Playful space: Costume Closet

I tried to find an amusing image to show you a before shot because I didn’t get one, but just imagine a closet overflowing with stuff.  I now have two large tubs of boxes and a big bag of gift bags to giveaway.
Oh, and I finally unpacked the final box from moving in 7 years ago.


Yes, you read that right.  Then the kids and I went through our two trunks full of costumes.  I get mine in the after Halloween sales, so it’s a very odd assortment, but they get used A LOT.

This of course meant they had to try them all on.  Several times.


After all of the sorting I was able to convince them to get rid of 2 costumes out of that lot, and I secretly snuck out a few broken pieces I was sure they’d try and keep.

Ugh, that pictures is slightly out of focus so it’s driving my eyes nuts, but it cracks me up so much I had to include it.

Then we had to dress up Mac.  Poor dog.

Finally the space under the stairs is transformed into a much more functional space.  And I don’t get frustrated when the kids get out the costumes anymore because the costumes are now hanging on hooks rather than having to dig out the entire trunk to find THAT ONE COSTUME……..

Playful Space: Kitchen table

We’re a little odd, we don’t eat at our kitchen table.  It’s a nice little six-seater table, but Jeff and I always kick feet under it and not in that cute “oh we’re playing footsy” sort of way, more of the I’m stepping on your foot kind of way.  So we started using the dining room table, you’ve seen that table a lot, it’s where I do a lot of school work.
kitchen table, currently piled with junk
So, here’s my kitchen table before being cleared off.  It’s a huge mess, it became the dumping ground for anything that was brought in but didn’t have a specific home to put it in within 5 seconds.  Yes, I am that ADD.

Well, I started clearing it off and set it up as a creation station, because you know my kids need more inspiration to do stuff like that and never do it on their own.
kitchen table after
And here’s the after (before they got into it).
kitchen table after once the kids got started
And here they are during the hour or so they happily spent deocrating the first project I set up there.  They claim it’s not done yet, but I haven’t seen them working on it recently, so I think I need to put in some new supplies or change the project.

I’m thinking furniture next……..

Playful Spaces

So, I’m in the middle of taking the Playful Learning e-course, and I promise to tell you all about it when I’ve finished it.  I will tell you, that you want to sign up for it when you have plenty of time to do the homework because it obviously involves rearranging things and can be time intensive.


But, as I was getting ready for small group the other night I decided to set up a “Playful Space” to help preserve my upstairs………….  12 or so kids running around is not always conducive to a clean upstairs.

So, here’s what I came up with:


I just set up our wooden Melissa and Doug castle on some green fabric with defenders all over the escarpments.  Then approaching the castle were all of the fantastical monsters on the grass.  Far off is the pirate ship on some blue fabric.


From the sounds of thuds I heard upstairs the boys really loved the set up.  The only complaint came from Princess who said the boys wouldn’t let the girls play with the castle.  You can’t win them all.

Goal accomplished, organize upstairs

Well at least part of it, I still need to finish the loft area again.



We started by putting everything in the middle of the room.  It didn’t matter if it belonged in there or not, we just put it all there.


Then we started getting it all cleared out, which took a good amount of time.



Then I carefully put all of the pillows away and folded up all of the blankets.  The kids had a lot of fun demonstrating that the pillows were still comfy.


Finally I took a picture of what the room is supposed to look like when clean so Princess can keep it up.  She volunteered to have the movie room as the room she’s responsible for, and if it’s clean when Jeff comes home at night she gets paid a quarter.


Our school room

This week on the Not Back to School Hop is all about school rooms, and while everyone else is all done hopping, I’m just now getting the pictures taken and writing this post, and I still want to share it because it’s still needs a bit of fiddling, but it looks so much better than it had, and its working so much better now.
This is the boys’ workspace.  These desks were built by Jeff’s Dad back when Jeff was a kid.  The story, as I’m remembering it being told, is Jeff’s Dad saved and got lumber for months before Christmas and finally built these desks for both of his kids and gave them to Jeff and his sister for Christmas.

Now we have both of them and the boys love their desks.
I’m trying to work on us getting our work area ready for the next school day before we leave the room, so I’m teaching the kids to put everything back in their desks, except the letters box on their desk, their lamp, and for right now their ark.

In between these two bookcases is Wendy’s desk.  This is another desk my father-in-law built, but this was for his wife.  Hence it being a lot nicer looking.  Flanking either side of the desk are the kid type crafting supplies, these used to hold baskets and baskets of cloth, but those are now in the closet in this room, and the baskets now have crafting supplies categorized by type and various curriculum stuff.
On top, are the excess recycling stuff that won’t fit in that basket.  A Disney Polly Pocket Beauty and the Beast castle that I bring down on special occasions to play with, various family pictures, and a Jo Madame Alexander doll.  There’s still a bit of clutter, but I’m slowly whittling through that while the kids work on stuff they don’t need my help with.

This is the final part of the school area in this room, I’m not showing the sewing area yet, it’s still in progress, of course so is this book case.

This is the easel where we do spelling or any copywork.  It’s a dry erase board on this side, and that seems to be working really well for us.  This bookshelf has some of the textbooks and the like, miscellaneous teaching books and is slowly being organized with MY crafting supplies, no touching kids!  The stuff on the floor is stuff I’m working through.  I’m still figuring out what I want to do with all of my teacher papers, you know all of those worksheets and the like.  They’re probably going to go out into the garage in the filing cabinets out there.  I just need to remember to check those cabinets from time to time as my kids are able to do those pages, since I taught 1st/2nd they’re slowly advancing through all of the stuff I have stored up.

Well that’s my school room, if you’ve come over from Heart of the Matter welcome!
Not Back to School Blog Hop A-Wise-Woman-Builds-Her-Home

Organizing All of your newfound craft stuff

I am not really going to claim I am super organized, but I am going to show you what somewhat works for us, that you probably have, or can get fairly easily.

This is a small bookcase from IKEA.  On it I have most of the kid’s craft stuff.  As you can see organization is still in progress.
In the pencil boxes I have stickers, markers, crayons, scissors, more stickers, more crayons and markers, some glue, small animals for learning games, stamps, and whatever small items fit in there.
In the shoe boxes are wooden supplies: clothespins, popsicle sticks, matchsticks, clothespin doll stands, dowel rods.  In the other shoe boxes are yarn.008
On the side you can also see a box that has our paints.  The top shelf has some workbooks, beads organized by shapes, a small box full of cards the kids can “write.”

This shelf is mostly my stuff, but it now houses googly eyes, sequins, beads, buttons, and ribbons.  By the way, I am always on the lookout for more baby food jars.

This is in the same closet as the bookshelf above.  I bought a bunch of the hanging rods from IKEA.  In the baskets are all the bottles of glue I bought at the Back to School sales that will last us through this year.  I kid you not, we probably go through at least 20 bottles in our house a year.  Come to think of it I could probably put the paint bottles in this as well….. 
The hooks you can barely see underneath hold pencil bags on them of small stuff that fits really well in there.  I’ve put together a craft kit on the go for each of the kids that has a glue stick and scissors in it.  They usually will use this to complete animal booklets or other things like that I’ve made for them.

This is where the supplies the kids have free access to are.  Here, I’ve got their coloring books some markers and crayons.  Occasionally there are scissors or glue sticks in there, but they’re not supposed to be.  Also in there are my dust pan and a plastic tea set for Princess.

Here’s my general rules for crafting:
1.  Make sure you have enough time to complete the craft.
2.  Figure out what works for you.  I’ve figured out multi-step crafts that have to take time between steps don’t really work here.  I usually forget to go back and complete them.
3.    Don’t forget to leave clean up time, I all too often forget to do this.
4.  Let your kids have fun, don’t worry about the product.  It’s about the process.  Enjoy it.

Great craft supplies to buy

So, I tried writing this post on my lap top while Princess was taking a bath, but I kept having to stop and feed the dolphins, and throw toys for the dolphin to catch, so……….

I’m posting this on Monday night so it should come out right about when I’m talking to our MOPS group from our church.  I’m telling them all about the wonderful crafts you can do with your kids and all sorts of other stuff.  I wanted an easy to find thing for them to be able to read:
Back to School sale:
24 pack Crayola crayons- they’re about $.25
10 pack of Crayola markers- about $.88
Elmer’s Glue- $.22
Elmer’s Gluesticks- $.22 for a 2 pack
Fiskars scissors- about a dollar (buy a lot of these I swear something eats our scissors)
Pencil sharpeners
construction paper
spiral notebooks
notebook paper
pencil boxes (the cheap kind that you get at Wal-Mart for 3 for a dollar, you’re going to need a place to store the stuff)

I’d actually suggest getting several of the above items while they’re at a great price.  I usually make it a goal for that month or so to spend about $5-10 each time I go grocery shopping on school supplies.  That way I can get a lot, but not break my budget by buying it all at once.  Notice, this is most of the stuff your elementary age kid has on their supply list.  I’ve had the best luck with Crayola and Fiskars, so that’s why I put those particular names.  Rose Art has come up in quality a lot recently, so there’s probably not the problem there used to be.

You could get the Crayola or Rose Art watercolor paint, but I’ve noticed the colors tend to be muddy, so I haven’t found a good watercolor yet.
003random picture, because I like to have pictures in my posts.

Things to buy at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby or whatever craft store you go to:
paint- I like Crayola best, but they’re only sold in sets of 3, and I always run out of one of the three colors, so I’ve tried the ones at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s but the red just isn’t as good, it seems more pink to me.
specialty craft scissors- they can often be found at Michaels in the dollar aisle
stamps and stamp pads- these are never ending, so just choose ones you think you’ll use, I buy them on clearance often.
popsicle sticks- or other small wooden things
fun foam
felt- you can get 4 sheets of these for a dollar, and there are so many things to do with this
pipe cleaners- I have to hide these or Batman will create this:
I try to buy these when they’re on sale.  I get the fliers from most of the craft stores in the area and just go to whichever one has the sale.

Trash to Treasure items:
containers of all sorts and sizes- butter, oatmeal, cereal boxes, milk cartons, you name it
plastic lids
lids from juice cans
if you’re feeling adventurous chip bags, or the like
egg cartons (NEVER throw these out, unless you go through a lot of eggs)
shoe boxes (save every single one you can get a hold of, especially if you have an elementary ages kid, because there are so many school projects that use these)

Things from the grocery store:

Okay, that’s all I’m thinking of right now.  I’ll probably come back later on and add to this. 
And, here’s a couple of other posts I wrote before on this topic:
Crafts We Love
Great Art Supplies and What You Use Them For
I’m also slowly going through and categorizing my crafts by what materials I used in them, so here’s a few categories:
Bible Crafts
Crayons (that all impressive 1, I suppose all that coloring…..)
Fun Foam (there will be more than one as I finish going through)
kid crafts
scissors and glue

And the best way I’ve found to organize all the ideas you find online is Evernote.  The key to is to tag whatever you’re looking at as soon as you clip it to Evernote because then you’ll be able to find it.  There’s also an Iphone app that I use when I’m out and about and see an idea (usually when sitting in waiting rooms and I take a picture and store it away for later).

Crafts featured tonight to follow after this post, as well as a fairly extensive list of great places to find kid crafts.