Entries Tagged as 'DIY Project'

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.

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!

How to Make PomPom Garland



How to Make Pom Pom Garland 1

A few weeks ago I was looking for something to keep both Nikolas and I entertained. He’s at the age where loves hanging out with me while I do projects and helping me where he can. I did all the cutting and he helped me sort and string the pompoms. This turned out to be the perfect easy little garland to make together.

Although these are non-traditional colors I’ll be using mine for Christmas but this garland could work just as easily for spring decorations, birthday parties, baby or bridal showers depending upon the setting and colors you use.  The supplies are simple everything I already had on hand.

  • Yarn in a few different colors of your choosing
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Clear thread or fishing line

DIY PomPom Garland013 Cut a 6 inch piece of yarn and place it flat on your work surface. Wrap the yarn around 3 fingers 30 times or so, gently slide the wrapped yarn off of your fingers and place on top of the cut piece of yarn. Tightly tie your bundle in the middle double knotting to secure.

DIY PomPom Garland014 Cut the loops on each end of your tied bundle and fluff , it will look a little raggedy at this stage which is OK. Continue clipping around in a circle creating a pompom. Repeat the process and make a bunch of pompoms in each of your different colors of yarn. Thread your needle with clear thread or cheap oakley sunglasses fishing line.  Finally string the pompoms onto the thread spacing evenly. I didn’t even bother to knot in between as the pompoms seemed to stay in place all by themselves.

DIY PomPom Garland005

The garland took about 20 minutes to make and string, when you’re done you’ll have a colorful addition to any occasion.

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

Replacing an Outdoor Glass Table Top



Continuing on our little mini deck sprucing adventure Bryan and I recently had an idea to make use of a broken table sitting in the yard. During a wind storm last year this table had turned over smashing the glass top to bits and pieces. Being reluctant to throw it out, it sat in the yard waiting for us to make a decision on what to do with it.

Broken Glass top table

Last Saturday while we were drinking our morning coffee Bryan and I were talking about things we wanted to finish up and the table sitting abandoned in a corner of the yard popped into the conversation. Bryan suggested building a simple wood table top to fit inside where the glass top once sat. He promised it would be quick, cheap and easy made from pine boards and his Kreg Jig. So the plan was born.

A Kreg Jig is it’s a simple but sturdy device for to make pocket holes in wood at any depth. The pocket holes allow you to join parallel board together to form a table top.


Bryan bought 3, 6 inch by 6 ft pine boards. Our table diameter was 30 inches so he cut the board in half leaving 6, 36 inch pieces. He laid them all out on the work bench.

Kreg Jig

Once he had it laid out the way he wanted it. He clamped each board into the Kreg Jig secured to the workbench and using power screw driver he drilled into the Kreg Jig according to the directions that came with the tool.  Bryan then repeated this for each board, staggering the holes as he went.

joining the table

Once all of pocket holes were done he joined the pieces together with pocket hole screws.


We happened to have a round grill mat that was exactly 30 in round so Bryan used that as a guide to draw a circle onto the wood table top. If we didn’t have the grill mat we could have used a piece of string to draw the circle to the desired size. Finally Bryan used a Jig saw to cut out the circle and used a router for the edge to finish it off.

round top

We used some leftover outdoor stain we had in the shed to stain the top.

Table finished

The whole tabletop project cost about $15 for the wood, since we had everything else on hand. Score one for recycling what you have.

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