DIY Play House : Framing and Fabric

Ever since our playhouse fell apart in a storm last year I’ve been wanting a new outdoor play space. This week I was inspired to make my own after helping build a platform for my sisters playhouse.

(Warning: Some measurements may vary slightly be sure to fit you pieces before making final cuts and securing.)

I started by building my own platform.


-5′ treated pine 6×2 board (x2)

-4’9″ treated pine 6×2 board (x3)

-5′ treated pine 6×1 boards (x8)

-4×4 or 6×6 treated wood post. The size depends on how high you need you platform and if it is located on a slanted or level area (x4)

-3″ deck screws

First, I built the frame by screwing together the 5 frame boards into a square with a center support.

Next, I added the decking, trying to keep it evenly spaced and attaching each board on the ends and to the center support.

Once the platform was complete I flipped it upside down and attached my post. My post had to be uneven due to the hill it was going to be placed on but this would vary depending on where you choose to put your playhouse.

With the platform ready we took a break, put on a few performances, and rested up for our next day of work.


The playhouse frame was quite simple and took very little time to get together.


-4′ pine 2×4 boards (x4)

-4’7″ pine 2×4 boards (x4)

-3’6″ treated or untreated pine 2×4 boards

The two walls were created by building basic squares and then attaching them directly on top of the platform.


The roof was created by cutting one end of each 3’6″ board at a 30 degree angle and screwing them together.


Next I attached the front and back roof pieces to the wall Framing.


To attach the top roofing board I used two metal stud connectors (one on each side). This also reinforced the already connected boards.

The last step was attaching my outdoor fabric. I measured and attached one edge of fabric to a pine 2×4 cut to fit directly between the side frames on the playhouse.

I stapled the fabric to the board, rolled it completely one time and stapled again.

With both boards ready I stretched it over the house fit them snugly into place and attached with screws.


Since being built the playhouse has been used as a stage, a home, a hideout, and even the location for Jake and I’s blue apron meal date night!

It has also survived its first storm in windy Waconia so things are looking bright!

Update: The play house is still up and holding strong after 2 summers and a full winter!

Mermaid Surprise Cupcakes

For this post I’m going with the “a pictures worth a thousand words” approach. While the photos show you just how to make these adorable surprise cupcakes, please keep in mind you don’t have to use bracelets like we did. You could use rings, small toys, sprinkles, or Swedish fish. The possibilities are endless! If you try this out please be sure to add some photos of your finished product in the comments below. I’d love to see your work!IMG_8145IMG_8146IMG_8147IMG_8149IMG_8150IMG_8153IMG_8154IMG_8155IMG_8156IMG_8160IMG_8161IMG_8162IMG_8164IMG_8165IMG_8169IMG_8174IMG_8168

He is Risen Planter

This fun and easy Easter project was perfect for my girls!


We started with a scavenger hunt where the girls gathers twigs, pebbles, and dirt. Granted in a normal Minnesota winter this would be a painfully difficult venture, in this particular year the odd weather afforded us a bit more opportunity. We bought our ceramic tray and pot at Goodwill for $1 each and had a glue gun and glue sticks at home. You may also want to include twine to tie your crosses, however, I used some weeping willow branches the girls collected and it worked great! The last things you’ll need are some dirt, and grass seed. You can look at the pictures below for how we put it together, but you’ll have to tune in later for our finished project as our grass has just begun to rise up through the dirt!

Final pictures to follow!

After checking every few minutes and then hours, I finally gave into the fact that grass takes a while to grow and am now patiently waiting To take my final picture while enjoying each individual blade as it pops through to say hello!


Valentines Day Sun Catchers

Materials: Contact paper (one of my favorite kids supplies), colored tissue paper, and scissors.


Nothing kills time in our house like cutting things into a million pieces so we decided to put our confetti making skills to use.


This craft is super simple and the girls love it. We have done many versions over time and every one is a hit. For this one the girls cut up colored tissue paper and then stuck it to a large piece of contact paper we taped to the door. When they were done we placed a second piece over the top, smoothed it out and cut a heart. Simple, fun, and festive!


Love Bugs

With Valentine’s Day approaching I thought I’d post some craft ideas for the kiddos. This project is a spin on our Spider Craft for kids and we call them “Love Bugs”. The only materials you need are Paper straws, pipecleaners, and heart stickers. The heart stickers can be paper, felt, or foam.

Below are photos of how to make this projects but for more detailed instructions take a look back at or previous post!


The only difference in this project from the spiders is that we put two stickers sticky sides together to make the Love Bug’s body.

imageFor younger kids I do the first part and they get to decorate with the paper beads. My girls loved this craft so much we are using it at their preschool valentines party!





Barbie Birthday Cake : From Pinterest fail to Pinterest pass



There have been three Barbie cakes made by my mother for the girls birthdays.  As you can see above, they have improved over time. (The look on my daughters face for cake one says it all!)  I am absolutely not a proffesional but I think this simple frosting is just enough to impress a wide eyed four year old and is certainly enough to keep us off the Pinterest fail boards. With two daughters, and soon to be three nieces, I foresee my frosting skills improving with each passing birthday.


The Barbie birthday cake uses a special pan  shaped like a cone with a hollow rod in the middle to promote even cooking. It works great but if you don’t have one you can also layer and carve out a similar shape. In our first attempt the cake wasn’t tall enough for a full size Barbie so we had to add a cake to the bottom. Going forward we switched to little Barbies instead!


Picking out the Barbie is a big part of this cake. You need to have the right size Barbie for your cake and its best to choose one with a painted on top to avoid getting little clothes covered in frosting. Swim suit and Ballerina Barbies work great for this reason. The colors of your Barbie can also coordinate with the colors of your cake. To avoid getting frosting on the bottom half of your Barbie its best to wrap them in plastic wrap.


When your ready to decorate leave the Barbie on the side. You can use store bought frosting or make and color your own. The First step in decorating your cake is to cover the entire cake in one color. I used a metal spatula but any flat utensil would do. After covering the entire cake I switched colors to make the top and bottom pedal design.


To make the pedals I simple got a small amount of frosting on the end of the spreader pushed it down and dragged to the center. I repeated this all around the top and then added pedals to the bottom. On the bottom I used a bit more frosting for each pedal and pushed in onto the bottom of the cake then dragged up slightly.


Finally the Barbie was put in place and a tooth pick was used to fill in the space around her with frosting. Finishing touches were added with sprinkles and  cake three was ready to serve!


*Update: Barbie Cakes have become a birthday tradition check out some of the  fun below!


Spider Craft for Kids : Pipecleaners and Paper Straws


These pipecleaner spiders are so much fun and so easy to do! We made multicolored ones last year with black Pipecleaners and plastic straws and they turned out awesome. This year we tried orange  pipecleaners and black and white paper straws.


-Pipecleaners (5 per spider)

-Staws (Paper or plastic the possibility a are endless! About 5 per spider)

-Googley Eyes (Optional)



Step 1: Twist four Pipecleaners together creating right spider legs!


Step 2: Cut the stews into 1/2 in pieces. They don’t need to be perfect a little variation adds character!


Step 3: Let the kids get to work! If your doing this with a group you can have plates for each kids ready to go. Make sure to tell them to stop with one bead length left at the end of each leg but if they don’t you can always remove one to twist the foot.

Step 4: Bend the end of each foot and twist to ensure the straws stay on. (For a simplified version you can stop here or add   Googley eyes and call it good! )

Step 4: Use the extra pipe cleaner to create a body for your spider by bending it in half and then twisting. Placing it around the body of the spider and twisting again. Fold the remaining pieces in half making little grippers (for lack of a knowledge of spider anatomy). Lastly twist the remaining pipecleaner around the body of the spider.

Step 5: If desired add Googley eyes and let the playing begin!


Rainbow Mummies

imageToday the girls wanted to do a craft project so I started looking through my craft supplies. While sorting through copious amounts of “stuff” I found I have a ridiculous amount of plastic knives. I don’t know about you but the spoons and forks always get used up and I am left with lonely plastic knives. Seeing as my girls to paint, it’s almost Halloween, and I have a way to many plastic knives the only logical thing to make was rainbow mummy puppets…


-Lonely plastic knives

-White fabric strips (an old t-shirt works great)

-Googley Eyes

-Glue gun (other types of glue would work as well but I love the instant hold of a glue gun)

-Water Color Paints and Brushes

-Paper for arms (I like to match the knives)



Step 1: Cut the strips into one foot long pieces and the paper into arms.


Step 2: Glue the googley eye on the front and the paper arms across the back. I also glued the start of my strip to make it easier for the girls to wrap.


Step 3: Wrap your mummies and glue the end down.


Step 4: Get out the water colors! I don’t know if they just love the color of poo or if they are just so excited to utilize the rainbow but all my girls project tend to end up a ugly shade of brown. To avoid this I cut the water colors apart into groups of three: red, orange, yellow, and blue, purple , green and it worked like a charm.

After painting we added a little glitter glue for fun and the puppet show began!

Peek-a-Boo Apple!


The fall fun has begun! What better way to enjoy fall than doing a craft with the littles.


-Egg carton

-Popcycle Stick

-Googley eyes

-Paper (You can use green or let the littles color them.)


-Paints, markers, or crayons.





Step 1: Cut out two individual pieces from the egg carton and poke slits into them using your scissors. (Tip: this part is best done by an adult or with supervision!)


Step 2: Cut a small section of pipecleaner, attach the googley eyes, and wrap your cute little worm around the popcycle stick!


Step 3: Color, Paint, or use what ever means you so prefer, to decorate your apple and leaf.


Step  4: Slide the two pieces of “apple” on to the popcycle stick and glue on your leaf.


Step 5: Your Peek-a-boo worm is ready. My girls loved offering pretend bites of their apple to daddy and surprising him with the worm! The last picture was our taken when we came up with the idea last year…as you can see we made some improvement to our worms!

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