Sketchy Outfit 37: Monster and Me

Monday, December 30, 2019

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I'm not going to lie... almost every day I try to match my child in some way. Usually it's my socks, and it's just this little extra thing that makes me smile whenever I think about it. But the other day the stars aligned and the laundry was clean and I was able to go all out... and man was it worth it. This kid's adorableness is going to slay me, I swear.

(Honestly, I cut this romper up to make it into a tank top
during the summer and I've never once regretted it.
We've gotten so much more use out of it this way.)

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Mood Board: Winter Wonderland Porch

Thursday, December 19, 2019

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My Christmas decor tends to be on the VERY colorful side. Think classic tree with colorful retro mid-century vibes, and a tad bit of Tim Burton thrown in.  This year, though, all of the images that were appealing to me were simplistic, white, and very... homey. Instead of throwing out all of the decorations I've been collecting for the last five years, I decided to decorate the one room of my house that is a bit of a blank slate: my front porch.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

I had been collecting images on Pinterest for a while. So, after letting these images swirl around in my brain a little bit, and maaaybe after drawing a sketch that had all the vibes, I built a mood board.

I knew, right off the bat, that there was at least one thing I could simply DIY. I dove headfirst into making those garlands, but instead of using felt I used white paper. I layered a few sheets at a time and freehand cut what were basically vines with leaves sticking out on either side, then taped the strands together. It took about all of Muppet Christmas Carol to cut and tape them all.

Because this is a drafty old porch in the Midwest I decided to make it more comfy with an abundance of blankets, faux furs, and a hot chocolate bar. Having so many layered textures and natural tones make me warm just looking at it. Man, now I want some more blanket cuddles and hot chocolate. Maybe we can do that tomorrow morning. Hot chocolate for breakfast is acceptable as long as Mom says it's okay, right?

I go through this space every single day, more than once. Usually, it's full of coolers and tables and trikes and trucks (oh so many trucks). It gets ignored a lot. But dang, a little attention goes a long way. Honestly (and a bit amazingly) this was pulled together with just stuff I have around my house.

The only things I bought were that buffalo plaid blanket (which I had been eyeing and was a steal on Amazon) and that tiny little tree. Isn't he so cute? The whole transformation took about an hour total, and I can't believe how completely worth it it was. Now, whenever I walk through this space I feel like I'm walking in my own Winter Wonderland.

And here's the little sketch I made before any of this started. It all began with a doodle of the monster waiting for his Grandma on the porch. I couldn't stop thinking about his little feet sticking out of that blanket! Anyways, tell me if you think I did the concept justice!

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Gorgeous Ornaments You Can Make Yourself

Sunday, December 15, 2019

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 Just because your tree decor is handmade doesn't mean it can't be totally on trend. Here are 10 DIY ornaments that will make your tree look like you spent a thousand at Anthropologie.

Don't each of those look like a million bucks?  I want to make all of them, but those leather ones are really stealing my heart. I think I have some leather tucked away somewhere, so I'll have to give them a try. 

If you looked through this list and still want more, check out my simple village ornaments!

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DIY Minimal House Ornaments

Friday, December 13, 2019

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These ornaments have a cute little minimalist vibe while also being charming and heartwarming. I've always thought of minimalism as cold and removed, but recently I've been diving headfirst into Pinterest inspo of holiday decor that is curated and simple but still so ... warm looking.

Model Magic
Something to roll with (I used a marker)
Something to cut with (butter knife)
Something to poke with (end of a paintbrush)

Note: No, my hands are not weirdly small. Some steps were done by my toddler. Yay family craft time!

  1. Section out your Model Magic. I could get three houses that were about 1 1/2 inches out of one small pack of clay. After you divide the clay, work with it a bit to get it all warmed up. You should be able to pull it apart and have it be stringy in the middle.
  2. Roll out! Squish your clay into a kind of squarish lump then roll it out. You want it to be a fourth of an inch or thicker.
  3. Shape the bottom of your house. Model Magic if forgiving when it comes to shaping, so don't stress out about this too much. I would try to shape the clay to look as much like a rectangle as possible, then give them corners. If that just isn't working for you you can also just cut the clay so you have the bottom of the rectangle. To clean up your sides, place a straight edge (I used my paintbrush) against each side and gently press to make the edges sharp.
  4. Cut the roof. For any cutting step, you may want to lay down paper to protect the surface you are working on. Decide where you want your roof to start, then draw a faint straight line to the other side. Make an angled cut to where you want your roof to peak. Do the same for the other side.
  5. Cut out your windows. Decide where you want your windows to be, then lightly draw them on to double-check placement. When you are satisfied, cut slowly and gently with the tip of your sharp edge. Try to cut all the way through the clay. Your knife should hit the surface below.
  6. Poke out the windows. Often they will not come out cleanly, but rather tear off. Clean up the back of your ornament as needed, smoothing the torn edges into the clay.
  7. Poke a hole for your ribbon. Place your hole far enough from the top that the ornament won't rip when it's hung. Make sure to poke from the back and the front to make everything look polished.
  8. Clean it up and let dry. You have a few hours where the clay is still moldable. Look over the front and back, making sure to smooth away any dents or scratches. Let dry at least 24 hours.
  9. Add a ribbon!

More notes: 
Keep a clean surface. These things like to keep fuzzies forever.
Because this is handmade, keep in mind that imperfections add to the charm.

I think these adorable little guys will be pulling double duty this holiday season, first as tree decorations and then as gift tags. Well, that is, if I can bear to part with them.  I just love my little village of tiny houses.

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Potty Training? (printable sequence cards)

Friday, October 11, 2019

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Okay, I'm going to start this post with the total truth....

I have no idea what I'm doing.

This past couple of weeks, Monster started taking his diaper off when he woke up in the morning. Then last Thursday I walked into the nursery and stepped into a puddle of pee. Honestly, I was impressed. How did he get it so far from the crib? But that puddle pointed out a truth that I had been avoiding... it might be time to start potty training.

I had been kinda researching because I knew it would be time soon, so I had a vague plan in mind that involved chocolate. Because all good plans should involve chocolate. And I needed an excuse to use this sweet gumball machine I found at Goodwill.

I also really love a good themed basket, so naturally, I put together a potty basket. Gonna have to invest in more potty books. (Shown here: What's a Potty For? by Katie Daynes)

We are trying (and failing) to get him excited about underwear so I got some diapers and undies for Jack-Jack. At this point he just wants Jack-Jack to wear the diaper, and the underwear can stay on the doll's head for all he cares. It's so cute to watch him slowly put it all together, though. He likes to figure stuff out on his own, so I just plan to leave everything accessible and let him mess with it on his own time. (Buy here: doll diapers, doll underwear)

So right now the plan is simple. We try to sit him on the potty right after he wakes up. Getting him used to what this potty business is all about. Celebrate his successes with ridiculous amounts of cheer and chocolate. Beyond that... I don't know. I'm really taking this a step at a time. But I've got my basket, I've got my quarters, and I've got a plastic potty with pee in it. Livin the dream.

I'd love to hear any advice you have in the comments. What worked - or terribly, messily didn't work - for you?

And if you would like to have some of those quirky little sequence cards for yourself, you can download a printable version here.
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Dragons Love Tacos Party

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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I love dragons, and I love tacos, so when I decided I wanted to do something special with my family for my birthday, it really just made sense that we would have a "Dragons Love Tacos" party. (Obviously. ) So that's what we did! (Except, because we are not dragons, we did have spicy salsa. Sh, don't tell.)

In case you haven't heard of it, Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin is a bestselling children's book all about dragons who love tacos. The problem is, while they will eat boatloads of tacos, even one hint of spice will make them spew fire everywhere. This adorable book is written in a casual voice that makes it tons of fun to real aloud.

Of course, if you know me at all, you have probably figured out that what really draws me into books is the illustrations.  This book is no exception. The playful lines and speckled backgrounds make for an iconic style specific to this series.

So speckles were the base I used for my table. Specifically a diy splatter painted tablecloth. Using watered down tempera paint and an old brush, I set out my plastic white tablecloth and started to make a mess. It took some time, but was well worth it. This subtle detail really hinted at the book in a subconscious way.

The place settings were simple but on theme. Everyone got a dragon with their own salsa jar.

To make both the invites and the salsa jars I just used plain white copy paper and colored pencils. The beauty of this artistic style is that you can use your normal sloppy handwriting to create everything! If you are nervous about spacing, I would suggest you lightly plan everything out in pencil first.

The favor/activity for this party is sure to be a hit... Salsa Slime. Using clear glue, slime additive, food coloring and pony beads I was able to create a very satisfying salsa slime.*
*Now with spicy jalapenos. :)

Another activity idea is put out the dragon fires. Use tissue paper to create a small fake fires, then have them throw small blue balloons at it.

I think the really great thing about this party theme is that the food is really a no brainer. Tacos! We always set out our ingredients and let everyone make their own. You can even have dessert nachos! Break some chocolate waffle cones to use as a base. Add plops of ice cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles and serve in a bowl. Yuuum!

Pack up their dragons and salsa into a Taco Cave take out bag (created with black marker and craft paper bags), and your party is complete!

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Ten Things

Sunday, September 1, 2019

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I've been really inspired lately to introduce Ro to new (old) music. Frankensteining together this post about a music jar and this post about vinyl from A Beautiful Mess, we've been selecting a new record to listen to every week. Oddly enough, this week's record is a Country Classics record, which includes a Patsy Cline song.

I can't get enough of colorful blankets with huge tassels, such as this one or this one. Maybe I'll just make one myself using this tutorial from Treasure Travels.

Doctor Beth is a stuffed animal doctor who shares her progress as she fixes well-loved treasures, and it just might be the most heartwarming thing I have ever seen come from Tumblr.

This studio from Kalio Chic is what dreams are made of. She described it as working in a giant light box, and I am so on board with that idea.

World of Warcraft Classic was just released, and I am surprisingly quite into it. I started playing WoW during the "classic" time, and there is something about the simplicity of falling into a routine that I already know well that is so relaxing. 

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Night Sky Family Night

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

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Sometimes you just need a little party in your life. Like... a dinner party for just your family, nothing fancy, just something a little be more than normal. With that in mind, I created this themed evening for two- myself and Ronan- that was centered around one of my favorite things - the summer night sky.

This night started at the dinner table. Using things that I just had around the house, the centerpiece was a tray full of containers of varying heights holding sparklers, candles, matches, etc. I was going for a textural melody that was also functional. I was enchanted by the colors of these blue enamel camping plates, really I think they are what inspired this whole thing, so I used them as the pop of color among the gray tones. Then I topped off the place setting with a simple star crown that I created with paper and tape, using the same technique you use for a paper people chain.

To stay within the theme of the night, we created a few simple star crafts. Using dark blue tempera paint (created with a mix of normal blue with a bit of black in it), we painted sticks to match the night sky. Perfection wasn't necessary, so even my almost-2-year-old could help with this. We let the sticks dry, then I hot glued them into a star shape. We added a string and hung them up, giving Ronan a chance to point show them off every time I asked him where the star was.

For our second art activity, we painted some heavy paper with the same dark blue paint and glow in the dark paint. I cut both of the papers into stars and put them in a jar to be used later during storytime.

I like to keep themed baskets around the house for Ronan to enjoy. This storytime basket included an adorable starlight that we played with in our forts, the jar full of stars that I mentioned earlier, and a ton of books. The Stars by H.A. Rey is a simply beautifully designed book that is full of information. Moon by Britta Teckentrup is a beautifully illustrated peek through book that goes through the phases of the moon. Starry Skies by Samantha Chagollan was a book with glossy/raised constellations that Ro loved to touch. I particularly loved the Stars book by Mary Lyn Ray. It had a great message, and after reading it I painted a special silver star just to be kept in Ronan's own pocket.

Some other books that were in the basket where Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin HenkesOnce Upon A Starry Night by Jacqueline Mitton, and Faces of the Moon by Bob Crelin.

Because of the simplicity of this theme, there are a ton of other activities that could be easily incorporated to make it a fun-filled night. Backyard camping, firefly catching, sparklers...  I think that anything that makes you get that warm feeling of a classic summer night is the perfect addition.

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Going on a Bug Hunt

Thursday, August 1, 2019

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"We are going on a bug hunt!" I announce to my almost two year old. I am met with a blank stare. Yup, this is pretty much how I expected this to go. I herd him over to the couch and dump out the contents of the bag in my hands. A small notebook, "map," bug examination box and measuring tape fall out. I let him examine everything, the pack it back into his small bag and sling it over his shoulder. "Let's go!" I exclaim, met by another bewildered look. 
In my own bag I have a pile of colorful bugs I had drawn on contact paper while he was sleeping. I put one down and gasped. "I found a bug! Look!" Ronan follows my pointed finger, and his eyes light up. He makes the comically exaggerated "omg" face that I had been hoping for. I tell him to put it in the bag, and he toddles over to grab his discovery.


Amazingly, we are able to find most of the bugs before he loses interest.  I put them in the examination box, and make references to what he found all night, being sure to tell Dad when he gets home. 

The next day I ask Ronan if he wants to look at his bugs. We get them out and one by one stick them in our notebook and measure them. (Measuring is one of his favorite activities). It takes about a week to fill the whole notebook, but now he has a book he can get out and look at. When he is a bit older I'd like to name the bugs, or even have him draw them!

Supplies for this actrivity:
contact paper
colorful permanent markers
a notebook
a ruler
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Mood Board: Retro/Moody/Tropical Kids Room

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

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When I was scrolling through the Ikea website today (as you do) I found the cutest bed. And then I saw this rug that was giving me the same vibes, and then I found another rug that would be perfect for layering with the first one, and then I found the most adorable plant pots, and then all the sudden I was planning an entire room based on this one stinkin bed.

Unfortunately, I've been banned from changing around monster's room before I get the current theme done (logical, I guess) so I guess I'm going to just live in a dreamland for now. And my dreamland is taking the shape of a retro meets moody tropical children's room. Which sounds weird but totally works. And better yet, everything you need to create this dream world (besides paint) can be found at Ikea.

The mirror is an adorable DIY from Mr. Kate. I would use the NISSEDAL white mirror long ways and paint the sun design at the top.

The bed that started it all is the MINNEN bed frame. Pair it with the URSKOG blue tiger duvet cover and pillowcase, the dark blue LISAMARI throw, yellow SOLGUL blanket, and URSKOG white tiger cushion and you've got the purrfect tropical bed.

For lighting I can't help but suggest the yellow GRIMSÅS pendant lamp. It looks like a magical little swarm of bugs or birds. The rugs I selected were the IKEA ART EVENT 2019 rug designed by Craig Green and the yellow LANGSTED rug.

The plant is the Ficus Elastica in the RÅGKORN 12.5" pot. The two other containers are the yellow SOMMAR 2019 plant pot (pictured three times because it's just that cute) and the SOMMAR 2019 picnic basket.

I think that the Meet the Tiger book would be such a perfect addition to this space, and the LUSTIGT loom is just awesome.

And there you have it! Obviously there are a ton of other things that would match this room perfectly, (I mean, just look at this other rug by Misaki Kawai, and this BILD love poster) but I have to sleep sometimes so I'll end this daydream here.
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DIY Simple Cardboard Doll House

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

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I've been dreaming of owning one of these Magnolia dollhouses since I saw them last year. I love the simplicity, the clean lines, and the fact that it looks like when my kid decides to sit on it (because he will) it won't break. But, while reasonably priced for a dollhouse, I can't bring myself to buy one for our family. Without knowing if he would be interested in playing with a house without an attached garage, and, let's be honest, knowing that it would be more for myself, I just couldn't click the "add to cart" button. But make one? That I can do.

duct tape
box cutter
hot glue gun (optional)

1. Cut off one side of the box and tape it to the bottom to give your house a sturdy base. I taped the bottom flaps of the remaining sides to the underside of the base.

2. Cut the two side flaps at an angle to support the roof. I marked off one using a straight edge, then cut it. I used the first cut off triangle as a template for the remaining 3 edges.

3. Create your roof. I used two pizza boxes taped together, leaving a quarter of an inch between the two edges to make folding easier, and also to act as a hinge so the roof could be folded.

4. Tape the roof to the angles you cut, tape it over the remaining long flap. Secure the roof by taping it to the flap underneath it.

5. Plan out where you want your windows and doors to be. Use a pattern to draw them on, then a box cutter to cut out where the glass panes would be. I modeled the shape of my windows off of the Magnolia house, with a larger lower pane then details on the top half. If you are going to cut the windows in your door, be sure to cut out the window before making the cuts for the door (three cuts, leaving one long side attached to the house).

6. It's time to paint! I painted the walls and ceiling with a flat white coat. You can add interest easily to the roof just by playing with the texture, which works best with a high gloss paint. I knew I wanted my roof to look metal, but I played around with making shingles by repeating a half circle pattern, starting from the bottom. Once the white paint was dry, I painted the door, windows, and trim black to make them stand out. The floor was created with a very light brown and white, which I would dip my brush into without mixing the two colors together, giving the floor a wood grain effect. The last step was to paint the "lawn" green.

7. To give the windows more definition and to add a touch more detail to the house I made window and doorframes which I painted the same color and then hot glued on. Totally not necessary, but I do think that extra step adds some charm.

And there you have it, my mother's day present to myself, a simple farmhouse.

Or, if you're my son, a super cool garage.

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Ten Things

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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This apartment feature of the home of  Naomi Kahn on Man Repeller has me swooning. Can we just talk about that "we're all mad" neon light? As if I needed another reason to want one!

This felt children's book made by Elsie on A Beautiful Mess is so freaking creative. The tutorial looks pretty simple, too. We are currently letting the Monster's hair grow, so maybe I'll make like a ... glam metal, elf boy, Viking version of it. 

Charleston, SC is on my list of places to visit. With some of my favorite artists calling the town home, I knew the art scene there has to be so amazing. My thoughts gathered further proof when I found this tour of a gorgeous coffee shop attached to the Gibbes Museum of Art. I want to leave, like, now.

I'm vowing now, the moment we move into a house big enough to house it, I'm getting a Nugget Comfort set. My child already bounces off every piece of furniture we have in the house. I might as well buy some pieces specifically for that purpose.

This balloon chandelier by Oh Happy Day has basically set the whole tone for my birthday daydreams this year. 

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Inspire Me: Emma-Leone Palmer

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Okay, I just could not get through this week without showing you guys the amazing light infused paintings by London based Emma-Leone Palmer. She has painted quite a few breathtaking works in the past (like the entire "Paint Play" series) but these pieces stopped me in my tracks and made me want to dive into their world.

I've seen many light-based works before (thinking of the talented light manipulation photographers you can find on Instagram) but there's a somewhat surreal quality to Emma-Leone's works that take these paintings past typical light manipulation and to a more magical place.

From a distance, the pieces look like they are incredible realism. But when you look closer and start to lose yourself in the work you realize that the brush strokes invoke a sense of movement that can only be found in paintings. Without the rules of realism, the works are given the freedom to manipulate reality to best highlight the subjects themselves. This is not to say that there is a single brush stroke within the piece that is placed without thought: Even the smallest details, such as the strands of hair that escape the mass to frame the face, have a sense of purpose for the composition as a whole.

The lights themselves are treated in such a way that they give the work an almost supernatural vibe. My first unchecked thought upon seeing "Thalassa" was "oh, this girl uses magic to spin light." The neons guide you around the painting, giving your eyes a path to follow while still contributing beautifully to the entire piece.

The color palettes chosen for each piece are fantastic. Using an on-theme rainbow of colors, Emma creates shadows that you can get lost in and highlights that will steal your gaze. She utilizes the lights to create stretches of skin that have no actual "skin color," opting instead for vibrant hues straight from a 90's rave. This results in stunning pieces that leave you simultaneously in awe of the work and hungry for a sugary treat.

If you would like to follow the evolution of this series (it's kinda obvious that I will be), here are Emma-Leone's links:

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