Monday, July 20, 2015

Mandala Meditation for Anxiety

I love mandalas. I remember learning about them in Humanities in college. Basically, "mandala" is a sanskrit word that means "circle". They are beautiful geometrical designs, often brightly colored, and usually in a circular shape, but more than their physical beauty, they represent a deep meditative and spiritual journey, with divinity being near the center of the design. Mandala derived designs are used in forms of worship in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

Certain forms of meditation include studying a mandala, and letting it take you on an internal spiritual journey. Other forms include drawing or coloring a mandala.  Interestingly, this has been researched and results have been published in the Art Therapy Journal of the American Art Therapy Association (click the link to see a summary of the study results).  In a nutshell, the study found that "structured coloring of a reasonably complex geometric pattern may induce a meditative state that benefits individuals suffering from anxiety." Basically, color a mandala when you are feeling stressed or anxious, and it might help you feel more calm and collected.

A few weeks ago, I printed off several coloring sheets (just google "free mandala coloring pages" for tons of options you can print at home). Last week, I pulled out my kids' colored pencils, sharpened them up, and spent a few minutes each day working on the mandala pictured at the top of this post. I did feel a reduction in my stress after coloring for 10 minutes or so. (Although, I should note, it can be kind of addicting because it is fun, and they are really beautiful. So, some days I probably spent much longer than 10 minutes.) The mandala I colored above can be found here on Color Pages for Mom.

Hope you have fun coloring! If you have kids, now you have something you can be excited about coloring with them! :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

DIY Lego Birthday Party

Both of my sons have been very enthusiastic about Legos this year, so I wasn't surprised when my oldest decided on a Lego theme for his birthday party.  And, being the crazy summer that it is, I gave myself only 6 days to plan and prepare everything from start to finish. I  wondered how it would all turn out, but everything was, in fact, awesome. Cue music....

It turns out that there are tons of free printable resources online that made my job pretty easy! We used a free, customizable Lego movie invitation, these minifig straw decorations that we used as cupcake toppers, a minifig coloring page, and free printable Lego cupcake wrappers.

The Prep

I tried to involve my son as much as possible in the party prep, and it was a fun bonding experience, plus he was actually pretty helpful.  We handed out invitations that we printed 4-on-a-page and mounted on bright cardstock paper that we already had.

Hale Grafx free printable

We printed the minifig coloring pages, and also the straw toppers and cupcake wrappers, and cut those out. The boys used double stick tape to attach the straw toppers to craft sticks for the cupcake toppers.

I collected and separated Lego pieces into individual bags for our Lego car- building activity (check garage sales and local classified ads, or use your own stash and don't send them home as favors).

I did purchase a few things for the party. I bought these Lego favor bags pictured below, some lego brick candies which I added to the favor bags and also decorated the cupcakes with (see below), a silicone Lego candy mold (we made chocolates, but you could do ice cubes, other candies, crayons, etc.), and minifig crayon sets which we could have made on our own if we'd had time.

I had some Wilton Candy Melts on hand that I used to make the Lego candies by melting the chips in the microwave, pouring in the molds, and refrigerating for a few minutes. They set up pretty fast, allowing me to use just one mold to make many candies very quickly. I packaged them up in small bags that I also had on hand already that I had found at the grocery store.

I also bought a long green plastic table cloth, red square plates, yellow cups and silverware, and blue napkins from the dollar store ($5 total).  I drew the minifig faces on the cups with a permanent marker.  I didn't want to worry about feeding the kids lunch, but I got a veggie tray and a fruit tray, and that went over pretty well with the kids.

The  Party

We invited 10 7- year- olds, and I was a little worried about chaos, so I planned enough activities to keep them busy for 2 hours and made an itinerary.  My sister Cara was gracious enough to come help the activities move along and stay organized. Here is what my itinerary looked like:

10am  Gathering activity- Minifig coloring/decorating (10 min)
10:10  Lego relay race (10 min)
10:20  Lego straw game (5 min)
10:25  Snacks (veggie and fruit trays) (10 min)
10:35  Build and race cars (25 min)
11:00  Lego bracelets (25 min)
11:25  Presents (15 min)
11:40  Cake (20 min)

We did the coloring as a gathering activity while we were waiting for all the kids to arrive, and in addition to crayons, I provided googly eyes, pom-poms, glue, etc. to decorate them with.

Next we did a relay race, Egg-on-a-spoon style, with a tub of legos, a spoon for each team, and a bucket for them to dump their Legos into. I set a timer for 4 minutes (you could adjust according to the age of the kids playing) and they got as many Legos as they could without dropping them.

After the timer went off, I had the kids count how many Legos were in the buckets, and the winners got a prize (I reassured the kids that every kid would get to win a prize by the end of the party).

We also played the M&M game with straws and Lego pieces instead of M&Ms. (The idea is to use the straw to create suction and pick up Lego bricks for a minute or two. The winner is the one with the most pieces when the timer goes off. Make sure the pieces are large enough to be picked up this way and won't be a choking hazard!)

I combined the snack time with the Lego car activity. The kids spent more time doing these things than I expected, and really seemed to enjoy building their cars.  They all got relatively similar pieces, but the cars were very distinct and unique from each other.  I loved watching their creativity.  After they finished building, we went outside to the ramp my husband put together with some wood and sheets of plastic propped up on a sawhorse. Each child raced their car against another, and everyone got prizes.

I thought Lego friendship bracelets would be a fun craft that boys and girls would each enjoy, and although the kids needed a lot of help, they all seemed to think it was a pretty cool activity.  They even realized they could carry around their Lego cars stuck to the bracelets. :)  We followed this tutorial from The Centsible Life for Lego friendship bracelets. My husband went through our Lego stash and pulled a few pieces out, and drilled the holes pretty quickly.

I like to do cake and ice cream as the very last thing at birthday parties, so we sang "Happy Birthday and passed out the cupcakes after the presents were open. (I will share the delicious dairy- free recipes I used in a later post!)

 My son was thrilled with how his party turned out, and all the kids stayed busy enough that there were no squabbles, and no chaos, so I was happy too!

Friday, July 10, 2015

How To Distress Paint Like A Pro {Vaseline Method}

I love distressing the furniture and decor in my home. It is one of my all-time favorite things to do, especially when I'm putting a fresh coat of paint on something. I'm obsessed with farmhouse, shabby chic, chippy, vintage and antique looking decor. They are so fun!

Before, when I would distress anything, I would use sandpaper to rub down the paint. But this usually required a lot of elbow grease. Plus, it was messy and sometimes hurt the raw wood if I sanded too much.

Well put down that sandpaper, my friends, because I have found a much better and easier solution to distressing... The Vaseline method! I know what you are probably thinking... "Vaseline, what? Are you crazy?" The answer is YES! Because believe it or not, this actually works like a charm. I, too, had my doubts at first. But the results will make you ooh and ahh for days, I promise!

I started with a boring old frame that I didn't care too much for. I wanted to give it a pop of color and lately I've been adding this fun turquoise to our home. I applied a coat of Vaseline where I wanted the frame to look worn down {all the edges, all corners, and a few random spots}. Next I painted over it and the whole frame. Once the paint dried, I took an old rag and wiped down the entire thing. It wipes off the Vaseline and creates the ultimate distressed look.

If you want to protect the paint from chipping more, I would suggest applying a protective top coat to your project {polyurethane}. But since this is just a frame, I didn't worry about it too much.

Now you can ooh and ahh over your masterpiece for days. :)

You can also check out what other fun projects I've been up to on my other blog Drill Bits and Oven Mitts!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Meet Heather

Hey guys--Heather here! I'm another sister of the Homebodies. You may remember me from the amazing wedding cake/cupcakes Marissa and my other sisters made for my wedding, along with the beautiful rose bouquets and boutonnieres. You can view their post about it here

A little background about me... I'm a first time mommy of 1 {my precious little boy} and a wife to my handsome hubster. Tayler and I met and fell in love at Brigham Young University--Idaho in 2011, and were married 5 months later. We moved to Washington last year, had our baby boy, and are absolutely loving being parents. 

I have always found joy in crafting and sewing... and pretty much all things "homemakey". I have discovered, lately, that building furniture my passion. I love the feeling of making something from scratch with your own two hands, which is why I also love spending time in the kitchen baking. I love refinishing and distressing furniture and decor. I love my family, painting, vintage and farmhouse decor, and all things DIY. 

Decorating on a budget is one of my ultimate goals. I'm not always perfect at it, but I love to look for good deals on ways to beautify my home. Turning old things into new again is one way I curb my hunger for buying new things.

I am nowhere near perfect at what I do, but I love attempting to be a good homemaker and striving to be the best mama I can be for my little munchkin. I also love learning and trying out new recipes and tutorials from other fellow bloggers!

You can also check out what other fun stuff I've been up to on my other blog Drill Bits and Oven Mitts! And when I'm not blogging, I also sell digital prints on Etsy. Check out my shop Christensen Digitals!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

DIY Front Door Flower Basket

This was truly a fast, easy, and cheap DIY. Start to finish, my flower basket took about 30 minutes. I planned on using hot glue to hold the flowers in place, but that proved to be unnecessary with the floral foam- more on that later. I actually had everything I needed to make this already in my stash, but I got the flowers from the dollar store in years past, the burlap ribbon 50% off at Hobby Lobby, and the metal basket was given to me probably 10 years ago and I just never knew what to use it for before now. So it was probably around $10 out of pocket for me. Here's a quick tute:

Here are the materials you'll need: 1) Dollar Store flowers, 2) Metal hanging basket (I've seen lots of wicker baskets too, check thrift stores. You can always spray paint it if needed), 3) Floral foam- I cut a small piece off a much larger piece I had leftover from this project with a serrated knife. I have seen this at the dollar store though, and 4) Burlap Ribbon- enough to make a nice looking bow and possibly wrap around the basket.

First, wedge the styrofoam into the basket tightly, so it won't come out easily. Then, just poke the stems of the flowers into the foam, arranging whatever pattern you like as you go. You could secure each piece with hot glue, but it's probably unnecessary. I have had my basket out for several weeks, and even with canyon winds blowing at night, it still looks exactly the same.

Attach the burlap ribbon to the basket either by tying or hot glue, make a bow, and hang. Optionally, you can glue some pieces of felt to the back of the basket to keep it from scratching the door if that is a concern.

I'm happy with how this project turned out.  Hopefully my next "porch beautification" project using live flowers this time goes as well! ;)

Monday, April 6, 2015

DIY Coat Rack for less than $30

We have a problem. It's called not enough hooks to hang things on. This problem manifested itself recently when I received several new purses as gifts, and my hanging spot became a chair. And then I stopped hanging up my coat in the coat closet because it was too far away. And then our entry way turned into a pile of purses and coats and gym bags and our primary bag and I just can't handle that kind of clutter. We decided that something must be done, so we got on the internet and looked for a free standing coat tree rack (we're in a rental, so anything wall-mounted just wouldn't work). We did a lot of searching, because we wanted something sturdy but inexpensive because let's face it, we just need to hang our stuff up so it doesn't look like we're hoarders.

The more we looked for one to buy, the more we realized that we can make our own dang coat rack and it would look cooler and be cheaper to make! So we decided to make our own. I was inspired by the design of this one from Anthropologie (but not the price.. yikes!). So we went to Home Depot.

We bought: A 2x2x8 pine pole for $8, 4 L-shaped supports for just over $1 each, and two sets of hooks that were I think around $2 for a pair.

Other supplies needed: A hand saw and some sandpaper (although we could have had the pole cut at Home Depot if we had thought of it)

I forgot to take pictures of the actual process, but I think it took us about 30 minutes to finish, including hand-sawing the pole.

It's the perfect spot for our jackets and my purses!

I really like how the industrial supports came together with the plain pine wood of the pole. 

This was such an easy DIY and it was fun for my husband and I to make together too :)
(I'm playing with the idea of making more of them to sell.. maybe! Stay tuned)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gift Wrapping on the Cheap

Christmas Double Post: (I promise this is it!)

One of my most favorite parts about the Christmas season is wrapping all the Christmas gifts I've gotten for my family. It usually takes me several weeks to pick them all out and/or make them all, but the best day of December is the day I finish my shopping and DIYing, pile all the gifts up and start wrapping.

This year, we underestimated the amount of gifts we'd be wrapping and only bought one roll of wrapping paper and some ribbon. Luckily we had a pretty good stockpile of Trader Joe's Christmas bags and brown packing paper from the Dollar Store. 

I used a bottle ring to trace circles on the Trader Joe's bags to make all the gift tags which was fun and I think they turned out cute! 

I also had a bunch of random ribbon, netting and twine, so I used every square inch of my wrapping paper by making accent wrapping paper bows using a tutorial from Ziploc (I couldn't find the original pin, but it is exactly like this one).

My Christmas Glitter Etravaganza- a little late :)

Yes, I know it's March, but sometimes life happens and you take forever to write about Christmas. (It's still winter-ish right? No. It's spring. Oh well.)

So this Christmas I wanted to give gifts from the heart. I also didn't want to spend $101,283,047,484.99 on Christmas gifts, because we're newlyweds. And we have huge families. And sometimes Christmas is hard. So I did what any crafter would do and started looking around my craft room and on Pinterest.

I recently acquired a TON of different colors of glitter, and I've been accumulating blank canvases like a hoarder, thinking I'd remember how to paint some day. That still hasn't happened, so I've had quite the display of white 'art.'

Lately deer silhouettes have been really popular in home decor, and so awhile back I wanted to do something cute for my office (I've been there 6 months and I have nothing on the walls in my office still. People keep asking me if I'm planning on leaving. I'll get on that ASAP- posts to follow. At least I have a window..).

So I found one of my tiny canvased, printed out and traced a little reindeer silhouette and then I found some Elmer's glue and my gold glitter. 3 minutes later I had made this cute little bad boy that sits on the bookshelf in my office: (I recently added some twine to it so I can hang it on the wall, but I'll post on that later too).

Then I forgot about it.

UNTIL Christmas was around the corner. I thought this would be a great Christmas to DIY my gifts, but I completely Pinterest-failed making an ornament wreath for my Mother in Law (it wasn't terrible, but not Mother-in-Law-gift-worthy. More like hang outside where its mostly dark and nobody-will-look-at-it-closely-worthy). I really like to give Christmas-themed gifts, and then I remembered the glitter deer and a light bulb went off: RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER!!

I found an 8x10 canvas, so all I needed was a printed out version of the silhouette (I used a different reindeer silhouette with a more prominent nose so the red nose would pop), Elmer's glue and Gold and Red glitter. I think I spent less than $4 and I think it turned out pretty cute! It was a big hit with my Mother-in-law, (and I made one for my parents and sister and a friend too!)

Previous to my reindeer epiphany, I had found the cutest little tiny canvases at Walmart and I really wanted to do something with them. I made ornaments for my husband's siblings (and I forgot to take photos :(, but they are cute!) and I still had some left over. I thought they might be cute if I attached them to some twine in a banner, so I decided to make this one for Rochelle's family:

And then I made this one for our youngest sister Anna:

At this point I was having a glitter-frenzy and I was on a roll. Our friend Lindsay got married right before Christmas as well, and we had no time to go buy a gift. I've seen cute monogram wedding gifts before, so to finish off my Christmas glitter extravaganza,  I took another canvas I had laying around and made this little number with their wedding date:

Suffice it to say, this Christmas definitely glittered. 

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