DIY Friendship Bracelet Valentines (with Free Printable)

friendship bracelet valentines Let’s make friendship bracelet valentines! My daughter Maude is a maker. Last year, she made origami hearts filled with treats for her classmates. This year, she is way into friendship bracelets, so she decided to make enough to give as valentines to her whole class. friendship bracelet valentines It took her about 3 hours total. An evening, a morning and an afternoon work session. She used an especially simple pattern so she could work quickly. Also, she kept a specific classmate in mind as she picked the colors for each bracelet — so, for a boy who’s a big Yankee fan, Maude would choose white and blue. They turned out wonderfully and Maude felt great about them. friendship bracelet valentines I was wishing I had a copywriter at my side while we came up with Valentine messages. Mostly we used the words “friend” and “knot.” We printed the messages on cardstock, trimmed them out, punched two holes and threaded the bracelets through, ready to be tied on to wrists and ankles. Here’s a pdf of the 6 friendship bracelet messages if you’d like to download and print them. Not sure how to make a friendship bracelet? Here’s friendship bracelet tutorial from Maude. P.S. — DIY MadLib Valentines.

DIY: Valentine Bookmarks for Classmates

DIY Valentine Bookmarks For classmates valentines this year, Olive made DIY Valentine Bookmarks. DIY Valentine Bookmarks First, we cut some heavy cardstock (green/blue and red) to 2.25″ x 6″ strips. That’s a good, comfortable bookmark size, with plenty of space for decoration. On the back, Olive wrote a to/from note. Then she went to work glueing, glittering and stickering the fronts. On some she made a decorative border with an edger hole punch. DIY Valentine Bookmarks Velvet ribbons were attached when the glue was dry. Since our stickers were little word bubbles, on some of the bookmarks, we used the glue to make faces so that they could speak the little Valentine’s messages. So cute! DIY Valentine bookmarks are sweet and personalized. They make a really good no-candy option, while encouraging reading at the same time.

Favorite Things: Post It Calendar

I love a pretty calendar in my office, but for the last 7 years or so, our main family calendar has been built each month on the kitchen bulletin board. We use post-its if we have them. Or cut squares from colored paper if we don’t. We staple the squares directly to the bulletin board. I created the first one when Ralph was very young and couldn’t comprehend how many days it was until Halloween. The distinct squares helped him understand — and we crossed out each day as we went along. But it ended up being so functional and helpful, that we’ve made it a permanent fixture in our dining area. Thumbs up: It’s a nice monthly ritual. My kids help. Maude likes to remove last month’s staples. Ralph likes to pick out colors for the new month — typically based on any applicable holidays (Red or Green during December, Orange during October. On the calendar above the colors aren’t significant of anything in particular. Ralph just collected an assortment of post-its that he said “felt like January”). It helps everyone understand the different number of days in each month. Also, it’s big. So we have plenty of room to write our daily activities. In fact, on the months I cut out my own squares, we can even go bigger or smaller as we see fit. I like that kind of flexibility and control. Thumbs down: There’s only room for one month at time on our board. So thinking ahead to next month gets tricky. I’m considering moving away from this method and keeping a family binder instead. Maybe something with a calendar, sections for each child, and pockets for invitations or notes from school. But I’m afraid I would miss the big visual reminder. How do you handle the family calendar? Want to see more of my favorites? Amanda posted some of them here.



In lieu of the usual live Nativity Pageant at my church Christmas party this year, our congregation tried something new. The kids put on the nativity one Sunday with no audience and with staging happening in rooms all over our church building. A few parents with good photography skills followed the kids around and took lots of stills. Then, the amazing Travis S. put the pics together into a video.

The video debuted during the Christmas party and it’s just about the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen. Costumes, props and general direction are by the incomparable Jennifer Darger. Narration is by Travis’s talented daughter Scout.

Tulle Tutorial

Many readers have asked for more concrete directions on how to make the no-sew tutu, so here’s a more detailed post with photo directions. Cut elastic to waist size and pin together with a safety pin or a few stitches. Cut lengths of tulle from a 6-inch-wide tulle ribbon roll. Fold the tulle piece in half and then thread the ends through itself around the elastic. To demonstrate, I’m using a spare piece of elastic and a spare piece of ribbon, but this is the exact same technique you would use with a strip of tulle. Start with your band of elastic and piece of ribbon or tulle. Fold your piece of ribbon in half, place the loop end under the elastic. Pick up the loose ends of the ribbon. Pull them over the elastic and through the loop end of the ribbon. Pull the loose ends of the ribbon to tighten it around the elastic. And then repeat with additional pieces of ribbon and tulle until the tutu is as full as you’d like. Yay! For the tutu pictured at the top, we used an entire roll of champagne colored shimmer tulle (25 yards). It provided 33 lengths (about 2 feet long each) to tie to the waist band. We also used 3 rolls of ribbon in peach, cream and sage green. They provided 11 lengths each and were attached between the tulle pieces for accents. The materials were under $5 total. Another note about this project. You can make the tutu any length you like, by using longer or shorter pieces of tulle. Also. If I’d had another roll of the tulle, I would have used it and made the tutu twice as full.

More Homemade Christmas 2008

Olive has been working on gifts for her siblings over the weekend. She’s especially happy with the headbands she made for Maude and Betty. We think the creamy-colored one will coordinate perfectly with the tutu Ralph made. I’m super happy with them too. And already have plans to borrow them.

Materials: we bought a 3-pack of black headbands at Target for about $3. We bought fake flowers, for $3 to $4 per stem, and coordinating ribbon for $1 per roll from Michaels. Each headband will use between 1 and 2 yards of ribbon. Total materials for 3 headbands was less than $20. Just for comparison, a similar headband, like this darling one at CrewCuts is $16.50.

To make: wrap the head band in ribbon using a hot glue gun to attach. We had the best luck keeping the ribbon smooth by starting it at each end of the headband and meeting where the flower would be placed.
Once the headband is completely covered in ribbon, it’s time to add the flower.

Pull the flower off of it’s stem, and trim the remaining plastic so that the bottom of the flower is flat. In front of a mirror, put on the headband and move the flower around until you’re happy with placement. Mark where your want to place the flower with a pencil (the pencil mark will be covered by the flower). Attach the flower with hot glue. Done.

This is an incredibly fast project. And the headbands turned out beautifully.
The fake flowers we bought each came with a large bloom and a small bloom. We didn’t want the small blooms to go to waste, so as an afterthought, we glued them to small barrettes. Cute.

For Ralph, Olive made chocolate-chip-cookies-in-a-jar. For Oscar, Olive is going to do something cool with pencils — I’ll try to post pics soon. To see more gifts my kids made, you can go here.

Homemade Sibling Gifts 2008

This is the third year that my kids are making gifts for each other. It’s turned into one of our best family traditions — requiring more thinking and time than is ideal, but my kids LOVE it. As I’ve mentioned in years past, I prefer the gifts to be usable and practical.

For 2 year old Betty, who has lately become obsessed with all things ballerina, Ralph made a tutu. My friend Jill gave me this idea and it is such a great project (thank you Jill)! It’s virtually no-sew.

Cut elastic to waist size and stitch together — that’s the only needle and thread required. Then cut lengths of tulle from a 6-inch-wide tulle ribbon roll. Fold the tulle piece in half and then thread the ends through itself around the elastic. And that’s it. You just keep repeating till the elastic is covered.

We used an entire roll of champagne colored shimmer tulle (25 yards). It was on sale for $3 at Michaels and provided 33 lengths (about 2 feet long each) to tie to the waist band. We also used 3 rolls of ribbon in peach, cream and sage green. They were .50 cents, also from Michaels. They provided 11 lengths each and were attached between the tulle pieces for accents. We already had elastic, so the whole cost for the tutu was $4.50. And it turned out beautifully. I think Betty is going to be beside herself with joy when she opens this.

Another note about this great project. You can make the tutu any length you like, by using longer or shorter pieces of tulle. So this same idea could work for an older girl as well. Also. If I’d had another roll of the tulle, I would have used it and made the tutu twice as full. (I’ve posted more specific directions and photos here.)

For Oscar, Ralph decoupaged a bucket to corral his matchbox cars. We used a bucket we already had, plus modge podge and sponge brushes in our art supply stock. So the only cost on this one was .69 cents for a piece of car-themed scrapbook paper. I heart decoupaging. It breathes new life into all sorts of things.

A super simple project. We first cut wide strips of the paper the same height as the bucket. We put a layer of modge podge on the bucket, added the paper strips, and coated the tops with more modge podge. We did 3 top layers of modge podge, waiting between each for the last coat to mostly dry.

I have it on good authority that Santa is putting a pack of cars into Oscar’s stocking, so he’ll be excited to put this bucket to use immediately.

Ralph used fabric markers and stencils to customize knapsacks for Maude and Olive. They’ll use the knapsacks to carry their shoes/clothes to dance class and gymnastics class. Very straightforward. Just place the template on the fabric, color in with fabric markers, and set with a hot iron. We had all the supplies for this project, so it was a freebie. Ralph was the most happy about and proud of this particular gift.

For her sibling gifts, Maude made tie-dye t-shirts. A project that doesn’t take much time and provides really satisfying results. We adapted instructions from here and here with t-shirts found for about $5 each at Old Navy and Target.

Tie-dying is addictive. If we hadn’t run out of dye, I think we would have started coloring boxers and undershirts next. Maude is so pleased with how the shirts turned out she can hardly stand to keep them a secret.

Olive will put together her gifts this weekend. We’re not sure exactly what she’s making, but some of the ideas on the list are: ribbon belts, embellished headbands, baseball caps with vintage scout patches found on ebay, decoupaged wood blocks, and homemade hair conditioner. She also likes the idea of taking a photo portrait of each sibling and then framing it to display on their nightstand.

You can see more of what we made this year here. You can see what we made in past years here and here and here and here. What do you like to do for sibling gifts?

Ask Design Mom: Stocking Display

Ask Design Mom Question:

Dear Designmom, I was wondering if you had any fun ideas of where and how to hang up stockings. I have no fireplace or cute mantel. (sigh.) Do you have any suggestions? — Allison

Design Mom Answer:
I feel your pain, Allison. I too have a fireplace-less home. In fact, over the last decade, I’ve lived in a series of 3 fireplace-less homes, and I’ve solved the where-to-hang-the-stockings-question a few different ways.

1) Right now, our stocking are hung in a row over the piano — using very small nails. They look great! And if you don’t have a piano, this would work just as well over an entry table.

2) In years past, I’ve used the banister on the stairs for a stocking display. If you have an open stair case, this is a wonderful solution. Just use pretty ribbon to tie the stockings along the length of the hand rail. Bonus: it’s easy to the the spacing nice and even by using every other opening in the banister.

3) My friend uses the side of a tall bookcase to hang her stockings in a vertical row and it looks fantastic.

4) I think Christmas Stockings hung from the footboard of a bed are just about the most charming things ever.

5) Last idea: when I was about 5 years old, my family was living in a small apartment while we built a home. I remember watching my mom hang our stockings from the ceiling. And thought is was wonderful.

What about you Design Mom Readers? Where do you hang your stockings?

Advice Please

I’ve been looking for a new heavy coat and found this beautiful red one at TJ Maxx the other day. I’m loving the shape, loving the details, and loving that it was a bargain for an overcoat at $60. Plus, it’s from Esprit which made me happy — I don’t think I’ve worn anything from the Esprit line since junior high. : )

Only problem, it’s a size too big (and they didn’t have a smaller size). Other only problem, will I like it less after Christmas when I’ve had my fill of red?

Do I keep it? Or return it? Feeling so indecisive…

Celebrity Mom

Big news! Huggies has officially named me, and some of my favorite peeps, a “celebrity mom.” It feels good. But honestly, I always thought “celebrity” involved more limos/Escalades. In my case, it means Huggies posted a video of me being interviewed by Ralph. Hot! You can view the video under the Celeb Mom Spotlight tab at Generation Huggies.

Bonus. At The Motherhood you can also see the video Huggies chose NOT to use. It features Maude interviewing me — plus Betty crawling all over me — plus a glimpse of Oscar’s bare bottom. And it’s filmed by Ralph.


I feel like this “not picked” video is pretty representative of what goes down at my house on any given evening. Watch for this highlight: I ask Oscar where his pants are. He looks down and says, “I don’t see them.” Fabulous.

Hey. Also. Tomorrow — that’s Thursday, November 20th — is your very last chance to submit your own video to Huggies. You should totally do it. It’s free. It’s fun. And you could win fame and fortune — you know how I’m all about celebrity.

Apple Party

Nathalie, from the Australian paper company Imprintables, sent me photos from the super-charming apple-themed party she had for her son, Travis. So cute! And I love that’s it’s totally unisex. And totally adaptable to pretty much any fruit.

Refreshments were child-sized apples, apple lemonade and of course, apple pie with ice-cream. Games were traditional — bobbing for apples, sack races and tug-of-war.

Curious about Apple Lemonade? Me too. So Nathalie graciously shared her simple recipe:

1 bottle of apple juice
1 bottle of pear juice

1 2L bottle of lemonade

Combine; watch the children and mums alike devour this tasty concoction

Sounds delish!

Election Day

I voted.

Then. To commemorate the event, I called in a voice recording at The Motherhood telling all about my experience at the polls. And then I embedded the message here on Design Mom (click the triangle “play” button to hear what I said):

You can call in and record your voting experience too — right from your cell phone.
Go here to try it out. And find simple instructions here. It’s so great to hear everyone’s voices.

Happy Election Day!

PS — is the patriotic pin-up girl (found here) too sexy? You know how hard I try to keep it G-rated around here. . .

Day Off

Two apple pies baked before noon. From apples we picked ourselves.

It’s hard to improve on that sort of day.
Did the kids ransack the house during the making/baking process? Yes. Am I still in my pajamas? You bet. Is my foot covered in powdered sugar? Oddly, yes. But I have a whole pie to eat and a whole pie to give away. So who really cares about the rest?

Also, I just tried this circle thing instead of my usual slits in the crust — I’ll stare at it for awhile longer, but I think I love it. If I was ever going to have a pie signature, I’m pretty sure this would be it.

One more thing. In case you’re wondering, while the first pie is baking, there is just enough time to make a second pie, clean the kitchen, and make fresh whipped cream — and if the kids help, you can even get the family room whipped into shape. So you might as well make two. I’m just saying.

Apple Picking 2008

The kids had school off yesterday. We spent the morning working on Halloween costumes and we spent the evening apple picking at Stuart’s Farm. Stuart’s Farm is exactly what I want in an apple-picking adventure. No bounce house. No hayride. No carnival. No paid parking. Just a beautiful, walkable orchard (with great apples) and a small shop where you can buy local jams and gourds and mums. We are notoriously bad about forgetting our camera when we go on outings, but we didn’t forget yesterday. So I posted a million photos of our adventure on flickr. To share with the Grandmas. And any curious blog readers.


Here’s a peek at the calendar at our house:

August 24, 2008

My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. (Not really celebrated, because my father passed away a decade ago, but still acknowledged with a smile.)

August 25, 2008

Olive’s 7th Birthday (We’re having a family party tonight. I’ll share pics later.)

Brother-in-law Jim’s Birthday
Niece Lindsey’s 12th Birthday

Nephew Colin’s 4th Birthday

Roger’s Birthday (Roger is my mother’s wonderful husband.)

Erin McEvoy’s Birthday (Roger’s daughter)

Alan McEvoy’s Birthday (Roger’s son)

That’s a lot of birthdays. And they’re followed up by one more:

August 26, 2008
Ralph’s 11th Birthday

As you can imagine, there is a lot of wrapping, decorating, well-wish-phone-calling, shopping and baking going on at our house. But. In the midst of all those tasks and busy-ness, I want to make sure to commemorate the most exciting, coolest, most important thing that’s happening today:

Donna and Roger, with Jared, Liz & Hank

My Mom and Roger are leaving on a mission! They report to the Missionary Training Center today. And they’ll be flying to Russia on Saturday. Ykaterinburg, Russia to be exact. Where the annual temperature reaches 70 degrees at the high (brrrr!). To help me get a handle on the geography, this bit of trivia helped: the dividing line of the the European and Asian continents goes right through the city of Ykaterinburg.

I’m so proud of them for doing this challenging, adventurous and worthy thing. And I’ll miss them both. And I hope they’ll bring me home one of these.

Lucky Number 13

It’s our 13th wedding anniversary today.

What luck that Ben Blair gets more charming every year. If I’d understood how fun it would be to be married to him, I would have shortened our 2 month engagement. Here’s to number thirteen — bound to be our luckiest year yet!

I know it’s blurry, but don’t you think it captures my adoration?

Unexpected PR

Look what I just found out:
On page 55 of the beautiful August issue of Pregnancy and Newborn, there is an article on the best Mommy Blogs — and they called out Design Mom as one of their favorites. I’m absolutely tickled pink. In their words:

“At Design Mom, blogger/designer/art director/mother of five(!) writes about her favorite ways of obtaining child-friendly and functional design while maintaining stylish and serene style. Be inspired by her posts about handcrafted furniture, cool toys, creative art projects and more.”

And. I was in very good company — my friends at I’m Not Obsessed and Mom Finds were their celebrity gossip and fashion picks.
The best part about this press: I had no idea I was even on their radar. What a nice surprise!

Maude’s Cloud Photos

Unexpected flight entertainment: Maude kept busy with the camera phone shooting the gorgeous pink tinged clouds out the window. There’s something grainy and otherworldly that’s lovely about them.

Second 5MFM Interview

Hey. Part 2 of my Five Minutes For Mom interview is up. It’s all about my Kirtsy Partnership. And you can find more delightful FMFM interviews here — featuring lovely ladies from blogs like Scribbit, Rocks in My Dryer, and Adventures in Baby Wearing.

And here’s a behind-the-scenes shot of the interview for those who are curious about such things (like I am):

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