Monday, April 25, 2016

freebies: mama's day questionnaire + portrait printables.

mother's day is just around the corner on May 8 and after a little weekend getaway to visit my own mama, I was inspired to design a set of Mother's Day printables for you.  My previous all about daddy printables were so popular, it's time I designed a set for us mamas!  who wouldn't love the gift of this questionnaire and a hand drawn portrait.   These questionnaires are always a fun activity to do with your children and i suspect you'll collect some hilarious answers!

Simply download and print the questionnaire and portrait and pass them along to your kids {+ dad, grandma, guardian, or sibling} to complete. I have to admit I did get a little teary eyed reading my daughter, Hazel's answers... 

Friday, April 8, 2016

freebies: let him sleep + let her sleep free art print.

fridays are for freebies!

I've got babies on the brain today.  This morning I'm off to visit a good friend's new arrival and can't wait to squeeze in my baby snuggles!  Here's an adorable art print for his or her nursery available in turquoise or pink! Would you like a custom colour?  Just leave a comment!

simply download and print at home or at your local photo printing location. i'd love to see how you incorporate it into a space, so feel free to email me or tag me @sarahmstyleyyc in your photos on instagram!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

spaces: our creative play space.

We spend the majority of time in our basement.  Our family room and play space are one large area and since we don't have a tv on our main floor, this is the spot where we gather, play, watch movies and relax.

The playspace seems to be in constant evolution as our children grow.  One common trend that has stuck over time is the idea of keeping it simple, but always a space that will inspire creativity.  I am proud to have gotten to the point we are at now with our "stuff".  We have worked hard to declutter and keep toys and activities to a minimum.  The play things we have kept inspire creativity, building, problem solving and imagination.  I didn't "decorate" the space with excessive decorative items because I wanted the space to feel airy and clutter-free with room to build, create and play.

desk area.

The long desk spans the length of the playspace.  We DIY'd the desk using two BESTA cabinets with legs and the desk top is made from a wood piece we found at IKEA in the as-is section. In it's previous life, it may have been a door to a piece of furniture.   The desktop is anchored by the BESTA cabinets and a wood bracket is screwed to the wall under the mid-section for added support.

Above the desk we hung the IKEA DIGNITET curtain wire to display kid art.  They are so proud to hang their creations.  A tray holds pencils, markers, crayons and chalk.  The BESTA cabinets provide ample storage for craft supplies and art books.

On the wall, two metal pantry baskets are home to a library of favorite books.  Above the baskets, I repurposed a LEGO MAN blueprint from Hank's room.

lego storage. 

I did something I never, ever thought I would do... and I'm still not convinced of it.  I SORTED OUR LEGO.  Growing up, I had LEGO in one large bin.  I would dump it out on a blanket and play for hours.  Up until now, my kids did the same.  Between my three kids, the LEGO would never stay on the blanket and we'd spend just as long, cleaning it up.  I loved the hunt for just the right pieces and I think it's part of the fun and play.

I sorted the LEGO based on colour and used an IKEA HELMER drawer unit for storage.  I designed little tags for each drawer.  Atop the desk, we sorted jars of people and parts, wheels, and special pieces.

So far, I believe it provides more structure and less overwhelming play, but they definitely don't play LEGO as often as when we used to dump the bucket and build.  Do you sort your LEGO?

toy storage.

We've had the four white wooden stacking storage bins from for nearly 6 years now.  They are a knock off to the Storagepalooza bins from Land of Nod. These bins are great for our foam building blocks, Duplo, Little People, Imagninext and wooden train set.  I have a cubby filled with puzzles and games that I swap out every once in awhile.

One large canvas bin sits on the floor and is home to random musical instruments and stuffed toys.

We are lucky to have a double doored closet filled with wire shelving where the majority of our toy storage is.  These clear plastic bins from IKEA work so well for toy storage.  They're sturdy and see-through so no labelling is required.  We have a one bin at one time rule but it's loosely followed!

Like our mudroom, we have one IKEA STUVA drawer at the bottom of the closet that we use as our "Tickle Trunk" for all of our dress up clothes and accessories.

chalk wall.

By far the best addition to our creative play space is our enormous chalk wall.  It provides hours of endless entertainment for the kids... and I!  After two years, I recently gave it a fresh coat of chalkboard paint which is why it looks so fresh and clean.  It's anticipating scribbles and doodles now.

The chalk wall makes very little mess.  The chalk dust falls to the baseboard and I give it a wipe every once in awhile... and we usually stick to white chalk.  We are lucky to have installed some leftover laminate flooring and that helps with keeping it clean.  If you have a carpeted play area, I may think twice!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

DIY: 5 thrifting tips + transforming trash to treasure.

An activity I love to do, but don't have much time for these days is thrifting. I love the challenge of hunting for treasures and the thrill of giving new life to an item that has been discarded or donated.

Over Easter weekend when we were out of town, I popped into a thrift store and picked up a few things; four wooden bowls/dishes, 2 wooden egg cups, a metal container, a mini wooden tool box and a sectioned wood shelf.  My total spend was just under $14.  I was anxious to get at it and see how I could repurpose them.

So far, I've transformed two of my finds into usable items.  

This $1 little metal container was given a fresh coat of black gloss paint which I had living in my garage. It made it's home in our downstairs playroom atop our DIY desk and is home to a handful of new pencils.

Inspired a post by Christina from, this wooden shelf was sanded, primed with white spray paint, then given a fresh coat of ocean mist paint {a fabulous new colour available at Home Depot} I purchased a sheet of grey and white polka dot scrapbooking paper at Michael's and backed each section with paper.  The shelf found a home in Hazel's wall gallery where it's home to her prized collection of zum zums and Shopkins.  I also used one of the thrifted little wooden egg cups as-is to hold chalk for her chalkboard.

Here are a few tips you can take with you for your next thrifting adventure.

Time of year.
Spring and Summer are excellent seasons to thrift.  People are sent into a whirl of cleaning, purging and decluttering. Keep your eye out for local community garage sale parades where you can hit up as many sales as you can in one immediate area.  Often people just can't find the time or energy to host sales of their own, so much of their decluttered possessions are donated to your local second-hand or thrift shops.   Also, many thrift shops host sale days each month.  Just give them a call to see what they have scheduled!

Think outside the box.
When you're on the hunt for treasures, go with an open mind and think creatively.  Look for objects that can easily be given a face lift like wood and metal.  Browse Pinterest for ideas that make you excited.

Know your budget.
Recognize what is a good deal and what is not; be creative but practical.  And if you're planning to DIY, account for the resources including supplies and time it'll take to get you to your end result.  Set yourself a budget. Be choosey and selective in your thrift store finds.  Thrifting is not only eco-friendly, but can be good for your wallet, not to mention your home or wardrobe!

Don't be a hoarder.
Too much of a good thing, is not a good thing. Before you buy something at a thrift store, or any store for that matter, make sure it's something you can truly make use of.  If it's for a project, make time for that project, beginning to end, before moving on to the next!

Be patient.
Thrifting is practical but requires patience.  You have to be willing to scour and search for just the right treasures, and there'll be times you won't find what you're looking for!

Happy thrifting... and DIY-ing!

Friday, April 1, 2016

freebies: love you polka dot art print.

fridays are for freebies!  

here's an adorable free printable to share with you.  i actually have this print hung in my daughter Hazel's room.  I designed a colourful wall gallery next to a tall armoire using a mix of frames, prints and kid art.  Hazel loves drawing so she can doodle until her heart's content on her chalkboard.

simply download and print at home or at your local photo printing location. i'd love to see how you incorporate it into a space, so feel free to email me or tag me @sarahmstyleyyc in your photos on instagram!