Saturday, February 21, 2015

Quick & Easy: Lego Legends of Chima Laval Box

Lego Legends of Chima Laval
My last post talked about my Ideal Reality vs. Real Reality dilemma involving creating Valentine's boxes for the peeps' elementary school Spring parties (Wow. How First World Problemy does THAT sound?) 

One of the peeps wanted a Lego Legends of Chima Laval box, but I couldn't find a Pinterest idea to steal, which meant my daughter and I had to get creative. If you've read any of my previous blogs, you know that the mere thought of the words "crafty" or "creative" makes me sweat. 

However, we ended up with a pretty decent, not to mention original, box. It took very little time and very little money. Here's how we did it.  


  • Shoe box, any size. (We used a kids sneaker box.)
  • Red feathers (1 package)
  • White self-adhesive felt (I used one small rectangle.)
  • Black self-adhesive felt (I used one small rectangle.)
  • Tan felt (as many pieces needed to cover the front, sides and back of box; we used 3)
  • Glue
  • Black Sharpie
  • White paper (to wrap the box first)
  • Sparkling gold self-adhesive foam sheets (2)
  • Image of Laval's big ol' head for reference.

Create the box!
1. Wrap the shoe box in white paper to hide the original color. (As I'm typing this, I thinking you could probably just go ahead and glue the tan felt to the box and skip the wrapping.)

2. Stand the box on one end and cut a hole for the mouth.

3. Wrap a piece of tan felt around the sides and front of the box; cut the felt around the mouth opening.

4. Turn the gold foam sheet over and draw Laval's crown. Even if you are not an artist, which I am not, the crown is simple to draw.

5. Cut out the crown, remove the backing, and adhere it to the box as shown above.

6. Cut thin strips of black felt and adhere them to the crown to add a bit of definition, as shown above.

7. To create Laval's flaming red mane, adhere red feathers to the sticky side of the crown. Go ahead ... stick those feathers ... as many as you want. It's fun! (Life lesson learned the hard way: Save one red feather per sibling to avoid any potential meltdowns. If one kid has a feather, every kid wants one.)

8. Turn the white felt over and draw Laval's muzzle.

9. Cut out the muzzle and adhere it to the box, as show above; cut the felt around the mouth opening.

10. Cut itty bitty teen weeny teeth from the white felt. Apparently, you need four to make his dental work authentic.  

11. Adhere the itty bitty teen weeny teeth to the inside of Laval's mouth.

12. Cut two white eyes from the felt and adhere them to the box in the appropriate places. 

13. Cut a Laval-shaped nose out of the black felt and adhere it to the face. Again, in the appropriate place.

14. Draw eyebrows and pupils with the black Sharpie. (You could also cut them from the black felt, but I was way over cutting pieces from felt at this point.)

That's it! It took us approximately 45 minutes to create. Maybe less.

Be sure to check out the Lego Legends of Chima birthday party I threw last year! 

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... Keep It Real. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015: Meeting the Expectation

Minecraft Steve and Legends of Chima Laval

Last year, I wrote about about being completely caught off guard by the elaborate Valentine's boxes my peeps' classmates crafted for the one-hour spring parties. You can read that post here. This year, I was a little more clued in, but offered the girls an option: decorated gift bag or create your own box? At first, they said a gift bag was fine (WAHOO!), but about a week before the party they wanted to create boxes (CRAP!). Each peep had t draw out her plan and write a detailed list of needed supplies ... without my help. The results were pretty amazing, I must say so myself. 

One sweet peep crafted a Minecraft Steve head all by herself. (I cut the slot in the head because I didn't think it was good parenting to let an 8-year-old handle a box cutter.)  The rest was her handiwork, and I thought it was spectacular! 

The uber creative peep wanted to create Laval, the lion from Lego Legends of Chima. her ability to choose projects that no one on Earth has ever attempted never ceases to amaze me, nor does her steadfast faith that mom can make anything happen. 

The child found the one Valentine's box idea that was not on Pinterest. Hooray. So, we brainstormed some ideas, and she drew up a visual. She needed help drawing and cutting, but that's about it. I think it turned out rather nicely. Each box took 30 minutes tops, and we we only had to buy a few supplies. 

Both peeps were thrilled, not to mention proud. 

So, yes, I caved to the school society's Valentine's Day box expectations. In My Ideal Reality, this stuff doesn't matter and I poo-poo this silliness. But in My Real Reality, I know this stuff does matter. I know how important it is for kids to feel included, and if that means making Valentine's boxes, I'll do it. 

But I think I found a happy medium. The girls wanted boxes, and I put the responsibility on them to draw out their ideas, decide what supplies they needed and make as much of the box as possible on their own.  

Now that the party has passed, we're onto the next thing. This morning at breakfast they mentioned the leprechaun. Sigh. (If you didn't read the post link above, that wont' make sense to you.)

To celebrate Valentine's Day, we are headed to a Theatre For Young America performance and an early dinner at The Brick. Then we'll return home and snuggle in because it is going to be a cold one in KC tonight! 

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... Keep It Real. And ... Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Little List of Learning

The List
At the start of every new year, my sister-in-law, Mary, announces her learning goals for the next 12 months. Her list is always full of exotic, curious and novel ideas. Last year, she decided to teach herself to make cheese, and she did. In fact, she became so good at it that a local beer, wine and cheese supply store asked her to teach a class. This year, she's cultivating a mushroom farm in her backyard. See what I mean? Exotic and interesting. There are other random items on her list  - I think one involves chickens. Even if she doesn't accomplish everything, as least she can say she did something. 

As much as I love her lists - they truly are works of art - they make me a little sad because I realize I don't have any "just for fun" goals. Mine are all either professional or parenting-oriented. 

So, to go along with my theme for 2015 (FUN), I decided to make a list of things I want to do or learn this year.

Drum roll, please. 

  • Watch as many Colin Firth movies. (He is my British boyfriend, so I owe it to him to watch his filmography, right?). 
  • Improve my sewing machine skills. Curtains, anyone? Pillow coverings?
  • Become a truffle-making expert. (The decadent sweet treat, NOT the mushroom.)
  • Improve my menu planning and freezing skills. 
  • Experiment with new recipes so we expand our eat-at-home menu.

That's it for now. Trust me, just jotting down those five things was exhausting. It made me realize how infrequently I stop and think about what I truly enjoy. Kind of sad, right? 

So, off I go with my little list of learning. 

What about you? What do you want to learn about this year? 

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing ... Keep It Real.