Montessori Freebies

There are materials for elementary and older grades. The downloads cover a variety of topics including language and reading activities, world cultures, math, and geometry.

Free and Cheap Stained Glass Designs

I have two windows that need help.

(1) An old salvaged window I wanted to creatively repurpose
(2) An ugly front door window that could also use some privacy

Here are some fabulous solutions:

(1) Paint faux stained glass designs using glass paint directly on the window
(2) Paint faux stained glass designs on a plastic sheet using puffy paint to create removable window clings
(3) Print faux stained glass designs on specialty vinyl cling film using an inkjet printer or have your local copy & print store do it for you on a larger scale.
(4) Oh yeah, and you can pop down to the giant hardware store to buy the decorative window film. But what's the creativity in that?!

Free Patterns and Tips:

Here are some sources of free stained glass patterns you can use as inspiration in designing your own look:

Look for tips on calculating the pixel size of your design or resizing an existing pattern among other things at

Fabulous Fun with Free Fonts

Oh my goodness!! I had no idea how many deliciously decadent different fonts are available, let alone for free!

6500 Free Fonts at - Tons of fonts but somewhat difficult to sort through since they are only organized alphabetically. The fonts are for windows only. There are other interesting "teaser freebies" on the site.

8000+ Free Fonts at - These are much easier to locate because they are organized by style (e.g. retro, Asian, futuristic, sophisticated, holidays, etc.) and alphabetically. All are for windows and some are also for mac.

For a lot of fun explore the "famous" font category. You might be able to find a front styled after your favorite food, drink, TV show, movie, rock band, etc.

Here's just a small sample of some of the great treasures you can find at Urbanfonts. (The words are the name of the font in case you want to search for them.)

Tired of playing Candyland?

My friend, Trish, whose family is big-time into gaming conventions, just recommended some terrific UNIQUE games for kids by Playroom Entertainment. These are available for sale at speciality stores as well as the Playroom Entertainment website.

They have board games, card games, dice games, multicultural games, and all seem to have an educational component to them. There are games for ALL AGES of family members at REASONABLE PRICES.

Here are just a few!!!

Yummy school supplies!

Here are some links to some great products

A Little Garden Flower - Waldorf curriculum, art supplies and more!

Waldorf and Earthschooling Channel - Blog with free waldorf-inspired crafts and lessons with great tutorials as well as e-books for purchase and free Waldorf 101 lessons.

Christopherus (Waldorf-Inspired) Homeschool Resources - Free guides and resources and e-books for sale.

For Small Hands and Montessori Services - Wonderful resource for "preparing your child's environment" at home or in a classroom setting in the Montessori tradition. The sister sites include tons of child sized tools for woodworking, helping clean around the house, the garden, sewing, music, art and so much more.

Michael Olaf - Full spectrum of Montessori materials for the classroom.

Discount School Supply - Economical supplies for arts and crafts and active play (balls, parachutes, etc.)

In search of the perfect labeler

It's been a good year of getting organized here on the blog. Finding the right tools has been a challenge, but we've made progress!

Perfect (almost) phone, Check.
Perfect (almost) food storage, Check.
Perfect (almost) shelving, Check.
Perfect (almost) carpet cleaner, Check.

Now I'm on the hunt to find The Perfect Labeler. It's the staple of "real organizers" so I best have one!

I've had a blast using the decades old hand held "Dymno labeler" that used to be my grandparents.

It's a loving reminder of my childhood -- turning the alphabet dial and squeezing the handle to punch my words, hoping for no misspellings and that my hands don't go numb from all the squeezing.

It was a blast labeling all the new shelves! Until morning.

That's when I opened the closet door to find all my labels had "jumped off." I found curled up labels all over the house -- several had jumped a few feet away from their original location. Maybe it was because the tape cartridges were probably old.

So I guess I need to move into this century of labelers. Here are the desired attributes for my new electronic labeler:

(1) Sticks to stuff.

(2) Preview entire label before printing.

(3) Uses batteries (but sparingly, not an energy hog like some) and has an adapter.

(4) Accepts 3/4" to 2" widths of labels for both indoor and outdoor use.

(5) Can be hooked up to a computer (but doesn't require computer hookup to operate so I can take it anywhere)

(6) Allows downloads of images to print on the label so I can label my pre-literate daughter's stuff with icons rather than words.

(7) Uses inexpensive label cartridges. (Yeah, right. Like that'll happen!)

(8) QWERTY rather than ABC keyboard.

I think this Brother P-Touch 18R rechargeable system might be a contender!

But I'm definitely not getting rid of my old Dymo!!

Update:  I just learned about the "P-touch label advisor" that you can use to select your criteria to determine which label maker is right for you.

Science class projects and modules for homeschool

Here are some fun internet and hands-on activities to integrate Math, Science, Social Studies, and Art concepts.

Bucket Buddies - Studying pond life and its organisms.

Square of Life - Studying living and non-living things in your local environment and contributing to a global classroom.

Trash Terminators - Math, Science, and Art activities for reducing, reusing, and recycling materials.

Keeping things organized at home with kids

So far we've added shelves or organizers in the kitchen pantry, entry way, hall closet, linen closet, master bedroom, the refrigerator and on 3 walls in the garage.

It's not beautiful, but at least more of our things have "homes" now. And there are still lots of places that are disastrously messy in this 1200 sq ft home.

And of course I opened one closet to find all my nice labels had popped off. So it's a process of trial and error.

But here are 3 things that worked this week:

(1) I pulled the kitchen waste basket out from under the sink and left it sitting out so it was accessible. This resulted in the kids disposing lots more of their things properly.

(2) I pulled the paper shredder out where we can reach it. When my artist daughter has finished drawing on her daily ream of paper I offer to let her shred her non-masterpieces under my watchful eye. She loves the shredder more than she loves holding on to all of her artwork.

(3) My sensory-seeking kids love to smell (and use gargantuan amounts of) their many scented shampoos and will empty a bottle in one showering. So I re-used one of our empty foaming soap dispensers.

I put a little of the scented soap in the bottom and filled it 3/4 full with distilled water. So now the shampoo is even better because it's more like their beloved shaving cream texture. Here's a recipe for making your own.

Now I can monitor their usage and make sure only "one serving" of shampoo gets used per shower. Of course I'm going to have to get lots more distilled water!!

By the way, Northern Essence is a fun place to get TONS of great smelling Tearless Foaming Wash/Shampoo refills. Check out the INSANELY HUGE list of fragrances. There must be 200 or more fragrances!!!

More curriculum for multiple intelligences

I continue to be amazed at the number of curriculum resources for homeschool (or other purposes) that are focused on Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences.

These types of curricula provide multiple ways of learning and using information to address a variety of learning styles and personalities.

I'm really intrigued by the Intellego curriculum resources. It looks like they are building an impressive array of unit studies to interest many different types of kids. Each unit includes art, writing, math, reading, etc. Check it out!

School Dangers

As I think about kids heading back to public schools I have several concerns:




POSITIVE ACTIONS: Thankfully there are some things we can all do.

Fun Fuzzy Fleece Fabric Mittens & Hat for American Girl Dolls and you

Not that I'm anxious for winter or anything....but my daughter is ready to do some sewing projects.

Here are some instructions for winter stuff:
  • Easy fleece hat for you and your American girl doll or other 18" doll such as My Generation, Madame Alexander, etc.
  • A variety of fleece hats from Martha Stewart, including jester, solid, striped, pom-pom styles
  • Fleece mittens customizable for different sizes
  • Slippers by Tom

Health Care Plan for Dolls

I must admit, I'm mired in the current discussion of health care reform (for people). However, health care for dolls has become a more pressing issue in our household at the moment.

Yes, thankfully I can afford this luxury to think about the dolls because our family has a good health insurance plan.

Here are our doll health care priorities:

(1) Detangling curly hair on 18" Our Generation doll from Target.

  • First you have to figure out what kind of hair your doll has, Most likely it is synthetic unless it is a very old doll.

  • Basically we'll need a metal hair pick* never touched by human hair, and one or more detangling products depending on severity: Downy fabric softener, human hair detangler, Windex, Fantastic, or Son of a Gun vinyl car cleaner by STP if things are really bad. *For dolls without curly hair you can use a wig hair brush. Dolls with curly hair need to have ringlets each combed separately with the pick.

  • NOTE: I trolled the blogs and discovered that although "Our Generation" and "American Girl" dolls are quite similar by many accounts, some folks say that the hair and sizing are different. Apparently "American Girl" dolls have hair that is much easier to brush. And 18" dolls vary in size across manufacturers and even within the same brand. Here is a great article on comparing American Girl dolls to their knock-off counterparts. So we've probably got the worst hair situation then since my daughter picked the "Alexis" Our Generation flower girl doll with beautiful curly locks that tangle when you just change her clothes. Lesson learned -- get the doll with the straight hair next time.

(2) Hair transplants. My daughter's 12" doll needs a new 'do after being a customer at the beauty school practice salon. I've also got a 4' doll from my childhood that is nearly bald.

  • Here are some great instructions for re-wigging a doll. None of our in-need-of-help dolls have wigs so I'm hoping that the hair plugs can be cut off and a new wig added.

  • If the instruction for detangling don't work, maybe Alexis will be getting a new wig!
(3) Dermatology appointments. That same 12" doll, above, and her friend Dora, need serious facials. Ink marks every where.

Homeschool Curriculum

We've been considering different curriculum options, trying to find the best fit for our family.

National Connections Academy
Calvert School
Christopherus Waldorf-Inspired Curriculum
Global Village School

And here's a free handy simple resource for the pre-K and Kindergarten crowd.
Brightly Beaming Early Childhood Curriculum and home of "Letter of the Week" Curriculum

Want to win a free sewing machine?

I finished my first instructable!!

I was motivated to post my instructions for my "heirloom purse" on the instructables web page.

Instructables is currently having a craft contest with winning entries receiving serger or singer sewing machine.

If you want to check it out, just click the "Singer Kids Craft Contest" icon at the top of my instructables. Good luck to you!

My daughter and I had a lot of fun upcycling this vintage cloth napkin and a broken necklace.

What is your vote for repurposing souvenier spoons and their display racks?


My maternal grandmother helped me to start a souvenier spoon collection just like hers, as a child. I think most of my spoons were from grandpa and grandma's many travels, but I think I legitimately collected a few myself!

It seems like I always forgot to get a spoon while I was actually in the state and had to find it afterwards.

A few years ago grandma had put all of of her spoons and display racks in a box. I found it with my name on it when we were going through grandpa and grandma's things.

So now our two collections are together. I definitely don't want to part with the spoons. But I'm also pretty sure I don't want to display them in the hodge podge of racks. There are way too many spoons to fit and I think our walls would be covered if I displayed them all!

So I had some ideas....

(1) Display groups of spoons in antique glass jars.
(2) Create spoon chandeliers -- without flattening the spoons like people do to make windchimes out of old silverware -- and without drilling holes in the spoons but just use wire wrap.

I thought the spoon chandelier was pretty unique, but I guess I'm wrong. I found several pretty inspirational ones online. But hopefully I'll be able to put my own unique twist on mine. Here's what others have done:

Check out some cool spoon mobiles and lots of repurposed stuff turned into lights.


I'm a self-confessed pack rat. I probably could just get rid of the racks, but not until I have completely convinced myself that I couldn't do something creative and useful with them first!

It turns out others have some suggestions:

(1) Turn it into a hankie display rack (lovely, but not necessarily useful...the vintage linens are better off in a drawer)

(2) Turn it into a jewelry hanger (useful since I now have tons of grandma's jewelry to add to the stuff she gave me before -- but I'm not sure it is very efficient.) This is a beautifully re-done rack by a talented Etsy crafter.


Inspired by bits and pieces

I've been really inspired lately.

Our family has been sorting through my maternal grandparents things now that they both have passed. So I've been incorporating these new treasures into my much more (but still a long way to go) organized home.

My mom says I'm a lot like her mother because I like to do crafty things like her. So it's no surprise that I gravitated toward some of Grandma's craft supplies.

Yesterday my daughter wanted a purse for her doll clothes and wanted to work on it right away. I went through my boring fabric scraps and then I remembered I had a stack of vintage linens from Grandma's things.

So I grabbed this pretty napkin -- one that didn't belong to a set I might want to use as real napkins later!

My daughter and I hand-sewed the sides, with needle and thread from Grandma's supplies. It was a 4-generation project in abstentia!

Then I sewed on the string of pearl craft beads from Grandma's other craft supplies. I thought it was pretty cute! Apparently, so did my model aka daughter.

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