocks and bring them back to paint, add some google eyes, or glue some yarn hair onto and keep as a pet (maybe come up with a food they like to eat and have them feed it every day and eat the snack when they aren’t looking). If you can’t get out for that walk or are short on supplies, you can also get a kit for this idea too!

5. On-demand coloring pages: Lola loves to color, so I find free coloring pages online and print them for her to color. If it’s one I know she’ll want to do multiple times, I print off two of them and give one to her to color and keep the other one as my “original” so I can quickly copy it on our printer (it has a “copy” function) without having to go and find it again online. There are a million free coloring pages sites, but this one is a good place to start with and you can do a general search online for specific characters as well.

6. Craft kit for their particular interest: There are so many craft kits online for specific things, so it can be fun to order a few to stash away for when you’ve run out of ideas and really need something new. I got Lola this robot kit and she’s going to love it! The nice thing about kits is that they come in all age ranges, so you can get things for older and younger kids to fit their development level. Jewelry kit? Dinosaur kit? So many to choose from!

7. Make cards for friends/people they miss: Lola asks several times a day about her friends from daycare that she misses, so we made them a card to send them and I think it was helpful for her to do something to let her know she was thinking of them (if you’re concerned about potentially mailing germs you can always text them a photo of your kiddo with the card).

8. Get dirty and have a popsicle bath! If you can get outside and dig in the dirt or run in the rain and get a little messy (and get those wiggles out), come back in for a popsicle bath! We definitely have a lot less complaints about bath time and hair washing when a popsicle is involved … or a lollipop … or whatever!

9. Start a music jar: Elsie started a music jar last year and it’s kind of been a “thing” that’s spread out to a lot of other families (ours included!). Todd is in charge of our jar and he’s usually the one that decides when to add in a new artist (the Queen week was my favorite so far), but you could do this daily with kids and maybe have older kids look up the artist and find out a fun fact about them as well.

10. Puzzles: Lola has gotten really into puzzles so I ordered a few inexpensive puzzle packs so I could bring a new one out every so often and she gets so excited to try a new one. Puzzles are also great because it’s another thing you can get in different skill levels and keep harder ones for younger kids to do as they get older. And for extra fun, two words—floor puzzle!

11. Sensory bins: I’ve shared it all in this post, but that table set up in the photo above is so fun and a great indoor activity that you can customize in different ways. If you don’t want to go the full table route, you can just buy some dried rice and beans (or make some rainbow rice!) and put them into bins or large bowls, throw in a few spoons, sand shovels, scoops, little cars or animal figures and have fun! You can modify this fitted bedsheet hack to contain the mess as well.

12. Make nature/food stamps: Find rocks, flowers, sticks, etc., and dip them into paint to see what shape they make when you use them as a stamp! Same goes for things like celery, potatoes, and other hard veggies (am I the only one who made potato stamps as a kid?).

13. Have a dance party: This is a HUGE one for toddlers especially who need to get those wiggles out at some point or, well, things just don’t go well. When I can tell she’s getting a little crazy with energy, we have a dance party to her favorite upbeat songs and it’s a great way to expend some energy if you can’t get outside! Right now, Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” is her jam.

14. Have a new “friend” come to visit: This is actually my favorite thing we’ve done so far. If your kid is still in the stuffed animal phase, try ordering a new stuffed animal (or get one down from the attic that you had as a kid and you’ve been saving to give to them) and have it come to visit/live with you guys! You can totally hype up this event for days or weeks and receive calls and letters from the new friend coming to visit until they show up at your door (extra points if they bring a little suitcase with them with their belongings). You can even host a little party when they arrive with decorations and snacks! We did this for Lola and it made her SO happy!

15. Make a racecourse: Grab some cardboard boxes or large sheets of paper and draw roads to make your own racecourse for cars or anything with wheels! You can make bridges and ramps with the cardboard and things like paper mailing tubes from your recycling pile make the perfect tunnel as well.

16. Bake a treat: I think we are probably all eating our feelings a little bit right now, so let’s make it an activity with the little ones to bake some cookies, make some gummy bears, or some sticky buns. Cooking is a great activity for kids to learn as it teaches them patience and how to be a helper—we use these kid’s knives with Lola and she gets so excited to help with cooking.

17. Have a family movie night: Popcorn, snacks, and their favorite film … grab a cozy blanket and just relaaaaax for an hour or two. Snuggle those little bodies and take a few breaths. You earned it.

18. Paint! I know it can be a bit messy, but let’s face it—kids of all ages love to paint! I just got this easel for Lola that’s similar to what they use at her daycare (and it’s something I’ve wanted to have for her at some point at home) and I like that she can paint/draw with the paper roll attachment as well as have a chalkboard and whiteboard side. You can use paint dot markers or paint daubers, acrylic paints, or watercolors (these are Elsie’s favorites for her kids) and a waterproof smock like we have helps cleanup be a lot simpler as well. Throw in a mat for the floor as well if you have flooring you’re concerned about.

19. Make an animal craft: Pretending to be animals is a great imaginative play option and you can make it more fun (and fill up more time) by making a mask or costume to actually be the animal. There are lots of free animal masks online you can just print and cut or you can download patterns to sew masks as well (Lola and I have been working on this fox mask and I can’t wait to see her wear it!).

20. Outdoor chalk and bubbles: If outside is an option and the weather is nice enough, a driveway/sidewalk with some sidewalk chalk and bubbles is basically a pop-up party to a toddler! Here’s a DIY bubble recipe with wand ideas …

21. Play “library” and read books: Especially when kids reach the play acting age, it can be really fun to pretend you are a library with all their books (especially if they are sad their library is closed like we are). You can set up your library station in front of their bookcase and have their stuffed animals or other family members come through and pick out books to check out. Give them a stamp (and some ink if you want) and let them stamp the inside cover of a book when it’s checked out and make some library cards with the name of each borrower. When all their checking-out duties are done, sit down and read for a bit!

22. Video chat with loved ones and friends: Probably one of the best things about this happening in 2020 is that we have the video chat capabilities, so use it to your advantage! Do some Skype playdates to say hello to their friends, call their grandparents or cousins—let them feel connected to people they miss. It may help you feel not so alone and stir crazy to talk to other people too.

23. Learn a new skill: Is there a new skill milestone that you’ve been planning to do with your kid soon? Maybe now’s the time! Being inside a lot may make it a good time to potty train if they are ready, learn to ride a bike in your driveway, start some online music lessons … anything that will fill up some time and check a new skill off the list is a double win! We’ve been night potty training Lola and transitioning her to a big kid bed the past two weeks, so that’s been a nice distraction and something she’s been excited to learn. Now, just a note here that it should be something you are excited to do (even if it takes some effort and planning) and not something that will totally stress you out more!

24. Make your own playdough: While you can just buy it already made, why not make it an event and make your own? It’s really fun to make it yourself, kids love to help, and you can choose whatever colors you want to make as well.

25. Dress up party: Whether you already have some items in your dress up box or you just let them wear some of your clothes, choose a theme and have a dress up party! It could be a fancy tea party, you could get out swimsuits and pretend you are at the beach, or just have a silly category and try to look as mismatched as you can! My mom always had a big trunk full of thrift store prom dresses and whatnot that we loved to play with, so I have some pretty good memories from dress up play. Things like this mask kit can also be fun for dressing up and it’s a craft too, so it’s a double win.

For a final word, just remember that it’s OK to feel that this is a hard season—it is! It’s not the same as having your kids home under more normal circumstances, so don’t beat yourself up for doing things like more bribes or treats or screen time than you normally would like to just to make it through. We are all doing the best that we can and we are all in this together. Hope some of these ideas will not only help fill your time but also help make some happy memories along the way! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.