Travel: Fire Island with Kids

Hi there, Renae again. We are still talking about our week in New York and where our random road trip took us….on a ferry boat to a place called Fire Island. Most people have never heard of Fire Island, so I’ll give you the lay of the land and give you all the best info and tips you need for your next trip! 

After the hubs shows were done in West Nyack, we found ourselves having 2 free days between the next road gig to do whatever we wanted. It’s not typical that we find ourselves with random time off, so this was exciting!  We just had to be at JFK airport so Steve could get to Chicago for his next gig and Garrett and I could catch our return flight home. But what we did with those 2 days was totally up to us!  It’s been a crazy summer and we were really looking for some relaxing downtime, so we packed up our suitcase and decided to do what real New Yorkers do in the summer to escape the Manhattan heat.

We headed to Fire Island and I’m now smitten with this magical place! Getting here is the tricky part. You can drive the national seashore, but the road ends once you arrive at the beginning of Fire Island. Thanks for that one Google Maps! In order to get on the island you have to catch a ferry in Bay Shore, NY. The ferry is your only option, as there are no cars allowed on the island. Even golf carts are a pretty rare site.

No vehicles on the island makes it so ideal for kids to have free reign when exploring. Some fun info about Fire Island is that each of it’s villages has a very different feel to it. Where we stayed, Ocean Beach, is known to cater to both families and the more social crowd.

The Pines and Cherry Grove are known to be popular with the LGBT community. The permanent population is less than 300 people and some of the communities are so small they call them hamlets. The ferry drops you off right in the center of town where the restaurants, the market, and shops are all located.

While there are a few hotel options here, the ones we saw, we quite small and minimal. And some were a shared bathroom situation. We lucked out and had a friend so generously open up their house to us which was next to the most adorable little white church.  If you have the option to rent a cottage, this is the way to go (check AirBNB or other similar sites!).

Since there aren’t any cars, there’s no need for streets so its basically a grid of sidewalks between all the cottages. Garrett got lots of wagon rides while I had plenty of wine.

And since the island is less than 600 feet wide in some places you can easily access both the bay and the ocean. But make sure to time it right! We found ourselves at a playground on the bay when the afternoon sun was glaring down.

The beaches can get packed, but everyone was super friendly and there is definitely a small community feel even though the island is flooded with visitors in the summer. Everyone just loads up their beach gear on a cart or wagon and heads to the beach to set up shop. People feel comfortable leaving their umbrellas out all day and coming back and forth. TIP: Our friends even take a small plastic pool to the beach to set up for the little ones to get wet, but still stay close. It’s a great idea if you’ve got smaller ones.

We pretty much just relaxed on the beach and strolled around the whole time. Ocean beach is filled with families walking around. It’s scooters galore and its so nice to feel like kids can just go out and explore. I imagine its a great place to bring older kids too because you feel comfortable giving them a little more independence. (I say this now, but ask me again when my son is a teenager.)

And you can even spot deer on the island. They’ve gotten used to co-habitating with all the summer visitors and they will come very close to you in search of food. One evening one came right up to hand when we stopped to admire it.

I don’t have many tips to share, because Fire Island is delightfully easy going. There is only 1 little market, so just make sure you get what you need for your little ones on the mainland before you hop on the ferry to avoid the higher price tag on the island. Other than that, you just have to get there to experience it. Hopefully my photos have enticed you enough to check it out.

I was so grateful the hubs tour route gave us a few days off and that Steve threw out the suggestion to go to Fire Island, because it was exactly what our family needed. I absolutely recommend you check it out if you get the chance. I know everyone raves about how great NYC is and it definitely is, but if your a family on vacation, Fire Island offers such a cool experience.

ON A SEPARATE, BUT MUCH NEEDED NOTE:

My family has been so blessed to be able to travel and share these experiences together. I feel guilty writing about it, knowing so many families are still struggling in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey. And while there are many causes to donate to, many people don’t know that diapers are not provided by disaster relief agencies. I simply can’t imagine the heart break a mother must feel when they struggle to feed or diaper their child. Please consider checking out www.texasdiaperbank.com to make a donation. They have an Amazon wish list as well, so its easy for anyone anywhere to contribute.

Just a quick wrap up on TIPS for Fire Island with kids:

  • take the ferry to get there
  • rent a cottage
  • bring beach gear
  • bring a wagon to take little ones on walks (no cars) and to get your things to the beach
  • consider bringing a small plastic pool to the beach for little ones
  • bring your necessities with you from the mainland, as there’s only one market on Fire Island
  • bring a camera for the photo ops! 

Happy traveling, friends! Follow along with our traveling circus on Instagram!

Travel: NYC with Kids

Hi, I’m back again with some tips on one of America’s greatest cities: New York City. We even got to explore a bit of upstate New York, so I’m giving you a taste of each and loading you up with helpful info. New York can be a tricky one, so hit me up with any questions.

I LOVE Manhattan. I moved there when I was 17 for college and I’ll snag any opportunity to go back. My NYU roommates are starting families and I love getting our kids together and seeing how we’re creative humans choosing to take on motherhood in different ways. It’s inspiring!

I’ve done New York twice with my traveling tot. Last year when he was 9 months and again at almost 2 and I can tell you that New York is not for the faint of heart.

If your family is looking for a chill, relaxing vacation, stay away from Manhattan! But, if you love the fast paced energy of a big city and you think your kids inherited that gene, then go for it!   New York is the adult version of Disneyland. It’s the Las Vegas strip on steroids minus the casinos, but with the best of everything at your finger tips. With that being said, its gonna cost you a pretty penny to play on this playground. Prepare and surrender yourself to that and you’ll enjoy yourself so much more. I constantly have to remind my hubs of this one! (Or read Kara’s post about how to do NYC in 1 day on a budget… otherwise plan to splurge a bit!)

Ideally we really try and pack efficiently on our NYC trips. A small suitcase & the super lightweight umbrella stroller.

Caption: See, I told you we’re efficient packers. –yeah right! The gray backpack with wheels is for the carseat (highly recommend if you are an avid traveler) and the cammo bag is loaded with Capt. Evil shirts Steve sells after his shows. And I obviously need a massive suitcase for potential shopping expeditions!

Quick TIP: if you’ve got a little one, always travel with a thin blanket rolled up in your bag. In NYC it’s great to block out over stimulation for stroller naps and nice to have handy for a diaper change emergency because bathrooms are hard to come by.  If your little one is still content to let you wear them, a baby backpack is definitely the easiest way to get around. As an added bonus, I think I sweat out five pounds walking around with my little guy strapped to me the 1st time.

Both times we’ve done NYC as a family it’s been in the sweltering heat of the summer!

There is tons to do and public transportation can get you anywhere, but the subway is insanely hot and you are walking everywhere in some intense humidity, a sweaty mess lugging around all the crap you need for a toddler. I have no idea how NYC bloggers get beautiful photos of themselves and their families, because I’m pretty much a stinky hot mess the whole time! So my suggestions is go in the spring or fall if you can.

If you are up for the adventure, it’s an amazing city to explore and Central Park offers something for everyone. It’s home to the Central Park Zoo, several children’s playgrounds, rowboat rentals and horse drawn carriage rides. Central Park is huge so decide on what attractions you most want to hit and know where you are going (Google maps helps and if you’re walking, put it on walk mode). Our plan was to take Garrett for his first carousel ride. We caught a cab to the park, but got dropped off in the entirely wrong place and found ourselves walking for an hour, before we came to the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park. It’s a great option for preschoolers with smaller rides, but not the original carousel we were looking for.

When we finally found it we were soaked in sweat, but both agreed the expressions on Garrett’s face made it totally worth it. It started our love affair with carousels all over the country.  While your here you can check out Heckscher Playground and the zoo is close by too. We ended up using all our time trying to find the carousel!

It’s also fun sailing the remote controlled boats at Conservatory Water and grabbing a bite in the nearby boathouse cafe. If your child has a longer attention span, but you are not quite sure they are ready for a broadway show, try a puppet show at the Marionette Theater located in the Swedish Cottage. They offer affordably priced shows daily during the summer.

And if your family loves carousels as much as mine, by far one of the coolest I’ve ever come across is the Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park. It’s a work of art. My pictures don’t do it justice, but if your littles can stay up past dark, it’s magical. It’s definitely a New York site I’d hit again.

While you are hanging around Battery Park you can catch the Staten Island ferry. Insider TIP: it’s FREE and will get you a close view of the Statue of Liberty without the hefty tour boat price tag.

This time around, I wanted Garrett to be able to run around and explore but we needed to keep cool too. So he headed to Hudson River Park’s Pier 25. It’s got water, sand, swings and plenty to climb all gated in Tribeca. I also think I spotted some model moms here!

I’m always up for a children’s museum, so we had to hit Manhattan’s. I’ve gotten spoiled, getting to visit children’s museums all over the country and I had high expectations for this one. It’s good, but we visited on a rainy day so it was packed and I found the 5 floors with long elevator lines made scoping everything out a little trickier.  In my opinion the appeal of this museum is that it’s in the Upper West Side, which is a fabulous neighborhood to stroll. Within blocks of the museum you can have any kind of food your heart desires from Indian, to Thai, to Chinese, to Poke, to Ramen. You can even grab a sweet treat at Treat House and make a full afternoon of it.

No matter what age your children are, car seat or not, if you are sticking to the NYC metro area I’m going to strongly recommend NOT renting a car. Let me explain:

Rental Cars in NYC are way more expensive than lots of other cities. We rented a car because we would be traveling between Manhattan and Steve’s gigs in West Nyack. But the convenience of having a car is stressful. You are fighting traffic, street parking is often an issue, and garages are ridiculously expensive. And part of the New York City experience is taking public transportation.

You don’t need a car seat on subways, buses, cabs or most Ubers, depending on the driver’s discretion. If you’re traveling super light, there is even a train from the airport where you can then transfer to the subway to get to where your staying. That being said, a cab is pricier, but exponentially easier. I’d cab it to your landing pad, and then use the metro or a ride share app to avoid higher cab fair while your exploring.

A couple of Insider Tips here:  

Uber is usually nicer and less expensive than a cab and has replaced most cabs. But Via is a great option if you don’t mind sharing your ride. Rides in Manhattan anywhere south of 125th St will cost you $5 plus an additional fee per +1. The app just tells you what street corner near you to meet your driver. If your traveling on a budget, but want to avoid the sweltering heat of the subway or just prefer to experience the city above ground, this is an option worth considering.  

If you do decide to take a car into Manhattan, parking apps like ParkWhiz and SpotHero are super helpful in finding the best price near your destination. You can even reserve and pre-pay for your spot. All of these apps are constantly changing their pricing and technology, so do a little research to figure out which is best at the time of your trip.

 I’m obviously a strong proponent for family travel and taking your kids everywhere, but for me New York was easier when we could just strap Garrett to our stomach and didn’t have to worry about him darting into NYC traffic. At almost two, he’s too little to handle all the walking and too heavy to be carrying like a Sultan in his stroller up and down subway steps. He’s also not quite old enough to appreciate the amazing things NYC has to offer like the the Statue of Liberty or sit through a broadway show. -If he did, I’m dying to take him to the Gazillion Bubble Show! (Score discounted tickets at TKTS or TodayTix).

So we choose to spend a couple of days in Manhattan, then head to West Nyack for Steve’s shows in the countries 2nd largest shopping mall –You know I wasn’t gonna pass that up!

If you are an East Coaster, West Nyack is a great staycation that feels like a world away from NYC and it’s just a 45 minute drive. It’s lined with huge green trees, gorgeous old victorian coastal homes, and offers cool views of the Hudson River.

The comedy club is located in the massive Palisades Center which in addition to offering all the shopping my heart desires, it offers so much to keep families entertained. It houses a movie theater, a bowling alley, a go-cart race track, a carousel and there is even a ropes course in the mall that is noted as the world’s tallest but still offers a mommy and me ropes course for the younger set. My son’s absolute favorite was Billy Beez. This place is the Taj Mahal of indoor play spaces. We spent A LOT of time here before showtime. I know some folks find indoor play spaces kinda repulsive, but this one is pretty rad even for the naysayers. It has trampolines, slides galore, a sports court, and multiple spaces designated for the little ones.  

Of course, I couldn’t only show my child the inside of a shopping mall. (Or could I?)  We did a lot of swimming in the hotel pool and ventured out to explore quaint downtown Nyack and the playground in Village of Nyack Memorial Park. The playground here has sweet log cabins and super high slides. There’s also a water play area and skate park. From here you’re a stroll to Main St. lined with boutiques & restaurants.

If your kids are up for a hike, Nyack Beach State Park is great. While it’s not the most ideal beach to get in the water, it does offer a 2 mile riverfront pathway that takes you to the base of Hook Mountain and offers cool views. It’s a lovely spot for a picnic and you can fish here.

We’d planned to return to Manhattan for a few days before hopping on a plane, but we were already feeling like the city had kinda chewed us up and spit out. We were tired, it was really hot, and the hubs really needed some down time before his next gig. So with 2 days off and a car to get us anywhere, we packed our bags and hit the road. I’ll tell you all about it in my next post!

Continue following our traveling circus on Instagram too!

 

Sugar Skull Craft Ideas

It’s finally October! We are going to spend a couple of our Fridays of this series sharing some fun Halloween crafts. I’m pretty sure that right behind Christmas, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday to decorate for. And I love scouring the web for fun new ideas. Like these awesome Sugar Skull Craft Ideas…

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
I tend to stick to black and white with a little orange and purple thrown in for my Halloween decor. But I have to admit that I love all of the bright colors you usually see with the Day of the Dead decorations! So today I’ve gathered up some sugar skull inspiration for you to incorporate into your Halloween crafting.

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Embroidered Felt Sugar Skulls from Casa Artelexia

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Planters from Creative Kismet

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Cat Mask from Happy Thought

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Mask Printable from Create Craft Love

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Sugar Skull Rocks from Color Made Happy

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Pinata from Party Delights

Make mini canvases of a couple to celebrate Dia de los Muertos!
Mr. & Mrs. Dia de los Muertos from The Scrap Shoppe

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Sugar Skull Pom Pom Garland from Paper Source

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Candle Wraps from Lia Griffith

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Dollar Store Skull from The Kim Six Fix

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Pumpkin – author unknown

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Glow in the Dark Day of the Dead Lanterns from Growing Up Bilingual

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Dia de Muertos Picado Banner from 100 Directions

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Bookmarks from Red Ted Art

15 fun and creative sugar skull craft ideas
Day of the Dead Matryoshka Garland from Happy Thought

 

Don’t you just love all of the color and creativeness??

Must Have Craft Tips & More!
Join us again next Friday for more Halloween ideas!

Your hostesses,
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The Scrap Shoppe | Flamingo Toes | Mine for the Making | A Glimpse Inside

Fabulous Fall Projects to Sew

Hello and Happy Friday!! It’s Bev from Flamingo Toes here with you today and I’m showing off some of my favorite Fabulous Fall Projects to Sew!

I think Fall is one of my favorite seasons to sew for – there are so many fun things to make! From squishy pumpkins to cozy pillows and more – it’s so nice to make up things to celebrate the weather getting cooler and the leaves falling.

Here are some of my favorites!

Fabulous Fall Projects to Sew

Cute Scrappy Acorn Potholders

patchwork acorn potholder 23

Colorful Fall Fabric Pumpkins

Easy Fall Fabric Pumpkins

Autumn Acorn Banner

Use scraps of natural and fall colored fabric to create a decorative garland with the Autumn Acorn Banner tutorial.

Vintage Pumpkin Fall Pillow

Pretty Fall Pumpkin Pillow

Fall Leaf Hoop Art

Felt leaf embroidery hoop art by Positively Splendid. Adorable and easy fall decor! #falldecor #fall #crafts #leaves #diy

Cute Scrappy Pumpkin Quilt Block

October Scrappy Pumpkin

Pumpkin Pillow

Pumkin Pillow

Patchwork Pumpkin Pillow and Table Runner

halloween pumpkin patchwork pillow-001

Felt Leaves Cushion

felt leaves cushion cover DIY

Fall Leaf Applique Pincushion

Applique Leaf Pincushion

Fall Burlap and Lace Table Runner

Easy Burlap and Lace Table Runner

Pumpkin Spice Mug Cozy

PSL Cup Cozy

Cute Bandanna Pumpkins

How to create a DIY country fabric pumpkin with an upcycled bandana for Halloween and autumn / fall by Sadie Seasongoods / www.sadieseasongoods.com

DIY Velvet Pumpkins

learn how to make stuffed velvet pumpkins with real stems

Flannel Throws

These would make great gifts! Get ready for cooler weather with these simple DIY flannel blankets!

Make sure you stop back by next week for more fun Fall projects!

Your hostesses,
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The Scrap Shoppe | Flamingo Toes | Mine for the Making | A Glimpse Inside

Fall Leaf Crafts

It’s almost fall, y’all! This month we’re turning our series toward the coming seasons and holidays. First up, fall and Halloween!

Inexpensive fall crafts using leaves from outside or from the store!
Fall is my all time favorite season. I love the cooler temps and the fall colors. I also love to bring those colors indoors as much as I can in the form of fall leaves, whether from actual leaves for outside or from packs of inexpensive faux leaves that can be found at almost any store.

Here are some creative craft ideas for fall leaves to get you started.


DIY Leaf Bowl from Hello Lucky


Autumn Leaf Mason Jar Candle Holder from Spark & Chemistry


DIY Leaf Mat from The Scrap Shoppe


Fall Leaves Potted Topiary from Thrifty Artsy Girl


Paper Leaf Pumpkin from Good Housekeeping


Faux Leaf Fall Garland from By Stephanie Lynn


Clay Leaf Bowl from Emma Owl


Fall Leaf Book Page Banner from Simple as That


Fall Leaf Monogram from Mine for the Making


Autumn Leaf Bouquet from Design Sponge


Leaf Art from Just a Girl


DIY Leaf Wreath from Plaid

 

I love a good inexpensive craft, don’t you? You can certainly create any of these projects on a budget and still fill your house with fall goodness!

Must Have Craft Tips & More!
Check back with us again next Friday for more seasonal craft ideas!

 

 

Your hostesses,
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The Scrap Shoppe | Flamingo Toes | Mine for the Making | A Glimpse Inside

Tips for the Busy Mom

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sejoyia, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CocoRoonsAtWalmart  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

I don’t know about you, but I’m nearing my busiest time of the year. Getting ready for a move, the husband starting a new job, homeschooling a fourth grader, working from home, upcoming holidays and events approaching, plus tending to my everyday responsibilities can leave me feeling flustered and overwhelmed. I find that if I do a few key things to keep myself organized and healthy, I’m a much happier busy mom. I know I can’t be alone in this, so I thought I’d share some Tips for the Busy Mom.

Use a Day Planner or Calendar

I can’t live without my day planner. No joke. Everything from bills, work due dates, meal plans, appointments, extracurriculars, homeschool objectives, business meetings, vacations, reminders, etc goes into my planner. It holds me accountable and keeps me on track. I set aside time on Sunday evening to plan out the week. And let’s be honest, there’s no way I could remember it all and I don’t pretend to. My planner goes with me everywhere. 

Use a To Do or Check List

Again with accountability and keeping me focused and on task, a To Do List is essential for me. I make my daily To Do List each morning, or sometimes if I am really on top of my game, the night before. And I have to be honest, checking things off my To Do List is one of my favorite things ever. 

Stay Hydrated

From one coffee lover to another, I get you girl. But remember that it’s important to get in lots of H2O throughout your busy day. Not only is water intake healthy for your body, but it will also keep your energy up and help with lethargy. 

Treat Yourself

I love to snack. Almost as much as I love my child. I often snack during the day while I’m working, schooling, or running errands. So finding healthy snacks options is a must for me. One of my favorite go-to snacks is  Sejoyia Coco-Roons from Walmart. These delicious superfood cookies are organic, gluten free, vegan, non-GMO, paleo, and made without refined sugar. Plus they are made with a handful of ingredients that you know, can pronounce and provide nutritional value. I literally have zero guilt snacking on these guys and they are delicious, y’all! With both Brownie and Lemon Pie Coco-Roons, you can’t go wrong. Brownie Coco-Roons are made with the finest raw, organic cocoa and has a delicious deep, rich flavor and Lemon Pie is light and refreshing. I keep them in my purse, at my desk, and they go with us on hikes and trips. 

Are you a snacker like me? Then get your Coco-Roons on, girl, and continue to slay your day.

Take advantage of the $0.75 off ibotta offer when you purchase one Sejoyia Coco-Roons (Brownie and Lemon Pie) at Walmart on the gluten free aisle, while supplies last! Also, get an additional $.50 for redeeming the rebate on 3 different shopping trips! 

There you have it… four Tips for the Busy Mom. I hope they help you!

What gets you through your busy day? What’s your favorite healthy snack you treat yourself to?

Must Have Silhouette Cameo Tools

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Hello there makers! This month we have been sharing our very favorite craft tools every Friday. If you know me, then you know my very favorite craft tool ever is my Silhouette Cameo. I thought I would share some of my very favorite Must Have Silhouette Cameo Tools with you!

(Some of these links are affiliate links – that just means if you purchase from these links we’ll receive a tiny commission – but there’s no extra cost to you!)

The Silhouette Cameo 3 is my favorite ever craft tool because it’s so versatile and I can create so many things using it. From stencils to paint signs or decor for walls, to paper crafts, to party decorations, to apparel and so much more. 

Because this machine is so versatile, there are lots of accessories that you can choose to purchase with it and for it. I think it’s always important to have an extra blade on hand. Though mine always last a really long time, I think it’s important to have a back up. Picture yourself, late night crafting session, and your blade is dull. No craft stores open… what do you do before panic sets in and you have to call it quits for the night?! Pull out your spare, girl! Crafterhours saved!

Though your machine comes with a mat, you will need replacements. You can choose to get a standard 12×12 or a 12×24 which is on my wish list. 

To have even more design abilities, I suggest getting the Silhouette Design Edition. It’s an upgrade to the program that the machine comes standard with. I highly recommend this, and it’s definitely worth the extra cost. 

You’ll also want the Silhouette tool pack to help with weeding vinyl and paper crafting. The tools make life so much easier!

When storing your Silhouette, it’s important to keep it covered to keep the dust off of it. There are several colors of these covers you can choose from to buy or you can  make your own. 

If you travel places with your Silhouette, say to a friend’s house to craft or maybe you use it in your classroom, I suggest purchasing a tote! They come in handy by making transport easy and a bit safer for your machine. 

I love making things with vinyl! This starter kit is great so you can get the feel for working with vinyl before you buy a bigger order of it. 

Once you get the hang of your Silhouette and you’re ready to make even more fun things like shirts, you’ll love this heat transfer vinyl multipack! You will also want to make things like cups, coffee mugs, and wall art, so you’ll want regular vinyl as well. 

 

And if you get really into making shirts, you’ll want a heat press. This makes the vinyl adhere so much better than irons and the longevity of the shirt is so much better. 

To transfer your vinyl designs over easily, you’ll need a roll of transfer tape. You save money when you buy a bigger roll, and you’ll go through it so it’s necessary. 

I am all about organizing my supplies, especially my vinyl otherwise it ends up all over the place. I like storing it rolled up in magazine holder.

To help cut your vinyl, transfer paper, and other paper, I love my Fiskar Scissors. They are super sharp and work so well.

For more fun, you should try out the sketch pens! Use them to create cards, invitations, tags, addressing envelopes, making wall art, and so much more. 

There are so many more things you can get for your Silhouette, but these are my must haves. I hope you find them helpful and that they make your crafting even more fun!

Join us next week for Alison’s must have craft supplies! 

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The Scrap Shoppe | Flamingo Toes | Mine for the Making | A Glimpse Inside
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Must Have Sewing and Embroidery Tools

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Happy Friday! We’re gathering up our favorite craft supplies this month and today it’s my turn to show off my must have sewing and embroidery tools!

My two big loves in the craft room are sewing and embroidery – so I have to share my go-to materials with you! Let’s start with embroidery!

(Some of these links are affiliate links – that just means if you purchase from these links we’ll receive a tiny commission – but there’s no extra cost to you!)

For transferring embroidery my favorite pens are these iron-on transfer pens from Sublime Stitching. They have super fine tips so you can really get those details transferred perfectly!

Fine Tip Iron-On Transfer Pens

You know I feel strongly about my DMC Embroidery Floss and this new Popular Colors pack is a great bundle of threads. I adore these colors!

One of other must have’s when stitching is the DMC Color Book. This book has little swatches of every thread so when you’re choosing colors you can go to the store with a plan – and easily see what colors come in floss, pearl, and more.

So now that we’re all set for stitching, let’s start sewing!

For most projects I cut them out on my oversized Fiskars mat and yes, when it comes to cutting mats – size matters. ;)

Seam ripping is yucky, so I’m all for making it easier! This handy seam ripper has a little cap that you can use to make removing threads super easy – they just kind of “stick” to it!

I absolutely cannot resist cute embroidery scissors – and these little unicorn scissors are my faves (right now!). They work really well too so they’re cute and useful – always a must. :)

Gold Unicorn 4" embroidery scissors - small unicorn sewing scissors - for cross stitching, needlework, quilting

This is such a little thing but soooo useful, especially with all the bags, pillows and quilts I sew! This little point turning tool makes it so you have nice crisp points on all those seams and corners. And it’s super cheap too!

I keep this handy bottle of Best Press with my iron all the time and use it on pretty much every project I make! It works like a starch without all the gummy mess that usually comes with starch. It’s really light and it smells great – and you don’t have to worry about it discoloring the fabric! She has other scents if lavender isn’t your thing.

And speaking of irons – I know this is pricier than the usual irons you can pick up at any store, but I got this little beauty last year for Christmas and it is my favorite thing ever. It is a Rowenta Iron and it’s perfect for sewists. It’s nice and hot, heats up quickly, has a good sharp point on the top and just all around works so great. Gushing here, I know, but I seriously love this iron!

Cute sewing supplies are a must! I’m loving this little floral measuring tape from Riley Blake! I like to take this kind along in my bag for measurements in the wild too.

I’m pretty much blind as a bat so good lighting in the sewing room is a must for me! This Ottlite Desk Lamp is perfect for right by my sewing machine – plus it has a handy caddy for scissors, seam rippers and marking pens!

Washi Tape! I know – these aren’t sewing supplies – but I use washi tape in the sewing room all the time! It’s perfect for marking seam guides on your machine and you can remove it without a big mess. I also use it in embroidery to wrap around the edges of fabrics that will fray! This cute measuring tape washi has the added bonus of the ruler on it too!

I hope you’ve had fun looking at my favorite sewing machine supplies! I didn’t include my machine because it’s being a little wonky and I’m on the hunt for an upgrade! But I’d love to know what your favorite supplies are!

Make sure you come back next week for more fun must have craft supplies!

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Must Have General Craft Supplies

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It’s a new month and a new theme for our Must Have Craft Tips series! This month the girls and I are going to be sharing must have craft supplies that we keep in our craft rooms. These are supplies that we love and know you will, too!

Must have craft supplies to make your general crafting WAY easier!
I’m focusing on general craft supplies. These are supplies I keep within arms reach of my work space. We’re talking my favorite adhesives, cutting tools, and more. I don’t have a specific crafting niche, I dip my hand in a little bit of everything, so these are my must haves for all the various crafts I make.

We will be using affiliate links this month on these posts, meaning a tiny portion of any sales made through a click on any of the links will go into our pocket. But these links also make it easier for you to find our favorite products!


Of course I have to start with my Silhouette Cameo. I honestly use it ALL the time for paper crafts, vinyl crafts, and several other things. I also purchase all of my replacement cutting mats and cutting blades online. They are Prime and SOOO convenient!

There is also an AMAZING deal available online for a $25 gift card to the Silhouette Store that sells for less than $15! They not only make great gifts for your friends that have a Silhouette, but will save you $$$ on the $.99 downloadable designs in the Silhouette Store!


Speaking of things that cut… this folding paper trimmer from Making Memories is the BEST paper trimmer you could ever get your hands on. Unfortunately they seem to be hard to get ahold of these days. I originally purchased mine at Hobby Lobby (with a 40% off coupon!) several years ago. The blade self-sharpens each time you use it so you NEVER have to replace the blade! If you ever run across one, snatch it up!


A good pair of precision scissors are a must have as well. I like this pair from EK Success. I’ve had my pair for years and have yet to need to sharpen them. And I like that they have a safety cover for when I’m not using them.


Next up under the “cutting” category is this set of X-acto knives. One is a typical X-acto knife, great for precision cutting and cutting straight lines. Another has a swivel tip (my favorite!) for cutting out curvy shapes. And the third is heavy duty for cutting cardstock and thicker materials. They come in this handy wooden case with spare blades.


I sew a bit but I also use my Fiskars rotary cutter for other materials as well. I know that is a big no no for people who sew, but I keep separate blades for different materials. You can label them so that you don’t use your “fabric” blade on paper and whatnot. They are great for anything large you need cut!


And with any rotary cutter you must have a cutting mat. I actually have two. A small one (18″x12″) for cutting small items with my X-acto knifes and a large one (36″x24″) for cutting large items with the rotary cutter. These are self-healing and will last forever if treated correctly!


I also keep an acrylic ruler handy to use with my X-acto knives and rotary cutter. It’s the best way to ensure a perfectly straight line. This one is super awesome because it also acts as a centering ruler which makes placing items on fabric or paper easy to place. It’s great for working with vinyl, too, and getting that placement just right.


One more MUST HAVE cutting tool is the Crop-a-dile. I don’t use it so much for the eyelet setting aspect because I don’t use them much anymore (I did when I scrapbooked), but it is the most amazing paper punch ever. You can cut through thick stacks of paper like butter! It’s great for making banners and whatnot.


Although I don’t use it super often, I do use my Martha Stewart scoring board often enough to keep nearby while I’m working. Any piece of paper I need folded I always turn to the scoring board for perfect creases. I also like that the scoring tool and ruler can be stored in board.


Moving on to adhesives, any good crafter will have multiple adhesives on hand for creating. Let’s start with wet adhesives. These 3 are my absolute favorite wet adhesives for various media. They all happen to be from the same company, Beacon.

The Zip Dry is a fast drying adhesive perfect for paper crafts. It doesn’t wrinkle the paper like most wet adhesives.

3-in-1 is great for general crafting. I always tell people it’s like a cold hot glue gun. It dries super fast and you don’t get burned in the process!

Fabri-Tac, as you might imagine, is used on fabric. It doesn’t dry stiff so it leaves fabrics flexible and is also quick drying like the other 2 wet adhesives.


Now for the dry adhesives. I have two absolutely must haves: Super Tape and the Glue Glider Pro.

Super Tape is a double sided, super heavy duty tape that is not letting go of anything. When you use it you don’t have to worry about anything ever coming loose. I love it for adding paper to heavy duty media like cardboard and even wood.

The Glue Glider Pro has various cartridges available (i.e. repositionable, permanent, etc.) though I generally stick to the basic High Tac cartridge. I love that it is easy to apply the adhesive and use it ALL the time for paper crafting.


I tend to add a lot of paint to various craft projects. Whether I’m flat out painting something or just adding a touch of color to a project, I love, love, love having one of these Artist Brush Tubs on my desk. My craft space is nowhere near a sink. And I don’t necessarily want to have to stop what I’m doing to go rinse off a brush. So I keep this tub with water (it comes with a lid) on my desk all the time and open it up when needed. No more ruined paintbrushes because I didn’t rinse them in time (or forgot about them altogether!).

 

What do you think? Do you already have some of these or something similar? We’d love to hear your thoughts on your favorite craft supplies!

Must Have Craft Tips & More!

Stay tuned next every Friday this month for more must have craft supplies!

 

Your hostesses,
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The Scrap Shoppe | Flamingo Toes | Mine for the Making | A Glimpse Inside

Travel: Visiting Cleveland with Kids

Hello! Renae here and I’m happy to be back and sharing more about traveling with kids… little kids to be exact. So today let’s take a trip together! If you are planning on visiting Cleveland with Kids, I’ve got some great tips and places to share with you. 

I’m going to let you in on a dirty family secret. My husband’s tour dates were booked before Garrett (our son) was born, so even though he’d be so delicate, we decided he’d be taking his first road trip at 3 weeks old. At the time, I couldn’t anticipate what a hormonal mess I might be, and I imagined it would be such an important family bonding time that I wanted us to be together no matter where we were. For me, the thought of being on my own with a newborn seemed scarier.  Since we knew we’d be doing a lot of traveling, we decided to introduce a lovey. It was actually a tip I got from a sleep training book. The idea is to introduce a special blanket or animal that comes out at naptime and bedtime to help signal it’s time to sleep. We took it a step further and slept with the lovey in our bed before Garrett was born so that it smelled like us. That way even before he could see it, he could smell it. We figured in a state of constant change, it was something he could always have that felt familiar to comfort him.

And yes, it’s become one more thing we have to make sure to pack, but it’s been really helpful when we’re sleeping in different beds all the time. One of my girlfriends called him Carcass because his body is flattened out with no stuffing which coincidentally makes him easier for traveling. My husband loved the name because it sounded manly, so Carcass stuck.  And somewhere along the line Carcass became such a comfort that he didn’t just come out at bedtime. He was joining us for alot of our daytime exploring. He’s even really helpful on those first sleepovers with the Grandparents, or transitioning to nap time at daycare. My kid might grow up to be like Linus from Charlie Brown dragging around his smelly germ infested blanket everywhere, but for now Carcass is so worth the help he brings at bedtime when we’re sleeping some place foreign all the time. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen Carcass all over Cleveland. He’s a main character in my instastories.

Carcass: Our Dirty Little Secret. Don’t worry, I’ve already scoured the Internet to make sure we have a back up.

So how’d we end up in Cleveland? My husband, Steve, had been out on the road for about a week and it was time to get the band back together, so Garrett and I hopped on a plane by ourselves to meet him in Cleveland. Lucky for me, Garrett slept most of the way. I wish I could offer advice on techniques for how to hold a lap child on a plane without an arm falling asleep or your fingers tingling, but I haven’t seemed to master that yet.

When I told a girlfriend who used to live in Cleveland I was going there she asked “Why?”.  And then right before I got there, I learned Cleveland is referred to as “The Mistake on the Lake” and not just by haters. It says that on Wikipedia too. But, I have to say, downtown is nice, clean, and offers so much to do. With the Kimpton Schofield Hotel as our landing pad, we were able to take in so many sites just walking around with the stroller. And downtown Cleveland offers so many great hotel & restaurant options.  One morning we had breakfast At Yours Truly in the Playhouse District and scoped out the countries largest outdoor chandelier.

And 4th Street is an awesome alley way lined with bars & restaurants with plenty of options and outdoor seating. It’s the perfect combo for a mom & tot. Outdoor seating so you don’t have to worry about disturbing the tables next to you, plenty of great people watching to keep everyone entertained, and a relaxing spot to sit have drink while the little one eats. We loved our dinner at Pickwick.

When your visiting a new city, I recommend grabbing the local paper. I usually find free ones in a coffee shop. Cleveland has all kinds of cool stuff happening down at the Harbor including a summer concert series. It’s a city that embraces music for sure. On our stroll to the Harbor we found cool murals, art & large speakers playing music in public parks.

It’s a nice 15-20 minute stroll from downtown to the Harbor & the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. The museum is packed full of really cool stuff from Elvis, to the Beatles, to Katy Perry and does a great job of walking you through the history of music and its political reflections. We went on a weekend when U2 was in town and the place was packed. If you’re going to do this one with a kid who’s too big to be strapped in a backpack or refuses to stay in the stroller, I recommend visiting on a less busy weekday so you can actually take everything in.  I was super nervous about loosing my kid amongst all the people in the many nooks and crannies of this museum. If you’re looking to buy a souvenir or gift for a music lover, the museum store is huge and actually has lots of unique merchandise.

We also spent a morning at the Cleveland Downtown Aquarium. It’s on the smaller side, but had plenty of interactive stuff to keep our kiddo entertained. There is a decent sized tortoise enclosure where you can get pretty close and we got to pet a knarly looking lizard. There is an awesome “walk thru” tank where you can see large sharks swimming all around you. And if your feeling brave there’s a tank full of sting rays you can dip your hand in and touch.

My son didn’t know what time zone he was in and was awake till an ungodly hour, so I was on the hunt for ways to stay busy after 5pm that were a little more kid-friendly than a comedy club. I discovered Memphis Kiddie Park. It’s a 15 minute drive from downtown, but was super sweet and easy. The park has been around for over 2 generations and definitely has a vintage feel to it. Each ride will cost you a little over 2 bucks and we didn’t have to wait in any lines. They have a concession stand that sells your typical carnival foods.  I enjoyed it because it made for such relaxing evening watching Garrett enjoy himself on the rides… even though his face might not look like it in the photos.

I’m a huge fan of children’s museums in any city, but Cleveland’s was closed for renovations, so we found ourselves checking out the Science Center. Side note: On our travels, I’ve learned that aquariums are typically a little pricier than museums geared for the younger crowd. Just something to keep in mind if traveling on a budget is a high priority. This Science Center is several stories, with an area designated for the under 7 crowd. Our little guy is obsessed with balls so we pretty much split our time between the toddler area and the Lego exhibit. I feel like I’m really doing a stellar job of exposing him to all kinds of germs and building his immune system (LOL).

They also have a great rooftop outdoor water play area. I was pretty impressed with the cafe here too. They had several healthy options and more than the typical concession stand offerings. There’s also plenty of picnic tables along the water if you prefer to dine alfresco. This one was totally worth the cost of admission.

Don’t forget to get a pic with the iconic Cleveland sign in the Harbor. It’s hiding behind the Science Center & Hall of Fame. You can also catch a cruise of the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie from here. I wish we’d had the time to do a boat tour. Cleveland has a ton of cool bridges and I’m sure a sunset river cruise would make for some great family photos.

On a mommy of a toddler note: Garrett peed and pooped in the potty 2x on the last day because he said/asked for the potty and wanted to. Super exciting, but I’ve got some anxiety about how we’re going to keep the progress going and manage it through airports and on planes. Should make for another adventure! Add it to the bucket list.

On the return flight the plane was practically empty, so we got a whole row to ourselves. I realized traveling with a lap child is much tougher. There’s way more freedom when he’s got his own seat. Room to color and play on his own tray so we’re not nearly as desperate for the tablet. And even better, my legs aren’t numb and I can use both hands. Awesome!

Thanks for following along on our adventures. We have lots more exiting trips before the summer is over including New York & San Diego. And I’m quickly learning that travel needs and suitcase must-haves are constantly changing as our little rugrat grows, so feel free to shoot me any questions you have!

Travel take-away: Remember to check out parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, and new restaurants when you visit a new city with the kids! 

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