Make Fun Stuff! – The Pirate Ship!

Role playing is incredibly important play for young children. It is also my very least favorite way to play. One of my dearest friends recently said that she would rather read 100 books to her daughters than play house with their dolls. In our house, it goes just a little bit differently.

When I don’t think that I can possibly fix another zebra’s owie with my amazing veterinary skills or lose one more army guy battle, I break out the paint. Yes, I would rather clean paint (or clay, or markers…or even glue) off of every table (and child) in my house than “talk guys” as my two year old would say. So, I decided that I would share some of the fun things we make!

But first, some tips on being crafty with kids:

  • Don’t run to the craft store and buy a bunch of stuff. Be frugal. Not only will you slowly acquire supplies inexpensively by buying one thing here, another there, but you are teaching you children to be resourceful! The dollar store can be your best friend, or your worst enemy if you go overboard.
  • Don’t stock up. Unless I know I’m going to be making 3 pairs of “binoculars” soon, I don’t keep every toilet paper roll we empty. If we’re feeling crafty, we work with what we have. If you’re not a spur of the moment person, plan your activities in advance or only keep enough “supplies” to have 2 or 3 projects on hand for rainy days.
      • Idea! Do an inventory check in your head and then do a 10-15 minute google/pinterest search. For example: crafts with egg cartons. Don’t spend more than a few minutes searching, pick something and get to work!
  • Store up treasures in heaven, not in the garage. Yes that rocket your four year old made is precious and if he becomes an astronaut you might wish you had it. But instead of collecting plastic tubs full of evidence of fond memories, it makes for a more peaceful home if you just bury yourself in the memories themselves. I give our projects 1-2 weeks. I let our kids and their friends play with them and wear them out and then throw it out. If you’re a memory evidence hoarder, try keeping a picture of their art which you can store digitally!

The Pirate Ship
(or other sailing vessel, if you’re not pirate people)

The little one's mine :)

The complexity of your ship will highly depend on the age of your boat builder.

Milk CartonOne straw for each mast
Brown paper bag
Cardstock (old file folder)
Crayons, markers or paint
Tape or glue

Step 1: Paint or cover with brown paper bag(I chose to cover. I didn’t think my two year old’s attention span would last through painting) I folded/gathered the paper to a squarish point in front to make it feel more ship-shaped.
(older kids could cut holes in their carton to make it more dimensional on deck or cannons etc)

Step 2: While ship is drying, color or paint some sails – be creative! You could even make a fabric flag to0!

Step 3: Use strong glue (such as hot glue) or tape to attach your sails to straws.

Step 4: Poke holes and attach straws using the same medium as above (duct tape for us haha)

Step 5: Add accents to ship including windows, cannons, board lines etc

A sword fight aboard!
A sword fight aboard!

Matching Kids Pajamas

The other day, I set out to make something for my little girl to come home from the birthing center in. She should be here around the coldest day of the year, and I wanted some warm pajamas that could buckle in to the car seat. I finished a pair of footless pajamas only to have the snaps start popping off as soon as I was finished. (I’m guessing it’s because I’ve been trying to use up notions that my grandma bought who-knows how long ago.)
Soooo….I got off the bottom, added a ruffle and WAH-LAH! A night gown! Since I made my son a pair of pajama pants to match I figured I might as well show them off.

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

I used a pair of newborn footie pajamas as a pattern for the top half of the gown. I then just cut two extra wide rectangles (the same width) and pinned the ruffle on the way I wanted it. I then sewed the right sides together, back stitching over each gather. I don’t have a serger so of course I zig-zag stitched all of the inside seams.

I won’t even pretend I am an amazing enough seamstress to make this all up on my own so here are my other resources for using existing clothing as a pattern and making children’s pajamas. Check the tutorials sections of these websites:

Made By Rae


It’s Always Autumn
Here are a few of my Little Dude flying a plane for us in his new PJs!

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

It was to late to charge my camera battery so I’m sorry for the bad lighting and the instagram look!

What are some of your favorite online craft resources?Do you have a favorite tutorial?!

Repurposed Shower Curtain

In my frenzy of nesting this pregnancy (aka the whole second trimester) I have done a lot of artsy things! It all started with knitting projects and migrated to sewing/fabric projects. Since this baby will eventually share room with my son, I had wonderful plans of making my own crib sheet, crib blanket and trendy curtains.

Oh the plans we make! Since none of these have made it past the planning phase (so far), I decided it was time to give in and buy some curtains to replace the ugly tan ones in my son’s room. (They came with the house – yeah that ugly!)

While I browsed the curtain isle in Target, I was disappointed as everything I chose seemed out of stock or the wrong length. Just as I threw in the towel and walked away, I found myself on the endcap looking at the clearance items. While the curtain selection continued to be less than encouraging, my eye was drawn to a geometric orange shower curtain…and the gears started turning!

I bought two (I only ended up needing one) and headed home to start sewing! I simply cut the shower curtain in half and redid the seams on those edges. I then folded over the top and sewed a new space for the curtain rod. No fancy extras, I didn’t even take them up any which I had originally planned on – and tah-dah!

Photo Cred: EliciaJohnson


The whole project was MUCH cheaper than buying curtains OR fabric to make them, and half of the work was already done for me!


What’s your favorite “look what I did” repurposing story?