DIY Mother's Day - Last Minute Ideas

Posted on May 6, 2016 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The little guy (who lives in Edinburgh and viewed my last post) informed me that I need to add a few more Mom's Day ideas, and they have to be super fast and super easy. Okay, last minute ideas - here goes:

Make a Note of This

If your Mom likes to make lists (and what mother doesn't), you can make these easy, peasy note pads from scrap paper and cardboard. We made these at one of my workshops and everyone had a different use for theirs. Made entirely of recycled materials, we even used dried up pens and office clips to hold the notepads together. And, best of all, refillable!


For some reason, I have a horde of tea infusers. Some I find at charity shops, others are gifts. But they do have their uses besides infusing tea. This may be one way for Mom to keep her gift wrapping twine tidy (also a good idea for holding embroidery thread). Add a couple in a handmade box (see yesterday's post) and you're done.

Decoupage This

Our lady Martha has this neat idea for taking bottles and decoupaging them with a pretty floral print (which she provides) turning ho-hum old bottles into lovely flower vases for Mom. Heck, you won't even need to buy flowers. Don't bother running out for new paint - check out what you've got squirreled away in the garage or basement. No paint there? Ask friends or neighbours.

Click here to find out how to make.

Mom's a Star

and you'll can let her know that's how you feel with these lovely star toppers from A Subtle Revelry. Bake or buy a nice cake (preferably one Mom likes - not you!) and top it with these pretty paper stars. Get the kids to help you make them.

All done now?

DIY Mother's Day (Workshop Edition)

Posted on May 6, 2016 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

If you're still looking for inexpensive, quick and easy DIY projects for Mom or Gran, there's plenty on the web to choose from but in this post I will highlight some ideas made by participants of my past and recent workshops. All are easy-peasy, quick, and very low cost. We used what we needed from my recycling bin and went to town.

Flower Pot Cards

Made from gardening catalogues, cereal (or other) cardboard boxes, brown paper grocery bags, and saved ribbon, these flower pot cards take only minutes, so most of the participants made several. No fancy-smancy equipment needed. Participants simply cut out flowers they liked from the gardening catalogues, glued these on cereal box cardboard, and then trimmed these. The flowers can be pulled out of the pot to reveal a message to the recipient. Oh, and we also made envelopes to match from the grocery bags. 

Paperbead Bracelet

Perfect gift form Mom and so easy. All you need are a pile of old magazines, glue, a wooden skewer, ruler, pencil, and scissors. Participants added some beads from broken necklaces and bracelets I pick up at charity shops. The 12-year old participant who made this bracelet added a found metal Valentine's heart. His Mom is sure to love it.

Twig and Scrap Yarn Brooches

Made from small twigs and whatever wool yarn and embroidery thread on hand, these were very popular and so fast to make. Everyone left wearing at least one of their creations. For this brooch you will need to have fasteners on hand. These can be purchased at any Dollar Store for about $1.25 for 10.

Gift Boxes from Magazine Covers

A few of the magazines we worked with had nice stiff front covers with interesting images, so, of course, I suggested making gift boxes out of these. After all, you'll need a nice one for Mom's gift. You can also cut long, thin strips of magazine pages to use as fillers for the boxes instead of tissue paper. 

Tag, You're It!

After boxes are made, you'll need a tag or two. So why not make a few like these using images you like from those old magazines. Participants cut out and glued images they liked onto used cereal box cardboard, then trimmed these into nice label tags, adding a bit of string.

Et voilà, all done and ready for Mom.

DIY Mother's Day

Posted on April 26, 2016 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (0)

With Mother's Day just a few weeks away, why not make a few things that she would adore (after all, you made them!). Here are a few ideas that I have made for my own Mom (and my daughter who is a Mom, too!).

Let's Wrap Again!

Instead of a humdrum box of chocolates, surprise your Mom with this sweet treat, featuring her favourite photos wrapped around chocolate bars. Easy to do. Remove the wrapping from her favourite bars and measure each one. Next choose your photographs, scan and crop so that these are the same size as the chocolate bar wrapping. Wrap a photo around each bar, and tape or glue at the back of the bar. Be sure to make extra - Mom will want to share!

Top That!

Mom will smile for days when you present her with this cute cupcake (homemade or store-bought) with its vintage topper. To make the topper, copy images from vintage sewing patterns or use images from magazines or your family photographs. Scan the images and then print on card-weight paper (or do as I do, copy image on recycled paper and glue to cardboard). Next, cut out the image, then glue or tape toothpicks on the back of each topper. Insert in a cupcake and serve. Yummy!

Bottle Up

Forget humdrum (and expensive) roses. Instead, head for your local grocery store and pick out a few flowers that you know Mom is fond of. When you get home, raid the recycle bin for suitable bottles, plastic or glass. Wash these thoroughly and dry. Add a bit of water to each bottle 'vase' and plunk in a flower. Group these 'vases' on a pretty plate and finish off with a pretty ribbon tied in a bow. The cost will be minimal but the impact will last for days.

Daffed about You!

Another super easy but low-cost idea for Mom. Again, head for your local grocery store and check out the overgrown daffodils and tulips stuck in the back of the flower department section. The flowers and plants here usually cost very little. Buy one with the best looking blossoms and, at home, remove from the container and wash off the soil from the bulb and roots. Write 'Mom' or her name on a paper label and tie to the flower. Put this on a pretty plate at her breakfast (or dinner place setting and you're done!

Note: When the flower has dried up, cut the stem down and place the bulb in a cool, dark place (such as your cellar) over winter. You can replant the bulbs in your garden in the fall to bloom again next spring.

All these ideas are easy-peasy, low-cost, fast, but look like a million bucks (at least to Mom).

Upcycling with Marie Claire Idées Magazine

Posted on March 28, 2016 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

One of my all time favourite magazines is Marie Claire Idées. Every month it comes with tons of creative ideas and quite a few of these ideas feature upcycling slash recycling projects. It's a French publication but most projects are simple enough for you to figure out.

So, it should be no surprise that, while organizing my studio for my first spring workshop (almost sold out!!), when I came across a copy of Marie Claire Idées. (No. 98 - Sept/Oct issue), I spotted some low-cost and easy upcycling ideas for organizing a child's bedroom. 

Upcycling Clementine Orange Boxes

If you have a few wooden Clementine orange boxes, your kids (with your help) can transform them into attractive toy storage boxes. Let their imaginations run wild (and keep little hands busy) by providing them some brushes, glue, paint, gift wrap or leftover wallpaper, etc. and let them go to it. Scrabble tiles could be glued on to personalize each box. Hmmm - with all the clementine boxes I've got, I could use this idea to organize my craft supplies. Original post here

Alphabet Cardboard Boxes

Pretty much every kid loves playing with cardboard boxes, and parents like them too because they can occupy a little one for hours and cost nothing. They're stackable and so take up little room. In this Marie Claire project you can personalize the cardboard boxes by cutting out the first initial of your child's name (or first the letter of what is to be stored inside) into one of the sides of the box. Then the whole thing can then be decorated in leftover gift wrap or wallpaper and a little paint. Original post here

Magnetic Wall Toy Storage

If your little one is constantly losing his/her little bitty toys such as mini cars, Playmobile figures, or dollhouse accessories, here's a perfect solution. In Marie Claire's version, this system uses a wooden picture frame and a oilcloth remnant glued to cardboard. Then you need some of those the magnetic kitchen knife strips and some round metal spice containers with clear lids.

My version: If you don't want to buy the magnetic knife strips (which can be expensive and/or the spice containers), just purchase a roll of magnetic tape at the hardware store and glue a small piece at the bottom of each toy, Glue the frame to an old non-aluminum baking sheet and you're in business. You can find old baking sheets at charity shops - bring along a piece of magnet tape to test out the magnetic attraction of these.

Now if you can just convince the kids to use this storage system.

Actually this idea would also be good in the craft room, too, to hold all those itty bitty bits we keep losing. Original post here. 

Under the Bed Toy Train Storage System

This is my favourite project. Our little guy has an identical toy train set and right now it's stored in a vintage suitcase. Every time he wants to play with it, his mom or I have to reassemble the track and believe me, it isn't as easy as it looks! This under the bed storage system solves the problem and would allow the little guy to play with his train set whenever he wants to without waiting for one of us to assemble it. We have some large pieces of cardboard saved from Ikea bookshelving that we can recycle to make this storage system and then use a water-based paint to pretty it up.

Original post here.

A Note of Caution

Please ensure that a parent or other responsible adult is always present when kids are involved in any of these projects.