Turn Your Child’s Artwork Into a Custom Stuffed Animal with Budsies

When my son, Zack (now 8 years old), was in preschool, he hated to draw, color and paint.  I tried different methods to get him to embrace his artistic side – Finger paints! Glitter!  A box of 120 Crayola crayons! – but nothing mattered.  He’d draw/color/paint for all of 2 minutes, and then go right back to crashing his Hot Wheels through Lego towers.  As a person who thrives in anything creative, I felt like a failure as a mother.  I may or may not have cried about it in front of his teacher and pediatrician.

Moms, you know how it goes.  It doesn’t take much for us to feel like we are failures, does it?

But as it turns out, I shouldn’t have been worried.  About a year ago, Zack developed a concept that he calls a Zack Bot.  It’s a little flying robot with long arms and a big Z on his body.  He’s drawn Zack Bot books, puts Zack Bots on every scrap of paper that he can find, and creates “special edition” bots for his friends – there’s a Josh Bot and a Kat Bot, which each have different super powers.

Bring your kids' artwork to life with Budsies #bestgifteverHis artistic vision was delayed, but it did eventually show up.  You have no idea how excited I am that Zack has finally embraced his artistic side!

So when I heard that there was a company – Budsies – that turned children’s artwork into plush, stuffed animals, I knew that I had to get one made for Zack.  After looking at their website, I was really impressed with the way they had turned other kids’ drawings into stuffed animals, down to the last polka dot and crazy detail.  Kids have some super imaginative visions, and all of the animals were really well executed.

Of course, I couldn’t order a Budsie for Zack and leave out Emma.  She drew her ideal stuffed animal, which was kind of crazy.  I was worried that it would be too much (or too abstract) for Budsies to replicate, but they assured me that it was just fine.

Bring your kids' artwork to life with Budsies #bestgiftever

The process is that you order your Budsies through their website and then send in the artwork.  If your child needs help coming up with an idea, Budsies offers templates that they can use as a jumping off point.  To submit the artwork, you can take a picture of it and email or text it to the company or just upload it through their website.  They let me know that they had received the artwork and that it looked great.  In about a month, I got a shipping notification that our Budsies were on their way to us via USPS Priority Mail.

I didn’t tell the kids that their Budsies were on their way, since I know opening that box would be an amazing surprise for them.  And it was!

Bring your kids' artwork to life with Budsies #bestgiftever

Five Easy Ways to Remind Yourself to Change Your HVAC Filters

There are few things more boring, or easily forgotten, than performing routine home maintenance tasks.  Mowing the grass, resealing grout, replacing caulk around the windows.  Yawn, right?  Well, as tedious as those tasks seem, they are very important to the way your home physically operates.  A properly maintained home helps keep your energy costs down, which in turn (if we are being totally honest) means you have more money left over for decorating. Woot!

I am notorious for conveniently forgetting routine tasks, like changing smoke detector batteries before they start beeping at me or the HVAC filters before they are disgustingly dirty.   I’m pretty good at remembering things that happen once a month, like giving my dogs heir heart worm preventative on the first of every month. But if something is supposed to be done once every few months?  My brain refuses to participate.  I mean, y’all saw my dirty HVAC filters a few months ago.  They were gross! Thank goodness I usually use the Filtrete Allergen Defense MPR 1000 filters that help to reduce airborne allergens in my home and clean indoor air by capturing dust, pollen and lint from passing through the system.  That at least makes me feel a little bit better when I forget about them.

Since I’m trying to do my best to turn over a new leaf and save us a little money by properly maintaining an efficient heating and cooling system, I have come up with a system to help myself remember to perform certain tasks.  One of my friends (shout out to Sara!) just told me it cost her $7,000 to replace an old HVAC system – you could buy a lot of paint with that money, y’all!  Replacing her system wasn’t dirty filter related, but there’s no reason why I should send mine to an early grave by ignoring it.

Just in case you are in the same boat as I am, I put together a list of a few ideas I had for setting up a system for these types of reminders:

Set an Alarm

I tend to rely on my iPhone for just about everything.  I need it to make calls, send emails, search the Internet, do some pinning and tell me if its going to rain.  Now, I think it needs to remind me to change my HVAC filters, too.

There are a few ways you can set such an alarm on your phone.  With either an iPhone or an Android, you can download a free app called Any.Do (I LOVE this app, y’all).  You can schedule a task, like Replace HVAC Filters, every three months (the recommended time between changing filters) and set an alarm to go off.  When the date and time you selected arrives, a chime and a notification will pop up on your phone.

Five Easy Ways to Remind Yourself to Change Your HVAC Filters

Any.Do even has a web app now which makes it even easier to schedule tasks.  I use it for reminders for all sorts of things.

Five Easy Ways to Remind Yourself to Change Your HVAC Filters

Jot it Down

As much as I love my Any.Do app, I’m a paper calendar type of girl.  I know, I know.  Make fun of me all you want, but writing appointments down on a paper calendar is pretty much the only way that I’m going to make it there at the right time.  I’ve tried – and failed – several times to convert myself to a digital calendar on my phone/computer.  Each time, it ended badly.

Why Beige is Like the Mom Jeans of Paint Colors

Beige is a valid color. It has its place in decorating and there are many gorgeous rooms with beige walls or beige furniture. So all you beige-lovers, put down your pitchforks and hear me out.

Beige is Like the Mom Jeans of Paint Colors | Jackie Hernandez for Makelyhome.com

Beige is like the mom jeans of paint colors… they are modest, plain-Jane, and wholly unflattering. Mom jeans are the high-wasted, full coverage default choice of jeans. They aren’t really flattering on anyone, especially the mom’s they are named after. You’ll certainly cover the midriff, squish down the muffin top, and avoid anything unsightly.  But there’s also a strong chance they’ll give you pancake butt, a skin rash from the elastic in the back, and baggy thighs. You won’t look and feel your best, turn any heads, or get asked for your phone number.

Beige is associated with being a safe choice. It is neutral, a default. Never mind that it is just as easy to choose the wrong shade of beige as it is to choose the wrong shade of any other color.

I’m not just talking about builder’s beige, the color your home was likely painted when you bought it. I mean all shades of beige. It is not just because the beige trend has passed and we’ve moved on to gray, but because I am against you picking any sort of “default” color.

How to Love Neon in Your Home

NEON

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Neon has long been considered a major trend, especially in fashion.  I love that it’s started making it’s way into home decor!

Now, neon and I are buddies, but for a while, that wasn’t the case.  I am a neutral girl.  I paint almost every room in my home white (they’re all currently white, but I’m considering going dark in one!)  I like lots of wood paired against that white.  I will layer color on top, but it’s more the cherry on top of my style sundae instead of the two scoops of ice cream.

To me, neon has always been the two scoops of ice cream.  When you add neon to a room, I just knew it would be overwhelming.

I had to learn how to love neon in my home and I’m excited to share with you how I bridged the gap between neutral-lover to bring-on-the-neon!

Here’s how I’ve approached bringing neon into our home:

Sunday Pinterest Party Featuring You {Week 9}

It’s party time, y’all!

Weekly Pinterest Link Up Party

Meet our team: Allison from Two Thirty-Five Designs~Pinterest, Lindsay from Makely School For Girls~Pinterest, Kelly from Lily Pad Cottage~Pinterest, Adrianne from Dream Book Design~Pinterest, Jenelle from Nelle Creations~Pinterest, Sarah from Creative Ramblings~Pinterest, and Aimee from Captivating Corner~Pinterest.

If you missed the last few weeks, be sure to click here to find out what’s going on. I am loving this Pinterest party!  I’m getting discover new pins that I haven’t seen yet on Pinterest, which is leading to new ideas in my crazy brain. This week, I’m featuring this adorable stump table, pinned by Kristie Ritter.  I really want to make one of these for my home, but I was afraid it was a lot of work.  Kristie makes it look really easy, so I might try it! DIY stump table Y’all know I love a good knockoff, and this one is no exception!  This DIY Chain Mail Lamp, pinned by Leigh at Simple. Home. Bliss., is fun.  Make sure you click through to her pin to see how she did it. DIY Chain Mail Lamp

Ideas for an (Almost) Tween Boy’s Room

When my now 8-year old son was just two, he had one giant obsession: cars.  That kid woke up talking about cars, went to sleep talking about cars, and he spent every moment in between either playing with cars or talking about how he wanted to play with cars.  He was a fun little man, and Lightening McQueen was his hero.  And if we are being totally honest, Lightening McQueen was my hero, too, because he helped get me through some rough moments as a first time mother.

So, I did what any crazy, DIY loving mom would do and painted a car mural on every wall of his room.  The cars were cartoon styled to match his (then popular) bedding from Target.  The delight on his face when he saw the room for the first time is one of those moments that, as a mother, I will never forget.

In the past few years, Zack’s obsessions have changed. Although he does still like to play cars with his 3-year old sister and has never turned down a chance to watch his buddy McQueen, Zack’s primary obsessions are now Lego, Minecraft, and sharks.  When I brought up the thought that we needed to redecorate his room since he had outgrown the toddler car theme, I was met with a lot of resistance.  Zack is a very sentimental kid (a trait that he doesn’t get from me), so the thought of his car room going away brought out the tears.

I gave him about six months to get used to the idea.  One day, he came to me and said, “I’d like to have a shark room.”  He wants to be a marine biologist – which is funny to me, because that’s what I entered college to be but I had never shared that with him. “Yep, we can do that!” I replied. “But, with a little mid century modern twist.”

“Huh?” he said.

Mid Century Modern boy's room moodboard

Using Photoshop Elements, I put together a mood board using my ideas for his room.  Since he outgrew his car room so quickly, I don’t want to go down the themed room route again (I should have listened to my friend Melissa back then).  I want to make it “feel” sharky while having very few actual sharks in the room.  Zack loves the above image, so I think we are headed in the right direction.  This is really the first time I’ve ever done a mood board for one of my rooms, but I’m already thrilled that I put it together.