Best gifts for a 1 year old

If you’re new here, my little guy, Maxwell, just turned one. I thought about putting no gifts please (or your presence is the only present needed) on his party invite, and then I googled it, and wow. What a debate people make of that. And then I decided, heck I’m throwing a birthday party, this kiddo might as well get a few gifts! And honestly, he really doesn’t have very many toys. We have seriously not bought him a single toy. He has a few toys from friends and family, but he mostly plays with empty water bottles and mixing bowls filled with ice and measuring cups and what have you. He does have books (thanks to this baby shower) and a sandbox!

After a recent conversation on C.R.A.F.T. facebook about this email a parent wrote dictating exactly what items (with links) to buy (and not to buy) for a one year old, I thought I’d make a list of fun things most parents would be ok with their one year old getting as a gift. Now you can write a (crazy) email and just add a link to this blog post :)

Best gifts for a 1 year old boy

 (Psst… there are Amazon affiliate links in here!)

1. Shape O Ball: It’s educational and fun! Added bonus:  I love that this toy stores all of it’s own pieces.  It’s so fun to watch him get better and better at this every day. He can put most of the shapes in the holes all by himself now!

2. Money for 529 Savings Plan: Because college is expensive, and there is no better time to save then now.

3. Pop Up Toy: This thing is so cute I gave it a permeant place on our coffee table! Oh and Maxwell loves to just carry the little people around with him. It’s also educational!

4. Personalized Memory Game: My sister made him a memory game with all of our family members! He doesn’t exactly get the game yet, but I have a feeling he will be a pro in few short months! And he does have fun flipping and looking at the pictures now.

Best gifts for a 1 year old

5. Money for swim/ music/ gym classes: I’m all about experience gifts! (Remember what I got Andy for Christmas?) And kid classes can be expensive, so this is a fun gift for a few people to give baby (and mama)!

6. Board Books: Maxwell loves any and every board book. And I love that he loves books. He got a few really fun ones for his birthday including Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, B is for Breakdancing Bear, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I’m a huge fan of the doodles and art in the BabyLit Books and any book by Nancy Tillman is adorable. Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You might be my favorite, but On the Night You Were Born is pretty dang good too. Oh and Grandma got him a few of these fun, paper feeling, but can’t be ripped and are machine washable books for Christmas. They are called Indestructibles, and I highly recommend them!

7. Treats for parents: After all, it is your one year anniversary of parenthood, and everyone is still alive! Wine, champagne, chocolate, babysitting vouchers, and restaurant gift card are all fun ideas to bring to a one year old party!

8. Personalized Book A board book all about Maxwell and his birthday! The story rhymes and the illustrations are cute and simple. Maxwell has the Birthday book, but this company has about 10 different board books to choose from. And even more options for storybooks.

Best gifts for a 1 year old

9. Surprise! What’s Inside Toy Box: He loves this little box of goodies. It’s so cute to watch him dig in the box and pull one out! I also like that this toy stores all of it’s pieces inside.

10. Silver dollar from the year he was born: A fun piece of memorabilia that will (fingers crossed) be worth a lot more when the little guy is older!

11. Activity Cube: This cube keeps him busy, and it looks so much nicer than it’s plastic counterparts. I also like that it’s not too heavy or awkward shaped for me to pick up and move it to the kitchen in the evening.

12. Pajamas: Maxwell wears pajamas every night and grows like a weed. Thus, we use a lot of pajamas. Plus, have you seen a baby in pajamas? Cutest thing ever!

13. Bubbles: I love the Bubble Tumbler and these fun Big Bubble Wand for outside playing!

14. Outside Toys: Balls, buckets, and this fun old school popper toy are great toys that you can keep outside and enjoy in the sunshine!

15. Ybike: This toy pulls double duty! Younger kids can walk with it and once their little toes can touch the ground they can ride it. Max uses it outside a lot too.

What do you think? Did I miss any thing really awesome? I’d love to hear… And just for fun, here is what a baby really wants for their birthday, ha!


Handmade Mothers Day Gifts

 Mother’s Day is May 10th, and all mom’s love handmade gifts from their kiddos, right? Here’s a Mother’s Day gift guide, complete with 13 handmade goodies you (and the kids) can make your mama in a couple of hours. And if you’re a new mom, you are going an awesome job… Read this for a giggle!
 Handmade Mothers Day Gifts

1. For the flower lovin’ mama: handmade etched glass vase filled with flowers

Handmade mothers day gift

2. For the Southern, sweet tea drinkin’ mama: Iced Tea Pitcher Gift Set

DIY Mother's Day gifts

3. For the sentimental gardener: Stepping stones

 How to make stepping stones

4. For the puzzle lover: A puzzle cube Creating Really Awesome Free Things
5. For the mama who likes quirky garden art: A dino planter
Creating Really Awesome Free Things
6. For the picture lovin’ mama:  tiny poloraid magnets for the fridge
7. For the hopster mama: dino magnets
Creating really awesome free things
8. For the mom that loves Draw Something (like mine!): a handmade card

handmade mother's day gift

9. For the crafty mom: a personalized paint by number
Creating Really Awesome Free Things
10. For the modern scrap booker: altered scrapbooks
altered books
11. And a tasty treat that any mom will like (unless their allergic to nuts!): Free printable Mother’s day treat
handmade mothers day gift
 12. For every mama ever: A card with a note from her babies
Free printable mothers day card
13. For the nerdy mama: A handmade Google card
handmade father's day card
Do you have any Mother’s Day traditions in your house? I’d love to hear…
Handmade Mothers Day gifts
Do you love paint by numbers? Do you usually make or buy your mom a present? Oh and if you just want to get your mom a little something, check out this list of 100 cheesy gift sayings paired with small items. What’s your favorite handmade mother’s day gift idea?



DIY photo backdrops

Talkin’ about DIY photo backdrops today. Just a side note, there are about a million easier ways to to make photo backdrops out there. (Funky fabric and thumb tacks is my go to!) If you are looking for easy, this is not the photo backdrop for you, ha! But, it is fun and… double sided! Woot woot! A little back story… I was asked by Piqora to host a panel at SXSW (huge interactive, film, and music conference in Austin, TX) this year. Fun, right?! Me and 2 of my blog faves, Stacy and Kristen, had the opportunity to share our experience as bloggers working with brands. They also asked me to make photo backdrops! And host a crafty hour on St. Patrick’s Day! It was a crazy busy week in Casa de Dorobek.

I think this giant word search would be an awesome photo backdrop for a wedding or corporate event. You could add everyones names or things that mean something to the bride and groom. The ideas are endless! I ended up with a 12×12 word search for a total of 144 letters.

DIY photo backdrops

Just for fun, here is the back side of the word search… clouds! The clouds were way easier to craft up than the word search. Andy and Maxwell came to listen to our panel and then I attempted to snap a few pictures with my baby, this one turned out best!

DIY photo backdrops

So, how to make 2 DIY photo back drops?  Here’s what you need to build the double sided photo backdrop:

  • 2 8×4 sheets of ply wood
  • Garage shelf unit, we used this one. You have to have free standing shelves that have holes in the rails, like this:

DIY photo backdrops

  • Black chalk board paint
  • Cricut Explore machine
  • Silver vinyl
  • Chalk
  • For clouds: blue and white paint
  • 16 screws and washers
  • Saw (or have Home Depot make the 4 cuts for you!)

Our photo booth back drop stands about 6 feet 4 inches tall and 5 feet wide. It’s a great width, but I wish we would have made it 7 feet tall, but this would have meant buying another sheet of ply wood. Decisions, decisions. To make a DIY photo booth you will need to cut your ply wood down into these 4 pieces:

  • 2- 4×5 feet pieces
  • 2- 4×2 feet pieces

Here’s is my beautiful work space, AKA the garage. It was a rainy and gross for the few days we were building! This picture is obviously after I already painted the chalkboard paint over the ply wood, but you can see where the 2 pieces are and if you look closely you can see a few of the 8 screws. We did 4 for the bottom piece and 4 for the top piece. This is why the holes on the shelf are so important since this is how you attach the back drop.

You can also see in this picture how the back drop is double sided and open for storage in the middle.

DIY photo backdrops


“THE MAXWELL” letters at the top were just for size and space visuals. Those letters are 5 inches long and 10 across. I ended up going with letters that were 3.67 inches tall and 12 across. So a few things to note about planning out the word search:

  • After you get the wood cut and drilled onto the shelf, it’s time to for the fun! Paint 4-5 coats of chalkboard paint on to the ply wood. The ply wood soaks it up!
  • Make sure and let the chalkboard paint dry the proper amount of time. Just read the dang can. Then you have to condition your board! (More on that here.)
  • Next use this free online puzzle maker to actually create the word search. Really simple. I used to use it all of the time as a teacher, I had a kiddo who thought word searches were the greatest thing ever!
  • Note: There is a reason why all word searches are rectangular in shape. I did not take that into consideration, but figured it out first hand when I went to circle one of my diagonal words! You need the extra vertical space to circle. Plan for this.
  • Now, how to know how many letters to cut out with your Cricut? This is easy. After you get your word search the way you want it on the puzzle maker, go to Edit, Find in the menus at the top of your screen. This will highlight each letter for you so that you can count how many A’s, B’s, C’s, etc you need to cut out.  Here are all of the “A” in my word search!
  • DIY photo backdropsThen make a map so you know exactly how many letters your need and where they go. Here is my trusty map!

DIY photo backdrops


  • Now you need to make the lines on your chalkboard. You can use a laser level or good ol’ fashioned yard stick! I did a little of both. Here are the guides I drew so that I could get the letters spaced evenly:DIY photo backdrops
  • Now it’s time to pick a font and start cutting out your letters and sticking them on! I used 2 and a half rolls of vinyl to cut 144 letters for those project.

DIY photo backdrops


  • Then just write the title in chalk markers!

Now, for the other side of the photo back drop! After the word search, this side is cake! Just paint the whole thing blue and then doodle on 4 clouds!

DIY photo backdrops


I made a sunshine and a cloud with raindrops out of foam board to go with this backdrop. And here it is in action on the day of our panel! (You can see lots more pics with the props here and here!

DIY photo backdrops

And one more picture of the completed interactive word search photo backdrop:

DIY photo backdrops

So, who is going to make a giant word search photo back drop first! I’d love to see it! And just for fun, if you read the post about Maxwell’s new sandbox, you will notice a chalkboard wall popped up on the fence. Guess where that came from?!