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Green is a unique children's book that is also a remarkable work of literary art.  In it, Laura Vaccaro Seeger presents various shades of green, each with its own charming story and within its own gorgeous painterly environment, and then weaves the greens together in an intriguing way, using die-cut pages.  Avery enjoyed seeing the die-cut shapes change and transform, from leaves in a forest to fish under water on the next page.  Inspired by the book, we collected different green materials for Avery to collage and explore (paper in different shades of green and varied textures, tissue paper, paper leaves, ribbon, washi tape and crayons).  Avery and her dad collaborated to build a race car (one of Avery's interests at the moment).  More information about Laura Vaccaro Seeger and her creative process can be found on her website.  We eagerly look forward to this Caldecott author and illustrator's next book!

Post by Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine

You can see her work and read about her two young children's first forays in cooking, art and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.

Fire Station Play Nook Before & After

When we were on the hunt for office space, an old 1930’s firehouse was being decommissioned and sold to the public.  PERFECT!  It felt like an omen.  A sign.  Is there anything cooler than working out of an old firehouse?  No.  No, there is not. The problem with an old firehouse, however, is that it was in really rough shape.  Like, really rough shape.  More than seventy years of being inhabited by men {and a few women} had taken its toll on the old building and removed any element of ‘cute.’  To start, Mr. Hedin gutted and rebuilt an entirely new kitchen for me to use as a studio and it’s become our little ‘home away from home.’  

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After months of remodeling, the decorating part felt overwhelming.   So when Land of Nod asked if there was anything they could add to the space, I almost cried.  Yes!  My children are at the firehouse constantly while I work, and usually they are helping.  But to have other things for them to do while I cook, craft, or surf Pinterest would be amazing.  

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We brainstormed, we pinned, we came up with the most awesome little play nook for the children.  Now, they have their own space.  And it’s almost impossible to get them to go home.  

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By Alexandra Hedin:

As a lifestyle and entertaining expert, this mother of three constantly juggles her life at home with her life at the office.  See more of Alexandra's decorating tips & recipes at Alexandra Hedin.com

Shrinky Dink Cupcake Toppers

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For Christmas last year my children got a Shrinky Dink kit. I can’t even tell you the
last time I played with Shrinky Dinks, but I can tell you I was suddenly obsessed. I
Shrinky-Dink-ed everything.

When we started planning a photo shoot at the firehouse with Land of Nod, I knew
that I would somehow use Shrinky-Dinks. Did you know that they could be made
into three-dimensional shapes that stand up remarkably well? Why does that
matter? Because it makes the PERFECT cupcake topper!

You’ll need
1 package blank Shinky Dink paper
Yellow, red, and orange colored pencils
Permanent marker in thick and thin
Scissors

Step 1 :: Trace the stencil onto the Shrinky-Dink paper using the thick permanent
marker.

Step 2 :: Fill in the detail ‘flame’ lines using the thin permanent marker.

Step 3 :: Color in the flames using the colored pencils. To get the gradient look, start
with the lightest color in the center and work out, overlapping the color as you go.

Step 4 :: Cut out the shapes and follow the package instructions for shrinking.

Step 5 :: Let cool and assemble on the top of a cupcake!

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By Alexandra Hedin:

As a lifestyle and entertaining expert, this mother of three constantly juggles her life at home with her life at the office.  See more of Alexandra's decorating tips & recipes at Alexandra Hedin.com

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

I feel like our bonus room is the one room in our home that will probably be evolving for as long as we live here. It has served as an office, a family room, and for the past few years (and probably for a good while still), it is our play room.

And even as our play room, I imagine I will always enjoy adding little bits of happiness to it, just to keep it feeling fresh.

Recently, I decided it might be fun to switch up the light fixture above the kids' coloring table – maybe a pop of color with a touch of DIY. I didn't want to spend a lot of money, and I've been dying to attempt a yarn ball light fixture like I saw in the window display of Anthro a few months ago, so this seemed like my chance.

Of course I didn't bother to take the time to research how other folks have done it, I just took an afternoon with my sister and we sort of winged it. Trial and error taught us a lot and I'm excited to share what worked really well for us to make our very own Yarn Ball Light Fixture:

What You'll Need: DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture

cord kit // foam or bristle brush // cotton yarn

mod podge // round balloon or punch ball

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

1. Inflate the balloon to the size you want (if this is your first time, start small), and hang it so that it's not touching anything. (We used a punching ball, so there was already a giant rubberband attached.) We worked at my dining room table. I HIGHLY SUGGEST covering your work surface with newspaper. My whole table had a decoupage glaze until I could get it clean.

2. This is definitely going to take two people – even if you have it hanging. Getting started is tricky, but once you get going, it's simple and fun. I recommend getting your fingers a little wet with the Mod Podge to get started.

3. Ultimately, you want the yarn to have a cool, chaotic look. But to get started, you have to be organized. Do a bunch of vertical wraps until you feel like things are pretty secure. Don't be afraid to pull tight into the balloon's elasticity a bit.

4. Take turns with your buddy. With everyone's fingers a little bit messy with mod podge, one person hold the balloon still, and the other person just get wrapping – being as intentionally chaotic as you can stand.

5. Stand back. You don't want to under-do this, but you don't want to over-do it either. At some point you'll hit the sweet spot and you'll know it. That, or your back will be so tired and your hands will be so sticky that you'll cry uncle and conveniently be at a happy stopping point. You know… either way.

6. While everything is still wet, start thinking about the reality that you're going to need to fit a lightbulb and your fist through the bottom hold, and that the top hole will need to almost perfectly fit the light fixture. No pressure, there will be time to make adjustments once everything is dry. But the more you can do now, while everything is still wet, to accommodate those things, the better.

7. Now, go nuts with mod podge. Once things are about how you'd like them to be, and you're totally finished wrapping, make it stick. (And speaking of stick, don't worry about it sticking to the balloon – it will all work out great in the end!) We used a foam brush at first, but ultimately found that it was just easier to scoop the goop out with our hands and slather it on. Clean up was tough though, so if you're a tidy person, use a foam or bristle brush for this step.

Now? Let it dry. I gave our project a full 24 hours, then checked it for "soft spots", recoated those areas and gave it another 24 hours after that. Patience is a virtue. It is worth making sure all of the yarn is really good and hard.

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

[I'll confess that I didn't leave the balloon totally alone while it dried. Just about every time I walked past it (which was a lot of times), I would poke my finger through a hole in the yarn to push the balloon in and separate it a little more from the Mod Podge/yarn frame. Super satisfying. I'm just saying.]

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

And now… the moment we've all been (or at least I was) totally waiting for… the POP!

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

You guys, I'm not going to lie. It was both thrilling and incredibly satisfying. The noise, the explosion of clear, dried Mod Podge scattered everywhere like confetti, the ball unexpectedly dropping to the table (I should have seen that coming), and the fact that IT WORKED!! It looked like a legitimate yarn ball! I used a q-tip to clear out some of the dried Mod Podge that didn't break free with the balloon. Then, I used scissors (and eventually a cutco knife, but that's dangerous, so don't do that!) to clear a hole at the bottom large enough to fit my arm in.

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

The top hole was actually a little too big (oops!), so I got creative and made a ring with a white pipe cleaner, and "stitched" it in place with some more yarn, then made it permanent with my last drips from the bottle of Mod Podge. I'm kind of MacGyver. It's cool. We can still be friends.

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

Of course next comes the big, payoff, moment-of-truth when you attach your cool, pop of color cord to your masterpiece and hallelujah! The design angels rejoice!

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

Hang that bad boy up (and, you know, safely wire it into some electricity) and feel awesome because you did something super cool.

DIY Yarn Ball Light Fixture | Honest to Nod Blog

(Wouldn't it be fun to do a bunch of little ones in different colors to make Easter Eggs? THAT wouldn't even require electricity or cutco cutlery!)

Other fun things you may have seen in this post: Rapunzel Print // Alphabet Wall Cards // Pallina Game Felt Ball Garland (similar) // Pretty black + white pram

Have an awesome weekend, friends! Enjoy the sunshine and exercise your creativity!

Raechel Myers blogs at Finding My Feet. When she's not elbow deep in her next DIY project, you'll likely find her helping her 6-year-old with his Kindergarten homework or playing babies with her 3-year-old daughter. She lives with her husband in Franklin, TN where they can only hope to train their kiddos to love the Lord and take their dishes to the kitchen sink.