Category Archives: Tutorials

Italy 2013- Part 8 (AKA Florence for a day)

We headed into Florence for the day with big museum plans.  We planned on seeing the Galleria dell’Accademia first (where Michelangelo’s David is located) and then going to the Uffizi Gallery.  Florence was not as easy to navigate by car as we anticipated and parking was a beast.  But we finally arrived and were able to see some amazing art.  No pictures allowed, of course, so trust me that the art was amazing!

We walked over to the Uffizi Gallery and walked by the Duomo nearby and saw a replica of the David out in the courtyard.  We were also able to take a few pictures from the roof of the Gallery.

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This area of Florence was just beautiful.  After we had explored the 40+ rooms of the Uffizi and entirely worn ourselves out on museums for the day we wandered over to Ponte Vecchio and enjoyed a gorgeous view of the river.  This bridge was just fabulous.  It used to house all the blacksmiths, artisans and jewelers they would all dump their waste into the river out their windows.  The upper crust folks complained of the smell of the waste and now the whole bridge is housed by jewelry shops.

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That night we found a delicious restaurant not too far from our house.  The view from their patio was amazing and just made us all so happy to be in Tuscany





What to do with Styrofoam packing…

So I snaked this idea from the activity people at work… but I knew that Sophie would like it a lot.  I just bought a couple cake platters, and the styrofoam blocks inside broke up into those little styrofoam “balls” (you know, the kind that stick to everything).  If you put half of a block into a freezer size Ziploc bag, break it up into “balls” and you, too, can create this spring project.  I had been talking to Sophie about spring, and how the blossoms are coming out on the trees.  So we sang a little “Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree” and made our own “popcorn” trees.


Here’s how:

Take your bag of styrofoam “balls” and a branch from your backyard.  I cut “twigs” with four-five offshoots… It would have been really cool to have some with lots of little “branches” but it was not to be.  This will be your tree.  The offshoots are the “branches” and the main part is the “trunk.”

Give your almost 3 year old a foam brush and a cup of Mod Podge… have her paint the “branches,” remind her to not paint the “trunk,” who has ever seen blossoms on the trunk?

After she has finished painting the glue onto the branches, place the “painted” branches in the freezer bag with the styrofoam balls, seal it up and let the almost 3 year old shake it to her hearts content.

When she has finished shaking the bag, remove the “tree” and place the branch in a cup with tissue paper in the bottom, to hold the tree upright.  I used plastic cups, so they were heavy enough to stand upright.  If you are the kind of person who has paper cups at home, I would maybe place a couple rocks in the bottom so it doesn’t tip over.

Here is your finished product (in the above picture you can see our 3 trees in a row on our entry table):


After we were done, we drove around running errands and I pointed out all the trees laden with “popcorn.”  I love living in California where it may be February, but it is starting to feel like spring!

Recycled Wreath Tutorial

I thought I would try my hand at a tutorial… it seems all the rage!  So here was a project Sophie and I did, and it wasn’t too hard, and I love the results.  I might be missing a few pictures, I decided to do this part way through.  Anyways.  Here goes:

Supplies Needed:


You need:

A whole wrapping paper tube (not just the partial one shown here), sturdy cardstock (I used the insert from another wrapping paper roll), red and green acrylic paints, foam brush, ribbon, glitter, double sided tape and a hot glue gun.  I also used a 1.5 inch hole punch, but you could just free hand your circles.

First thing, mark off 1.5 inch sections of your wrapping paper tube.  Then cut out as many as you want (I used 13 of them, but just arranged them until I liked the size).  If you used an exacto knife the pieces would be neater… but if you are like me, and you leave stuff out, the exacto knife is not a friend of the 2 year old who is eagerly waiting her turn to help.


Next cut out the holly leaves and the berries from the wrapping paper insert (or the heavy cardstock).  I used 16 holly leaves and 8 berries.  The coolest part of using the insert from wrapping paper to create the leaves and berries is that they curl up, and I kind of liked that effect on my final project…


Next paint the tubes green (this is the 2 year old friendly part… put down some serious newspaper or garbage bag to protect your furniture…).  While you have the green paint out, paint the holly leaves too.  While those dry pull out the red paint and the glitter.  Paint the berries red, then dip them in the glitter… messy with a 2 year old, but if your 2 year old is princess obsessed this is the cool part…. and know that the glitter goes everywhere, I am warning you now.


After the rings are dry, arrange them on your table or floor.  Then take your double sided tape and attach the pieces together to form the base of your wreath.


Then arrange the leaves how you like on the top of the wreath.  I have 8 sections of 2 leaves and 1 berry.  I meant to do 3 berries, but it was a little much when I laid it all out.  They won’t all stay in place, but don’t worry too much, just get a good idea of how they need to be spaced.  Then hot glue the leaves in place on the top side of the wreath.


After you have glued the leaves and berries on, flip the wreath over, and secure the pieces with more hot glue… they are attached to very little surface area, so get the glue everywhere you can.  It isn’t pretty, but who is going to look at the back?


Then attach 2 ends of a 8-10 inch piece of ribbon… I just picked a length that looked good on my front door…


This is what it will look like afterwards… 


And here is the 2 year old with her creation…


And because this is my first tutorial, let me know if there is anything different I can do… I don’t know how many I will make, but I think I will work on putting up more projects in the future.