Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Super Easy Gift to Make.

Along with all the knitting I did leading up to the holidays, I also made a few other things, of the non-yarn variety. One super easy project that comes out looking great is a nameplate for a kid's door. 

1. Pick up a of wooden plaque from your favourite craft store. Make sure that it's big enough for the child's name in a readable font. Lightly sand the plaque so that you don't have any little bumps or slivers (I skipped this step, and wish I hadn't). Paint the plaque whatever colour you'd like to use as a background. Let it dry, and maybe do a second coat.

I left the middle of the black one blank because I was planning on using a light colour for the name and didn't want to have to paint it again and again. Upon reflection, that might have been easier, as I had to go in with a tiny brush with the background colour after the name was dry. But I enjoy that kind of detail work - if you don't, just paint the whole thing and be prepared to go over the letters a few times.

2. Find a font that you like, that will be easily readable, and fit nicely in the middle of the board. Print it out, and make sure that it fits the way you want it. (You could also pick up some stickers or stencils while you're at the craft store if you want.) You could also go the freehand route. These are going to be hanging in the same hallway, I wanted some uniformity.

3. Cut out your stencils. Since this is just printer paper, I put strips of packing tape on both sides of the paper before I started cutting to reinforce the stencil. Make sure to leave some of the original stencil intact to stabilise any wobbly bits, and make sure that the centers of the letters stay in place. *Make sure that you start out with a sharp blade in your craft knife!

Those little black bits are what I'm talking about.
4. Time to paint the names! If you want the name centered, make sure to find the center of the stencil, and the center of the plaque and align them before you begin. If you've got some stencil spray adhesive handy, you could use that... I just held it down and hoped for the best.

5. You're going to want to leave this to dry for a while. So this is a great time to think about how you want to decorate these things. I already had an idea in mind for both, but there are also great inspirational images all over the internet.

The best thing about making your own is that you can decorate them any way you want. I did most of mine free hand, but it's also a great idea to draw out your design on a piece of paper so that you can check positioning. I wasn't sure about monkey placement, so I drew a couple and moved them around until I was happy with their positioning before painting. (Again, if you're more comfortable, you can get stencils and stickers from the craft store.) Fiddle around with placement until you're happy, then draw your design lightly onto the plaque with a pencil. Then paint away! 

6. Once your designs are final and completely dry, make sure to put on  a couple of coats of a sealant over the whole plaque.

Et Voila! A lovely, handmade gift that looks like it was way harder to do than it was!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Night Terrors... and a Netflix Giveaway.

As you probably know, we're expecting a baby over here. Any time now really... if the baby feels like being convenient enough to actually be born on his/her due date, I'll be up to my eyeballs in diapers and onsies in 24 days.

I'm not a first time mum, I've obviously done this before, but for some reason, I'm kind of terrified this time around. I forget everything. Well, almost everything.

I distinctly remember how hard it was having a baby and a toddler at the same time. I was up all day with Beege, and all night with Kee. I had been entirely spoiled by what a great sleeper Beege was. Kee was a cheerful, charming baby... we just couldn't seem to work out the all important sleep thing.

I wasn't expecting a baby who would scream from 9:00 to 2:00 every night. She wouldn't/couldn't sleep anywhere but tucked up against my chest, so even when we did manage to sleep at the same time, I wasn't fully asleep and it barely took the edge off my exhaustion. I felt physically terrible, I wasn't getting any sleep at all, and it was making me crazy. Nursing in the middle of the night became a bit frightening because I actually started hallucinating -- mostly big black bug-like things swarming up my walls -- but I found that I could distract myself by running an episode of Gilmore Girls on my little travel DVD player. I got through all 7 seasons while holding her through the night so she could sleep.

I have high hopes that this time around things will be different. The older girls are old enough to help out a bit (or at least let me nap if I need to). If the baby is up all night, I will have the opportunity to sleep during the day while the older kids are at school -- and believe me, I will take it.

But when I do find myself up in the middle of the night, I will definitely be binge (re)watching some of my favourite shows on Netflix. Anything to recommend? I'm looking for comedies, I think... nothing with gore or big black bug-like things.

Care to binge watch with me?

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win 6 months of free streaming from Netflix! If you're new to Netflix, this is a great time to try it out, with old favourites and new being added all the time. If you're a long time subscriber like me, don't worry it's applicable to your current account - you can enter too! There will be 2 winners, selected by random draw and contacted by email. The winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is drawn. Contest closes January 22, 2016. This contest is only open to Canadians 18+. 

Good luck!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway