Easy DIY Winter Kids Craft, Felt Mitten Bookmarks

Snow Day Activity

I’m re-posting this Easy DIY Winter Kids Craft because it’s quick and creative. Though my K-2 After School Enrichment students enjoyed making their own Felt Mitten Bookmarks, pre-schoolers can also assemble them (Supplies for my Two’s are portioned out in our “Virtual Learning Bin.”) Don’t have suggested supplies? Use what you have. Set up a workstation, fill bowls with decorations, and invite kids to assemble, glue and decorate. Fun and done!

Gather supplies.
Measure ribbon and cut out mitten shapes.
Sandwich ribbon between back and front mittens. Decorate. Let dry.
Felt Mitten Bookmarks
Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, I’d add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Draw mittens on the felt. Cut 4 mittens out of the felt, making sure they are the same shape so that when they’re glued together, they match up.
  4. Match up the felt mittens, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the mitten. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  5. Decorate mittens, either one side of each mitten or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.

Hot Mulled Apple Cider

Photo courtesy of Foodnetwork.com.

How was your Thanksgiving, Hon?

Ours was wonderful, not only because the unseasonably warm weather allowed our family to spend the day outside, but because it started with Hot Mulled Apple Cider. Shout out to my daughter Morgan who whipped up this delicious and festive Fall drink. Want to make your own? Check out this easy recipe from Ina Garden for Foodnetwork.com.

Ingredients:

  • 16 cups pure apple juice or fresh apple cider
  • Four 2-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 2 oranges, peels and juice
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 6 star anise (Morgan used whiskey instead.)

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Pour into mugs and serve.

Pumpkin Patch Memories

Hubby’s headless horseman.

Posting about pumpkin carving with pre-schoolers led me down a crunchy leaves lane of nostalgia. Decorating our house and preparing costumes weren’t our only Autumn traditions. Cherished were our drives to Ort Farms in Long Valley, NJ where we’d take a hay ride to the pumpkin patch, pick as many pumpkins as we could carry, and load up on apple cider, doughnuts, and honey sticks. After saying hi to the farm animals, we’d head home. Every year, Hubby got increasingly skilled at carving pumpkins. (Check out his haunted house below.)  

Hon, what Fall traditions does your family share?

Easy Kids Activity: Pumpkin Carving

Lucy and I at Wyoming Presbyterian Church’s Pumpkin Patch.

It may seem obvious to say pumpkin carving is an easy and fun kids activity, but if you teach preschool (ahem, my wonderful new job), you might think pumpkins, knives, and carving don’t mix with ten super wiggly, touch-everything, curious two year-olds! What does work? Carving open a pumpkin and letting them feel and scoop out what’s inside.

Eight children reached right in, touching and exploring. (“Mushy, gushy!”) The textures were new to them–which showed on their faces–but they dug out the wet, stringy pulp and seeds anyway. Fun!

Two kids wanted nothing to do with this strange mess and backed away from the pumpkin. Funny!

Later in the week, my co-teacher managed to make use of time when the kids were sitting still. She carved shapes into a face. What a great way to learn!

At home, we carved pumpkins, also. It was a first for my daughter’s boyfriend from California. Hands on all around!

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Mini Torahs for Simchat Torah

Chag Sameach! (Happy Holiday)

Simchat Torah (Rejoicing with the Torah) marks the end of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings and the beginning of the new cycle. It is a joyous holiday that celebrates the Jewish love of Torah and study. Simchat Torah is celebrated by taking all the Torah scrolls out of the ark in synagogue and spending the evening dancing, singing, and rejoicing.” (https://toriavey.com/what-is-simchat-torah/)

The 2 year-olds in my preschool class made their own mini Torahs and flags. For the flags, they decorated paper with stickers and then glued the paper onto popsicle sticks. For the Torahs, they finger-painted thin strips of paper. After the paint dried, I hot-glued each end to wrapping paper rolls cut into small tubes. The ends were rolled up and their Torahs were closed with pipe cleaners. They loved waving their flags and showing off their Torahs to the cantor, rabbi and other classes. Fun!

Wrapping paper tubes were cut into 3 inch pieces.
After finger-painting thin strips of finger-paint paper, I hot-glued each end to the small tubes.
Each end of the mini Torahs was rolled toward the center and held together with a pipe cleaner.

Splendor in September at Tyvan Hill

Image source: WWAMC

Splendor in September, the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center’s (WWAMC) designer showhouse at Tyvan Hill in New Vernon, NJ, is open through Sunday, October 4th. Proceeds will aid in the expansion of Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute. Hon, it’s well worth the visit!

A 3,000-word article I’d written detailing SIS (formerly known as Mansion in May) was to to be published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine in April and then again in September, but didn’t run. Thankfully, the designer showhouse was a go! Shout out to publicity liaison Kathy Hobbs for being communicative and welcoming.

Although my editor Kara Sibilia couldn’t come, two friends “in the business” joined me for a tour on Sunday.  Interior designer Ina Wallman (Ina H. Wallman Interiors) and real estate professional Jeri Dana (Sotheby’s International Realty) oohed and ahhed along with me as we toured stylish, elegant, creative, inspired and original rooms and grounds. My only regrets? I wish I took more pictures!

DIY Cabinet Makeover

Before.

After.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re at it again!

Hubby and I are shuffling rooms, something we’ve been doing ever since we moved in. When I had a home-based crafts business, a bedroom became my workspace. Fast forward to triplet toddlers, and the dining room transformed into a playroom. (I definitely wasn’t entertaining!) When those same toddlers woke up every day at the crack of dawn, our “sitting room,” a small room between our bedroom and theirs, was fitted with a couch, VCR, mini fridge, and individual containers of cereal. Guess who learned how to pop in Sesame Street and get themselves drinks and snacks? (I call it promoting independence!)

Shared bedrooms gave way to individual bedrooms and back to shared when our fourth child was born. A finished attic, which had been a guest room, became our son’s room when WWIII broke out every morning. The reason?  Triplet tweens fighting over bathroom access before school! (Hubby may or may not have turned the hot water off when certain people hogged the shower!) Tween girls sharing a room argued over bedtime routines and privacy, so we somehow squeezed a twin bed and night table into the “sitting room.”

The basement has been a playroom, party room, craft room, tween and teen hangout area, American Doll sanctuary and, during quarantine, Hubby’s temporary office. Time to switch again! My office is becoming Hubby’s and the “sitting room” is becoming mine. That leads me to my newest project…re-painting an office cabinet. Just like the desk refinished recently, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a quick drying paint that covers furniture without priming or sanding, and Clear Chalk Paint Wax, which seals the paint. They’re the same products used to turn three different colored wood dressers and a night table in a matching set.

Refinishing furniture isn’t just relaxing, fun, and satisfying for adults; why not pick a project that kids can work on? For an Easy DIY Kids Craft, let kids choose a piece of furniture (chair, night table, step stool, side table…there are so many possibilities) and paint color. This paint has minimal fumes, goes on smoothly, and washes out with water. It’s a win-win.

Happy DIY’ing, Hon!

Taping edges.

Painting on the porch.

 

Top Ten Patriotic Desserts

1. Red, White & Blue Chocolate Covered Strawberries, yummyhealthyeasy.com

Compulsive Baking

That’s what one of my daughters (shout out to Hannah) and I are doing during quarantine. Need a break from work? Bake! Stressed out? Bake! Family of 5 wants dessert? Bake! (Hon, guess who’s going to need to go on a post-quarantine diet? Me!)

In preparation for the unofficial start to summer, here are the Top Ten Patriotic Desserts. Click on dessert names under the photos for links to each recipe.

Ever wonder how Memorial Day originated?

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY care of History.com

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, but in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees and declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. The change went into effect in 1971.

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday.

2. Berry Ricotta Cake-Gluten Free, thoroughlynourishedlife.com

3. Flag Cake, tasteofhome.com

4. Berry Financier, familycircle.com

5. No-Bake Cheesecake Parfaits, ymmyhealthyeasy.com

6. Vanilla-Raspberry Sundaes with Spoon-Shaped Cookies, marthastewart.com

7. Patriotic Bark, delish.com

8. Patriotic Pops, tasteofhome.com

9. Berry Spritzer, marthastewart.com

10. Fireworks Cookies and Cream Cookies, insidebrucrewlife.com

Happy Holiday, hon!

Sources: insidebrucrewlife.com, tasteofhome.com, delish.commarthastewart.com, yummyhealthyeasy.com, familycircle.com, thououghlynourishedlife.com, history.com

 

Easy DIY Kids Activities: Paper Plate Crafts

Source: I Heart Craft Things

When I was an assistant pre-school teacher for the Transitional Two’s at HGEEC, the kids made lots of paper plate creations. I Heart Craft Things’ “Paper Plate Fluttering Butterfly Craft,” pictured above, would have gone great with the two, three and four year-old’s butterfly units.  Butterfly habitats were ordered, and the children watched caterpillars eat, form chrysalises, and transform into butterflies. Then they set them free.

Best kid quote: Upon seeing a butterfly open and close its wings, a two-year old girl said, “The butterfly is clapping!” How cute is that?!

Want 8 more imaginative paper plate crafts for kids?

Quill.com’s  Tiffany Jersey said,

If you’ve only used paper plates to simplify the clean-up process after a barbecue, prepare to discover a whole new world. Because they’re plentiful and inexpensive, paper plates make for a fantastic children’s craft supply. When it comes to paper plate crafts, the themes available are nearly endless, from animals and masks to flowers and holiday décor. We’ve rounded up eight creative paper plate craft ideas for kids (although you might find that the whole family wants to get in on the fun).

Note: In addition to scissors and paint or markers, many of the crafts require a few additional supplies. Always supervise little ones as needed.

Click here to find out how to create a paper plate Jellyfish, Fox, Puppy, Hedgehog, Pumpkin, Christmas Trees, Wings and Shaker. 

Happy creating, hon!

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Silk Flower Arrangement

Not Just For Kids!

Looking for an easy, DIY Mother’s Day gift? I made this silk flower arrangement for my mom when I wanted to give her something pretty that required no care. I featured a photo of it on my blog before, but How-To instructions were posted in my guest post on middle grade author Darlene Beck-Jacobson’s blog Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life. If you’re like me, you have Styrofoam-from-packages lying around the house (because why throw away something that might come in handy in a craft project?) If not, supplies can be found at local art shops such as A Paper Hat Art + Design Supply (curb side pick up) and crafts stores such as Michael’s and A.C.Moore. 

Happy creating, hon!

Supplies:
  • silk flowers
  • vessel
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • Styrofoam blocks or pieces
  • moss
  • marker, serrated knife, wire cutter, scissor
Steps:
  1. Figure out how many pieces of Styrofoam will fit in and fill up vessel. With marker, mark where to cut Styrofoam and, using serrated knife, cut foam into correct number of pieces.
  2. Prepare flowers part 1. Determine how long stems need to be to sit inside foam and also stand above rim of vessel. Tip—hold flowers in a bunch, approximating the way they are to be arranged. This helps determine which stems are to be cut shorter and which longer. Trim stems with wire cutter.
  3. Prepare flowers, part 2. With scissors, cut off excess leaves, especially those that would sit inside foam. Too many leaves get in the way. Too few leaves may look bare. Tip–Save cut leaves to possibly glue to moss.
  4. Hot glue bottom of cut Styrofoam and secure inside vessel.
  5. Hot glue flowers stems, then stick stems into Styrofoam, carefully arranging flowers. Add extra glue to spot where foam and stems meet.
  6. Spread moss around top of Styrofoam. Lift up sections, then glue them down.
  7. Fill in bare spots of Styrofoam with more moss and cut leaves.