Monday, July 13, 2015

A Giant Balloon...and a Summer Break!

Decorate a balloon with cupcake liners - so fun!

As of today, Design Improvised is officially on summer break, and I figured what better way to make the announcement than with a giant summer balloon...decorated with cupcake wrappers!

balloon craft ideas

Last July I took a month long break from blogging in order to slow things down and enjoy some less hectic time with my daughters before school started up again. It was just the break I needed to catch my breath, soak in a bit of summer, and spark my creativity for a new round of projects. I enjoyed it so much I plan to make it an annual tradition at Design Improvised!

It hit me the other day that Stella is starting Kindergarten in just 6 short weeks. I'm anxious to enjoy that precious time with her and Hazel...and that requires me shutting my computer! While it will be quiet here the next few weeks, I will be keeping you updated on our summer on Instagram so be sure to follow along @designimprovised. I'll be back in August and already have lots of fun projects lined up, so stay tuned!

Balloon craft ideas

In the meantime, read on to see how you can decorate a balloon with cupcake wrappers!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Swimming Pool Snack Mix

This pool snack mix is the best way to satisfy post-swimming hunger!

As I mentioned in my list of pool bag essentials, we can't head to our neighborhood pool without bringing a snack. It never fails that Stella and Hazel will get hungry within minutes of being in the water! This swimming pool snack mix has become a must-have. It all started when I didn't have any food in the pantry other than the tail end of a box of cereal and some I decided to throw them together into a makeshift trail mix!

This pool snack mix is the best way to satisfy post-swimming hunger!

There isn't anything particularly special about this recipe - in fact, you can put in whatever you have in your pantry. But I promise if you use some version of these ingredients below you are going to have a winning combination that will taste so darn good after swimming!

Cereal - any cereal you have on hand. Cheerios, Life, and Kix are all good candidates!

Small Crackers - anything from Teddy Grahams to small pretzels if you want to add a salty element.

Marshmallows - these are always the first to be eaten! They add sweetness and a fun texture. 

Nuts - any kind of nuts or seeds your kids like for a little protein and crunch. We had pumpkin seeds on hand to add to this mix.

Dried Fruit - raisins or dried cranberries work well and make it seem a little healthier. Banana chips would be yummy too!

Coconut - a nice addition if you happen to have some in the pantry. Just sprinkle some in.

Chocolate Chips - I am a chocolate lover so always add these, but they will melt quickly at the pool! I keep them in an insulated cooler until we eat them. You could try adding M&Ms instead.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

How to Pack for the Pool: 10 Pool Bag Essentials

How to make a pool bag

I love an impromptu trip to our neighborhood pool on a hot summer afternoon. But it is never easy to get out the door with a 3 year old and 5 year old in tow, so a well-stocked pool bag ready to go is a must! Today I'm partnering with Kandoo to share my top 10 pool bag essentials, and I have a tutorial for this colorful beach bag for you too. Can you guess what it's made from?!  

I keep my beach bag hanging up in our laundry room along with our swimsuits, flip flops, towels, etc. so they are all in one place. Here are the 10 things you'll almost always find in my bag! 

Top 10 Pool Bag Essentials!

Top 10 Pool Bag Essentials

1. Towel - I'll start with the most obvious one you don't want to forget. I store clean towels ready to go in our beach bag. I bought a couple of these honeycomb beach towels from Target to add to our stash, and they are just the right size.

2. Sunscreen - Another obvious one but so important! I try to put sunscreen on my daughters and myself before we leave the house as I know the second they see the pool they'll want to jump in. However, I always bring extra with me to reapply if needed. I have been a spray sunscreen convert - it is just so much easier to apply than the cream with kids that don't stand still!

3. Swim Coverup - This crocheted cover-up provides just the right amount of coverage and has a cute tie around the middle.

4. Sunglasses - The sun is hot in Texas! It's hard to go outside without them, so these are a must-have in my pool bag. Here's my favorite pair this season.

5. Floppy Hat - I bought my first floppy beach hat this summer and I'm hooked! Would you believe my black straw hat was only $3 at Walmart? Not only is it fun to wear, it provides that extra coverage that my 35 year old skin needs.

6. Comb and Detangler - In case we need to run anywhere directly from the pool I like to have a detangler, comb, and some extra hair ties to whip our hair into shape.

7. Cold Drinks - It never fails...within minutes of getting into the pool my kids are hungry and thristy! I like to bring a separate cooler bag with some water and juice boxes.

8. Snack - We have a go-to pool snack - our poolside trail mix! It hits the spot when you have worked up an appetite swimming and are craving something salty and sweet. Check out our "special recipe"

9. Wipes - A pack of wipes can be a lifesaver for a number of things - from chocolate-covered faces, to a runny nose, to an emergency toilet paper replacement if the pool bathroom happens to be out! These kids wipes are great because they are flushable.

10. A Good Read - Often times it is wishful thinking, but I can't head to the pool without grabbing something to read. For me, that usually means one of my favorite magazines. I'm happy if I can manage to flip through a few pages while watching the girls in the pool.

11. Pool Bag - Last but not least, don't forget the bag! This year I decided to make my own...out of a reusable shopping bag and duct tape. Yep, you read that right! I've got the tutorial for you below. ;)

How to make your own pool bag from duct tape!

Read on for the duct tape pool bag tutorial!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cactus Balloons!

Cactus balloons!

It was only a matter of time. Cactus crafts have been all the rage among my fellow craft bloggers this summer, and I just had to partake in the balloon form, of course!

Cactus balloons!

I got the idea for these prickly pear cactus balloons after visiting Arizona in May and being inspired by all the cool cacti! I thought the pads on the prickly pear looked just like the shape of a balloon and I was dying to get back home and give it a try. A little helium, a little hot glue, and a few pink pom-poms to top it off and we have cactus balloons!

This is a fun craft to try for a summer party (like this cactus themed ice cream party!) or you can inflate these with air instead of helium, add to a balloon stick, and use as hip decor in your home that will last for weeks! Here's what you'll need:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Getting Our Garage Summer Ready - The Reveal!

Garage organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

On Friday, I shared our plans to reign in all our pool gear piling up in our garage with the help of Rubbermaid's FastTrack organization system, and today I'm back with the big reveal!

Garage organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

It feels so good to have all of our pool floats, inner tubes, buckets, and beach chairs nicely organized on the wall instead of in a heap on the floor! 

Garage Organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

Ross and I were able to hang these two 84" FastTrack rails along with a variety of shelves, baskets, and hooks in about 3 hours the other night. 

Garage Organization with Rubbermaid FastTrack

Read on to see the "before" shots of the garage and how we created our summer pool gear wall!