DIY Watercolor Art

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorDuring the summer my son came home from camp with a simple scribbled drawing in crayon that was covered with watercolor paint. I adored it and it gave me some great inspiration for this easy DIY project. I always have a hard time finding art for my home. I’m well past the point in my life where I’m hanging movie posters on the wall but still can’t really afford a one of kind piece of art from a gallery. So, what’s a girl to do? Make her own art of course. And, it’s so simple that you should do it as well. Here’s how to do it.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorI decided to keep my design simple and graphic so it was easy to sketch out on a piece of graph paper.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorOnce I finalized my design, I went over with with a dark black pen so it would be easy to trace onto the watercolor paper.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorNo light table? No problem. I just taped my graph paper to a glass door (or window would work) and placed the watercolor paper over it. Instant light table! I also used masking tape to tape a border for my painting. This isn’t necessary but helps create nice clean lines if you want them.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorOnce I had the watercolor paper all taped up, I used a white crayon to trace over the design. Please do not use a washable crayon if you are using watercolors as the crayon will wash away as you start to add the color. You want a nice waxy crayon to repel the water.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorIt’s a bit hard to see but you can see the white crayon lines on the paper.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorYou don’t need fancy supplies to make art! I’m using the kid’s watercolor palate from IKEA along with their paintbrushes.

A Feteful Life: DIY Watercolor

A Feteful Life: DIY Watercolor

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorNow, just start painting… whatever colors your little heart desires. I usually do a wash of my base color first and then add some little variations of colors once that base is down.

A Feteful Life: DIY WatercolorOnce the paint has dried remove the masking tape boarders and then trim the paper down to whatever size you want. Voila. Easy DIY art that anyone can do. Fete on!

Back to School! Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

Woohoo! It’s back to school for my kiddos today! We were actually all so excited about it that I thought it’d be fun to have a low-key “back to school breakfast” for my loves. And it forced me to finally “interview” both of my kids, which I’ve really been wanting to do, so I’m going to pretend it was my plan all along to do a back to school interview. It’s all up over at Honest to Nod today — check it out!

Want to hear your own kids say sweet and funny stuff? Just click right here to download our free Back to School Interview printable!

And thanks to The Land of Nod for gifting us the Meri Meri Toot Sweet Collection items and the growth chart!

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

A Feteful Life: Back to School Breakfast

DIY Kids Party Favors

I know some people are anti kids party favors, but I have to say that I am firmly in favor of them. I think it is important for my kids to understand that having friends attend a party, whether or not a present is involved, is something they should be thankful for and show their appreciation. And I feel like they get that and truly want to show their thanks to friends and family for helping us celebrate. That said, I always try to have my kids help me make party favors for their party and generally provide something either consumable, educational, and/or not just more plastic toys. I happened to LOVE the DIY rock candy party favor we had at our science club last month, which got me thinking about what favors I might get together for upcoming kids parties. Here are some of my favorites!

A Feteful Life: DIY KId Party Favors

1 / What kiddo doesn’t love making art? Lovely Design put together these adorable collage packets to send a little art project home with each child. Perfect for post-party-sugar-rush winding down at home.

2 / I’ve wanted to make story stones for my kids for some time now and I think a little muslin bag with a few stones would be the perfect thing to help keep a kiddo occupied on the ride home.

3 / OK, so this one is candy, which I try not to do since I’ve inevitably just filled up kiddos on sweets at the party. BUT sending this bubblegum necklace home in a little kit for each child would be a great consumable activity.

4 / It looks like tasty salt water taffy, but this one is ingeniously disguised sidewalk chalk. What a perfect favor for a summertime party!

5 / Another win for Lovely Design with these personalized pennant flags. I like to try make party decorations last by using them in my childrens’ rooms. I love that Lovely Design took this concept to favors and I can imagine all the littles so excited to find their own initialed flag.

Kids Science Club

A Feteful Life: Kids Science Club

In case you missed it, we shared our fabulous Kids Book Club last week over at The Land of Nod’s blog, Honest to Nod. We all had such a blast at Book Club that when The Land of Nod asked what else we were cooking up for our kiddos this summer, we knew instantly that we had to expand our club idea to a Kids Science Club. And, fortunately for us, The Land of Nod has the most perfect party supplies available for our meetings. We got together for a few fun experiments, some sweet snacks, and lots and lots of fun. And we’re sharing it all over at Honest to Nod today.

We love our club so much that we think you should have one too! And to help you out, we’re offering a few free printables that coordinate well with the Meri Meri Fundamental Party Collection that we used — links to the downloads are below! The supplies are so, so cute, that we couldn’t help but think how super easy it would be to turn our little science club into a birthday party. So we went ahead and designed a printable invitation and party pack (including the straw flags, 2″ party circles, and milk wraps you can see at our club) all easily customized for your little scientist with a big day coming up. Take a look and gather those summer loves for some science fun!

Fete on!

Free Printable Links:
Science Club Labels — can be used as place cards, food labels, experiment labels … the options are endless.

DIY Rock Candy Favor Tags — see how we used these to put together a little tasty take home experiment! these are sized to fit 6-ounce mason jars, but you can adjust the size when printing to fit your own needs.

A Feteful Life: Kids Science Club

A Feteful Life: Kids Science Club

A Feteful Life: Kids Science Club

What’s In My: Road Trip Bag

I have a confession to make… I don’t like road trips. In theory I love the idea of hitting the road and taking in all the amazing sights that our country has to offer. But in reality, I find it really boring and often very stressful trying to entertain two kiddos who are also bored. But, alas, we are headed on a family road trip soon so I need to figure out a way to maintain my sanity while trying to enjoy the start of my vacation. I’m already starting to plan what to pack in my road trip bag to keep things fun and entertaining…

A Feteful Life: What's in my Road Trip Bag

1. JanSport off trail backpack – When it comes to traveling (especially with kids) backpacks are my bag of choice. You can pack it full of stuff and still easily carry it while keeping your hands free.

2. Along the Way App – This handy app does exactly what its name implies – just type in your route and it will show you places to eat, grab coffee, shop, and even sightsee as you go.

3. Audio books from the library – Last time my husband and I went on a road trip we got an audio book to listen to and it was a game changer for me. It made the 7 hour drive fly by and I was even a bit sad when we got to our destination because I wanted to continue listening. Since our kids will be on the trip with us (and since my older son is now obsessed with Harry Potter) we’ll probably listen to something kid friendly like Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets but if it were just me, I’d be listening to Goldfinch which is on the top of my “to-read” list. While audio books tend to be more expensive than the paper or kindle versions, be sure to check if your local library has free ones for you to download!

4. Ray-Ban Aviators – I have the most sensitive eyes to light and I cannot drive without sunglasses. I think aviators are the perfect shades because their frames are light and airy but still give you a lot of coverage. Plus, you can’t go wrong with a classic.

5. Trader Joes Grand Slam Popcorn – This stuff is addictive! It’s sweet, salty and amazing. I love it, the kids love it, and it won’t last in our car for very long.

6. National Geographic Kid’s Atlas – If the kids loose interest in Harry Potter, I’m packing lots of little activities for them to do in the car. Both of the kids are obsessed with maps (just like me) and I think they will absolutely love this kid’s atlas, which includes maps, games, funny facts and silly attractions.

Kids Book Club

 

A Feteful Life: Kids Book Club

I love how excited my kids get over simple celebrations of the things they love. It really doesn’t take much to make them happy, and one of the things they love most is reading. So I thought it would be really fun (and educational) to get a kids book club together over the summer. Suzanne was on board immediately and we invited some other friends to join, too. We had our first book club meeting last month, with a little party too of course, and had a total blast. Head on over to The Land of Nod’s Honest to Nod to read all about it!

One Kings Lane “Reflect Your Style” Challenge

I’ve mentioned a few times in past posts how my daughter has really started to outgrow her current room (in restyled vintage dressers and sputnik chandeliers), but I’ve honestly had the hardest time deciding in which direction to go. To begin with, she’s really, really girly. But not little girl girly. She likes grown-up girly things. And while she still loves pink (the main color in her current room), she’s also holding strong to purple. So I was SUPER excited when One Kings Lane asked us to participate in their “Reflect Your Style” challenge by designing a vanity around one of their fabulous mirrors AND one of the mirrors they asked us to look at was this statement Baroque purple lacquer mirror — it’s so Cam. And it got me rethinking her room a bit. I really like the idea of picking some more grown-up pieces that she can use throughout the years and there are so many good things to pick from at One Kings Lane. Plus, we all know how much I love to virtual shop. Here’s what I came up with:

A Feteful Life: One Kings Lane Reflect Your Style

1. The Sardis Baroque Oversized Mirror is a great statement piece and I love that it’s purple, but grown-up purple. Almost an aubergine.

2. I’d continue the glam with the Jenni Mirrored Console Table, which could also really be used as a desk as Cam gets older. And I like that the mirrored finish would help make her room look a bit bigger as well.

3. I’m obviously a bigger fan of modern design than my daughter, so I like that the Vision Transparent Chair gives a nod to that with its sleek acrylic, but still fits well with the mirror and table. And even though it’s a decent size, because it is transparent, it will look like it takes up less room. Pretty sure I’d have to add a little pillow on there right now for her to sit, though.

4. This Burbank rug also adds a dose of modern (and really, really reminds me of Jonathan Adler).

 5. When Cam was basically just a baby, she swallowed a teensy, tiny purple pebble from a fair. Nobody else believed that she did, but they sure did a few days later when it came out. These purple geodes are a whole lot classier, but would remind us of her early love of the color.

6. Cameron already has this gold Threshold Jewelry Box from Target, which has a similar silhouette to the console table and is a necessity for holding her growing collection.

7. Much to her dismay, I won’t let Cam wear makeup (except the occasional glitter and lip gloss), but she is obsessed with Drybar’s Gold Mine Shimmering Leave-in Conditioner. I brush it into her hair after bath at night and it’s still glimmering in the morning.

8. When Missoni launched its limited edition line for Target three years ago, I hit it hard and bought in bulk several years worth of sizes for Cam. I also picked up several of these pink and purple frames and she now has family pictures in them. They have to stay!

Girly girl not your style? Check out all the other great mirrors One Kings Lane has to offer — there is really something for everybody!

DIY Summer Lip Balm

A Feteful Life: DIY Lip Balm + SPF

As I mentioned in my “What’s in My Beach Bag” post, I’m kind of obsessed with SPF lip balm. Have you ever burned your lips? Not good, friend. Not good. Add to that the fact that my daughter is also lip balm/gloss obsessed and hoards them, I realized I’d been spending a pretty penny on lip coverage recently. So I decided to test out some DIY options that we’d both like and keep our lips safe this season. It was so insanely easy that I almost cannot believe I’ve been buying it for so long (and in such high numbers in every cute container imaginable for my daughter). This is a softer version than others I use, but I wanted it to be kid friendly (somewhat illogically, the more solid lip balms are the ones my kiddos always dig out with their nails and totally ruin. this softer version is probably not good for very little littles, though, since it could easily get messy).

You can find almost all the ingredients in a health food store or, if you live close to me, just give me a shout — I bought in bulk and each batch only uses a little bit of each ingredient. I mean, even I could never make and use all this lip balm. I used unsweetened drink mixes to add a little color and flavor, but you can leave it out if you don’t like the idea of it. Mwah!

DIY Summer Lip Balm (A Feteful Life)
(makes 3, 1/4 ounce containers)

Ingredients

– 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
– 1 tbsp shea butter
– 1/4 tbsp beeswax chips (you can add up to 1/2 tbsp if you want a more solid lip balm)
– 1/2 tsp raw honey
– 1/4 tsp titanium dioxide (adds SPF)
– 0.2 ounces powdered, flavored drink mix (you can use generic or Koolaid — this is about 1/2 of a single drink mix packet)
– tin or other container (I bought these cute sliding tins from Etsy, but you can use just about anything you want, including re-using old lip balm containers)

Directions

Add ingredients from coconut oil through titanium dioxide to a microwaveable container. Microwave for 20 seconds and then stir well. Return to microwave and heat for 40 seconds more. Be careful when removing it — it’ll be hot!

Once you’ve melted the ingredients, add the powdered drink mix and stir well. The color intensity and ease of mixing varied greatly within the flavors I tried. I made balms using cherry lemonade, grape, and lemon mixes — the cherry lemonade mixed in the best, but turned out purple.

Pour carefully or use a plastic pipette to fill each tin carefully with the hot mixture. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Slather, blend, repeat.

A Feteful Life: DIY Lip Balm + SPF

A Feteful Life: DIY Lip Balm + SPF

A Feteful Life: DIY Lip Balm + SPF

A Feteful Life: DIY Lip Balm + SPF

A Feteful Life: DIY Lip Balm + SPF

5 Tips for a Fabulous Kiddo Party

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

Yes, I’m that mom. I’m that mom who loves to throw elaborate (in the sense of matching decor and food, not live pony rides — but I wouldn’t count that out) birthday parties for her children. So, here’s the thing. It’s pretty obvious that I just like to party generally. And I always view my children’s birthday parties as a celebration for them AND us — I mean, we kept it together for another year! Yay us! Plus, it is always incredibly touching and special to see friends and family come together from all over the country (literally) to celebrate our children. And we love hosting them at our house!

Now that I’ve thrown almost 10 of these parties for my own children (plus several others for friends kiddos), I’ve got it down to a science. I know how to make simple things look great, style simple recipes beautifully, and use simple crafts to keep kids entertained so their parents can have a cocktail or two. Always simple, never plain — right!? And I’m sharing my best tips with you today, along with photos from our latest shindig.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

1. Get your kids involved — it’s their party! The involvement of your love bugs can vary widely depending on age and personality, but it makes for so much more fun. I always try involve my kids in a few ways:

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

2. Find an age-appropriate, easy craft or activity — I love to do complicated projects with my own children, but trying to do them with a large group of sugared-up three-year-olds just isn’t going to happen. I usually purchase easy, inexpensive crafts (frequently from Oriental Trading Co.) and then repackage or style them to look nicer — check out the cute seahorses we made at my daughter’s 3rd birthday or the tattoo parlor my son helped me make for his 5th birthday party.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

3. Keep the food simple — to keep your sanity, make easy things and outsource anything complicated (or ditch the complicated all together). For example, I’m not a baker. I’m just not. I’ve learned through many a cake pop disaster, to ask for help from my very talented baking friends for the cake — this edible gold gilded ombre number really, well, took the cake, at my daughter’s last party. Whatever I’m cooking myself, I do as much prep as I can before the actual day. And I try to take super simple things, like the microwavable pancakes above, and style them to look more festive.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

4. Go for minimal effort decor that has maximum effect — to be fair, this sounds easier than it is. And it’s taken me some trial and error to find out which things work best in my home. I like to do a mix of DIY and doctored store-bought decor and I’ve learned (despite the ruffled streamer debacle of 2013), that crepe paper is my new best friend. It’s versatile, inexpensive, and easy to hang. Get some and get creative. Suz and I put up this enormous tasseled wall in about an hour — hands down the easiest statement focal wall I’ve ever done.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

5. Make a darn good cocktail for the parents and make sure it’s clearly labeled! — what can we say? We enjoy a good cocktail and my husband and I love coming up with a cleverly-named, theme appropriate drink for the adults. I liked our recent batch of “Potent Piggy Punch,” but the “Blue Lagoon Punch” for her mermaid 3rd birthday party was also a big hit. Just make sure it’s clear that it is for adults only!

*bonus tip — be realistic about your home and your expectations of party damage. if you have white furniture and don’t let your kids drink juice outside the kitchen, a large in-home birthday party for toddlers might not be a great idea. if you can deal with some party wear and tear, think about which things might better weather the festivities out of sight and reach of tiny hands (art, special toys of your children, furniture, pets, etc.). everyone will be happier, trust me.

Japanese Children’s Day with CultureBaby

When I think of May, I immediately think of Cinco de Mayo. Little did we know, there’s another fantastic international holiday on the very same day: Japanese Children’s Day. And we have locally-run CultureBaby to thank for telling us about it! CultureBaby is a fantastic online children’s boutique specializing in international clothes, toys and accessories for babies and children. We first met founder Natalia Rankine-Galloway at Union Market’s Thread, where we oohed and aahed over their gorgeous children’s products, which celebrate global diversity while maintaining a modern design aesthetic. I really, really wanted a gold kiddo-sized Moroccan Pouf for my daughter, but I was totally taken in by this great tunic (I bought a dark blue and gold one) and picked it up for her 4th birthday present (she was totally taken by it too, btw).

I love that CultureBaby seeks out artisan-designed products from around the world that are also safe, non-toxic, and are made sustainably, ethically and under fair-trade conditions. And if that’s not enough, we obviously love and identify with a company  co-partnered by two smart ladies. I’ve continued to surf CultureBaby’s beautiful online shop, so I was really excited when Natalia asked if we’d be interested in sharing with you some of their wonderful products in celebration of Japanese Children’s Day. You all well know that we need no excuse to party, but these wonderful CultureBaby items certainly provide one. And since I LOVE fake shopping (you know, where I get to pretend shop what I’d buy for myself, but not actually buy it. what? are you saying that’s not a thing!?!), I’ve done you a solid and pulled together what I think would make a fabulous celebration — Happy Children’s Day!

UPDATED: Add to your celebration with this free adorable Kokeshi Doll party printable banner from CultureBaby! Just Click Right Here!

A Feteful Life: Culture Baby

1.  Koolmomo’s Kimono dresses look so comfy and party perfect! / 2. Make sure your toddlers party responsibly with this eco-friendly Confetti Push Pop! / 3. This Japanese designed chalk and wood cityscape is insanely adorable. In addition to this standard set, you can also chose from London or Paris. Love, love, love. / 4. This Koinobori is used principally to celebrate Children’s Day! Use it for the celebration and then hang it in your kiddo’s room. / 5. Monkey track flip flops!?! I wish these came in adult sizes. Really. / 6. French designer Madame Mo’s Yoko dolls are simply fabulous and Cam is quite happy Natalia shared one with us! / 7. Stylish jammies? We are in. / 8. Uncle Goose’s Kokeshi Doll Blocks are super cute and perfectly sized for the littles.

Disclosure: Natalia Rankine-Galloway gifted a Madame Mo Yoko doll and a Koi Fish Wall Hanging to AFL. No other compensation was provided and all opinions herein are our own.