Thursday, July 20, 2017

Kit Xchange Craft, Bead + Travel Organizer

This post contains affiliate links. 

Kit Xchange recently sent me their Craft, Bead + Travel Organizer Envelope with two sizes of re-sealable storage bags. I've used many different products and hacks to organize craft supplies over the years, so I was eager to try this system. The first thing I noticed about the Organizer Envelope, besides the beautiful color (persimmon), is how high quality it is. The faux leather looks and feels very expensive. The edges are finished beautifully and the hardware is elegant. It's very professional. 

The organizer is 12.5" x 8.5" x 1" when closed, with a comfortable strap for holding it. When you unsnap it, the envelope folds open to reveal two fleece surfaces, two large zippered pockets, and a pretty black/white striped liner fabric.

The ring serves both to close the envelope and to hang it up while in use. When opened, the envelope measures 29" x 12.5".

To use the organizer, fill the re-sealable baggies with beads, jewelry, or other small craft items. The strong velcro on the back of the baggies attaches securely to the white surfaces. I used the smallest baggies (2" x 2.5") to hold seed beads. My beading tools and larger supplies fit nicely in the zippered pockets. I'll be putting findings in the larger (3.12" x 3.5") baggies.

I love how easy it is to see all my beading supplies at once. As you can see, you can easily fit five rows and six columns of baggies on each of the white surfaces. Best of all, you can constantly rearrange them as needed for different projects. 

I love my new beading organizer and can't wait to put it to the real test and travel with it! Speaking of travel, this would be great for transporting scrapbook embellishments, jewelry, sewing notions, trading pins or other small collectibles, and a whole lot more. In addition to the Envelopes, Kit Xchange also has Album Organizers. I totally want this blue one

Thanks, Kit Xchange!


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

40-4-Steve: Musicals

Steve and I both love musicals. We've seen a ton together, ranging from professional touring companies to community theater to films. One of my goals for the 40-4-Steve project was to see one (or more) new-to-us musicals. Mission accomplished! We saw a total of six in 2016 that neither of us had seen before.

Musicals (affiliate link)

Once again, I struggled with how to scrap this. Not only did I not have photos, but we saw six musicals in different places and on different dates. I thought about just scrapping the first one, but rejected that idea. I thought about printing out the Playbill logos for each, but that seemed weird and/or impossible for the ones we watched on film. I ended up cutting out the banner from a program from our local community theater where we have seen the majority of the musicals we've seen recently. The page is plain, but it conveys the information and is a rest for the eyes in an album with a lot going on. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Golf Flamingo

I found a random golf tee in the house, so naturally I painted it pink and made it into a flamingo. If that doesn't seem like the logical thing to do, you're probably not a craft blogger. I debated calling it a Golf Ball Flamingo or a Golf Tee Flamingo or a Golf Ball and Tee Flamingo, but for some reason I like Golf Flamingo best.


Golf Flamingo

Materials (affiliate links)


  • Use the sandpaper to rough up the golf ball and the tee. This will help the paint stick.
  • Paint the golf ball and the tee pink. Let them dry.
  • Thread the pipe cleaner through the golf ball at the 1:00 and 8:00 positions. Take the 8:00 end and fold it back into the golf ball at the 7:00 position. Bend it so that it is secure. Bend the 1:00 end to make the neck. Fold the end in on itself to make the face. You might need to trim the pipe cleaner first.
  • Use the glue to attach the golf ball to the tee. 

  • Glue one eye on each side of the face.
  • Glue one feather on each side of the body. 

Poke the flamingo into the grass. The extra long tee means that he won't be hidden if your grass is longish like ours. 

From this angle, it looks like he's giving me the side-eye. 


I'm strongly considering making a whole flock of these flamingos. I'm also thinking about how I can turn one into a Christmas ornament. Oh, the possibilities!


Monday, July 17, 2017

US Geography Games and a Winner!

As a former fifth grade teacher, I can easily identify all 50 states on a map and can name their capitals without hesitation. Apparently, what I cannot do is draw them by memory. My friend Nikki sent me a link to a Can You Draw the States? challenge. This is how I did:

The program prompts you with each of the states one by one, which you then draw using your mouse. You get a letter grade for how you did. I got an A+ for Nebraska and an F for Alaska, just to give you an idea. Now, to be fair, I have a new mouse and am not used to its sensitivity, not that my mouse skills were ever all that good. I can't draw a nice rectangle to save my life, as you can clearly see by looking at the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Colorado. 

Despite how ridiculous some of the states look, I suspect I did better than many. promises, "We'll be anonymously recording your drawings in order to analyze how different people view states. Stay tuned for GIFs of many different attempts at the same state." I can't wait. 


If you're looking for more online games to test your knowledge of US geography, I recommend There are a bunch of fun quizzes, ranging from the very easy to the ridiculously difficult. Find the US States Ultimate Minefield is my favorite among the latter category.  


And finally, it is time to award a winner for the Little Passports giveaway. Congratulations to


Contact me at and I'll get you set up with Early Explorers for your grandson!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Exploring Washington Through Little Passports

This post contains affiliate links. 

Our latest adventure through Little Passports took us on a virtual trip to Washington, my parents' home state. I've spent a lot of time in the Evergreen State and Trevor has been there three times, so it was a lot of fun to get to know the state a little better.

First, Trevor made the model of the iconic Space Needle. I went to the top as a kid, but Trevor has never been there. Someday!

We learned that the Space Needle is 605 feet tall, with 25 lightning rods on top. The elevator ride to the observation deck (located at 520 feet) takes 43 seconds. It took 400 days to build and can withstand a wind speed of 200 miles per hour!

Our next activity taught us about neighborhoods in Seattle. We decoded the names of Washington's National Parks and learned that the Olympic marmot and Olympic short-tailed weasel are endemic to the state. We did a hidden picture activity about mushrooms and a word search about volcanoes. We read about famous events in the history of Washington and then did a crossword to translate Washington's state motto (Alki). We did a rebus about orcas and a dot-to-dot about the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. 

It's always fun to see what recipe Little Passports has chosen to feature for each state. For Washington it was blueberry jam! Blueberries are one of Trevor's favorite foods, so he was very happy. 

His jam tasted great in a peanut butter sandwich!

The science experiment in the Washington state journal investigates how the Space Needle can withstand strong forces from winds and earthquakes. We learned that the Needle is designed to sway around one inch for every 10 MPH of wind. Wow! The experiment is easy to do and really helps kids visualize how the Needle stays standing in extreme conditions. Give it a try!


  • cardboard
  • newspaper
  • masing tape
  • tennis ball
  • hair dryer


  • Roll newspaper into a tube. Add tape so it holds its shape.
  • Place the tennis ball on top of the tower. The tube should not buckle. If it does, use extra newspaper to make a tube that is stronger. When the tower is strong enough to support the tennis ball without buckling, remove the ball and proceed.
  • Tape the tower to the cardboard base. If it is not stable, make the base wider or heavier. (The base of the Space Needle weighs 5850 tons!)
  • Put the tennis ball back on top of the tower. Turn on the hair dryer on low and point it toward the tower. If you've built a strong structure, it will sway but not fall. 
  • Try putting the hair dryer on high. Does your structure still stand? Trevor's did!


We had great fun with our virtual trip to Washington and look forward to visiting there in person again!