Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to make a pool table out of cardboard

Image via Instructables

Children can get tired of toys pretty quickly--especially, dolls, which seem to need a never-ending kaleidoscope of accessories to remain interesting. It's prudent to begin making a few of these components yourself. You can craft an entire dollhouse yourself, but start with just a few objects then work your way up. Follow this guide to make a pool table that dolls and action figures alike would be proud to rack.

Using sharp scissors, cut two strips of poster board two inches wide and four inches long.

Working along the four-inch side, create a fold every inch. This will turn your flat sheets into two square columns. Secure with masking tape. These will be the legs of your pool table.

Cut another section of poster board into a three inch by six-inch piece. This rectangle will be your tabletop. Paint it green or apply green felt with craft glue.

With the tip of your scissors, carefully poke holes in each corner of the tabletop.

Cut out four one by one inch squares of nylon stocking. Flip the tabletop over and tape the stocking square over the holes in each corner. This will create the pool table "pockets."

Attach the tabletop to the legs with the stockings facing down.

With colored clay, roll out 15 balls of even size. They should be small enough to fit through the pocket holes. The balls should be baked at 275 degrees to harden. You could also paint marbles, but they will likely be too big to fit in the holes.

To create pool cues cut barbecue skewers into three-inch sections.

Glue three one-inch pieces of skewer into a triangle. This can be used to "rack" the balls.

Your billiard room set will be the envy of every doll in the playroom, rack 'em up!

Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys spoiling her niece with homemade goodies. Danielle is particularly fond of needlepoint, working with pipe cleaners and the smell of a fresh box of crayons. Read her work at

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tidy Tips: Sealing Envelopes

I know we have said it before, but this poor blog has been neglected.  In my defense, I am pregnant and have been SOOO sick.  That brings me to my next point.  Because I have been sick and tired I am just now sending out my Christmas cards.  At least they will get there before Christmas!  Another thing with being pregnant is weird smells and tastes are out of the question, so there is NO WAY I was going to lick all those envelopes to seal them.  I got a little creative instead.

 No, I am not going to do my make up while sealing envelopes and this glass of water is not for drinking.  You take the make up brush, dip it in the water, and use it to seal your envelopes.

 Voila!  A nicely sealed envelope with minty fresh breath!
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Crafts

This poor little blog has been neglected lately, sad but true. Since we were much more on top of things last year, I thought I would link up some of our Christmas posts from last year.

It is only December 3rd, so you still have time for an advent calendar!!
Here is a cute gingerbread one....
Or the classic paper chain.
If you are needing some decor, here is quick and easy Christmas framed art.
Faux gingerbread cookies.
And snowman spoons. All of these crafts are super inexpensive, most using dollar store supplies.
If you need some neighbor gift ideas here are a few. Sand art brownies.
Homemade candied almonds.
Or, Have a "grate" Christmas!
Hopefully we will have more ideas to show soon!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homemade Play Dough

My husband took an internship this summer, and as amazing of an experience it has been, it has left us with no money. Since we are super broke this year, a lot of our friends and family will be getting handmade gifts. Play Dough is one that is fun to give cousins and it is just all around fun to make. My son really enjoyed the entire process, though when it came to actually playing with the play dough, he was a little confused. 19 months may be still a little young, oh well!

I found some fun Tupperware to put it in, I think a bow and a gift tag will make it extra cute. I am going to be using these gift tags this year, thanks Cierra!
Homemade Play Dough
(This recipe is from my sister, Shauna)
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 TBSP oil (I used Canola)
Food coloring (optional)
Spice for scent (optional also, I didn't use any, I really like the salty smell, I know I am a weirdo.)

Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a heavy aluminum pan. Add water, oil, color, and spice.

Heat on the stove 3 to 5 minutes or until the mixture pulls away from the pan. Remove from heat and knead immediately or put it in a bread mixer to knead. (Personally, I love kneading it by hand, it is VERY warm, but I like it.)

Store in and airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for several months.

Are you doing hand made gifts this year? What are you making? I have another few ideas to make, hopefully I will get them done and posted soon!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Upcycling Wine Corks

Danielle from EatBreatheBlog is sharing tips of how reuse leftover wine corks. This is a great way to reuse them and a fun craft!

Put all Those Old Wine Corks to Good Use!

As the holidays approach, I certainly have gift giving on my mind. My goal is to make as many presents as I can this winter. One of my favorite DIY efforts is making crafts from leftover wine corks. After a friend made me some coasters using small squares of corkboard and Scrabble tiles, I was inspired to make my own set using wine corks that had just been collecting in a jar in my kitchen. The project worked out so well that I looked for other projects I could work on. Here are a few of my favorites.


The best thing about making your own wine-cork coasters or trivets is that you can make the dimensions as big or small as you'd like. It's probably a good idea to have at least 25 corks on hand for trivets (around 10 for coasters). Arrange corks however you'd like – try a border of corks with the others arranged horizontally and vertically within. Glue to the base of your choice using wood glue. Another idea is to stand the corks up inside a frame that can be bought at craft store. It's important to remember that finished trivets and coasters have to be level so that hot pans and glassware don't topple over as soon as you set them down.

Jewelry box

Adorning a jewelry box with wine corks was quite simple and can be modified to fit any design I have in mind. I first put together a 'bare box' by hot gluing undecorated and halved wine corks onto the lid of an unfinished wooden box. I'd like to make the same craft using corks that have been cut in half lengthwise. I find X-Acto knives to be good for working with wine corks. They're sharp enough to precisely trim away cork bits and make things level. I next want to make a jewelry box with painted corks that have been sectioned into disks. I'm envisioning a celestial theme that will play off the lavender and deeper purple wine stains on the corks.

Bulletin board

A project that is both fun and useful, a wine cork bulletin board can go anywhere in your home. I've made a couple for friends, one who keeps his board in the kitchen for pinning up a grocery list. Another has hers up in her craft room and uses it as an inspiration board. You'll need a base like plywood, which should be cut to fit whatever project you have in mind. For instance, I used a 24" x 36" piece of board for the inspiration board. (Yes, there were a LOT of corks involved.) I picked up wire and picture hooks at a craft store and attached them before beginning the project. I glued the corks down and let the project dry for a full 48 hours – longer than the directions indicated, but I wanted to make sure the glue was thoroughly dry.

Ideas for wine cork crafts don't have to end there, but those are the projects I've worked on so far. Now I'm keeping an eye out for more ideas by watching home design shows. Upcycling is a great way to make crafts, allowing me to make presents from items that have just been hanging around my home.

Photo source:

“Wine Cork Trivet” By LollyKnit

Thanks for sharing Danielle! Don't forget to check out her blog,EatBreatheBlog. Lots of great information on health, wellness, and life.

Would you like to do a guest post on A lil bird? We would love to have you feature a project, your blog, or anything that strikes your fancy. Email us at alilbird3 (at) gmail (dot) com, we look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Remove Hard Water From A Faucet: Tidy Tips

So this tidy tip is courtesy of my husband, he did all the hard work! We have started to notice that our faucets were spraying all over the place. One look at them and you can see why, the gross hard water build up around the tap. Seriously looking at this makes me sick!

I have sold my husband on vinegar and it's many wonders and he thought he would put it to the test to try to remove the hard water from the spouts. Here they are in all their gross glory.....
He put the vinegar into a normal drinking glass, and stuck it in the microwave until it was boiling.
One he pulled it out of the microwave, he dropped all the parts in, and it was like Alka Selzer, the hard water started to bubble right off! Look at how amazing the difference is. Clean and shiny, good as new.
As you can see the water is now flowing freely without any crazy splashing going on.
Oh vinegar how I love you!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lazy Halloween Post

We have been lazy bloggers lately, it's true. In my defense I am buried right now, so blogging is at the bottom of the list. We listed our home for sale, and as many of you know, it is an intense, time consuming thing, trying to sell a home. I haven't done any Halloween crafts, honestly, sadly, I don't even feel like it is Halloween. That is really sad since Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

I thought I would share some of our favorite projects from last year, because really that is all I have time to do!

Do you have any Halloween crafts or ideas that are cute and SIMPLE, since I have no time?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Giving Lamp Shades New Life

Danielle from EatBreatheBlog is sharing tips of how to dress up your existing lamp shades. Great ideas to use what you have to change up your decor.

Creative and Inexpensive Lamp Shades
A lamp shade can set the mood for any room. A bland, plain lamp shade can set the tone of understatement and boring. Lamp shades sh
ould do more than just soften light in the room. It should be a reflection of your personality and style. It should also bring character to a room. There is no need to spend loads of cash on expensive lamp shades, when a personalized inexpensive lamp shade will do just fine. Purchase a plain light-colored lamp shade that matches the color tones in your room. Pick any of the following ideas, or come up with your own to personalize it.

Magazine Articles

Magazines are notorious for having gorgeous pictures. The pictures can be beautiful scenes, funny sayings, cartoons, creativ
e shapes and characters. You can also put all of your to-be-recycled direct mail advertisements to use by cutting out letters and lifestyle images. Simply sort through your old magazines and direct mail postcards, and find pictures you like that suit your tastes and room decor. Cut them out and use
spray glue to adhere them to your lamp shade. Let the lamp shade and article completely dry for a few hours before handling it.

Creative Thought: For a toddler’s room, find
a character your child likes and cut them out. Glue them to an inexpensive lamp shade. Let the glue completely dry in a well vented area. Should your toddler get a hold of the lamp shade, you will only have to spend a few bucks to recreate it.

Leftover Trims
Just about every sewing box has leftover trims and notions. Old buttons make great colorful additions to a lamp shade. For a classier look use any lace remnants you have. Simply hot glue the lace trims to the bottom and top rim of the lamp shade. In seconds you have transformed a plain lampshade into a personalized, gorgeous addition to your room.

Creative Thought: Embroidery floss can be used to make patterns on any plain lamp shade. Simply unroll a section of floss. Dip th
e floss in plain white glue. Use your imagination to create patterns with the floss. You can make swirls, free-form shapes, basic shapes (like squares, circles, triangles) or spell things out (like names, "go team" and more). Do one section at a time so that it can dry without sliding out of position due to gravity.

Silk flowers can be found at your local dollar store or craft store. The great thing about silk flowers is you can find them in any color, size or style that fits your room and personality. You can accent a shade with a few flowers or cover the entire shade with blooms.


Creative Thought: To soften a room and add a year-round, spring feeling, find pastel flowers to match your room. Cover the entire shade by clipping the bloom close to the base of the flower. Use a hot glue gun to glue the flowers in place. Add sprigs of silk baby's breath to soften the flowers. Finish by adding a touch of lace (as mentioned above) to the bottom rim of the lamp shade. During the winter try creating a shade using poinsettias.

Lamp shades can add so much character and warmth to a room. Do not settle for a store-bought rendition of what someone else designed, when it is simple to create your own. You will not only save money, but have a personal touch to talk about with guests.

Thanks for sharing Danielle! Don't forget to check out her blog,EatBreatheBlog. Lots of great information on health, wellness, and life.

Would you like to do a guest post on A lil bird? We would love to have you feature a project, your blog, or anything that strikes your fancy. Email us at alilbird3 (at) gmail (dot) com, we look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tidy Tips For Your Waistline

A few weeks ago, we had some friends over for "Sundae Sunday". It was a fun night of cards games, talking with friends, and ice cream. Truth be told, I am not really an ice cream fan. I can hear everyone gasping now, but it's true. For years I wasn't really a milk drinker, and after working at Cold Stone Creamery through high school, I just didn't care for ice cream. I am more of a sherbet kind of gal.

That being said, I have a friend who brought the most amazing VANILLA ice cream I have ever had. Vanilla plain and boring, is one flavor I almost never eat, especially plain. That is, until I tried the Tillamook french vanilla. It is amazing!!

The problem with ice cream is that it's load of fat and calories in every bite, especially the good stuff. So, to help me eat the leftovers in a way as to not gain 5 pounds, I made a game out of portion size. I tried to find the smallest thing to eat my ice cream in. That happened to be my son's KALAS cup from IKEA. I almost used the bowl, but the cup was smaller and a more appropriate portion size. A 1/2 cup of this particular ice cream is 160 calories and 9 grams of fat. Can you imagine if I used a regular bowl? Eek!

I have been trying to do this a lot with my portions lately. Especially snacks. I eat my snacks out of small ramekins (usually around the 6 oz size). It really works well. My servings are usually less than 200 calories. Small is better.

Do you have any tricks to control your portion sizes?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

A few weeks ago I helped with a baby shower for a neighbor. The neighborhood did it pot luck style and there was some yummy food! I made ham & cheese sliders, my MIL had made them for a shower a year ago, they are so yummy! There wasn't a real theme or anything, but the Mom to be said she was doing her nursery in red, brown, and cream, so I made a small banner in those colors for above the food table.
I also made this yummy punch. I got the recipe from Pinterest of course!
I was also in charge of the favors. Ever since I did this post, I have been dying to make some lips! I thought they would work for favors since it was a baby shower for a girl! They were a piece of cake, my Silhouette did all the work, I slid in the suckers and they were done.
Here is one close up, I will totally be using these as Valentine's some day.
I also found some cinnamon lips to go with the favors.
I made the Mom to be a small diaper cake, the flower is actually a headband for the sweet babe. I didn't use all the diapers, so I tied a ribbon around the rest.
It was a fun summer night to enjoy my neighbors, can't wait to meet the little lady in a few weeks!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crafting With Tape Measures: Featuring Danielle of EatBreatheBlog

Danielle from EatBreatheBlog is sharing a crafting tip using old tape measures. A great way to recycle!
Crafting with Tape Measures

I’ve long been interested in incorporating repurposed art into my home – that is, the sort of thing I could make myself out of found objects. I seized the opportunity when I moved to the New York City (NYC) area and moved into a home that needed a lot of attention. As the NYC remodeling expert I hired went through my home with her team, I found myself inspired by the tools of the construction trade and decided to use some of them in my renovated home.

The first room the crew worked on was a workspace where I could work on messy projects, like gardening. I tried to be artsy with screwdrivers and hammers but the result was nothing I was eager to display in my home. I found success, however, when I started working with cloth tape measures. I decided to make something small for a few rooms in the house, wanting to incorporate a design theme through my space. I had hung up photos that spoke to my interest in gardening and decided to replace the thin sliver of matting with sections of measuring tape. All I needed to do was section off the tape and glue it in place. Doing so gave the pictures a unique look and proved to be a conversation starter.

The remodeling crew also worked on the kitchen, which is where I decided to hang a dry erase/corkboard to keep track of coupons, recipe cards, and notes to myself. On the dry erase half of the board, I cut up a measuring tape to form a 1-10 numbered to-do list. I glued the individual numbers down and drew lines with a permanent marker to separate each list item. My initial idea was to use the numbers for a grocery list, but it didn’t take long to realize that would prove problematic when it came time to actually go to the store.

The final project the remodelers worked on was refurbishing a room with great natural light and turning it into a study/library. The crew assembled some bookshelves for me and I created my easiest craft – cloth tape measure bookmarks. My initial idea was to glue tape measure strips along the length of the shelves but doing so made my home’s design theme a little too overwhelming. (I’m glad I taped them in place first to see if I would like it.) For the bookmarks, all I used was a selection of measuring tapes, glue, and a sealant (I used Mod Podge) to protect them from getting grubby. Now wherever my books go, so will the bookmarks.

Ideas for crafting with tape measures abound. I’m glad I was inspired by the work crew that came to my home (and I’m still trying to make that screwdriver art a reality). Working with the measuring tapes was easy and fun to do, not to mention inexpensive. I plan to add a few more details to my home, but for now I’m happy with the projects I’ve completed.

Thanks for sharing this fun project Danielle! Don't forget to check out her blog,EatBreatheBlog. Lots of great information on health, wellness, and life.

Would you like to do a guest post on A lil bird? We would love to have you feature a project, your blog, or anything that strikes your fancy. Email us at alilbird3 (at) gmail (dot) com, we look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

50 Golden Years

Thursday marks my parents 50th wedding anniversary! 50 golden years is a big deal, so a few weeks ago we through them a small party of family and a few friends to celebrate. We had to do it before school started so everyone could attend. I think it turned out well. I started the planning process at the beginning of the year and wasn't feeling super creative. Thankfully there are plenty of creative people out there sharing the ideas on the world wide web. The "theme" was gold, since it was a golden anniversary. The "50" photo collage was Martha's idea, that woman is amazing. I decided to do a mix of color and b/w photos, mainly because I was lazy and didn't want to change them.

My niece made this cute arraignment from pie tins. Isn't it so cute!! You can find the full tutorial here.
I saw this idea last year on Ohdeedoh and bookmarked it, I knew I would want to use it and this was the perfect occasion. Instead of a guestbook, we had everyone "leaf" their thumbprint. We bought a foam board from the dollar store and cut it to 16x20, my husband the artist drew the tree, and my sister in law made the names and date in vinyl. Here is the before.....

And the after. Once it was full we framed it and my parents now have it hanging in their home.
We had a small luncheon with sandwiches, salads, and desserts. I found this fun gold star edible glitter at Hobby Lobby. It was way cute, but since I made the cupcakes the day before it bled a little and wasn't as gold. Lesson learned for next time.
One of my other sister in laws made the cake. SHE MADE THIS.

It was so delicious, yummy red velvet, and an absolutely stunning cake.

I did a DIY favor bar where guests could take a little scoop of gold with them.

We put our projector to good use and my brother made a slide show of the pictures throughout the years. It was great, he had the photos set to songs from the decade they were in. I loved it.
For the centerpieces I found some wood letters at Hobby Lobby, with a little gold paint, and some super glue, they turned out really cute. We added "50" confetti throughout the tables.
These tissue pomanders were fun and inexpensive, but I am not going to lie, they took awhile to make. My sisters, sister in laws, and nieces had a craft night and it took all of us a good 4 hours to make 12 of these. We found the candelabras at the dollar store, and did 2 different sized to signify my Mom and Dad.
Overall it was a great party, it is always fun to get together with family, visit, and eat don't you think?
Related Posts with Thumbnails