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How to Encourage Creativity in Kids

When I was growing up in the 70s, art supplies were always made available to me at home. I had tons of drawing paper, colored construction paper and crayons. I remember raiding my mom’s stock of paper lunch bags so I could make puppets and put on a show. You should have seen the mess in my bedroom! My desk was always littered with art supplies and the floor was sprinkled with bits of cut paper, colored pencil shavings and crayon wrappers. I was a creative slob, for sure. But I was too busy with my art to clean up – I had things to draw, projects to make, art to get on paper!

Last week I was helping my kindergartner craft a Valentine’s box for school. I helped him cover a cereal box with construction paper and we talked about the design he wanted. He wanted to make his box look like a hotel and have windows that opened to reveal a heart inside. I made the first one and then was called away by one of my other kids. This boy knows his way around scissors and a glue stick, so I left him to complete the project. And he handily did so, making several other hearts and windows himself. He was beaming when he showed me his completed project!

Unlike my cluttered bedroom in the 70s, my kids don’t have a space inside the house for art. The six of us live in a very small home so my kids have a desk in the garage for projects. And I definitely make sure that we have a nice supply of art tools at their use. It’s important to me that my kids stay creative. My creativity is definitely a big part of the fabric of my personality!

Why is It Important to Encourage Creativity in Kids?

Art allows for healthy exploration. Kids can safely experiment with art supplies in a way that results in a satisfying end product. Art allows children to have emotional freedom as a way of expressing personality, thoughts and feelings.

Figure out what kind of creative outlet is best for your child. Does you child enjoy the textile feeling of paint on canvas or chalk on textured paper? Or does your kid like building with LEGOS or K’Nex as their method of creativity? What about photography, writing, modeling clay or sewing? There’s a creative thing for each child and it’s fun to experiment with everything to help them find their niche.

I’m sharing 7 ways you can encourage creativity in your kids.

Looking for fun ways to encourage creativity in kids? These 7 ideas allow for freedom of expression in inexpensive and easy ways!

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I was compensated for this post.

1. Encourage Messes (and Reasonable Clean Up!)

A mess is often the result of creative expression. Getting messy is often how kids get deeply into the creative process (think fingerpaint, glitter and glue!) A mess is okay and kids should feel comfortable with getting messy while creating. When hindered by worry about getting messy, children won’t be as creative so make sure they know it’s okay to get a little messy.

Obviously you’ll need to set up an area for messy art making. Use art drop cloth on the floor, washable table coverings, wear old clothing and use easy-to-clean art supplies. If your child loves LEGO building have an area that they can work on projects without having to put everything away each day.

When art time is over, kids should be made clear on the clean up aspect. Kids of all ages should be able to assist with cleaning up their mess. Even a toddler can learn how to swish paintbrushes in clean water to wash off the extra paint.

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

2. Replace Screens with Art Supplies

There are only so many hours in the day. Would you rather your child’s hours be filled with aimless internet games and TV shows or brain-stimulating creative activities? Limit screen time and encourage art and creativity instead. Consider being a good example as well by setting down your phone and picking up a pencil or paint brush!

Looking for fun ways to encourage creativity in kids? These 7 ideas allow for freedom of expression in inexpensive and easy ways!

3. Dress the Colors of the Rainbow

                                               

Allowing your child to choose their own clothing and accessories is a way for them to express creativity! Clothing that is comfortable, colorful and fun allows kids to express their personality in what they wear. Gymboree is encouraging kids to “follow your art” with clothing that is inspired by creativity. These bright and playful springtime outfits have so much style. And the high quality and great price you can always expect from Gymboree. Click through to see what’s on sale and find out how to get free shipping on your Gymboree order.

                              

 

4. Give them the Artistic Resources

Having the proper tools on hand is essential to the creative process. Go through the supplies you already have and see what your child could use creatively. Bits of fabric, scrapbook paper and ribbon might not look like enough to you, but for a child they could make their own greeting cards with these supplies.

Organize the basics like glue sticks, crayons, colored pencils, scissors and craft paper into storage bins for easy access. Extra items like watercolor paint, gel pens, modeling clay and paint brushes can go into additional bins.

Visit Crayola for special savings on all the best art supplies you need for your crafts!Looking for fun ways to encourage creativity in kids? These 7 ideas allow for freedom of expression in inexpensive and easy ways!

5. It’s About the Process, Not the End Result

For toddlers and younger children, art is not about the final result. They couldn’t care less if their artwork looks like it went through a tornado – they’re PROUD of it!! And you should be too. For little kids, creativity is about the process. It’s in the touching and textiles. It’s in the fine motor skills of holding a crayon, drawing a line or cutting with scissors. Don’t worry about what their project looks like because your young kids don’t care.

Looking for fun ways to encourage creativity in kids? These 7 ideas allow for freedom of expression in inexpensive and easy ways!

6. Put Art on Display

While your littest ones don’t really care about the end result, you can believe that older kids who put lots of attention into the process want the best results! And that means your attention to what they’ve created. So if they’ve written a poem, painted a picture, or even just glued cotton balls to a piece of construction paper, put that art on display!

Find a clever way to show off your children’s artistic abilities, even if it’s a magnet on the fridge. I love the idea of a clothesline with rotating art work. We had this wire with tiny magnets in my daughter’s room so she could change things out as she wished. Save a few favorites in a bin each year (don’t forget to write the date on it somewhere!)

Looking for fun ways to encourage creativity in kids? These 7 ideas allow for freedom of expression in inexpensive and easy ways!

7. There Are No “Mistakes” in Art

One of the best rules of thumb to keep in mind when encouraging creativity in children – Art doesn’t have MISTAKES. Kids should feel comfortable creating what they feel without repercussion of doing it “wrong”. No helicopter parenting here. Even if you don’t like what your kids are making or you feel like they could be doing it another way, it’s important in this case to hold your tongue. Being creative is UNIQUE. Let your children be creative without your input, offering only encouragement and praise. You’ll see how their creativity will bloom!

Looking for fun ways to encourage creativity in kids? These 7 ideas allow for freedom of expression in inexpensive and easy ways!

Painted Rocks Project – How Rocks Get My Kids Active in Community

Want to start a painted rocks project in your community? See how painted rocks have fostered creativity and made my kids more active!

How can painted rocks make kids more active? And could painted rocks create a culture of kindness? My city started a painted rocks project that has everyone young and old getting out in the community to hide and find painted rocks of all styles and sizes. Find out more about how you can paint rocks or even start this project in your own area.

Painted Rocks Project #SanteeRocks

It started on a walk to the park. We found the painted rock on a park bench. One side of the rock had the word “DREAM”. The backside said, “Post a picture on #SanteeRocks FB page then rehide”.

Want to start a painted rocks project in your community? See how painted rocks have fostered creativity and made my kids more active!

Our first painted rock find!

The Santee Rocks Facebook page description states, “Santee Rocks began with the sole purpose of spreading joy, kindness, and a sense of community through creativity and was inspired by the Whidbey Island Rocks Facebook Group. The goal is to paint rocks and then hide them in various locations to bring joy to the finder”. 

 Want to start a painted rocks project in your community? See how painted rocks have fostered creativity and made my kids more active!

Getting Kids Active with Painted Rocks

Hardly a day goes by without my son requesting that we go on a walk to look for Santee Rocks. He knows exactly how many he’s found over the last few months (26).

And when my son does find a rock, he shows it proudly to anyone passing by before finding a perfect hiding spot. I’m seeing him be less shy and more conversational.

Want to start a painted rocks project in your community? See how painted rocks have fostered creativity and made my kids more active!

This patriotic rock was found (along with a Susan B. Anthony coin) on the Fourth of July!

While my daughter isn’t as likely to chat it up she’s enjoys showing off her artistic side by painting rocks to hide. All the kids love to see the rocks that they’ve painted being shared on the Facebook page.

Painted Rocks of Your Own – Host a Painting Party!

Ready to paint your own rocks? Gather up a few inexpensive supplies and get creative! Use your inspiration from anywhere. We’ve seen some incredibly beautiful rocks on our Facebook page. And we’ve found some rocks that were probably painted by 2-year olds! Doesn’t matter. Each time my son finds a rock, he’s thrilled, no matter what it looks like.

Want to start a painted rocks project in your community? See how painted rocks have fostered creativity and made my kids more active!  Want to start a painted rocks project in your community? See how painted rocks have fostered creativity and made my kids more active!

You’ll need rocks, of course. Smooth river stones can be purchased if you don’t have rocks in your yard to use. There were some issues in our community when people were taking rocks from in front of shops to use for painting. Don’t steal rocks! Use your own or buy them.


Collect a variety of acrylic paints and paintbrushes. Use big brushes for covering the entire rock with paint and thinner brushes for details. A paint palette is a mess-free place to hold and mix colors (or use a paper plate for quick clean up).


You’ll need a permanent marker, like a Sharpie to write instructions on the back. Sealant is a must otherwise your artwork will wash away if the rock gets wet. Extra items could include a painting smock and a table drop cloth.


Starting Your Own Painted Rocks Group

If you think that your own community would benefit from something fun like this painted rock project, consider starting it up in your own area. Start off by enlisting friends to create their own painted rocks to hide. Start a Facebook group and things should get rolling from there. Our community site has over 10K followers!

Want to start a painted rocks project in your community? See how painted rocks have fostered creativity and made my kids more active!

Dad found this painted rock and brought it home for my son to hide the next day.

Basic Painted Rocks Rules – (adapted from #SanteeRocks Facebook group)

  • If you find a painted rock that you can’t bear to part with, please keep it. Replace it with one of your own creations.
  • Coat rocks with a sealer for longevity.
  • Do not decorate rocks with glue-on accessories. These decorations will eventually fall off and become litter and a hazard to wildlife.
  • Be sensitive to the environment, stay on all trails, and do not hunt in protected habitats.
  • Do not hide rocks inside businesses
  • We encourage you to take rocks to other towns, states or countries to hide and share. This is a kindness project, and kindness has no boundaries!

  


For more on activities and ways to beat summer boredom,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


12 Budget-Friendly Things to Do With the Kids on Winter Break

Need Things to Do with Kids on Winter Break?

The winter break is upon us and that means two full weeks with the kids at home. It can either be two weeks of fun or two weeks of hearing, “I’m BORED” 473 times a day! This year I’m determined to be prepared with a calendar of activities to keep boredom at bay without breaking my holiday budget. Here are 12 budget-friendly things to do with your kids on winter break!

Please note that I use affiliate links in this post. Clicking and purchasing through the links helps me in a small financial way, thank you!

 Need Things to Do with Kids on Winter Break? Check out this budget-friendly list of 12 things to do with kids on winter break.

 

Seasonal Tabletop Craft Decor

Add a bit of joy to the house with a simple craft. These would be so pretty decorating a tabletop as a centerpiece. I plan on making these with the kids on winter break. We have pine trees lining our street so finding them will be easy enough but if you don’t have them readily available, they are sold online. To create your own pinecone centerpiece you’ll need Ponderosa Pine Cones, White Acrylic Paint, Small Clay Pots and Gold Stars.

12 Budget-Friendly Things to Do With the Kids on Winter Break

Photo Credit & Link from Town & Country Living

Holiday Titles from the Library

We have a small collection of holiday books and movies that we pull out during this time of year. Pick up a few new seasonal story books, music CDs or DVDs from the library for entertainment this holiday. You can often reserve them in advance online as well.

Pajama Day

Declare a PJ Day! Stack up all those holiday books and pile the pillows and blankets on the floor in the living room for a cozy day in your pajamas. Make a special treat like popcorn or Rice Krispy treats served with cocoa and marshmallows and let everyone lounge and relax.

gymmiesnightgown

Gymboree Gymmies come in the cutest holiday patterns!

Holiday Art Project

Last year my daughter made this in school. Give each child a canvas, acrylic paints and a brush and let them create their own winter scene that you can pull out with the decorations each year. To make your own painting you’ll need a Stretched Canvas, Acrylic Paint Set, Paint Brush Set and Crafting Plastic Drop Cloth

 Need Things to Do with Kids on Winter Break? Check out this budget-friendly list of 12 things to do with kids on winter break.

Window Scenes

When I was a girl my grandparents let us us acrylic paints on the inside of the living room windows to create a holiday scene. I wish I had a picture to show you! It was a highlight of our season and we painted new scenes every year. My other grandmother had the cutest retro window clings and we’d decorate with those and rearrange them throughout the season. Try these adorable seasonal window decor ideas- White Snowflakes Window Clings,  Crayola Washable Window Markers, Super Window Sticker Art

Movie Marathon

Pile up a stack of those Christmas movies and work your way through them. I recently picked up A Christmas Story which my kids hadn’t seen but is one of my absolute favorites! White Christmas is my 13-yr old’s holiday favorite and it’s streaming on Netflix right now. My preschooler loves The Polar Express so we’ve already seen that one several times this year!

Need Things to Do with Kids on Winter Break? Check out this budget-friendly list of 12 things to do with kids on winter break.

Cut Snowflakes

Coffee filter snowflakes are easy for older kids to make and look so pretty taped to a window or strung in a garland. Cheap and easy entertainment and decor in one! To make this craft you’ll need Coffee Filters and Titanium Softgrip Detail Scissors

snowflakes2

Coffee Filter Ornament craft and image from The Pink Couch

Snuggly Knotted Blanket Making

This one is easy enough for older kids to make on their own. Consider crafting a few as gifts or to donate. You’ll need a good, sharp pair of scissors because it require quite a bit of cutting. But the cozy soft blanket you’ll have at the end is worth it! You’ll need Winter Fleece Fabric by the yard and Fabric Scissors with Comfort Grip

fleece-blanket

Knotted blanket tutorial and image from Sewlicious Home Decor

Nature Walk

Kids on winter break get stir crazy from being cooped up inside. Bundle up and head outside for some fresh air and a blast of nature! I did a quick search on Pinterest and found a free printable for a Winter Adventure Hunt from Montessori Nature.

Cookie Baking

Most kids love to help in the kitchen! Here are a few easy kid-friendly recipes, including one of my own for oatmeal peanut butter cookies. Try Christmas Crinkle Cookies, Chocolate Thumbprints or Christmas Snowballs. Baking items you may need are Holiday Metal Cookie Cutters, Mini Squeeze Bottles, Meringue Powder for royal icing and Christmas Holiday Sprinkles.

If cut-out sugar cookies are your thing, I highly recommend this recipe from SweetSugarBelle that uses powdered (confectioners sugar) instead of granulated. These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth yummy! This is also where you’ll find the perfect recipe and tutorials for making royal icing. You might not be able to decorate quite as fantastically detailed as she does, but here is some inspiration! Seriously, are those too cute to eat or what?!

polar-pals-cookies

Image credit and recipe from Sweet Sugarbelle

Wrapping Paper Games

If you haven’t finished up wrapping gifts, let your kids have at the tape and paper and allow them to wrap gifts for friends and family. When they’re done with the paper, the cardboard tubes can be used for several things. One Christmas, my Dad painted them red and white striped like a candy cane and slipped them around metal stair railings for a cute decoration. Of course, my boys always use the wrapping paper tubes as mock light sabers!

  

Gingerbread House Decorating

A friend of mine has the Candy Cottage Gingerbread House which looks like it’s made of cookie but is really plastic. All you need is your own icing and candy and you can decorate the house without risk of it toppling over! Some great candy suggestions are TWIZZLERS Christmas PULL ‘N’ PEEL Candy, Necco Wafers, Star Brites Peppermint Starlight Mints and Sixlets.

I love the “gingerbread” house made of graham crackers. Did you know that Honey Maid actually makes gingerbread crackers and chocolate grahams? This is a great petite size that kids can tackle on their own and enjoy the snack when they’re done!

gingerbread-house

Image from Our Best Bites.

How will you be spending winter break with the kids? Share with me in the comments!

 

DIY Handpainted Finding Dory T-Shirt

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

Even if you think you can’t paint, this DIY activity is easy! It’s totally do-able to create, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist! I painted Dory here but you can use any coloring page on hand with this fun technique.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

I like this technique of painting onto cotton fabric rather than directly onto the shirt for a variety of reasons. It’s quite a bit easier to apply fabric paint onto cotton rather than a knit fabric that stretches. Also because t-shirt knit stretches, the design won’t warp or crack this way. You can also blend colors easier on the cotton than on the knit.

I used a pretty sparkly blue fabric paint for Dory so she’ll really shine in the light! Paint your Dory as simple or as realistic as you like.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

You’ll need:

  • T-shirt. This is a chance for you to use a tee that might have a stain on it as you’ll be able to “save” the shirt by placing an applique over the stain.
  • Coloring page printed out and resized as needed so your design will fit your shirt
  • A full color image of Dory to use for reference when painting
  • Scrap of white cotton
  • Sharpie Fine Point Marker
  • Fusible bond, like Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
  • Disappearing ink pen, like this one from Dritz OR a pencil
  • Fabric paint in blue, white, black, yellow and red; I like the So Soft Fabric Paint Collection
  • Paint brushes in a variety of sizes; I use this Loew-Cornell Fabric Brush Set
  • Old dish and cup for water
  • Sharp scissors
  • Paper towel or old dishtowel (for wiping off brush between colors)
  • Iron
  • Optional, if you decide to sew the design down:
    • Thread in matching colors. Gutermann thread is my favorite brand as it’s strong (doesn’t break mid-project!), wide range of colors and holds up to wash and wear.
    • Bobbin thread in color to match the shirt
    • Sewing machine needle (jersey or Ballpoint Machine Needles give the best results for applique)

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

1.Place your printed coloring page on the window with a piece of tape and use your Sharpie to outline the outside edge of the design onto the reverse side of the paper. This will create a “mirror image”.

2. Place a piece of fusible bond (bumpy side down) onto the mirror image (backside that you just traced) and trace out Dory’s shape using a Sharpie marker (ball point pens or pencils will smudge or smear off onto your iron, so a Sharpie is best).

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

3. Iron out the wrinkles on your cotton fabric. Iron the fusible bond Dory (bumpy side down) onto the WRONG side of the fabric.

4. Cut out the Dory shape on the line.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

5. Place the Dory shape (fabric side up) onto your coloring page. Use your disappearing ink pen or pencil to lightly draw the details of Dory onto the cotton fabric.

6. Peel off the fusible bond backing.

7. Lay your shirt down and iron out any wrinkles in the design area. Lay your Dory shape down on the tee, make sure the design is placed where you want it. Iron on securely.

8. Optional: Using a straight stitch, sew with a small hem (1/4″) around the edge of the fabric, securing the Dory shape to the tee.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

9. Squeeze a small bit of each color of paint onto an old dish. Best to start off with small amounts because you can always add more paint if you need it. Mix colors if you need to get the right tones for shading.

10. Fill a cup with water and have an old towel or paper towel for brush swishing and cleaning in between colors. Don’t leave brushes sitting in water (bristles will bend). Clean them thoroughly in between colors, wipe on towel and lay flat to dry.

11. I like to start with the largest section of blue, adding shading and highlights by mixing the blue paint with black or white. I added the yellow next, then the black sections and saved the white areas for last. Fill in the red for the eyes. Go back in with the black paint on a very thin brush to add details like the rims around her eyes and in her mouth. Finish with the white on a thin brush, adding the catchlight in her eye. I also used black and white, thinned out with water to create shadows & highlights.

Your handpainted creation can be machine washed in cold water, with the shirt turned inside out.

Paint Your Own Finding Dory T-Shirt

Want to see all of the blogger Finding Dory posts? Check them out at Love Our Crazy Life!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links

signnature8

 

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Yellow Loop. Today we are sharing ideas to help your family beat summer boredom.


When I think summer, I think about red, white and blue! It’s a season of patriotism, full of celebrating long days, warm sunshine, cool pools and time off to relax. Here are a few fun summer crafts for the kids that use art supplies that you probably already have on hand. I also included two fun “mom-projects” to make a patriotic outfit for the kids.

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

Painting Fireworks

Using large pieces of fingerpaint paper, we created this patriotic firework art! We’re going to make several of these and use them on our table setting this Independence Day.

  • Empty cardboard roll from toilet paper or paper towel
  • Acrylic or poster paints in red and blue
  • Paintbrush
  • Palette, old dish or paper plate
  • White paper

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

Snip the end of a cardboard roll and bend the edges back to flare them out into a “starburst” shape. We used to different tones of blue in our project. Squeeze a bit of blue paint onto a paper plate and then paint the flared end of the roll with the paint (we tried dipping the roll into paint, but it doesn’t offer as much coverage). Press onto paper. Repeat with red paint, pressing on top of the blue firework design.

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

Patriotic Ribbon Wands

Hurray for the red, white and blue! Hand the kids these to wave during a parade or fireworks spectacular. You could also place a few of them into your lawn to decorate the yard or place one in a vase alongside a bouquet of flowers.

  • Flags on a stick (these were from the dollar section)
  • Varying lengths of ribbon in red, white and blue

Easy-peasy, just have kids tie the ribbons into individual knots, just under the flag.

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

Patriotic Napkin Rings

  • Empty cardboard roll from toilet paper or paper towel
  • Felt in red, white or blue, cut into strips 2″ wide
  • Extra felt to use for stars, circles, etc.
  • Hot glue (white glue will only soak into the felt and not stick)

Cut the cardboard into pieces about 2″ wide. Apply glue onto one of the felt strips and apply to the cardboard roll. Cut stars and shapes from the felt and glue on top of the roll. Roll up a cloth or paper napkin and slide into your napkin ring.

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

Stacked Stars Tee & Decoupage Pants

These are two for the moms to make and for the kids to wear! I love scrap-buster projects and this patriotic duo is easy to whip up on your sewing machine. I used a mix of patriotic prints, along with solid red, white and a lightweight denim fabric.

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

For the tee

Simply cut three stars out of fabric. Center the largest star in the middle of the tee and use a tight machine straight stitch to secure to the shirt. Stack the middle sized star on top, centering over the large star and sewn down. Repeat with the last star. Hand sew a white button to the center of the smallest star. The raw edge of the fabric will fray slightly when washed for a unique look.

5 Budget-friendly Patriotic Summer Crafts for Kids

For the jeans or pants

Using a seam ripper, carefully cut open the inside seam of a pair of pants. Cut out pieces of fusible bond (I use Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive) and iron onto various fabrics. Lay out the pant leg onto your ironing board and arrange the pieces onto the pants in a pattern that you like. Peel off the fusible bond backing and iron securely in place. Using a narrow zig-zag stitch, secure each piece to the pants. I used a lightweight denim fabric to sew stars on top of the patchwork design with a zig-zag satin stitch. Sew the seam closed on the pant leg when complete. I used a piece of bias tape at the hemline of the pants to enclose the bottom seam.

For more ways to beat summer boredom,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Yellow | Beating Summer Boredom Loop:

Beautiful Bedroom for Baby – DIY Nursery Decor on a Budget

A Beautiful DIY Bedroom for Baby - Nursery Decor on a Budget

Having a dedicated space for baby is special. Whether it be a nook in your own bedroom, a shared space with an older sibling or a full nursery, designing the space can be fun…but expensive! If you can sew (or know someone who can), you can really save money and create a space that’s beautiful and unique. I’ve collected a few of my favorite tried and tested tutorials for designing your own nursery decor on a budget.

Basics for a DIY Nursery

Design: Decide on the direction you want to go before starting any projects. Figure out a color palate and style before you buy any fabrics or decide on any patterns.

Fabrics: Find your “inspiration fabric” before you buy anything. This is going to be your main fabric that will highlight your projects and all other colors will pull from this fabric. Art Gallery Winged Wingspan Melon was my inspiration fabric and it had lots of great colors for me to use in the other projects for my nursery.

Patterns: I love the patterns on Sew4Home. They are free and range from beginning to advanced. Make sure to read through the entire pattern before starting in case it’s too complicated for you. A quick search on Pinterest can also give you a wide range of DIY projects!

Quilt

I find that starting with a quilt is a great place to gather your favorite fabric designs and colors. From here, you can run with things and decide which fabrics you want to use for the other projects in the room.

"Rainbow Blankie", made 4 years ago for my son (along with a Boppy pillow cover)

“Rainbow Blankie”, made 4 years ago for my son (along with a Boppy pillow cover)

Charm pack baby quilt from Sew4Home – 4 years ago, I sewed this small quilt for my son. It’s come to be known fondly as “rainbow blankie” and he sleeps with it every night. I knew that I had to recreate this quilt for the new baby. It’s a great project for beginners (I’d never made a quilt before this one) and goes together easily, especially if you use a pre-cut charm pack. I prefer to pick and choose and piece together my own fabrics but it definitely takes me infinitely longer to make the quilt when I’m cutting out and designing this way.

A Beautiful DIY Bedroom for Baby - Nursery Decor on a Budget

“Butterfly Blankie”, sewn for my new daughter

Changing Table Pad Cover

Changing table pad covers are very simple to sew yourself and you can probably sew up three in a day (I did!) I loved using leftover fabrics to piece them together and create a unique look that coordinates in the room. Adding a bit of Minkie Dot fabric adds softness and sophistication. I used this free pattern from View from the Fridge.

Changing table cover in my son's room, along with a coordinating banner above the table.

Changing table cover in my son’s room, along with a coordinating banner above the table.

Diaper Stacker

Space is tight in our shared nursery so I wanted to have a space to store overstock diapers. I sewed up this hanging diaper stacker that coordinates with the other fabrics in the space. I skipped the applique to save time. Follow the Hanging diaper stacker pattern from Sew4Home.

A Beautiful DIY Bedroom for Baby - Nursery Decor on a Budget

Snuggly Blankie

I had enough Minkie Dot fabric to make a snuggly blankie. One side is the soft Minkie and the other side is one of my favorite prints, that I’ve been hoarding for years! It’s framed with silky satin trim and this blankie goes together very fast. Find the free pattern for the Papa Bear Bound Edge Blanket on Sew4Home.

Art Work and Wall Decor

A Beautiful DIY Bedroom for Baby - Nursery Decor on a Budget

Artwork for the nursery side of the room

Since this is a shared room with a tween and a new baby, I wanted it to look feminine but not babyish. I chose fabrics and colors that were all-age appropriate, in a wide color palette. My older girl already had this turquoise and purple comforter so when I picked out fabrics for the baby’s quilt, I made sure to include these colors as well.

I chose artwork for the spaces above their beds that would coordinate and “grow” with them. I bought the frames and art using 50% off coupons for the craft store and printed the artwork at home from TwoBrushesDesigns on Etsy. The Cinderella Castle print was a gift, purchased at Vivid Editions and has a great splash of brightness and color. I chose frames and mirrors in a variety of shapes and sizes, then laid them out on the floor, moving them around until I had a collage that looked good to me before hanging them on the wall.

A Beautiful DIY Bedroom for Baby - Nursery Decor on a Budget

The Tween side of the bedroom

What to buy and what to make?

I find that things that take a lot of fabric (like fitted sheets) or things that take a lot of time to sew (anything with tons of ruffling) are better off being bought than made myself. There are also some items that are barely noticed in a nursery so you might as well save time by purchasing them instead. I ended up buying a simple crib skirt online for less than $15 and it would have taken me much more to purchase the fabric and sew it myself.

A Beautiful DIY Bedroom for Baby - Nursery Decor on a Budget

Do you have any favorite nursery DIY tips? Share them with me in the comments!

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DIY Cheap and Easy Pillow Covers to Brighten Your Home!

DIY Pillow Covers {Saving Up for Disney}

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to brighten your home is with fabric. Less of a commitment than painting the walls, a simple yard of cotton fabric can make at least one pillow cover (depending on the size of your pillow form) and will only cost you a few dollars.

I found a DIY link on Pinterest for sewing up Envelope Pillows. Super easy and super fast! I had three pillow covers done in baby-nap time (approximately 2 hours). You only need to know how to measure, cut and sew straight lines so it’s perfect for beginners.

For this project I didn’t have to buy a thing. I used pillow forms I already had (from Ikea) and fabric I’d purchased about three years ago and never got around to using. You can also buy cheap pillows at a home decor shop and cover them to match your own decor with fabric of your choosing. Nice quilters cotton will cost about $7-10 per yard.

DIY Pillow Covers {Saving Up for Disney}

Look closely at the dark blue and cocoa brocade print on the right…those are goldfish in the center of the design!

DIY Pillow Covers {Saving Up for Disney}

And the backsides are cute too.

The tutorial recommended using plain fabric on the back but I know that my pillows will never just be sitting pretty on the sofa. They will be tossed all over (in fact they are laying on the floor right now, as my husband was taking a nap with them!) so I wanted them cute from all angles.

Warning…these tend to be addictive and you might find yourself making a set of pillow covers for each season! At Christmas time, I used some winter-themed fabrics with reindeer and snowflakes. My sofa was so bright and whimsical!

Sheri Berry Christmas Sheri Berry Holiday Michael Miller Yule

You could also make a toss pillow for the kid’s bedrooms in a favorite fabric to coordinate with their room (or use an outgrown tee for the front).

Of course, you could also make Disney-themed pillows in anticipation of an impending vacation…I plan on it! I am going to choose one main Disney fabric for one pillow and use coordinating prints to go with it. You want your look to be livable so make sure these are colors and designs that blend with the rest of your decor.

  

I recommend purchasing quilter’s cotton for any home projects that are going to be getting used and washed frequently. Unfortunately many of the inexpensive cottons sold at the craft stores are going to wear poorly or fade, so invest a few dollars more a yard for nice quilter’s cotton that will be smooth to the touch, wash up nicely, keep color and last for a long time. If you don’t have a quilt shop in your area, you can find plenty online (just pay attention to the scale because you might receive it and realize that the print is larger or smaller than expected!).


Some of my favorite fabric links:

Heather Bailey – I cannot wait to buy Up Parasol, I love every piece in this collection!

Michael Miller fabric – The Sarah Jane line is so sweet and whimsical. Lots of fun chevron prints too.

Kaufman fabric – The Dwell Studio collection is perfectly sophisticated for home decor.

Emmy Grace – Love the subdued colors and intricately detailed art in these designs.

Amy Butler – Bright and bold and perfect for adding pops of color, I use her prints frequently.

Kona Cotton – The best solids around, in tons of gorgeous colors!

Why DIY?

I’m a do-it-yourself-er at heart. For as far back as I can recall, if you could buy it in the store, I’ve been trying to make it better at home. I never bought a birthday card when I was a kid, they were all made by me (complete with a hand drawn “Hallmark-style” crown on the back!). I started hand sewing when I was young and making whatever I could with whatever fabric I could get my hands on. Sketches and watercolors made nice gifts for friends and family.

There was always a project (or two…or ten)…and there still is!

Handmade baby quilt and nursing pillow cover.

Handmade baby quilt and nursing pillow cover.

My craft space is currently a flurry of multiple juggling projects, from a quilt that I plan to make as a Christmas gift, watercolor art that I hope to someday get printed, a personalized t-shirt, some half-painted picture frames and a stack of hot-off-the-sewing machine pillowcases for the sofa.

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Why buy, when you can make it better at home?

Handpainted wooden figures for a Small World birthday party.

Handpainted wooden figures for a Small World birthday party.

I understand that perhaps crafting isn’t your talent. Maybe you’ve never held a needle in your life. Or you don’t consider yourself an “artist”. I truly believe there is a craft for everyone. Maybe if drawing isn’t your thing, woodworking is. Or maybe you can decorate beautiful cakes using a piping bag. How about gardening, you just have that magical green thumb? Are perhaps computer technology is your craft and you know how to code functional websites.

Appliqued shirts for a Disney trip.

Appliqued shirts for a Disney trip.

In any case, doing-it-yourself can be a rewarding way to share your talent with others. It’s a stress-reliever and often times (if you don’t get caught up overstocking supplies), DIY can be a great way to save money. I have found that my best projects come from what I have on hand because I’m forced to get creative with my supplies instead of simply going to the store and buying it.

DIY… I hope you’ll try!

DIY girl's princess blouse.

DIY girl’s princess blouse.

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