LEGO Travel Kit

This LEGO travel kit is a perfect way to keep your Lego lover entertained on a long car trip or plane ride.

LEGO Travel Kit

If you follow me on Instagram, you know we recently took a family vacation to Colorado. This is about a 650 mile drive from Des Moines to our first destination in Denver. If you’re not making many stops, that’s a 10 hour drive. It took us almost 12 with various stops. Prior to this, our longest road trip with Carter was last year’s trip to the Wisconsin Dells, which is about a 6 hour drive from here. 

We regularly drive 2 hours to visit Todd’s parents, and Carter gets bored on that drive, so I was a little worried about how he’d do on a 10+ hour trek. Several months ago I had pinned this portable LEGO kit from mama.papa.bubba. Of course I didn’t think of putting this together until the night before we were leaving, so luckily all of the items I used were already on hand. In less than 10 minutes it was complete. No better type of project!


  • Lunch box
  • LEGO plates to fit inside cover of lunchbox
  • Velcro
  • LEGOS for building 

I started by finding LEGO plates to fit the inside cover of the lunch box. I didn’t have one that fit perfectly, but I found two that worked together for the right size. I removed the tape from the velcro and adhered one side to the underside of the LEGO plates. Then I put the other side of the velcro tab facing its velcro counterpart and removed the backing. This allows you to easily affix the other side of the velcro  by just pressing the LEGO plates into the inside cover without having to worry about trying to get them aligned. 

After that, Carter helped me pick out some LEGOs to put into the travel kit. He picked a variety of building blocks of different sizes as well as vehicles and minifigs.

It drives me a little nuts, but Carter loves to switch his minifigs around. Here are two of the mismatches he made at a restaurant somewhere in Nebraska.I didn’t get any pictures of his other creations


 I’ll post more pictures from our vacation in my July Wrap Up later this month, but all-in-all the road trip was a success! Between the LEGO travel kit, DVD’s and some little gifts I wrapped up from the Target dollar bin, we kept the “are we there yet’s” to a minimum.

USA Rocks Iron-on Transfer T-Shirt

For the 2nd year in a row, I made Carter a custom patriotic shirt for the 4th of July. Last year I used a bleach pen, this year I used an iron-on transfer made with my Silhouette Cameo.  

USA Rocks Shirt

 I use my Cameo all the time to make stencils for various projects. This is the 3rd time I’ve used their iron-on heat transfer material. The first was Carter’s St. Patrick’s Day “Iowish” shirt. 

I was originally planning on making my own design as I usually do, but I was running a little short on time, so I browsed the Silhouette store for pre-designed options I might be able to use. I settled on the USA Rocks design. Since I wasn’t printing the design, I did a little adjustment to account for this being just one color. Then I reversed the design and put the Cameo to work cutting it. 

After I weeded out the negative spaces, I was ready to iron. 


 You need to put a towel or other cloth barrier between your iron and your transfer. The directions say to press firmly for 30-45 seconds across each section of the design. I found that I needed to do this several times for much longer to really get the design secured down. It probably took 5-7 minutes of ironing for this design. 


 After that, I fully peeled back the plastic sheeting and the t-shirt was done! As always, Carter was being silly when I asked him to pose in his new shirt! This is a really easy and fairly quick way to create custom shirts that look professional. What I like about this design is that he can wear the shirt anytime, and not just the 4th of July.


 Overall we had a great holiday weekend. It was pretty jam packed, but we had a lot of fun with friends and enjoyed some good quality family time. Here’s a few pics from the weekend.

Todd golfed for a few hours on the 4th, so Carter and I decided to enjoy the many miles of bike trails close to our house and explore some parks along the way we don’t go to very often. The weather was too gorgeous to not take advantage of it!


We met some friends to enjoy fireworks on the 4th. This year we tried a new vantage point, which was a little farther away from the launch area than where we normally go. Carter seemed a lot less interested in the actual fireworks than he did the sparklers he was lighting.


On Sunday, we had our annual day for my company at Adventureland amusement park. Carter is at a really fun age to enjoy quite a few of the rides. He was so excited to be tall enough to ride a few of the roller coasters. This kid has no fear as he embarked on his first ride on the “Tornado”. He immediately declared afterward “THAT… WAS… AWWWWESOME!


How is it that long weekends are just never long enough?!

DIY Vintage T-Shirt

Last year I made some patriotic shirts for Carter and I to wear on the 4th of July using a bleach pen technique. (No, they were not matchy matchy!) This year, for mine, I decided to try my hand at a DIY vintage t-shirt look using fabric paint and… wait for it… plastic wrap!

DIY Vintage T-Shirt - Love US Map cutout

 It all started when I saw a cute t-shirt design with LOVE as a cut-out within the United States map outline. Unfortunately I could only find this as a kids t-shirt.


What’s a DIY addict to do? Of course I fired up my Silhouette Cameo and created my own stencil. This stencil would be basic enough to create with a print out and an Xacto knife though. I wanted to get a vintage look, so I tried a new technique through some trial and error.

Supplies (some links go to affiliate links on or other retailers).

First I created my stencil and placed it on my t-shirt.



Next, I tried a few different materials to try to blot on my fabric paint. I remembered an old decorative wall painting technique I read about a long time ago where you use crunched up paper bags to create a crinkle effect. I decided to try a plastic bag squished up first, but then I moved on to the plastic wrap because it created a little more texture. To do this I used a wad of the plastic wrap and dipped it in my paint. I blotted some of the excess paint onto a paper towel before applying to my shirt.


Then I dabbed the paint onto my stencil. At first it looked exactly like sponge painting, which wasn’t quite what I was going for, so I ended up doing 2 coats, letting the paint dry in between.



After letting the paint dry fully, I removed the stencil.Then I washed the shirt inside out as directed with the fabric paint. Voila, a custom vintage looking shirt. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look quite as vintage-y in my picture here. I’ll have to see if I can get it in better lighting when I wear it on the 4th.


 Here’s a sneak peak at Carter’s shirt.

USA Rocks Shirt

 Have a great 4th of July!

Linked Up At: Whimsy Wednesday; Whatever Goes Wednesday

June Wrap Up

Hello…. anyone there? I have to apologize for my unplanned absence. For the first time since launching Sometimes Homemade, I didn’t do a single post for the month. Time just really got away from me. I’ve been busy with work, family life, baseball games, fun with friends, car shopping, project launching, working out, and on and on. You know just normal life stuff, all good for the most part, and while I’ve done a few projects, I just didn’t feel motivated to sit down on my computer to write about them (don’t worry I will!)

I thought I’d at least do a wrap up for June to catch you up on some of our family fun. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these moments. If not, follow me, I’ll follow you!

I feel like we had a month filled with lots of physical activity. My husband did three triathlons, getting back into it after a 4 year hiatus. Carter and I went and watched him in two of them. The first one Carter got to cross the finish line with Todd which was a fun moment. Carter kept yelling “You’re my hero, dad!” Sweet stuff!

Pigman Tri

We finished out our baseball season this month, although we had to work around several rain dates.

Carter-BaseballIt’s been a very rainy spring and beginning of summer with crazy storms. Here’s our little storm chaser watching the clouds roll in from our deck. We’re hoping for a few days reprieve at this point, so the flooding in some areas will subside and the flood threats in others diminish.

storm chaser

With the rainy days, we’ve had to come up with some alternate activities to burn off some energy. Carter loves going to Climb Iowa, a local rock climbing gym. We’re hoping to be able to get some climbing in when we go to Colorado in July. This kid has no fear!

little rock climber - Climb Iowa

I started running again and went back to my kickboxing/bootcamp. It felt good to get active again, but getting up for the mornings is never easy for me! 

I don’t really post much about my work life, but we launched a big project early in June after a year’s worth of work. It’s still in progress, but I’m happy we have the first milestone behind us. Speaking of work, we transitioned our workspace over the last few months and went to a more open concept seating arrangement. I’d been in an office the last 7 or so years, so I thought this would be a big change. It turns out that it really hasn’t been too much of an adjustment except in figuring out how to decorate my space!

Here’s my old office.


And here’s my new spot in our shared “pod”. Turns out I really don’t need much space and my hashtag light from Vintage Marquee Lights looks pretty fab in both spaces.


In June my career as a model (HA!) pretty much began and ended at the same time. I was asked to participate in a corporate marketing campaign, and while hair and makeup was fun, holding a 10 lb crystal ball outstretched for 45 minutes made my arms shake! I don’t think I missed my calling, so I guess I’ll stick to my day job! 



I promise I’ll be back to a more regular posting schedule in July. 

May Wrap Up

We had a jam packed May filled with some travel, graduations, and remembering all the fun things we like to do outside once the nice weather hits Iowa! I posted very few new projects this month. There’s a lot on my to do list, I just couldn’t muster up the motivation for things that would keep me inside during our limited free time. 

The month started out with Todd and I in Palm Beach, FL. I was there for a trip for work and Todd met me down there so we could have a little mini vacation. We stayed at The Breakers hotel which was historic and beautiful! The wine cellar in one of the restaurants was nothing short of impressive, just like everything else on the property.


The weekend after we got back from our quick vacation, we attended the Central Iowa Leukemia Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year Gala in honor of one of my best friend’s daughters who was the girl of the year. She was diagnosed last year and I’m constantly amazed at the strength their family has had during their journey and the amazing community of support that has been around them. It was a great night, and over $450,000 was raised to help fight for a cure. 


Todd’s nephew graduated from high school in the middle of the month. It’s hard to believe he was the ring bearer in our wedding almost 14 years ago. Where does the time go?! The same week, Carter had his preschool graduation. He is so excited to go off to Kindergarten this fall, but he will miss all of his friends and teachers from the center he’s been at since he was born.


Over Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed a visit to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market. If you’re ever in Des Moines in the late spring through fall, it’s a must do! Since it was a holiday weekend and the weather was gorgeous, it was packed. After getting our food on, we took a walk on the river walk where Carter promptly found a good hill to roll down.


After getting rained out on Mother’s Day weekend, we had our first baseball game of the season a few weeks late. Of course we were one of the last parents to pick up jerseys, so Carter ended up with one just a wee bit too big. Luckily he didn’t seem to mind. 


We rounded out the long weekend by taking a ride out to Raccoon River Park, which isn’t far from where we live. I got a new bike about 2 months ago and this was the first time I had the bike carrier on it. I have a feeling this is the last summer Carter will want to ride in the back rather than riding his own bike. 


After injuring my calf back in April, I had to take about 4 weeks off from much physical activity. I missed my regular kick boxing workouts at Farrell’s, so I’m happy to back at it now. I also tried yoga for the first time. One of the gals on my team who teaches yoga on the side decided to lead a weekly yoga class for us on one of our green spaces outside of our building. Just one more way to enjoy our amazing spring and early summer weather before it gets too hot!


As for projects, I made a custom recipe box using wood branding letters.

Wood Burning Stamped Custom Recipe Box 

My other project was turning some vintage clip-on earrings of my late grandmother-in-law into pierced earrings. I’m excited about the possibilities of what I could do to refashion some of her other pieces.

turn clip-on earrings to post earrings

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. I’m most often posting there when we’re busy living our life to the fullest! I’ve already started working on a few new projects for June, so stay tuned for some DIY jewelry tutorials, handmade baby gifts, and maybe a home improvement project. See you soon!

How to Turn Clip-On Earrings Into Pierced Earrings

If you have vintage or other clip-on earrings, you can easily turn them into post style earrings for pierced ears. Here are step-by step instructions for this quick and easy project. 

turn clip-on earrings to post earrings

When we were with my husband’s family over Thanksgiving, my husband’s step-mom pulled out boxes and boxes of vintage jewelry that had belonged to my grandmother-in-law. All the ladies had a good time sitting at the table and going through them to pick out items we might like. At first I didn’t look twice at any of the earrings. My husband’s grandmother never had pierced ears, so they were all clip-on style. Our 12 year old niece picked out a pair of red, white and blue rhinestone lever backs that she liked, but she didn’t think she’d wear them as clips. I told her I’d give it a shot at making them into post style earrings. I had picked out a necklace that had a matching set of earrings, so I decided to take those and try to transition them as well.


I finally got around to working on them a few weeks ago since our niece’s birthday is coming up. I started on the ones I picked out for myself so that I could use that as the practice round. Supplies can be found at most craft stores. Links below go to affiliate links.

Supplies Needed:

turning clip-on earrings to post earrings - supplies

Here’s what the earrings looked like as clip-ons with small lever backs.

 clip-on earrings, beforeclip-on earrings, before

In order to remove the lever back, I used a pair of wire cutters to cut off the clip as close to the base as possible.

turning clip earrings into post earrings

Next I used a toothpick (not shown) to put a small amount of epoxy onto the new post.

turning clip earrings into post earrings

Then I attached the post to the back of the earring, pressing firmly.

turning clip earrings into post earrings

After waiting the directed drying time for the epoxy, I added the earring backs and was able to wear my new earrings!

turning clip earrings into post earrings

I followed the same process for the other set of earrings for our niece, except for the removal of the backs. This time I use pliers to gently pry off the clips. They came off fairly easily and cleanly. If they had not come off cleanly, I would have used a little sandpaper or a file to make the metal more smooth. After the epoxy dries, if you have excess, you may need to peel it off. 

clip to post earrings


I’ve worn my pair a few times with no issues. They seem secure and durable. I may have to take a look another look at all those vintage earrings. Aside from earrings, I’m also thinking I could make some cute hair clips and other items. Oh the possibilities!

Custom Recipe Box using Wood Branding Letters

As time goes on I cook (when I cook) pretty often from recipes on my iPad that I’ve found on my favorite recipe sites, blogs, and Pinterest. I still pull out my favorite cookbooks periodically and of course the recipes I’ve collected over the years or been given by family or friends. Up until recently, I didn’t use a recipe box to store these “loose” recipes, and we just kept them in a drawer in our kitchen. When my late grandmother-in-law’s pumpkin bar recipe went missing, I knew it was time to step up my recipe organization. After trying my hand at wood burning several weeks ago, I decided to make a custom recipe box using wood burning stamps.

Wood Burning Stamped Custom Recipe Box

Using wood burning stamps, I burned the word “RECIPES” onto an unfinished wooden recipe box I found at Michael’s. I considered something more kitschy, but I was feeling more classic and simple the day I did this project. 


wood stamps and unfinished recipe box

I started by marking the spacing of each letter on the box.

unfinished wooden box with letter spacing marked in pencil

This was only my second wood burning project, so I did a lot of practicing with each letter on a spare piece of wood before burning directly on my recipe box. This helps with understanding the pressure needed and the length of time I needed to keep the stamp on the wood (which is just a few seconds).




After burning all my letters into the wood, I stained my box using a few coats of General Finishes Gel Stain in brown mahogany (the same stain I’ve used in several previous projects around the house). I used a sock to apply the stain as I find I get more even application using a clean cotton sock.

stained recipe box

After applying a few coats of stain inside and outside (allowing the stain to dry fully in between coats). Then I applied two coats of polycrylic sealer (allowing each coat to dry fully before the next).

Wood stamped recipe boxWood stamped recipe box

How do you organize your recipes? I keep thinking one day that  I’ll make all of my recipes electronic so I can cook exclusively from my iPad, but I just never seem to get around to it. Maybe one day I’ll blog about all my favorites and then they’ll be online by default!

Wood Burning Stamped Custom Recipe Box

April Wrap Up

Greetings from sunny Palm Beach, FL! Before I get to my April wrap up, I have to bask in the glory of 80+ degree weather when it’s in the 40′s back in Iowa. I’m on a work trip, and it doesn’t suck! We’re staying at the beautiful and historic resort here in Palm Beach, The Breakers. Here’s a picture of my walk along the hotel’s promenade overlooking the beach. Ahhh… sunshine!

 The Breakers - Palm Beach

 April was a good month. While the weather has been spotty, we had some nice days to really start to enjoy being outside again. Cabin fever be gone! 

One of our favorite things to do in the spring (and the fall) is to light up our fire pit. We let Carter stay up late one night recently to enjoy the fire pit with us. I’m guessing we’re bad parents for letting our son play with fire!


 As you know if you’ve been following me for a while, we’re Hawkeyes fans in our house. We took Carter to the spring practice game this year. It was his first football game. It was a perfect day for the game, and because my father in law and step mother in law work part time at the stadium, we got to go down on the field after the game, which Carter thought was pretty cool!


I’ve been a little slow on posting projects lately, but I was really happy to finally get an update on our (mostly) diy kitchen project

diy kitchen before and after

I posted on two craft kit projects I did this month including a personalized cutting boards using a wood burning tool as well as another metal stamping project sing pennies to make a special dates key chain with pennies. 

Wood Burned Cutting Board - Cheese in other languages

Hand Stamped Penny Keychain

Easter fell a little bit late this year. I didn’t do much for preparation or seasonal projects, but I did make these birds nest cookie treats for all the kids to enjoy after Easter dinner.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Birds Nests

Finally, I did a round up of some of my favorite past projects that are perfect for DIY Mother’s Day gifts.

Personalized Mother's Day Gifts

I’m looking forward to kicking off May with a weekend in Palm Beach and then several busy weeks filled with charity events, graduations, and the start of spring baseball. Don’t worry, I squeeze in a few new DIY projects!