Craftastic Wednesday

Happy Hump Day.



Have you seen these books? Hallmark sent us one for a gift (thank you Hallmark!), and my kids are obsessed. It’s my voice reading the story, and Nella can push the buttons on every page to hear it, on her own.

This morning was the thirteenth kindergarten drop-off day, and it was as if I left her for nothing more than a play date–a casual wave, a confident good-bye, a carefree school girl who suddenly seems so much older.


On our way to the grocery store yesterday:

“You know what my favorite thing is, Mom?”

“What, Lainey?”

“School.” Smile.


And my favorite thing, as of late, is nesting and planning and thinking about the next three months–my favorite calendar trio.


The house purging continues, as does my holiday-planning brain that doesn’t seem to stop thinking, even after Magna Doodle imagery tricks at night. I woke up three times this week to quietly slip out of bed and write an idea down before it was lost.

Pre-Holiday Brain brings you a Craftastic Wednesday.

Intended to be a late birthday gift for my dad, I think we’ll be creating several more of these for Christmas gifts.

Kid Art Vinyl Placemat Set


We used 3/4 yard of white vinyl (which has a tiny bit of cushion, so it’s great for protecting wood from hot plates) and had enough to create six 12 x 18 in. placemats.

And have you seen the duct tape selection lately? Every color imaginable, patterns, polka dots, leopard print. If only those choices were available when I drove my Ford Escort station wagon around with a duct taped fender for two years in college.

We cut the vinyl to size for each placemat, the girls decorated them with permanent markers, and then I bordered each of the placemats with duct tape. Easy. Voila. And they wipe clean with a damp cloth.






She drew 132 “3’s” yesterday and said “Around the tree, around the tree, that’s the way we make a 3″ for every one of them.


And a totes perfect gift. Add cloth napkins, homemade spaghetti sauce and a box of noodles, and you just done went and made someone’s dinner.


So Bam. Craftastic high five.


Remember Blue Q? Blue Q was a sponsor last Christmas, and I heard from many of you that you loved their unique gift ideas. Well, they’re back. With more awesomeness. We use our Blue Q bags (made from 95% post consumer material) at the beach, for restaurant toys, lunches, etc. They come in every size, from giant fit-everything overnight bags to small clutches and pencil cases (oh and Tampon cases–yup. funny ones). And the prints are outrageous–retro, funky, artsy, fun.


I’m all over that camera messenger bag.

Blue Q’s products are unique and fantastic, but there’s so much more about this company that I love. Not only do they support The Nature Conservancy, but they’ve been the largest private employer of individuals with special needs in Western Massachusetts for over ten years.

Blue Q has heart, humor and style–all reflected in their products.


Tin Cigar Boxes


Branch Out Table Lamp

From their We-Met-on-Facebook gum to their Don’t Stop Believin’ Coffee Mug, Blue Q‘s got it goin’ on.


Have a very merry Wednesday. Which is kind of like Christmas but actually nothing like it.



Leave a Comment
  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I’m so glad that Lainey is enjoying school! I just love your pictures of the girls!! I am anxiously awaiting your blog posts over the next 3 months (My favorites as well). Happy Wednesday!

  3. i love the first picture of Nella… she is definitely on a mission!

  4. Nella looks like an American Girl Doll in that first picture. Precious!

  5. love the hallmark books! the boys grandparents that live in Atlanta have given us 3. they read them together, the boys love them!!

  6. Kelle… PLEASE tell us… when are you finding out whether you are carrying a boy or girl!?!?! I’m on the edge of my seat over here!

  7. At 16 weeks pregnant, I keep telling myself I don’t mind if I have a girl or another boy, but whenever I see your sweet girls, I can’t help but get a gentle tug in my heart that reminds me just how much I’d love a little lady to light up our lives. :)

    Loving the craft idea, btw!

  8. Oh my, we used to say that “around the tree, around the tree” rhyme when I was in kindergarten 25 years ago! That is so sweet. I love that she is so excited about school and learning. :)

  9. LOVE this idea!

  10. I’m loving the placemat idea! I’m pretty sure I’ll be stealing this one to do with my girls. Thanks!

  11. I love craftastic Wednesday :) such a cute idea! And I have a secret to making each week a little holiday-ier: I’ve changed the name of “Thursday” to “Friday Eve.” Most people at my work know that when I wish them a Merry Friday Eve, the traditional response should be “May the spirit of Friday live in your heart, all week long!”

  12. LOVE the placemat craft!!! Also love that Lainey’s favorite thing is school. See? Your gut decision to send her was 100% correct! Mama guts usually are… :)


  13. We love the Hallmark books. I bought my nephew the “All the ways I love you” one for his baby shower. My girls and I each took turns with a page. We live almost 4 hours away and between college and work schedules we only get to visit once in a blue moon. I hope it becomes one of his favorites as our relationship grows. Happy Wednesday to ya! 75% of our department is OOO (out of office) today and I am loving it. Getting so much done and a lunch break peek at the Hamptons.

  14. Awesome craft esp. for a non crafty mom like me. The girls would love it and so will the grandparents!

  15. What a fabulous, happy honky dory post! WOOHOO!

  16. boom-choca-lacka

  17. These photos are awesome Kelle and your craft skills are so impressive, my mum loves to craft as well but this stuff is incredible, in all honesty better than what she does haha. Great post Kelle, you’re such an incredible mother!

  18. Love those place mats may have to break out my craft supplies and go to town with my kids. We have some racing stripe duct tape that of course my hubby had to have lol

  19. We have one of those Hallmark recordable books ‘Guess How Much I Love You.’ My dad recorded his voice a month before he passed from terminal brain cancer and I am so thankful we will always have it for our kids.

  20. YEA!!! For Lainey!!

    Love Nella’s red shoes.. and her hair looks so long.

    Love the placemats ~ so cute.

    And… love the last pic of Brett and Nella.


  21. Love Blue Q! We stuffed the kids stockings last Christmas with Blue Q. My 13 year old has proclaimed since he was 5 that he will live in Canada when he is of age to move. Blue Q has a Look and Feel Like a Canadian breath spray that was the perfect little gift for him. And the Random Crap box was perfect of our then 9 year old who loves to collect random crap.

  22. What a fun idea! I have been looking for things to do with the little I baby-sit for! Think I just found it:)

  23. SUCH a super idea!!! Thank you! Linking this to our blog FB page. With Christmas just around the corner we’ve gotta remember these great ideas! :)

  24. I always love seeing Nella and her babies or bears reading to them.
    So proud of Lainey. I knew it would come, or I had hoped. It took awhile for my son.
    Love the camera bag as well.
    Your place mat idea is so cute. As a Grammy I would love it. Iw oudl even like it with Prego.
    It is a happy day here as well. It’s our anniversary…..even though hubby ws in the ER with an injury…all is good. Hoping your hubby is feeling better.

  25. And a merry Wednesday to you, too! Amazing what a difference 13 days makes. Glad to hear Lainey is enjoying school so much. Love the place mat craft!

  26. And a merry Wednesday to you, too! Amazing what a difference 13 days makes. Glad to hear Lainey is enjoying school so much. Love the place mat craft!

  27. Hi Kelle,

    My name is Jody and I’m a NICU nurse in Kansas City. I’m also a huge fan of your blog. I spend many nights with my babies at work finding inspiration and a sense of peace through your hopes and dreams and stories about life.

    I thought Nella might enjoy a couple small things for her dolls. My email is Let me know if that would be okay or if you have a P.O. Box.

    I hope you and your cute family have a beautiful week. I’ll be sure to send some Midwest Fall weather your way!

  28. So I totally just pinned this craft. It looks like I might be s SAHM to my girls for a few months after we move, so I am looking for crafts we can do while big brother is at school. I love this one.

  29. So happy to hear Lainey is enjoying school! And you’re obviously feeling better! Fan-freakin-tastic craft idea! Can’t wait to make our own! Aloha

  30. Awww..Sweet post. And in one of the pictures Lainey looks so much older! Glad school is going well!

  31. Anybody know if those tin boxes would be good for photos from Blue Q?

    Your pictures are beautiful as always!

  32. LOVE the placemats! 😀 And I love that first pic of Nella, she’s such a beauty xxx

  33. Very cool idea that I think we could pull off! :) Thinking of you tomorrow when you get to see your little one again! :)

  34. So, so glad Lainey’s loving school! Doesn’t that make your heart melt?? Cool placemat craft!

    And love the totes! Thanks for sharing!

  35. Ooh! Love the placemat idea! I think the grandparents might be getting a set of these for Christmas 😉 (cause I forgot grandparents day, not that I think they know there’s a grandparents day).

    Thanks for sharing! And always love your pics! Your girls are so cute. :) Glad to hear Lainey’s liking Kindergarten so much!

  36. WHAT?? You made those? I saw your post on IG and thought they were a gift. Pure awesomeness!!!! You are a miss crafty pants;) Love that Lainey is doing well and LOVES school. Makes my heart happy. I just knew she would!

  37. Craftabulous! Love the placemats. And I’m so glad Lainey has settled into school so well.

  38. I haven’t seen those books, but my Mum got one for my sister to read into, so that she could give it to my niece whom she hasn’t met yet. My sister lives in London, so Mum thought it was a nice way for her niece to get to know her.

    I love your holiday freak flag that comes up in September. I need to start getting organized for Christmas, present lists, pudding ingredients, cake ingredients. 3 months til I can take our homemade tree out of the loft!

  39. What a great idea! I can’t wait to make placemats with Jonathon. Thank you for sharing as always!!!

  40. Oh how I love me some BlueQ! Just placed an order the other day! My daughter laughs so hard at my cat butts pencil case that she’s getting her very own!

  41. So many fun smiles. And man, Christmas shopping must begin soon…. but FALL BAKING must begin sooner :)

    I think you should make another placemat set for a giveaway. No need to ship pasta sauce, though!

  42. Military Challenge Coins
    WOW! It is just awesome and so cute pictures thank you very much for sharing now i am going to bookmark this site, so that i could get a lot more images like it.

  43. Totally stealing the place mat idea. LOVE.
    Great to see you feeling better Kelle, and I love that Lainey is digging school now.
    It’s all good Girl.

  44. This was a great post! It’s good to see that you’re all acclimating to Kindergarten. I can’t even think about when I’ll have to send Little A off. Your pictures are just so beautiful. Your pride in your family shines through every one of your photos. Thanks for sharing.

  45. It makes me feel bad when your brain is thinking so much that you have to get out of bed and write things down so you don’t forget them but it also makes ,e Happy because I love opening your blog everyday and finding /enjoying a new post and pictures. Thank you. Also isn’t it nice to drop Lainy off with a skip and a smile. You are right she is getting big.

  46. I’m so glad Lainey like school now. I have to ask, what are your emotions with all this? I know you’re happy in taking on this new role as a “school mom” but are there any mixed feelings like secretly wishing she were still at home and terribly missing her (of course you do) or are you just fully embracing moving forward with life? How are your days at home during the day different now? That’s wonderful it’s going so well! I’m following because my son will start K next year with no preschool this year (like Lainey), so I’m doing my best to prepare him (and me) for it while he is at home this year. Looking back, what would you do to prepare Lainey for this transition? Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  47. This post is made of WIN!

    love that Lainey is feeling comfortable about school. Does she know you used to be a teacher?

    The placemats are awesome! Simple and practical but full of prettiness and reflective of the child!

    I’m stealing Nella’s shoes and gonna cramp my toes into them. Just so you know what happened when they go missing ;o

    We bought those books just over a year ago. recording our voices was excruciatingly embarrassing (“Do i sound like that?” “i giggled, let me do it over”) but so worth it as my girls adore them and its great for those (rare) times we go out and have the girls babysat by friends/relatives- we still get to ‘read’ them a bedtime story

  48. I don’t post comments often, but I read every post. You are amazing {I just wanted you to know that}.

    My girls have those books where you can record your voice. They were gifts from my Mom- when I first opened it I cried. It brings so many emotions and memories for me.

    My girls open and close then often. Hearing my Mother’s voice throughout my house makes me smile. You should have your parents record one for the girls as well!

    Also I WILL be trying that place mat craft this weekend. Thanks!

  49. The pictures of Nella are precious!!! Where did you get the blue overalls? I need a pair for my wee one! :)

  50. omg this is a GREAT idea and is absolutely making the gift list. And heck, I need some new placemats here! LOVE! Talk about perfect little holiday or mother’s day/father’s day presents!!!!

  51. My mother-in-law recorded one of those books for my little guy. Such a sweet idea! The only problem is that he keeps pressing the button that plays “to record, move switch to unlock position” over and over and over…

  52. what a great craft/gift idea – thank you! craft high five indeed!

    i’m so happy for lainey. good for her (and mama).

  53. Love, love, love the recordable books! We bought a couple of them for our girls before Daddy deployed to Afghanistan. The girls LOVED that Daddy was still able to read them their goodnight stories. Daddy LOVED knowing they heard his voice each night, even when he couldn’t call home :)

  54. There you be…you just gone and done made my day! That second picture of Nella? Covering her bear’s eyes and pointing, “Little dude, there’s a veeeeeeeery scary part coming up…you best not see.” Slay me. xo

  55. Lainey’s boots are fabulous!!! It sounds like blue q rocks big time for employing those with special needs. Just for that I’m checking out their site!

  56. We love the Hallmark Christmas books too; my mother- in-law sends them to our girls read in her voice. As a holiday junkie, you’ll have to try them out! :) The placemats are great – totally going to give them a whirl – thanks for the craftastic idea!

  57. i love, love your daughters passion for books and arts. i love nella’s outfit and she adorable with her teddy bear :)

  58. We have that same book from Hallmark… I just have not recorded on it yet. :)

  59. I have been thinking the last few days about your purging challenging and while I am blessed to be organized and purge regularly I did finally come up with something that I should have purged about 4 years ago…My thong underwear. After becoming a mom I maybe need all of 4 pairs for those once in a blue moon occasions where I am wearing something that would show a panty line, but the 44+ pairs that I have in my already over-stuffed drawer need a new home. Tks for making me stretch beyond the ‘normal’ purging.

  60. Very merry Wednesday to you, too!

  61. Ok ok you got me I’ll clean my house ok.. Hahaha I’m sick of the clutter so I’ll guess I’ll just keep coming back here to be motivated to keep going.

  62. Those first pictures are so sweet and gorgeous. She looks so happy.

  63. Oh my goodness, is there anything you’re not talented in?? It makes my heart so happy to come here, your girls are so beautiful.

  64. Just ordered the bike and camera messenger bags. I about spit out my coffee laughing at the other stuff they had at BlueQ. What a fun website, thanks for the heads up!


  65. My older sister is profoundly handicapped, but she loves the recordable Hallmark books. Her birthday is this Saturday. She turns 43! I bought one of the recordable books to give her.

    My mom got her one a couple years ago and she listens to it all the time (although she can’t push the buttons). Once, however, she had returned from the dentist and we were told by her house mother that she did NOT want to listen to that book. The only time ever!

    We have a feeling she was mad at my mom that day. I just love the mysterious ways she communicates even when she isn’t able to talk!

  66. I am sooooo stealing that placemat craft….and believe me…this is a big deal…because I am NOT crafty!!!! Love it!

  67. I had to pin this one! I’m totally doing the placemats for Christmas gifts. Thanks, Kelle!

    I love that Lainey’s favorite thing is school! Reading that made my heart smile. She’s so big now, it’s crazy. And that Nella, well she’s looking very grown up these days, too. I love that she can write a 3! Arya is not even close yet. :)

  68. sigh……..I love ya Kelle! My brain and hands have been craftin’ kick-ass Christmas stuff too lately. Made a towel for granny yesterday!……love the we meet on facebook.:)

  69. Glad Lainey is enjoying school. It’s sad when they’re ready to leave your side willingly, yet such a feeling of pride at the same time.

    We have 3 of those books in our home now. My mother-in-law records them in her voice and gives them to Aeryn for Christmas each year.

  70. I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple of days and like a good book I haven’t been able to “put it down”. I recognize myself in your words, some of your experiences, and in your style of writing. In reading you and identifying, I have realized how much I have missed me. Missed that part of me that used to write every day and used words to love, to grow, to heal, to share, and to feel a connection with the universe. So here I am, expressing my gratitude to a stranger who writes and tells it like it is, the good and the bad, for the whole world to see. And I can’t begin to thank you enough because until tonight the silence of not being able to write myself was deafening. But I’m writing again, I’m going to lay it out there, the painful, the joyful, all of it. And all because I stumbled across your blog. Thanks so much for sharing your life here. I don’t think we know how much we touch other people’s lives around us by just being ourselves and telling it like it is, so I wanted you to know you had touched mine.

    I promise I’m not crazy…*lol* Just needed to say what I felt. :o)

    Nice to meet you, and your beautiful family. <3

  71. I can’t get the “individuals with special needs” link to work, anyone know the actual URL? Thanks!

  72. Enjoy your self on holiday nice planning you have do on holidays.

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  73. love love love the placemat idea! i’m totally stealing it and i’m wondering where you got your white vinyl? i tried hobby lobby with no success and before i went on a wild goose chase with the kiddos in tow, i thought i’d ask! thanks!!

  74. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
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  75. Hey the baby looks so cute…love emerging pics really…I wish I see this cutest baby….lovely photos really..hope to see more photos..
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