birthday invitations :: a DIY craft


bear is turning the big five-o-roonie in a few weeks!!!
valentine’s day to be exact.

and what almost-five-year-old doesn’t want to have a birthday party with their friends?! of course i went on pinterest looking for birthday invitation ideas, but nothing sprang out at me. so, bear and i designed our own little invitations. so cute, perfect project for him to help with and easy enough for that it didn’t turn into some all consuming time sucker! 

here’s how we made ’em!


colourful paper or card stock
markers, sparkle pens, whatever really.


1. choose a picture of the birthday prince or princess. get copies made.
2. decide on the colour, size and shape of party hats. once i made one that was the right size, i traced it and cut out the rest of the party hats from the card stock.
3. decorate party hats. bear did the decorating and he loved it. we kept it simple, but you could add pompoms or glitter or whatever, really!
4. glue the decorated party hats on to the heads. let dry.
5. then i loosely traced the backs of the photo heads, cut the traced heads out of card stock and glued them on to the backs of the photo’s. this way we could write on regular paper, than the slippery photo paper.

have fun making your own invitations!

still can’t believe he’s going to be 5!!!!
i’ll be writing my sappy post about being this guys mama closer to the big day.

xo, mama lola

silly spoons :: a craft

bear, my older guy, gets a magazine in the mail once a month, CHIRP. it’s totally cute, age appropriate and makes his day when he receives in the mail.

one of the activities in the january edition, is something called, SILLY SPOONS. it’s a super fun and super creative activity, that both the boys enjoyed doing.

the spoon is the base for your character or animal. you can embellish it as much or as little as you like. my kids refused a lot of help, so they’re spoons are simpler than the ones pictured in the magazine. we used all sorts materials for this project like markers, pompoms, duct tape, yarn, decorative flowers, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and lotsa, lotsa glue!

and, voila. silly spoons for silly times.

they are a bit fragile, but the boys were thrilled with how they turned out and really, that’s what matters most! 

add a link if you do this craft!

xo, mama lola

discover the fun of discovery bottles!

my bear got some homework for this past holiday season. he was to make a “discovery bottle” and then was to share his bottle with the class during their “show & share” time. it was an assignment that he completed with the help of dear hubby and lion, too. lion actually made his own little discovery bottle.

for his bottle bear included some balsam and cedar branches, shells and crab legs from the various beaches out east collected during our road trip, acorns and chestnuts from central park collected from our trip to NYC, some beads and lots of glitter for good measure. it’s a super fast and as easy or difficult project as you make it.

the boys collected a bunch of items to put inside the bottle, popped them inside, filled the bottle with water leaving a little space for air, so the bottle can flipped and the items can easily move around. finally, dear hubby hot glued the lid on ensuring no leaks or other messy disasters!

pinterest is full of various ideas for this project. you can use all sorts of ingredients n your bottle. water, beads, sand, toys, yarn, food colouring etc etc. we got the idea of using tree branched from the website “teach preschool”.

have you ever made on of these? what did you put inside?

xo, mama lola

simple and fun road trip activities for kids!

here are some of the funny and crafty activities i made or purchased for the boys for our upcoming road trip out east to the maritimes. the ideas are universal and not at all unique, but as usual i was inspired by pinterest. here’s a pretty extravagant activity board by one mama, which is beautiful, but way too elaborate for me. so i toned things down A LOT and made these two different activity boards.

felt peeps n’ animals on a felt board
i took a piece of cardboard and just started hot glue-gunning the felt on. i cut the green into a hilly landscape and the blues into skies. i tried to be meticulous when gluing so that the kids wouldn’t find a corner or loose felt to start picking at. i found some felt people from a thrift store, so i made them some summer clothes. 

then i headed to micheal’s and found a ready-made felt board for only $4 (regularly $14-$20), so i bought one themed “under the sea”. cute, eh?

magnets & magnet board
i went to the dollar store and bought two small cookie sheets. then i bought a sheet magnet, fancy stickers and then headed home. 

dear hubby and i spent a couple episodes of “mad about you” sticking the stickers onto the magnet sheet and then carefully cutting them out. 

we also glued some wee dino’s onto the magnet sheets to make some 3D magnets as well. i think they turned out really well!!! RRrrroarrRR!

dollar $tore junk
i am not a huge supporter of dollar store junk, but i have to admit for this road trip that place was kind of a toy haven. i don’t want to pack precious sentimental toys, in case they get lost or destroyed on the trip, so i stocked up on funny, cheap crap instead. the kids are going to be so thrilled; anything new is always fun for a bit. i also bought some glow wands, which will be exciting at bedtime when it’s dark.

i did also purchase some more wholesome activity books to round out the junk. i chose two kumon books for bear and some simple colour/ stickering books for lion. they both love their activity books, and bear especially will be kept busy by them for long periods of time.

now, it’s time to go pack some more!

have you made any fun travel activities for your kids?

xo, mama lola

a how to :: birthday bunting flags.

for my sweet lion’s second birthday party, i decided to whip up some bunting flags last minute. i have some old sheets i have purchasednand collected over the years for just such a quick project. 

i cut the flags with my pinking sheers, not worrying too much about size or symmetry, as the flags will be outdoor decorations. 
then i just pinned the flags to the bias tape, sewed then together with my machine with a zig-zag stich and voila, they were done!

happy, colourful decorations, perfect for a two year olds park birthday! if you used more care and different fabric you could make them for weddings, or any fancy occasion, not just birthday parties. see, like HERE.

don’t they look lovely?
i love that i can reuse them and only spent $1.54 on the biased tape; way cheaper and eco friendlier than streamers!

xo, mama lola

mother’s day bookmarks.

i have to admit this great idea is not mine, but i found it HERE. i was looking for something pretty straightforward to make, but something that would also melt the hearts of the kids’ grandma and mummo.

here’s what i did...
i chose a few pictures of the kids that i thought were cute, heart melting and characteristic of each kids personality. got the pictures printed, brought them home, gathered my supplies and got to work.

first, i chose a photo and started to cut around the kids silhouette pretty closely. 

then using a glue stick i glued the photo to white card stock and had the kids draw on the back of their own photos. i wrote the year on the back, in case we ever do this project again.

then using clear laminant in a roll (whih i bought from our michael’s), i laminated each picture on both sides. i pressed down hard and used a ruler a few times to get all the air out. 

i cut around again, but this time leaving a wee margin of laminant plastic, about 5mm.

then i punched a hole into the laminated photo, crocheted a quick rope and tied it on.

they looked AMAZING and each gran was super smiley once they’re gifts had been opened!

this is such a fun and easy craft to make and it was made better by involving the kids. 
hey, father’s day is coming up next month!!!

and finally, my mother’s day locket; look at my beautiful boys!

see you tomorrow!

xo, mama lola

chair re*do.

welcome to the first of thirty one posts in may!

we have a beautiful dining set that my grandmother shipped over from glasgow, scotland at least a decade before the second world war started, when she immigrated to canada with my grandfather. it’s a small simple table with built in leafs that can be extended when needed, four chairs and a matching sideboard. i never knew my dad’s mother and cherish this set very much. it’s a way for me to feel close to her and my scottish roots. my dad has many fond and messy memories of eating at this table during his childhood.

but, i’ve been lazy at taking care of the chairs. they have cloth seats that are yucky and dirty from the endless messes the kids have spilled while eating on them. i’m always mortified when people come over and sit on them, but i’ve always intended to re-do them. 

i thought about getting some funky oil cloth and using that, but after a quick pinterest  and web search, i spontaneously decided to use a cheap vinyl table cloth i had purchased this spring. the colour is not my favourite for the chairs, but it will do for now.

this and this is basically what i did.

pull tight and be ready to staple…

have lotsa staples on hand…

and a bright, clean chair for sitting on!

now when the kiddo’s make a mess, i can just wipe down the chairs with a damp cloth and not have to worry about it! 

see ya tomorrow!

xo, mama lola

bow tie tutorial: how to make your own!

the first bow tie i made for bear was a few years ago for my sister-law’s wedding.
since then i’ve made a few more for various special occasions. 


basic instructions:
choose your fabric. synthetics and silks tend to fray and be much more slippery when sewing, so more patience may be necessary as well!

1. fold fabric in half and cut out two rectangles simultaneously. then, ensure the “right side” of the fabric is facing each other and pin the two pieces of fabric together.

2. sew the pieces together, following along with the rectangle shape, remembering to leave an opening so that the fabric can be turned right side out. it’s also a good idea to enforce the stitching on either sides of the opening. i typically leave 3 cm’s. i just wing it with my machine only eyeballing the straight lines. 

3. turn the fabric side side out and then sew up the opening by hand.

4. now repeat the first three steps with rectangles of fabric that are a touch smaller than the first rectangle. when the bow tie is cinched and put together it gives it more depth.

5. cut another two rectangles out, this time wanting it to be long and skinny. this piece is going to cinch the bow tie in the middle and essentially hold it all together.

6. now there’s two ways to sew the middle section.
a) the proper way: place the two rectangle pieces (or take one larger piece and fold it in half) facing each other with the wrong side showing. sew three sides leaving one of the ends open. then turn it right side out. you may want to you use something like a pen or a kitchen utensil of sorts to help move the fabric as the piece is going to small and finicky.
b) the lazy way: place the rectangle pieces together with the right side showing and sew the one side creating a tube.

7. take the two larger bow rectangles, placing the smaller of the two on top of the other an dthen take the long, middle piece and wrap it around the centre. depending on if you went the proper or lazy way of sewing, make sure you tuck and raw edges and hide any imperfections. 

8. sew up the ends of the middle sections by hand, ensuring the bow tie stays in shape. some people like to attach the middle piece to the bow section. 

9. now add your elastic. loop it under the middle, cinching fabric and the sew the ends by hand. kids typically like them slightly loose and if you’re making one for a special occasion then you can tuck it nicely under the collar of a shirt.

let me know if these instructions make sense!

good luck!

xo, mama lola

tea towel tutorial

this project is as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. embellishing tea towels is something people have been doing for a long time, but it’s what and how you do it that makes it fun. the window for creativity is huge on this project.

i started off by buying a pack of tea towels. then i sat on the floor with the towels and chose my fabrics, all the while trying to decide on a design. i searched the internet for ideas and instructions on how to do this. this is what i was going to do first, but when i saw these towels here i decided to go with the more elaborate design.

since the towels were going to the kids’ grandma and mummo for mother’s day, i wanted to personalize them and do something cute. dear hubby was in charge of tracing the kids’ hands, which from the sounds of it was one of the trickiest parts of the project!

– tea towels
– iron-on fabric adhesive
– scissors
– fabric
– thread
– pins & needles
– iron and flat surface to iron on

basic instructions:
1. choose design and fabrics for embellishment. cut out design.
2. iron your tea towels and fabrics well before starting. leave your iron out and plugged in!

3. once you have decided on a design, start cutting your iron-on fabric adhesive. 
4. i sewed the thicker band that sits at the bottom of the towel at one end first and then ironed on the adhesive. then i sewed all around the other edges of the band.

5. if in your design you have something under your band/ ribbon iron on your adhesive before sewing the edges! i had my flower stems.
6. keep ironing your design and then sewing. i did the little hearts inside the hands by hand in a very loose and random stitch.

that’s really all there is to it. the more intricate your design, the longer it takes to sew. the little hands were a pain to sew with all the turns – stitch, foot up, turn fabric, foot down, stitch 4 stitches, foot up, turn fabric etc… you get the idea. 

please share your ideas and projects with me!

xo, mama lola

mother’s day.

i have asked for silence in the past, but that’s a tricky gift to give with two kiddies. and with a nursing baby it’s not like i can be gone all day doing my own thing. so instead, dear hubby and the boys let me sleep in, which is pretty typical for any weekend morning. and when i say sleep in, i mean until 8am or so, but i didn’t have to tend to the kiddies at 6am and i’ll take that any day!

my boys got me a lens cap, which was one of those essential gifts; something i needed, but kept forgetting to get for myself. and yes, i lost my lens cap. i typically stash it in my pocket, but alas, a few weeks ago i must have left it out in the rain. i also received a lovely hydrangea bush. it’ll be a beautiful addition to our backyard. my favorite gift was some beautiful silk bedding that i’ve wanted for a while now. i’m always really uncomfy in bed so some new bedding was a great gift idea. my husband got me some silk pajamas for Christmas so I can’t wait to sleep in a silky heaven!

mmm…. creeps crepes with fruit and homemade strawberry/ blueberry jam for breakfast and of course the always important cup o’ java.

i gave my mom and my MIL embellished tea towels as gifts. first we traced the kids’ hands and then i got to work cutting and sewing and ironing and cutting and sewing and ironing… it was actually a really great project and something i will do again! i will do up a tutorial this week.

here we are, three mothers and bear without lion as he was snoozing away. all the excitement exhausted the wee lad.

my dad got my mom a mediterranean cruise. it was a surprise and something she has been talking about for a while. they won’t be going until my mom’s birthday in november, but there a lot of details to plan so best to start early!

there was lots of driving and loading and dumping of rocks. as usual. bear is always at work.

we had yummy sushi for dinner and lion LOVED it. he devoured the avocado rolls, but i think his favourite was the simple, but tasty (raw) salmon sashimi.

my first mother’s day with lion and as a mother of two beautiful, amazing boys. i am so proud to be their äiti and can’t imagine what my life would be like without them.

oh wait…. it would be quiet.

xo, mama lola
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