Weekend Encouragement; God’s Love For Us

I have not been on my blog a much as I would like. I love blogging, and I love reaching out to others and hearing back from you all through comments and emails is one of my favorite things. I love having the community of encouragement that I have found through my blog.

I have been back and forth sick, and it has put me “behind” on all my goals. I am very hard of myself sometimes (or always) and I start feeling like a failure.

And just like that it all came crumbling down on me. Every negative thought and every insecurity of a difficult past just waiting for a weak moment to prove themselves to me again.

A whirlwind of sadness and all of the sudden a bunch of issues I should have sorted through a long time ago consume me. With God’s help I am digging through the muck now.

I am needy. I am in need of truth (and He is truth). I am in need of the love of my Savior. I am in desperate need of Him, and it is scary to depend on someone else, but when I look in His word it reminds me of His faithfulness and love.

I was studying this week and I came across this word in Hebrew; Hesed.

I read it is the most common word in the Bible to describe God’s love toward us; toward people.

It is often used in Ruth, but my favorite verse I need right now is in Lamentations.

There is no direct translation (as I understand it) of Hesed in the English language. There is no one word that describes it as completely as the Hebrew word. I find it most often translated as mercy and loving kindness in the King James Bible.

I liked this definition best so I made it pretty to encourage me:

Hesed Hebrew word for gods love toward us; The consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love of God.

This is perhaps my favorite definition that I have found, (and gently tweaked to include the word mercy).

Constantly pursuing.

That just overwhelms me. He pursues me.

It’s true. The Holy Spirit speaks to us. God desires a personal relationship with all of us. The enemy uses sin and shame to separate us from Him, in our minds only though, for we know that nothing can separate us from Him, not even death.

lamentations 3:22-23 kjv It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulnessIn the above verse from Lamentations the word mercies is translated from that Hebrew word Hesed. When I am feeling so low and separated from Him, like the weight of what I am facing will utterly consume me, and I have nothing left, I cry out to Him.

He is so faithful and loving to me that He shows me His “hesed” love when he answers to me.

His mercy will sustain me. Because of His consistent, ever-faithful, merciful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love I will not be consumed.

I don’t know about you, but I love reading this verse in Lamentations 3:22 this way!

Wow!

And so when I asked the Lord, “How?”

“How will I ever get through this?” I felt his reply was “with my hesed (love) toward you”

Unmerited, undeserved, merciful, pursuant love of God.

Let that get you through your difficult time my friends.

He loves us more than we will ever deserve, like the love of a (good) parent toward their child.

Recently I have begun to think of faith and trust in this way:

Without the ability to navigate, you find yourself in the deepest of forest at the darkest of night. You will surely be lost forever, yet in faith and trust you calmly relax when you could be naturally terrified of certain death and danger. In this place where everyone would understand if you were to despair, you stop and you pray and listen for God to lead you through. For without Him you will be utterly lost. His help is the only thing to lead you.

It will still be dark and it might be scary at times, you might stumble, but what else can you do, but trust Him? You can never get out of the dark place without Him.

*Sigh*

Isn’t He wonderful you guys?

I struggle with my trust of Him, and it is unfair to Him. I  am human. I am flawed. I am a work in progress. It’s okay, I’ll keep working on it, surely I am not the only one.

Love is the answer. Trust is the answer. Faith is the answer.

As my pastor often says. “Easy preaching; hard living.”

Have a great weekend you all, and be patient and kind with yourselves as He is with us, okay?

Love to hear from you all, please leave a comment, or if you have something that encourages you, you’d like to share I’d love to hear it, thanks!

 

Easy and Inexpensive Easter Mantle and Entryway Decorating with DIY Painted Eggs

Hello and thank you for visiting. I am so glad you are here. My readers are so important to me which is why I want you to know the links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


I got my Easter decorations up early! I usually have a few decorations, but with all the little children I have around here I don’t usually do much.

This year I have a few places I can decorate in the living spaces of my home where the children won’t destroy it and it was looking so barren after the Christmas decorations came down I decided to put up a few things. I skipped right over St. Patrick’s day and went for an Easter and Spring theme. I am so pleased with how it turned out I couldn’t wait to share it with you all, especially these super affordable eggs I painted.

Mantle decorated with Easter mantle for springSo my fireplace is set in the corner. I live in South Carolina where it is very warm 90% of the year so even though we’ve been here a year and a half this fire place has never been turned on.

Still though it is a lovely fireplace and it is right in my living room, so I have been doing my best to make this little spot look like a lovely little corner in my home.

Easter/ Spring decorated easter mantle, fireplace decorationsTo take up some of the space I bought this great bridge scene from Kirkland’s I had intended to figure out how to hang it and point lights at it, but that was going to be a ton of work so I just sat it there so it would be up and out of the way in the meantime, and as it turns out I quite like it that way so there it sits.

My husband made me this fantastic tray that sits in the center, it is decorated with this great glass blue tile, but it turned out to be too heavy to use as a tray and too lovely to not be displayed, so I found the perfect place for it on the shelf above the fireplace.

Whenever it starts inching toward spring my daughter’s and I love to have pretend tea out of lovely tea sets I’ve collected from all sorts of antique shops and resale stores, so I knew they would get a thrill out of having this lovely tea set displayed in the living room.

Easter egg wreath from Walmart, pastel egg wreath decorated mantleThis white orchid flower arrangement is from Hobby Lobby, with a 50% off coupon I find the flower arrangements are quite affordable, and I love this one so much we keep it up year round.

This Easter egg wreath is from Walmart and is only $9.88! We are always decorating on a budget, we are always doing everything on a budget really. Amazon has a great selection of Easter Wreaths that are so beautiful, and are available for 2 day shipping if you have an Amazon Prime membership.I only spent about $30 on all the decorations we have up in the house. (I had some from years previous)

Kirkland's easter banner with wooden clip on flowers from the Target dollar spot; how I decorated my easter mantleThis “Easter” banner is another Kirkland’s purchase, because basically Kirkland’s, Target, and Walmart are the 3 first places I look for decor. I have a few other places I like, but I’m at Walmart the most since it is where I buy my groceries and it’s hard to shop much when you have four little beautiful children to take care of and only one car to share for your whole family.

I added these bright and beautiful wooden flowers to my Easter banner,  I found the flowers  in the Target dollar spot. The clip on flowers were $3 for the 4 pack and I thought they went perfectly with my little Easter banner.

DIY painted easter eggs for home decoratingPicked up these bright yellow flowers in the seasonal aisle at Walmart  and painted these eggs with some artificial eggs I had from 90% off Easter clearance at Walmart last year. I had the green crinkly paper in with my gift wrapping things, and the vase is from a candy bar I had at a party a couple of years back. I love apothecary jars, but they start at around $30 for one so we just used what we could find second hand. This jar and lid are from the salvation army.

what I used to make gorgeous affordable painted Easter EggsI had some paint including a metallic gold and a more teal color (because teal/mint is my favorite) and I bought the pink and green paints just for painting the eggs.

 

inexpensive artificial eggs great for decorating and paintingI definitely didn’t realize how many of these eggs my husband purchased on clearance last year. I used about 3 packs and barely made a dent in what we have here.

These paints are $.50 each from Walmart. The metallic gold one may be more, but I already had that one on hand so I just bought the other 3 this time.

spring colored paints used for hand painted easter egg decorThe colors are “Key West,” Pure Gold,” “Baby Pink,” and Lime Sherbet. Click on the picture and it will open up in a new tab enlarged. You can easily read the labels in the enlarged photos if you want to see the exact product number on the paints.

hand painted easter eggs, ,do it yourself easter egg decorationClose up look a these eggs I painted! I love them so much. The colors are perfect. They sell eggs for decorating most everywhere, but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and I didn’t want to pay to mix multiple sets so I just made some myself.

I spray painted the metallic gold eggs with glitter sparkle gold spray paint that I had leftover from a previous project. The eggs turned out okay, but I don’t recommend spray painting them since they are so light weight the force of the aerosol spray sent them flying all around.

This spray paint has mixed reviews on Amazon, but I have used it in red and gold and it works near perfect every time. I love it and will definitely use it in the future.

Easter decorated console table with mirror, diy painted easter eggsFor my entry way table I added more painted eggs, plus a couple of pink flower arrangements and a few signs (both from Kirkland’s as are the flowers on the right). The flowers on the left are artificial bouquet my sister’s used as bridesmaid flowers in my wedding. My 2 year old daughter’s vacuum is reflected in the mirror there next to a basket of her toys I keep in the living room. I never was the type that didn’t allow toys in the living room.

Console table Easter decor with hand painted eggs, happy easter sign, and kirkland's pink flower arrangementCut and painted a bit of the egg container the artificial eggs came in to display the “Faith, Hope, and Love” eggs I painted using the pointed handle of a paint brush and the gold metallic paint pictured earlier in this post. The Happy Easter sign is sitting on a wooden colored block from a box of foam blocks from my son’s room.

The glass bird jar is from a yard sale and I’m pretty sure I paid a quarter for it. Flowers pictured above are from Kirkland’s last year, but I am certain I saw a similar set of these at Kirkland’s just a few weeks ago.

Feels so nice to have our decorations up and early! I love the way the house feels with all this beauty in it, now if only I could figure out how to keep the floors clean with 4 little kids living in it!

 

 

To the Families of Child Cancer Patients on Cancer Awareness Day

It’s late at night and I was thinking about some friends of mine on this National Cancer Awareness Day. Friends and acquaintances of mine whose children suffer from cancer.

I was going to write a Facebook post, but it occurred to me that I had much to say. I hope they read this, but it is okay if they don’t. These are just my thoughts. I know that there are more than children suffering from cancer, and I am aware that it is always devastating for the families no matter the age, but as a young mother I find the cases where children are involved just stay with me each day.

So here are my thoughts. To my lovely friends and to those lovely strangers going through the same battle.

open letter to the families of child cancer patients on cancer awareness day

I go on social media, most every day. I feel like in this way I am checking in on people I love. Every morning, just making sure everyone is okay. As I have reached the age at which myself, and most of my peers have become parents, I have watched them post pieces of their lives on social media.

I celebrated with them as they announced their engagements and waited in anticipation to see wedding photos. For many of you I drove a great distance so we could celebrate together.

Later I shrieked at my computer screen and went running around my house to tell anyone who would listen that my old friend just posted that she and her husband were expecting a child, and then again, I waited. I waited to see pictures of tiny babies. For many of you those pictures never came, and I watched you struggle with that heartache, but for most of you, I watched as you posted pictures of your new baby, your eyes gleaming with…love.

smartphone checking phoneI enjoy opening up my app every morning and scrolling through cute pictures and silly stories. I love seeing photos of play days and Christmas cards, recitals, and haircuts.

And then every so often comes one of those post I have to read so slowly, and so carefully. It usually says something like “We took him to the doctor, it is cancer and treatments start next week.” For some of you it’s not cancer, but a terminal illness diagnosis. For some of you, you’ve left the doctor knowing your child’s life expectancy, or that in a matter of years they would lose the ability to walk.

I can’t know what that is like. It is not my journey, but perhaps I can give you a glimpse into what it is like for me over here on the sidelines.

I want you to know that when I heard your little child was sick, I cried. Everything in my world moved in slow motion as I thought “Oh, no God, please heal this baby.” I probably stopped everything I was doing to excuse myself from my children and sob as my heart breaks at the overwhelming news. Even though we haven’t seen each other in years or we only met briefly.

add you to the saddest prayer list quoteI remember how you prepared for that little baby, who is now sick, and I add you to the saddest prayer list I never thought I would have to make, and then I tell as many people as I can about you, hoping that they will join me in praying.

As the startling news starts to sink in and I’ve taken all the time I can away from my daily tasks, I return to my “normal day” with a heaviness weighing on me, as I grieve with you at this news.

The next day when I check in again, I’m reminded of the gravity of the situation as you post a photo update of your poor little child in a hospital bed.
I will probably put some money in a passing offering plate or an online giving account, but what I really want to give you is a hug. Also I want to give you, your space, so I part with money you need more than I do, and hope that it does indeed help your family.

I watch you be stronger than anyone should ever have to be, and I am encouraged and inspired by you. I know that you probably cry when no one is around and that you probably haven’t slept much, and that is okay. It is okay to be human through this. However you go through this, it is okay. (I know you don’t need me to say that, but in a world where everyone is making anonymous social media accounts to leave cruel discouraging remarks. I completely support you.)

encouraged and inspired quoteI watch you post about the good days and the bad days. I see as people clamor around you to support and encourage you and I am so glad, even if you won’t remember in years to come, that I can in some way be one of them.

For some of you I see from my spot on the sidelines as your child becomes friends with other children in the pediatric oncology center. And I am happy for them to make a connection with someone that seems “just like them” in a world where they probably feel very different. The next thought I have is wondering how many people have kids on that floor of the hospital and why it has to be a thing. What if we lived in a world where there was no pediatric oncology center?

I’m happy to hear about your good days and sad when you share about your bad days. I am reminded that there is still so much life to be had, and amazing memories to be made, even if you have cancer. When you shared those photos of your child’s make a wish trip I was happy for your child that they were able to have a really great day, but my heart still ached a little for what you are going through.

I am thrilled when you say that your little one is in remission and you don’t have to go back for months to check and maybe you can move on from this darkness. Though I imagine that for many of you, there is always some fear there. Even when they say “cured”, even when they say “remission,” it must still be nerve-racking at every follow up appointment and round of testing.

I have seen some of your children have the cancer come back and then the whole thing starts all over again.

I want you to know that I am so sorry for what you are going through. I am so sorry I do not know just what to say, so I talked too much and said the wrong thing. I hope for the best, and even if you don’t have the same beliefs as me, I prayed for you, because it is something I can do when I feel so helpless. Also I pray, because I believe in its power.

national cancer awareness day with leukemia ribbonToday is National Cancer Awareness day, and I want you to know, that for me at least, I never forgot about you. I appreciate you keeping us informed in whatever way you choose to do it and I totally understand if you just don’t want to talk about it anymore.

As a young woman I remember looking around at my group of friends and wondering who we would marry or how many kids we would have or where we would live. I knew the world was full of possibilities, but I didn’t imagine any of the heart aches we would go through. I certainly never imagined cancer. I’m glad it wasn’t a heaviness that I had to carry with me in my youth, also I am glad no one interrupted my wandering thoughts with logic and reason that perhaps even the happiest of lives have some dark days in them.

I am so very aware of cancer. I am aware of you, and I am in awe of you.

Thank you for sharing your journey.

Be Blessed

Merry Christmas To You

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

Merry Christmas 2015 from Ashley and family at smartandsavvymom.comI absolutely adore Christmas and I anticipate nothing more than the picture perfect moment of my kids revealing what has been waiting for them under the tree for weeks (hopefully) hidden only by a thin piece of perfectly picked wrapping paper. I am grateful to bring them that moment of joy.

Of course I am grateful for the unique joy of appreciating the Savior as a redeemed Christian on this day.

I hope you are having a wonderful day, and that you find joy in whatever you find yourself doing today.

More details on how our family did these photos ourselves coming up this week. Enjoy your day, and if you have time make sure you check out my upcoming post featuring 3 more holiday styles all starring the color red.

More details on my look in the above photos in my Gorgeous in Gold Holiday outfit feature HERE.

My December Erin Condren Decorated Planner Pages

Hello and thank you for visiting. I am so glad you are here. My readers are so important to me which is why I want you to know the links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


I had such a great time decorating my planner pages in December that I couldn’t wait to share them with you even though I have yet to share my November pages. Don’t worry those will be here in the next couple weeks and I hope you guys love them. In the meantime I made December in my planner so fun and festive.

I have not purchased next year’s Erin Condren Life Planner (I just can’t decide what style I want!). It is an investment, but I love it for planning all things blogging and special events and appointments.

If you are interested in buying an Erin Condren Life Planner make sure you buy it through this link to save $10 (for new customers only).

I can’t wait to show you this month’s spread. I went a little scrapbook  paper crazy, using Scotch roll adhesive to stick everything to the pages. Way quicker than browsing through thousands of (beautiful) stickers on Etsy and waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

december monthly spread 2015 erin condren life planner #EClifeplannerI found glitter red and green washi tape in the $1 spot at A.C. Moore, not the easiest to use but I cut it in half and used it to line the bottom of the daily boxes all the way across the spread.

I used green for the weeks my kids were going to be off from school. I cut out some scrapbook paper with these foil deer silhouette  and layed out the word December with individual letter stickers. Across the top on the right side of the page is another strip of scrapbook paper I cut to size.

On the right margin, is a t do list notepad I cut down the center. It just adds color even though it only covered up a list space of lines underneath.

I took the photos of the monthly spread before it was filled out. While it was still clean and pretty.

december week 1 in my #ECPlanner. Winter ice blue decorated planner spreadWe should just establish before we get too much farther that I am currently obsessed with deer silhouettes and plaid.

I used a flag punch on card stock to cover up the letters and then wrote the numbers in with a sharpie marker. A trick I learned watching @belindaselene on YouTube.

winter blue #ecplanner decorated weekly spreadA few sticky notes and planner squares go a long way towards adding color my planner, but without filling up the space I need to write. I actually live my life out of 3 planners. This is the only one I decorate to this degree. Some weeks I do find I have to add in a post it note or 2 because I filled up the space, but I can’t help it, it is so pretty.

deer silhouette decorated winter planner #ECPlannerI took this gorgeous silver deer silhouette paper from a paper pad I got during a black Friday weekend sale and cut it out for a bottom border. It also had this square with the deer silhouette on sheet music and laminated it for a page marker.

buffalo plaid December week 2 in my #ECPlannerFor this weeks spread I printed out some pins and made up some ornament stickers, buffalo plaid planner squares, and to do list squares, cause I just couldn’t let December go by without some buffalo plaid in my planner.

red and gold christmas decorated planner #ECPlannerI really loved my buffalo plaid snowflake and my red and gold Christmas ornaments. I printed them on Avery label paper. People are always asking me about the quality of Avery labels, the quality is amazing, but remember a week in your Erin Condren Life Planner goes by in 7 days, how high quality do you need the sticker paper to be?

I think that the Avery Label paper is outstanding. I don’t know why I would use anything else. Besides being great quality and turning out beautiful stickers, they are also very affordable.

You can get 25 full standard paper size labels for only $6.99 on Amazon HERE.

red and gold christmas decorated planner pages idea; #ECPlannerI made the weekend stickers with deer silhouettes of course. I did finally find some buffalo plaid washi tape at Michael’s, but only after I had printed and cut my own, but both are gorgeous. Pretty much all red and black plaid is beautiful to me. I hope this trend last forever. Plus, how cute are these pens from the Target store dollar spot?

December week 3 decorated baking, cooking theme planner spread #ECPlannerI think baking with my family may be my favorite thing to do with them ever. Yes it is always a little too much sugar in the bowl, and flour on the floor, but still, we have such fun.

I frequently have cooking time with the kids during our homeschool time. They are very little but it is great to teach them about measuring and other things while we laugh and poor and scoop.

With the anticipation of all the baking the holidays bring and a fabulous pad of stickers that were only $1 at Michael’s with all manner of Christmas baking stickers in it.

holiday baking theme decorated planner pages idea. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerI had a sheet of baking card stock stickers I found on clearance quite a long while ago, and I finally used them on this week’s spread.

The little square cupcake and muffin stickers are the exact right width to fit in the vertical layout squares. I used a pink to do list note pad on the left. I found this super cute cupcake washi tape at Dollar General in October when I was on the hunt for Halloween Washi tape.

pink and green holiday baking planner decorating idea #ECPlannerIt was my daughter’s birthday this week so I added some foil birthday balloon stickers. These stickers are easy to find, I’m pretty sure I bought these at Walmart.

I liked how cheerful the bright pink and mint colors are in my planner. For the date squares I cut up some polkadot scrapbook paper I had on hand. It was loose or I would love to tell you where it came from. Just stuck it down with some adhesive. I really like how covering up the numbers on top can transform the whole look of the spread without taking up any of the space you would normally use to write on.

christmas decorated weekly planner pages, Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannereChristmas week in my Erin Condren Life Planner! I just jam packed it full of beautiful things. I don’t have a lot of appointments the week of Christmas and didn’t think I needed to write in “shop, wrap, cook” so I felt like my options were wide open. I printed some stickers from Etsy and a lot of them ended up in this spread. You can check out my post on these affordable stickers HERE.

christmas decorated planner pages Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerA little fun with Santa on the to do list and this amazing washi that reminds me of fairisle print sweaters.

My favorite Christmas verse on Tuesday and red and green glitter washi stacked across the top border of the page.

christmas decorated planner pages. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerCandy canes, Christmas presents, and Rudolph. I only wish I wasn’t so, so busy that I have barely have had time to look in here this week.

Even looking through the photos of my planner make me happy, I am going to be sad to pack this up. The pressure of a totally blank planner, right you guys? I keep telling myself “You own everything you need for decorating your planner, buy nothing!” Somehow that thought always turns into “Make everything yourself!” I am really looking forward to making myself a few planner covers. At least I can share all the gorgeousness with you.

New Year's Eve decorated planner pages in black and gold. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerI really wanted to do black and gold for New Year’s decorated pages.

I used scrapbook paper along the bottom and side, and these glitter hearts that come in packs of six from the $1 spot at Joann’s.

black and gold New Year decorated planner pages. Erin Condren Life Planner #ECPlannerObviously a page marker that says “YOU ARE AWESOME” always belongs in my planner. At least one of you is wondering if I’m kidding, and the answer is; sort of.

Really sometimes we need a daily reminder of how awesome we are, and that is why I like to fill my planner with quote stickers. I like to feel encouraged and uplifted whenever possible.

Since everyone always asks, the only Etsy shops I used are the printable stickers from the Shops Listed in My Previous Post HERE. Most everything I use in from local hobby stores. Washi tape, stickers, scrapbook paper and paper punches are about the only things I use.

Here’s a look at my desk before I sat down to do all these spreads.

how I decorate my Erin Condren Life Planner. Organized desk set upI keep my big pads of paper and paper punches off to the side, along with some big trash cans so that I can try to keep it tidy.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have below or leave a link to your decorated pages blog post, I love seeing all the great ideas everyone comes up with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY PJ Masks Owlette Costume wit Free Printable

If your little ones are fans of any thing Disney like my children are and you have cable you probably have seen the new show on the Disney Channel called PJ Masks.

Disney Jr. PJ Masks, gecko, owlette, and catboyIt features 3 school age friends who transform into super heroes in the night. Catboy a super fast cat, Gekko who is super strong and a great climber, and Owlette who is the only girl in the group and can fly, amongst other powers.

This show started airing not too many months before Halloween and my kids were so excited to dress up as the characters from the show PJ Masks when that day rolled around this past October. Alas, there were no costumes to be found anywhere so with a lot of hard work and ingenuity I was able to make my son a Catboy Costume which I wrote about here (very helpful if you are trying to make one for yourself). It was not easy and took many hours but my son’s costume turned out to look pretty awesome.

My 6 year old daughter was so impressed, in fact, with her brother’s costume she was certain it would be no problem at all for me to make her a Owlette Costume to go with it.

I took a few days to think about it (and to look for something close enough to the costume that I wouldn’t have to make one)

I looked and looked, but it was very quickly obvious that the only way we were going to get the costume she wanted was if I  made it.

Suddenly I was wishing I didn’t work so hard to portray a good spirit while I was making the first one. Haha. Maybe if I’d complained more she wouldn’t have asked me.

My husband reminded me how thrilled my son was to zip around the house in his Catboy costume, and that I would have all the reward I needed when I saw her face after first putting on the costume.

So with my little pep talk in my pocket I headed out to get supplies.

no sew, pj masks costume owlette, diy halloween costume

Here’s a  look a the finished product, my daughter was thrilled, and it was much less difficult than the catboy costume.

finished flat lay do it yourself pj masks owlette costumeIt turned out so great considering how easy it was to put together.

We focused mostly on the wings and they were the most time consuming, but they were also a showstopper. My daughter was so thrilled to just sit and check out each individual feather.

diy owlette costume how to Here are the materials I used.

2 yards of by-the-yard felt fabric. (from the fabric section not the craft section)
1 yard of light pink flannel (couldn’t find any this color in by the yard felt)
2 Pink and white 8.5×11 inch felt craft squares
2 Rolls of Hem Tape
2 Sharpie Markers (1 light pink and one dark, but anything to mark on the fabric will do)
1 piece of cardstock for the feather template
1 Eye Mask (this was a masquerade fox style from the dollar store around Halloween time)
1 sheet of iron on transfer paper
Some elastic to secure it to her wrist and some velcro I had on hand to secure the wings to the shoulders of the shirt, but the wings were mostly too heavy for this to really work.

1 Long sleeve pink shirt (I found this one for $6 from the girls section of Target)

 

I started with my long sheet of dark pink by-the-yard felt.

measuring felt for diy pj masks owlette costumeIn order to measure the span of the wings I had my daughter lay down and marked about 2 inches inside of either wrist. I ended up cutting mostly along the crease you can see already in the fabric pictured above.

After that I tied my marker to a ribbon in order to make a swinging curve along the bottom of the fabric.

After I cut the fabric into a half circle I folded the fabric in half and cut down the center in order to make two triangles.

diy pj masks costume owlette wings how toOnce I had my two triangle bases for the wings I started making the feathers.

I measured a bit free hand a rectangle that was 2.5 inches across and 4 inches long.

Just like with the wings I folded the paper in half and cut a curved line along bottom to make the exact wing shape I desired.

how to make a diy owlette costume from pj masks I think the shape is a like that of a pointed shield. It’s not necesarry for this to be a very specific type of shape, as long as you use the same template for all of the feathers you should have the same result.

Once I made the first wing template out of cardstock that I liked I traced and cut two more just like it.

Because I was tracing the template onto the fabric with sharpie markers, the edges of the template got a bit saturated making them hard to work with, which is when I would switch to the next one. Three should be plenty though.

The tracing and cutting took the most time. I suggest if you are going to try this that you have high quality fabric scissors.

For my 6 and a half year old daughter we used about 150 of these feathers. Yes, you read that correctly, 150.

I laid my feathers out on my wings so I could make sure I would have enough to cover the wings. I made certain that the individual feathers would overlap the wing edges, and trimmed them down after they were glued down.

how to diy pj masks owlette costumeAfter I figured out the immense amount of felt feathers I was going to need I decided to distribute the polka dot feathers throughout. I wasn’t sure I was going to have enough fabric, but it turned out I had plenty to spare.

I laid out both feathers and then starting from the bottom row, I began to lay them out, first cutting the strips of hem tape (my scissors will never be the same, that stuff is sticky!) and then placing the tape onto the top straight part of the feather and then placing the feather onto the fabric.

Repeat 150 times….

diy how to felt costume wings pj masks owlette costumeI finished these in the wee hours of the night so after I glued the feathers on, I just went to sleep.

The next day I flipped the wings over and grabbed my roll of elastic, and using hem tape again I glued a loop onto each wing where the wrist would be.

Then I measured and cut a piece of ribbon I had on hand to the width of the top of the wings. I cut two very long strips of hem tape and put them on the back of the ribbon.

Laying the wings out I glued the ribbon on going over the strips of elastic. The tips of the wings were just touching at the top. So it looked like this:

how to diy no sew felt costume wings, pj masks owlette costumeThe two little black strips are where I added velcro to help it stick to the back of the costume tee shirt.

diy no sew costume wings for pj masks costume owletteHere is a view of what the wings looked like from the back. The Velcro is holding them onto the tee shirt at the shoulders, but if I were to do it again I would probably use another elastic strap at the under arm, because the wings were very heavy to be held on by the Velcro and it kept pulling on the shirt.

diy no sew owlette costume, pj masksFor the symbol on the center of the tee shirt I printed a still shot from the show onto iron on transfer paper for dark fabric. I cut it out (the edges were pixalated) and ironed on. Easiest part of the process.

Here is a printable that you may use to print out on your printer for use on your own little Owlette costume.

>>Download HERE Free Printable Owlette Chest Symbol for iron on transfer <<

 

Once you have you wings and your tee shirt finished there is only one thing left to do; the eye mask.

I wasn’t sure how to go about this, because the Owlette mask has feather detail on the top of each side.

I find I do well when I just improvise which is what I did here. I just stopped a few places while we were out running errands. I tried Walmart with no real luck on a good eye mask, but was fortunate to find something that would work at Dollar Tree.

The had several shiny purple and pink mask near their selection of Halloween candy. We picked up 3. Two of these were the same, a fox, and one was a wolf (I think?) they had scallopped edges so I was figuring that they would add to the costume, not a must though.

After I selected my mask, I simply inverted onto a scrap of fabric leftover from the dark pink felt I used for the base of my wings.

Traced around the mask and eyes with permanent marker, and the cut the mask out of the fabric and glued it onto the actual mask I purchased from the dollar store. This gave the mask more structure than if I would have just added elastic to the fabric.

The mask I bought was sized for an adult, this way you get the complete wrap around look that Owlette’s mask has on the show.

no sew, pj masks costume owlette, diy halloween costume After I had all the pieces I had to make myself we just added all things pink! Pink skirt is from Gymboree and was on the $3.99 clearance rack we had already purchased this skirt, and just used it because it matched just right. Pink leggings were something she already had, and obviously the shoes have been around a while.

She found some pink gloves from our winter accessories box (sounds nice, but it’s just a nice basket where we toss all things gloves, hats, and scarves), these particular ones have princess crowns printed on them in silver.

owlette costume, no sew, diy, do it yourself pj masks costumeShe was so excited to save the day. I was surprised how many compliments this costume received at the trunk or treat event at our church. Probably because my lovely friends no that I am not too handy with a needle and thread and I do not own a sewing machine. Considering those factors, this is pretty amazing.

diy pj masks costume, no sewing how to catboy and owletteSo my little ones were a crime fighting duo. My two other little ones dressed up as Elsa and Anna, because obviously I like giving the Disney Company all my money hahaha.

flying owlette in her no sew costume wingsMuch like my son could not wait to see if his stripes made him a faster runner, my daughter was interested to see how much her wings would help her slice through air. She was running up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, she loved how the wings looked flowing behind her in the wind.

She is not jumping off of that car, in case it even almost looks like that.

She did insist on jumping a few times to see if I could get a picture that looked like she was really flying.

She was really excited, and I don’t mind admitting that my husband was right, and it was really worth all the time I put into it after all.

Hope this helps someone who wants to make this costume for their little one. It is definitely not too late for this costume to end up under your tree this Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by,

Ashley

DIY PJ Masks, Catboy, No Sew Halloween Costume Victory
Now with Free Printable

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

*** Update, scroll to the bottom of the article to see new included FREE printables to help you with making the costume yourself! ***

*********

*** Update Two: Checkout the tutorial for my Owlette Costume By Clicking HERE***

diy pj masks costume, no sewing how to catboy and owlet****

I am only pseudo crafty. I glue I do not sew. I cross stitch, but I don’t own a sewing machine. I bake, but I don’t grill (I just don’t like smelling like the grill). I hot glue, but I try to stay from power tools. I think I have stated my case well enough. I make some pretty creative beauties that suit me perfectly, but when my son asked me to make him a Halloween costume I told him it could not be done.

If you have not heard of PJ Masks, it is a new show on Disney Jr. It features 3 young kids who have pajamas that grant them super powers at bed time to fight crime. My kids love this show. I won’t even tell you how many times we have seen the few episodes that aired.

Disney Jr. PJ Masks, gecko, owelet, and catboy

Gekko, Catboy, and Owlet are best friends at school, and at bedtime transform into superheroes, full out with costumes, a secret lair, and customized vehicles. (Because obviously 7 year olds need their own cars, I mean if one of them can fly, why not?)

Only one problem. The show is so new there are no costumes available for purchase yet. Sigh.

When I asked my children what they wanted to be for Halloween they all grabbed something out of the pile of costumes we already had on hand and were perfectly happy to do so. Except for my son. My son proudly stated that he would be Catboy for Halloween and never wavered.

I tried to convince him to be a dinosaur, or a dragon, or a transformer, a knight in armor and Kristoff from Disney’s Frozen.

No go.

He would only be Catboy. I explained to my 5 year old that they didn’t sell the costume he wanted at the store. He confidently replied “Don’t worry, Mommy, you can just stitch it up.”

He believed in me so much I figured at least I could try to see what it would take.

I decided that it might be simple enough. All we really needed was a blue long sleeve shirt, blue pants, a blue mask, and a tail.

Add stripes and go, right?

It actually turned out really well. My son is thrilled. Turns out I’m the real hero and I get to basks in the glory of those few winning parenting moments.

Here is the finished product.

completedDIY PJ Masks catboy costumeI’m pretty excited, since I had no idea how this was going to go. I wish I could tell you some great easy way that you can make this for your child, but it was a little time consuming and at times difficult, but I will show you what I did.

Items I purchased:

Felt: (4 navy sheets) $1.25
Sweat Pants $5
Long Sleeve Tee $4
Hat $1
Masks $1
Gloves $1
Heat and Bond Glue $2
Iron on Transfer paper: $4 (at Joann’s after coupon)

(Check out these highly rated Iron on Transfers on Amazon)

Total Spent $19.25

Not super cheap, but not too bad. It also helps that my son is going to wear this 4 to 5 times a week until it falls apart, and I know for certain at least 2 of my daughters are going to want to play in this as well. I wouldn’t have bothered if it was just for one Halloween night. Unless we were going to do some sort of contest perhaps.

I also used the following things I had on hand:

White crafting glue
Fabric scissors ( I use these ones – and they are amazing)
Black permanent marker
My computer and printer for iron on transfer
and my iron and ironing board

First, I started with some images of the character. I had to pull up my DVR and then play the episodes watching for a moment where Catboy was clearly in view, pause it and then take pictures with my cell phone. My kids really enjoyed that.

side by side, diy pj masks catboy costume with crafting feltMy son has already informed me that the costume helps him to run faster. Super speed is one of Catboy’s super powers. When my son tried on the whole outfit, he began running around the house asking me to check to see if he was going fast enough for me to see his stripes light up. Another one of the power’s of the Catboy character is that during his super speedy moments, his stripes glow or light up. I thought it was so precious that my little guy thought the costume would truly light up as well.

Here are the images that I used in case you need to take a closer look at the character to help with your own creation. (click on the images to see their larger sizes)

Disney Jr. PJ Masks show - catboy characterand this

Disney Jr. PJ Masks catboyI used this image to get a closer look at the stripes and the face.

PJ Masks catboy from Disney Jr.I used those images to create a sketch that I felt was similar enough to Catboy to be recognizable, but dissimilar enough to be created from cut felt.

Here’s my finished sketch.

disney jr. PJ Masks catboy costume sketchYes, I fully colored it in so that my son could be excited about it while I was working on it. I tried to make the sketch look like the cartoon, but I tried to make the costume look like the sketch, so it may have gotten a little watered down by the time we were finished, but it still worked out great.

Next, I had my son try on the sweats and tee I got him from Walmart.

blue sweats and long sleeve tee. From walmart, boys size, perfect for costume making

I made some measurements of where his knee and his elbow would be so I could make sure none of the stripes ended up on those parts of the clothes.

I also measured across the chest to determine the 6 inch size for the chest symbol.

Next, I got some felt and just started cutting. I used a ruler and a sharpie to mark the lines to ensure that they would be straight.

I measured the width of the legs sitting flat and made sure my stripes/ chevrons would fit correctly. For example I make sure the chevron shapes along the bottom were 6 inches across.

PJ masks catboy costume step by stepAt this point I was feeling pretty encouraged.

I got all through the pant stripes before the free hand tracing of the ruler stopped working.

I pre-cut my felt ($.25 per sheet at Walmat I used 4 sheets) to the correct width before cutting the stripe and then traced it in the mirrored direction for the opposite pant leg or opposite side of the shirt.

As I cut the strips of felt I laid them on the top and pants to make sure things were lining up like my sketch.

PJ masks catboy costume made with crafting feltMy husband found an owl mask for $.97 at Walmart. I used leftover scraps to make the stripes on it.

diy pj masks - mask for halloween costumeAdded bright blue felt (another $.25 investment).

mask for PJ masks diy catboy halloween costumeI used white craft glue to glue this down since I wasn’t sure how the mask would hold up to the iron. I used heat and bond glue for the rest of the costume.

Here’s the finished costume hanging up after my husband and I were all done working on it. This took me several hours to do. The heat and bond glue, had to be applied, and reapplied. I haven’t worked with that stuff much, so it is possible that I applied it wrong to start.

finished hanging,diy pj masks, catboy halloween costumeI glued and ironed on all the stripes. I didn’t take any pictures, because frankly it was messy, frustrating, and time consuming. If I had to do it again I would use crazy glue. Yes I would. After using the iron on glue, I had to repair it in several spots, I used white craft glue for the repairs, so far it is holding up after 5 trick or treating events over 2 days.

For the center symbol, I used iron on transfer paper made for colored fabric. Purchased at Joann Fabrics with a 60% off coupon. Cost me less than $5.

I isolated this image from a screen grab.

catboy symbol from pj masks for diy halloween costume.Printed it and cut out the mask shape. This was by far the easiest part.

side by side, diy pj masks catboy costume with crafting feltWe added a blue hat and knit gloves to finish off the look. I did have to cut the pointy owl nose off the mask for it to work.

My son is absolutely thrilled to be Catboy for Halloween . That thrill is why I like Halloween.

I love Halloween for a chance for my kids to dress up and have harmless fun, and I think it can be a great opportunity to go out and meet people from our community.

Hi again! What a great response to this post. Apparently a lot of us moms were trying to make happy sons by letting them dress up as this new superhero. I am here to help. So it took me a while, but I put together a printable to help you in your efforts. A totally free printable, complete with a full cutout for the mask. (Scroll down for the downloadable PDF file.)

free printable template for diy catboy pj cat hero preview

Please, remember that my son is 5 years old and I made the printable using the measurements for his costume. You should be able to cut the stripes bigger or smaller using the basic template provided.

You can try to print these on transfer paper and iron on the whole thing, I haven’t tried it with the stripes but had great success with the chest symbol. Check the material needed on your iron on transfer paper before going this route, I think that iron on transfers work best with 100% cotton.

If you are planning on cutting everything out of felt, this is the PERFECT printable for you can print this and use it as a template and it should make things go a lot more quickly.

free printable pj cat hero preview 2

>>DOWNLOAD FREE PDF PRINTABLE HERE!! <<

PJ Super hero boy cat costume printable iron on stripes

free printable template pj cat hero stripes preview masks included

Hope this helps someone trying to make the costume themselves. Good luck. Feel free to post any questions in the comments below!

 

When My Life is Like A Storm
Thought of the Day

A couple weeks ago South Carolina experienced so much rain that we experienced unprecedented flooding.

I always feel like it is easy to find out what was destroyed, but not so easy to find out how people are recovering afterward. I have spent a lot of time praying for the businesses that have been closed and the people who have been displaced, and burdened with repairs.

I keep hearing the same lyrics as I think of those affected.

when my life is like a storm rising water all I want is the shore you say - addison road lyrics“When my life is like a storm, rising waters all I want is the shore. You say I’ll be ok and make it through the rain. You are, my shelter from the storm.”

Really I love this whole song by Addison Road, but this particular part of it seems to be imprinted in my mind lately.

It’s one of those funny adages that has no biblical roots “God will not give you more than you can handle.” I think many of us can testify that saying is completely inaccurate.

Although I do love that song with Chris August “He Said.” Which has a similar testament. You know, on the off chance you got that message from God during your time with Him and He did in fact say anything similar to those lyrics, plus it has a good beat.

It’s funny how when spending time praying for others, I came out feeling better about my life and my burdens. I don’t have it altogether, (except for my outfits – those are on point you guys) much the opposite, but whatever my lot, I always praise Him.

whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say it is well with my soul

Perhaps the Lord has given this to me for comfort because of my absolute refusal to pray for myself. Most often, I just, want for nothing so badly I feel like it is worth bringing it up to the Lord. I simply feel like I have everything, and I am so grateful for what I have been given. I desire to be better at everything in my life, and I do that by serving Him in even the small moments with my family. I instead use my prayer time to pray for others, especially my children. I feel like God has me taken care of, and if that changes or I need prayer for a specific matter, I will pray for myself, and ask for the prayers of others, but that just isn’t where I am right now.

It is true that He may, at times, give me much more than I can take. However, what I find most important to remember in those difficult times, is that God has a plan for me, God is ever with me, and the Lord strengthens me.

So a couple new pretties for my Pinterest board, hope they are an encouragement to you as well.

 

 

May Arm Challenge Results

I am so excited to post the results to my May 2015 Free Printable Arm Challenge. I hope you were able to find time to reach your fitness goals in May. I was so pleased with my results from the April Printable Arm Challenge, that I could hardly wait to see if there would be a difference after the May Challenge.

I wasn’t sure that I would be able to notice the results at the end of a second month of working out my arms exclusively. I knew for certain that the exercises would reap some benefits even if they weren’t tremendously noticeable so I went on with the challenge with no great hopes in mind.

smartandsavvymom Free Printable May 2015 arm challenge resultsThis month I actually timed myself since I had added more reps of each move and added weights which were definitely making the exercises take longer than the April Challenge. I was surprised that it was still less than 5 minutes!

If you are thinking about doing this, don’t let time be a factor. You don’t have to do it at the same time each day, you can find 5 minutes any time and do this. This challenge is so simple and so quick.

I can’t help but wonder what else I could change in 5 minutes a day. Imagine the possibilities in 15 minutes a day. I could really start dreaming about abs and better skin, but for now I am focused on this arm challenge.

After two months of arm challenges I am so pleased with how much improvement I have made.

 

Free Printable May 2015 arm challenge results My real goal for the arm challenge was to find a way to improve how I feel about myself in the mandatory short sleeves of summer. I wanted something that was going to be quick and was not going to be so difficult that I would quit early on (I have a tendency to do that).

I did some research on which exercises worked best for the different muscles in the arm and made a challenge I thought I could keep up with. I am so glad that I didn’t wait and started right away. My triceps are so much higher and tighter, I see a little roundness in my biceps and an indent has appeared over my triceps and under my biceps.

My children are excited too and they help me count, and they grab the little 1 and 2 pound weights and pretend to do the exercises along side of me some days. My 6 year old tells me “You are strong now”.

This is definitely working. I feel like it is necessary to mention that in the before pictures I am flexing as much as I can.

May arm challenge 3 part 60 day results For June I am repeating the May Arm Challenge, adding 8 pound weights, and 5 pound weights for the upright rows. I just did not have time to create a whole new challenge for June.

So far the challenge has been quick and easy and effective. I like to run or walk or do aerobics at home, but strength exercises at home is brand new for me.

Adding the 8 pound weights this month has caused me to have some soreness for the first time. I sailed through the first two months with no soreness at all, but I actually like that little ache and reminder that I worked out.

smartandsavvymom printable arm challenge results for april and may
Here is a picture of the 3 part results, so you can see how the results progressed over time. I have no idea why the lighting is so much different at the end of April. Maybe I had my flash up too high, but you can still see the change very well.

I hope that if you are feeling a little less than confident about how your arms look this summer or if you are just looking to feel a little better about yourself please check out my Arm Challenges from April and May (they are printable and free).

Have a great and fit and fabulous month of June.

My April 30 Day
Arm Challenge Results

april 30 day easy 5 minute arm challenge results title

One of the crazy things about sharing my outfits is that I have to constantly look at photos of myself. As a busy mom I just do not spend that much time in front of the mirror. Now resizing and posting photos I see more of myself than ever before.

I was getting along just fine in all those leggings and warm sweaters, and then on a particularly warm day in March, I wore my fist short sleeve shirt of spring. I wasn’t horrified, but I was dissapointed when I spotted by chubby pale winter arms.

I knew I couldn’t spend the whole spring or summer editing photos with those arms in them so I ran straight to Pinterest to find an arm challenge. I run, okay, I don’t do push ups or lift weights, I just run. I have no arm strength. I could use my arms to pick up children and break my fall, and that is about it.

So when I went scrolling through all those pins, what I mostly saw were arm challenges I could in now way complete.

So I did a little research on what exercises worked out which muscles and which ones I could reasonable complete and I created my own Arm Challenge for April. I (of course) made it a printable pdf so you could download it, print it, and then follow along with me. Also, of course you can pin the preview and follow along with me that way.

Most important for me was that the challenge was very quick and could be done by someone who doesn’t work out (like ever).

So here is how it went. Well it went very well actually. It took me less than 5 minutes each time and my 6 year old helped my by keeping track of my reps. I gave up on the burpees about half way through, because since I usually had 3 of my 4 children in the room with me, it was just too much movement to ensure safety. That is the reason the burpee doesn’t appear at all on my May Arm Challenge.

So here are the pictures of my results. I was very surprised how noticeable the difference is.

april 30 day easy 5 minute arm challenge results pictures side by side before and afterCrazy stuff. My triceps alone was enough to make my jaw drop. I can’t believe I was only 30 days away from better arms this whole time.

I was never sore for long. Usually by the next day I was ready to go again. I didn’t do this at the same time each day. Towards the end I always did my exercises in the morning so I could enjoy the peace of an empty room to do it in.

I did add weights. I used 3 pound weights for the arm circles and upright rows and 5 pound weights for the other exercises.

Let me break it down for you one more time.

april 30 day easy 5 minute arm challenge results pictures with labels 1 and 30My most noticeable result was definitely in my triceps (yay!). I also noticed results in 3 other places. I labeled 2 of those places above since they were visible in these photos. I saw improvement in my biceps, it was only 30 days so it is not like I am expecting to look like a body builder. I am just excited that you can see any change at all. I would say that I definitely see a difference in my bicep, and that a line (dare I say a muscle?) is appearing where the number 2 arrow is labeled.

I also found that when I flex the part of my arm that is facing the camera in this picture, it actually has an indentation now. It is my understanding that, that is the bottom of my bicep. Hopefully, after another round of arm exercises that will be visible on film.

I did not know what to expect as far as results. I am beyond thrilled with how this turned out. It’s not like I was constantly staring at myself in the mirror before, nor am I doing that now, so it is not something I constantly notice. I do, however, feel more confident, which is bizarre I think, but still I am enjoying it.

A few less muffins and doughnuts and I might really be on to something here. Seriously though, this is really encouraging to me. I am so glad that I chose to take photos so I could see the results, otherwise I wouldn’t believe it.

Of course you can do the April Arm Challenge any time. So don’t hesitate to get started right now. Five minutes a day of consistent effort and in 4 weeks a notable improvement. Of course your results may vary.

I’m sitting here wondering what else I could accomplish if I don’t get in my own way about it. I often talk myself out of things by convincing myself they are too hard or it will take too long. I love that quote by Earl Nightengale

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

I hope you will share your results if you participated. Tag me on Instagram (@smartnsavvymom) or find me on Facebook and let me know if you did this challenge.

See you next month with May’s results!