simple keepsakes and gifts for busy moms

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

DIY - Personalized Peg Dolls

posted in: How To - DIY

Hi guys! Anna here - you may remember from my dollhouse post that I had a little family of peg dolls inhabiting it. Well, since I wrote that post we've welcomed our second daughter to our family! Mollie's been wondering why there isn't a baby Livia in the dollhouse to match, so I thought this would be a good time to show you how easy it is to make your own personalized peg dolls.

 

 

I picked up these simple supplies at Michael's: Mod Podge, cheap (small) paintbrushes, the smallest size of acrylic paints, and wooden pegs of various sizes. You could also just use permanent markers!

 

 

I found that sketching out the body helped a lot with the more involved outfits, though obviously wasn't necessary for the baby's swaddle (I kept her simple since the peg was so tiny). You want to paint the dolls from the inside out - layer by layer, and adding details as you go. Above is the "base layer" for the baby, and below is the final layer, with other colors and details like the hair bow on top:

 

 

After your paint completely dries, paint a thin coat or two of Mod Podge on the whole surface. This gives the doll a shinier finish, and will help prevent the paint from chipping off...no matter how much love it gets from your toddler :). 

 

 

Here's our whole family! Mollie has loved acting out scenes with the peg doll versions of us - now I'm just hoping she doesn't ask me to figure out how to make one of our dog!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Blooming Mobiles

posted in: How To - DIY, Inspiration

Mobiles are one of the best parts of nursery decor, in my opinion. I mean, if it was socially acceptable, I'd probably find a reason to have one in every room of my house ;). There are countless styles and options, but one of my favorites has always been flower wreaths for above a little girl's crib.

 

 

The best part about them is that they'd be super easy to make yourself! You'd just need these supplies (all easily found at your local craft store):

-Foam wreath (or wire, or branch - just depends on what style you like best. I like foam because I can stick the flower stems right in without any glue or wires!)

-Silk flowers in varying sizes. Make sure to get large and small, since the variety is what will make it look more realistic.

-Several yards of ribbon

 

The technique will vary depending on what style you want, but in general, you'll first want to attach your ribbons. Space out three or four lengths evenly around the wreath frame, and tie each length around the frame, with the knot on top (you'll be covering it in flowers, so don't worry too much about how it looks now!). You can also add small dots of glue under the ribbon on the frame to keep it from budging, if you want. Once dry and secure, just begin with your biggest blooms, and space them out along the wreath frame. Either weave them into the branches or wire, or stick them into the foam at an angle. Then fill in with the smaller flowers. I also like to use the leaves to give it some more dimension...they usually have enough of a stem to insert like the flowers, but it not, a little craft glue should do the trick. Tie all the ribbons together at the top, and hang from a ceiling hook. Keep some extra flowers in reserve in case you spot any holes once it's hanging! ;)

 

 

Like I said, there are many variations you can do with this model - I especially love the one with floating flowers below (which you could do by attaching the flowers with different lengths of fishing line to the frame):

 

 

This simple wreath would be so cute in a more rustic nursery:

 

You could also use this (hanging like a mobile or on a wall) for some Valentine's Day decor! I told you I'd find a way to use them in other rooms of my house ;). 

 

Photo Credit: www.etsy.com/shop/RosyRilli

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day cookies

posted in: How To - DIY, Miscellaneous Fun

Hi Mamas! Just wanted to share a simple cookie recipe - we made it for Valentine's Day, but it's a great "anytime" cookie, too! The dough is slice-and-bake style, so you can keep it in the freezer to slice some off and make whenever you want...or whenever the kiddos want :). 

 

COOKIE INGREDIENTS:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

 

 

Beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, add sugar and mix until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix until well-combined. Change mixer speed to low and add salt and flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. Divide dough into two balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in fridge for half an hour.

 

 

Roll balls into logs about 1.5" in diameter...don't worry about being two precise. (I cut down the middle of each to make a vaguely heart-shaped log.) Re-wrap the logs in plastic and chill for at least two hours. Use a sharp knife to cut log into thin cookies (maybe half an inch?). I pinched the bottom of each to help with the heart shape, here. Cook at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until done but not browned. Remove and let cool.

 

 

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons milk

 

Mix butter on medium speed until smooth, add vanilla. Add sugar a little bit at a time, mix until smooth. Add milk, mix for a few minutes until even in texture.

 

You can add food coloring if you want - I realized I didn't have any, so I poked around on the Internet and found out that you can use frozen berries for red coloring! I just let them thaw in the fridge for awhile, and then poured the syrup into the frosting...it worked great, and tasted delicious!

 

 

 

These were so easy, and I'm going to start keeping some dough in the freezer for especially long days!

 

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Personalized Dollhouse

posted in: How To - DIY

Hi Mamas,

I am thrilled to introduce you to my friend Anna! She is an ultra creative and crafty mom of two. She has one two year old and one due the end of Feb. I am always so inspired by the things she does with her little munchkin Molly. Whether she's doing a DIY project at home or taking Molly on a fun adventure, I always feel energized when I talk to her. That's why I've asked her to be part of our Lucy Darling family and write for our blog a couple times a month. She is wonderful and I think you will find her just as inspiring as I do.

 

Enjoy!! xx

 

 

Growing up, my sisters and I had a truly magical dollhouse. My mom had one of our uncles build one that was almost five feet tall, with six, big, simple rooms. Now that has "scope for the imagination" enough (to quote Anne of Green Gables), but she kept adding to the magic. She had saved pieces of our real home's wallpaper, and put that on the walls of each corresponding dollhouse room to match. She hunted through antique stores to find bathtubs and four-poster beds to fit the huge scale of the house. And nothing in the house was off-limits - she had no problem with me painting (not very pretty) flower boxes on the outside one rainy day, and the kitchen was stocked with food we made out of polymer clay...naturally, a bit heavy on the cakes and pies.

 

With Mollie turning two (and about to become a big sister), I wanted to give her some of that same childhood magic. And I'm not going to lie - I hoped it would buy me some crucial "independent play" time so that I can make sure I don't completely neglect her little sister!

 

To start with, I snagged the most basic wooden dollhouse Pottery Barn Kids had to offer on one of their holiday sales. It's since sold out, but since the goal is to customize it, any simple dollhouse you find can work!

As you moms know, nap time  = work time, so there was a day or two of me assembling it with interruptions to hide it under a blanket whenever I thought I heard Mollie coming out of her room...ha! 

 

Then I went to Papersource (aka one of my favorite places EVER), and made a beeline for all of the gorgeous handmade paper that I could never justify buying in bulk to...you know...actually wrap a present. I picked out paper to use for a master bedroom, a kids' bedroom, and a living room. I left the kitchen plain because I'm not sure what I want those walls to look like yet, but I knew I wanted to paint the floor there. After some late night measuring, cutting, and probably more Mod Podge fumes than a pregnant woman should inhale, I had this!

The best technique I could come up with for wallpapering involved cutting a piece of paper big enough for one wall (not trying to omit windows or doors), and then folding/marking/re-cutting after holding it up to the room itself. For the windows, I used a paring knife to cut along the tracing I made of the window while holding up the paper in the room. I'm sure for those of you less frustrated by numbers there could be a more scientific way, but this worked :). Then I painted a thin layer of Mod Podge on the wall itself, and another this layer on the paper, making sure to go all the way to the edges. This allowed for some wiggling and re-positioning once I put the paper on the wall, which made it less stressful! 

 

I painted the kitchen floor with basic acrylic paint. I'm not sure now why I decided it should be on an angle...my only rationale is that I was watching a very intense show on Netflix at the same time :). 

For all the furniture, I used Hape sets that I found on Amazon! I like how simple and sturdy they are - great for chubby toddler fingers. Some of the colors didn't match the house, so I just repainted them white (or blue or gold...) with the acrylic paint again. 

I couldn't believe how well the bedding matched! 

This will be the kids' room eventually...but for now, mom and dad have a pretty impressive closet area ;). We're going to need bunk beds once our new baby comes!

 

This was such a fun project, and one that will be on-going. And best of all, Mollie completely loves it! 

Thursday, July 02, 2015

A Simple Book of Firsts: How-To

posted in: How To - DIY, Memory Book Tips

Knowing our memory book is designed to make creating a forever keepsake simple, I thought it might be helpful if I took the time to give you the skinny on what I think are the best pens, the best adhesives and the best place to print your photos. Our hope is that this becomes your Lucy Darling Memory Book go-to! Enjoy!! 

PENS:

I am completely obsessed with pens! I went through and tested 6 different pens. Below is my analysis of each. 

 

I started with a classic fine point/no bleed SHARPIE which can be found here at Target. 

 Things I like:

+Firm tip for precision

+Fun new colors!

+Widely Available

+Not likely to bleed

Things I didn't like:

-Ink flow is stop and go

-Colors appeared dull after drying

 

The next pen I tested was LePen which can be found here at PaperSource. 

Things I like:

+Smear resistant for lefties

+Fine tip for crisp lines

+Pretty Colors

+Small/lightweight barrel for precision

+Smooth ink flow

Things I don't like:

-Possibly too delicate for large hands

 

PAPERMATE is next on the list and can be found here  or in store at Target. 

Things I like:

+Fun and vivid colors

+Medium point

+Plenty of ink

+Available at Target

Things I don't like:

-More likely to bleed due to ink supply

 

Next up: STAEDTLER Tri-Plus Fine Line which can be found here or in store at Paper Source

 

Things I like:

+Fine point for crisp lines

+Lots of color choices

+6 neon colors

+Super hard case

+Triangular shape barrel for easy grip

Things I don't like:

-Might tire of triangular shape

 

FABER-CASTELL Mix & Match Pitt Artist pens are next and can be found here or in store at Paper Source. 

Things I like:

+Lots of options for hand lettering

+Firm tip (except large) for crispness

+Ink won't bleed through

+Comes in other color varieties

+Well labeled to identify size

Things I don't like:

-Seems expensive for only 4 pens (but worth it!)

 

 Finally I tried the STABLIO Pointvisco which can be found here or in store at Target. 

Things I like:

+ Vibrant Colors

+Medium Point

+Roller Ball Style Tip

+Ink flow makes fun for writing

Things I don't like:

-Not ideal for hand lettering

-Inks tends to dry in roller ball

 

Overall for me, LePen was the far leader because of the way it felt in my hand and the way the ink came onto the page so smoothly... like butter. Sharpie on the other hand, was my definite last place. After testing all the pens, the ink didn't compare in terms of the smoothness and it just seemed more jerky.

* Please note that each pen I used has a marker tip except Stabilo which is ballpoint. I  would recommend the ball point for writing, not for drawing or lettering.

 

ADHESIVES:

Below outlines our top 3 adhesives. All three of these adhesives have the same great qualities which are outlined below the photo. Each can be found here, here and here or in store at Target. 

+Easy to use
+Won't clog up 
+Acid free for photos
+Widely available 
+Affordable
+No mess of traditional glue
+Won't come unstuck over time
PRINTING PHOTOS:
Below outlines which photos are which sizes within the memory book. The BEST PLACE to print your SQUARE photos is foxprint.com. For a limited time, Foxprint is offering 12 free prints (3x3) when you use the code LUCYDARLING at checkout. Yipee!
Our books have spots for 48 photos total. 

The larger photo is a 4x4 size. There are 21 pictures total.

+1 Front Photo

+1 You arrived 

+1 Where you lived

+12 Monthly 

+5 Birthdays

+1 First Day of School

 

The smaller photo is a 3x3 size. There are 27 pictures total.

+1 Mom’s Belly

+14 Firsts

+12 Holidays

 

WHEW! That was a lot! I sure you hope you found this useful. As always, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to help you create darling moments that last forever. xo!! 

 

 

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