Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Upcycled Paper Bows!

You may remember how much we hate to buy gift wrap. It seems so wasteful to buy paper to wrap a present just to have it ripped off and thrown away. When it is at all possible we like to recycle old paper (like newspapers or kids art work) for wrapping paper. Despite our best efforts our gifts don't always look so cute. We were so pleased when we stumbled upon a tutorial for making gift bows made of recycled magazines!

What you need:
A magazine of course (one sheet makes one bow)
glue, tape (hot glue would work great!) or a stapler
Cut 13 1/2 inch strips and 1 - 3 x 3/4 inch strip. Take 3 of the strips and cut off 1 inch. Cut 2 inches off 3 strips. Cut 3 inches off 3 stripes. They should look like this!

Now start making figure eights out of the strips. Glue, tape or staple them together.

Continue with all the strips. Make a circle out of the 3 inch strip.

Take three of the largest figure eights and tape them together.

Continue layering largest to the smallest.

Continue layering until you have used all the figure eights.

Add the circle to the center of the bow. Voila! Your bow is done!

Add some tape to the back to attach to your present. Your gift will be green and beautiful!

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Knotted Headband

Can you believe we made this cute headband out of the hubs' old tee shirt? We found this tutorial on Love Stitched. It makes an adorable headband, but you could also use this technique to make other accessories (like belts). We used old shirts, but any jersey knit fabric would work!

What you need:
knit fabric
scissors or a rotary cutter
craft glue or hot glue

First we'll show you how to make the knot. It sounds complicated, but it is really easy. Just follow the pictures! We'll use two colors to make it easier to explain, but you can use any color combo you like of course!
You will want to use two strips of fabric cut 1-2 inches wide. We were using the bottom of a shirt to cut our strips, so our strips were 44 inches long, You won't need this much, but it is easier when you have extra fabric. When you tighten the knot you will need a little wiggle room. You can trim off any extra later.

We placed the first rope like this.

The second like this.

We put the top tail of the first piece over the second.

Then we put the bottom blue tail under the white loop.

Then we wove the top blue tail over the white, under the blue, and over the white.

Then we carefully pulled each end, keeping it flat and even.

Once you master the knot, you can use double strands to make a bigger knot. we did that for our headband.

Once you have your knot tied, place it on your head to decide where you want the knot to lay. We wanted ours to be off center. You also want to note where it falls just behind your ears. That is where you will trim each side.

To finish the ends we placed another 1 inch wide strip under the ends of the headband. We also placed a 1 x 10 inch strip to tie the headband.We glued everything together.

And then wrapped the fabric over to hide all the ends. Press gently.

Once dry, you are ready to go!

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mosaic Candles


As we mentioned in our previous post, we have been feeling a bit under the weather around here lately.  As as tends to be the case with our kids, even when they are sick they still have energy to spare. So we looked around for projects that could keep them entertained while encouraging them to sit still and take it easy. When we saw this simple tutorial for Mosaic Candles from Whatever, we knew it would be something we all would enjoy.

What You Need:
  • Tissue Paper, torn or cut into small pieces
  • Glue
  • Water
  • Paint Brush
  • Glass Votive Candle

In a small bowl, dilute the glue with water (this was 4-year-old Charlie's favorite part!).

Turn your candle upside down and begin to paint the sides with the glue mixture. Then stick on your tissue paper.

When it is all covered, or covered to your little artist's satisfaction, paint another coat or two of the glue mixture all over it. This will help make sure all the paper is stuck down as well as give it a nice shine.

Then just let it dry! These are super-cute addition to your outdoor space, but our boys are looking forward to a candle-lit dinner tonight!

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Plague Delay

Well, dear readers, you know we normally try to post our projects bright & early on Mondays and Thursdays. However this week The Mamas and their families have been struck by a nasty tummy bug that has left us feeling less-than-crafty. We hope to have something up later today or tomorrow, so please check back!

Photo courtesy of 1951 Vogue Paris (found here)
Hope you all are feeling well! See you soon!
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Homemade Reed Diffuser

As we've mentioned in past posts, living with pets, kids, and even husbands can be smelly business. So we're always on the lookout for homemade natural air fresheners. When we came across this post from Apartment Therapy, we were super-excited to give it a try. Commercial reed diffusers can be expensive, not to mention can contain mystery ingredients. All the homemade version takes is a few things you probably already have on hand! (Apartment Therapy gives several ways to make these, but we're just going to share the version we tried)

What You Need:
  • Glass or ceramic container (make sure it's glazed inside so it doesn't leak, and the narrower the neck on your bottle the better as that will slow evaporation)
  • Essential oil
  • Vodka
  • Water
  • Bamboo skewers (pointy ends trimmed off)
First, mix about 12 drops of the essential oil with 1/4 cup of water. Then add some vodka (we just added a healthy splash). Pour this mixture into your container and place your skewers in. Once they are saturated, flip them over. You will want to flip your skewers about once a week to keep them saturated.

How easy is that?! A cute diffuser in scents that you customize! Genius!
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Give Flamingos a Hand!

Jack's teacher LOVES flamingos! In fact, on the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week last week, the room parents decided to declare it Flamingo Day and have the kids in his class "shower her with flamingos". So in preparation, we looked around Blogland for some crafty flamingo inspiration. And you know what? There's not a whole lot of crafts dedicated to the flamingo. We did eventually find a couple ideas that we liked for different reasons (specifically this one and this one), so we combined the two and came up with this simple craft. We hope Jack's teacher liked it as much as we did!!

What You Need:
  • Hot pink card stock
  • 3 Clothespins
  • Pink acrylic paint, brushes, etc.
  • Orange pipe cleaners
  • Googly eye
  • Glue
  • Pencil/pen
  • Scissors
First, have your little one paint the clothespins pink.

While those dry, trace his hand onto the card stock. Then cut it out.

Once the clothespins are dry, clip two onto the bottom of the hand print for the flamingo's legs (yes, we know that flamingos have black legs. However Jack said that he wanted this one to have pink. The choice is yours!), and one to the top for the flamingo's neck and head.
Then cut a piece of pipe cleaner for the flamingo's beak (again, we know it's black in real life, but in this case the seven-year-old was the boss :) ) and glue it into place along with the googly eye.

And there you have it! A simple, homemade flamingo keepsake that takes only minutes to create!

Don't forget to flip your flamingo over and have the artist sign his masterpiece!

We think these would also make cute turkeys for Thanksgiving time!

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pencil Posies

This week is teacher appreciation week so we decided to make this cute bouquet of flowers from the Happy Scraps, for our kids teachers. You may notice that the stems are made with pencils - something every teacher always needs more of. We bought everything but the pencils at the dollar store! (we probably could have bought some there)
We made this for our teachers, but this project will bouquet will the day of any teacher, mom, coworker or friend!

What you need:
container or pot
floral or craft foam that fits in the pot
construction paper
hole punch
basket filler or moss
Place foam in pot.

Cover the foam with the basket filler. We would have used brown or green, but this was the best we could find at the dollar store!

Cut flowers out of construction paper. ours were about 2 1/2 inches across. We punched a hole in the center of each flower. We put 15 flowers in each pot, but how many you use will depend on the size of your pot and your preferences.

Sharpen the pencils and start placing them into the foam. We started in the center and worked our way outward.

After you have your pencils where you want them start placing the flowers on each eraser. The hole from the punch is exactly the size of the eraser. You have to carefully work the flower on.

We wanted to tie a ribbon around each pot, but it kept slipping so we tied the ribbon around the base of the pencils.

We used one of our leftover flowers to make a card for each teacher. The boys wrote a thank you message inside.

We love our teachers!!!

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Monday, May 7, 2012

On The Party Fast Track!

As we've mentioned before, it is birthday season around here, starting with Jonah's Zombie Party in March, Jack's Jedi Training Camp Party last weekend, and now Charlie's birthday today (Happy Birthday Charlie-Barley!). That's a lot of birthday! And after pulling together lots of crafty party ideas for Jonah and Jack, we were understandably pleased when Charlie picked a Race Car Party as the theme for his 4th birthday. Why? Because the dollar store had pretty much everything we needed! For the first time in years we had a party theme that we could actually just run out and get supplies for (and on the cheap, too!).

So this weekend we actually had a nice, simple, family party with a race car theme. It was perfect! But, as is usually the case with us, crafty inspiration did strike at the last minute before the party. We thought, "Hmmm...wouldn't it be cool to make a huge race track that ran throughout the house??" So that's just what we did...and you can too!

What You Need:

  • Black painters tape (ours was a little under 2" wide)

  • Yellow painters tape (thinner than the black)

Yep.  That's it.
All we did was put the black tape down on the floor, snaking it in a giant loop through the house. And because it was painters tape we weren't worried about it hurting the wood or tile floors!

Once our track was complete, we snipped little strips off the roll of yellow tape and put it on top of the black to make it look more like a road.  This part was pretty tedious, so having a Homemade Daddy on hand to help is a bonus!

We then put out a bowl for cars for the kids to play with (and, yes, Jack is still wearing the Jedi robes a week later!)

And that's it! Super easy and the kids (of all ages!) really got a kick out of it, especially the part that went down the stairs!

Ben even got creative and made this (silent) stop-motion film with it!

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See? Even something as simple as tape on the floor can spark creativity in kids and make for a great party!

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