Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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Let the Wand Choose the Wizard with This Handmade Gift Idea for Your Harry Potter Fan

Handmade wooden Harry Potter-inspired magic wand  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Since this year marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, my children's keen interest in this series was renewed.  Their choice for every family movie night has been a Harry Potter movie for the past few months.  It wasn't a surprise when they brought up the wand we purchased as a birthday gift for my daughter's classmate last fall at King Richard's Faire.  They started to get excited about perhaps choosing wands for their souvenirs at our visit to the Faire this year.  When they started fashioning magic wands out of paper and using up all the rolls of tape in the house, it was clear that waiting a few months for their wands would be extremely difficult for them.

Being the avid online shopper that I am, I started looking on Etsy to see what was available and for what price.  I was surprised at the wide range of magic wands (and prices) on Etsy.  The more I looked, the more I came to realize that I wanted only hand carved wooden wands for my children, similar to the ones sold by the artisan at the Renaissance Faire.  When I came upon the shop, OrchardWorks, I knew I was getting close!

Here's where the magic happened.  I discovered that OrchardWorks offers 'random wands' at an incredible price!  You can tell the shop owners what your color preferences are, along with some adjectives that would describe your perfect wand's personality.  Then the wand chooses the wizard!  You'll see which wand chooses you when it arrives at your door.  How cool is that?
Hand carved wooden Harry Potter-inspired magic wand  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

I have to admit that my daughter was a little worried about not being able to choose her wand herself since she is so particular about everything (no idea who she got that from), but she was extremely pleased with her wand, as were her two brothers.  Hers is the light-colored one in the center.  Her preferences were that her wand be honey color and delicate.  My oldest received the wand at the top.  He had asked that his wand be dark-stained and regal.  My youngest son's wand is pictured at the bottom, and is my favorite.  He asked for a black,  twisted, powerful wand.  All three have been casting imaginary spells on each other since that day.

TIP:  If you are shopping for more than one child, you can tell the shop owners the name or age/gender of your children.  They'll label each wand for you, so you'll know which wand chose which wizard.

Since I was so impressed by the workmanship and quality of these wands, I just had to share.  You would care for them as you would care for fine wood furniture.  These would make perfect gifts or even party favors for a Harry Potter-themed birthday party.  I wish I had purchased one for myself!

Who do you know who would love their own Harry Potter-inspired wand?  Share with us in a comment here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

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3 Things to Look for in a Fidget Spinner (According to My Children)

3 Things to Look for in a Fidget Spinner  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Thank you to Oriental Trading Company for providing supplies for our service project in exchange for our sharing my children's tips about fidget spinners.  All opinions expressed are our own.

It used to be that fidget toys were only associated with children who have special needs when it comes to a variety of learning and social situations.  This is definitely no longer the case.  For example, in my oldest son's middle school, fidgets are allowed in the classroom for every student. Yes, some students have them for fun, but many find them beneficial and that fidgets can actually help them focus.

My children are 10, 10, and 13.  Yes, they have fallen into the fidget craze, especially when it comes to fidget spinners.  Each of my children owns multiple spinners.  I have to admit, it was tough figuring out which ones to purchase.  I didn't want to spend too much money, but I also didn't want to buy something too inexpensive that might not work well.  After having owned quite a few, and having played with the fidget spinners that belonged to their classmates at school, I asked my 3 children to each share their best tips about choosing the right fidget spinner.

3 Tips for Choosing a Fidget Spinner . . .

1.  Choose a Quiet Fidget Spinner - According to my 13 year old son, having a quiet spinner is important at school.  You need to look for one with good ball bearings.  A noisy spinner can be distracting to others, causing the teacher to ask that it be put away.

2.  Choose a Metal Fidget Spinner - Speed is important to my 10 year old son.  If that's the case for your child, then he recommends choosing a metal fidget spinner because they spin the fastest.

3.  Choose a Multi-Colored Fidget Spinner - According to my 10 year old daughter, multi-colored fidget spinners look cooler while spinning than solid colored spinners.  She recommends choosing cool fidget spinners with fun designs and lots of colors.  (An added bonus? Choosing a unique fidget spinner will help prevent any confusion about which one belongs to which child, both at home and at school.)

Do you have any tips about choosing the right fidget spinner? Share them with us in a comment here.

Monday, May 1, 2017

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How to Make Your Own Light-Up Personalized Window Box Beach Fairy Garden Tutorial

DIY Personalized Window Box Beach Fairy Garden  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Thank you to Oriental Trading Company for providing some of the supplies for our Beach Fairy Garden project.  All opinions expressed are my own.

I'm not sure if I know anyone who loves the beach as much as my mother-in-law.  She goes to Florida for the winter and comes back to her home near the beach for the remainder of the year.  That's why my daughter and I thought it would be a fun project to create a beach fairy garden for my mother-in-law to enjoy year-round.  I decided to create it in a window box, so it can sit on a windowsill for all to see without taking up too much valuable space.

Want to make your own Personalized Window Box Beach Fairy Garden?  Here are some of the supplies you might need, although it will vary depending on your own personal preferences.  For example, our beach is rocky just like the ones around here, but you might want to create a beach without any rocks at all.  It's all up to you!  I found much inspiration looking through the fairy garden supplies on Oriental Trading Company.


DIY flower box
grey/silver sand
aquamarine crystals
river rock
metallic acrylic paint markers
fairy garden decor
mini LED string lights
large cardboard box
packing tape
old newspaper (or other scrap paper)

How to Personalize the Window Box . . .

1.  Decide what personalization you would like to add to the flower box.  Then sketch it out lightly with a pencil on the front side of the box.  (Ours says "Grammy's Beach".)

2.  Choose an acrylic paint marker for your lettering.  I chose a set of DecoColor™ Metallic Acrylic Paint Markers because the colors were very beachy.  The blue turned out to be the perfect color for the lettering.

3.  If you would like to add a little something to your lettering, here is a super-easy way.  Wait for the lettering to dry completely.  Then go back and add dots of a contrasting color paint to your lettering.  I chose to use silver.
DIY Personalized Window Box for Beach Fairy Garden  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

How to Create the Beach Fairy Garden Foundation . . .

1.  If using this particular flower box, take a large cardboard box and cut it into a rectangle, approximately 23" x 19".  Then shape the cardboard into a 4-sided rectangular prism that's 23"W x 4.5"H x 5"D.  Secure the cardboard with packing tape. (If using a different flower box, then you will need to cut the cardboard to match the interior dimensions of the flower box, leaving a 1-1/2" to 2" lip at the top. (See photo below.)

2.  To add sturdiness, stuff the square tube you've created with old newspaper, old homework, or other scrap paper.

3.  Insert cardboard into the flower box.  The top edge of the flower box should be about 1-1/2" to 2" taller than the cardboard insert.

4.  Cover the entire cardboard surface with a thin, but even layer of river rock, making sure that no cardboard shows through. You can find river rock in the aquarium section at your local pet store.

5.  Add a layer of grey/silver sand where you would like sand, and aquamarine crystals where you would like a representation of water.

6.  Add a little more river rock to even out the landscape around the areas of sand and crystals.
DIY Window Box for Beach Fairy Garden Tutorial  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Customize Fairy Garden Decor with Acrylic Paint Pens . . .

Using the same DecoColor™ Metallic Acrylic Paint Markers that we used to personalize the flower box, we were able to put our own personal touches on the fairy garden accessories pictured below.  Here's what we chose to do, but the possibilities are really endless.

1. I used the gold paint pen to outline the edges of the petals on the roof of the gazebo.  I also accented the veins in the leaves and the stem at the top.  Then I added dotted gold lines down the length of the petals.  Finally, I used the silver paint pen to add specks along the bottom curved edge of each flower petal.

2.  My 13 year old son used the gold paint pen to paint the four posts on the bridge gold.

3. My son also added the monograms in cursive to the backs of the Adirondak-style beach chairs.  He also added blue and gold stripes to the arms of the chairs and the top edge of the chair backs.  Then I added dots on top of the monograms to match the lettering on the front of the flower box.

4.  On the stepping stones, my children painted a dragonfly, a seashell, a leaf, a flower, and a starfish.  Then I added stripes around the edges of the stepping stones to match the arms of the beach chairs.

5.  On the fence, I added some blue, white, and green flowers plus some blades of grass at the bottom.
How to Decorate Fairy Garden Items with Acrylic Paint Pens  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Adding Lights to Your Beach Fairy Garden . . .

If you've never used mini LED string lights, they are very easy to work with because the lights are on a thin wire.  There is a box that holds batteries and the on/off switch on one end of the light string.  Place that box behind the window box, so that it is accessible, but out of sight.

The gazebo is a natural starting point for your lights.  We strung ours up and down the posts all around the gazebo.  Then we ran the lights up to the roof of the gazebo and secured it around the stem.
How to Decorate a Fairy Garden Gazebo with Acrylic Paint Pens  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
From the top of the gazebo, we ran the lights all the way to the other end of the beach fairy garden and secured it around the bridge post.  From there, we ran the wire around the right side, the front, and the left side of the flower box, back to the birdbath and the gazebo.
How to Make Your Very Own Personalized Window Box Beach Fairy Garden  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Window Box Beach Fairy Garden Inspiration  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Beach Fairy Garden Painted Stepping Stones and Fence  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Beach Fairy Garden Painted Stepping Stones and Bridge  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
At night, the lights look just as lovely from the outside, as they do from the inside.  They also add a touch of whimsy and magic to the display.
DIY Personalized Window Box Beach Fairy Garden with Mini Lights  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

DIY Light-up Beach Fairy Garden  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Painted Beach Fairy Garden Adirondak Chairs with Fire Pit and Seashell Birdbath  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Cool Fairy Garden Finds . . . 

Fairy & Gnome Garden Set - I found this fairy garden accessory set at Oriental Trading.  These pieces really were the perfect blank canvases, and would easily work in a regular fairy garden as they did in our beach fairy garden.

Light-up Seashell Fire Pit - I bought this item from one of my favorite crafters, adorablyimperfect, who also made the pretty shell birdbath.  I feel like a working fire pit is a must-have if you are using lights in your fairy garden.

Like these fairy garden ideas? PIN THIS post for later . . .
DIY Personalized Window Box Beach Fairy Garden with Fairy Lights  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

How would you personalize your own beach fairy garden?  Share your ideas with us in a comment here.