Easy Mother’s Day Craft Even Your 3-Year-Old Can Do

I saw a beautiful beaded necklace in a catalog and wanted to get it. Until I saw the price. It was over a hundred dollars!

Taking a second look I realized I might be able to do it and possibly even get my son involved.

A trip to the craft store later and I was set.

The best part?

I had most of the materials. And if you have ribbon, paint (I used kids washable paint) and paint brush then you will have most things too.

I purchased wooden beads (make sure they have holes through them) for about $8 and then I was ready.

The hardest part?

Getting my 3-year-old to stop playing with his toys to do it.

Once he started though, like most toddlers, he was game. He painted most of the beads and then I taught him how to roll it around the paint to create a marble effect. He chose the colors and I strung the whole thing together. It was so fun-I’m definitely doing it again for grandma on Mother’s Day.

Homemade Valentine's necklace


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No Backlash Backsplash

It’s funny how nature’s perfection can inspire me to be courageously imperfect.

Like doing my backsplash, for example.

I’ve never done it before and I’m horrible and cutting straight.

But when I saw things like this:

It made me inspired to tackle a kitchen backsplash. Peel and stick ones (I got mine from Home Depot) are super easy I’ve found. It literally just takes cutting with an x-acto knife, peeling the back and sticking it onto a clean surface. I’m really happy with it. But I’ll let you know how it goes after a few weeks of aggressive use.


If you remember, then you must have followed my blog for awhile. This is how our kitchen used to look after the remodel and before a ton of kids:

{Nearly done.}

These chicken wire cabinets have the same shape as the new backsplash. Happy accidents are the best!
Kitchen cabinets


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Q & A with Mom and Revel Designs Owner Vashelle Nino


Vashelle Nino is a mom friend I met while she was living in Hawaii. She is genuine, kind and super creative. In a word, inspiring. I’ve been stalking her jewelry on Facebook and had to know what inspired her. Here’s what she had to say about her business Revel Designs and life in Maryland with her husband, three kids and “feisty pooch.”

How long have you wanted to create jewelry?

I have been creating jewelry for myself for as long as I could remember. It is sort of the perfect hobby for me for a number of reasons. First, since I have always been thrifty and not one to spend a lot of money on myself and my appearance, I use accessories as an inexpensive way to look put together. I truly believe it is one of the cheapest ways to feel good about what you’re wearing! Second, I have always liked creating and working with my hands. Beading and braiding and working with wire and pliers is like therapy to me. It has a focused, calming effect the same way that yoga and meditation does. Third, it is one of the only things I am good at! Ha! I love creating just about anything, but I don’t think anyone would purchase one of my paintings.

How did you first learn how to do it?

I taught myself jewelry-making techniques long ago just by getting in there and trying it! I’m still learning so much, and there is actually a lot I have yet to learn. Recently, a friend made a custom order with materials I had never used before—real gold and real Tahitian pearls. It was so nervous making this fine jewelry, and I had to do a little bit of research on the materials beforehand. I enjoyed the process and am always eager to learn new things.

What’s your inspiration?

Cost of materials is what drives and inspires me 80% of the time. I love shopping for beautiful beads, stones, charms and accents when they are at their best price. It allows me to sell my finished pieces at a reasonable price. Again, I believe great style can be achieved through accessories—affordable ones at that—and I love being able to contribute to that. The other 20% is when I see materials so beautiful I cannot resist using them in a piece. I get an image in my mind of how I want to use it and I go for it.

That is my creative process.

But what inspired me to open my own jewelry shop to begin with is this: I met a lovely lady in 2014, back when I was living in Hawaii. Her name is, ahem, Brandi. She was a fairly new mom, a kindred spirit, and I saw her striving to live an inspired life doing what she was passionate about. It made me ponder, what do I love? What am I passionate about? And why am I not doing it? It took a while for me to figure it out. I had just had my third child and was about to embark on a cross-country move from Hawaii to Maryland. I did not have the time or stability to focus on that sort of thing right away, but once we settled down in our new home I was able to reflect on what I was good at creatively. I will always be thankful for the sweet serendipity that brought Brandi into my life and what her presence did for me.

Did you have any fears or challenges about creating it initially? If so, what helped you get through these obstacles?

I cannot say I was fearful of anything. I have failed enough times at other things not to care about my ego or embarking on another failure. I had gotten to the point of thinking what is there to lose so I pretty much jumped in!
My biggest challenge when it comes to creating is time. As a mother of three, spanning an age group of 2 to 14 years old, I have very little time set aside to create. I often pine for there to be more hours in a day, but don’t we all!

I often hear from friends, “How do you do it all so effortlessly?”

And I often reply: “I don’t! Would you like to see the mold in my shower, or the three baskets of unfolded laundry hiding in my laundry room, or the Easter wreath still on my front door even though it’s October?”

I think the idea of having it all or doing it all is an illusion. We parents are busier than ever—and I don’t believe that is a good thing. Did your mom do with you as much as you are doing with your kid(s)? Was she as sleep-deprived? Did she worry about the 762,983 things the media tells us to worry about? I doubt it. And I think we should let some things go for the sake of our own sanity.

What do you see for your creative future?

I hope I will still be creating jewelry and perhaps some other things. My love for creating is REAL. I am happiest when I am using my hands and getting messy. I love colors and shapes and textures and all mediums, and I have referred to myself many times as a “sensory whore.” Ha!

I hope to continue selling on Etsy, as it is a comprehensive, reliable and credible platform for my shop. I have had nothing short of a great experience using it.

I also hope to do more craft shows in my area. Incredibly, I moved to the most appropriate place to embark on my new creative venture, as the community in Harford County, Maryland celebrates and values local art and business. The opportunities to showcase my work are plentiful.

What are you most proud of thus far?

Sticking with it and not giving up too soon. My family and friends were the bulk of my customers at the beginning. While I am immensely appreciative of their support I knew they did not sign up to support my business forever, nor did I expect them to! So I remember how excited I was when I got my very first non-family/friend customer through Etsy. I was like What! Someone found my shop, actually liked something and bought it! It was an incredible feeling. And even though I’ve had many non-friend/family customers since that first one, I still get very giddy and humbled. I love the transaction process, knowing that many Etsy shoppers believe in supporting artisans. Even though it is a modernized process using technology and postal services, it gives me the wonderful feeling of being a craftsman vending at an exotic bazaar. I love that.

vashelle vashelle-ninohttps://www.etsy.com/shop/RevelDesignsbyShelly
Instagram: @revel.designs.by.shelly

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Effortless Teepee II

This will be a short post because it took me no more than 5 minutes to put a toddler teepee together. The hard part was entertaining two babies at a hardware store while trying to carry bamboo poles and them back to my car. Thank you nice City Mill salesperson for helping me with the latter.

Basically, I’ve been reading how-to make an easy teepee online and via pinterest. Again, the difficult part was finding time to do it. Luckily, a relative was over again this time to watch the two.

How I did it:

  1. All I did was wrangle together 5 bamboo poles. I was not picky about which ones. In fact, that salesman chose them for me.
  2. I also bought jute rope. Make sure you’re not settling for anything thinner. It’s got to be strong enough to withstand your kids. You know yours. I know mine.
  3. I also got a drop cloth. The cheapest one I could find that was still made out of cotton, not plastic, was a runner. 
  4. Basically, I used one hand to hold five bamboo poles and the other to wrap the jute rope around the entire thing. Then, I weaved the rope around each one in an erratic and not consistent figure eight.
  5. Lastly, I tied each ends of the rope into a knot.
  6. When the teepee was sturdy, I wrapped it in the runner.
  7. The final steps included adding a ribbon at the top, a few toddler pillows and his bear pillow.

I’m surprised how easy it all turned out.

Toddler teepee

Here is the baby before and the toddler after. It went by so fast. I could weep. Not the room transformation, the growing up. Anyone else with me?

Nursery picTeepee toddler room

Go here to read part I of the transformation.


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Weekend Project: From Crate to Bookshelf

My two-year old son’s nursery was itching to become a big boy’s room. But with another one on the way, we just haven’t had time to make the switch. That hasn’t kept me from wanting to upgrade it a little.

Like take this end table.

End table boy's room It was being taken over by oodles and oodles of hand me down + new books. I double stacked them and was okay with it. My husband? Not so much. Every time he took one book out, it fell like dominoes. Pretty inefficient when you have a husband and a toddler.

But we also had a budget, of course. So I couldn’t just order something from Pottery Barn Kids like this on sale for $349 metal cabinet, for example:


It was a great excuse to get creative. When I saw these crates from Walmart for $11 I got kind of excited.

Milk crate

Although the husband didn’t see my vision, I had a few hours and limited cash. In desperation, I also picked up two bottles of gray paint and one bottle of chalkboard paint from Walmart. With our first garage sale coming up, I didn’t have much time to ponder so I started to paint.

Painted wooden crate

It took a lot longer than I expected and upon close inspection, it’s far from my best work. But I kept at it knowing toddlers don’t care about perfection. Neither do husbands (well not mine anyway).

Gray crate

After two days of sitting on the floor and trying to distract the toddler away from my painting project, it was done!

Boy's bookshelf

Besides being pretty inexpensive at around $30 and about 2 hours, it’s a project that keeps on giving. The outside chalkboard paint means my son can have fun with it too. And the end table? I think it will make a great project table for drawing and crafting. Now to find a chair…

DIY bookshelf

UpDaTe: After the little one woke up, he was pretty excited to do this:

Chalkboard paint and crate


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Christmas Decorations with a Toddler

Christmas is a beautiful time especially when you have kids around. The trouble is, however, that toddlers LOVE to get their pudgy little hands in everything, which is why I’m on the fence this year about a Christmas tree. While you have to judge the personality of your own child, I decided to dolly up our home with things out of reach of our active toddler. Here’s what I did:

Stockings were hung

The stockings were hung (with tape lol) and the fragile glass snow globes I made and DIY Christmas trees from a few Christmases ago were kept out of reach.

Christmas snowglobes

I played around with this a bit. This little green topiary was too cute not to add here.

Christmas ornaments with kids

All the Christmas ornaments were elevated to the ceiling with thumbtacks.

Reindeer head

Every year I like to add to our Christmas collection. I couldn’t resist this Reindeer head from Sundance.

Christmas forest scene

No Christmas tree this year, so far anyway. But this mini tree fits nicely with my woodsy theme.

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7 Inspiring Tips on Thrift Shopping & Repurposing from an Avid Tag Popper

You’ve already seen Larisa’s creative side here. But I wanted to dig in deep and find out what inspires this creative momma of two so I asked her. She’s sharing the things that inspire her and her savvy thrift shopping tips here.

{Suitcase makeover by Larisa Majors from her blog Life With Larisa.}

{Suitcase makeover by Larisa Majors from her blog Life With Larisa.}

Q: What tips can you give us wannabe thrifters on the art of shopping at a thrift store?

A: 1. Go without kids. If you’ve ever gone shopping with your kids, you know what an ordeal it can turn into. If you can carve out adult time, you can have more focus for finding those thrift goodies. Sometimes thrifting takes concentration to find just the right vintage chair, old book, etc. Having your hands free and your mind at ease, definitely helps!

2. Set a budget. I usually bring $20 and get what I can with that. The whole point is NOT to break the bank. If there’s something I have my heart set on that is over budget, I take a day to think it over. Then I go back—if it’s still there, I consider that it was meant to be!

3. Go often. I usually go once a week. New items appear from donations ALL the time. You don’t want to miss out on that hidden gem!

4. Visit thrift shops outside of your neighborhood. You will find unique items in an area that isn’t “just like home.”

5. Take a friend…or two. Often times the folks who know us best, can spot something we didn’t even know we were looking for. Also, they can provide a sounding board—do I really need this hundredth picture frame? A shopping companion can prevent junk overload!

6. Every trip is not a winner. Be prepared for that.Thrifting is hit or miss, like any retail therapy. Sometimes you feel like you’ve hit the jackpot and other times it seems as though there’s nothing fun to buy.

7. Thrifting is deeply personal. For me, the things that pop out to me and give me that retail high, are 9 times out of ten, something nostalgic. A dish that reminds me of meals at Grandmas. A shirt with a logo from a long ago product/tv show. Furniture that they just don’t make anymore. That’s when it really gets interesting.

Q: These are great! I’m curious to know what inspires you. How do you get a vision for seeing something someone else might just pass by?

My tastes are always changing and evolving. This means my style, interests, and yep, my creative projects tend to revolve around whatever has my attention at the moment. I have a few core interests that never change, such as books and music. And I have always enjoyed duality. I think this is where my “creative” process is born. I also think creativity stems from whatever I might stumble upon when shopping. Finding creative projects to work on these days usually revolves around dual or hidden purpose items. Who says a shoe is just a shoe? It can be decoration, a planter, a paintbrush holder. I like to look at ordinary things and think about ways of extending the life of them. For example, using an old album as wall art after it has played its last song. Like thrifting, every project isn’t a winner, but there’s still adventure in the process.

{For more information and first-hand look at some of her finds, follow her on Instagram or on her blog Lifeoflarisa.}

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