Valentine's Day Gnome Ornament

Holiday crafts are the best, don't you think? They are fun to make and can be used as festive decor. Many crafted items also make wonderful handmade gifts that can be shared with family and friends. Today, I am sharing a step-by-step tutorial for adorable Valentine's Day gnome ornaments.




To make your own Valentine's Day gnome ornament:


1) Gather your supplies. You'll need: a ruler, sharp scissors, and empty paper towel roll, a pom pom, a bit of felt (or other heart-shaped embelishment for the hat), hot glue, and two colours of yarn (white and pink or red).



First, make the hat:

2) Cut a 1 cm slice from an empty toilet roll. Then, cut approximately 35 strands of yarn (30cm in length). Note: You may need more or less yarn. It will depend on the weight/thickness of the yarn.


3) Loop all the strands (one at a time) through the cardboard roll and pull tight. Continue until the entire cardboard piece is covered.



4) Push all the yarn down through the centre of the roll to create a hat "brim", and tie the top of the hat (about an inch from the top) with a piece of matching yarn. Tie a loop (at the top of the piece of yarn used to tie the top of the hat) to create a hanger for the ornament.


5) Trim the top of the hat to make a pom pom, and use hot glue to attach a felt heart to the front of the yarn hat.



Next, make the pom pom for the beard:

You can also find a video explaining how to make pom poms here.

6) Wrap yarn around your hand approximately 60 times (or more if the yarn is a lighter weight/thinkness).

7) Carefully remove the yarn from your hand and tie a piece of yarn tightly around the centre.

8) Cut the loops with sharp scissors, and trim the pom pom until it is round and fluffy.


Then, assemble the ornament:

9) Use hot glue to attach the hat to the handmade pom pom.

10) Use hot glue to attach the pom pom nose.


Here's a 3 minute video that shows you how I made my Valentine's Day gnome ornament.



These ornaments can be hung anywhere, but I love how sweet they look on this little lighted tree. Cute, right?




I can't stop making these cute ornaments. They are easy to make, use simple supplies, and are totally adorable. If you make one (or a bunch), let me know. It really is the perfect Valentine's Day craft for kids, tweens, teens, and adults.


Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)



If you are looking for more Valentine's Day inspiration, check out more than 30 Valentine's Day ideas here.


BEST Ideas for Preserving and Organizing Special Pieces of Kids' Clothing

In my home, January is all about "getting organized", and sentimental items always pose a particular challenge for me. When it comes to kids, "special" pieces of kids clothing can be difficult to part with, so today, I am sharing some of my best ideas for preserving and organizing the clothes that kids have outgrown.



1) Keep a few special pieces... but be ruthless. Just keep the items that you can't bear to get rid of... the ones with sentimental value. For example, a Christening gown, the outfit they wore home from the hospital, their favourite t-shirt as a toddler, etc... Each one of my boys has ONE tote where I keep some school work, special toys, and a couple of pieces of clothing. When they leave home, they can take their tote with them.



2) Make Christmas ornaments - I love the idea of turning important items into Christmas ornaments. Consider: filling a clear bulb with a baby hat and bracelet, sewing an ornament from a piece of clothing or special blanket, or popping a piece of material into an embroidery frame.



3) Create unique artwork - Special items can easily be turned into unique artwork. Frame a jersey or stretch a special t-shirt and staple it over a piece of canvas. It's also a good idea to frame an outfit with a picture of the child wearing the clothing.




4) Upcycle old clothing into something new - Old clothes can easily be upcycled into something new. Consider making a no-sew tote bag, scrunchies, sachets, face masks, headbands, scarfs, eye pillows, stuffed animals or pillows. 




5) Sew a memory quilt - I don't have the sewing skills to make one, but I think it's a great idea. Maybe I'll put it on my "to do" list.



What do you do with those pieces of kids' clothing you can't bear to part with? Do you think you'll try any of these ideas? I hope I've given you a bit of inspiration today.


Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

Simple Tips for A More Organized Home

A new year always makes me want to get organized. Do you feel the same way? The clutter of Christmas gifts and the need to "start fresh" is a great motivator. So, today I am sharing FIVE of my best tips for creating a more organized home.



1) Get rid of stuff you don't need or love - The best way to feel organized is to have fewer things. It's a huge job to de-clutter an entire house, so take it room by room... drawer by drawer. Pick a drawer or space, empty it out, and only put back the things you use. Everything that is left over should be donated, sold, or thrown out.

When it comes to sentimental items, only keep what you truly value. I have designated one bin for each of my boys. Each bin contains special items of clothing, report cards, special stuffies, and favourite art pieces. If it doesn't fit in the bin, it doesn't stay in the house.




2) Make leaving the house easier - Finding things you need on the way out the door can be a challenge, but I have a few tips to make it a bit easier.

  • Quick grab basket - A few dollar store baskets by the door will make mornings a little easier for everyone. Everyone gets their own basket, and every pair of mittens has a home. (Click here for more details.)

  • Makeshift mudroom - A few hooks in an unused corner is all you need to create a makeshift mudroom. It's a simple and inexpensive storage solution when space is limited. (Click here for more details.)

  • Backpack hooks - Hang some hooks on the back of a door, and you won't trip over the kids' backpacks ever again. It will also make your mornings run a little more smoothly too. (Click here for more details.)

  • Clean and dirty mask baskets - Having two dollar store baskets by the door to manage masks is simple... and genius. I even designed "dirty" and "clean" baskets that you attach to the front of the baskets with a bit of twine. To download the tags I designed (for free): click on the picture of the tags below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.


3) Organize the bedrooms - Bedrooms can quickly get out of control... especially childrens bedrooms that are filled with clothes (in multiple sizes) and tons of toys. Here are a few ideas for getting the clutter organized.
  • Fold clothes correctly - In my house, the socks are flat, and the clothes are folded in thirds and stored vertically. It looks super-tidy, and my boys can easily find the items they are looking for in their drawers. Check out the video below to see exactly how I do it.

  • Use baskets and bins - A couple of baskets on top of a dresser are perfect for all the odds and ends in a child's room. Kids can put their miscellaneous items in these baskets... instead of on the floor.

  • Store stuffed animals in a bean bag chair cover - Instead of having stuffies all over the floor, they can be stuffed into a bean bag chair cover. It contains the chaos, and it makes a comfy reading seat too.
  • Use a clear shoe rack on the back of the door - I use these clear shoe racks all over my house, and they are awesome! The clear pockets make it easy for kids to store and access their stuff. I use them for LEGO, but they work well for clothing, craft supplies, and any small toys.

  • Make books organized and accessible - Make sure all the books have a "home". You can use a nightstand, baskets, or shelving. Also, rotate books on a regular basis... out with the old and in with the new.



I made a little video in my son Jack's room you might find helpful.




4) Organize the kitchen - The kitchen is the heart of the home... and cupboards and counters can get out of control and untidy very quickly. Here are a couple simple ways to calm the chaos:

  • Cupcake wrappers - Dollar store jars make perfect storage containers for cupcake liners... and they look cute too.

  • Containers for snacks/school lunch staples - Taking snacks out of their original packaging and putting them in plastic containers from the dollar store is an easy organization HACK. This little trick helps save money, makes lunch items quicker to access, and frees up cupboard space. (Click here for more lunchbox HACKS.)


5) Create a place for odds and ends - Accessible over the door shoe racks - Clear shoe racks hang on the backs of doors, which is a wonderful way to utilize unused space and see a variety of items at a glance. Over the door shoe racks are great for holding craft supplies, hats and mitts, stuffed animals, and pantry supplies, LEGO kits. (Click here for more details.)

A shoe organizer also makes a wonderfully organized homework station.





Organizing an entire home can be daunting, but it becomes much more manageable if you tackle one small area at a time . 

Try out one or two of my ideas, and let me know what you think. (And if you have any ideas to share with me, I'd love for you to leave them in the comments.)


Gina Bell
 (aka East Coast Mommy)

2020 / 2021 New Year's Eve Celebration with Kids

When it comes to celebrating New Year's Eve, I love making the evening feel special and fun... without spending a lot of money. I always make use of dollar store finds, and simple items I can design and print myself. Below, I am sharing my plans for this year, and some FREE NYE printables you can use.



As always, I am putting together activity bags that my kids can open every hour as we count down to the new year. It's one of my favourite conditions, and it's a great way to keep the whole evening fun. 



Here's what we have in our bags this year:


5pm - Year in Review - The first bags contain these questionnaires that my boys fill out each year. They provide a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year ahead. It will be a particularly interesting exercise this year given the uniqueness of 2020.

To download the questionnair I designed: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.


6pm - Candy Rings - Our 6pm bags contain candy rings with punny tags that say, "Ring in the new year!" To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.




7pm - Midnight Kisses - Our 7pm bags contain hershey kisses with punny "midnight kisses" tags. To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.




8pm - Popcorn and Karaoke - The 8pm bag contains popcorn and in invite to sing some karaoke. Playing a board game or having a dance party would be fun too.



9pm - Cookies and Milk - At 9am, we plan to have a "milk and cookies" toast to the new years. We'll have milk in wine glasses (rimmed with sprinkles) and our favourite chocolate chip cookies. Sparkling lemonade and store bought cookies would be good too!




10pm - Sparklers - At 10pm, We will be "Bringing some sparkle to 2021". I designed some tags, cut some slits with an x-acto knife, and inserted sparklers. To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.





11pm - Photo Booth with Horns and Hats - The 11pm bag will be filled with items needed to set up a photo booth. It will also contain lots of horns and hats for welcoming the new year. 



To download the photo props I designed (for free): click on the picture you are interested in printing (below), right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 8x10 photo.




12am - Breakfast for Tomorrow Party Favours - Every party needs a favour, so the 12am bag contains "Breakfast for tomorrow" party favours. We have pop tarts, but small boxes of cereal would work well too. To download your own tags for free: click on the picture of the tags below, right click, save it to your computer, and print like a regular 4x6 photo.





Check out how fun it is to fill a table with activity bags and party favours. There are no rules. Fill your bags with whatever you like!



How will you be celebrating New Year's this year? I hope you use some of my ideas and free printable tags and photo props.

Happy New Year!!!


Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)



How cute is this little party favour for 2021? Check it out here.

Don't miss any of the fun....