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Posts Tagged ‘trains’

Some kids like trains, some kids love trains, and then there’s my son. Absolutely enthralled by trains.

Today my train-loving little boy turned 3. 3 adorable years old, and I’m so happy to say he’s mine.

Canon EOS 80D Stop Motion Video Review

I’m always doing surprises for his big sister and I thought it was about time I started to do some special ones for him.

Several months ago there was a streak of a couple of days where I left the house and came home with plastic bags full of more train tracks. Used, and from friends. Because of this, the next few times I came home with grocery bags, he came up to me and inspected them for tracks. I guess he just assumed that’s where I went when I left him home with daddy.

Mornings before school he’s frequently asking me to help him build his wooden tracks and sometimes when I do, I really get into it.

cherish-365-day-95

Other times we’re in a hurry and I’m rushing him to pack up his trains, get dressed, and get out the door.

Well this day was more like the latter. I was finishing his lunch, fighting with him to get his clothes on (as usual) and running out the door. I told him we could build trains tracks when we got home. It’s true, we were in a hurry and needed to go. But I didn’t plan to build them when we got home. No, I actually had a much better surprise in store. Watch and see…

Pretty cool right? I can’t take credit for the entire video. The wink was 100% Lil’ J’s idea who said “I thought the train was going to blink. You should make it blink!”

This little project was a two-way surprise for my son. For one, he was SO happy to come home and see the tracks he had been begging me to build all morning. And two, he LOVES watching this video of his trains coming to life. I think he may think they really are alive when we leave now. Though I have more fun surprises in store for his birthday, I think this one was a great start.

How did I do it? I think I’ve discovered the easiest way to make a stop-motion video.

I never thought I’d have the patience to make one, but I’m trying out Canon’s new EOS 80D DSLR — an upgrade from my beloved EOS 70D and it has several awesome improvements, including a time lapse setting on it so you can set your camera on a tripod, tell it how many pictures you want it to take and in what interval.

For this video I set the camera to take about 20 pictures in a row, each 7 seconds apart. Between each photo I’d move the trains and tracks a little. I got a good workout running in and out of the frame, and it sorta felt like I was running suicides, and after a while I had to up the time between photos to be around 14 seconds.

About 400 photos later, I had the story in pictures. I put each one on a movie timeline about 8 frames long and POOF! Magical trains, and a video I hope he’ll cherish forever.

train-loving-birthday-boy

I’m always using my camera to capture memories we were making together, but for this project it was fun to create something he loves, with his favorite toys.

A few other things I’m loving about this new EOS 80D camera and its new lens combo:

  • You can record video and use Wi-Fi at the same time: It may sound a little excessive but it’s been a feature I’ve been waiting for! Now I can not only take pictures with my kids on my own using my Canon Camera Connect App over Wi-Fi, but now I can get in more video shots with my kids as well. Or start and stop recordings, and adjust my manual settings without needing to get up.
  • Full HD-60p video and smooth autofocus: If you have a DSLR that does video you may have noticed how frustrating it is trying to manual focus the lens. With this camera you can touch the screen and tell it where to focus, and it’ll do the rest.
  • The new EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS USM’s: Not to get too technical but this lens now has a new Nano USM Autofocus system, which is what makes the lens deliver high speed Autofocus and also allows for quiet and smooth AF transitions, perfect for movie recording. In other words, it’s fast AND quiet so I can snap photos of my kids when they’re jumping around and not miss the shot, and you don’t hear it trying to search for the focus in video mode.

All of the features came together perfectly in making this little project for my little train-obsessed birthday boy. I’m actually not sure how I’ll top it next year, but hopefully I’ll come up with something just as magical.

From birthday parties to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

Get ready for this train room DIY Wall Train Tracks tutorial. When my mom first moved to Austin she rented a home less than a block away from a railroad crossing. Every time we visited Granny he’s run over to the window to watch the trains go by. This would happen at least twice an hour.

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!

Then, we went to Disney World. We knew our already train-obsessed toddler would love the Walt Disney World Railroad. Little did we know just how much he would love not only that magical train around Magic Kingdom, but every single ride or vehicle that resembled a train. From the parking lot trams, to the monorail, to the PeopleMover, he was in heaven.

If we had a dollar for every time he said “choo choo” throughout our trip, we would have enough money to fund our next three Walt Disney World Resort vacations.

If you didn’t know it already, he LOVES trains.

DIY Train Room Wall Tracks

But now that I’ve driven that point home, it explains why I’m converting his gender neutral whimsical jungle nursery into a train room fit for a mini train enthusiast.

The room isn’t complete just yet, and this isn’t a grand reveal, but I’m off to a good start and wanted to post a tutorial for making these train tracks on the wall.

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!

I first came across a photo on pinterest from an unknown source, but the blog that had shared the photo didn’t know how it was done, she just assumed it was “easily” done by bending aluminum piping. Well let me tell you, that’s not as easy as it seems. So I went my own route and found a way to get the same look for much less work, and less money.

It took some trial and error to figure this out but in the end, it turned out way better than I thought it would and my train-lover is thrilled with the choo choo tracks on his walls.

So here’s how you can make your own!

Train Room DIY Wall Train Tracks

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!

Supplies

Other handy supplies you have around your house:

  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • 3 sheets of paper

Step 1:

Check out this easy DIY Wall Train Tracks Tutorial, if your child wants a train-themed room this tutorial is definitely for you.

Before I left the hardware store I had an employee cut the wood into slats the length I wanted. The first time I had them cut into 18in pieces but it felt way too long, so I had them cut again into 13in pieces, which I think is perfect.

Step 2:

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!

Spray paint all of your wood black. Be careful to get the front and back as well as the sides so they’re black from all angles you look at it.

Step 3:

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!

Spray paint the rope silver. Since the rope is fabric and a bit more absorbent it may take a couple coats and a second can of spray paint. I tried to keep my can of paint closer to the rope, and tried to roll the rope up so that as the paint blew all over, it was more likely to fall on more rope.

Step 4:

Check out this easy DIY Wall Train Tracks Tutorial, if your child wants a train-themed room this tutorial is definitely for you.

As your pieces dry you can begin to mark where you want your track to go. I found the easiest way for me to do this was by cutting up strips of paper, and taping them to my wall where I wanted the tracks to lay. It gave me a good visual without having to draw and erase all over my walls. It was easy to move the pieces around, step back, and move them again and again. I also used a ruler to help keep my tracks evenly spaced. Just remember your track pieces will be wider than your trips of paper. Finished, mine are each about 6in apart.

Step 5:

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!

Cut small pieces of heavy-duty mounting tape and attach them to the back of each piece of track. Then trade a piece of track with each piece of paper on your wall. Don’t press too hard in case you need to rearrange a piece. Once you have them all lined up the way you want, go back and press firmly on each piece of track.

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!
(Optional: You can also nail them to the wall at this point).

Step 6:

Check out this easy DIY Wall Train Tracks Tutorial, if your child wants a train-themed room this tutorial is definitely for you.

Using more strips of mounting tape, start at one end and slowly attach your rope as the rails for your train track. I put my rails about 2.5in in from the edge of the track. I measured as I attached to each piece of track to make sure the rails would stay parallel all the way down.

I started on one side of the track, went all the way down, THEN cut the rope and used the remainder to go back on the other side. I only bought 6 yards (it was only $.99/yard) and was cutting it very close. I could have used another 3 inches.

Step 7:

Once you have your rails lined up where you want them, go back and use finishing nails to permanently attach them to the wood. (Or not, I haven’t done this all the way down yet because the tape is working just fine at the moment).

And you’re done! Now step back and admire your handy work!

Check out this easy DIY Wall Train Tracks Tutorial, if your child wants a train-themed room this tutorial is definitely for you.

Hope this tutorial was helpful. If so, please pin and share away! If you have questions about this DIY Train Room Wall Train Tracks tutorial leave them in the comments and I’ll answer as soon as I can.

What do you think? It feels nice getting crafty again!

How awesome! A super easy tutorial for making DIY wall train tracks. Perfect for any little train lover!

*This post contains affiliate links! Your clicks help support my blog at no cost to you!

Currently:
Rivaling my son’s obsession with trains. We were gifted some tubs of trains from friends who are moving past this stage and I’ve been sorting through them, finding which pieces go with which sets. I’ve helped him map out elaborate plans across the playroom with his wooden tracks.

I’m bookmarking train accessories on Amazon and trying my best to resist the urge to get them before Christmas.

I brought another gifted plastic set over to my mom’s for him to play with when we visit her house.

Train lover

I’m strategizing a bedroom makeover from his whimsical jungle nursery to freight trains and railways.

I’m wondering how this happened. I went from princesses and dress-up to wheels and tracks, and to be honest I love them just as much. He loves Thomas but he doesn’t train discriminate. He has never watched an entire episode of Thomas and Friends but he will watch a goof half an hour of freight train video on YouTube kids. trains-and-trains-galore

There are a couple of things my son absolutely adores: Trains and letters.

Trains. Not a big surprise right? I’ve mentioned this a few times. My mom lives near train tracks and when we’d go over to her house he’d look out the window and watch the train go by over and over and cheer for it each time.

When we went to Disney World he saw trains everywhere. To him, a roller coaster is a train, a tram is a train. Anything lined up in a row is a train. He sometimes will even line up his food and say “choo choo!” And he enjoys watching train videos on YouTube. Not the singing cartoon trains (though he loves those too), but REAL trains, just rolling on by.

He also loves letters. He points at letters everywhere and calls them out.

I’m forever surprising Lil’ J with princess dresses, art supplies, and things she loves. I thought it was time to give my little train-loving child a few surprises of his own.

A Real Train Ride

Heber-train-ride

I can’t take credit for this one. It’s all grandma. When we visited Utah we went on the Heber Creeper Train and rode for an hour and a half through the valley and he was in heaven.

Heber-train-ride-2

A talented fiddler played us songs in the boxcar, and we got snacks from the snack bar while we were in motion. I think it was his dream come true.

utah-train-ride-3

A Wooden Letter Train

After our train ride in Heber, UT I saw these magnetic letter cars in the gift shop. But at $6 a letter it would cost a ton for the whole alphabet. Later I realized I could have just picked out letters for his name.

Letter-Train

Luckily I found a set on Amazon** that was even less and we got an engine and caboose with it. He LOVES this letter train. It’s possibly his favorite toy. The only problem is it doesn’t fit through the tunnels on his tracks and that REALLY frustrates him. So I keep it in his room most of the time and let him play with his regular trains on the tracks with bridges and tunnels.

My Very Own Trucks Personalized Book

I’m not high maintenance, but it takes a lot to really impress me sometimes. This I See Me book really impressed me. It’s not all about trains, but trucks and “things that go.”

I See Me My Very Own Trucks Book

But the first letter of Big T’s name was brought to the page by nothing other than a train.

Each page has a different vehicle or machine that starts with the corresponding letter of your child’s name. That truck (or train, or boat, etc) brings the letter along to spell out his full name which “lights up the night” at the end. Oh, and the little trucks also have his name on the side. For example “Ryan’s Rocket Explorer” might be one for a little child named Ryan. I’m trying not to blast his name all over the internet but it’s hard with this post! You can get a little peek of the cover of the book below.

There was also an excavator for part of his name, which before reading this book we’d been calling a “SNORT” (if you love Dr. Seuss you know what I’m talking about).

I See Me My Very Own Trucks Book

He loves pointing to all of the letters, plus the trucks, busses, trains and animals all throughout. Plus he (and I) loves the fact that his photo is at the front of the book.

Totally cute right? It’s called My Very own Trucks And Things that Go. You can buy one here or enter their photo contest to win a book + a $250 Pottery Barn Kids gift card (ends August 31st).

Reading is a huge part of my life and I want it to be something my kids grow to love as well. Finding books your kids love is one way to start, and I have a feeling this will grow to be one of his favorites.

personalizedtruck-book

Although I have more experience with princesses and frills, I’m really enjoying finding things my son loves that are helping us make fun memories together. From building huge complex train tracks around our playroom, to snuggling together with a book he loves about trucks and trains, I’m loving every minute of it.

What is your child’s favorite thing?

*A Thank you to I See Me for sponsoring this story, and for sending me one of my new favorite children’s books! Don’t forget you can enter to win your own copy here. As always, all opinions here are my own. 

** Denotes affiliate link.

My Dear Sweet Son,

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written you a letter. Far too long if you ask me. I must admit part of that reason is because I think you won’t need or appreciate these as much as your sister might. Of course I know I could be absolutely wrong. You may love and cherish these the most for all I know, so I shouldn’t assume otherwise.

You turned two today. I can’t believe it. It feels like I was just snuggling your tiny infant body and just like that–POOF! You’re two!

biracial toddlerYour sister thought that meant you’d be able to have conversations with her now, and was only slightly disappointed when we once again explained to her that these things were a gradual process.

At times you were a feisty little one-year-old. Many times you nearly made me faint with your daredevil moves flying off the couch, or walking out the front door. I never realized childproof door knobs could be in our future.

For a little while I worried you had some bully in you, but you’ve definitely come back around to your sweet side. You love hugs, and when you’re sleepy or just waking up you like me to carry you around. You and your sister often fight for space on my lap.

One thing I love about you is how independent you are. You can go and play and do your own thing until you want to ask for help, or get tired. You do like company when you move from room to room (unless you’re getting into something you don’t want us to know about) but you can play by yourself for a while.

Some of your favorite things right now: Popcorn, music- especially Wheels on the Bus and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes; books, trucks and TRAINS.

biracial boy trainsYou first saw a train near Grannie’s house and became fascinated with the sound and watching it go by from the window. Then when we visited Disney World you saw trains everywhere and officially became obsessed. It’s the cutest obsession ever though. We probably hear the words“Choo Choo” out of your mouth about 200 times a day.

Although you like to be with whichever parent is leaving the house at the time, you definitely seem to be a mama’s boy. I’m not sure if your dad would agree, but your big smile and welcoming hug every time we reunite says it all to me.

My sweet son, you’re only two but I want you to know that we are so proud of you. You’ve learned so much these past couple of years and I can’t wait to see what you do next. I hope your sweet side never leaves, and that you continue to love books, learning, and playing. I hope you’ll continue to ask me for help when you need it, and always know that I’m here for you. I’m your biggest fan!

Love you always my little one!

Love,

Mommy

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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