How to…Make a stylish table lamp for your girl’s room.

A cute lamp on a budget.

I was inspired to make a cute table lamp for my daughter’s nursery after seeing many expensive lamps that just did not fit the decor ideas I had in mind. Then I saw this lamp from Land of Nod:

land of nod lamp

I thought it was cute, and it went with the garden theme for the room. But, they did not ship to Australia. So, I decided to make my own! I had a $10 lamp from Ikea for ages. I glued pink pom pom trim around the top of the lampshade. That was a start. Then i went shopping for a woven flower pot and fake tulips. I found bunches of silk tulips at one of the only artificial flower shops in Melbourne. The flowers and the pot cost around $30. The pot had a wooden base, so I sawed a small hole in the bottom to stick the lamp’s cord through. Then, I glued a small styrofoam block to the inside base and set the lamp on top and put the flowers, gently wedging the stems in between the styrofoam and the flowerpot. I didn’t glue the flowers in, so that I could remove them later for cleaning the dust off. And here is the result:

Zose Designs tulip lamp Zose Designs tulip lamp

I actually like my lamp more than the inspiration lamp!

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love from Zose Designs.

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A butterfly baby mobile.

I made this butterfly chandelier for my daughter’s nursery when she was just a baby. It was not that hard to make, so I thought I would share it as inspiration for DYI baby projects.  Inspired by the many gorgeous butterfly mobiles on the web (see this page), but not inspired by the prices of most, I decided to try my hand at making my own.

chendelier 2 chandelier 3Butterfly chandelier, DYI

Butterfly chandelier, DYI

I bought a needlepoint loop and covered it with a satin ribbon to hang from a pendant lamp in her room. This way the light shines through the butterflies and creates neat shadows. The rhinestone and crystal pendants also sparkle in the light. The butterflies are three layers of card stock paper glued together in the center, and the wings are fluffed, so it looks like the wings are fluttering. I threaded the butterflies onto elastic thread, and added sparkly gem beads throughout, secured with crimp beads at different heights. Each butterfly also has a glued faux pearl for added sweetness. We have had the chandelier in her room for three years now, and she still loves it!

I found a few tutorials online for making these yourself. Tutorial 1. Tutorial 2.

A dash of sweetness and an ounce of love. Zose Designs.

Quick and easy cake pops

The usual recipe for cake pops that I have seen involves mixing cake crumbs with frosting and scooping it into balls. Not only does this seem like messy business, but it also looks like a lot of work without guaranteed results. I always found this process to be daunting and would even roll my eyes any time I would come across a recipe or the dozens of Facebook photos posted of kids’ parties by other mothers, thinking,  “Who has time for that?”

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Plus, the thought of mixing cake with all that super sweet frosting made my lips curl. That was until my husband brought home a cake pop mold, and I decided to try it out for my daughter’s birthday party. It looks exactly like the photo below, and he bought it at Aldi. I was skeptical, but using the mold requires no frosting, and you can adjust the recipe to just about anything you want.

If using prepackaged cake mix, you need to add one extra egg, and half the liquid in the recipe. This makes the cake a bit heavier and it keeps its shape. Bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes, cool for 5, and you end up with perfectly formed cake balls.  To keep them secured on the stick, dip the stick in melted chocolate before sticking it in the ball, and then freeze them for a few minutes to set the chocolate. Then decorate away. Our final result looked like this:

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The kids just loved them!

The perfect garden party. On a budget.

For my daughter’s third birthday party, the theme was “A secret garden.” As we have a large garden, I wanted to create a magical outdoor setting, and to create several outdoor “rooms” with different themes. I had a vision in my mind, but I also did not have an unlimited budget. So I had to be creative. I found cheap white curtains at Ikea, and thought that we could make a fairy tent hanging from our large tree in the front garden. Luckily, though, my husband found a better option – a gazebo, for around $50. This turned out to be just what we needed.

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I made bunting in feminine colors using scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. For the cost of about 30 sheets of paper and the glue, we were able to make enough bunting to drape across several sections of the garden, and to decorate the inside of the gazebo. There were even some leftover for the inside of the house.

Next, we decorated the gazebo.

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Paper lanterns and bunting draped across the ceiling, and looked lovely in the breeze. For the table setting, I used pink polka-dotted candles, and put my trusty laminating machine to work. I printed cute flowers on A4 paper and each girl’s name to make place mats that the girls could take home.  Little flower pots (from Ikea) in pastel colors held the drinking cups to avoid spills (though we still managed to have one incident), as well as colorful straws decorated with laminated flowers, clothespins and a Zose Designs hairclip, all party favors. The girls decorated the flower pots and clothespins later with cute washi tape and took their creations home.

We stayed in the gazebo for lunch (mini quiches and finger sandwiches) and opening the gifts. We then moved on to the other garden “room” for a crafts session.

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I draped the curtains and around 8 meters of mesh fabric around another tree in the side garden using clothespins to create another “room” and some nice shade. In this area we have a playhouse, and I also hung paper lanterns and tissue paper pompoms (easy to make) liberally from the tree. We had a huge box from a treadmill that I covered with a pink plastic tablecloth and secured with a glue gun. This was our craft table, where the girls decorated their flower pots and clothespins and also made beaded bracelets. We have two chickens that added to the garden ambiance. Oh, and I also made ribbon wands for the girls to play with.

A few additional touches were a bubble machine and glitter all over the paved areas of the garden, so that everything literally sparkled in the sunlight. We did splurge on the birthday cake, which they decorated in a forest theme (cake from Fleischer Cakes in Melbourne).

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The party was a success, and my daughter still talks about it dreamily. A beautiful garden party on a relatively small budget and some “crafty” planning.

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