BEST Toddler Gifts the Whole Family Will Love

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I have to admit I LOVE buying toddler gifts. The toys these days are so fun and cute. But at some point I think most parents look around and realize the kids have so much stuff they don’t actually play with.

So here is my list of the BEST Gifts for Toddlers that the whole family will love. I’ve got big ticket items to silly stocking stuffers. These are all gifts that can be enjoyed by older members of the family in some way in addition to the little ones. I think most of these (with supervision would be great for kids 18 months to 3 years).
Lit Joy Crate kids book box subscription box. Great Toddler gift idea

Lit Joy Crate

Lit Joy Crate is a bookish subscription box company that ships a box with a book and some related goodies once a month. What’s really cool about Lit Joy is that they have a box for even the little readers. Their Children’s Book box has great picks for kids 3-7 years old that even younger toddlers will enjoy. These boxes will have whole family excited to burst them open each month. And what a fun and easy way to add great books to your family library. There are different subscription lengths and you can even buy one time boxes.

Dress Up Gear

Whether it’s homemade or store bought a few dress up pieces are perfect for sparking the imagination of your little ones. I love the idea of gifting a whole dress up bin but if you already have some costumes or just don’t want to invest that much now even a few inexpensive pieces can be loads of fun. Fairy wings can be found at the dollar store most times of year, if you time things right you can catch some awesome deals on swords and fake armor too. After Halloween even the grocery stores have costume pieces for great deals. Last year we bought a few hats and Teddy will still randomly put them on and dance. Get creative there are dress up ideas all around and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. And if you want to make your own items I have LOADS of costume tutorials to get you started.

Awesome three sided art center for kids. Adjustable tri-side from Little Partners. Toddler gift guide

Tri-Side Art Center from Little Partners

This three sided easel has a chalkboard, dry erase board and flannel board. It has adjustable heights, slots for art tools like paint and crayons and even has a roll of paper that can be refilled to paint and draw on. This thing is awesome for kids of all ages. Teddy who is 2.5 years old and his cousins (8 and 9) use this together all the time. Did you hear that? TOGETHER. If you have the space for this it’s a great investment. The Tri-Side Learn and Play Art Center the type of piece that a whole room could be centered around. We also love our Little Partners Learning Tower too! You can get 10% off of orders at LittlePartners.com with the code RGR10.

Water Beads

Have you seen these cool squishy water beads that start off the size of sprinkles and then grow to marble sized gelatonous beads? They are super fun. Teddy loves to see the change in size and they are great for easy sensory play. They are really inexpensive and you get a bazillion of them since the beads are so tiny when they ship (can we say yay for something that takes up almost no space at all?). I’ve seen people fill kiddie pools with these which seems fun and terrifying all at once. We love to just watch them grow and feel them and sort colors and that kid of thing. Even the older cousins get a kick out of these.

Chapstick

I swear every toddler I’ve meet has been obsessed with chapstick. It doesn’t matter if it’s the stuff in the tube or those little EOS balls but there is something that draws them in about the stuff. As long as your little one isn’t the type to try to take a bite out of it chapstick is an easy inexpensive gift that they will totally adore. And as an extra perk if the toddler has his or her own chapstick you’re less likely to get that gross wet sensation when you go put your own on. Come on you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Great sorting toys and other gifts for toddlers. Kid gift guide.

Sorting and Counting Toys

We have a few sorting and counting toys and while Teddy doesn’t “get” every aspect yet he loves playing with them. One of our favorites that gets played with every single day is the Sorting Pie. Even the cousins love playing with this thing. I don’t force Teddy to try and sort he just bakes with it but along the way he is learning colors and shapes and numbers. And every once in a while we put it away using the guide sheets counting or sorting. We also love these counting cookies and shape cookies.

Let’s Go Fish Game

This will sound like a totally weird one because most toddlers do not have the coordination to operate the Let’s Go Fishing game as it’s intended but they still can have hours of fun with these cute fish that open and close their mouths. Teddy loves to try and catch the fish, sometimes with help and sometimes cheating haha. He also likes to put other items in the fish holes and watch them go up and down. He’s even put a fake pizza on it and told us it was baking. I know crazy right you’d never think such a classic cheap-y toy would be the gateway to so much creativity but I’m telling you we’ve had a blast playing this with the cousins how it’s meant to be played and then just letting the little guy do as he pleases!

Musical Instruments

Whether you have a whole percussion kit, just a few kazoos, or maracas, instruments can be lots of fun and they come at all different price points. It’s fun to watch the little ones march and put on productions with various instruments. We have this really fun drum kit that comes with all kinds of bells, symbols and other percussion instruments as well as a thrift store keyboard. My nieces have a harmonica that Teddy loves to play with and we even have a few of those plastic kazoos. There are so many different instruments from toy level to actual starter instruments that can get your little musician going.

toddler-gift-guide-s

Passes to Fun Places

We have a number of fun memberships to children’s museums, the aquarium, and even the water park. We use ours ALL THE TIME. I’ve read a number of articles saying these kind of passes are a waste of money but I’ve found them to be totally the opposite. It’s such a great deal and there’s always something fun to do. Just make sure you will for sure go enough times to make the membership fee worth it. Make sure to check out deal sites since they often will have specials for passes or even seasonal events.

Awesome gifts for toddlers the whole family will love

Pez Dispenser

If your kids are like my little guy they get plenty of candy and treats but there’s something special about a pez dispenser that’s all your own. I remember LOVING them as a kid and Teddy is no exception. He is thrilled when he gets to grab a candy from his Cinderella or Duck. It’s the best little bribe ever ha. As long as you are the holder of the dispenser and the kiddos can’t just go to town I think these make super fun gifts!

Books, Books, and More Books

And of course I couldn’t do a Toddler gift guide without encouraging you to buy books. I honestly think for a kid who has all their basic needs met that books are possibly the best gift of all. And don’t just give them books that they can do themselves, give them the gift of your time; the gift of your snuggles while reading; the gift of your focused attention. There are so many amazing books. I encourage you to find a couple new ones to add to your library and take time to read them together! It also might be fun to give them a gift card and then take them on an outing to pick out a book of their choice. Want some suggestions? Here are just a few board books for the little ones that I love.

Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and Little Partners Learning Tower Review

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I would eat these Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies every day if you’d let me.

New favorite freezer cookie recipe. These chocolate chip oatmeal cranberry cookies recipe is delicious for snack dessert and even breakfast

In fact I’d like to make a case that theses totally count as a well rounded breakfast if you throw in a nice glass of milk! Teddy totally agrees. If you come to my house you’ll probably be feed a vast array of imaginary and play food from my little chef. He seriously cooks ALL.THE.TIME.

Little Partners learning tower review

It was so fun having him “help” me make the cookies from his Little Partners Learning Tower. And by help obviously I mean mix up my ingredients and eat chocolate chips like they were going out of style. But really this guy loves to cook I have started letting him crack eggs by himself and he does great.

delicious breakfast cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip cranberry cookie recipe

I do use fresh cranberries and I think they and I think they add a little something special to the recipe. In fact I usually buy a couple extra bags during the winter to throw in the freezer so I can whip up some of these yummy cookies when they are out of season. I wouldn’t substitute dried cranberries.

delicious cranberry oatmeal chocolate chip cookies recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 C Earth Balance (you can substitute butter I prefer the texture with the earth balance)
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 C Slow Cook Oats
  • 1 1/2 C Chocolate Chips
  • 2 C Fresh Cranberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Love these. Cranberry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Great recipe

What to Do

  1. Add earth balance, sugar, brown sugar,  eggs, vanilla and cinnamon to the mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen aide). Mix until creamed.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. mix until incorporated.
  3. Stir in oats chocolate chips and cranberries until evenly distributed.
  4. Bake at 350 F about 10-14 minutes. When they are done parts will look a little toasted and parts will still look wet. Remove and allow to cool on the cookie sheet they will continue to cook there so don’t overcook them or else they’ll be really hard.

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies and the dough freezes great. I like to scoop the dough out and freezes it in individual balls to bake up later.

I always keep a bag of these in the freezer. Great homemade Cranberry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipe

For those of you curious about the Original Learning Tower, it’s pretty amazing. Teddy calls it his castle and he LOVES playing in it. I mean it’s perfect for having him cook with me since it makes him the perfect height for the counter but he seriously loves climbing in it and playing with it aside from that.

Great toddler kitchen helper.

I love that it’s designed totally with safety in mind. He can climb in and out all on his own and there is no way he’s going to tip it over. I don’t “let” him but he’s totally tried hanging on it in all kinds of ways before and it’s super sturdy actually it’s sturdy enough for me to stand in if I wanted to. I looked at this tower last year before Christmas because like I said Teddy has always loved cooking and now I really wish I had it back then when he was even littler instead of the step stool which I always had to have a hand on him while trying to juggle my kitchen tasks.

Great idea for getting kids involved in the kitchen while staying safe

This is designed for little ones as young as 18 months old and the four sides make it great for containing the their busy bodies while giving them easy access. It’s so nice to be able to actually cook when he’s up at the counter “helping” me or just wanting to see (he always wants to see what I’m doing). I don’t have to worry that he’s going to slip off a step because he’s not paying attention or tip it because he IS a wild one. Also it comes right flush with the counter so there’s none of that nerve wracking reaching or spilling between a gap that happened when we used a step stool.

We love this learning tower. So much better and safer than a step stool for little cooks and bakers.We love this learning tower. So much better and safer than a step stool for little cooks and bakers.

Sometimes I even have it in my work room and tell him if he wants to be in there with me he has to stay on his “castle”.

Little Partners Learning tower review

I do this especially when I have my heat press on, I’m trying to take pictures, or just want to sew without him trying to climb all over me. It works great because it’s so spacious (actually big enough for two kids to stand on together) that he can sit up there with toys or get up and down on his own.

This toddler step stool looks awesome Little Partners learning tower review.

If you have been wanting one of these for a little helper in your life you can get 10% off of orders at LittlePartners.com with the code RGR10. We also have the Tri-Side Learn and Play Art Center and it’s really fun too. I’ll have to share about that a different day!

Thankful Grateful Blessed

It surprises me how even though I was super open about it, one of my biggest and longest struggles is so easily forgotten. I mean I get it. It was MY life not his or hers and they have plenty of things on their mind now. But even some of my closest friends who walked it and hugged me as I cried have said things like “oh yeah I forgot” when it’s come up lately.

Great reminder not to forget the journey. Thankful shirt

Thankful.Grateful.Blessed. from Cents of Style

If you forgot or if you just weren’t around back then I’m talking about getting/having Teddy my little boy. It was a journey. It started with a miscarriage and then years of living life in two week cycles of trying and being heartbroken that we weren’t pregnant. It was lots of doctors visits. Being poked and prodded and what can only be described as being bone weary. If you’ve dealt with infertility you know what I mean. It is exhausting. I have NOT forgotten.

Teddy Birth - Rae Gun Ramblings

But we know how the story ends with a sassy little boy who gets assaulted with hundreds of kisses a day. Who still doesn’t really sleep but who couldn’t make me feel any more Thankful, Grateful, and Blessed. The hidden (or in my case ‘forgotten’) struggle is something that’s been really on my mind lately. Whether it’s infertility like in my case or some other struggle I’ve really been thinking about how we just don’t know the whole story. I feel like with social media and memes and the endless judgey news stories it’s become the norm to take for granted the different paths we’ve all traveled and where many of us have come from.

Thankful Grateful Blessed. Love this shirt

I see images of seemingly “perfect” family moments on Instagram or wherever and it’s hard on those days that you’re flailing to keep your head above water or those of you who were like me a few years ago just wanted a baby of my own not to compare and be jealous. And this is not one of those “people should show us the bad” posts because guys I LIKE TO SEE THE GOOD. I mean I don’t mind honesty and a peek at the bad but I like to focus on what’s going right and what we can celebrate because I believe even when things are the worst and the lowest there is always something to be thankful and grateful for.

Reminder to be grateful and that you don't always know someone's path.

So happy Teddy has his cousins!

I am in a phase of life that is every easy for me to FEEL Thankful and Grateful and Blessed. That hard journey is still very fresh on my mind. It’s there every time someone asks if we’re going to have another baby (which they do ALL.THE.TIME). It’s there like a relative to PTSD telling me I don’t think I could ever go through the “trying” again regardless of whether I could handle the lack of sleep starting all over with a newborn. I know this is totally rambly but I just hope when you see me share my happy moments with my little guy that you know that I KNOW how crazy blessed I am and I seriously appreciate it so much. Even when I’m whining about him endlessly trying to pick my moles or not sleeping, I love him so crazy much.

thankful-shirt-002 Appreciating the little things. Be thankful grateful and know you're blessed

And if you’re not in a phase of life where you FEEL it all the time I hope you can reason it with your brain. I remember some nights laying down and having to reminding myself to be thankful for the family I did have, my nieces, a warm bed, a warm shower, that I made enough money that I could order soda with dinner or buy popcorn at the movies. That lots of people didn’t have those things that I took for granted. That I didn’t always have all of those things. That’s part of what really drew me into this shirt from Cents of Style I feel like it really captured this niggling in the back of my head and heart. This crazy appreciation for where I have been and where I am now.

Love this Thanksgiving shirt. Such cute style idea and festive for the holiday.

If you are feeling the same or if you feel like you need a concrete reminder that even though you might not feel it right now that you know you are still blessed and have things to be grateful and thankful for it’s a good day to shop at Cents of Style. Today for their Fashion Friday they are giving away one of these cute shirts for FREE with every order of $25 or more.

I thought it would be fun to share what YOU are thankful for. I honestly would love you to leave a comment with your own story so I can read it.

Ten MORE Things No One Tells First Time Moms and Dads

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My very most popular post is my list of Tips and Tricks People Forget to Tell New Moms. So I’m super excited to bring you even more things I’ve learned the hard way that people should tell first time moms and dads!

These are spot on! Why didn't anyone tell me these things with my first baby? Helpful things to know as a first time mom (or dad).

Thanks for stopping by, we hope you were able to read Sydney‘s article yesterday on making baby’s bed safe for sleep. I’m teaming up with Owlet to share some safety (and otherwise helpful) tips for first time parents as well as a huge giveaway (scroll down for details). #ad #spon

After that first post of things no one tells new moms I had lots of readers share the other things they wish someone had told them and  in my own daily life I kept finding myself thinking I should have put this on the list. So in no particular order here are More helpful tidbits I wish someone had told me as a new mom.

1. EVERYTHING is a Phase

I didn’t get this when I wrote my first list. I was so stressed about sleep. I wasn’t getting any of it and once we figured out night time sleep I was stressed that Teddy wasn’t napping on his own. But since then I’ve realized that IT IS ALL A PHASE. Like really. They grow up so fast and the things we’re tempted to agonize about will be over before long. Why was I so concerned about holding my baby for nap? My days of holding a baby (or kid now) who will let me hold him are numbered. When they are babies and toddlers things change so fast. You can stress about figuring stuff out and get things down but soon after you do, things will be completely different so honestly try not to stress that much.

Great list of helpful and strange things no one thinks to tell new moms and dads.

(not a sticker but this was about the age when I tried the “sticker fun”)

2. Babies Eat Stickers

Did you know this? Umm yeah because they do. When Teddy was smaller I thought he’d have fun with stickers so I stuck a few on him only to find him trying to shove them into his mouth. I relayed this experience to my girlfriends thinking it was so silly and they said “oh yeah they do that”. What!? That’s like a thing? It would have been nice for someone to warn me. I was totally paying attention so Teddy wasn’t in any real danger since I snatched them away before he got them in his mouth. But still that is kind of dangerous. I wish someone had mentioned it to me before.

3. Balloons are Really Dangerous for Babies

Speaking of trying to eat things. Let’s talk about balloons. For the record I knew this one but I’ve been shocked at the number of people I’ve met who don’t know that balloons are very dangerous to babies and toddlers or who tried to give my baby a balloon but not watch him with it or were about to let him try and chew on one. Not counting food, balloons are the most common cause of choking death in babies. The flimsy latex contours to the airway and blocks it off. Don’t let babies have balloon unless you can give them 100% of your attention. And by all means do not let them put balloons (inflated or deflated whether waiting to be blown up or popped) in their mouths. Since most babies put everything in their mouths I vote to keep them completely away from their faces and in your own hands just to be on the safe side.

4. Try and Read All the Books While You’re Pregnant

This relates to #1. Everything is a phase and it moves so fast. You go from one thing to another and you’d think you’d have time to research your parenting options and decide how you feel about different things but you guys it all happens so fast and if you’re like most people you won’t be getting much sleep so your brain isn’t going to be working. I WISH that I had read a few parenting books on the big topics like sleep, and eating, and maybe a catch all first two years what to expect type of book while I was pregnant. Not that I think you can totally plan but I would have liked to know a few of the different approaches to the whole sleep thing and ideas to try BEFORE I was in the throws of extreme sleep deprivation. You think you’ll have time since you’ll be feeding them a lot but if you’re like me you’ll wish you had checked out some books sooner. I’d recommend taking a peek at things you think might come up through the first 2 years.

Owlet baby monitor and other tips and tricks people don't tell new moms

(photo courtesy of See Kate Sew)

5. You Don’t Have to Be Paranoid of Sleep

I’ve already mentioned (and if you’ve been around here from a while you KNOW) we got terrible sleep while Teddy was a baby. Like until he was around 2. I’m a natural worrier and let me tell you nothing makes you worry more than the possibility that your baby is not safe. There are so many sad stories about babies dying in their sleep. Every year 3,500 babies while they are asleep, that’s more than 10 times those that die in car accidents. I think almost all moms remember that first time their baby slept through the night mostly because we weren’t asleep ourselves. We were all stressed that something might be wrong but not sure if we should check on the baby and risk waking him or her.

I wish wish wish that I had an Owlet Baby Monitor when Teddy was an infant. I have a number of friends that have used it lately and I’ve been totally jealous. If you’re not familiar with the device it is the only baby monitor that uses hospital technology—pulse oximetry—designed to alert you if your baby stops breathing. All that amazing technology is placed into a tiny, snuggly baby sock that the little one wears to bed. It’s totally wireless and connects via bluetooth to a base station and Wi-Fi to any smartphone so you can view live vitals. I did not have many opportunities to sleep since my baby was a “bad sleeper”. But even when he did actually sleep I was filled with anxiety that something would happen which made falling asleep (for the short periods that he was down) really hard. I think I would have slept so much better and easier if I had one of these to ease my worries!

6. Swim Diapers Don’t Hold Pee

Is your mind blown because mine was! I must have just been lucky because I put Teddy in swim diapers on the way to the pool MANY times. But it wasn’t until he totally soaked his outfit at the children’s museum, when he was almost 2, that I realized that swim diapers don’t hold in liquid. That is how they keep from getting heavy in the water. They are just meant to keep poop out of the pool. I guess it makes sense in retrospect but really why didn’t someone tell me this!!!? So there I told you.

Random but helpful info about diapers people forget to tell new moms

(pool time with the cousins, he was SO small)

7. It’s Easy to Mix Up Swim Diapers and Pull Ups

So this is a sillier one but really, why do swim diapers and pull ups have to look SO similar? Color and all. Let me tell you how you can tell the difference when you’re in the water: the diaper will swell to about 10 times the size of normal, get heavy, and the absorbent beads can burst out of the diaper. I’ve been guilty of the mix up and been around to witness more than one other mom who managed to mix up the two diapers. If you pay attention when getting ready to swim you’ll be fine but it’s so easy just to go fast and mix them up.

8. You Might Want to Hold Off On Some Gifts

Especially if you receive a lot of newborn sized clothing you will probably be tempted to wash those puppies up and get them all cozy in a drawer but some babies are born too big for new born sizes. Maybe wash a few and wait to see just in case you want to return some of the itty bitty clothes. The same goes for toys and other gear. You might think you want it before baby is here but once you try it out it might not be your thing. Keep the packaging and gift receipts just in case.

I totally agree these are really helpful for new parents but for some reason no one things to tell first time moms and dads. Great list.

9. The One Month Mark Is Hard

Maybe it’s not exactly one month for everyone but there will be a time near the beginning where you think oh my gosh we’ve had this baby for a while now and it’s still SO HARD what is going on. It makes those very first newborn days seem like cake because in comparison they were. You’ll have less help, if you had visitors or people coming in, or if you or your partner partner that had baby leave and have to start working again. You’ll just feel like you ought to be able to “do more” or that things should be easier but they aren’t yet. But you know what you’re probably all sleep deprived and it’s had all that time to compound. But I promise it will get better. I just want to warn you that there is this point for most of us where it feels like it should have gotten better by now and it hasn’t. Don’t be discouraged that is totally normal and it’s still coming it WILL get better.

10. Decide What You Want Your Hospital Visits to Look Like

Things happen fast (even if they happen really slowly) and you are so tired after giving birth and the hormones and emotions are raging. I really regret not telling (or having my husband tell) people to get out of the room. I had been up ALL NIGHT birthing a child with a super long pushing periodd and people were around and I could not rest. I just wanted piece and to be able to try to sleep. But I felt rude and selfish not to mention totally awkward getting up in my open flap gown all bloody and groggy crossing the room in front of people to go to the bathroom. But you know what everyone else could see the baby later. They could peek in for a quick hello but they did not need to be there in those first hours. I wish I had thought through that stuff before I was there and set some ground rules. In addition to the sleep I needed time to try and figure out nursing WITHOUT AN AUDIENCE. Related to the hospital visitors I really regret not taking my photographer friend up on her offer to come do some birth photos. She didn’t push because you know I had just given birth but I wish that I had decided before I went in that that was just one of the things we were going to do because in the moment I felt disgusting, exhausted, and the idea of being photographed sounded horrible but now I feel like I really missed out.

funny unsolicited advice meme for moms and 10 things people forget to tell first time moms

11. You Get to Determine the Type of Parent You Want to Be

If you’re not already getting bombarded with unsolicited advice from family, friends, acquaintances, and random strangers be prepared. For some reason a pregnant woman or really anyone with an infant is like a magnet for the “experts” to “share” their “advice”. Some might actually be helpful, some might be well meaning, but others will be rude, obnoxious, and flat out wrong. Just remember you are the one who gets to decide how you want to parent. Even if it’s not the same way all your friends and family have chosen it doesn’t matter. Go the way your gut and your own research leads. You can even question the doctors and honestly I encourage you to do that if anything feels wrong check things out do research and ask them to explain their reasoning. There are SO many ways to parent that helps you keep your children safe and grow into awesome adults don’t feel bullied into one way from other people. And remember you can change your mind and try different things out as you learn and experience more. See what works for you, your family, and this particular baby. Even within the same family different things might work for different kids. And above all make sure you let yourself enjoy your little ones.

Now how about an awesome giveaway!

owlet-giveaway

We will have 4 winners total with about $850 for the prizes! So there more chances to win. Enter with the rafflecopter widget below.
  • (1) Owlet Baby Monitor ($249.99)
  • (1) Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer ($49.99)
  • (1) Evenflo SensorSafe Car seat ($149.00)
  • (1) Burley Solstice Jogger  ($399.99)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to stop by Alyssa’s tomorrow for tips for keeping baby safe outdoors! And if you have any other tips for first time moms please share in the comments.

Harry Potter Wand Holster Tutorial

I have wanted to make a wand holder for a long time not but totally put it off. So I’m SUPER excited to share this tutorial today because I adore how it came out!How fun a wand holster to carry your harry potter wands. Great sewing tutorial and how to make DIY wands too.

Too fun! DIY Harry Potter Magic wand holster. Sewing tutorial.

Get the Harry Potter Shirts here

This tutorial is a little more complicated sewing than I normally share because of the zipper and all the steps but it’s still not that hard of a project but if you prefer to just purchase one you can get one here. Oh and if you don’t already have a wand to put in your holster I have a super fun and super easy Wand Tutorial.

Have your wands at the ready at all times with this Harry Potter inspired DIY wand holster. Sewing tutorial

My little guy has been carrying a wand around since we made them. He took one on a walk today and it made my geeky Harry Potter loving heart explode.

What You Need

  • Holster Fabric
  • Strap Fabric – adults will need two strips of 3″x44″ fabric, one strip for the kid size.
  • Small Zipper (optional)
  • D- Ring (optional)
  • Snaps (optional)

What to do

Before I start I just wanted to say I wanted mine to be adjustable and have a zipper pocket so that makes things a little more complicated. BUT you could leave out the zipper and just make your strap the right size for the wearer or even use a safety pin instead of snaps and that would save some work.

1. Cut your fabric out. You can see the general shape I used. I meant to make a free pattern but I totally forgot. I will update this post with a pattern that can be downloaded if you want to save it or pin it and check back later.

2.  Make the straps. For the adult size sew the short ends together. Iron your strap fabric in half  (so it’s skinnier) and sew down the length.  Turn right side out and iron.

3. Make the Wand Pocket. The wand pocket fabric should be about 3″x 7″ depending on your wand length. Do the same as you did for the strap.

Steps to making a wand holster

4. Tuck in one side of the wand pocket tube and sew closed. Position on the holder piece and sew down along both sides. Make sure it’s just one layer of fabric NOT folded.

5. Open both holster pieces and with right sides together sew across the V to connect them at the bottom edge.

How to make a Harry Potter wand holster tutorial

6. Mark where your zipper should go and then with right sides together sew the the raw side edges closed of the non- zipper and and up to where the bottom of the zipper will go. You do want to leave the top edges open. (If you want to skip the zipper just sew it all and leave the top openings.)

Make a zipper pouch wand holder

7. Sew in the zipper.

8. Turn right side out and tuck under the top edges on both sides.

How to make a Harry Potter wand holster adjustable. sewing tutorial

9. Cut off 3 inches from your strap, loop it through the D ring and tuck it into one opening. Sew closed. (If you are making a fitted strap you can skip the D ring and just sew a strap that is the correct length tucking in top openings)

Sew an adjustable magic wand holster perfect for harry potter fans.

10. Sew the raw side of the other strap in the other opening. At this point you can use a safety pin to make your strap adjustable or put in snaps. Just mark where you want your snaps and add them.

How awesome, magic wand holsters. Perfect for Harry Potter lovers. This would be great to take to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

We’ve all had fun running around with our wands this Summer. And yes the kids love it as much as I do ;)

Must make these! DIY Harry Potter Magic wand holster. Sewing tutorial. Fun gift idea.

I’m excited to be sharing this as a part of Nap-Time Creations‘ Summer Fun Series! See all the other awesome projects being shared today. And make sure to scroll all the way down for the HUGE Harry Potter giveaways.

Summer Fun #6 Make a treat, bookmark, wand holster or stacking dolls. Learn kids photography tips all on Nap-Time Creations

Photography Fun for Kids – Sugar Bee Crafts

Milk Dud Cake Mix Bars – Kleinworth and Co

Turtle Bookmarks – Lulu and Celeste

Wand Holster – Rae Gun Ramblings

DIY Stacking Dolls – Nap-Time Creations
Head over to Nap-Time Creations/Summer Fun to see all the posts in the series.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaways!!!

Harry Potter everything. Great book nerd gifts and book swag.

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you’re there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.

Prize Pack #1

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So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers

Prize Pack #2

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you’re there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.

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How to Facebook LIVE Best Tips + Tricks

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Facebook has introduced this fun feature called Facebook Live and it’s a GREAT tool for bloggers and other business owners but it can be a bit daunting at first.

Great post for bloggers. Why and how to use Facebook live. Tons of tricks and tips and step by step instructions.

I’ve been playing around with FB live on my page (raegunwear) as well as a few pages I contribute to We Heart Books and The Daily Seam. And I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my FB. I’m just going to be honest I HATED FB before. I hated the game of it but I feel like we’ve been giving an opportunity with FB LIVE and like all things it will go away but for those of us who can hop on it we can really benefit.

Why Facebook Live

I’m going to focus on the HOW as opposed to the WHY but here are my top reasons why you should think about adding FB live to your social media plans.

  • Engagement: I attended an online blogging summit recently and one of the speakers (I think Quirky Momma‘s Holly Homer) said that FB live gets 3-4 times the engagement of any other type of post. And I believe it. People like to comment and they comment often because at it’s root it’s a conversation.
  • Growth: I have seen a boost in the reach of my other posts and my followers.
  • Reach: You know how FB doesn’t show anyone your posts? Well they DO show them your live videos. Live videos have priority in your feed. You can get insane reach especially if you have a few people help you share your post. Like 20 times your normal reach insane.
  • Realness: When people see you live they connect in a way that isn’t possible with your regular posts. People love to see behind the scenes and when they connect with you in this way it makes them interact with your page differently. They are no long visiting the Rae Gun page they are visiting Marissa’s page who they hung out with and chatted with the other day.

Disclaimer: I am not a pro video person, in fact I don’t know much about video…at all. I am not the best at FB Live but I’ve done a handful now and that has taught me a lot. I’ve had a bunch of blogger friends ask me to share my tips so here they are. If YOU have experience with FB Live and have suggestions to add I would love you to put them in the comments. These are just the things I’ve picked up through trial and error myself and from watching friends do live too! I will update this post as I learn new things so feel free to pin it for a handy reference!

Facebook Live Tips and Tricks

My biggest tip is to JUST DO IT. Just force yourself to do it. The first one is by far the hardest. For me I get too nervous if I plan too far ahead. I decide to do it and then get my supplies together, description typed, and go on! You will learn something and if you hate it you can just delete it.

People like the peek behind the scenes and to see that you are human. Like why do people like watching me do my nails? I get the first time seeing nails stamping, but over and over? Who knows but they do and you know what I love chatting and getting to know my audience more so it’s a win win.

everything bloggers need to know about facebook live. Great tips tricks and step by step instructions to follow

(from 10 NEW Adventure Books Live video)

BEFORE YOU GO LIVE

  • Before you go live on your page go live for practice. In a small group of friends or just create a practice group anything. Just so know you the steps and how everything works.
  • Type up a description and email it to yourself. That way you can copy it when you’re on your phone. Things to include
    • What you will be doing, so people can share and people joining in the middle know
    • Any relevant links or at least a link to your blog.
    • Affiliate links to any products you might use (properly disclosed)
  • Make sure you have a strong internet signal. You can test it in a private group if you’re not sure.
  • If you’re not somewhere very quiet consider using a mic even just the iphone earbuds that have the built in mic can make a huge difference.
  • Test out your camera angles, tripod, however you’ll be setting up your shot.
  • Contact any friends and ask them to come chat and share to help. I have some blogger friends I notify when I’m going live and I text my sister and she helps me to do a couple shares too. It’s nice to have people to help get the conversation rolling.
  • Most of us have not seen any benefit from doing a pre-live announcement but some like to do it. I find it helps get some friends on if I post on Instagram that I will be live.

WHEN YOU GO LIVE

    • Set your phone to do not disturb. Make sure that your do not disturb settings prevent everyone from getting calls through and that it’s set for always not just for when the phone is locked. The default is to let your contacts through and that can interrupt your stream.
    • From the Pages app click write post then click on the guy with circles/waves/halos coming out of his head. This will open a dark live screen.
    • Copy and paste your prewritten description.
    • When you click to go live it will count down FAST 3 2 1 and you will be live. No one will be there. Even if you told 100 people who are waiting by their phones and computers it takes time to load the page and get on.
  • STALL
  • STALL
  • I have watched many live videos where I knew they were going on. I was ready for them and I still felt like I missed a bunch because they started so fast. Say hello and introduce yourself. Chit chat about your day or the project it doesn’t have to be related to the project and during this time share your post. Feel free to tell them you’re going to share this so that other people can join and know you’re live. Ask them to answer a question while you’re doing that (ex. where are you watching from) To share yourself you will need a 2nd device, I like to have my laptop sitting by me. If you dive on in people will think they missed too much when they realize you are live or just be totally confused.
  • Share the post to any relevant groups that you have permission to share starting with the largest. It’s helpful to have friends/VA’s/sisters do this for you. If you are doing something crafty or creative feel free to share into my Craft and DIY group!
  • This will sound weird but share it to your page wall yes the very same place you are live. SO for me I go live, I share to 2-3 groups, I share to Rae Gun Ramblings (and if it fits the We Heart Books and/or The Daily Seam) and I share to my own personal timeline. I also try to throw links in share groups that have FB live threads or ask friends to do that.
  • Introduce yourself again, explain what you will be doing.
  • As you see people come in (there’s a running number of viewers) ask them to introduce themselves and ask them a question (ex. Where are you from? Have you ever made X? Have you ever used this technique? What did you have for lunch? What is your favorite book? ANYTHING it doesn’t even have to be related to your topic. You can be doing a craft but mention that you’re in the middle of potty training and ask for any tips.) Just something to get people talking.
  • ENGAGE!!!! This is one of the most important parts and what makes FB live special. Thank people for showing up, comment on answers, ask follow up question.
  • You will feel like it’s taking a long time and that you must be boring. YOU ARE NOT BORING and if you are people can click away, if they are watching you are doing fine. Also it’s normal for people to pop in and out so it’s new to many viewers all the time.  It is much more frustrating when people hurry through and you can’t keep up than for it to be a little on the slow side especially at the very beginning.
  • Every once in awhile stop your program/tutorial/recipe/etc. to welcome new people and reintroduce yourself. Give a brief overview of what has happened and check in and respond to comments.
  • Tell people if they missed the beginning or can’t stay until the end they can save this by “sharing this post to their timelines” and liking your page. That way it will be easy for them to find later. Do this every once in awhile especially if you see a spike in the viewers.
  • Try and reshare (or have someone reshare for you). If you can manage it reshare every 15-20 minutes to your own page. Or aim for once in the ⅓ or ½ through. Really anytime you reshare will help. After you are off you will hide the shares from your timeline.
  • Shoot to be on as long as you can. The longer you are on the more chance people will see it. Typically the reach of FB lives don’t grow significantly after you are off. So stay on as long as you can. I try to make the shortest 30 minutes. But even 15 works. FB will kick you off at the 90 minute mark. It will give you a red warning in the upper left hand corner and at some point start a countdown and flash. (UPDATE: the time limit has been extended to 24 hours but I haven’t tested that but I have been live for almost 4 hours)
  • When you’re finishing up remind people to subscribe since we know the button shows up when you sign off. Try and ask them to like your page and subscribe through out the video but I personally have only seen the subscribe button pop up at the end of a video other’s swear they’ve seen it while I was on so who knows.
  • When you are done (either the 90 minutes is close or you’re done with what you want to do) say good bye ask if there are any more questions and wait because there is a delay. Don’t end the live stream while you’re saying good bye I see this all the time. Say good bye pause look at the camera push the button unless you’re maxing it out ;) Before you actually sign off remind people to subscribe.

What to do AFTER you go live on facebook and tons of tips for bloggers and Facebook live

AFTER YOU ARE LIVE

  • You should get the option to save the video. It only works 60% of the time for me. But you can download it from FB later.
  • Edit your video. Click on videos then video library then the edit pen.
    • Select a thumbnail or upload a thumbnail.
    • Add a title
    • Edit your description with things that came up during your live show
    • Click on “no button” to add a call to action button. It will give you the option at the bottom and then you will be asked for a URL and a description.
  • Go hide the video shares on your own page so only the original is showing
  • Download if you want by going to the permalink. To get to the permalink click on the timestamp of your video if that just gives you a black pop up page click on the timestamp again. From that page it should give you the option to download.
  • Feel free to reply to and like comments. I don’t know what’s best. I find I’ve replied to most verbally while I’m live but at the same time it feels weird to have a long list of comments with no reply. Sometimes I’ll thank them for tuning in or if they asked a question a future viewer asked I might answer it again as a comment.
  • Congratulate yourself for doing it. Come comment and let me know so I can go watch it!

TROUBLESHOOTING

  • Let real life happen. If you’re kids pop in let them say hi, roll with it people like seeing real life. Holly Homer is the queen of live and she’s had a dog throw up on live video. She just told the audience that she had to deal with real mom stuff for a second. Let the video roll went and cleaned up the dog and kid and jumped back on. On one of my first videos I bought the wrong pieces for a how to video people still loved watching and it was fun and good practice.
  • Just try and laugh at any bumps and hiccups. Crafting (and really all of life) has fails. Even if your project doesn’t turn out it’s nice to bond over that.
  • Be honest that you are nervous or it’s your first time or you’re not sure how it will turn out. FB live isn’t a perfect type of thing.
  • Don’t focus on trolls if you get any them and hopefully your audience will help get rid of them. If you have another admin on your page they can help too.
  • If FB says you’ve lost the signal tap your screen and usually it’ll come back.
  • If your comments aren’t refreshing try scrolling up and down or try to look at them on a second device. Refresh the page on the second device often to make sure you can see the comments but keep in mind there is a delay. Usually my comments will start up again on my phone even if they stall.
  • If you get kicked off or you time out just start another feed right away and add the permalink into the description and comments of the first one. I have been shocked at how willing people are to jump to another video when this happens (I had a friend restart at least 4 times and people kept jumping back on).
  • If you want more than 90 minutes pick a spot to finish so you don’t get abruptly kicked off, warn your audience and encourage them to go to your page for part 2. Tell them there will be a short delay but you’ll start part 2 in a minute or so. Then start a second video. Add the link to the second video as fast as you can to the description and comments of the first one so people can find you quickly
  • Things will start to go wrong as soon as you plan to go live. Here are just a few that I’ve witness: Kid refusing to nap, Router dying, blog being down (okay I do recommend if you want clicks to the site to make sure it’s up BUT I kept prepping like I was going to go live and it did get up in time). Try and push through and don’t give yourself the excuse not to do it. If something weird happens know you’re not alone.

Great tips and tricks for Facebook Live success. Great guide for bloggers.

TIPS FOR SLOWING DOWN (BOTH FOR EASIER VIEWING AND STALLING)

  • Have your supplies close but not prepped. This gives people more time to see what you’re using and will force you to slow down.
  • Show them all the supplies/ingredients. Give them time to see them. Give the person that is listening to you in the background time to click out of another tab and look to see what you’re talking about about.
  • Interact and engage. This is good for so many things but can help your pacing.

GOOD LIVE TOPICS

  • Anything you would blog about.
  • Anything that is behind the scenes.
  • Wandering around a cool location your town might be boring but it’s fun to peer into other people’s lives!
  • Give a tour of your workspace. People loved my craft room tour!
  • Really basic how-tos. Even 10 minute sewing projects or recipes take a long time to explain and repeat and show people the steps.
  • Holly Homer feeds turtles and people swarm to watch. See I told you anything!

Everything you need to do and know about Facebook live. Great tips, tricks and tutorial for bloggers

SUPPLIES

  • You first and foremost need a device that is able to go live. In most cases this will be a phone or tablet with the Facebook Pages app (if you’re going live to a page) and a strong internet signal.
  • I haven’t used a mic yet but sound is probably the MOST important thing. Iphone earbuds that have a mic work well. Also people have mentioned blue tooth mics.
  • Tripod(s) that can hold your device. I have a traditional tripod that I add a phone adapter to. This is my favorite phone tripod adapter because it fits my huge iphone 6plus and can be turned depending on orientation. For an overhead view I made a table top tripod from PVC pipe the link to the tutorial is here.
  • Consider  your lighting you might want something depending on your setting.

NICHE RELATED 

I’ll add when I think of more or get more input. If you have ideas of tips for different types of posts let me know

Tutorials

  • Go slow and repeat often. Even easy projects are hard for people to follow
  • Take time to hold up the supplies and give people a good look.
  • Link to the supplies on amazon. People will ask where you got everything
  • I’ve seen good success with people repeating crafts. Like make one completely and then make another.

Food

  • Don’t touch your face
  • Wash hands
  • Consider having your hair up

Other

  • Link any related posts or products that you might talk about.
  • You might be asked where you got whatever you’re wearing or stuff that might be within view, might be another affiliate link option
  • Consider your clothing, camera angle and movement. Ask me how I learned this one ;).

How to do facebook live. Great tutorial for bloggers with lots of helpful advice.

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Yes! Totally agree. I wish I knew all of these when I was pregnant. Great tips for first time moms.

DIY Phases of the Moon Shirt Tutorial

You won’t believe how easy it is to make this DIY Phases of the Moon Shirt.

Such a cute and easy idea! DIY phases of the moon shirt tutorial.

My little boy is moon obsessed. Like every time we go outside he tries to spy the moon and sometimes his little hawk eyes even catch it’s faintest outline right in the afternoon. For his birthday I wanted to make him an awesome moon shirt. So as you know if you follow me on Instagram, the night before his party I was up making this shirt.

LOVE this cute phases of the moon shirt for little boys. Great 30 minute DIY tutorial. Also based on Eric Carle's Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me book.

Luckily it’s such a fast project I even had time to read a few chapters of my book when I was done. Speaking of books, one of our all time favorite books in our house is Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle.

Love this bookish shirt tutorial. Based on Eric Carle's Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me. Full directions for how to make this phases of the moon shirt.

The book is so awesome and it goes through the phases of the moon with the moon getting bigger and smaller. I love that the way my paint turned out on the shirt has kind of an Eric Carle feel to it as opposed to more of a smooth texture like some of the adult version ready to wear versions that I’ve seen on the internet.

I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty obsessed with this shirt. I think it turned out so stinking cute that I’m pretty sure I’m going to make myself one!

Tried this and it turned out great. Quick and easy DIY phases of the moon shirt tutorial

How to Make a Phases of the Moon Shirt

What You Need

What to Do

  1. First make your template. I used my Cricut Explore and the basic circle design was free so I just laid out a bunch of circles in the position that I wanted. You might not know this but in Design Studio (the Cricut program) you can highlight everything and select align and it will space things evenly for you. Even if you don’t have a Cricut you can do this manually by measuring and tracing circles and then cutting it with an exacto knife. But I adore my cutting machine and use it all the time and it does make this step way way faster. Cut your template out of Freezer Paper. If you’ve never done this before check out my Freezer Paper Stenciling tutorial. It has a lot of pictures and the directions are a little more flushed out.
  2. Now you should have a piece of freezer paper with circles evenly spaced out.
  3. With the SHINY side DOWN (touching your shirt) iron your template into place. Use a pressing motion (lift the iron and place it down and repeat) as opposed to a rubbing running motion with the iron. This way you won’t risk accidentally catching the edge of the iron in one of the circles.
  4. Insert another piece of freezer paper inside your shirt with the shinny side up. This is to prevent paint from seeping through to the back of your shirt.
  5. Once your template is secure, pour out some white fabric paint onto a paper plate (or something else disposable).
  6. Tap a SMALL amount of paint onto your brush and practice pressing the paint down. When you feel confident make sure you have my picture pulled up as a guide and press the paint onto the shirt. Again I find a pressing motion works better and is less likely to snag the template or get paint under the template.
  7. Once your last moon is painted allow it to dry for 10 minutes and then VERY CAREFULLY peel off the freezer paper. The paint will still be wet so make sure not to touch the painted portions of the freezer paper to the shirt. I like to hold the shirt down with one hand and pull with the other. If you are nervous you might want to have a friend hold the shirt while you pull.
  8. Leave the inner freezer paper and the shirt to dry for at least 12 hours before handling.

DIY Stages of the moon shirt. 30 minute tutorial

When I showed the birthday boy his new shirt he was all smiles. He has worn it to death already. I made the black shirt from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop‘s Happy Feet pattern but I should have used a better fabric since it’s already balling up. No worries since this came together so fast I will have to make him a short sleeve one and maybe a tank for me!

I need to make this! Looks so easy. DIY 30 minute phases of the moon shirt with full tutorial and supply list

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Easy DIY Bunny Costume and Easter Outfits

Some of my favorite creations have been made at the very last minute. This cute bunny costume is definitely one of them.

Love this easy bunny costume tutorial. Great fast sewing project for Easter or Halloween.

Last Easter I was running behind with everything and all of a sudden the church Easter egg hunt was the next morning. Luckily my fabric hoarding self had everything I needed on hand to make a cute little bunny outfit for my little bunny err bear.

Sweetest bunny costume and only takes 1 hour to sew. Fun for Easter, Halloween or just a cute hat during colder months.

I am especially in love with the little bunny outfit because it reminds me of one of our favorite books I Am A Bunny by Ole Rison and Illustrated by Richard Scary. We discovered it around Easter last year but it has stayed a favorite! It is the sweetest tall board book. I love the story and so does Teddy.i am a bunny fabulous book for little ones for Easter (or really all year around). Plus easy DIY bunny costume

Last year Teddy was just under 1 year old when I made it and I did the smallest size of the All in One Hooded Scarf PDF pattern (so I had immediate access gotta love digital patters!). This is the same pattern I used for Teddy’s crocodile hood for our Naked and Afraid costumes last Halloween. He is still comfortably wearing the hood now at 2 years old. The sizing is pretty generous which works great for a hood but just in case you want a more fitted look you might want to compare a the pattern piece to a hood your kiddo is wearing now before picking your size.

1 hour DIY bunny costume. Easy sewing project for Easter, Halloween, or just a cute anytime hat.

Make A Simple Bunny Costume

Just cut up the pattern and sew according to the pattern. It’s very easy. And to make more of a caplet like I made just add one button and buttonhole at the top corners instead of the two down the front that is shown in the pattern directions. For the bunny tail I made a little circle pattern by tracing a circle from a glass (you could totally free hand it). Then I cut a circle of fleece and safety pinned them onto Teddy’s pants. If you want more of a poof style you could make a large pom pom out of matching yard.

I need this baby bunny hat. 1 hour sewing project good for Easter, Halloween, or any time sewing.

We get comments on this sweet little hood every time Teddy wears it. And I just think Teddy looks SO stinking cute in it so I put it on him all the time. He wears the hood down sometimes while we’re in a store and when we’re about to walk back outside I tell him to “bunny up” to keep his head and ears warm.

1 hour DIY baby bunny hat and tail. Such a cute costume for Easter, Halloween or any time with the hat.

And while I’m sharing last year’s Easter creations I thought I’d share the official Easter outfits. That I made everyone. If you’re still hoping to whip up some festive outfits these are great ones that can be made really fast at the last minute. Ask me how I know ;)

Cute handmade Easter outfits for all the kids. Sewing patterns used listed.

What I used for everyone’s outfits:

Made this bunny outfit the morning of our Easter egg hunt. Little one wears the bunny hat all the time. Easy 1 hour sewing project.

Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.
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10 Minute Holiday Handkerchief Scarf Tutorial

These scarves are the best! Easy 10 minute toddler scarf tutorial. Great Christmas gift ideasLet’s be honest boy’s clothes for the most part is a bit more demanding than a quick elastic waist skirt I can whip up for the girls. But I really wanted something comparable that I could use the fun holiday fabrics and this was just perfect. I have come to really love this scarf because it sews together super fast, keeps my wild Teddy’s neck cozy even when he ditches his hat, and it’s cute!

Adorable DIY christmas handkerchief scarf tutorial

To make your own Christmas handkerchief scarf all you need is a fat quarter (1/3 yard) of fabric and fleece if you’re buying it new or just some scraps if you have some laying around. This fits great on my almost 2 year old. And I can button it around my neck but if I was making my own I would either make the 20 inch edge longer or just cut a curve in the 20 inch edge for comfort. But this size would probably fit most toddlers and elementary kids fine.

We love these DIY scarves. Easy to make and keeps the toddler warm. Great 10 minute sewing tutorial

What you Need

  • Christmas fabric 10X20 inches (make sure the design is facing the right way when your piece has the 10 inches vertically and the 20 inches horizontally)
  • Fleece or some other warm fabric 10×20 inches
  • Button

What to Do

  1. Fold your fabric in half so you have two 10×10 squares. Cut the edge diagonally so that you have two triangles that are 10 inches tall (the point will be in the center) and 20 inches wide on the top edge. If you’re using a larger print or one with a direction make sure to have your fabric with the point pointed down. And feel free to shift how you cut your fabric initially to get the best placement of your design. You want most of the action to be in the bottom half of the triangle (I wish mine was just a tiny bit lower).
  2. With right sides together sew your Christmas fabric to your fleece leaving about an inch space to turn your scarf right side out. I like to leave my space in the middle of one of the straight edges.
  3. Turn right side out. I find a loop turner is super helpful for this task but you can do this many different ways. If you aren’t familiar with a loop turner it’s like a magic wand for sew-ers you can see it in action here.
  4. Iron.
  5. Top stitch around all edges making sure the gap is folded under and sewn closed.

10 minute DIY Christmas baby scarf tutorial

Super easy right!?

super easy 10 minute DIY handkerchief scarf tutorial

Now my little guy will have a fun scarf to match his cousin holiday skirts!

I first shared this tutorial at Design Dazzle as a part of her fun Christmas Wonderful series on 12/12/2015

Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.

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DIY Advent Calendar of Giving

create the good disclosureI LOVE this easy idea to teach about giving time and energy. DIY advent calendar tutorial

It is SO hard not to get caught up in giving and getting STUFF this time of year. We work hard as parents to be able to have fun and give our kids cool things but sometimes I think what they really need is the opportunity to experience giving themselves, their time, and their energy.

How to make a DIY Giving advent calendar and great activities to include

That’s why I really love the idea of Create the Good‘s 25 Days, 25 Ways to Give campaign. The idea is to take on one small positive action each day for 25 days to do a little good for your community. Volunteering was something I was good at when I was younger and I want to get back into that. I remember growing up, my high school would have a service week where we traveled to a poor part of Thailand and did various service projects. We’d play with kids, give performances, help clean, and do helpful chores. It was SUCH a good experience and I loved that it was an annual thing. In college I would regularly feed the homeless and think to do little gestures like save food I wasn’t going to eat to give away or just smile and chat with strangers in annoying long lines at the market.

This is such a great idea. Teach kids about giving time and energy with an easy DIY advent calendar of giving

I like the idea of doing an Advent Calendar of Giving every year to help remind the kids (and us grown ups) that giving is about more than just stuff. And I’m hoping that it will give me the boost to be more giving minded through out the year.

How to make a 25 days of giving advent calendar

What You Need

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Pens (or printer)
  • Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Decorations (snowflakes, bells, ribbon, etc.), optional

What to Do

  1. Come up with a list of 25 giving acts. Make sure they are doable for an average day. The easiest way to do this is to sign up for the 25 Days, 25 Ways to Give since they have a super convenient list of activities all listed out already. As a bonus if you sign up and log your giving acts you have chances of winning one of 25 $100 Gift Cards or a grand prize trip to Smuggler’s Notch Resort in Vermont,
  2. 25 days of giving simple ways to get the whole family into the giving spiritNext either type up your giving acts or write them onto strips of paper. If you have kids old enough to write it would be fun to get the whole family in on writing the giving acts on the strips of paper.
  3. Then make a count down chain by looping the strips of paper into circles and taping them around each other to form a chain. Make sure the giving instructions are on the inside of the loop. And write the number of the day on the outside of the loop.
  4. Tie a ribbon to the top (onto day 25) and decorate if desired. It’s fun to decorate the chain with snowflakes or other seasonal details.  You can let the kids do it if yours are old enough or even cut out fun shapes with a Cricut or other cutting tool like I did.
  5. Then for the next 25 days you tear off a link in the chain to find out what your giving act will be for that day.

Cute 20 minute advent calendar with good acts to do as a family. great Christmas project. Do you have any fun giving traditions that you do with your family? I’d love to hear what you guys do. And make sure to check out Create the Good for more easy ways to give back to your community with just one simple act each day. create-the-good-007s

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