Easy Pre-School Craft: Birdhouses

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Oh Georgia weather, you’re such a tease. With the jonquils blooming and yesterday’s afternoon warmth I was thinking Spring was officially here, but no, this morning is downright chilly! Come soon Spring, we are ready for you to stay! Aren’t the flowers beautiful though?

Today I wanted to share with you something so easy and fun that your pre-schooler (or probably any kid for that matter) will have fun doing. The other day Preston (my 3.5 year old son)  and I went to my favorite place, Hobby Lobby. One of the aisles we went down had all the little bare wood items. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, this aisle has wood letters, little boxes of all kinds, small shelves, shapes of every kind…a huge assortment of plain wooden items. Well, Preston found a tiny little birdhouse that he just thought was the cutest thing. It was only a few dollars so I let him get it.

Later that afternoon he was bored so I got out the birdhouse and his paints, covered his little work table with a plastic tablecloth and let him get to work. He probably painted that little house for over an hour and had such a good time doing it. It was a great pre-school craft because it allowed him to practice making decisions–he decided which wood item he wanted, and he got to tap into his creative side and let his artistic juices flow. I feel that letting children develop their imagination and creativity is so important.

This idea may be one you already to do with your little one, but in case you hadn’t thought of it before I decided to pass the idea along. I also loved that it kept him entertained and occupied for so long, this would be the perfect thing to let your child do if you need to work on laundry or clean the house a bit. Since this is an inexpensive activity we will be doing this a lot more often too.

And now I have the cutest little birdhouse painted by my most favorite little guy. Isn’t it darling?

Easy Pre-School Craft: Bird House

I love it sitting here on my front porch, however, the other day Preston saw it out here and got really upset. Apparently he painted it to give to his baby sister for her first birthday. He’s the sweetest child I have ever known.

I brought the birdhouse back inside after I took the photo; it’s just as well though because this was how the porch was decorated for the winter. During the Christmas season in place of the birdhouse was a tiny silver glittery reindeer that was just so cute. Don’t you just love the mix of all the mediums? I think the mason jar with twine wrapped around it sitting next to a mercury glass votive on a modern looking tray with a burlap runner has a fun, interesting look.

However, I need to do some Spring decorating now that April is just around the corner. Maybe, just maybe, after Madison’s birthday on April 4th Preston will let me put the birdhouse back on the porch. 🙂

What kind of crafts do you like to do with your little ones?

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Dresser Re-Finish with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since last July! I have a lot of catching up to do on here, I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the chance to post but I have so many things I want to share. There has been a birthday party, a new house to decorate, a baby shower, recipes to share and a new baby room to decorate.

Today I wanted to share my before and after pictures of the dressers that I re-finished using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I’m so pleased with how they turned out, amazed at how easy the product was to use and how fun it was to do!

I love the fact that you don’t have to do ANYTHING to get the piece ready for re-finishing–you don’t have to sand it or prime it or do anything except wipe it down with a rag if it’s dusty.

I re-did the dressers that were in my guest bedroom for use in our second baby’s room (a little girl due in April!); originally they were a very light (almost white) oak with lots of knots in the dressers. When I told my husband that all you have to do is put a couple of coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on to begin and that you don’t have to sand the knots down or seal them he was in disbelief. He really felt like the knots would bleed through, but not with this paint! It’s amazing!

So here’s the before shot (taken from when the dressers were in our old house):

Dressers Before

So to begin I just removed the drawer pulls and wiped the pieces down with a damp rag. I painted two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in her Old Ochre color and let it dry. Later that same day I applied a very, very thin coat of Annie Sloan Clear Wax. She has a special brush and technique that she recommends but I just used pieces of my husband’s clean white undershirts to apply it with. I would rub a little on it in a circular motion and continue to rub it in until only a thin layer of it was left. (You can tell where you’ve applied the clear wax because it slightly deepens the hue of your paint color).

I let that cure overnight and the next day I took sand paper and roughed it up a bit because I wanted the dressers to have a rustic, antique feel to them. I emphasized the corners the most but used the sand paper all over the pieces too. Next I brushed off the pieces to remove any dust particles from sanding.

The final step is Annie Sloan’s Dark Wax. Again, she has a special brush for applying the wax but I just used a straight edged paint brush. I applied it on the piece and rubbed it in a bit with another piece of clean white undershirt. I let the piece cure for a week before putting the drawers back in and putting the drawer pulls back on.

Here’s the final product; I’m very excited about how they turned out! They are going to look great in our little girl’s room.

Dresser After

I did the mirror too on the dresser above but haven’t re-attached it yet.

Dresser 2 After

I definitely will be using this product again!Also, FYI you can’t just buy this paint anywhere, you have to find an Annie Sloan stockist. For me, it’s at Queen of Hearts antique store in Buford, Georgia. You can Google Annie Sloan stockist to find one near you though. Have fun!

So, I’d love to hear if you’ve used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint before? How did you like it?

Mercury Glass Decorating

Are you as infatuated with mercury glass as I am? I became really interested in collecting some mercury glass right before Christmas, so of course that was on my wish list. Lucky for me, my mom and sis delivered…I got 6 different pieces for Christmas! Can you feel my excitement about this?!

I used all my new mercury glass to decorate my home in a “winter” theme using lots of silvery frosted branches, silver sparkly berries, and to brighten things up a bit I threw in a lime green glittery branch here and there as well. I also used pine cones and pine branches to add to this rustic wintery theme.

So I decorate my home in this winter wonderland that would be perfect for snow and of course we’ve had the hottest winter I can ever remember. I realize that I live in Georgia so I shouldn’t expect buckets of snow but we haven’t even had a FLURRY this year. I’ve only worn my winter pea coat twice and I’ve worn short sleeves more times than I can count. It’s been one crazy winter…if you can even call it that!

Do you like to decorate with mercury glass too? If so, I hope this has given you a little inspiration. I’m not tired of it yet so I’m thinking about keeping it out for spring too. I will just rearrange it a little and change out the winter foliage for pretty spring flowers and greenery.

All of these vases are store bought, but I saw on Pinterest that you can make your own mercury glass. I’m definitely going to give that a try. Click the picture below for the instructions. Happy decorating!

Homemade Valentines

Okay, so I know this holiday has come and gone for the year but I didn’t want to post this before Valentine’s Day because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for the people I sent Valentines to. So…use these as ideas for next year or adapt the concept for upcoming holidays.

First you have to visit a craft store for supplies. I picked up silver glitter notecards, Mod Podge, pretty scrapbook paper, silver scrapbook letter stickers, a large heart shaped hole punch and small white lacy heart stickers. You will also need envelopes that the notecards fit in.

These are so easy and cute to do! Just punch out lots of cute hearts from the paper and arrange it however you’d like on your notecards. Use a paint brush and paint the back of the hearts with Mod Podge then glue to your notecard. Make words like LOVE, HEART, XOXO and KISSES with the silver scrapbook letters. Put the white heart stickers on too.

I was making these for my 18 month old son to give his grandparents and friends so the inside included a Happy Valentine’s Day note and also his handprint. I painted his hand with fingerpaint and put it on cardstock, then cut out the hand print with fancy edged scissors and glued it on the inside of the card.

Have fun making these Valentine’s Day cards! Just a thought: for Easter you could do something similar and cut out cross shaped paper or Easter egg shapes.

DIY: Prayer Board

My sweet best friend gave me the neatest birthday gift! It’s a prayer board–it’s both beautiful and functional. With this board you just use a dry erase marker to write your current prayers on the frame’s glass–simply erase and write new ones as often as you’d like.  I hung it in my laundry room so I will be reminded of the people I’m praying for as I walk out the door.

A friend of hers has an Etsy store and you can purchase them here: Prayer Board. Or if you’re feeling crafty grab a pretty picture frame, some spray paint, fabric of your choice (I LOVE the burlap that my board is made with), some scrapbook letters and other stickers with sayings about faith and prayer and some notecards and thumbtacks.

Here’s my board…isn’t it great? These would make awesome Christmas gifts!

Do you have a great gift idea that is an easy DIY that you’d like to share? I would love for you to leave them as a comment!

Have a blessed day!

A Pirate’s First Birthday

This post is long overdue seeing as this party occurred in July!! Ooops! Better late than never though right? My son, Preston, has been nicknamed “Preston the Pirate” since before he was born when I decided upon a pirate themed nursery…so, it was only fitting to make his first birthday party pirate themed as well.

I spent months working out the details for this party! (I’m kind of obsessed with planning and throwing parties!) Many nights I would be trying to fall asleep when a new idea would pop in my head and I would have to write it down right then…and sometimes I would even get out of bed, open the laptop and update the spreadsheet I created for the party. Yes, I did say spreadsheet! I’m a bit of an organized nut so I make spreadsheets for each party I plan with guest lists, decoration lists, food lists…basically anything I can make a list for I do!

Well, before y’all think I’m totally crazy, let’s get to the photos from the party…

I created a banner using ribbon, scrapbook paper and this Martha Stewart letter template.

Using styrofoam, some cute fabric, dowel sticks and laundry pins I created a photo display of each month of Preston’s first year.

The food table was so much fun creating! I’m in love with burlap at the moment and it’s very “piratey” in my opinion so I used it as the tablecloth. I created another banner that says “Ye Grub Station” and hung tons of ribbons from the chandelier. You can see the pirate flag and the pirate ship make up the centerpiece. Gold coins and necklaces were the treasure scattered throughout the table.

Cake pops are pretty time consuming to make but I think they really added an extra touch to the party.

I opted for cupcakes instead of doing a smash cake and regular birthday cake.

S’more kabobs…as you can see, I labeled all the food with silly little names to add more fun.

Fruit kabobs

Sausage Balls

Pigs ‘n a Blanket

Carrots and Celery with Ranch

Other food items included caramel popcorn, goldfish and fruit snacks.

Sweet tea and lemonade was served and guests could choose a mason jar to drink from. I created labels that they could write their name on.

I created a “Preston” banner for his chair and attached a balloon bouquet.

The favors were pirate rubber duckies, pirate tattoos and necklaces.

It was such a fun first birthday party to plan! He’s already almost 15 months, almost time to start planning birthday party number two…just kidding, kinda!

Don’t have the time or would rather hand off the duty of planning your child’s birthday party to someone else? Contact me for a free consultation. I serve the Metro Atlanta and Northeast Atlanta areas and would love to help!

Need help with a bridal or baby shower? Or maybe a milestone birthday party or anniversary party? I can help you plan those events too!

You can reach me at AnneRains@gmail.com

DIY Distressed Frames & Collage Wall

Do you ever get the itch to redecorate your house? I’ve lived in my house for 3 and a half years (which I know isn’t a terribly long time) and somedays I have to fight myself so hard not to go out and buy new furniture! Now I’m not saying that I don’t love and appreciate my current pieces…I’m just saying that sometimes you need a bit of a change. I satisfy those urges by redecorating my tables, countertops and other spaces seasonally; but lately, even doing those changes hasn’t helped.

So now I’ve moved on to changing up some of the art on the walls. Did you see my previous post where I made a fun piece out of an IKEA frame, a wooden letter, burlap and some black paint? If you missed it, here you go: DIY Frame Artwork.

My next project was creating a collage wall using distressed frames. I bought the frames from IKEA; they were white. To get the look I was going for I spray painted them (well, to be honest, the hubby painted them while I was taking care of the baby) a matte black. Later I took sand paper and started rubbing the frames in a random way…achieving a “distressed” look.

Here’s a few pics of how it turned out:

Here’s a close-up of one of the pictures so you can get a better look at the distressed feature.

I like how the wall turned out, but I think the space below it looks a little bare now…like it could use a cute little table with maybe a lamp and a few darling nick-knacks on it. Hmmm, may just have to put my decorating cap on and go shopping!

OH! and I learned a brilliant trick on Pinterest for creating a collage wall. Lay out your pictures how you want them on the floor. Then put pieces of wax paper taped together over it. Mark where all the nails need to go. Simply tape the wax paper to the wall and poke your nail holes. How easy and convenient is that?? Gotta love Pinterest!