Say goodbye to a loooong winter with a sweet hand painted Spring / Easter Garland!
A great collection of Spring Craft Projects curated by Little Red Window!
I don’t know about where you live but here in Chicago it’s starting to feel like an endless winter Game of Thrones style. The snow melts, it’s warm for part of one day and then the next day we need parkas again. And everywhere you look is just dead grass and mud. No flowers or growing things yet. To me, this is the hardest time of year. Even the thick of winter is better, in my opinion, because at least then there is pretty white snow! Anyway, I’m wishing for spring big time and I though today I’d find some amazing springtime craft projects from some amazing bloggers to get me (and YOU!) inspired for warmer weather! Read More
A couple of weeks ago, after getting sick for the umpteenth time this horrible winter, my parents sent me flowers. They were pretty and I enjoyed them despite the fact that, because I had a sinus infection I literally could not smell a thing for an entire week. So I never got to smell the flowers. But Aa assured me they smelled great. They were still pretty to look at! Anyway, as you probably know, if you’ve gotten or sent flowers before, they came with a vase. Florist vases are usually nothing fancy. They’re usually plain glass in a simple shape. Not expensive, not fancy and not offensive. They are totally utilitarian.
It’s not that I get sent flowers a lot but after 15 years of living on my own (omg, I’m old!) and some big life events like having a baby and a death in the family, We’d acquired quite a few. I sent a handful off to goodwill but I kept the rest around because I think a collection of glass looks pretty on a shelf. It’s nice to have simple shapes mixed in with fancier pieces and it’s nice to have something to give away if I take flowers to a friend or a dinner party. But I got a little tired of looking at the same old thing. I can rarely leave anything be for too long in our house. So I tried a quick little spruce and now these simple (and free!) florist vases are some of my favorite things on my shelves! Read More
So today I’m participating in something awesome. I teamed up with some other great bloggers and we’re all showing you what it’s like behind the scenes. Where do we work? How do we take photos? How do we get it all done? And the cool part is everyone fits blogging into their life (literally and metaphorically) differently.
I, for one, prefer to not hole myself away in an office because I feel like I’m missing everything. And on the weekdays when O’s not in school, I just CAN’T be in an office because I have to be watching him. And anyway, my office doesn’t have windows so I get kind of sad in there anyway. So I work primarily at the kitchen island and dining room table. Want to see? Don’t be scared because when I’m mid project, it can be kind of a complete disaster. (Actually this isn’t so terrible, it gets much worse sometimes…)
I actually really love working on granite because it’s so easy to clean. And the pendant lights over the island make for great task lighting. Obviously it’s not super convenient when it gets to be dinner or lunch time though and 90% of the time I have to completely clean everything up at the end of the day even if I’m not done with a project otherwise the kitchen is tough to use. It’s working for now though. Read More
I have always loved traveling but HATED living out of a suitcase. You know how everything gets all jumbled up and the dirty clothes live next to the clean ones and the next thing you know, you’re sniffing socks to see if you’ve worn them? Tell me that happens to other people? When Aa travels for work, he stays at the kinds of places where you send your laundry out and they return it later that day with each individual pair of underwear wrapped in plastic and your shirts dry cleaned, pressed and hung. But in real life, like normal people, we’re usually in a regular, not-the-cheapest-on-travelocity-but-almost, hotel. And so when Aa suggested I started using the plastic laundry bags that even cheap hotels usually have in the closet to corral some of my suitcase mess, it was kind of a revelation!
I mean really, duh, right?! But it made things so much easier! Of course I kind of hated the plastic bags. For one, I’m generally, in life, trying to do my best to use as little plastic as I can. But also, for a long trip they’re never big enough and they were usually pretty flimsy. So before we went to California for a little winter sanity vacation, I thought, why don’t I make myself a nicer travel laundry bag!
This Drawstring Laundry Bag is a step up from Easy 3 Seam Drawstring Bag and I did do a little extra work to make it pretty, but if you want a really really simple version, that’s a great tutorial. This drawstring laundry bag combines some pretty fabric and one of my favorite techniques, freezer paper stenciling (which, if you’ve never done it before, is really easy)! Read More
I’ve never been the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrator. No particular reason really. I guess just that green isn’t my favorite color and usually, by March, after Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, I’m kind of holiday-ed out. Do you know what I mean? Although I do have very fond memories of green milk and leprechauns from elementary school. But like a lot things, I think this is a holiday that is a lot more fun when you have a little one (well, I mean daytime St. Patrick’s Day celebrations anyway…green beer and Irish pubs are a whole other thing!) and I’m kind of getting into it this year! I’m sure he’ll do some fun St. Patrick’s Day activities in preschool, so it would also be nice to also have a fun and festive little treat for him. If you need some ideas, today I’ve got a round-up of 20 Lucky and delicious St. Patrick’s Day Desserts from some great bloggers!
Oh! And if you need a last minute St. Paddy’s decoration, I’ve got a brand new Chalkboard printable in my shop! It’s available right now for instant download! Kiss Me, I’m Irish!
And now on to some delicious lucky St. Patrick’s Day Treats! Read More
When I decided to go to grad school for architecture, somewhere in the back of my mind, even though I knew it was silly, I think that I thought I would be spending a lot of time building cute little doll house models with furnishings and wallpaper. I would sit at a clean and sunny desk, sanding tiny chairs and lovingly placing them in beautifully crafted model buildings. Then I would show them to my teachers and they would have lots of nice things to say. (Note to those of you considering architecture school: It is NOT like that!)
In fact, there were definitely a lot of models but many were conceptual, not realistic, and they were most often built in a time frame most people would consider insane. Sometimes you didn’t get to sleep much. And then when your model (and accompanying drawings and documents and diagrams etc.) were done, you had to stand in front of a room of professors and your peers while everyone told you what was good about them (usually a few things) and what wasn’t great (usually ALOT of things) I actually don’t think I’ve been as consistently stressed out ever before or since those three years.
Of course, a lot of good things come out of an experience like that. You definitely develop a tough hide for constructive criticism which I think is great. In fact, it’s probably the best thing I learned from grad school. And you learn to present your ideas in a clear and concise manner which is another good skill. But more than anything, I learned my way around an exacto knife and various kinds of glues and fixatives like nothing else. I often joke with Aa that we don’t have Masters of Architecture degrees, we have Masters of Cutting and Gluing!
All that to say that a few weekends ago, I had an itch to make something. Anything. Does that happen to anyone else? I couldn’t sit still, none of my current projects seemed interesting and O was napping. Which is when I saw a bunch of boxes waiting to go down to the recycling bin and I remembered I had pinned a little cardboard house on Pinterest the other day. The box I had wasn’t big enough to make a house that O would fit in, but, I thought, he does have several sets of Melissa & Doug Whittle World people and loves to play imaginary games with them, maybe they should have a toy house!
So remember the other day when I said I wasn’t feeling inspired by St. Patrick’s Day? Well, turns out, I was! On saturday morning, my friend from downstairs and I got up early to sign our kids up for swimming lessons. The Chicago Park District has a lot of really great programs and they are really cheap. But the downside is that it can be kind of hard to get into some of them at quarterly signup time. We were just trying for a swimming class and at a newer location that not a lot of people know about so we only showed up at 8 am, an hour early, to stand outside in the snow and cold. But we have a friend who wanted the only spot left in the Park District’s version of preschool at our local park and she and her husband actually camped out all night to make sure they got it. But really, for good preschool at an affordable price in the middle of downtown Chicago, that’s not really crazy.
Anyway, all that to say, after that I dropped my friend back off at our building’s front door I managed to go, all by myself, to the craft store! I had a short list of a couple of things to grab but then I took a little time to wander the aisles and for whatever reason, as it is for creativity, at that particular moment I was full of ideas. Like I said though, St. Patrick’s Day and the color green are not my favorite, but when I was standing in front of the felt I started thinking about springtime and green grass and I dreamed up this wreath–fluffy green grass with shamrocks nestled inside. Maybe it was standing outside the cold snow all morning? I don’t really know, but it made me dream of when I was little at soccer games, when I was waiting on the sidelines for my turn to play we’d sit in the sun on the grass and look for flowers and four leaf clovers. And so I made this wreath later that day and I love it and now I’m thinking maybe I DO like St. Patrick’s Day after all!
So a couple months ago, on a total whim, I bought a cheap laminating machine on Amazon. It was a childhood dream fulfilled and the minute I plugged it in and smelled that (probably toxic) smell of melting plastic I was transported straight back to elementary school. It’s way more exciting than it should be to see paper come out the other side all laminated and shiny!
Anyway, the first project I used it on was a Velcro Alphabet Matching Game for O. He’s been learning a lot of letters at preschool and he definitely knows most of them but he is 100% convinced that the alphabet goes, A, B, C, D, S, O, G… So, we need to work on that a little bit. Of course the upside of this is that we can still spell things when we don’t want him to know what we’re saying. So imagine our surprise when, at the table one day, I said to Aa something along the lines of, “What should I make for the P-A-R-T-Y?” And Aa replied, “Maybe C-O-O-K-I-E-S?” Because obviously if you say party and cookies in front of a 3 year old, you had BETTER have a party and cookies available right.that.very.second!! So we were spelling away, and the next thing we know, O says, with complete conviction, ” S-O-G-O-S-S-B!!!” In his little mind we were just saying letters and he was joining in! So adorable!
But anyway, we do need to work on letters, so I laid out this matching game in Illustrator, printed it out and added velcro square to the pages and the backs of the letters so he could practice. It was a super easy project and, as always, is not so precious that I’m worried he’ll wreck it. He loves it and it has definitely helped!
Want your own copies? Just print, cut and laminate! Click below:
How do you practice letters with your little one?
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