Make Something Monday: Festive Felt Garland

For all of you still celebrating a little break from over-excertion, we have the PERFECT weeknight activity to do with your kiddos. It takes only 3 supplies and 2 steps and in about 20 minutes (less with more helping hands) you’ll have a very fun, tres chic holiday decoration you can put just about anywhere and reuse the whole year round!

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How cute is that felt garland?? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • About 12 pieces of felt
  • Twine or yarn
  • Scissors

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  1. Cut each 8 1/2 x 11″ piece of felt in half length-wise, then cut every 1/2″-1″ to make about 20 rectangles from each piece of felt
  2. Knot each rectangle around a length of twine or yarn (I’d keep it on a big ball until you’ve used all your pieces, then cut at the end).

BOOM. That’s it!

Every part of this project is kid-friendly (except for maybe the cutting depending on age, because you’ll need some sharper scissors).  Its super fun for kids who want to pick their own colors and patterns, and is great practice for cutting, tying and pattern-planning. Best part: this garland can be reused for any special occasion! Happy garlanding!

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Holiday 2015 – New designs have arrived!

Woohoo! We’ve been anxiously awaiting the day we could announce the arrival of new designs in the shop – and that day is TODAY! Stop by the store and checkout our new papercut winter friends collection!! Keep checking back because we have more designs and surprises headed your way…isn’t the holiday season the BEST?!?

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Make Something Monday: Gratitude Stones

Things I am thankful for today: the fact that someone reminded me THIS Thursday would be Thanksgiving. WHAT??? Where did November go?? With all of the busy-ness and the 2,561 things to do, and food to make and events to plan, it is so easy to rush whole days and weeks away. There are Pinterest boards, Facebook posts, TV specials, greeting cards, even a whole DAY devoted to reminding us to take some time out to remember what’s important and express our gratitude and thanks – but, inevitably, the season goes by every year and I realize I’ve missed a lot of opportunities to slow down, enjoy and be thankful. That’s why when I ran across the idea of Gratitude Stones I thought it was a perfect answer.


This fantastic idea comes from Melissa at Fireflies and Mudpies and is such a great, simple way to start a tradition of taking a minute out to express gratitude everyday. She has so many meaningful suggested uses – many of which not only teach kids the importance of discusssing what we’re thankful for, but also learning how to express strong feelings, creating a time for relaxation, finding ways to pass our gratitude to others and the community. We’ve listed the materials below, but head over to the full post here for detailed instructions.

Its also a great activity for Thanksgiving day – especially if there’s someone in your family like me who knows ZERO about football, but can run a craft across the end zone every time (yeah, I just did that – I don’t even know if it made sense, because really – I know zero about football).


  • Stones (washed and dried)
  • Tissue Paper (or photos or anything!)
  • Scissors
  • Glossy Mod Podge
  • Paint brushes


Happy Thanksgiving! We present our happiest, happiest hearts to you and your families – we’re so grateful for all of you and the extra time you take (everyday!) to raise our future world-changers.

Printable Play: Winter Forest

YAY! Our very first free printable is here – just in time for holiday play!

Thor’s winter forest – inspired by one of our very own (extremely drool-y) team members.

(Hint: he’s the one with the festive antlers…)

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Print it out and play away! (Please excuse the fuzzy pics – technical difficulties – we will be updating the imagery on this post as soon as we can!)


Download the files here: Printable Play: Winter Forest Set

There are 3 documents in the zip file – a PDF of the printable with animals and trees, a PDF with the background mountains, and a text document with our terms of use (*please read!*)

The PDF printable of the animals and trees has 2 pages – print page 1, then print page 2 on the REVERSE. Just a note, you don’t have to print on both sides (especially if you’re using this for any of the remixed ideas below). I printed this on a super-thick cardstock to make it a little more durable, but you might want to print out a quick draft first to double-check how your printer handles the reverse printing.

These are not mean to be perfect, so don’t break a sweat over cutting perfectly. As a general rule, the trees and mountains are GREAT practice for little hands still learning how to cut – the animals may take a bit more patience and are better suited for adult skilllzz.

If you have any questions or issues please leave it in the comment section below – I’ll get back to ya!

Here are some remixed ideas – the deep cuts of paper playing…

  • Mod Podge onto some big plain wooden blocks  (perfect for smaller hands that play less gently)
  • Print out some superfun temporary tattoos (using something like this)
  • Make a magnet set (using something like this)
  • Stickers! (using something like this)
  • Frame a winter scene with your own backdrop in a shadow-box

*For all of the above options just remember you only need to print 1 side – Page 1 only!*

And let’s just break here for a second to interject some planet-saving-ness (our word…probably not a real one) – did you know there are companies that sell eco-friendly, soy-based ink for your home printers??? OH YES. Yes, there are. A couple examples: Inkpal or Tonergreen – they’re not available for every single printer, but I was actually pretty impressed with their array.

We would love love LOOOVVE to see how you guys are playing with these – so snap some pics and send them our way! If you’re on instagram you can tag us (@barleyandbirch) or use the hashtag #barleyandbirch – and want to take our original creation to the next level? You are welcome to get as creative as you want and share away! Our only request is that if you repost somewhere – could you please include a shout-out back to us with the original link to this post instead of a direct link to the files? We would so appreciate it!

Alright paper warriors – play on!

Make Something Monday: Cardboard Castles!

Holy cardboard castles in the sky. By picture alone, is anyone else wishing they were of an acceptable age to abandon everything, drop to castle-level and immerse yourself in this for an entire afternoon? First of all – you are always of an acceptable age. Second – believe it or not, this is cardboard and masking tape. It IS!!!! It really is – and for all of you (me included) who have felt a pang of sympathy every time you see a well-intentioned Pinterest fail – this actually works out JUST as you think it will – there is a template, and thanks to Marilee’s pics, a lot of inspiration and direction beyond that.


SO – here’s what it requires:

  • Sturdy cardboard (Marrilee used 10″x10″ pieces – so 20″ all together)
  • A Cutting Tool (good pair of scissors or X-acto knife)
  • Colored Tape (Marrilee used Duct Tape)




Find the full instructions + a template here at the very amazing (and visually scrumptious) Mer Mag site  – such creativity!

And for a totally different take on how to decorate your mini-mideval fortress, take a look at the illustrator Rob Dunlavey’s Crystal City Sculpture – if tape isn’t your thing, just draw or paint right on the cardboard. Oh MONDAY, so much to have fun with, so little time!

*Pro tip: we’ll be posting our own b&b original printable this week and it goes sooooo well with castles. Just sayin’ (check back tomorrow – we’ll also add the link in this article)! *

– love, Amanda (long-time friend of b&b’s, now permanently behind the scenes! Hi everyone!)

Ridiculously easy way to make your house smell like Christmas!

We LOVE the spiced smell of Christmas. What’s better? Here’s a ridiculously easy way to bring that wonderful smell to your home for the holidays!

cool company: fat and the moon

wow wow wow. we LOVE it when we come across a cool new company and we are DROOLING over the awesome products at Fat and the Moon.

Fat and the Moon makes all natural, veggie-based, healthy beauty products with the obsession-over-ingredients of a witch doctor.

Based out of Oakland, they are stocked in a bunch of Bay Area stores but we found them on Etsy!

We can’t wait to try them out.

Tasty Tuesday: Applesauce Bites

We saw this post on Mom-dot-com  and were amazed at how clever it was! Trisha simply poured little dots of applesauce onto a wax-paper covered cookie sheet and placed it in the freezer overnight… AND NOW HER TODDLER (who isn’t that great with a spoon) CAN ENJOY APPLESAUCE AS A FINGER FOOD!

Genius, right?

You can do it with yogurt too!

We’d write some more, but now we’re going to see what fruit and yogurt combinations we can throw through the blender and into the freezer for snacking during all-night work sessions.

Make Something Monday: No Sew Beaded Tutu Bedskirt


We saw this tutorial written by Beth of Free Stylin’ and HAD to share it.  It’s such an easy, cheap way to make your little princess/dancer/mermaid(think blues!)/fairy’s room super cool and special.



What You’ll Need:

  • A ton of tulle fabric
  • A fitted sheet
  • Beads (optional)
  • A hot glue gun OR a needle & thread (to go with optional beads)
  •  A ruler
  • A pencil
  • Scissors

Directions are HERE.

still obsessed: jen loves kev

We know we’ve mentioned it here before, but we have been digging the recent posts on Jen Loves Kev so very much lately. If you haven’t been over lately, you should.

We love Jen and her writing continues to inspire us all on a lot of levels.

Happy Saturday!