Director Jewels: April 2015

Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to Make Your Own Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AvengersUnite #CollectiveBias

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

It's a big weekend at the movies: MARVEL'S The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on Friday, May 1! I've always been a big superhero fan, so you can bet I will see this new film sooner rather than later.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

Lincoln and Addie have not seen any MARVEL'S: The Avengers movies yet, but that hasn't stopped them from falling in love with the characters. Somehow, Lincoln automatically knew that he should start shouting "SMASH!" when he put on the giant Hulk hands we picked up this week at Walmart, and Addie likes to proudly go around saying "I'M Captain 'Merica."

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

More often than not, they're trying to wail on each other while wearing their costumes, but we're working on learning how the Avengers actually work as a team and take care of each other - very much like a family!

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

When you're shopping for Avengers products at Walmart, make sure you download the new Avengers Super Heroes Assemble App! You can turn your phone into a portal to exclusive MARVEL'S The Avengers: Age of Ultron content. Keep up to date with the latest movie and behind-the-scenes action. When you scan Avengers displays at Walmart and Walmart.com, you can become your favorite Avenger, explore a Hulkbuster training facility in a 360 degree interactive space and to bring MARVEL'S Avengers: Age of Ultron characters to life with augmented reality! It's really cool! Find it on the Apple Store or Google Play.

Avengers at Walmart. Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

With a Captain America shield and Hulk hands in our costume collection, we were pretty set for our adventures - but we wanted to add at least one more character to our dress-up box. Thor seemed the most logical choice, because we can teach the kids to speak with an ancient accent and that will be hilarious. The project I landed upon was making a DIY Mjölnir, or, Thor's hammer.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

I had most of the supplies already in my house, and chances are, you do, too.

DIY Thor Hammer
Supplies Needed
-Empty Rectangle Baby Wipes Box
-Aluminum Foil
-Round Wooden Dowel
-Wooden Candle Cup (optional for the base of the hammer)
-Hot Glue Gun & Glue
-Scissors
-Sharpie
-Brown Ribbon or Leather Trim (for strap)
-Silver Trim (for handle)

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

1. Cut off wipes lid flap.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

2. Attach wooden dowel. There is no science behind this, folks. I pretty much attacked it with Duck tape and then hot glued it inside the box.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com
Hot gluing the dowel to the box.

3. Attach Lid to Box. I actually didn't glue it together or anything. I closed and snapped the box and it worked fine. But if you wanted to, you could glue it so it holds better.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

4. Cover Box in Aluminum Foil. I wrapped it like a gift and cut out a hole where the dowel came out of the box.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

5. Use Hot Glue to tack down edges.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

6. Cut pieces of aluminum foil to cover any holes. Attach with hot glue. I just went crazy with hot glue and pushed down all the little corners and crevices.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

7. Add Silver Ribbon Trim to Handle.

8. Glue Ribbon inside Candle Cup, to make strap. Then Glue Dowel into Candle Cup.

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

9. Use Sharpie to make designs around edges. I put Andrew in charge of this.


Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

That's it! It's perhaps not the strongest toy and I keep cautioning the kids to not beat on things with it, because the foil will probably rip. But it makes a perfect addition to a Halloween costume or a kid's dress up box!

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

I love my little Avengers!

Easy Cheap DIY Thor Hammer from a Baby Wipes Box | Tutorial at directorjewels.com

Around here, there are many epic battles raging (usually over who gets to wear the Hulk hammer or wield Mjölnir, or who gets the last snack) as we wait for the release of MARVEL'S The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Will you see the movie this weekend?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fiddler on the Roof at Spinning Tree Theatre {Kansas City Theatre Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this production at Spinning Tree Theatre. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.

I have a long history with Fiddler. It was one of the first musicals that I saw onstage, when my piano teacher took me and a friend to a high school production an hour away. It was a movie I watched over and over again. And, it was my first community theatre production (ten years ago - oy). All that aside - I have to admit that the current production of Fiddler on the Roof, a Spinning Tree Theatre production playing here in Kansas City through May 10, moved me the most of all my knowledge and experience with the little Russian village of Anatevka.


Gary Neal Johnson as Tevye with Jonathan Schriock
as The Fiddler in "If I Were a Rich Man"
Photo Credit: Brian Paulette/Spinning Tree Theatre

The intimate Just Off Broadway Theatre provides an ideal backdrop for this stripped-down production of the musical that won three Tony Awards the year it opened on Broadway. Fiddler originally opened in 1964 and has been a consistent favorite in the past fifty years. The show has no major set pieces and is played on a thrust stage, with the actors bringing in props and set as needed. While I loved the stage dressing, at first glance I feared that the lack of more formal set pieces would be a distraction. I was quickly proved wrong, as more set would have certainly been a distraction from the raw emotion that was at the forefront of the entire production.

Fiddler on the Roof, based on the book Tevye and His Daughters by Sholem Aleichem, tells the story of Tevye, a Jewish milkman who lives in Russia with his wife and five daughters in 1905. The piece's opening number, Tradition, introduces us to the culture of Tevye and his family and allows us to see how the traditions of the villagers of Anatevka are upheld, discarded, and persecuted throughout the story.

"Tradition" featuring the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF company.
Photo Credit: Brian Paulette/Spinning Tree Theatre

The production is seamlessly directed and choreographed by Michael Grayman and Andy Parkhurst. The show's flow is impressive. The space is small, but the professional cast members use multiple doors for entry and exit, weave through the choreography without a glitch, and make the whole process appear simple. A Fiddler moment that is always a treat is the bottle dance during the wedding scene near the end of Act I - the three performers in this piece placed wine bottles on their heads and expertly balanced them through a complicated routine. They nearly brought the house down on opening night - it was wonderful to watch!

"Sabbath Prayer" featuring the FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Company.
Photo Credit: Brian Paulette/Spinning Tree Theatre

The cast is led well by Gary Neal Johnson as Tevye, whose not-so-subtle sarcasm brings a laugh to those in attendance even in serious moments. Tevye's daughters, played by Kami Rodgers (Tzeitel), Sara Belhouari (Hodel), Megan Herrera (Chava), Callie Fabac (Shprintze), and Molly Moore (Bielke) are a delightful group of young women who shine both individually and together as a group of sisters. Each of the three older daughters is given the chance for a connection with the audience - Tzeitel, through her hopeful wish that Tevye might let her marry her love; Hodel, when bidding Tevye goodbye at the train station; and Chava, in her truly heart-breaking desperation for Tevye's approval of her life-altering choice. I actually lost count of how many times I had tears in my eyes (or, streaming down my face in serious ugly-cry style) during the production, but Chava's plea was the most emotionally charged moment of the two hours we spent in Anatevka and I will not soon forget that scene.

The production as a whole has an excellent cast. Motel (Bob Wearing) had a delightful boyish charm and Golde (Tevye's wife, played by Julie Shaw) gave a lovely portrayal of a woman who learns much about herself as her own daughters find husbands and homes of their own.

Standout songs from the production include "If I Were A Rich Man," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "Sunrise, Sunset", and "Do You Love Me?"

3 musicians (James Westbrook on clarinet,
Jonathan Schriock as The Fiddler, Joe Levens on guitar)

Photo Credit: Brian Paulette/Spinning Tree Theatre

Perhaps the most impressive element of the show was the Klezmer quartet, who doubled as band members and citizens of Anatevka. A good portion of the show's melodies were memorized by the talented musicians and played out as part of the story, with the musicians making their way through the onstage action as needed. A special shout-out goes to the fiddler himself (portrayed by Jonathan Lloyd Schriock), who made it seem like playing the intense melodies were as simple as walking down the street. The musicians include Angie Benson (accordian/keyboard), Jonathan Lloyd Schriock (violin), Joe Levens (guitar/mandolin), and James Westbrook (clarinet).

Tevye and Fiddler (Gary Neal Johnson and Jonathan Schriock) 
Photo Credit: Brian Paulette/Spinning Tree Theatre

Spinning Tree will present West Side Story, The Turn of the Screw, 13, and Amadeus for their 2015-2016 season. If you're in Kansas City, you don't want to miss this stellar rendition of a Broadway classic. Fiddler on the Roof plays now through May 10 - a Spinning Tree Theatre production at the Just Off Broadway Theatre. Tickets are available online and prices start at $27.50.

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this production at Spinning Tree Theatre. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Family Movie Night with Paddington + Teddy Bear Hide & Seek Activity

Thanks to MomSelect for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are my own.


There's not much better than a comforting teddy bear, and Paddington Bear is about as adorable as they come. This adventurous little bear came to life in movie theatres last year, and is set to debut this week on DVD and Blu-ray. We didn't catch the film's theatrical release, but we were excited to have the chance to participate in a Paddington Party in the comfort of our own home this spring!


Lincoln and Addie both were excited to watch a movie about the little bear, and they quickly learned that his name was "Paddin'ton."


I'll take snuggles with my kiddos anytime, and a movie party means some guaranteed hugs. We actually didn't make it through the whole movie in one sitting (Lincoln was not a fan of the taxidermist part of the plot - we had to skip through a few "scary" parts), but the antics of Paddington kept them giggling every time we turned it on!


We spread out the movie watching fun by playing Hide-and-Seek with our very own "Paddington" teddy bear. Even without a red hat, they accepted that this bear was Paddington and were really excited when Daddy hid him around the house for a grand bear hunt!


Lincoln left no toy un-turned in the search for the bear, as you can see in the photo above.


The game was a big success and they now want to play hide and seek with all their toys!


Snag your own copy of Paddington (you can download a digital version from Amazon) and have a family movie night of your own! And make sure you're following along with Paddington on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube for all the latest updates and activities!

Thanks to MomSelect for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

17/52



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Lincoln - recovering from a sick day.
Addie - modeling a new hat for the costume collection.

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.  

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Slaying the Debt Dragon by Cherie Lowe {Book Review}

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review. No other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own. 

No one ever expects to go through life saddled with a heap of debt. And not everyone who has debt has been particularly irresponsible with their finances. Sometimes, life is tough and you just get behind. Then, things get worse and worse - before you know it, you find yourself struggling with no idea how you got there or how to get out.

That's kind of our debt story. We don't have student loans, but we do have some credit card debt from the time in our life when my husband was out of work and we simply didn't have the resources we needed. The number is higher than I would like it to be, so we've been employing every opportunity to pay down that debt and get back on track.

This book, Slaying the Debt Dragon, by author Cherie Lowe, tells the story of how one family was able to tame the monster their money had become - and find financial freedom. Cherie offers practical tips on how to evaluate your situation, ways to get started on your journey to being debt-free, and how to make a budget that your family can actually use. She also includes tips on how to make things at home to avoid buying them, and how to avoid falling into the "guilty parent" trap in a society where kids are always expecting more and more.

The tone of the book was really appealing to me, because it strives to make you feel like you can overcome your financial woes. Regardless of how long the journey may be, it's a process that is better started sooner than later, and you're a lot more likely to succeed with some friendly advice at your side.

Have we paid off all our debt yet? No. We're one of those families who had never signed up for cable or a home phone, so there aren't a whole lot of expenses for us to cancel. But, it's a work in progress. And I know we'll make it, one day!

You can find Slaying the Debt Dragon on Amazon.

Disclosure: Thanks, Tyndale Blog Network, for the samples! No other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

16/52



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Lincoln - one of his first selfies.
Addie - upgrade to "big guh-wurl bed" this week. She's pretty proud.

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.  

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Welcome, Kansas City Live Viewers!


Good morning and welcome to DirectorJewels.com! If you're visiting for the first time after hearing about us on Kansas City Live this morning, we're so happy you decided to stop by.

If you missed the live spot this morning, you can view it online here!


I hope you'll take a peek around while you're here - we do a lot of fun toddler crafts and some of our favorites are the Pipe Cleaner Sea AnemonesPaper Plate Fish Aquariums, and DIY Bird Feeders. Sharing birthday party ideas is one of my favorite things, too - a few popular ones are from our Octonauts partyOwl first birthday party, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party! I'm also particularly proud of our Super Mario Bros nursery!

Today on KC Live, I was able to feature some lovely Baby Shower Gift ideas that are a little outside the box. Yes, every mom wants a wardrobe of adorable newborn attire for her bundle of joy, but when she's awake at 3am with a teething or crying baby, she'll be grateful you went another route with your gift.

Here are the ideas we talked about this morning, plus a few extras!

Crane Animal Humidifier - there's nothing worse than trying to comfort a child with a stuffy nose in the middle of the night. These adorable designs may bring a smile to a sleepy, achy little one's face.

Mommy’s Bliss - the Sweet Slumber Family is a 3 step system designed to relax little ones for a good night sleep. With a Baby Wash, Massage Cream, and relaxing Sweet Slumber Mist, both mom and baby are much more likely to get the rest they need. Also try new Mommy’s Bliss Baby Probiotic Drops to soothe and regulate the infant’s digestive system with natural probiotic bacteria cultures!

Kid's Relief Homeopathic Products. I always turn to natural and homeopathic methods before resorting to medication for my kids, so I think these options are great. They offer options for allergies, teething, and colic!

Xlear Baby Banana Brush & Kids Spry Tooth Gel is what we use in our house faithfully, since we have dealt with early childhood tooth decay. Both the tooth gel and nasal spray from Xlear feature Xylitol, a natural sweetener that is great for oral health.

Most of the products listed above use some combination of essential oils. We are just discovering Young Living essential oils in our home, and so far we love the results. Feel free to reach out if you want more information on how our family uses these oils for more peaceful sleep, focus issues, and more - or you can check out all that Young Living offers here.

I really love including something handmade with each of my baby shower gifts, as well. I try to make things myself most of the time - and I keep my Etsy shop stocked with the extra items I create!


Thanks again for stopping by my little corner of the blog world! To keep up with me and my family, you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or subscribe to my email newsletter. Have a lovely day!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

15/52



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

New Easter outfits all around. Haircuts needed. Oh well!

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.  

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

Friday, April 10, 2015

Oh, hai there.

Hello, friends. It kind of feels like I fell off the face of the blog world. My last post was just photos and it was four days ago or something. I realize that all bloggers don't have to post every day, but I strive for at least 3-5 good content posts a week...and right now, I've been averaging none.

It's one of those busy seasons of life, I guess, where some things swoop in to take over my hours for a little while. So, here's hoping that I'll get back to normal stuff around here soon, but in the meantime, here's a little of what we've been up to in the past few weeks.


I made Addie's Easter dress this year and was so pleased with how it turned out! Ultimately, I want to list dresses in the shop.


The kids are obsessed with building things right now. And Jake and the Neverland Pirates.


We bought Addie a big girl bed. I didn't even realize it was missing a slat until we got it home and Andrew said "um, did you see this?" Whoops. Hopefully it's an easy fix because the bed was only $15 and I was pleased! Currently, it's sitting in the basement because we haven't had time to take the crib down yet.


For some reason, I decided that the week before drama productions of my own would be a great time to squeeze in an audition so I can try to knock an item off my Thirty by 30 list and perform in a show again. I rounded up my second best friend whom I met in a theatre bathroom and convinced her that the best way to spend our evening was belting our hearts out and then laughing until we cried in my minivan afterwards. It was amay-zing.


We're still waiting to hear if we got parts in the show. It's pretty doubtful, since we didn't go to callbacks, but we had the grandest time ever, regardless.


Did you catch the part about how it's almost production week? Yeah. A week from now, I have five plays performing. Thirty-seven girls to put onstage for their own moments to shine. I really have the best job EVER. But production week is flat out exhausting, so I may be around just a little less than average until the craziness winds down.

Don't give up on me, though! Lots of good stuff on my blog post to-do list. Have the happiest of weekends, okay?

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