Tag Archive | crafts

Pinterest home decor

I don’t get Pinterest. I really don’t. But in trying to figure it out, I did find a couple ideas I wanted to try. I’ve been watching altogether too much HGTV lately and thinking (now that our house is decluttered and depersonalized for selling) it’s rather … boring. So, I decided to put my own twist on this “shoe box lid” wall hanging (especially considering there was no “how-to” to be found):

In the interest of keeping this experiment at low cost, I used materials I already had. I had already recycled just about all our shoe box lids, so I cut up a cardboard box instead. I used spray adhesive to cover it with scrapbooking papers (making each one a bit wider than my board so it could wrap to the back) in colors and patters that coordinated with my living room and gave it a bit of a Scandinavian twist I was looking for. I was thankful to have a reason to use the pretty papers that have long been neglected.

I printed letter outlines, backwards of course, on the back of light/dark patterns, then outlined it with brown/white paper to help it pop off the contrasting pattern. Again, I used spray adhesive. For an extra touch, I used an ink pad to brush the edges (with mild success).

I found coordinating ribbon in my craft collection and hot glued it to the back with a knot tied in the middle, which is simply hung on a nail (and also covers it) in a “random” up/down pattern (which helps especially since I didn’t take precautions to center the letters or the finished boards).

The finished product was inexpensive, quick and easy, and adds color and interest to a previously empty wall with a personal touch.

Maybe I “get” it now? Hm. I might have to try another project to find out.

Super suckers

I don’t know why but I am dead set against buying the typical valentines character cards from the store. They are cheap and they are easy. Typically two requirements for me to get on board with something.

But my mom taught me the value of making something from the heart. So, when Valentine’s Day rolls around, there’s no question about it, we’re making 60-some valentines for the kids’ classmates. It’s not very often that we get elbow deep in glue and glitter, but I always look forward to those projects (as stressful as it can be sometimes). The creative side of me enjoys seeing the kids express themselves with crafts.

Of course, mass producing valentines means finding something simple enough for the kids to do but also fun/cute enough to keep them motivated.

For my son in Kindergarten, I found a cute caped sucker in the Family Fun magazine at the library, then looked it up online at Familyfun.com. I tweaked it a bit to simplify even more, but they are still “super” cute.

I cut a cape from black stock to use as a template then cut out capes from red, purple and green paper. Charlie wrote on each cape “You are super!” and his name (we’re asked not to personalize them for his classmates). I punched a small hole at the top and we slipped it on a Dum Dum Pop. I tried to get by without the masks, but my son was so excited. To simplify the pattern I found online, I cut thin strips from matching paper and hot glued them on the suckers. My son then colored eye holes on the masks for a finishing touch.

For my daughter’s 2nd grade class, we could try something a little more challenging and, of course, girlie. She picked the Familyfun.com Hershey Kiss rings.

The store was out of regular kisses, so she picked the caramel ones in gold wrappers (I was rooting for the dark chocolate kisses in purple foil). And we had just enough pipe cleaners in green for the boys and pink or red for the girls. Using scraps doesn’t always lend itself to the most coordinated holiday colors (the boys ended up with green/brown rings and red tags lol). We still had to work together to complete the twisting just right on each one. To conserve pipe cleaners, we used only one for each instead of two as called for, so it had to be done just right.

We still enjoyed this project, but the end result certainly didn’t have the same ka-pow as the suckers (or as the ones we copied). Maybe if we had followed the exact instructions, they would have been more charming …

Family Fun Friday: Knight’s shield


For my daughter’s medieval princess/knight birthday party, I made shields as takeaways (along with tablecloth tunics and foam swords) for the boys. Here’s how:

1. Print shield shape on 8×10 sheet of computer paper.
2. Trace onto an empty cereal box (use both sides to make 2).
3. Cut out.
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4. Turn it over, so the inside of the box is up. Line the edges with tin foil. I pressed a strip to the edge then cut the desired width on the inside of the strip, using the crease as my guide. Then I used a glue stick to adhere it, folding excess to the back.
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5. Use construction paper to make a cross or other design for the center.

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6. Punch holes or use a marker to make rivet marks on the design and around the edge of the shield.
7. Cut handles from sides of cereal box, where the nutrition information is found. Make a 1.5″ wide or so rectangle (I made 2 from each side), then curve the middle inward to make it more kid-friendly.
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8. Glue the handles, one end at a time and bending it gently. Hot glue gun works best for this.
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9. Glue craft jewels to center of design.
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10. En guard!
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Hand-crafted purses

A friend of mine from college makes some adorable hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind purses. Not sure what made me think of them today, but I thought I’d share: Etsy by HDWU. Some are reversible or hand-embroidered (sashiko). I especially like the one with a vintage men’s necktie wrapped around and hand-stitched to the body for the straps. So cute!

Family Fun Friday: Make-your-own play oven

080213-002.jpgI really wanted a little kitchen for my darling kids, who both love to play with their plastic food, grocery cart and mini pots and pans. But, we just don’t have the space and even the little ones are pretty expensive. So, when I saw this make-your-own oven in Parents magazine, I juust had to try it. I let my daughter help so it’s got a little personality, and she thinks it’s really special. We took a moderately sized cardboard box and I cut off two of the side flaps with a box cutter. I used those to cut out knobs and glued water bottle lids to it. I cut one piece of black construction paper to the “door” and lined the inside with tin foil. I printed oven.jpgoff the computer four “hot” burners and used packing tape to adhere and protect it. Avery colored and glued random bits of cardboard on the side and, for whatever reason, took apart a pen that wasn’t working and glued some of the springs on top.

Bonus: it doubles as a robot!

Family Fun Friday: Snow crystal catcher

Did you know snow flakes were actually ice and very transparent, not “white” as it appears? Not to mention how each tiny crystal is completely unique. What an amazing God to create beauty in such a tiny bit of nature.

We went to Discovery Days through our county’s conservation district–check it out if you have one in your area for free kids’ educational programs–and learned all about snow and snowflakes. One of the books they showed to the kids I actually thought was really cool. The Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht (the author is from North Dakota so he gets bonus points from me since that’s my birthplace) showcases the beauty and uniqueness of individual snow crystals with close up photography.

snow-crystal-catcher.jpgWe also made snow crystal catchers by laminating a sheet of colored paper, which the kids decorated, then glued a piece of black felt onto it to catch the snowflakes. The conservation district also provided magnifying glasses which we tied on with yarn, but you could use any magnifying glass even if it’s not attached. When you are finished, the key is to put the catcher in the freezer before you go out so that it doesn’t melt the snow as it lands on it.

Of course, the most memorable moment for my daughter was the last thing we did: eat powdered “snow” doughnuts!

Family Fun Friday: Placemats

0710-001.jpg0710-002.jpgHere is an easy, cheap project you can do with your preschoolers that you can tailor to any season or event. Beforehand, I cut out pictures from magazines (lots of them so she can choose which to use).  I wrote her name on a piece of 11×14 posterboard. Then I let her use a glue stick to adhere them to the posterboard. You can use stickers but I think Avery’s favorite part was the glue, once we taught her that it wasn’t to paint with (although that works, too, if she puts glue on the posterboard then sticks the magazine cut-outs on top). When done, take a roll of contact paper to carefully cover it. Be sure to cut it, leaving an inch or so around the edge to secure it.

I let Avery do everything but the contact paper (if the glue is not perfect it’s okay because the contact paper will help hold everything together). I am amazed by parents who take over in projects like this so that they will be “perfect.” But, this is a great project you can do just for fun that they can have complete creative control. Who cares if the pictures are on top of each other or upside down? My daughter was so proud of her placemat when she was finished.

This Family Fun Friday was inspired by my friend Heather who did this at a Harvest party last year.