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free

DIY Crafts, DIY Kids Activities

50 Free & Frugal Summer Activities for Kids

It’s summer time! I absolutely adore the summer. It’s relatively short here in Alberta, so we always need to seize each day and spend as much time doing summery activities together as possible before the cold weather hits us again.

I like to be thrifty, but I still like to have fun with my girls. We always seem to find lots of things to do in the summer that are either free or almost free. Here’s my list of 50 fun summer activities to do with young kids that will hardly cost you anything!Continue reading

DIY Crafts, DIY Kids Activities, DIY Parties & Holidays, Free Printables

9 Favourite Free Valentine Printables

With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, I wanted to share with all of you my very favourite free Valentine’s printables.

There are so many cute & lovely free Valentine’s Day card and treat designs on the web that I found it hard to choose only 9 that I liked the best!  The ones that I love are very creative, adorable, and I’m sure Little C will have a blast picking one out and putting it together with me for her little buddies.

9 Favourite Free Valentine Printables by The DIY Mommy

  1. Printable Kid’s Valentines by Elinee
  2. Free Valentine Lollipop Printable by Uncommon Designs
  3. Printable School Valentine by I Heart Naptime
  4. Love Bug Valentines by Dandee
  5. Sip Sip Hooray It’s Valentine’s Day Straw Tags by Plucky MoMo
  6. Glow Stick Valentines by Kommunicated
  7. Crayon Heart Valentines by Whipperberry
  8. Butterfly Valentine by Skip To My Lou
  9. Ladybug Valentine by Skip To My Lou

(And don’t forget about my Cupcake & Bird Valentine’s Day printables!)

Need some more Valentine’s Day inspiration for next week? Check out my Valentine board on Pinterest.

Which one is your favourite?

DIY Crafts, DIY Home Decor, DIY Kids Activities, DIY Sewing

9 Favourite Back-To-School DIY Tutorials

by Christina Dennis

Well, August is just around the corner… then September… then back-to-school! I’ve rounded up 9 of my most favourite back-to-school DIY free tutorials on the web to start working on this month:

9 Favourite Back-to-School Tutorials by The DIY Mommy

  1. KID PANTS: The Basic Pant from by made What a great, free basic pant tutorial! Imagine these on your little guy or girl in a autumn-inspired plaid or houndstooth?
  2. Back To School Homework Caddy Tutorial by Sandy Toes & Popsicles This handy, bright DIY caddy would be perfect on a homework desk to store pencils and other school supplies.
  3. Vera Wang Inspired Tulle Trim Cardigan by Distractions How cute is this upcycled cardigan? The tulle and hearts are sweet for girls, or forget the tulle and add simple circle patches in faux leather for boys!
  4. Lunch Bag by The Long Thread A reusable lunch bag is the perfect back-to-school DIY project. There are so many sweet oil cloth fabrics available to make this in!
  5. Sail Away School Dress by At Second Street This adorable nautical-inspired two-piece dress would make a little girl so happy to wear back to school.
  6. DIY Nap Mat / Bedroll by Prudent Baby This is such a fantastic idea – an all-in-one pillow and mat for nap time at pre-school!
  7. Back to School Art Smock Tutorial by Sew Mama, Sew! What a cute and practical DIY tutorial for school – a washable art smock that’s perfect for any art project.
  8. Owl Tag Along Toddler Backpack by Cut to Pieces This adorable and thorough backpack tutorial is so sweet with the little owl details!
  9. Magnetic Back To School Magnetic Memo Chalkboard Tutorial with Bunting by The Gunny Sack A memo board like this would be handy by a front door or mudroom. I love the bunting detail!

Have fun with back-to-school DIY’s this year! (Have I missed any fabulous free back-to-school tutorials for kids? Please link to them in the comments below.)

Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.

DIY Business & Blogging, DIY Crafts

Make DIY Photo Backdrops with Fabric or Paper

by Christina Dennis

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

I love taking photos of my two girls! They’re just so darn cute and I want to capture every stage of their little lives with images that I can treasure forever. While I like to take photos with natural backgrounds (like the beautiful outdoors), I also like to experiment with creating interesting backdrops with easy and inexpensive materials that I have in my crafty arsenal. My favourite materials to use as backdrops are simple fabrics and white banner paper – both of which also work really well ask backdrops for product photography if you’re a DIY mommy that sells her creations!

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

For a simple white backdrop for photos, I use banner paper. It comes in very long rolls and you can buy it at most stationery or office supply stores. My favourite setting to take photos in is outside at the middle of the day when it’s cloudy (it’s daylight, but the sun can’t cause shadows). I roll out a long piece of banner paper, and tape it up to the side of my house with packing tape as high as I need it to be. Then, I let it roll gently onto the ground at least 5 feet and secure the bottom with whatever heavy things I can find. In this case, stumps! I then set my subject (here, it’s a bag for my Golly Gee! Baby line) on the paper, about 6″ from the side of the house and I shoot away. I always take many, many pictures so that I have lots to choose from when I’m editing them.

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

If I’m looking for a photo backdrop with a little more pizazz, I use some brightly coloured fabric! Here, I’ve used a bolt of quilter’s cotton in a lovely aqua shade with small polka dots. The dots are cute, but they’re not busy enough to distract from my subjects which are my dear girls for this picture!

And, as the photo above shows you all, here’s my secret to crafting with two children in the house: RARELY CLEAN YOUR HOME. *wink*

Here, I’ve placed the end of the fabric on top of my (messy) kitchen island (iron out the fabric first if it’s wrinkly or has a crease down the middle) and secured it with heavy objects. Let the fabric drape down to the floor, and continue it a few feet on the floor in front of your island, counter, table, desk or whatever high object works! Place your subjects a few inches from the back of the fabric and snap away!

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

In both cases, I open up my favourite shots in Photoshop and edit them a little. First, I’ll crop the image so that I take out any secret things I don’t want in it (like tree stumps or messy kitchens). If there’s only one other edit I do, it’s open up the “curves” window and lighten the image (as shown above). Sometimes I’ll adjust the colour balance and other things, but my Photoshopping skills are minimal so I usually keep it pretty simple.

Here’s the finished product using a fabric backdrop and my darling girls (I took at least 50 shots, cropped the photo and lightened it):

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

And here is one using banner paper outside with one of my products (I cropped the photo, lightened the background, and then ended up erasing the background completely using the eraser tool):

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

While they’re no substitute for professional photos, DIY photos of children and DIY products are so much fun to experiment with! Try playing with paper and fabric next time you take some photos and see what you can come up with that’s interesting and unique.

Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.

DIY Sewing

Sew an Upcycled Baby Headband

by Christina Dennis

Upcycled Baby Headband

My 3-year-old daughter loves her little craft scissors, and the other day when I turned my head for two seconds she cut several neat little slits in a pair of her cute leggings! After giving her a lesson on what NOT to cut, I decided to upcycle the leggings into a cute little headband for her baby sister (and bonus – it fits her too)! Here’s how I did it:

Supplies:

  • old leggings or a tshirt with 4-way-stretch (you can stretch both ways; it has spandex or lycra in it)
  • sewing machine

Instructions:

You will need a piece of knit fabric approximately 4″ wide and at least 16″ long for the main part of the headband. In the case of these leggings, I cut the part below the waistband and above the legs to be the main headband piece.

 

Measure the circumference of your child’s head and cut the length of your main piece to the same measurement (once the 1/2″ seam allowances are subtracted, the headband will fit snugly on the head).

If you’re making a headband as a gift, use the head circumference measurements below as a reference:

Newborn: 14″
6 months: 17″
12 months: 19″
2-3 years: 20″

The circumference of my headband was about 18″ and it happened to fit both my 3 month old and 3 year old daughter!

Fold the piece in half and stitch right sides together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. (In the case of this headband, there were two seams inside from the original leggings – I cover one later with the flower embellishment.)

Turn the piece right-side-out. Then fold the raw end of one side to the inside about 1/2″. Insert the other raw edge inside the folded edge and stitch together to secure.

To make the flower embellishment, you will need to find a piece of fabric on your garment that is approximately 2″ wide and 10″ long (the longer the strip, the larger the flower). I found this piece on the “good leg” of my leggings. Using a long stitch on your machine, make a basting stitch approximately 1/4″ from one side of the piece going lengthwise. Don’t back-stitch. Pull on of the threads after stitching to created a gathered piece.

Find a spot on the main headband piece that you want to affix the flower to (on mine, I put it over one of the seams on the side) and pin the gathered piece to the headband in a spiral shape. Machine sew the flower in a spiral onto the headband (sew over your original gathering stitch). All done – a simple, upcycled headband for your baby girl!

Upcycled Headband

Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.

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