Amy Beth

February 23, 2016

Baby Rainbow Sweater and Pixie Hat

I’ve known how to knit and crochet for many years. I find it to be a relaxing activity to pick up at the end of the day. Perfect for feeling productive while binge watching TV. However, despite my many years of practice, I have very little to show for it. I’m great at starting a project and losing steam before it is finished.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

So I’m really proud of this sweater.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

I followed the Eliose Sweater pattern that you can find here, just modifying the colors a little. To go with it made a little pixie hat based on this pattern. The hat was very easy and quick, which was nice after spending so much time on the sweater. I made the sweater just a tad on the big side so Poppy should be able to wear it through the winter and into the spring.

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

Baby rainbow sweater and pixie hat

These are going down as projects 5&6 in my 31 Projects goal.

February 10, 2015

Suncatcher Valentine’s Day Cards


For much of my life, Valentine’s Day was not so much about romance as it was about the CARDS. As a very young child I insisted upon making a homemade Valentine’s day card for every person who had even the slightest place in my life. Grandparents and aunts and uncles, sure, but also neighbors, Sunday School teachers, and the bug exterminator man (we lived in Mississippi where the the bug exterminator man was of great importance).

In elementary school I can vividly remember the chore of writing all my classmates’ names on the store bought Valentine’s Day cards I had picked out, painstakingly trying to make sure none of the boys got anything overly flirtatious that might suggest anything more than a polite acquaintanceship.

In High School Valentine’s Day got a bit more awkward and I kept it’s place in my life pretty low key, but in college I started dating the man who would become my husband and picking just the right card to express my great love and affection was an activity that required standing in the card aisle of the grocery store for much longer than one should ever stand in a single grocery store aisle.

Then again as an adult I got back into the homemade card making business, using the holiday as an excuse to exercise some creative energy and express my appreciation for various family members.

So now as a mother, there is of course a great responsibility to make sure my children carry on the tradition and create homemade cards for their grandparents and aunts and uncles. That’s what the holiday is all about, after all!

I give you Suncatcher Valentine’s Day Cards.

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You start with some contact paper, some pretty translucent paper (tissue paper would work), and a card with a heart cut out of it.

Let your kid stick pretty paper scraps to the contact paper with abandon. If you have a child who is into using scissors you could let them cut out random shapes and scraps to stick on, or even have them tear the paper. Both would be a great fine motor activity. My child just wasn’t feeling the fine motor practice on this particular day so I cut some small hearts for him to use. Other ideas could be to use a hole punch to make lots of tiny colorful circles, get really messy and sprinkle glitter, or get some kind of shiny valentine’s day confetti at the party supply store to throw around.

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Once the contact paper is sufficiently covered with prettiness, top with another sheet of contact paper and cut into smaller pieces to fit behind the heart shape on your card.

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Decorate the paper as much or as little as you like and send the cards off in the mail to the people who mean the most to you! These cards are pretty anywhere, but they are especially nice when displayed in a window.

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November 7, 2014

Toddler Leaf Collage


This little craft is a simple way to collect and display bits of the outdoors with your toddler. All it takes is a bit of contact paper and a short walk outside!


I stapled a sheet of contact paper to a piece of cardboard so we would have a sturdy surface to work on. Then we took a walk with our board and picked up pretty leaves. When we found one it was simply a matter of sticking it on the contact paper. No glue, no tape. It was very easy and simple for little toddler hands to manage. By the end of our walk we had a nice collection of leaves.


When we got home we stuck the contact paper to the glass of our back door so we could admire our work.



Before sticking contact paper straight to glass I googled it to make sure it wouldn’t leave some sort of horrible sticky residue for me to clean off. In the process I found this blog post of a similar idea with flower petals that produced really lovely results. You should take a look if you want to see what this idea can become if you spend a little more time and effort on it.

October 28, 2014

DIY Robot Costume

We haven’t done the trick or treating thing with Charlie yet, but we’ve decided we’re going to give it a try this year. Our town has a nice little main street trick-or-treating event that I think he could find fun. However, I’m not a person who is super into Halloween. I mean, it’s fine, I guess. But I don’t get excited about it, so an elaborate costume is not something I care to spend my time on. Therefore, I thought we’d try a robot this year. Charlie’s been in a bit of a robot phase lately and it seemed like it would be an easy and cheap costume to make.

There are lots of cute robot costumes out there made out of boxes, but we didn’t have any boxes that would have fit Charlie. I originally planned to cut up a paper bag, and glue some foam shapes on for the robot buttons. But Charlie had a better idea to just use the big sheets of foam for make the body of the robot. So that’s what we did.


I cut a neckline at the top of the foam sheets and then used gaffer’s tape to connect the front and back together at he top of the shoulders (kind of like a sandwich board sign). Then I cut circles and squares out of other colors of foam and helped Charlie glue those on the front for the buttons.

Charlie decided halfway through that he wanted to be a “plane robot,” so we added wings to the back.


I love that this costume was free (I already had the foam sheets lying around from some previous craft idea) and that it was largely Charlie’s idea. It also only took about half an hour or less to put together.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to persuade him to try it on for a picture yet. I’m interested to see if we can actually get him to dress up for the big night.

September 1, 2014

Project Life: First Spreads

So a few weeks ago I told you about my fear of forgetting my children’s early years and what I was going to do about, namely, start a physical album of photos and journalling based on the ProjectLife method of scrapbooking. I’ve completed my first few spreads so I wanted to report back and share what I think about this method and lessons I’ve learned thus far.

1. It’s easier than scrapbooking, but harder than just sticking pictures in an album.

I like that I don’t have to embellish anything If I don’t want to, but I’ve found that it takes some time and creativity to make use of the different layouts and pocket sizes to create a cohesive spread in the book. It’s fun, but definitely not effortless.

2. It makes just as big of a mess as scrapbooking.

At least, I make just as big of a mess working on a layout for my ProjectLife album as I would on any scrapbook. I’m making my own journal pages, rather than purchasing any kits for now, so that involves lots of paper cutting and various markers and pens. Many of the pocket sizes have required trimming down my photos as well. All these paper scraps make it a little more difficult for me to find the time to work on it because I have to get out all the materials to start work and put them all away when I’m done. I’m working on creating a better project space for myself so I can leave things out and come back to them as I get the chance.

3. I’ve developed some opinions on photo printing.

I used SnapFish to print my photos. It was by far the most affordable option I could find, and they were running a special on free shipping during the time I was printing these. I got 400 photos printed (remember, I’m catching up on 2 years!) for just around $35.00. Even though I probably won’t end up using all 400 photos in the book, the price was good enough that it was worth it for the ease of editing down the photos as I went along rather than trying to make all those decisions on the front end. Making decisions is not a strength for me.

There are a few things I wish I had done differently though. First, during checkout I was giving the option to have everything printed as a 4×6 or to have those pictures that were taken with my phone printed at a slightly smaller size that wouldn’t require the photos to be cropped to fit the 4×6 ratio. I thought that it would be better to avoid cropping, but once I got the photos I realized that it would have been more useful to have them all be a full 4×6 inches. The slightly smaller sized photos can leave some gaps on the edges of the pockets that I’m not a huge fan of.

I also realized that square instagram photos don’t translate well into rectangles. Several of my favorite instragrams had major portions of the photo cut off. I’m looking into some other options to get photos taken with instragram printed.

4. I learned that 6×8 photo books and pocket pages can come with different specifications.

The binder I ordered has 4 rings in it. While the pocket pages I ordered only come with two hole punches. I didn’t even think to look at this while I was ordering supplies. It’s not a huge deal to add some extra hole punches to the pocket pages, but it’s an inconvenient extra step that I wish I would have avoided.

5. I probably could have done the bigger album.

Before I started I thought a 12×12 album sounded too big and overwhelming. Now that I have 400 pictures to put in an album, I think I probably could have filled out the bigger pages just fine. I’m finding the smaller page sizes to be not quite as impressive looking as the 12×12 album examples I’ve seen online. Then again, maybe it just takes practice to get things really looking good.

6. It does make for a nice way to document important moments in life.

I’m happy with how my album is coming along so far, even though I’m just a few spreads in. I imagine as I do more and get into a better rhythm that I’ll start to put things together a bit faster and develop a particular style that I like. I feel like I’m definitely in the experimental stage right now.


I started the album out with a few images from my pregnancy with a couple of journalling cards to take note of the little details. I didn’t do a lot of documenting during pregnancy, so one spread pretty much covered all I had to say about it.


The next couple of pages are of our first moments in the hospital after he was born. I used a long skinny pocket on one page to write out a brief birth story and some of the vital stats (date, time, weight, and height – blurred out in this photo).


The other side of that spread continues the birth story along with some pictures of Charlie’s first moments with various family members who were there.

I’ve only gotten through the first few hours of Charlie’s life so far, so I have a long way to go. I’ll keep you updated!

March 3, 2014

Cars Galore Birthday Party!

Charlie only says two words clearly and with any regularity. One is “Mama.” The other is “cars.” So when planning for his 2nd birthday party it only seemed fitting that cars should be the theme of the day. I wanted him to be able to tell us what a fun time he was having, after all.

For the most part we kept things small and simple – much like last year. Some family came. We opened presents. We ate cake. We did a couple car themed activities and then took advantage of a rare warm(ish) day and played outside. It was a lovely day!

The Cake

Race car themed birthday cake

The cake this year was actually brownies. This saved me from having to ice a whole cake. It also kept it to a reasonable size. I baked the brownies in a round cake pan and used some decorating icing to draw a road going around the cake. Green icing was applied to resemble grass and bushes, and matchbox cars were set on the road. I thought using the toy cars gave a really nice effect on the cake while keeping it super simple. And Charlie loved getting to play with the cars once we cut into the cake.

Birthday cake for a car themed party

Tire Track Painting

Our first activity was a painting made with tire tracks. Due to his love of cars Charlie was much more engaged in this activity than the finger painting we did last year. The main skill requirement for the craft was driving toy cars around on the paper, so he was already an expert in how to do it.

Tire Track Painting

We started with a long sheet of paper (with a plastic tablecloth underneath to cut down on the mess to clean up) and paper plates for each color of paint. To keep it looking somewhat attractive, I picked out four coordinating colors to work with rather than just giving him every color under the sun.

Tire Track Painting: use toy cars to create tire track prints on paper.

Then we ran the wheels of the tires through the paint and drove them around on the paper. I tried to find tires with interesting ridges and textures so the tracks would have some variety.

Tire Track Painting: make a fun abstract painting using toy cars instead of paintbrushes!

This craft resulted in a pretty fun abstract painting that I plan to hang on a big empty wall in his room.

Clean up was pretty simple. We threw away the plastic table cloth and paper plates, wiped up any smudges from the floor (we used washable paint) and moved the paint covered cars to our next activity – a car wash!


Shaving Cream Car Wash

The car wash kept Charlie busy for much longer than I expected. Everyone else had moved on and were visiting in another room while Charlie kept washing his cars.


We started with two large plastic bins. We filled one with shaving cream and one with water. From there Charlie just moved cars back and forth from one bin to the other. He’s get a car all foamy in the shaving cream, then rinse it off with the water, lather, rinse, repeat.

Shaving cream car wash


Shaving cream car wash


It was so fun to see Charlie actually engage in these activities and enjoy his special day. It’s amazing how much he’s learned and changed in the past year. It makes me think that next year’s party will be even more fun!

For more party ideas and inspiration, check out my DIY Party pinterest board!


December 3, 2013

Activity Advent Calendar

Our advent calendar.

Our advent calendar.

For about a year I’ve been planning to make an Activity Advent Calendar for Christmas. Despite the plan, I still didn’t get it done until 2 days after Advent had commenced, but no one but me really seemed to mind. So just in case you’re looking for some some late-start advent ideas, I thought I’d go ahead and share what I did. (Or maybe you’ll be cooler than me and tuck this idea away for next year and actually get it done on time!) Anyway, back to the calendar. I love the idea of being intentional about celebrating the season and creating family memories. I also knew that Charlie would be just old enough to enjoy some special activities each day. We are just beginning to form our family Christmas traditions, and I feel like this advent calendar is something that will grow with us through the years.

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September 25, 2013

Make Your Own Menu Planning Board

Meal Planning Board

I’ve long admired those cute little menu planning boards that I’ve seen floating around Pinterest. I assume that people with such boards must be super crafty and organized and have some kind of magical craft-and-organize time in their days.

But it turns out that’s not really the case because I made myself a menu planning board. It is moderately cute and I got it done in one evening after my boy was in bed and before I hit my daily wall of exhaustion. Here’s how it went down.

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