The Cutest DIY Baby Gift Ever: A Book Birdhouse

Lately, the baby showers I’ve been to have encouraged guests to use a children’s book with your own message on the front cover in place of a card. I think it’s such a fantastic idea. The earlier we can encourage kids to read, the better.I like to put my own twist on this request. Along with one of my favorite children’s books (usually either The Monster at the End of this Book or I Love You Forever), I make the cutest baby gift ever: my Book Birdhouse.  Please note that the birdhouse is an indoor piece, and shouldn’t be used as a real, outdoor birdhouse.

Book Birdhouse

Supplies needed:
Small children’s book (Golden Books work well)
Craft Birdhouse . You can get one at any craft store, like Michael’s or A.C. Moore
X-Acto® Knife
Scissors
Staple gun
Foam Brush
Modge Podge®
Modge Podge® mat & smoother

Birdhouse Supplies

If your birdhouse has a chimney, you first need to take it off. They come off pretty easily if you turn it sideways and hit it off with the hammer. Don’t throw it out – you can put it back on later.

Use the X-Acto® knife to cut out all the pages on the book. Save the cover, it will be use for the roof.

Cut out all the pages of the book

Pick the pages with the best pictures to use. Also, pay attention to the text and cut out the best phrases.

Pick your pages

Press the pages against the sides of the house and figure out where each picture will go. You want to know the placement of the pages before you start gluing. Mark the page placement with a pencil on the back of the page (back, bottom, right side, left side, etc.)

Figure out where to place your pages

Prep the pages for gluing my folding over any corners that overlap the edge of the wood.

Cleanly fold over the corners

Carefully cut a small hole for the bird ledge to size your page over the front of the birdhouse. Once you get your page in place, use the knife to cut the birdhouse entrance.

Cut out the entrance and the bird ledge

Use a Modge Podge® mat and start gluing. It’s important that you don’t skip the bottom of the birdhouse, and you always want to start there. Don’t skip the bottom! It gives the house a finished, polished look. And anyway, just because you won’t see the bottom of the house when it’s on the shelf, that doesn’t mean baby won’t see it when he wants to play with the house. – Rant over.

Brush a thin layer of Modge Podge® on the bottom of the birdhouse, and glue down the book page.

Base coat of glue

Paper is porous, and the glue will make the paper expand, so you WILL get some air bubbles. Don’t worry, just use the smoother to push out any air bubbles, always smoothing from the center to the edge.

Smooth out your bubbles

Now, use another thin layer of Modge Podge® over the paper and very gently smooth again. You’ll have to wait about an hour or two for the glue to dry so you can finish the birdhouse.

Another coat will serve as a protective layers

Repeat the gluing process on the rest of the house, starting with front and bottom of the roof. You don’t have to worry about the top of the roof. Once all the pictures are glues on the house, glue on some of your favorite phrases. Remember, this is a book house – there should be some text!

birdhouse13 birdhouse12

If you plan on using the chimney, don’t forget to glue some pages on that, too.

Chimney

Now that the walls are finished, staple the book cover as the roof.

Cover Roof

If you’re using the chimney, hot glue it in place, on the cover.

Glue your chimney on!

Isn’t that the sweetest birdhouse you’ve ever seen? If I ever have children, I am going to have a ton of these (and a ton of books) in their rooms.

birdhouse2 birdhouse wardrobe and birdhouse

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Baby Clothes Wardrobe Giftbox


lovely cousins

My cousin Maggie is having a baby!  She’s due to have Brodie at the end of November. I can’t wait to meet him, but first things first. We have to first shower her with gifts! Her shower was last weekend, and me and the TR crew all pitched in and got lots of gifts for Brodie, including lots and lots of clothes. Instead of stuffing clothes in a gift bag or box, I have the cutest way to display your baby clothes gift.

wardrobe and birdhouse

It’s perfect for a shower or a baby’s birthday, and it’s super simple: build a wardrobe.   All you need is a long cardboard box, a 3/8″ wooden rod (you can get one at any craft store), some paint, an X-Acto knife (or scissors), doll house knobs (or buttons, beads, hooks, or any small charm will work), and a hot glue gun.

wardrobe supplies

First, cut off the two short flaps off the box. If your box is long enough, you can use the flaps to create a small shoe shelf at the bottom of the box by just gluing or taping the cardboard on the inside of the box, about 3 or 4 inches from the bottom. If your box is too short, that’s ok (mine was).

wardrobe remove tabwardrobe removed tab

Next, add the rod for hanging. Measure 6 inched from the top of the box, and the halfway point of the depth of the box. You want to make sure you mark in the same spot on both ends of the box so the rod is level. Once you mark both sides of the box with a pen, cut an X over the marks with your X-Acto knife.

wardrobe score side

Now, you will be able to push the rod through the cut X and through to the other side. If your rod is too long, mark  where you need to trim the rod, take it out of the box, and score and cut it.

wardrobe before paint

You can score the rod with a shape knife, saw, or I used scissors. (It was dark outside, and I was too lazy to venture out in the shed for the hand saw. I utilized Matt’s man-strength to do it with scissors).

wardrobe rod

All the hard stuff is over. Now for the fun of decorating! I Let my sister take over with the decorating for Maggi’s wardrobe box. Nancy first spray painted the box green (inside and out). She then used a round sponge brush to add some yellow polka dots and swirls.

wardrobe dots wardrobe swirls

We used tiny wooden knobs we found at the craft store, painted them yellow, and hot glued them on for the wardrobe’s handles. You can paint and decorate the wardrobe however you like. If you have time, two toned paint might be nice to mimic the look of beveled wood. You could also use some craft stickers or ribbons to jazz it up.

wardrobe filled wardrobe shoes wardrobe wardrobe 2

Everyone loved the wardrobe. It’s such an easy way to make your gift stand out, and it’s always a hit. Give it a shot the next time you give a gift of baby clothes, and let me know how it goes!

Maggi and Wardrobe

Reasons to Celebrate: cats, Anniversaries, and Showers

For such smart creatures, cats are pretty dumb. I think of them as that kid in school who gets straight A’s but believes there’s a pool under the gym.  I happen to think that my cat Buschkii is exceptionally smart. She actually comes when I call her name, she seems to understand that the red dot comes from the laser pointer, and she knows that when it’s time to get a treat, she has to bring her treats through the cat door so the dog won’t get them. I’d say that’s pretty smart. Yet while Matt and I were away, Buschkii was accidently let out and was missing for 5 days. These weren’t just any 5 days. These were 100 degree, can’t breathe humidity, sweltering sunny days. I wasn’t just worried about the heat. There are a lot of cats in my neighborhood, and they love to hang out in my yard, fight, and potentially spread diseases to my pure and innocent pet. I didn’t blog last week because I spent all my free time looking for her.

I called the animal shelter, but she wasn’t picked up. My sisters helped my hang posters in my neighborhood, and my neighbors had a sighting of her on day 4, but it was almost midnight and we couldn’t find her in the dark.  Day 5 was mine & Matt’s 3 year wedding anniversary. Before we left for dinner, I checked the side of the house and there she was, except when I ran to her, she ran deeper into the thorn bushes.  Now why would she do that? It’s not like I’m a stranger. I feed her. I love her. I braved my bare legs to thorns and poison ivy, and she ran. She wanted to be found. She meowed like crazy whenever I’d search in the wrong area. But she still initially ran from me. Because she’s a cat, and cats are the dumb smart kids. But I love her, and the dog and I celebrated her return with a mini dance party.

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Buschk got out because we were away for the weekend for our anniversary. We stayed at Renault Winery. We took a short tour and tasting. Seeing the old equipment and learning how wine and champagne is made was fascinating, but the best part was at the end of the tour when we tasted the wines. Dinner was at their gourmet restaurant. The decor was a bit dated, but the booths were inside giant wine barrels. It was very cool, and the food was absolutely delicious. On our actual anniversary, we had dinner at Cafe Italia, one of our favorite places. Between finding Buschk and all the good food, it was a fabulous anniversary.

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I also celebrated the future wedding of my cousin AnneMarie to my friend Kevin at AnneMarie’s shower. AnneMarie and Kevin are two people I can’t imagine with anyone but each other. I remember when my Mom and sisters had the idea to set them up, and I’m so excited to finally see them tie the knot! My sister Maria will be the maid of honor at their wedding, and she enlisted me to help her with AnneMarie’s shower favors. We made tiny towel cakes. It’s a pretty easy process. For a 2-tiered cake, you need a dishtowel, a washcloth, ribbon, and 2 miniature wooden utensils.

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1: Fold the washcloth in half lengthwise, then fold in half lengthwise again for a long panel.

2: Roll the cloth into a cylinder and set aside.

3: Roll the dishtowel lengthwise, but stop at the middle of the towel.

4: Roll the other end of the towel towards the middle. The dishtowel will look like two tubes.

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5: Now place the rolled washcloth on top of the dishtowel tubes. Make sure the washcloth is sticking out over the dishtowel.

6: Begin rolling the dishtowel towards the other end (with the washcloth inside of it).

7: Stop when you are almost finished rolling. The dishtowel will have what looks like two little legs sticking out.

8: Tuck the “legs into the top and bottom of the roll.

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9: Now you can stand the towels up. This is the basic look of a cake.

10: Now to dress it up, hot glue (or double stick tape) a ribbon around the base of the dishtowel. Make sure you don’t get any glue on the towel – Remember that your fold should hold the towels together, not the ribbon.

11: We also used the Cricut machine to make pink circles with white hearts on them to cover up where we glued the ribbon.

12: Finally, stick the utensils into the top washcloth, and there you have it!

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My mom, sisters, grandma, cousin, and I got AnneMarie & Kevin their kitchen table, which was a bit big to bring to the shower, so I left a note that said we got it inside a menu box I made. I usually make take-out menu boxes for people’s house warming gifts and showers. It’s super simple to make. I have the Cricut machine and use the Lite Fast Food Cartridge to make the food items on it, but you can also use scrap booking decals you can get at Michael’s.  Just Modge Podge the decals onto a wooden box, and either paint the phrase “Let’s Order In” on the box, or use decals again. I like to match the box to the kitchen. The red and beige box I made for myself. Make one for yourself in whatever style you like 🙂

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