Friday, December 23, 2011

Hole Punch Wreath Cards

As usual, we're always scrambling around last minute. This time it was the night before the last day of daycare before the little Christmas break. The cards I ordered haven't arrive (the just arrived this morning, Dec 23rd, ergh!) and we had to whip up some festive gift card holders for the kids' teachers .  I got some minimal supplies and this is what we came up with.
  •  Age: 2+
  • Time: 15 minutes for 4 cards
  • Mess/Cleanup: easy breezy @ < 5 minutes
  • What You Need:
  • Why I Like this Craft: I love using my new scalloped hole punch/paper shapers.  I think it may be one of my favorite tools in my crafting closet.  Kids can easily punch the cutouts and glue them on.  The finished product looks like a wreath and with minimal meltdowns (from me or the kids).
Step 1:
Using the punch, punch out the pieces in the green paper.  Once the edges of the paper were used my son cut straight lines around the voids so he can move the tools towards the inside of the paper.

Step 2:
Using the red paper, trace a circle (using a cup as a guideline).

Step 3:
Using either a glue sticks or regular craft glue, encircle your traced line with glue.  I don't have a picture of this step, because my 2-year old started eating the glue sticks and gluing various items to my table. I brought out the craft glue, had my 5 year old draw the glue circle, then locked the glue up in the cabinet to avoid another meltdown.

Step 4:
Have you little ones place the green circles on the glue line. 

Step 5:
Decorate your wreath with pom-poms and stickers.

Again, this isn't rocket science, but it is a nice little activity.  Enjoy! 
-Rose @-}--

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Pilgrim Mom and Baby Craft

Here's a twist on the toilet paper tube aliens we made back in December 2010.  Pilgrims!  With babies! 

Happy pilgrim playdate with two mommies and their babies
Alien variation instructions are here:

Why I like this craft:
I went for the traditional Pilgrim (inspired by South Park and the WeeMee iPhone app).  My daughter copied mine and added a pink princess twist. 

What you need:
  • toilet paper tubes
  • adhesive card stock
  • googly eyes
  • scissors
  • jewels for the princess look
  • glue stick
  • tape
  • crayons or markers 

Widdy, biddy baby pilgwims
For the pilgrim babies: 
Cut a toilet paper tube in half to make a short body.  Cover in cardstock and tape it shut at the back.
Cut a head out of card stock and tape it on the back side.
The short cotton swab arms on the baby crack me up.  Make the slit for the arm extra big and poke one cotton swab all the way through the front of the toilet paper tube.

For the pilgrim mommies:
Cover a toilet paper tube in card stock and tape it shut in the back.
Cut a head out of card stock and tape it on the back side.
Cut out clothes and shoes and sleeves and attach them to the body. 
Poke the hole in the toilet paper tube last and insert one end of the cotton swab.  Attach card stock sleeves with tape. 

Now go eat some some turkey and pumpkin pie!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Indian Corn Thanksgiving Slice-N-Bake Cookies

I recently found a new hobby of making my own slice-n-bake cookies.  Land O' Lakes' recipe for Sparkling Candy Corn Cookies sparked this inspiration.  You can make adorable cookies in vast amounts without having to spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen.  Plus, you hardly need any ingredients.  Ever since making Candy Corn and Frankenstein (see pictures at the end of this post) cookies for Halloween, I've started to conjure up ideas for Christmas cookies, but I still have a few weeks until I start that baking.  However, this week is Thanksgiving and I wanted to try out an idea I had.  Tonight my son and I made some Indian Corn cookies to share with his Kindergarten class.

I realize I really need to learn how to use my camera. But, you get the idea of how adorable these cookies are!

Age: 5+

Time: 10 minutes to make the dough, 35 minutes to assemble the 'dough canes', at least 2 hours to refrigerate the dough, and 8 minutes to bake.

Cleanup: I think slice-n-bake cookies leave a whole lot less mess than your typical cutout cookies.  10 minutes to clean up the dishes, and a least 5 more minutes to get the food coloring off of your hands.

What You Need:
  • Cookie dough (I really like this recipe from Land O' Lakes)
  • Green, yellow, and red food coloring
  • Plastic wrap
  • Knife
  • Oven
  • Sugar
Why I Like This Craft:
I am by no means a baker, as I always need recipes to bake sweet treats. However, I do love to get creative when making cookies.  My kids both love helping in the kitchen, but cutout cookies are a bit fragile in the hands of a 2 and 5 year old.  These slice-n-bake cookies let the kids play with the dough as if it was Play-Doh.  What kid doesn't like rolling snakes? 

Step 1: Dye the Dough
My son now requests to pose in the pictures.
Split the dough in thirds.  Dye 1/3 green and 1/3 yellow.  Divide the final 1/3 in half.  Dye 1 half orange, leave the remaining white.  I was a mean mom and didn't let my son dye the dough.  I like to use gel food coloring, and it's pretty potent.  I had visions of him sitting at the Thankgiving table with green dye still on his forehead.

Step 2: Make a Bunch of Snakes
My son did the majority of this step.  I did help him out, but he was more than eager and more than capable of making a bunch of dough snakes.  Roll the snakes about 10 inches in length with about 1/4 diameter.  Stack them randomly into 2 piles.
It's ok if the snakes break.  Just pinch them back together.
I know, these aren't pretty.
Step 3: Smooth and Roll
Roll each of the logs (I think in the crafting world, these are referred to a 'canes') until the snakes become smooth and the log is about 18".
See, he loves the model his masterpieces.
Step 4: Cut & Stack the Corn Cobs
Cut each of the logs in half and stack the halves on top of one another.  You should still have 2 logs when complete.
2 not so pretty logs.  These are the corn cobs.
Step 5: Add the Corn Husk
Split the green dough into quarters.  Use 2 quarters per log.  Roll each out into a fat snake and attach it to the yellow corn cob.  Gently pinch the green dough so it completely covers the bottom of the yellow dough.  I also slighly pinched the yellow dough to form a ridge along the length of the log.
Pinch the green dough

Side view.  It doesn't look pretty now, but it looks better when cut.
Step 6: Wrap the Logs of Dough
Wrap the logs of dough in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  You won't be able to easily slice the dough if it's not firmed up.  This dough is pretty soft.

Step 7: Slice-N-Bake!
With your oven set to 375 degree, pull the logs out of the fridge and slice them into 1/4 inch pieces.  Beware, the end pieces tend to look a little ugly.  Toss each cookie into sugar and place on a cookie sheet.  I like to use parchment paper to make sure the bottoms get perfectly golden.  This single recipe makes about 8 dozen mini-cookies.  I baked mine for 9 minutes.
1/4 inch pieces
Dusted in sugar and ready to bake.
I might adjust my technique the next time I make these, but I think this was a good start.  I think I need better shaping for the husks.  Lesson learned for next time.  Now, I can't wait to try out my ideas for Christmas designs!  Here's what I did for Halloween:
Frankenstein and Candy Corn Slice-N-Bake cookies!
Have fun and good eats!
-Rose @-}---

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monster Dancing Clothes!

Remember those days when you had a tiny little baby and you had to pack up or give away perfectly pristine clothes every three months?

Those days are over at my house. 

My kid has been climbing and running and falling down in some of her clothes for two years now and they are full of holes.  This past week I've found holes in three pairs of pants, two shirts, a dress, and a pair of shoes. 

You know what that means.

Time to get all Incredible Hulk and let her rip them off her tiny muscular body and bedazzle them!

We busted out the scissors, glitter glue, and googly eyes to make some fancy ripped up clothes with monster faces.  I can't describe the fantastic dances that were inspired by the fluttering sleeves and exposed legs.  It was a whirlwind!

Age:  3+ depending on how fancy you want the end product.  I don't mind if mine end up in the trash tomorrow.  What the heck, let the almost-2 year olds play, too!

Time:  about half an hour plus time to dry the glue overnight.

Cleanup:  pretty easy, about 5 minutes to wipe up the glue and wash hands.

What you need:
  • Old clothes or shoes, the more stains and holes the better
  • Scissors
  • Glitter glue, acrylic paint or permanent markers
  • Paint brush or cotton swabs
  • Googly eyes
  • Privacy so your kid can strip off the clothes to paint after cutting them up

Why I like this craft:
1) It feels incredibly naughty and fun to rip up your own clothes (you will have to decide for yourself if your kid is capable of restraining herself from ripping up clothes you don't intend to turn into monster dancing apparel.  My kid is pretty trustworthy.  Famous last words, right?)
2) I hate throwing away anything that might possibly ever maybe sort of have a useful crafty afterlife.  I don't mind throwing away finished preschooler craft projects.
3) It was a great craft to do before bedtime so we could let the clothes dry undisturbed overnight. 

Step 1:
Cut and rip up the old clothes.  It's particularly exciting to rip the clothes starting at the holes instead of using scissors.  But scissors add extra danger and excitement.  For heaven's sake don't give your kid pointy scissors to use next to their skin!  This calls for blunt tips.
Make sure you rip at least one sleeve or leg up the side so it flutters around when they're dancing later. 

Step 2:
Take off the clothes and start decorating!  My kid decorated the bejezus out of the inside of her shoe and filled it with glitter glue and googly eyes.  Cute and sparkly, but not very comfortable to walk on.  Plus I had to hide my chagrin at seeing our entire supply of googly eyes covered in glue so I started plopping pairs of them on the old clothes.  Then I added a mouth.  And some eyelashes.  And some eyebrows.  Then my kid started adding mouths.  And eyelashes.  And noses.  And big globs of pink glitter that she said looked just like brains (they really did!)  And big globs of blue that somehow ended up in her hair...

Step 3: 
Use the paint brush or cotton swabs to thin out the thickest globs of glue if you want it to dry quickly.  Leave the brain shaped globs if you have a full 24 hours or more to let it dry. 

Step 4:
Put the clothes back on and dance, dance, dance. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Iron Man Rice Krispie Pops

My oldest just celebrated his 5th birthday.  Weeks prior to his birthday he informed me that he wanted an Iron Man party, so I put the gears in motion to figure out what we could put together.  I love the idea of Cake Pops (Bakerella continues to inspire me), but wasn't sure I wanted to tackle that again.  I was hoping using Rice Krispie treats in lieu of cake would make the pops a little easier to handle.  And, it was... but fair warning, these took me HOURS to make.  I wasn't even in one of my neurotic-perfectionist moods!  I just wanted to get these pops done so I had enough for my son's class.  I think they came out awesome.  I would totally make them again.  However, I would have more adult beverages on hand before I begin :)
Age: 5+ (My son helped me on some of the steps, but was bored about the frist 30 minutes)
Time: Too long!  Reserve a block of hours on your schedule.
Cleanup:  I didn't want to take a picture of my kitchen because it was a MESS!
What You Need:

  • Rice Krispie Treats (we made a homemade batch, and had some pre-made ones on hand)
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Red Candy Melts (Like these).  I forgot to take a picture of them.
  • Fruit Roll-Ups.  Look for the Cherry-Orange Wildfire ones - which only came in a variety pack.  So I had to buy a couple boxes.  You will get about 3 masks per fruit roll-up. 
  • Cookie frosting
  • Black food coloring gel
  • Gold Luster Dust (edible glittery powder)
  • Brand new paint brushes
  • Waxed paper or a silpat mat
  • Bowl
Why I Like This Craft: Because it made my son happy :)  I heard him tell his cousin that, "my mom can make anything."  He rocks.

Step 1: Form your rice krispie treats into the shape of an Iron Man helmet.  Insert popsicle stick.  When all are formed pop in the fridge or freezer.

Step 2: Melt your candy coating according to package instructions.  Mix until smooth. 

Step 3: Take your treats out of the fridge and dip the pop into the coating.  Pour chocolate over the treat to ensure everything is covered.  Shake off excess and place pop on waxed paper or the silpat mat. I made these the night before I did the decorating.

Step 4:  On your computer, Google some images of Iron Man.  I found one that I like and resized it so it roughly matched the size of my pops.  Cut out the gold part of the mask.  You could freehand this part, but for some reason I couldn't get the proportions of the mask correct, so I just snagged an image to use as a pattern.

Step 5: Warning -- this is the tedious and time consuming part.  Unroll your Fruit Roll-Ups.  Place your pattern on the Fruit Roll-Up and cut out (with very clean, sharp scissors) the mask.  Note:  In the picture below I used a 2-toned Fruit Roll-Up (I don't remember the name of the flavor).  The Cherry-Orange Wildfire flavor comes with a "tongue-tattoo".  So I used a wet paper towel to wipe off the tattoo so I just had a plain roll-up.  This made things very sticky!  Also, I intially attempted to use Marshmallow Fondant for the mask, but I couldn't easily cut the fondant with the scissors, so I decided to use the Fruit Roll-Ups instead.

Step 6: "Paint" the mask with the luster dust. 
My son couldn't wait to paint the Fruit Roll-Ups.  It looks red in the picture, but it's actually an orange and yellow swirl.

Step 7: Using your graphic as a guide, paint on the details of Iron Man's mask.  I found that black gel food coloring, with some water, and a thin paint brush made this task pretty painless.  I first attempted with a food writer, but that didn't work too well on the Fruit Roll-Up.

Step 8:  Using the cookie icing, color in the eyes.  Also, use it as glue to stick the mask on the pop.

Step 9:  I was 2 pops short for the teachers, so I quickly (2 minutes) whipped up these apples.  Cute, aren't they?  I just cut a green candy melt in half to use as the apple leaves.
A is for Apple Rice Krispie Pops

That's it.  I individually wrapped the Iron Man pops in little baggies. Very easy to transport!  I think it took me so long because of my trials and errors (including an extra trip to the grocery store) - and getting rid of those darn tongue tattoos!  But the final product is very exciting to a 5 year old. 
Good Luck!

P.S.  I didn't have it in me to create another 2 dozen pops for my son's home birthday party, so we made simple Iron Man cupcakes with a yellow/red swirl icing (Hello Cupcake! is a great book for decorating tips and tricks).  We even made the little confetti cupcake topper.  Super easy craft that both of my kids enjoyed.  I'll post those instructions in another thread.
Iron Man party cupcakes

-Rose @-}---

Slime Time!

For those of you that don't know me, Halloween is my favorite time of year.  For weeks I've been dreaming up new stuff to make that's within theme for this holiday.  Here's a little recipe to make some easy slime jelly.  I've had this little "trick" stored in the back of my brain since I first learned about polymers as a Girl Scout back in the 80s.  It's still fun to make, and now I always have diapers on hand. 

Age: 5+ (I think any younger and they would want to eat the slime.  This is NOT edible!)
Time: 5-10 minutes
Cleanup:  Fairly contained, nearly mess-free!
What You Need:
  • 1 diaper
  • 1 big ziplock bag
  • Scissors
  • Bowl
  • Food Coloring
  • Water
Why I Like this Craft:  This is surprising simple to make; and if you have a non-potty trained little one in your household, you have everything you need!  When you're ready to toss your slime, you can add it to your potting soil.  The polymer will help maintain moisture in your soil.  Pretty clever, huh?

Step 1:  Cut the cotton core out the diaper.  Discard the remaining pieces.

Step 2: Place the cotton in a ziplock bag.  Close tightly.

Step 3: SHAKE IT! ( a Polaroid picture...).  This will help separate the powder (the polymer) from the cotton.

Step 4: Move all of the powder to one corner of the bag. Cut one corner off of baggie.  Carefully pour the powder into a bowl.

Step 5:  Add water to the bowl and stir.  It's pretty neat to water the powder swell with the water.  When you mix it, it kind of looks like snow.

Step 6:  Add food coloring and enjoy the squishy goo.
Right now is the perfect time to work on your Mad Scientist skills.  Have fun!

-Rose @-}---

Pretty, pretty Pinwheels

A.C. Moore was having a 50% sale on all packages of cardstock.  Little did I know that this sale would start my new affection for pretty paper crafts. Looking for a reason to use my new paper, I figured we would try making some tiny pinwheels.  Mission accomplished.


Age:  Any age can play with the finished craft; but scissors skills are needed.
Time:  Only about 5 minutes.
Clean-up:  Some paper scraps.
What You Need:

  • Cardstock.  (I used two-sided cardstock)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil with eraser
  • Stick Pin
  • 1 Bead
What I Like This Craft:  You can make these pinwheels in any size.  I think they would look adorable grouped together on a streamer for some birthday party decorations.  Aside from the decorations, my kids throughly enjoyed playing with the pinwheels for 2 days.  20 minutes at least were spent in front of the fan watching them spin!

Step 1:
Cut paper into a square.  The second time I created a pinwheel I used my new Fiskars Shape Cutter to trim a scalloped edge.
Fiskars Shape Cutter

Step 2:
Find the middle of the square and mark with a dot.  Draw a diagonal line from each corner towards the center.  End the line about 3/4 inch away from the dot.

Step 3:
Cut along the diagonal lines.

Step 4:
Fold over every other corner towards the center.  Using the straight pin, gather each corner that meets in the minddle, and poke through the paper near the tip of the corner.
Step 5:
Using the bead a spacer, thread the pin through the bead and stick in the pencil eraser.

5 minutes and you're done.  Enjoy. 
-Rose @-}---

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rainbow Crayons

Our crayon box has started to overflow - which was just in time for this little craft.  I've been waiting for months to try it out and I can happily report it worked like a charm!  Making your own rainbow crayons are the perfect solution to a box filled with broken crayons.  And, this craft buys mom a little time while her little one is slowly peeling away all of the paper from each broken crayon.
They almost look good enough to eat.
Age: 2+
Time: 45 minutes
Mess:  Not too bad, just a bunch of little paper scraps.
I think the mess is almost kind of pretty.
What You Need:
  • A bunch of broken crayons
  • Silicon baking cups

What I Like This Craft:
I always like to make something that has another use, other than filling of space on my refrigerator.  This is a great way to reuse what you have and make something a little special.

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 225 degrees.  Start digging through your crayon box and find all the broken pieces.  This was a great sorting activity for both of my kids.

Step 2:
Peel off all of the paper surrounding the pieces. 

Step 3:  If you have any large broken pieces, break them into smaller sizes.  This was my son's favorite part. 

Step 4:
Separate your pieces into silicon cups.  We categorized our's by groups of colors.

Step 5:
Put silicon cups on baking tray or baking stone and put into the oven for about 30 minutes.  When wax is completely melted pull them out of the oven and let cool.  I stuck our's in the freezer to firm them up quicker. 

Step 6:
Pop your new rainbow crayons out of the molds and color a masterpiece.

~Rose @-}---