Fake Snow Sensory Bin

In my mom’s group, sensory bins are all the rage.  At first I was reluctant.  It really seemed like a big mess to me.  But everyone kept posting pictures of their babies having a blast with different bins, and sensory play is important at this age, so I decided to hop on board!  I decided to start out by making a fake snow sensory bin!

Fake Snow Sensory Bin

This was SUPER easy for me to make, because back in my wedding planning days when I had decided I would have a winter wonderland wedding (which later turned into a fall outdoor wedding), I bought this fake snow at the Christmas store in Pigeon Forge, TN.  It is a small container of powder that you mix with water and it multiplies itself times a zillion and makes snow.  It feels so much like the real stuff.  It is wet, fluffy, and cold (if you use cold water).  PERFECT for an easy sensory bin if you are like me and get the sudden urge to do these kind of things a hour before bedtime.  Also it lasts for days.  I kept the sensory bin out for almost a week before I finally got rid of it and the “snow” was just as fresh as the day I made it.  If you don’t want to order this stuff (which is awesome and evidently has a shelf life of like eternity since I’ve had it for years), I’ve compiled a lists of a couple of websites which have recipes for fake snow.  I’ve not used any of them though, so try at your own risk. 😉

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I was overly excited and just poured 1/4 the container into my bin and started adding water, so it took me a bit to get the right consistency.  (Why do I never take the time to measure anything???)  It was totally awesome watching it grow with the more water I added, and an older toddler (or anyone old enough to realize what was happening) would be super excited.  Let’s face it, I’m an adult and I was acting like I was going to build the world’s biggest snow village.  It took me a few minutes to do this, so while the princess was waiting, she had some sensory fun with a container of Halloween sprinkles and Christmas sprinkles.

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She was having TONS of fun carrying them around the house shaking them.  She continued to play with these two sprinkle bottles for days.  Silly girl, all these expensive toys and the simplest things bring the most joy!

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After I had the “snow” made, I decided to hide a few of her favorite toys in there.  I put a Mickey bath toy and a few blocks from her alphabet train, in hopes that she would enjoy digging them out.

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Elise on the other hand, wasn’t so sure about slushy mess in front of her.

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She would NOT stick her hand down in it.  She kept touching it and making the grossest face.  I even put her hand down in it at one point thinking it would win her over, but she didn’t like the feel of it.  Although she didn’t dive in and go crazy with it like I wanted her to, THAT’S OKAY.  The sensory bin still served it’s purpose and exposed her to a new feeling.  Maybe she will have more fun with our next sensory project.  Each child is different and will enjoy different textures, tastes, sights, and smells.  Give it a try and see what your child ends up liking!

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**Spin off idea**

Have a toddler that is a little older?  Take an eye dropper and have them drop food coloring (or koolaid if you don’t want to use food coloring) onto the snow to “paint the snow” for a fun and educational activity that helps develop their fine motor skills!

As promised, a couple of fake snow recipes.  Like I said, I haven’t used any of these, so attempt at your own risk!

Living Life Crafty

LIFEOLOGIA has three different eco friendly recipes!

Do you have a recipe for fake snow?  Please feel free to comment and share!  Also I would love to hear about your experiences and how your little one reacted to the fake snow sensory bin!

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Valentine’s Day Felt Fun!

You may remember Elise’s felt Christmas tree that she had such a blast with during the month of December.  When we packed away all the Christmas decor, the little wall it was on just felt naked!  So I decided to make a Valentine’s themed felt wall.  At first I had the hardest time deciding what to do.  I had decided I was going to make a big box of chocolates with ribbon dividers and then she could move around the chocolates decorated with sprinkles and poms.  Then I was going to make a vase of flowers that she could move the blooms around.  Then I decided I had lost my mind, because my one year old really just enjoys ripping this stuff off and hiding it around the house.  So I decided to save the more elaborate designs for next year and do something easy and classic Valentine’s day – a heart!

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You don’t have to have a large space.  Here is the wall that I’ve used for both her Christmas tree and now the Valentine’s Day Heart.  It is in our foyer which opens up to the great room.  I don’t mind it being in the foyer.  I could have easily put it in her bedroom, but she is rarely in there to actually play.  We spend most of our time in the living room, so that is where I wanted it.  I wanted her to have access to easily play with it.

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I bought two yard of red felt because I was paranoid that I would mess up the first time, and it’s cheap anyway.  I could have went with less.  I folded it in half, laid it out on the floor, and drew half a heart with a permanent marker.

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I then cut the heart out.  I recommend measuring your area first, because I just winged it, and cut mine just a little bit too big for the wall.  Oops!  To secure the heart to the wall, I used command strips.  The heart took more command strips than the the Christmas tree because it is so large and top heavy.  I had to go out and buy more the next day because I only had three at home, so for these pictures, I used a little tape.  That is why it isn’t super smooth and tight.

For the small hearts, I folded in half and cut different sizes.  Some tall and skinny, some fat and extra round, so that she would have a little bit of variety.  I reused left over felt sheets from the ornaments on her felt tree.  If you don’t already have an assortment of felt, it is super cheap to buy, and 3-4 sheets would be plenty.

 

It was close to bedtime when I did it, but I let her play for a few minutes away.  Of course as soon as I got in on the wall, she insisted on coming and taking all the hearts off.

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She thinks it is the best game ever to take all the hearts off over and over again while I try to put them back up!  This was such an easy and cheap project that resulted in lots of fun!  I need to start planning our felt fun for Easter!

Rolled Flower Hairbow Tutorial

This is SUPER easy!  I love to make these flowers to add a girly touch to an outfit or make an adorable hairbow!  For Elise’s cake smash photo session, I wanted to make a bow to match her tutu.  I was short on time, because I only had the morning of to do it (procrastinator!) so I decided to make a couple of flowers to glue to a headband.  I used tulle in mine to match her tutu, but any kind of scrap fabric could work.  If your chosen material isn’t already in strip form, cut it into a long strip.  It doesn’t matter if it’s straight or anything, you’ll never be able to tell!

These are all cell pics because I can’t hold and snap the camera with one hand, so excuse the yucky photos!

First I took my tulle and started twisting it.  How tight/loose you twist the material will change the look of the flower, so play around and see which way you prefer.  See the piece sticking out from my thumbs?  I left all that excess and started twisting from that point.  You can trim the excess off later, and it will be on the back of the bow, so who cares if its there anyway.  It makes it way easier to hold and do.

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So after I got a bit twisted, I started wrapping it around in a circle to form a flower.  I got about this much done and then put some hot glue on the back to hold it in place.

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You then continue twisting and wrapping, adding dabs of hot glue to the sides and then lying your twist over it to secure them in place.  Be careful not to add too much hot glue, because you don’t want it showing through the front.

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Continue to wrap until you reach your desired size.  Then snip your extra material and roll the end of your twist around to the back of the flower and secure it there with hot glue.  I was in a rush and chose to glue mine straight to the headband.  You could just as easily glue it to a piece of felt or other fabric and attach it to the headband or to a clip.  For the headband pictured below I made a large pink flower out of tulle and a smaller purple one.  I added some blue tulle sticking out of the back to add a splash of more color.  They make such cute little bows to be so easy!  I must admit though, I burn myself with hot glue every single time!

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See more of Elise’s cake smash photos here!

 

Minnie Head Centerpiece Tutorial

I wanted to do one of these for every table, but I ran out of time, and honestly, I didn’t want to put that much money into centerpieces that were going to be thrown away.  So I only did one for the cake table.  It was super cute!

Supplies:

  1. Hot glue gun
  2. 2 medium sized Styrofoam balls
  3. 1 large half ball
  4. toothpicks
  5. Adhesive spray
  6. black glitter
  7. ribbon
  8. black paint (I used spray paint left over from our Minnie Mouse Car project)

I took my half ball and attempted to hot glue the small balls on top.  That was a big fail.  No matter how much hot glue I put, it wouldn’t hold.  So then I realized that duh, I could use toothpicks!  So I put a dab of hot glue on the small ball and stuck a tooth pick through it, then did the same to the large half ball and stuck the small ball with toothpick onto it.

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I then took it outside and spray painted it.  I did this in 20 degree weather at like 7:00 AM before Elise woke up, so it took FOREVER to dry.  I ended up putting two coats of paint on it.  I used Rustoleum black gloss spray paint left over from our minnie mouse car project.

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After it was good and dried, I sprayed it with adhesive spray and covered it in black glitter.

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Finally, we put a red and white polka dot bow on, to give it that Minnie Mouse touch!

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I don’t have our birthday photos back yet from the photographer to show it on the cake table, but when I get them back, I will be sure to share!

Sidenote: If you are going to use these as centerpieces where people might be touching them or they might accidentally get moved, I would definitely spray them to seal them, because the glitter would be EVERYWHERE if you didn’t!

Check out more of birthday related posts:

Meeska Mooska Minnie Mouse

Minnie & Mickey Hat Tutorial

Minnie Mouse Car Tutorial

Birthday Cake Pancakes

Happy Birthday Elise!

Birthday Traditions – A Room Full of Balloons

Minnie Mouse Car Tutorial

I’ve had SO many people ask me how we made Elise’s Minnie Mouse Car. It was so much fun to do, and Elise LOVES it! It really turned into a family project.

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I found the idea on pinterest, but it was just a picture. Finally I found someone who had done it and blogged about it, Little Corbin Hill. She did a great job, and her car is super cute too, but there are a few things I did differently and a few shortcuts that we took to make it easier!

My husband’s sister had a car lying around that her two boys had outgrown, so she gave it to us. If you don’t happen to have an old car already, I would look long and hard at yard sales and such before purchasing a new one. Little Corbin Hill said she did her project for pretty cheap, but I didn’t have any of the materials already, so we had to buy everything, which quickly adds up. If you had to buy a new car on top of that, it would be pretty pricey.

Here is the before:

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First we took the car apart and spray painted it. For everything painted, I used two cans of black gloss rustoleum paint and two cans of red rustoleum paint. We could have maybe got away with only using one black, but I felt it needed another coat. Also we had to buy a few new parts to put it back together, as they were old and basically fell into pieces when we took them off.

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For the ears and bow, we used a piece of 1/2″ plywood. Little Corbin Hill chose to make her mouse ears out of craft foam, but I wanted something much sturdier and more durable. Also, I felt that the craft foam would like pretty flimsy behind the big wooden bow. I also cannot draw to save my life, so I would never attempt to free hand a bow. I used my cricut to cut a large bow (using Disney Mickey Font cartridge) and two circles. I tried cutting a few different sizes to see what I felt look best. My mother and I then repeatedly folded and rearranged the bows/ears to make sure that they flowed nicely on top of the car. I didn’t want a huge gap of space, so the bottom edges had to be slanted and flattened quite a bit. We then traced the bow and two ears onto the plywood, and my dad cut them out and spray painted them for us. My dad secured them to the top of the car by gluing the bow to the ears and then placing a couple of screws through the bottom of the top to hold them in place. I really think doing the ears in wood too made it look a lot better.

As for the polka dots on the bow, we totally cheated. We used those little white circle stickers you get to put price tags on yard sale stuff. You can get them at pretty much any store that has any office supplies. Kind of like these I found on ebay. They look ten times better than painted on dots and were a zillion times faster.

After my husband put the car back together, I got the cricut back out and went to work on making dots for the car. I made my dots much smaller than the ones on Little Corbin Hill, but again I like having more dots better. To make these dots, I bought white vinyl and transfer tape from Hobby Lobby. I could have done it without the transfer tape. I had never used vinyl before though, so I didn’t know how easy/hard it was to work with. I cut out two pages of 2″ circles and simply peeled and stuck them on the car. I made sure to put some that followed in with the grooves of the car to make it look more “painted on” rather than stickers.

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Here is Elise testing it out convertible style while mommy worked on it!

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I then cut out her name in the vinyl using the Disney Mickey Font cartridge and put it on the license plate. I chose to do that instead of putting it on the top of the car because I felt with the big wooden ears and bow and all the extra dots, that it needed that extra black space showing to balance it out. That turned out to be a great idea because it is so cute on the back!!

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Finally, I took it outside and sprayed it with sealant. If you skip this step, you’ve probably wasted all of your time, because I doubt it would make it through a summer. I need to spray it with sealant one more time, but ran out of time before her party. So I’ll get to it the next pretty day.

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Elise is a little young for it right now, but she loves to sit in it. I am confident that she will be ready to take over the neighborhood in it next summer! It was a huge hit at her party, and I’m sure that any little girl (or boy if you want to do a Mickey version!) would go crazy over it! I also think it would be a super cute idea to do a ladybug or Hello Kitty one! Or maybe a super man or camo one for a little boy!

Update: My inbox has been exploding with people wanting help with the materials for the Minnie car so I put together a package.
$45 – Includes:
28 – 3 inch dots on vinyl (for car body)
Name cut out of vinyl for License Plate (no more than 5 letters or it will be too small to look good. I recommend using initials or a nickname if name is more than 5 letters)
Ears and bow template cut out on cardstock for you to trace onto wood. Please understand that you WILL have to adjust this some to fit your car, as the ears/bow template doesn’t have the slant in the bottom of the ears/bow to make it run smooth with the hood of the car. I will attempt to fold it down for you using Elise’s car, but you will have to readjust using your car hood before you trace it onto your wood.
Shipping to US only
This does NOT include the transfer tape. Transfer tape is not necessary, but is helpful for the name. I did not use transfer tape when applying the vinyl dots to the car. It can be found at a local craft store for around $10 a roll.

HERE IS THE LINK TO THE ETSY LISTING – http://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftsWithElise
You must go through etsy to purchase the kit.
Please do not email me on my personal email or photography page. Thank you.

Want to get these super cute nails??? Follow this link and contact me today! If you are reading this after July 10th I can still order these for you! There are also other SUPER cute Disney nails on this blog post!
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Check out all 300+ Jamberry nail designs here!

Check out more of Elise’s Birthday Fun:

Meeska Mooska MINNIE MOUSE!

Happy Birthday Elise

Elise’s Birthday Cake Pancakes

Minnie & Mickey Party Hat Tutorial

Minnie Head Centerpieces Tutorial

Minnie & Mickey Party Hats Tutorial

Minnie & Mickey Party Hats Tutorial

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Supplies:

  1. Black cardstock (12×12) – 1 sheet = 1 hat
  2. Scissors
  3. Black glitter foam
  4. Red & white polka dot ribbon
  5. Hot glue gun
  6. hole punch
  7. ribbon to make ties

 

First, I used my cricut to cut 10 large circles (about 11” x 11”) and 20 small circles (about 3” x 3”) out of the black cardstock.  If you don’t have a cricut, you could just use scissors.  The cricut is definitely MUCH faster and easier though!  After the cutting was done, I placed a book on top of my large circles to flatten them while I worked with the small circles.  I turned over my black glitter foam and traced the small circle 20 times. 

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I then cut out the glitter foam circles. 

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The foam I used had a sticker back, so I just applied them straight to the small card stock circles.  If your foam doesn’t have a sticky back, you could either glue them to the black cardstock, or skip this step all together.

 

To make the cone hat, I took the large circles and cut a straight line from the outside down to the center.  It doesn’t matter where you make the cut, as long as it is straight and goes to the middle.  You could be exact and measure it out perfectly, but that is too time consuming for me, so I just winged it.  (Homemade crafts aren’t supposed to be perfect anyway, right??). I did find that I had to cut a little farther than the center line to get it to form as small of a cone as I liked.  But, also to get it to form the smaller cone, it did have to overlap itself a bit at the bottom. This didn’t bother me at all, but it may some. 

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You will then take the cut circle and twist/wrap it into a cone. 

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I secured the inside with tape.  I also temporarily secured the outside with tape because I had an adorable baby (I’m in denial that she is a toddler) helping me.  I have to hot glue during nap times.  But if you don’t have a special little helper assisting, then you can go ahead and secure the outside with hot glue, craft glue, staples, or whatever you wish.

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After completing the cone hats, I hot glued ears to each side.  I’ve found pictures on pinterest where people have chose to glue them to the bottom of the hat instead of the top, but I personally think the top looks better.  Finally, I tied bows out of ribbon and glued them to half of the hats. 

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I made 10 total, and I finished this much in a day, but like I said, I had lots of help from tiny hands with lots and lots of breaks for cuddles and playing, so it probably could’ve been done during a nap time if I had wanted.  The day before her party, I realized that I never went back and secured a way for the kids to tie them on their head.  I did that part in a hurry, so excuse the cell pics!  First I took a hole punch and brought it up as far as I could so that it was punching through as many layers as possible.

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I then threaded the ribbon through the hole from the outside in and tied a knot.  I used two different ribbons, red and white polka dot for the Minnie hats and black and white polka dot for the Mickey hats.  I found that for the red and white ribbon, I had to tie a double knot to keep it from pulling through the hole.  For the other ribbon, I only had to tie a single knot. 

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Cut the ribbons to your desired length and then you are finished!  I also made this super cute sign using my Cricut.  I used the basic cartridge that comes with the cricut and also a Disney Mickey Font Cartridge.

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I’m happy with how they turned out and they were very cute on the entry table to her party!  Wouldn’t it be super cute to make plain white hats and half children decorate them with colorful poms and glitter at a craft party?  Definitely on my to do list for when Elise is a little older!

Finger painting Madness!

Baby finger painting was an idea that I got from a fellow mom.  It was a blast.  We did this when Elise was about 6 months old, and I plan to let her do it again one day soon.  I think she will have way more fun now.  It was so easy.  All I did was take two Gerber banana yogurts, although you could use any white yogurt.  Using yogurt is such a genius idea because of course a young one is going to put it straight in their mouth.  I separated the yogurt into four containers and put a few drops of food coloring in each one.  After it was mixed, I put them out on her tray and let her go to town.

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It was so funny watching her.  She was SO serious about it.  She wasn’t sure what to think of this gooey mess, let alone mommy encouraging her to make a mess with her food!

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High five daddy!

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…and the aftermath:

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I am so excited to do this again with her now that she is bigger and able to have more fun with it.  I think we will make a photo session out of it and let her really have fun on some white seamless!

Toddler Christmas Tree

This was such an easy project and Elise has had so much fun with it all month long.  She’s young for it and doesn’t understand to “decorate” the tree, but she has had such a blast taking the ornaments off and scattering them around the house.

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Supply list:

  • Green felt (1/2 – 1 yard)
  • Assorted colors of felt in sheets
  • Needle & thread (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Something to secure it to the wall.  I used command velcro strips.

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You will need green felt.  I got a yard because I’m prone to mess up the first go around.  You could use more or less depending upon the size you want the tree to be.  I bought green glittery felt.  That was probably a mistake.  It is super cute, but there is always glitter everywhere.  I can’t keep the floor around it clean!

I got my idea from this pin on pinterest.  I turned my felt over and traced my tree out on the back first.  I didn’t want to do just a triangle, I wanted it to have a little more life.  So I got out a ruler and attempted to draw straight lines to make the above tree.  I then cut it out and put it on the wall using Velcro command strips.

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I purposely didn’t do many ornaments and kept it simple because I knew they would just get lost this year because as I said before, my one year old loves to hide them.  (Really, I find these things EVERYWHERE! Including drawers and the diaper bag!)  I just freehanded the ornaments and cut random shapes and used entire sheets as presents.  Anywhere that there is an embellishment or double layer of felt, I decided to sew it.  I thought about gluing it, but decided against it because everything goes into Elise’s mouth.  If you have an older one that isn’t going to put it in their mouth, glue would probably be fine.  Elise’s favorite ornament is the white circle that has the different colored poms on it.

I have had a lot of people ask me how the ornaments are attached to the tree.  Felt sticks to felt.  It’s amazing and awesome.  Felt is wonderful.  However, if it is heavy, it does not stick well.  Those presents are in the floor 90% of the time, especially the one that I put the ribbon on.  If I do keep any of the ornaments from this year, that present is getting tossed regardless!

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This was a fun an easy project that I will do every year.  Elise comes crawling and giggling as soon as she sees you start putting the ornaments on the tree so she can rip them all off!  Next year I hope that Elise is able to help decorate some of the ornaments and have more fun actually putting them on the tree.  I want to make garland for it next year too and a real topper!

Check back for more felt projects, because I plan to do these for every season!

Elise’s Nursery

A little over a year ago, we were all putting a lot of thought, time, and projects into Elise’s nursery.  I spent a long time trying to decide how to decorate her room.  I wanted something pretty, but still actually functional.  What is the point of a nursery if a baby can’t actually play in it?  I didn’t want it to be overly bright, but instead, calming and relaxing.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.  Of course now, a year later, there are a few things I would have changed, but over all, I consider it a win and Elise seems to love it!

FYI, this room is never this clean now, and it has a lot more toys in it!

This beautiful tree decal on the wall came from this etsy store.  I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to put up.  My mother and I did it in one evening.  It is also very easy to take down.  You simply heat it a little and then it pulls right off.  I LOVE it!  I still have more blooms that aren’t on the wall.  It came with a ton!

My mother and I made this mobile.  It doesn’t play music or anything like that, but I never felt like we needed one that spinned or made noise.  To match the theme of the cherry blossom tree, we bought a large branch from hobby lobby, then cut about a third of it off.  We cut a few smaller pieces and hot glued them to the larger branch for twigs.  We bought these cheap little white birds out of the wedding section, then painted them pink.  We glued those to the branch and added a few pink blossoms.  Elise enjoyed watching the ceiling fan blow it and make the birds sway when she was younger!

Our bedding and furniture came from Buy Buy Baby.  I wanted a bed that could grow with her and turns into a full bed.  This is why we didn’t go with typical white.  We wanted something that she wouldn’t feel “too old for” when she is a big girl.  (Although I’m still in denial that she will ever grow up.) 

We bought white wooden letters at Hobby Lobby as well.  Silly us didn’t know what we wanted to do with them yet, so we had my dad spray pain them pink.  We ended up repainting them white. (ugh extra work!)  My mother did the fabulous detail painting!

For curtain rods, my dad went out into the woods and cut down two branches and then trimmed them to the correct size.  We spray painted them a dark chocolate brown to match her furniture.  I was concerned about how they would hold up with being real branches, but they are still doing great!  We ordered the pink and white striped fabric online and my wonderful mother turned them into curtains.  When we went to hang them, they were WAY brighter than the bedding, so I soaked them in the sink with bleach for a while to fade them out and then washed them.  It worked like a charm and now they match perfectly!  The beautiful crocheted blanket that you see on the back of the glider was a gift from a very sweet (and talented) family friend.

I think I MIGHT redo her room when we convert her to a toddler bed.  We shall see.  Right now the only time she is in there is to sleep or go find more toys!