Cardboard Box Car

Want a way to keep your toddler occupied with an old box and a few odds and ends?? Make a box car! Such an inexpensive and easy way to make something your child can play with for hours. (well maybe not hours all at once, but a solid 20 mins)

This is also a great activity to make with your toddler. They can help with lots of aspects of creating this car.

My mom made some box cars for my brother and myself when we were kids and so I was excited to create my own version for my daughter Laurel. Here is what I used to create Laurel’s car.

Supplies:

  • Box for car (large enough to cut a whole in for your child)
  • Extra box for parts – steering wheel and tires.
  • Paint
  • Felt – for decorations and embellishments
  • Fabric – for straps
  • Hot Glue
  • Scissors
  • Toilet Paper Rolls – for inside of the tires

Steps to Make:

  1. Cut out a hole in the box big enough for your child to easily put it over their body and get in and out of it.
  2. Cut out circles for the tires and steering wheel. I used a coffee container to trace out my circles.
  3. Paint! If your child is old enough and it’s nice outside, have your child use washable paints to paint the car and the parts. It was cold out so I opted to spray paint the car in my garage since I didn’t have a space big enough inside for my child to play around with paints safely haha.
  4. Cut out embellishments with felt or paper. Use whatever you have on hand to add details to your car.
  5. Hot glue the steering wheel and tires to the car to make sure they are more sturdy and don’t fall off during play.
  6. Add straps to the car using hot glue. This is to put around the child’s shoulders so that they don’t just have to carry the car around. Measure the straps first. As you can see in my picture below, I made my straps too long and had to adjust them later to fit my daughter better.

Show me your box car creations!!

Crochet Vegetables

I finally got this post done! The 5 vegetables I crocheted for my daughter for part of her Christmas gift. The patterns I found were very straightforward and easy to follow and if you are new to crochet, and you have a bit of patience, you can easily create these sweet little veggies!

I love that my daughter is the perfect age to enjoy these sweet veggies in her play kitchen! She loves them and regularly coos at them and gives them hugs before enjoying them for a pretend supper.

VEGETABLE EYES – For all of my vegetables, I added little black beaded eyes to them. I bought a pack of crafting eyes off of Amazon. I love how easy they are to apply and that there are several sizes I can use. Click here to see what I purchased.

Now onto the veggies…here are where you can find all of these wonderful free patterns!

Avocado

This was the first veggie I made and it made me so confident to create more! It didn’t turn out perfectly, but the nice thing about crochet is that you usually can’t tell if you make small mistakes and mine still turned out cute! One of Laurel’s favourite foods is avocado so this one was a real hit when she opened it up for Christmas.

This pattern is made my Repeat Crafter Me and can be found in the link below.

Avocado Pattern

Radish

I think this one might be my favourite that I created! I love the leaves and I was happy to see how easy it was to switch colors in the middle of the radish. I added eyes to this one, even though the pattern does not include them. Just add them during the stuffing stage before you add all the stuffing!

This wonderful pattern was created by Knitted Story Bears and can be found in the link below.

Radish pattern

Carrot

The carrot was a quicker one to make because it is pretty tiny. It would be an easy one to make several of if you want to make a bunch of them.

The carrot pattern I followed is by Jen Hayes Creations and can be found in the link below.

Carrot Pattern

Cabbage

This one took the longest to make. You have to create a green ball first and then 8 leaves that you then attach with your yarn needle after. It took me a couple days working on it every now and then to get it done. Maybe a total of 3 hours? With a toddler running around it was hard to find a large length of time to work on it. It turned out great though and I am glad I made it!

The cabbage pattern was also created by Jen Hayes Creations and can be found in the below link.

Cabbage Pattern

Tomato

This was the quickest vegetable to crochet. I was able to complete it in around 20 min. I had already practiced making circles, so it was quite easy to make, especially because it is not very big.

The Tomato pattern was created by Jen Hayes Creations and you can find it in the link below.

Tomato Pattern

I hope you enjoy creating some of these as much as I did! Happy crafting.

DIY Gnome Ornament

Gnomes seem to be all the hype the past few years and doesn’t seem to be dying down. I created some sweet and simple gnome ornaments a couple years ago. I made some for my own house and then while I was teaching, we had a winter carnival at our school and I ran an art station that taught the kids and parents how to make an ornament and then they got to take it home. It was very successful!

Materials

  • Small Wooden Slices – I used 2 inch slices purchased off of Amazon
  • Fake Fur for Beard – I purchased a large piece of fake fur from Fabric Land
  • Felt or Fabric for Hat
  • Small cotton balls or beads for nose.
  • Hot Glue
  • String to hang ornament

How to Make

STEP 1 – Cut out Felt Hat

Choose the color of felt you would like to use for your hat and cut out a triangle. Use your wood circle slice to help you measure your yarn. The bottom of the hat should be able to wrap around the center of the wood circle with a little extra room for gluing. Then cut your triangle as tall as your would like your hat to be.

STEP 2 – Glue Your String on the Felt

Hot glue gun your string onto the felt so that when you fold up the felt into a hat it hides the glue and the string comes out the top of the hat.

STEP 3 – Cut and Glue Your Beard to the Circle

Cut out a triangle of fur for the beard and have it so that it slightly wraps around the wooden circle a little more than halfway up the circle. Hot glue into place. (The wooden circle is just used for the base and won’t be seen when the craft is done.)

STEP 4 – Glue the Nose into Place

Place the nose at the top of the fur in the center and glue into place.

STEP 5 – Glue the Hat in Place

Wrap the felt for the hat around the wooden slice and have it slightly overlap the nose so that it looks like it is poking out. Glue the hat into a cone shape up to the top with the string hanging out.

Your ornament is done! Be creative and let me know if you make one! You can tag me on Instagram @the.expert.amateur

DIY Yarn Santa Ornament

Tis the Season of CHIRSTMAS CRAFTS! Out of all the holiday seasons, this is by far my favourite. Yes, I am one of those early decorators. My feeling is, if decorations bring you joy, then decorate as early as you want!

This little DIY craft is something that I’ve been seeing floating around online so I had to try it for myself. It takes only a few materials and very little time to make and would be a fun craft to do with a class of Gr. 4 or up, or your kids as well!

Materials:

  • Yarn for the Hat and Santa beard
  • Bead or small cotton ball for nose – I got my beads in a large pack on Amazon.
  • Paper towel or toilet paper roll
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue

How to Make:

STEP 1 – Cut Paper Towel Roll

Cut a small part off your paper towel roll. This will be the rim of your hat.

STEP 2 – Wrap Yarn for Hat

Find a book or item that is roughly 4 inches wide and not very thick to wrap your yarn around. I wrapped my yarn around my crochet bag 35 times to have the perfect amount of yarn for my ornament hat. Once you are done wrapping it. Cut one side so you have 35 strands of yarn.

STEP 3 – Loop Yarn onto Paper Towel Roll

Fold your yarn in half and loop around the edge of your paper towel roll, placing the hanging yarn strands through the top hole. Pull tight and let the yarn hang. Do this until the entire paper towel roll is covered and can no longer be seen.

STEP 4 – Push Yarn Through Opening

Push all the yarn strands inside the paper towel roll and have them come out the other side. Then tie a string around the strands where you want the top of the hat to be.

STEP 5 – Trim Your Hat

Trim the yarn of the pom pom of your hat until you have your desired shape.

STEP 6 – Stuff Your Hat

I used all of the excess yarn that I cut off the hat to stuff into my hat and then added more yarn if it didn’t fill it enough. You can also stuff with cotton, or any scrap fabric material.

STEP 7 – Make a Pom Pom for Santa’s Beard

There are many ways to make a pom pom so do this whatever way you know best! I found a super simple way to make one just using my hand. I wrapped the yarn around my 4 fingers about 25 times. I tied the yarn together on one side and then slid it off my hand. Using that same piece of yarn I tied the yarn together in the middle so equal amounts of yarn were on both sides. Once it is tied together, cut the loops of your yarn and boom you have a pom pom!

STEP 8 – Glue Together

The last step is easy, glue together all your pieces! Place some hot glue on the inside of your hat and stick the Santa beard pom pom to it. Then take your bead, or cotton ball and glue in place for the nose! Your cute little ornament is ready to go. Just add a string for hanging!

These cute little Santa’s are a perfect homemade edition to your tree or added to a gift. I am making homemade ornaments to go with all the tags on my presents this year. They are such a cute and simple craft to give to others during the holidays.

Let me know if you make any and tag me on instagram @the.expert.amateur

DIY Ghostly Garland

Halloween is almost upon us and I am slow on creating the blog posts of all my projects. I am also 1 month away from baby 2, so taking things a bit slower lately.

BUT, even I was able to whip this cute garland up in no time and minimal supplies were needed! Also, this would be a fun and easy project to do with your kids.

Materials:

  • White Yarn – for ghosts (also you could make orange and purple ghosts too, which would be really cute)
  • Black Yarn – for hanging ghosts on
  • Wooden Beads – to add a Boho look
  • Black felt – for eyes on the ghosts
  • Glue – for attaching eyes
  • Cardboard – to wrap yarn around

How to Make:

Step 1 : Making the Ghosts

  • Cut cardboard into a piece that is about 4.5″ tall on one side.
  • Wrap the yarn you are using for your ghosts around the cardboard 25 times.
  • Take a little piece of yarn and tie the yarn together on one side while it is still wrapped around the cardboard.
  • Slide your yarn off and cut on the opposite end of where the yarn is tied together.
  • Use another piece of small yarn to tie about an inch or so below the top of your yarn bunch and this will create the ghost head.

Watch this quick video below to see a visual of making the ghosts.

STEP 2: Add eyes to your ghosts.

  • Using Black felt I cut out tiny circles for my ghosts eyes.
  • After cutting them all out I glued them all on at once to make the process more streamlined.

STEP 3: Create Garland

  • There are two ways you could put your ghosts onto the yarn. I tied my ghosts onto the black yarn, that way I knew they wouldn’t slide around but you can also use a needle to thread the yarn through each ghosts head so they stay on the yarn as well.
  • I added a wooden bead between each ghost on my garland to give it a different look. Feel free to leave off or add more than one in between to give your garland some spunk of your own!

VIOLA! your garland is done. A super easy and fun way to make a cute decoration in your home. I strung mine from my lights in my kitchen but this would look cute anywhere you have space for it.

Show me your cute creations below or tag me on instagram @the.expert.amateur

Yarn and Fabric Pumpkins

Fall is upon us and this year I’m actually ready for it. I usually don’t look forward to this time of year because of the impending cold weather and I’m usually going back to work as a teacher after having a summer off.

This year I am just getting excited for the arrival of our 2nd baby in November! I also have the opportunity to be at home until then, so more time to do some baking, cooking and crafting. I feel like Fall is putting me into nesting mode earlier this time around.

One of the crafts I’ve been working on for the past couple weeks is making different versions of DIY pumpkins and trying to find the easiest and most beautiful to share with you.

The first I created was these sweet crochet pumpkins. I followed this free pattern by Handy Little Me. I love the size of these pumpkins and the ease of following the pattern. It took me around 1-2 hours to create one. This is because I am just a beginner crocheter and I had to look up what certain stitches were a couple times.

If you are curious on how to put together a cute Fall centerpiece, check out my blog all about it!

I then tried by hand at spicing up some cheap Dollarama pumpkins. This was very fun and so simple!!

This first large pumpkin cost $3 and the yarn was $3. This was the most expensive one to make, but definitely one of my favourites. The pumpkins I purchased at Dollarama are made out of Styrofoam but if you purchase hollow ones you will still be able to create a really cute elevated pumpkin.

Check out my IGTV on Instagram at @the_expert_amateur on the video step by step to make the large yarn pumpkin or follow the directions below.

Materials:

  • Yarn and/or Fabric – Dollarama had the thick yarn I used to make my large pumpkin.
  • Cheap pumpkin – go to Dollarama or Dollar Tree!
  • Branch for stem
  • X-acto knife (or some form of knife to cut hole)
  • Scissors

Written steps:

STEP 1: Cut out stem and a hole the same size on the bottom of the pumpkin. Then use some sort of tool to push a hole through the pumpkin. I used a large crochet hook, but if you have an apple core tool that would also work great! Even a pen would work to punch a hole through the Stryofoam.

STEP 2: Take your chosen yarn and push it through the center hole that you created. Pull the yarn so that you have half of it on one side of the pumpkin and half on the other side.

STEP 3: Start with one side of the yarn and start folding it over the pumpkin and secure it by pushing it into the holes you created on each side. Push the fabric in about an inch and then fold back over the pumpkin and push into the hole on the other side. You do not need to pull the fabric all the way through the pumpkin, as the foam will hold it in place if you push it in far enough. (If you have a hollow pumpkin then I recommend pulling the yarn all the way through and wrapping it around.)

STEP 4 : Go back and forth with your yarn until your pumpkin is covered to your liking. Then cut off remaining yarn and push the tail into the hole to hide and secure. Take a piece of branch for your stem and push into the top of the pumpkin. This will secure the yarn and also create a cute stem!

Enjoy you cute, and very simple pumpkin!! You can also use fabric and cut it into strips to cover the pumpkin in the same way. My green pumpkin is created with fabric.

If you use skinny yarn, like my white pumpkin, then I pulled the yarn through and wrapped it around the pumpkin to secure it.

Time to Create:

  • Fabric or thick yarn Pumpkin – 10-15 mins! So fast to make!
  • Yarn Pumpkin – took me closer to an hour because my yarn was so thin and wrapping takes awhile. I recommend using a crochet hook to pull the yarn through the center of your pumpkin.

I hope you enjoy making some pumpkins of your own! Feel free to share your pumpkin designs below! I would love to see.

DIY Fall Decor

September hit and my Fall decor is coming out. I created 2 different Fall decorations using several of the same fake florals from Michaels.

The first item I made was this super simple wreath. This is a very customizable wreath that you need very little supplies to create. Just pick out your favourite florals and greenery and start placing them into a wooden branch wreath.

The key to a simple, easy wreath is to make sure you get the branched wreath so that you can easily pop in your florals and leaves.

Materials for Wreath

I used zero glue to create this wreath because I tucked in the ends of all my florals into the branches of the wreath. It has been holding up very well!

The Florals I used
Fall Centerpiece

I then took my leftover florals from the wreath and used them in my table centerpiece. I got the basket from Michaels and the crochet pumpkins are a free pattern from Handy Little Me. They turned out so cute and it was very easy to follow her pattern! I consider myself a beginner in crochet so I think anyone would be able to create these cute little guys. Check out my DIY pumpkin blog for some more pumpkin inspiration and see how you can turn some cheap Dollarama pumpkins into something classy!

Materials for Table Centerpiece

  • Basket from Michaels
  • Florals – Mine were the leftovers from my wreath from Dollarama and Michaels.
  • Pinecones found in my local park
  • Yarn
  • Candle – mine is from Costco

Again, this is super simple to create once you have the supplies. Just start placing your florals, pinecones and pumpkins in the basket until you have the look you like!

What else would you put in your centerpiece?? Let me see your creations!

Macramé and Yarn Rainbow

What did I do on my 30th Birthday?? I made a macramé rainbow for my daughter of course! This is such an easy project that does not require much skill or supplies.

This is a great craft to do while watching TV, or parts can be done while riding as a passenger on a roadtrip.

Firstly, gather all your materials:

  • 1 roll of macrame cord
  • 4 balls of coloured yarn
  • thin crafting wire
  • masking tape – I used Frog Tape
  • Hot glue gun

Step 1 – Measuring out and Making your Rainbow Rows

Depending on how thick your macrame cord is, you may need to measure out several layers of cord for each row. Here is how long I made each row:

  • Row 1 – 18″
  • Row 2 – 16″
  • Row 3 – 13.5″
  • Row 4 – 12″

I purposefully made my rows slightly longer so that I could trim the macramé to make the tassels the exact length I wanted them. I also doubled up my macramé to have 8 strands in each row to give it the thickness I wanted. Next time, I would start with thicker macramé to make it go faster, however having several strands also helped to hide my wire.

Step 2 – Wrap the cord layers and wire up

First, I taped the cord layers and wire together about 1 and a half inches from the end to hold them together. I then wrapped them all up with a final wrapping of macramé cord. This produced a solid strand of macramé that was now also easy to form into any shape with the wire inside.

Step 3 – Shape your macramé cords into a rainbow.

Shape your macramé rows into the rainbow and adjust the ends of each rows if necessary so that the tassels will all line up.

Step 4 – Wrap rows with yarn.

Wrap each row with your choice of yarn for each row. I hot glue gunned the end of my yarn in the inside of each rainbow row so that it would be hidden when the rows are glued together. After all the yarn is wrapped I wrapped another piece of green yarn into a loop around the center of the green row. This is then used to hang the rainbow when it is all done.

Step 5 – Put it all together!

Remove tape and glue rows together. I used a hot glue gun. I then took off my tape and separated the macramé cord with my fingers to make it look frayed and tassely (if that’s a word haha). I trim any tassels that are too long and then voila! You have yourself a rainbow.

Here is some quick directions with no pictures for easy view of the steps!

Our Homemade Baby Room

Well I’ve been wanting to do this blog post for awhile, but life got in the way! Specifically, we got pregnant again!! The day I launched my blog, I found out we were pregnant with our 2nd baby and this little one put mama through the ringer in the first trimester. I had it super easy with my first pregnancy, so I had it coming haha.

I originally had many plans for Laurel’s baby room, but I did not get them finished by the time we found out we were expecting again, and after that I had no motivation to finish since I knew the new baby would be taking over the room in less than a year!

Laurel’s baby room is a compilation of homemade decor, and I love it! Some of it was made by family and some of it I made for her. Let me show you.

Baby Blanket – This puff quilt was one of my favourite projects I have made to date. So much fun and so fluffy! Check out my blog all about it to see how to make your own. Please note, you do NOT have to have a lot of experience as a sewer to make this.

Cross Stitch – One of the first crafts I have ever made, was this cross stitch Precious Moments picture. My mom bought me this kit when I was in Grade 6 and taught me the craft of cross stitch. It took me awhile to complete it, but I eventually did and my mom got it specially framed for me! I had it hanging in my room as a teen and then my mom sent it up for Laurel’s room when I had her. It fits in perfectly. Cross stitch is such a fun past time to do and easy to learn at a young age. There are so many awesome patterns and kits out there!

Baby Mobile – This was a recent craft I completed for Laurel over the winter. I love floral mobiles, but they are expensive to buy. Turns out they are also expensive to make, haha! Check out my blog post on all the details of how I made this floral mobile.

Removable Vinyl on the Walls – This is where the magic of a Silhouette or Cricut comes in handy to make a SUPER simple yet beautiful addition to the walls of a room. I put Laurel’s name up with the intention of adding light pastel colored flowers around her name, but then baby 2 showed up on the radar so I decided not to finish. We will transition Laurel over to our 3rd upstairs bedroom shortly after baby arrives and so I am thinking I will move her name over to the new bedroom and add some vinyl floral patterns around it. The length of her name is around 2 feet long to give you an idea of size. Read my Silhouette Blog to see why I love this machine so much.

I also printed out a daily prayer to put on the wall. This is a sweet, short prayer that gives us a reminder to start the day out positive. I will leave the daily prayer on the wall for the next baby as well.

Homemade gifts – Laurel got gifted so many sweet homemade gifts, which means so much to us! Here are a few other crafty items that adorn her room.

A relative lovingly created a cross stitch of her Birthday and weight.

My best friend Erin, created the gorgeous L out of paper! She has her own art website called www.erinsidloski.com. She is known for her amazing paintings and is open to commissions. I also put a gorgeous picture depicting the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus and a lamb up on her wall. This was made by one of my relatives by using Modge Podge to transfer a picture onto wood.

I love that my baby room is full of such meaningful, homemade items. I look forward to adding more to it and changing it a bit for our new arrival in November!

Pantry Organization and Labels

Who else watched The Home Edit on Netflix and immediately went and reorganized some section of your house?! This was 100% me. We had recently just moved into our house and the pantry was already a disaster, so I decided to tackle that room first. It also felt like a small manageable space to start with.

There were a few things I already had that I knew needed to be organized better. As a Christmas present a couple years ago, I was given a set of Tupperware containers that I had kept in storage until we bought our new house, so I figured out what baking supplies I used the most often to store in these containers. I also went out to Dollarama with my sister and we both stocked up on some cheap, clear containers to hold other food items on our shelves.

Containers from Dollarama

You can find storage containers at most home stores now, because of the popularity of The Home Edit. They have some nice containers created by iDesign, however, they are pricey, especially when you need a lot of them! I am so glad we checked Dollarama, because they had 3 different sizes of clear containers, maybe not as stylish, but very practical all the same and for WAY less money. Dollarama doesn’t always have stock, so if you can’t find any there, they also sell some in bulk for a bit more money on Wayfair.

CONTAINERS

  • Wayfair container link -These are the exact containers I bought at Dollarama. They never have the 2 biggest sizes in stock anymore so this pack is a great way to get all the sizes.
  • Ikea Wire Basket – I want to get these to store my potatoes in! So cute! Also would be cute to use for towel storage in the bathroom.
  • Amazon iDesign Turnstyle Container – This is the one container I could see myself spending more on, because a turnstyle is a great way to see all your items without moving everything around.

The last thing I needed to do was label everything, so that it is more aesthetically pleasing and convenient! This is where my Silhouette machine came in handy again. It is so simple and quick to cut out designs with this machine, and they look nice!

I used permanent black vinyl for this and choose the font called Beautiful People. I downloaded a free version because I am using it for personal use only. The best way to transfer permanent vinyl is to use transfer tape. I made the rookie mistake of not using this the first time and it was a nightmare! It keeps the vinyl spaced perfectly and also prevents bubbles from appearing under the vinyl.

I am so happy with how this organization turned out. You don’t need to spend a lot to feel like you have a refreshed, organized space!