Tag Archives: baby

DIY Baby Sled From Baby Bath Tub



You can’t get any easier than this little DIY.  Really, this is just a thinly disguised excuse to share some pictures of my little cutie eating snow.  But who doesn’t like to see cute baby pictures, right?


All you need for this super simple DIY project is a baby bath tub, an electric drill, and some rope.  The hard plastic is very easy to drill.  Once you have your holes, all you need to do is thread the rope and POW you’ve got yourself a tow-worthy sled (don’t get your hopes up about any hill action with this sled I’m afraid).


I will say that this sled works best on the sidewalk with just a thin layer of snow, but the thicker stuff is fun too, it just kept tipping over for us (much to the delight of our nearly 18-month-old daughter).



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Filed under Just For Fun, Upcycled

Owlet Costume for Halloween

Owl costume two view

With Halloween less than two weeks away, you have plenty of time to whip up this cute owl costume for your little owlet!  This costume is great for a toddler who is just starting to walk and still holds out their arms for balance, making it look like they’re flapping their wings!  Virginia just started walking at the beginning of October so she’s definitely at this stage right now (as you can see!).

owl costume in flight

Why make an owl costume you ask?
For over a month I’ve been trying to decide what Halloween costume to make for Virginia.  Now that she’s 15 months old, and starting to show her own personality and interests, I thought I’d like to make her a costume to reflect something she seems to like at this point in her life.

Right now she seems particularly drawn to all things outdoors, specifically leaves, trees, squirrels, birds, airplanes, flowers, and the moon.  I’ve been collecting ideas on Pinterest, which is always a good starting point for inspiration, and found some cute ideas for trees, squirrels and owls.

owl costume03

Then this past Sunday I just had the urge to get this project started!  You know that feeling when you want to do something and you need to get it done NOW!?  Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt.  At that point I was leaning toward making her a tree and incorporating a squirrel and a bird, kind of like this cute little costume from Probably Actually.

But I also just wanted to start making something and didn’t want to go to the store.  Does this ever happen to you?  I get so frustrated going to the store!  It seems like such a process these days and then I feel deflated because after all the time, effort, and money, I still don’t end up with what I really wanted.  So I was determined to make something work from what I already had in my fabric stash.

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After digging around in the attic I settled on an old pink paisley cotton bed sheet that already had a number of chunks missing from other past projects, as well as a large remnant of blue fleece material I got for free at an Etsy event which I attended a few months back at the local fabric store, Stitch.

At this point I had abandoned the adorable tree idea and started to think about this cute owl costume that I saw from Martin Family Times.  I figured I could make a new crocheted owl hat (I made one for Virginia last winter) from the Repeat Crafter Me free pattern instead of making one from fabric as shown in the above mentioned inspiration.

Originally, I planned to make a cape of fabric feathers, similar to the inspiration, but I quickly changed my mind and went for a fitted poncho instead, mostly because I wanted something that she couldn’t easy take off!

owl costume front and back

How to make the feathery fabric owl poncho:
First I measured Virginia’s “wing span” (24 inches from wrist to wrist), which gave me the diameter for my foundation fabric (the blue fleece).  I also figured out how big of a hole I needed for her head (about a 4.5 inch diameter circle in her case) then added a small slit to be able to put it over her head.

Next I cut a second circle 4 inches bigger than the first from the “feather fabric,” in this case a light weight cotton bed sheet.

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Now I took my paper pattern and folded it in half, than half again, and again, and again, etc, until I had a circle with evenly spaced segments to base my feathers off of.

Next I sewed the two circles together along the inner circle (where her head goes) and the outer circle to hold everything in place and cut out the outermost row of feathers.

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For each successive row, I cut my paper pattern 4 inches smaller in diameter, traced it onto the front of the costume using chalk, sewed along the chalk line, then cut the feathers out, staggering them over the previous row.  To cut out the feathers while the fabric was sewn down, I used a pair of small, sharp scissors and was very careful not to cut through the foundation fabric.  After the feathers were cut out, I flipped them up and sewed all the way around the row of feathers again very close to the edge of the fold, thus hiding the original line of stitching.  This gave the feathers a little more “lift” and dimension.

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I like the way the raw, fraying edges of the fabric adds to its “featheriness” don’t you?

Once the whole poncho was complete I sewed two vertical lines from the bottom up, leaving enough room for her arms, which created “sleeves” and also makes it nearly impossible for Virginia to remove it once it is on (HA!).

To finish it off I created my very own bias tape for the neckline (which I sewed on inside out, oops!) and a single, sew-on snap secures the neckline in the back to give it snug fit.

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Crochet owl hat modifications:
As mentioned above, the crochet owl hat pattern that I based Virginia’s hat on was originally by Repeat Crafter me, which is a WONDERFUL pattern all on its own.  I’ve made this hat in several sizes following the pattern to the letter and they always turned out beautifully.  But for this time I wanted to alter the pattern a bit to make it a bit warmer.  To do this I first switched yarns (from 100% acrylic to 100% super wash Marino wool) and used a slightly bulkier yarn BUT kept the same size hook (H) so as to make a tighter stitch.  In addition to using a bulkier yarn, I also worked the whole pattern in half double crochet instead of double crochet.  Of course this meant that I had to add more rows.  All in all I’m very happy with the way the hat turned out, even though the half double stitch shows the seam way more than when I did a double crochet stitch, but I can live with that.

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Oh, and did you notice that she’s got a little crocheted mouse?  I made it years ago from a pattern out of the book Amigurumi!: Super Happy Crochet Cute

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I couldn’t be a prouder owl momma!

Keep up with all things zween make sure you like me on Facebook, where I update regularly about all things crochet, baby, thrifting, and upcycling!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this post!  Happy crafting and happy Halloween!

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Filed under Hollidays, Tutorials

Crafting family fun; DIY cardboard box maze


If you are a parent, but even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard the age-old adage that a child will enjoy playing with the box that a toy comes in more than the toy itself.

Today I’d like to share some photos of a little family craft project (well, not so little actually) that we started one rainy, dreary morning this week.  It’s a giant maze made from recycled cardboard boxes that encompasses our entire dining room (I knew there was a reason we’ve been dragging our feet finding a dining room table).



All you need is several cardboard boxes (ours were complements of Trader Joe’s, thanks to my husband, our insider connection) and some packing tape or even duct tape.  Just fit the boxes together in whatever configuration you like and tape them together where needed to keep the structure stable.


Virginia is just a couple of weeks from her first birthday now (!!!!) and isn’t yet walking.  She LOVES crawling around this maze.  We’ve had it up for about four days now and it’s been good for HOURS of entertainment!  She just loves to chase momma around the maze and be chased herself!  Papa got in on the action too of course, but at over six feet tall, he had some maneuverability issues.  By the way, as an adult, army crawling through a cardboard maze is quite the workout!  Sometimes we mix it up and place rattles, balls, and other small toys around the maze for her to find, but mostly she’s content to crawl in and out, squealing in delight all the way.


This is a great project for those days when you just can’t get out and I’m sure would work great with older kids as well.

If this post has inspired you to create your own box maze I’d love to hear about it!  Write about it in the comments below or on the zween facebook page.  Happy crafting!



Filed under Home, Just For Fun, Upcycled

DIY Ewok Costume for Baby

ewoks side by side

Although Return of the Jedi is my favorite of the Star Wars movies (which just so happens to feature the Ewok species), growing up in the 80s, it was the made for T.V. movies about the Ewoks that I was really drawn to, specifically the star Ewok, Wicket, and his young human sidekick, Cindel.  I can’t even imagine how many times I watched my VHS copies of Caravan of Courage and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.  Now, 28 years after the Caravan of Courage debut, the Ewoks have found their way into my life again.


The seed for this costume idea was planted this past summer when I found the brown furry fabric remnant (shown above) at a yard sale.  It was not a complete piece, but still had some good-sized sections remaining. The woman selling it said that her mom was a seamstress and that this fabric was most likely left overs from a coat lining. I couldn’t argue with the price either ($1).

I was still pregnant at the time but as soon as I layed eyes on it I knew I had to have that fabric.  Jon was with me, and being the voice of reason that he is (he hates clutter) said to me,  “What would you ever do with that?”  After a beat or two I proclaimed, “I’ll make an Ewok Halloween costume for the baby!”  And so, about 5 months later, here we are.


To be honest, when I first came up with the idea I had serious doubts that I’d be able to pull it off.  It seemed a little too ambitious and out of my sewing capabilities.  I didn’t even know where to start.

Eventually I decided that my first plan of action would be to deconstruct a pre-existing sleeper in Virginia’s size to come up with the pattern for my Ewok suit, made out of the before mentioned fur fabric.  This is pretty self explanatory.  Find a garment in the size and style you want, take it apart, and use the pieces as a pattern for the new garment that you want to make.



You’ll want to keep in mind that your “pattern” wont have any seem allowance, so just add that on when you cut it out. My original deconstructed sleeper was assembled with a serger.  If you have one, great!  Mine does’t work, so I utilized the zigzag stitch on my Plain Jane sewing machine and called it a day.


The only parts that I omitted completely from the design where the cuffs around the arms and neck.  The neck area will be covered by her hood, and the sleeves could be covered by mittens.  I was going to make mittens, but because of my daughters’ age (3 and a half months) and the fact that she would just be putting them in her mouth constantly, I skipped this detail.


Above was my first fitting after constructing the suit. You may notice that there is a fit issue around her left foot. Oops!  I ended up removing that section, cutting out a new leg/foot piece and re-esembeling it. Then I realized that the new section that I just made was for the RIGHT foot! Oops again! eventually I got it all worked out so that she could have a decently fitting right AND left foot. Below is the completed Ewok suit.

Work in progress; Ewok costume!

Now all I had to do was make a hood.  For this I found a medium-sized men’s shirt at a thrift store (shown at the top of this post) in the perfect mustard yellow to contrast with the brown fur.  I wanted the neck opening of the shirt to become the face opening of the hood, so I cut off the sleeves and up the sides of the shirt as shown below.


Now all I had to do was shape it. In the back section of the hood I sewed in a small piece of elastic to help make the hood more snug. This is not how Wicket’s hood looks, though many other Ewoks sport this hood style.  Though I did try the hood on Virginia periodically to see how it was fitting, I mainly used a small pie pumpkin to shape the hood.  Not only did the pumpkin stay perfectly still, I could actually sew the hood while on a form.  The hood was mostly hand sewn using brown embroidery floss so as to stand out and look very tribal, much like actual Ewoks look.




Overall, I’m really happy with how this costume turned out.  Seeing that this is Virginia’s very first Halloween, I figured I’d go all out with making a sweet costume for her.  She’s too young to go trick-or-treating, and we don’t have plans to attend any costume parties, but I still had to get in the spirit and make an outfit, if only to share with close family and all of you on the world wide web.


Thanks for stopping by.  I hope that if you have been inspired if you are planning on tackling your own Ewok costume.  If you do I’d love to hear about in the comments here!  As always, you can keep abreast of all things Zween by following me on Facebook and Pinterest.  Happy crafting and happy Halloween!

This post has been added to the linky party Made by You Monday on Skip to my Lou.


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DIY recycled sweater sleep sack


Fall is in the air and it’s time to start thinking about how to keep our new baby nice and toasty warm once the cold weather settles in.

It has been said that loose bedding in cribs can pose a suffocation hazard in babies less than one year old.   So in my quest to negate this issue I came across some “wearable blankets” such as this one by Baby in a Bag and this one by Halo.  They seemed to be good products with good reviews and reasonable prices (about $30 each from what I can tell).  But naturally, I wanted to see if I could make one myself.

Which lead me to my new obsession with Pinterest, where I found this wearable blanket project by Ashley.  In her blog post, she gives an excellent tutorial on how to make a baby sleep sack made with fleece fabric.

I was all excited about this project but…

I had no fleece and did not like the prospect of driving a half hour (one way) to the nearest fabric store.  Wa wa.

But, lets face it, buying new fabric is not my style anyway, so I started to look around at what I already had.  That’s when I discovered two bags of old clothes set aside for donation.  When I found my old cashmere sweater (originally purchased at a thrift store) in the pile I had a eureka moment.  That’s it!  I’ll use this!

(see how much she likes it!)

When I started this project I planned on using Ashley’s tutorial as-is, and even found a detachable zipper to use from a hoodie that I was also about to donate.


The pink cardigan shown above is what I used as the guide for the neck, armhole, and torso width of my pattern as per Ashley’s suggestion (see Ashley’s original post for further explanation of this point).


Notice that I lined up my neckline with the neckline of the sweater.  I also ended up extending my pattern to include the entire length of the sweater.

However, I quickly decided that I would need to make some adaptions to her project since I had a limited amount of fabric to work with.  Since my sweater was only so wide, I didn’t really have enough of it to make the two separate pieces for the front (because I would need about 1.5 inches more in the width).  You see, in the original design, the sleep sack is supposed to have a zipper running down the entire length of the front.  But, since my sleep sack was made from a stretchy knit sweater, I figured, why not make it a pull-over?

So that’s what I did, I just cut two pieces that were basically the same then sewed them together at the shoulder seams and down the sides.  Remember how I used the bottom of the sweater as the bottom of the sleep sack and the neckline of the sweater as the neckline of the sleep sack?  Well, that meant no fraying in those areas!



The arm holes, on the other hand, were fraying terribly.  So I made a crocheted ribbed edging around them.  Just one row of single crochet worked directly into the sweater and 3 rows of double crochet worked into a “ribbed” pattern.  (first row; sc into sweater all the way around armhole.  Second row; dc in each sc.  Third row; front post dc in first two dc, dc in next two dc, repeat for entire row.  Fourth row, same as row three).


Since I used the original neckline, I could have just left that as-is, but I decided that I wanted to open it up a little more. After I cut the neck hole I added a decorative crochet edge (row 1; sc all the way around neckline into sweater, row 2; picot in first st, sc in next st, repeat all the way around).


I could have left this project alone at this point and basically have a baby-sized sweater night gown, but I wanted to make sure that her legs and feet would stay nice and warm (that was the whole point after all). So I added a zipper along the bottom edge, which gives easy access for midnight diaper changes!




I love how light weight and warm this cashmere sweater is. And oh so soft! As you can tell, Virginia likes it too…


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Happy crafting!

oh yeah, I couldn’t resist making a “night cap” with one of the left over sleeves. Don’t worry this is just for fun and a photo shoot; she won’t actually be sleeping in it.


This post has been added to the linky party Make it Pretty Monday week 16 over on the dedicated house, Made by you Mondays over on Skip to my Lou, and Make It Wear It Thursday over on The Train to Crazy, so check them out for some linky fun!


Filed under Tutorials

Pin-spiration; DIY Nursing T-Shirt


If you’ve read anything about breastfeeding I’m sure you know about the many benefits to nursing; it promotes bonding between mother and baby, it gives the baby’s immune system a boost, it helps the mother’s uterus to contract after birth and can help with loosing that maternity weight more quickly, plus it’s way less expensive than formula feeding.

But there are also some obstacles associated with nursing; cracked and sore nipples, plugged ducts, Mastitis, more frequent feedings (as compared with formula-fed babies), and the logistics of breastfeeding discretely in public so that you can some day leave your house!  So far, six weeks into baby number one, I have dealt with all of the above obstacles.  And today I’m going to address that last one; dealing with discretely nursing in public.

For some, the answer is using a large bib-like fabric such as a Hooter Hider.  These are great and in fact I have one that was given to me by my sister-in-law.  You can even find tutorials (such as this one) for how to make your own.  But although they are fantastic and have their place, I don’t always want to have a huge piece of fabric draped over me, which can be awkward to maneuver with a hungry, fussy baby.  Plus, I also feel like it draws more attention to what I’m doing; feeding my baby.

This predicament lead me to start searching out DIY nursing tops on Pinterest.  I found several that I thought were cute, but chose this one from Project Open Hearts for my first attempt.  Allison wrote a very comprehensive tutorial on how to make a discreet nursing top using two identical shirts (or two nursing tops using 3 shirts).

For my top I used two shirts that I had on hand that had seen better days to say the least.  The short sleeve top, which is my main shirt, actually had several holes in the front, making it the perfect candidate for this project since that section of the shirt was removed.  Though both of my tops are brown, they are not exactly the same color, but it doesn’t really bother me.  I kind of like how the two tone turned out actually.



The other way that my top differs from Allison’s is that I didn’t hem the overlapping section of the main shirt that hangs over the replaced section of the shirt.  Also, the long-sleeved shirt, which I used to make the new front panel, was not as long as the short-sleeved shirt.  Though I cut the long sleeve shirt just under the armpits, the fabric does not reach that far up on the finished shirt.  I don’t find this to be a huge problem though, because I did leave a generous amount of length for the overlapping part of the shirt.


Below is my finished DIY nursing top using Allison’s tutorial and my own recycled shirts that were on their way to the rag pile.  I do intend to make more of these, possibly with new shirts, but using what I already had was quicker and I didn’t have to worry about messing it up and wasting money on new clothes if it didn’t work out.


And here is how it works…


And here is Virginia trying it out for the first time!



See, very discrete.

Thank you for stopping by.  This has been another installment of my Pin-spiration series, where I do a project that I find on Pinterest and share it with you all!  Keep pinning and keep crafting!

Question; are you on Facebook?  Me too!  find me here!

This post has been linked up to Made By You Monday #11 6 over on Skip to my Lou and Make it Pretty Monday #14 over on The Dedicated House!


Filed under Tutorials

DIY nursery


Creating a whimsical space for our soon to arrive little girl has been such a fun time! Although we didn’t set out with any particular “theme” in mind, we did have a few ideas about what we wanted for the space. Budget was of course a consideration, but we were confident in our abilities to make something really special without spending a ton of dough. The result is a mix of handmade objects, DIY decor projects, second-hand finds and hand-me-downs, and a handful of brand new items too.

Looking to create your own special place for a young one?  Here are the steps we took to transform a plain, white room in our rented apartment into a relaxing whimsical retreat for us and baby.

First we had to decide where to put the baby’s room. We live in a two bedroom apartment and have always used the smaller bedroom for our own because it has the bigger closet. In the past the larger bedroom was used as a [mostly nonfunctional] studio space for myself, so it only made sense to re-purpose this room for the baby. With a little creativity I was able to find homes for all of my most frequently used supplies and tools throughout the apartment, which has actually proven to be more functional these past few months.



The next step was to start looking for furniture. Let me just start by saying that my name is Emily and I am a Craigslist junkie. But it payed off! We found all of the furniture (except for the cedar chest that was mine since I was a teenager) on Craigslist.

The crib was the first thing that I found. Like most cribs these days, it converts into a toddler bed, thus giving it a longer life.  Of course, safety was a huge concern with buying a crib second-hand, so we made sure that it wasn’t a drop sided crib or one that it had been recalled for any other reasons.  We also did not buy the mattress used because of the possible link between SIDS and using old mattresses.

The next item I found was the dresser.  I knew that we wouldn’t have the space for a changing table (in an ideal world I would have a changing table, but it would be in the bathroom), so it was important to choose a dresser that could also double as a changing table.  The key was finding one that was the perfect height.  The changing pad on top was found after the fact at a yard sale, and it was a happy accident that it happened to fit perfectly on the dresser top.   I made a removable cover for it that matches the drawer liners that I mentioned how to make in this post.

After the dresser I found the cozy shag rug, which is hand-woven and made of all natural fibers.  Then came the rocking chair, which is probably my favorite piece of furniture in the room.  From what I’ve heard and read, a good, comfortable nursing chair is essential when breast-feeding.  I wanted something that was both comfortable and could be used for years to come in another space in our home, (such as our living room, which has a mid-century modern vibe) once I am no longer nursing.  The same can be said of the book shelf.  Right now it’s a great space for a small collection of books and toys, but in the future it could be used elsewhere as the needs of our child change.

In the midst of all of this Craigslist searching, we were deciding what to do with the blank canvas of the all white walls and trim.  As I mentioned before, this is a rental apartment, so we didn’t want to do anything permanent that would have to be “undone” once we move.  That meant painting was out, even though the walls really do need a fresh paint job.  This didn’t really bother me because I actually really like the brightness that white walls give to the room, and putting plenty of decorations on the walls meant hiding a lot of the imperfections left by previous tenants (scuff marks, patched nail holes, etc).


We started with a very fun DIY tree decal project.  You can read exactly how we created the look in this previous post.  Later I decided to extend the idea to the opposite corner of the room where we hung a very fun vintage growth chart.  The placement of the growth chart behind the closet door was very strategic by the way.  Now we don’t have to worry about it being covered by a piece of furniture if we decided to rearrange things in the future.


The idea to use a cluster of Chinese lanterns is not new or original.  I’ve seen this idea in nurseries over and over on the web.  But it’s such an inexpensive and easy way to add color and dimension to a space!  We decided not to use the mobile that I had made previously because we thought the scale was just too small for the baby.  But the lanterns are big and sway gently when the cycling fan is on or the windows are open, thus we thought they’d be a bit more visually stimulating and appropriate for a baby.


The butterflies were all Jon’s idea.  He drew each one individually on a piece of foam core than cute them out with an Exacto Knife.  The wings are scored at the body then folded up to create a 3-D effect.  They were then attached to the wall using Velcro.  Originally he had wanted them to be painted or colored in some way, but I pressed him to keep them white.  With the tree and the lanterns, we already had a lot of things going on and I didn’t want it to become too visually busy.  We are both happy with the fact that he left them white.  Now they add a subtle texture to the wall and the shadows that the wings make is very interesting.  Though babies can see only bright and contrasting colors at first, it is important that this be a pleasing space for us adults as well!  Besides, they will be something that she can “discover” as she gets older.  The sun and rainbow picture shown above is one of those plastic canvas and yarn kits and was actually made by my mom and I when I was around 4 years old.  Surprisingly it was still in excellent condition except for the mat, so I just covered the mat with some pretty pink fabric and it was good to go.


The last decor project that we tackled was the white canvas night-light.  It was an idea that I found online that I thought would be really fun.  For this project we used a hand-made painting stretcher from my college days, which is much chunkier than the modular ones that you can buy at the art supply store.  We stretched the frame with some thin blue fabric that was printed with flowers and butterflies then I stitched down a strand of very tiny twinkle lights.  These lights are much much tinier than regular Christmas lights and they also have a dial that lets you choose what you want them to do.  I like having it on a setting where only part of them come on slowly then fade away while some of the other lights gradually get brighter.  The printed fabric was then covered by some slightly heavier white fabric.  The result is that you can only see the pattern very subtly during the day but then very well at night when it’s on.  It gives the effect of fireflies and it’s very fun to watch.


In addition to decorating I also wanted to make some toys and some other every day items for baby Virginia.  In addition to the changing table pad cover mentioned above, I made four fitted crib sheets from various bigger vintage bed sheets, lots of reusable diaper wipes (tutorial here), a portable changing table pad, a pillow cover for the throw pillow on the rocker, the pink and brown granny square blanket, an owl softie and a couple of rag dolls, and most recently, a crochet cat designed by Nekoyama (free pattern can be found here).


So there you have it, our DIY nursery!  I hope you have enjoyed the tour and if you are in the midst of designing your own nursery space, perhaps you have walked away with a little inspiration!  If so, I’d love to hear what your own plans are, or if you’ve made your own version of one of these projects, I’d love to see some pictures!

by the way… we started creating this nursery on January 1st, and have just now finished completely with only one week to spare before my due date.  Now all we need is the baby!  If you are planning to tackle some projects like we have, or if you want to rely on finding the perfect items on Craigslist or at yard sales, I do recommend starting as early as possible; these things take time and you don’t want to feel rushed!  What really kept me going was the thought that once baby Virginia is here we will not have the time or energy that we do now.

Enjoy this post?  Please leave me a comment!  Thanks for stopping by and happy crafting!

This post has been added to The Inspiration Board: link party 58 on Homework, Wicked Awesome Wednesday #70 on Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Wow Me Wednesday #59 on Ginger Snap Crafts, Primp Your Stuff Wednesday Linky Party #53 on Primp, Your Whims Wednesday #67 on My Girlish Whims, and Make It Pretty Mondays- week 5 on the Dedicated House.


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