Toddler Time, Easy Holiday Craft

Got toddlers?

The two-year olds in my pre-school class loved this easy activity. At the end of class, they carried their pumpkins with proud expressions. I’m sure their artwork will be on display for Thanksgiving. So cute!

Glue pumpkin onto tagboard.

Punch holes in tagboard and attach pipe cleaner (or ribbon or yarn).

Supplies:

–tagboard, construction paper

–scissors, glue

–pipe cleaners, ribbon or yarn

–dot markers, magic markers

Instructions:

  1. Cut pumpkin shape out of orange construction paper. (Think green tree for Christmas, blue dreidel for Chanukah, red heart for Valentine’s day, etc.) Glue holiday shape onto white tagboard. I cut the tagboard to approximately 8”x11”. I drew the pumpkins free-style.
  2. Punch holes in top of tagboard and attach pipe cleaners (or ribbon or yarn).
  3. Decorate with dot markers and magic markers.

Tip: Place newspaper under craft for quick clean-up. Use a paper towel to sop up dot marker paint.

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Fairy Furniture, Part 2

 More fairy furniture!

Do these picture inspire you? Need a fun kids activity? Click here for instructions on DIY fairy furniture. Click here to learn more about the Fairy Trail in the South Mountain Reservation.

Can you guess which set-up is my favorite?

Outdoor swing.

Another swing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Nook.

Sister fairies must meet in the middle.

Chairs and a mirror furnish this “open-air” fairy house.

The Reading Nook is my favorite fairy furniture!

Fairy Furniture, Part 1

What’s more magical than fairy houses? Fairy furniture!

Indoor fairy furniture was formed using wood, rope, mushrooms, cork, burlap and pebbles. Some of the pieces must have come from old-fashioned doll houses. All of it is oh-so-cute! Click here to learn more about the Fairy Trail in the South Mountain Reservation.

Mushrooms, moss and corks make up this tiny dining set.

There’s room for lots of fairies at this table.

Fairies would have sweet dreams on a burlap bed with cork pillows.

Twigs and rope make a cute canopy bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out this comfy couch and traditional floor lamp.

A tiny toilette!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My nieces on the Fariy Trail.

Want to learn how to make your own fairy furniture? Click here for a link for some great ideas. Happy creating, hon!

Fairy Trail

Fairies in the Forest

I’d heard mention of a Fairy Trail in the South Mountain Reservation, but didn’t know much about it until recently. When my sister and her three daughters visited, we found a whole village! I went a little crazy taking pictures of the tiny houses, so I’ll share them over several posts.

Happy fairy house hunting, Hon!

My sister, nieces, daughter and dog ready to search for magic!

 

 

Add a roof to the door and the house takes shape.

Set a door against a gap in a tree and–voila–a fairy house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moss, bark and branches create an organic structure.

Check out the tiny furniture inside this fairy home.

Homes are under trees and on top of logs.

Want to make your own fairy house? Click here to find out how on wiki How

Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

 

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. (thanks, Jessica Jones, for the suggestion.)

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine

DIY Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Wrapped and ready to give out.

Go from this…

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to this…

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in four easy steps!

Four-Step Favors

Need a quick and easy idea for favors, goodie bags or stocking stuffers? These sweet-n-salty snacks are so yummy, my family couldn’t wait to eat the duds and broken pieces.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Ingredients:

pretzel logs

chocolate discs (click here to see Wilton’s Candy Melts)

sprinkles, cookies to crush and/or sparkly sugar

wax or parchment paper

Prep:

Pour sprinkles into pans with sides. I used several 9″ x 11″ dishes for different sprinkles. Line baking dishes with wax or parchment paper so finished pretzels can dry.

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave according to package directions. I used several flavors and melted one flavor at a time. (Tip. I microwaved the discs a little less time than recommended and stirred to finish melting the discs. Over doing it in the microwave causes the chocolate to get “sandy” and then it’s not usable.)
  2. Spoon melted chocolate over half a pretzel log.
  3. Immediately either roll the chocolate part in the sprinkles or spoon the sprinkles on top of the chocolate. Rolling is more efficient, but the melted chocolate drips into the sprinkles and makes the sprinkles globby. I ended up spooning decorations on top of chocolate.
  4. Line pretzels up on baking dish to dry. Drizzle melted chocolate over the bare half of the pretzel.

After all the pretzels are decorated, refrigerate them until the chocolate has hardened. Since I made these at night, I refrigerated them overnight (although they’d probably be fine in an hour) and wrapped them the next morning.

Melt chocolate in microwave.

1. Melt chocolate discs in microwave.

Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel, then spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

2. Spoon chocolate over half of each pretzel.  3. Spoon sprinkles over melted chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

4. Line pretzel logs on a baking sheet. Crushed cookies and sparkly sugar were used as well as sprinkles.

Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

4 continued. Drizzle melted chocolate over bare half of pretzels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were such a hit, I’ll definitely be making them again!

Happy Holidays, hon!

Glass Class

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Glass rods in a Venice studio.

Glass fusing isn’t just for kids!

Thanks to a SCBWI meet up a few years ago, I discovered a fun place to fuse glass. Most recently, I visited Fire Me Up Studio in Cranford, New Jersey with my daughter and friends. We picked our projects, donned our goggles and gloves, and went to work scoring, snapping and breaking glass. We needed instruction. We needed patience. We needed a snack!

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Glass rods glued to a glass base. The glue burns off when glass is fired.

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My daughter’s rainbow design slumped into a bowl.

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Before. (Do you “see” my inspiration?)

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After. (If you guessed the beach, you were right.)

Fire Me Up Studio: Glass fusing as well as pottery painting, hand building and canvas painting, Cranford, NJ.

Glassworks Studio: A DIY glass fusing studio, Morristown, NJ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Graduation Party, Mason Jar Centerpieces

Mason jar centerpieces.

Mason jar centerpieces.

I admit it. I love mason jars!

I’ve decorated mason jars in the past and will use them again in the future. I collected centerpiece ideas on Pinterest, then Grad #1 and I put ours together.

Graduation Party Mason Jar Centerpieces How-To

  1. Figure out how many mason to use, and use your own or purchase jars at a craft store.
  2. Measure diameter of jars to figure out how much burlap, or other trim, will be needed. I decided to use a wide burlap ribbon on a tall mason jar to balance the size of the pennants.
  3. Design pennants and print out on card stock. My in-house graphic design guy, aka Hubby, used Adobe Illustrator. There are also sites that offer free, downloadable graduation designs. We found a variety of graduation designs on the site Lil Sprout (Greetings).Cut out pennants.
  4. Hot-glue dowels to back of pennants. Trim pennants to desired height with garden clippers.
  5. Decide on additional decorations. Red Gerber Daisies were a must for our centerpieces, and we added foam graduation sticker-decorated dowels. (Tip: I ran out of dowels but created new ones by hot-gluing craft sticks together. Call me resourceful!)
  6. Weight the mason jars and anchor the pennants with glass marbles. (Tip: I added a small amount of water to each jar so the Gerber Daisies wouldn’t wilt.)
  7. Set tables and enjoy!
Pennants printed on card stock and dowels.

Pennants printed on card stock and dowels.

Decide on which width ribbon works on what size jar.

Choose ribbon based on size of jars.

Measure and cut burlap ribbon.

Measure and cut burlap ribbon.

 

Wrap burlap ribbon around jar and hot glue ends together.

Wrap burlap ribbon around jar and hot glue ends together.

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

Flower Power

Middle grade author Darlene Beck-Jacobson generously offered to share tips on visiting classrooms via Skype. Since we were talking about school, it wasn’t a stretch for me to Show and Tell. When I held up my latest creation, she invited me to post How-To instructions on her blog. Click here to check out my guest post on her blog Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life, where you will find photos and instructions on how to create your own DIY silk flower arrangement.

Darlene is the author of Wheels of Change, a middle grade historical novel. Click here to learn more about her book.

Thanks Darlene, have fun crafting, and happy Mother’s Day!

Pretty peonies!

Pretty peonies.

DIY Back-to-School Stress Ball

DIY Stress Balls

DIY Stress Balls

Back-to-School

Are you anxious about a new school year? Know any kids that are dreading homework? Not in school, but could use something besides yoga breaths to release stress? My daughter made her Stress Ball at camp and, since I liked it so much, she taught me how to make my own.  It’s sooo fun to squish!

When my daughter was helping me fill the balloon, I said, “Wow, I didn’t think it could fit that much flour.” My teen daughter replied (visualize an eye roll and sarcastic voice), “Mom, it’s a balloon.”

Point taken.

Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional

Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional

1. Fill balloon with flour.

1. Fill balloon with flour.

2. Knot balloon closed. Draw on face. Tie pom pom to balloon under the knot.

2. Knot balloon closed. Draw face. Tie pom-pom to balloon under the knot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Stress Ball Supplies:

–balloon

–flour

–spoon

–permanent markers

–pom-pom, optional

Stress Ball Directions:

  1. Two people are needed.  One person holds the balloon open and one spoons in the flour. Flour will get everywhere, so fill over a bowl or plate. We used a lot of flour, filling until the balloon reached a squishiness we liked.
  2. Knot the balloon closed.  Draw a face.  Tie a pom-pom around the balloon knot, making sure the pom-pom knot is secured under the balloon knot.

Pom-Pom Supplies:

–yarn or string, same or different colors

–cardboard (we used an old cereal box)

–scissors

Pom-Pom Directions:

  1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half.  Trace a circle around a glass.  Draw another circle inside, about 1 to 11/2 inches from first circle. Cut out circles.
  2. Starting with about 2 arm spans of yarn, wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles. If you run out of yarn and/or want to change colors, attach a new piece of yarn to old one and continue wrapping.
  3. When yarn has been wrapped around cardboard circles several times, slip a scissors between the circles.  Cut the outer perimeter of yarn.
  4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.
  5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.
  6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle. Cut out circles.

1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle, about 1 to 1/2 ” from 1st circle. Cut out circles.

2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.

2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.

3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.

4. Slip a separate piece of between the cardboard circles and draw to center.

4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5. Cinch separate piece of yarn tight. Knot that yarn, securing the cut yarn in the middle. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.

5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.

6. Keep end of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon.

6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stress Balls hanging out.

Stress Balls hanging out.

Stress Balls with personalities.

Stress Balls with personalities.