DVD Case Coloring Kit

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

You can never have enough “quiet” activities on hand for your toddler or preschooler.  This DVD Case Coloring Kit is perfect to toss in the diaper bag to entertain your little one while you’re on-the-go!

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

About 6 months ago, I made 20 of these fun Magnetic Traveling Farms for a busy bag swap out of tin DVD cases.  They were a big hit!  But I bought a box of 50 on Amazon (it was the best price I could find after endless searching – and unfortunately they’re no longer available so if you find out where to order them in a decent quantity and price please leave a comment!) thinking I’d use them up eventually.  I’ve made a few more for gifts, but I still have a bunch of blank ones sitting in a box in the basement, waiting for more inspiration to strike.

 

Make your own magnetic traveling farm toddler game using DVD tins - use your Silhouette or just buy premade magnets to fill them!

 

Then I bought one of these Frozen On-the-Go coloring kits for my daughter’s Easter Basket, and she absolutely loved it.  The design is just so smart!  We have a few other coloring books with a top fold that keep closing on her when she’s working on a page in the middle of the book, and it’s so frustrating for her to hold the pages up with one hand while she colors with the other – so I thought the little hooks that hold the coloring pages in were brilliant!  That way she can pick whatever page she wants to color and put it on top, without having the rest of the pages fall down on her.  I decided I could make my own similar version of a coloring kit with a blank DVD case, and personalize it with some of her other favorite characters.

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

First, I found some hooks that were the perfect size – these mini 3M hooks.  I tested them to make sure the DVD case would close, and they fit!

 

dvd-case-coloring-kit-08

 

Then, I cut some fabric with my Silhouette to use as the backing for the coloring side.  That  was pretty simple.  First I created a rounded rectangle the same size as the DVD case in Silhouette Studio.  Then I picked some fabric from my stash, ironed on a piece of interfacing, peeled off the backing, and loaded it on my mat to cut.  I adhered it to the inside of the DVD case with some spray adhesive.

 

The colored pencil pouch was a little bit trickier, but not too difficult to figure out.  First I cut that same rounded rectangle out of chipboard.

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

Then I used spray adhesive to attach some fabric to it and tucked the edges around the backside with some more adhesive.  The pouch was another piece of fabric I had folded in half and ironed – I actually used another piece of interfacing inside the fabric to make it a bit stiffer.

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

Then I folded it around the backing (with a few colored pencils tucked between the pieces to make sure they’d fit) and used spray adhesive again to attach the edges to the back.  To really secure the edges and give me a nice flat surface, I used some masking tape on the back.

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

Then I used my trusty spray adhesive one last time to attach it to the inside cover of the DVD case.  (Note: double check that your pouch side and your hook side are going in the correct places…I accidentally switched them and put the hook side on the left, so it wouldn’t have been able to close, but luckily I realized it within seconds and was able to peel them up and stick them again on the correct sides!!)

 

Here’s where the Silhouette really comes in handy, but you could certainly just cut out coloring pages by hand and use a hole punch.  I used Silhouette studio to create a cut file for the coloring pages – a slightly smaller rounded rectangle with holes to line up with the hooks.  Then I just downloaded a few free cut files, opened them in Silhouette Studio, and resized them to print inside my cut lines.

Use your Silhouette to create coloring pages for an upcylcled DVD case coloring kit

 

From there, it’s really easy to “print and cut” the design!

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

I went ahead and made several pages to get started with, but I love how easy it is to create more once they’re used up – especially since it seems like my daughter has a different favorite character every week!

 

Use your Silhouette to create coloring pages for an upcylcled DVD case coloring kit

 

She loves it!!

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

I have a feeling this will get a LOT of use around here!

 

Upcycle a DVD case into a portable coloring kit - so fun!

 

 

 

The Silhouette Challenge Facebook Group

 

It’s a small-but-mighty crew of bloggers for this month’s Silhouette Challenge – and they are serving up some creative and fun kid’s crafts to make with your Silhouette!  Be sure to click through them all via the collage below, or pin for later.

 

DVD Case Coloring Kit Personalizing Kids Stuff without Names "Tiny Dancer" Dance Bag DIY Future Mr. Darcy Onesie ExtraCared for Onesie DIY Burp Cloths with Appliques Adorable DIY Baby Onesies! DIY 3D SpongeBob Invitations Personalized Potty Chair & Potty Training Targets: Ready, Aim, FIRE! baby gift ideas using your Silhouette Machine

1. unOriginal Mom // 2. Architecture of a Mom // 3. Crafty Bonds // 4. Simply Kelly Designs // 5. Weekend Craft // 6. Cutesy Crafts // 7. DIYJustCuz // 8. My Paper Craze // 9. Where The Smiles Have Been // 10. From Whine to Whine
I’ve still got a few DVD tins left…any other inspired ideas on what I can do with them?

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and then make a purchase, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for supporting unOriginalMom.com!
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Why I Don’t Blog on a Schedule

This is a first for me…I’m letting you in on a bit of the “man behind the curtain” by writing a post about blogging.  If you’re not a blogger, this post probably won’t mean much to you…but if you are one (or have ever thought about starting your own blog), read on for a small peek into some of my blogging brain! 

 

A quick Pinterest search will reveal literally thousands of resources for beginning bloggers.  How to start a blog, how to build your blog, how to grow your following, blogging printables, social media tips, photography lessons, optimum blog design…and on and on.  When I was starting out, I read TONS of those articles and felt like I had to implement them all into my blog in order to be successful.  I quickly found myself burning out and not enjoying the whole blogging thing, as I was putting way too much pressure on myself to follow all of those “rules of blogging.”  It led me to become obsessed with the numbers instead of blogging for fun…that’s when I knew it was time for a change.

 

I decided to share my story to add to those thousands of resources in the hopes that by sharing a bit of my behind-the-scenes thinking, you’ll be able to let go of any self-imposed “Pinterest Perfectionism” and allow yourself to discover what works best for you – and do it.

 

Great thoughts on the benefits of throwing away your posting schedule

 

I had blogging burnout.

 

I began blogging when I was a stay at home mom to my 6 month old daughter.  I didn’t know it then…but life was SO easy!  She was taking two to three regular naps each day, and even when she was awake she didn’t require constant entertainment from me.  I grew into a pattern of “me time” during her morning nap (blogging, surfing Pinterest, working on projects) and “productive time” in the afternoon (mostly household chores and prepping for dinner)  As I really got into blogging, I began investing more and more time into it – writing posts, reading other blogs, reading about how to grow your blog, etc.  I put together a blog binder with an editorial calendar and began posting 3-4 times a week.  As my numbers slowly grew, I started picking up some small sponsored posts and feeling terrific about actually making enough money to support my “blog habit.”  That lasted for several months – right up until about the time that my daughter dropped her morning nap.  Boy, was that a difficult adjustment for me.  I continued with the same schedule for a month or so but quickly began to feel burnt-out on the blog front.  All of a sudden, I realized that I was not enjoying the whole blog thing as much as I was when I started – something had to give.  I was making literally pennies an hour for everything that I was putting into the blog, and if I wasn’t doing it for the money, and I wasn’t enjoying it, why was I doing it at all?  I needed to spend more time focusing on my daughter and taking care of our home – that was the priority.  It was then that I decided I’d throw away the posting schedule and give myself permission to only post when I had something I WANTED to post about – even if that meant only posting 3-4 times a month.  That was an extremely freeing decision for me.  And surprisingly, without a posting schedule, my blog continued to grow at an even faster rate.

 

 

Inspiration doesn’t strike on a schedule

 

So how do I decide how often to post?  There’s not much to it – I write a blog post about a project when I’m inspired to create something that I think is worth sharing with people.  That’s the whole concept of this blog, anyway – “living an inspired life.”  It is rare that I create something strictly “for the blog” – most posts that you see on unOriginal Mom are usually something that I am making anyway for my home or my family.  For example, I am not really big into St. Patrick’s Day, and I don’t decorate for it at our house, so I think it would be silly of me to create something that I won’t use just to showcase on the blog.  I don’t have any kids in school yet, so I don’t really make “teacher appreciation” projects – I wouldn’t have anyone to give it to.  The couple of times that I have created something with no purpose in my real life, those posts haven’t been very popular anyway.  The only real exception is when I’m writing a sponsored post, which usually means there are specific post requirements…however, I make it a rule to NOT apply for a sponsored post unless I’m inspired by the product in some way.  I’ve found that not only do “inspired” posts do much better on the blog, I am much more excited about writing them – so it’s truly a win-win.

 

 

I believe killer content beats filler content

 

For about the first 8 months of blogging, I posted a series called “Original Fridays.”  It was a place for me to showcase neat things I’d come across in browsing other blogs through the week.  For a while, it was a terrific way for me to connect with other bloggers and provide some extra inspiration to my readers.  But then, I found myself frantically searching Pinterest late Thursday night to grab a few random photos to link to on my Friday post.  It became more of an obligation to put together each week instead of sharing true inspiration with my readers.  That’s when I decided it wasn’t worth the stress of throwing together a last-minute post just to fill my Friday post slot.

 

Especially in the age of Pinterest, I find I get much more mileage out of one “killer content” post rather than 3 “filler content” posts.  And those posts are the ones that bring in new readers to my blog.  This is just my interpretation, but I find that most blog readers are subscribers to multiple blogs, so they are never sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for a new post from me – they’ve always got stuff to read.  The key is to first draw them with great content, and then get them to expect that every time they get a “new post” notification from unOriginal Mom (either via email or social media update) they know it’s going to be a great post worth reading.  That will keep bringing them back.

 

As I’ve built up a “library” of quality content posts that continually see good amounts of Pinterest traffic, my numbers have slowly but steadily increased.  In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I’ll tell you that right now my blog is averaging about 100K pageviews per month.  When I started blogging (and was beyond ecstatic to hit 5K pageviews a month) I never dreamed I’d ever grow to see that number.  I know it doesn’t make me a “big” blog, but I’m really happy with it – and even happier that it continues to grow.

 

 

This is not my full time job.

 

If blogging was my full time job, you can bet I’d be posting on a much more structured schedule.  I’d still be following the same principles of “killer content over filler content,” but I’d have so much more time to put into developing posts on a regular basis.  But the bottom line is, my full time job is taking care of my kids (yes, I’ve got two littles now!) and that in itself takes more hours than there are in a day!  I have grown to make a very small part time income from this blog, which is terrific, but my I’m not in the blogging game to make money – I’m in it for a fun and enjoyable hobby to do in my free time.  Ultimately my priority is my family and the life stage we’re in right now just doesn’t allow for much free time to spend on myself.

 

 

How to schedule…without a schedule.

 

So, you want to try this whole “blogging without a schedule” thing too?  First, a bit of clarification – blogging without a specific post schedule is not the same thing as blogging without a calendar.  I do keep track of my scheduled posts and deadlines with a system that helps keep me organized, even without blogging on a schedule.  I keep a Google spreadsheet to help me keep track of my posts – one tab for post ideas, and one tab for a posts “in the pipeline.”  Even without a strict weekly schedule, I still do have some deadlines…the monthly Silhouette Challenge posts that I like to participate in, any sponsored post deadlines, or blog hops/giveaways I may be signed up for.  To keep from missing any of that, I just keep a list of dates on that Google spreadsheet along with how far along that post is…I’ve got columns along the top for project completed, photos taken, photos edited, post written, post scheduled, social media scheduled.

 

I would highly recommend signing up with Co-Schedule (<–that’s an referral link but if you don’t want to use it, here’s a direct link…either way I’d really encourage you to check them out!).  Co-Schedule has been a HUGE time saver for me, as I can schedule my posts and social media promotions for a specific day, then decide to change the post date and just drag it to a different day on the calendar – and all the social media posts go with it.  As I’ve got a few completed posts “in the pipeline” I really like to be able to spread them out – so I may have a post scheduled for next Monday and Thursday, but then I finish a new post that’s more seasonal and would do better to publish earlier – so I can easily schedule it for Monday, then push the Monday post to Thursday, and the Thursday post to the week after that.  It’s so easy!

 

 

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to blog.  Blogging without a strict weekly schedule is what works for me – but don’t assume it will work best for you. What it all boils down to is you have to discover YOUR best blogging method, and don’t get caught up in the numbers, or what somebody else tells you to do.  Ultimately, your blog will grow the fastest and you will be the happiest when you get into a “groove” that works best for you to create that killer content – and the readers will come.

 

 

If you’re a blogger, what have you had to “let go of” to maintain enjoyment in your blog?  Or if you’re a reader, I’m curious to know (and be honest) – do you prefer a set weekly schedule of more frequent posts, or would you rather be reading fewer posts of higher quality?

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Molar Bear Dentist Pun Shirt

Happy April Fool’s Day!

 

If you recall, last April 1 I participated in “TrendFest 2014″ with some bloggy friends, where we each tried to create a legit project out of as many craft trends as we possibly could.  Surprisingly, the result of that just-for-fun project – my mason jar pallet vase – is one of the most popular posts on my blog!

 

This year, a few of those same friends and I decided to do a “Pun Fest,” so I set to work searching for a great pun to turn into a crafty project.  And it just so happens that one of my good friends (who is a dentist) turned 30 last week, and I wanted to make him a birthday gift.  Kill two birds with one stone?  Why not!  Side note: a Google search for “dentist puns” will keep you entertained for quite a while!

 

Hilarious, "punny" shirt for a dentist or dental hygienist - the molar bear!

 

I decided on the hilarious pun and image of the “molar bear: fighting enamel cruelty” and I knew my friend would get a kick out of it.  So it was just a matter of creating the image and text in Silhouette Studio, cutting it out of heat transfer vinyl, and ironing it onto a pre-washed shirt.

 

Hilarious, "punny" shirt for a dentist or dental hygienist - the molar bear!

  Hilarious, "punny" shirt for a dentist or dental hygienist - the molar bear!

 

Presto, dentist pun t-shirt!  This would be a great gift for a dental hygienist, too.

 

Hilarious, "punny" shirt for a dentist or dental hygienist - the molar bear!

 

Hehe.  Enamel cruelty.  I love a good pun, don’t you?  (Thanks for instilling that all-important virtue in me from a young age, Dad.)

 

punnytitle

 

My friends Kristy from Please Excuse My Craftermath and Deanna of From Wine to Whine are also sharing some clever pun projects today – hop on over for some more chuckles and groans! (Click on the photo to go to their posts)

 

hand me a towel bee-inary molar bear

Bottle Tips from an EBF Mom

This post was sponsored by Playtex.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely my own! 

Really practical tips on bottle feeding for moms who are exclusively breastfeeding

 

I’m an “EBF” mom, which means I exclusively breastfeed my babies.  I’m proud to say that I breast fed my daughter for a year and a half!  And I plan to do the same with my 2 month old son.

 

Now, you may think that since I rarely give my baby a bottle, it’s a little odd that I’m writing a post all about bottles.  But actually, EBF babies can be the most difficult to bottle feed!  Babies that are used to the “real thing” can be really finicky about what types of nipples and bottles they’ll actually eat from.  I am no bottle expert, by any means – but I’ve done a lot of reading, tried a lot of bottles, and had a lot of advice passed on to me!  Of course, every baby is different and you need to adapt to do what’s best for your baby.  But here are some tips to consider when you are working on getting your little one to take a bottle.

 

Really practical tips on bottle feeding for moms who are exclusively breastfeeding

 

Introducing a bottle.  The experts say wait until breastfeeding is “well established” before introducing a bottle.  Once you feel like breastfeeding is going well and is comfortable for both you and your baby, it’s time to pump a bottle, give it to your husband (or another adult caregiver) and leave.  That’s right – go for a walk, go shopping, go sit on the front porch, but do your best to leave the house while somebody else gives the baby a bottle.  Having you in the same room with the baby may cause him/her to decide, “no way, I can smell mom, I know she’s right there, I want the real thing, not this imposter bottle!”  And I say leave the house, because I know when I hear my baby crying it is SO hard not to go try to help him stop – so just trust your hubby and go far enough away that you won’t be able to hear if baby is crying.  Once you’ve introduced a bottle – this is important – don’t stop giving the baby a bottle!!  My daughter took a bottle with no trouble when she was a few weeks old, and then the next time we went to give one to her (a few weeks after that) she would have nothing to do with it.  From then on, she never really took a bottle well.  So don’t forget to give baby a bottle every couple of days, or at least once a week.

 

Pumping a stash.  You definitely don’t need a fancy electric pump to do this – I have both a double electric pump and a single manual pump and much prefer the manual one – it’s just so much easier to get out, use, clean, and put away.  Anyway, it is a great idea to work some pumping into your routine to begin building a “stash” of pumped breast milk, even if you’re not planning to ever be away from your baby for extended amounts of time.  It gives you the freedom to go out on short notice – on a date with your hubby, for a longer shopping trip, or maybe even a mani/pedi!  Or perhaps your husband will get up for an early morning feeding and let you get a precious full night’s sleep.  Or you might want to have an occasional extra glass of wine with dinner.  Even in some kind of mild emergency situation (traffic, illness, injury) where you can’t get back to the baby in time for his next feeding, it’s good to know there’s breast milk in the freezer that his caregiver can use if necessary.  And as baby gets older, you can use it to mix in with homemade baby food purees, or even donate your excess to a milk bank or mom in need!

 

Choosing the right bottle.  Here’s where it can be REALLY overwhelming – there are so many different kinds of bottles out there!  You could literally spend hundreds of dollars on bottles and accessories.  While there are tons of different types of bottles out there, babies are very particular when it comes to the size and shape of the nipple they prefer.  We recently tried Playtex bottles and I really love the variety that they have available in their line, specifically in the Playtex Nipple Variety Pack.  In one affordable package, you get 4 different kinds of nipples to try with your baby and see what he/she likes best.  There’s the NATURALATCH® Nipple (Most like Mother®), ANGLED shape (for upright feedint), BREASTLIKE shape (designed to mimic the breast) and FULLSIZED shape (for wider mouths).  And all four nipples are a perfect fit for both the Playtex® VentAire and Playtex® Nurser with Drop-ins® Liners bottles, which are designed to reduce colic – good news for my gassy little boy!  In fact, in a study of 350 moms who tried Playtex® bottles, 96% of Moms found a nipple that baby liked within the Playtex Nipple Variety Pack, and 97% of Moms would recommend The Playtex Nipple Variety Pack to other moms!

 

  Really practical tips on bottle feeding for moms who are exclusively breastfeeding

 

Want to give Playtex a try?  Here’s your chance!  I’m giving away TWO Playtex® SureFeed™ Discovery Sets to ONE lucky winner! (One for the winner and one for her to give to a friend!) 

playtex-surefeed-discovery-set

 

The Playtex® SureFeed™ Discovery Set is the perfect gift set for registry with all you need to get feeding right from the start, all in one box!

Gift Set Includes:

(1) Playtex® Nipple Variety Pack
(1) VentAire® Bottle
(1) Nurser with Drop-Ins® Liners Bottle
(5) Drop-Ins® Liners.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Don’t forget to like Playtex on Facebook for more product information, coupons, giveaways, and more!

 

Do you have any other tips and tricks for bottle feeding from your own experiences?  Or if you’re already a Playtex user, what nipple/bottle combination works for your little one?