Entries Tagged as 'DIY projects'

A Homemade Road Board for Kids



The last week before Christmas I was busy being Santa’s last minute elf and putting together a cute little homemade present for Nikolas. A road board for all his little cars and trucks to race around the track.


Here’s the story of how our little road board came about. Nikolas is nothing short of obsessed with anything that has wheels so a few weeks ago we were playing and I drew him a road on a large piece of paper so we could drive his cars around. Big surprise to me and my little impromptu road was that he loved it and kept asking me to bring it out every time we played.

Bryan had been talking about how Nikolas would like a road rugs for a while kind of like this, but I had a little more personal idea in mind after seeing this totally cute train board idea. I thought why not do something similar except with a road instead of train tracks? 


I let Bryan (my fellow elf) in on my idea and he surprised me by coming home one night from a random Home Depot run with a 4 x 2 sheet of 1/4 inch MDF which he found precut for around $6. Now my little idea now just needed to be executed. Also a side note the elves work at night at our house so some of the progress pictures are a little blurry/dark.

So a week before Christmas, time was running short and it was now or never that I executed my plan. I broke out a roll of brown craft paper and roughly sketched out how I wanted the road to go. It was convenient that it was the same size as the board so I really could get an idea of how big it would be. With the general layout in mind I then quickly re-sketched it directly onto the board which went much quicker the second time around since i knew how I wanted it to look.


After that I grabbed some craft paint I had in the house and mixed up a light green for the grass and started filling inside the areas of grass. The MDF really soaked in the paint so it dried very quickly. One half was pretty much dry by the time I got to finishing up the other half.

Kids-Road-Board-DIY-7 Then I mixed a light gray for the road and added some blue for the water along one corner and a light sand color for the beach.


I waited for the whole thing to dry overnight to be sure I didn’t smudged anything and quick ran out in the morning to stash it away until I had some more time. The next night I went back with a second coat for better coverage over the whole thing as well as to smooth out some of the jagged lines I made the first time around.

I plan to add a few coats of poly soon to help protect the whole thing but time was running short and Santa’s elves had a few other projects going on that needed to get finished before Christmas.


Come Christmas morning we left the board out in front of the Christmas tree and placed a few new cars out accompanied by a note left by Santa and an empty plate of cookies that had been “mysteriously” eaten over night.


To say he was exited was an understatement. He’s been talking about how Santa came and left him Christmas presents for a week now. We’ve had tons of fun racing around the track to the beach and bringing his cars and trucks for a “swim” in the water.


And a Mom’s favorite feature about this whole rug board project is that it stows neatly under the couch out of the way when not in use.

How to Store Christmas Ornaments



First of all we want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! We thoroughly enjoyed every last minute of 2012, giving gifts, enjoying family, building snowmen and watching too many movies to count.

As I began to gather all the Christmas decorations to put them away for next year I wanted to share the best way I’ve found to store our Christmas Ornaments. I’ve always wanted to buy those special boxes for storing ornaments but always found that they were priced ridiculously high for what they are. That is until I figured out my own system for storing ornaments.

The best part about this is it’s simple, free and works like a charm.


First you’ll want to grab an old copy paper box. I snagged mine from the print room of my office, they usually just break them down for recycling anyway so I asked them to save a few for me. Any box would work but these boxes are great because the lid slides on and off and they have handles built in.


After I had my boxes I then grabbed a few pieces of extra cardboard. I cut 2 pieces so that they’ll slide inside the length of the box and 3 pieces for inside the width of the box. 4-How-to-Store-Christmas-Or

Then in the widthwise pieces I cut 2 slots equal distance in the cardboard as illustrated above and 3 slots in the lengthwise pieces.


Once that’s all done slide the pieces of cardboard together so that the form an interlocking grind inside the box. The grid will form a number of cells where the ornaments can be slid securely. When I put the ornaments away I wrap each ornament individually in tissue paper and slide them snugly into each cell inside the box.


So there you have it an easy, free and safe way to store the Christmas ornaments. I been loving this system for a few years because it works great, no broken ornamnets. Once everything is packed away I just put them on top of the closet and everything stays safe and secure till next year.

Embroidered Christmas Pillow Tutorial



DIY Embroidered Christmas Pillow Finished

I saved my most favorite Christmas craft project of the year for last! I had this idea that I wanted an embroidered Christmas pillow to  nestle into the chair next to our tree. I’ve been admiring this one and this one on Etsy for a while, but in the end decided to create my own.

Embroidery is a bit of a tradition in my family, my grandmother embroidered all throughout her life as did my mother who created some amazing embroidery when I was younger.  I still have a box of my childhood embroidery projects stashed in the closet! I haven’t done any in a long time but decided to dust off my stitching skills and give it another shot.

DIY Embroidered Christmas Pillow 2

Embroidery looks intimidating but is really pretty simple once you get familiar with a few basic stitches. It’s not a project that you will finish in one sitting. But it is something you can pick up and put down easily while watching your favorite show or sitting under the light of the Christmas tree. I kept this project really simple and stuck to two very basic stitches, the straight stitch and split stitch. There a great site that I found that explains both stitches better than I would. You can find straight stitch instructions here and split stitch instructions here.

First things first, you’ll need to gather your supplies. To do this project you’ll need a piece of fabric (I used a piece of linen), pencil and paper for sketching, embroidery hoop, embroidery floss, needle, and transfer paper.

One word about the fabric you choose. Linen is a nice fabric for embroidery because of the relatively “even weave” It’s generally easier to embroider on a piece of fabric where you can see the weave versus a silk for example where there isn’t a visible one.

DIY Embroidered Christmas Pillow 3

Back to the instructions, next I sketched out my tree on a sheet of paper. I started by outlining the basic tree shape and drawing scroll work along the perimeter and then by filling in the shape. The scrolls are easy to sketch if you think of them like a glorified letter S. It’s a basic S shape with an extra little flourish at both the bottom and the top. The Merry Christmas is hand drawn directly on the fabric, but if you were nervous about this you could print out some pretty font. I was too lazy to take that extra step 😉 so I just winged it, you can see my practice attempts on the piece of paper above.

Once you have your drawing how you like it, lay your fabric flat out on a table or hard surface, place a piece of transfer paper on top and then your drawing. Be sure to place it how you want it centered on the front of your pillow and secure with pins in place.

DIY Embroidered Christmas Pillow 4

Trace over the entire sketch transferring onto the fabric. It’s hard to see in the picture since it will transfer faintly but in real life it’s enough to see where you need to stitch.

DIY Embroidered Christmas Pillow 5

Now it’s time to stitch. The tree, tree stump and Merry Christmas were all done using the stem stitch and the star at the top of the tree was sewn using a straight stitch.

Once your all finished it’s a simple job to sew it into an envelope pillow. You can find detailed instructions on how to sew an envelope pillow here.

DIY Embroidered Christmas Pillow 6

I like it a lot. It looks so warm and snuggly on the chair with a soft warm blanket laid underneath the Christmas tree sparkling in the background. Well I’m off to grab a plate full of Christmas cookies and milk. Happy sewing!

The Mantel is Decked Out for the Holidays!



It was only last year right before Christmas that we finished building this mantel. Since this only our second Christmas with an actual mantel to decorate I was a little bit excited to decorate it this year. We’ve been slowly adding Christmas around the house, little touches here and there. The mantel took a little while to put together. I kept adjusting and moving things as I went along.

Christmas Mantel Decorated OurLakeLife

This year I knew I wanted to add a little element of my favorite Christmas movie of all time, White Christmas. The small trees that line the mantel are inspired by the movie’s “Snow” scene on the train where they create an impromptu winter scene with a blue scarf, white napkin and a few bottle evergreen trees.

No idea what I’m talking about? Here’s the clip from the movie.

I bought a package of green bottle brush trees and Buffalo snow blanket, laid the blanket on the mantel and cut it to size then I just placed my trees every so often on top of the snow. I tried to group them in odd numbers varying the size of the trees along the way. The PomPom garland I whipped up also made it’s way to the mantel.

Christmas Mantel 004

Going with the classic theme poinsettias flank the stove along with the paperwhites that we planted just a couple of weeks ago which have been growing at a crazy fast rate. I feel like every time I walk out of the room and come back they’ve grown some. It’s been crazy and fun to watch them take off so fast.

Christmas Mantel 002

I went back and looked at last year’s mantel I honestly hadn’t remembered what it looked like and I was a little surprised by how differently it looks. It’s fun to change things up every once in a while.

Christmas Mantel 008

The mantel makes me smile every time I walk into the room so I would call that a blazing success. Has anyone else had time to deck their halls for the holidays yet? Do you start taking out your Christmas decorations like we do or do you wait a bit longer? I have friends who have a family tradition of putting everything up Christmas Eve.

DIY Glitter Ornaments for Christmas



Happy Monday, I’m back with another simple and fun Christmas ornament idea. I love the way these glittered ornaments turned out and they couldn’t be simpler.

DIY Glitter Ornaments 005


I’ve been thinking about the tradition of gold coins at Christmas this tradition stems from the gift of gold given to the Christ child from the wise men. I wanted to create a nod to that tradition and thought of these wonderful gold and glitter circles. The snowflakes were just Ray Ban outlet too cute to pass up so I ended up making both. I live mixing and matching different colored ornaments and both expensive and DIY stuff together to make a one of a kind tree filled with Christmas memories.

  • Unfinished wood circles and  (I found mine at Michaels)
  • Craft Paint
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Glitter

DIY Glitter Ornaments 003

To make the golden coins paint your circle with gold paint. Mine took a few coats to get nice even coverage. Before the last coat I took very fine sand paper and sanded the entire ornament smooth. Once dry I covered one side in glue and sprinkled with glitter set aside to dry and shook off the excess. Finally add a string to the top of the ornaments and hang.

DIY Glitter Ornaments 002 The snowflakes were created in the same process as the golden coins. Paint, glue glitter.

DIY Glitter Ornaments 004

Finally string them up with festive ribbon and hang from the tree.

Glitter Ornaments

PS. Don’t forget to check back later today for the first of our 2012 Christmas gift guides. We’re starting of with Stocking Stuffers and you won’t want to miss it!

PS: If you like this project stroll on over to our projects page to see more

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