Saturday, January 31, 2015

Easy Paper Heart Banner Craft


After a week of being stuck inside with colds, we needed to do some happy Valentine's Day decorating. I thought our mantle was the best place to start, and since my boys are really into drawing with markers right now, this was the perfect easy craft for us to try. This craft would also work great in a playgroup or preschool setting, as each kid can decorate their own heart.


All you need for this craft is red & pink construction paper, markers/crayons/paint - whatever you want to decorate your hearts, and paper fasteners.

Start by cutting out large hearts from red & pink construction paper. I make hearts like I learned as a kid myself - by folding lengthwise, drawing half a heart, cutting it out, and unfolding.


You can make as many as you'd like for the length of your banner. I did 12 total for my mantle (6 of each color).


Then let the kids go crazy decorating their hearts. My boys love coloring with markers right now, so that's what they wanted to do. You can do painting, crayons, glitter and glue - be creative!


Once all your hearts are decorated, secure them together with the paper fasteners. I alternated red and pink.


That's it! Your banner is ready to hang. I used clear command strips to hang mine but you can use tape as well.


Our snowman looks much happier now and ready for Valentine's Day!

This was a really simple and customizable craft that is a lot of fun for kids of all ages. We had a great time putting it together and now we're ready for Valentine's Day!

Do you have a lot of craft supplies? Check out my Complete Craft Storage Solution!

Need any supplies for this project? Here you go: (affiliate links)




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sunday Sketchbook - Fishiness

Nothing sketched during the past week. This page was doodled weeks ago. The fish theme was inspired by a fin looking ink blob that seeped through the paper from a previous page.


Tree Prop Yarn Bombing - LIVE From CHA

Just discovered I could embed the LIVE stream of Vickie Howell yarn bombing the tree prop at the craft convention here on the 'ol blog. So far so good, and by that I mean, it hasn't fallen apart yet!

UPDATE 1:48pm - Vickie's been working 3 plus hours now and it's looking amazing. I'm a bit worried though. I put a squirrel inside the trunk yesterday to surprise her, but it hasn't jumped out yet. Maybe I should of poked out more air holes.

UPDATE 5:54pm  - Vickie's yarn bombing is long over but it was recorded. Hitting the play button below will take you back to the beginning of the LIVE stream. It's not until the 09:40 mark that she describes the project and really gets going. Up until then, be patient, she's her own camera crew getting ready.

It's worth watching, especially the moment when she falls off the ladder harpooning a baby seal with a knitting needle. I don't blame Vickie. Accidents happen. I blame it's owner who had so much disregard for animal rights that they'd walk a baby seal around a craft convention full of sharp tools.


Streaming Live by Ustream

Complete Craft Storage Solution


As you can tell if you spend any time on this blog, we do a lot of crafts in this house! The more we do, the more my craft supplies seem to multiply. I would love to have a dedicated room for crafts but we just don't have the space. And, with toddlers in the house, I can't leave all our supplies in the playroom without risking paint on the walls the moment I turn my back. I needed a solution that was functional, portable, and would look good sitting in my foyer or dining room. I finally found one and I'm happy to share it.


I put together this craft storage solution with products from Thirty One Gifts. I am an Independent Consultant for Thirty One, so I do make commission if you choose to buy any of the products from my Thirty One website. However, I was not compensated in any way for this article and all of the products shown are ones that I personally own and use in my home. Read my full disclosure policy.

I started with a Deluxe Utility Tote and 2 Essential Storage Totes.


In my first Essential Storage Tote, I put all my felt, craft foam, papers, and cardboard tubes (the best craft material ever!)


Next I organized my smaller items, starting with a Handle It Cosmetic Bag for paint. I love this bag because the inside is completely lined with PVC, so spills are no problem. There are 2 pockets (1 interior, 1 exterior) for brushes too. So if we do a paint project I can just grab this small bag and go.


A Littles Carry-All Caddy for crayons. Again, I can just grab this by itself if we are going to color.


And a new product that I LOVE - the Double Duty Caddy for all those odds and ends - glue, tape, ribbon, scissors, etc. It holds a lot of stuff!



All 3 of these fit nicely inside my second Essential Storage Tote, with a little room to spare! 


Once both of my Essential Storage Totes were filled, I put them inside the Deluxe Utility Tote. A perfect fit!


I added a Pocket A Tote to the front for markers. This pocket snaps on and off the grommets on the Deluxe Utility Tote so I can grab it separately, and it is lined so I'm not worried if a cap comes off.


Finally, I added a Deluxe Cinch Top lid so that everything was contained and covered. 


I truly love this system for organizing craft and art supplies. When we are working on a project, I can easily carry the entire thing into the room or just grab the bag that holds the supplies that I need. I also love that I could choose prints that go with the decor in my house so I don't mind if it is sitting out in the living room or the dining room.

And, I was able to add the "Play, Create, and Imagine" personalization to make it my own, and inspire my creativity.

All of these pieces come in many different colors, solids, and prints (since these are my own products, purchased at different times, some of the prints shown may no longer be available) and can be mixed and matched to create a look that is perfect for your home. And, personalization is available on each product! (for an additional cost)

I hope this helps inspire you to organize your craft or art supplies, and perhaps part or all of this solution is right for you! To shop these products, visit my Thirty One website.  Or email me with questions or suggestions of other products to help you get organized. Happy crafting!



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tree Prop Finished


The tree prop I mentioned awhile back is finally finished and can reveal it was for knitting guru Vickie Howell and Caron Yarns at this week's CHA trade show (the Craft and Hobby Association) in Anaheim.


Actually, it's not really finished. Vickie will be "yarn bombing" it tomorrow in real time from the Caron booth. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

You can even watch her transform the tree LIVE via her Ustream channel beginning at 10am pacific Sunday.


I'll share the actual tree making process soon. It was full of many twists and turns (and I'm not talking about the branches). Here's a hint... remember the Stonehenge prop miscommunication in Spinal Tap?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Making a Rooftop Reindeer


Last month I mentioned the chimney reindeer idea I had for the Home & Family show house. Well, he actually did get made, but sadly, it's taken me this long to post about.

Like many of my prop projects, they start with a sketch.

The actual prop build began with a support structure. I mounted a galvanized pipe on a plywood round. On top of the pipe I glued on styrofoam balls and blocked in his basic head shape.

Next, I covered him in good 'ol spray insulation foam.

I added his antlers. They were made from bent pieces of PVC pipe with lengths of thick wire taped on the ends as his antler points.

 Once the foam set up, I carved/sculpted everything into a decent reindeer shape. I also reinforced his antlers wrapping in layers of duct tape, and added small plastic balls to the tips to round them off, plus it gave them a little fun character. Using a sharpie I sketched in where his eyes and nose would be to get a sense of how he might look as I carved.

Using a couple of yards of craft fur, I stretched, pinned, cut and glued on his brown coat first.
 
 His white underbelly was next, also using craft fur. I carved his nose out of styrofoam and glued on.

I painted his antlers a brownish grey. His eyes were two halves of a split plastic round ornament painted black. I used black shoe laces glued on to accent his mouth and muzzle. His ears are heavy card stock cut to shape and sandwiched between glued on craft fur.

Once done, I screwed him onto the house's chimney, which being a TV set is fake and made of wood. I added Santa's bag next to him with a few presents. The antlers were strong enough to simply drape a line of Christmas lights on as if tangled in.

Getting him up onto the roof was an adventure unto itself, and a tale I'll tell another time...

Bubble Wrap Painting

Painting on Bubble Wrap

We had so much fun making our Bubble Wrap Road that I thought there must be something else we can do with our big roll of bubble wrap. My boys love to paint, so why not put the two together and see what happens?

We had a lot of fun with this craft, and it's pretty simple to set up. I put a big sheet of bubble wrap down on our kitchen table and taped it down with painter's tape. I poured some washable paint into small cups, put out some brushes, and invited the boys to create.


They started with the brushes and loved how bumpy their "canvas" was.


Then they really got into it and started mixing colors.


They asked for more colors and of course I obliged.


Then they gave up the brushes all together and started finger painting. It was fun to pop the bubbles and make art at the same time! Even my "no mess" boy got into this one.


I hung our finished project on the sliding glass door to dry, and it was quite pretty with the sun shining through! We could easily turn this into a sun catcher craft. 


This was a great project that checked all my favorite boxes - easy, inexpensive (save those packing materials!), sensory and fun. Both of my boys enjoyed it immensely and we will definitely try it again!

Need any of the materials used in this activity? Here you go! (affiliate links)

      

Looking for craft storage? Check out my Organizing & Totes page!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Unmade 1976 KING KONG Model Kits?

As a kid, whenever the original 1933 King Kong aired, it was must see TV. Still being a kid in 1976, I also loved the remake.

I just stumbled upon this commercial for model kits from the '76 version I don't recall seeing back then...


Am I crazy? Where they ever for sale anywhere. I was eleven in those days and at the peak of my monster and dinosaur model building phase. I'm sure they would of been on my radar and begged my parents for the money to buy them. Especially being based on the cool promotional poster art from the movie.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Creative Inspiration: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Back in 1977, there was one scene in Spielberg's Close Encounters that helped influence who I am today... outside of all the UFO, alien and conspiracy theories that I now believe in that is.

I know when Richard Dreyfuss is seen having completely destroyed the inside of his home working on a model of Devil's Tower it was meant to make the audience gasp at his lunacy, but I felt inspired to create something.


Ironically 35 plus years later, my career did let me live that scene a hundred times over. Many apartment security deposits were forfeited in my younger days after landlords discovered paint and glue splotched walls and floors from making stuff while I lived there. I'll even miss Days of our Lives since it's been cancelled. Whenever it came on TV while working on some crazy project, I always smiled recalling this Close Encounters scene.

I've also been known to sculpt my mashed potatoes at dinner. But only while waiting for the gravy to be passed around. Not by alien influence... unfortunately.


While on the subject of Close Encounters, this moment from the movie is one of the scariest I've ever seen in any movie but nothing is actually seen. I miss this Spielberg.


No Bake Snowflake Cookies


It's snowing! I love seeing how excited my boys are watching the snow fall. I thought we should make a special snow themed treat for snack today, but I was limited to what we had on hand and it needed to be fast because my boys were ready to go outside and play! These No Bake Snowflake Cookies fit the bill - quick, 3 ingredients, relatively healthy, and fun to make.

I was inspired by these Frosted Animal Cookie Treats on Mini Monets & Mommies, but I wanted something with a little less sugar. I thought graham crackers would be a good substitute. We had snowflake sprinkles left over from baking Christmas cookies and they were just what I needed to transform ordinary cookie balls into a snowy surprise. Perfect for an afternoon viewing of Frozen! Here's what you do:

Ingredients
Graham Crackers (12 full sheets, approximately 2 cups crushed)
3/4 cup Cream Cheese, softened (6 oz)
Snowflake shaped sprinkles


Directions
Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs. I suggest using a food processor because you want the crumbs to be very small, almost like sand.

In a large bowl, mix your graham cracker crumbs, cream cheese, and sprinkles. I didn't measure the sprinkles, I just added in a handful. You can put in as few or as many as you like, just be sure to save some for the end.

Mix until thoroughly combined into a dough consistency. You will probably need to use your hands! This is fun for kids to help with too.

Roll dough into approximately 1 inch round balls. Press down to flatten into a cookie shape. Decorate with your remaining sprinkles, pressing them gently into each cookie.

Place your cookies into the refrigerator to set (or if you're impatient like me, into the freezer for about 45 minutes.)  They will not be hard, but will have an almost cookie dough like consistency. Store them in the refrigerator (if you don't eat them all in one sitting!).


That's it! My toddlers absolutely loved these - and I don't feel guilty when they ask for cookies and I can give them these. I don't even want to admit how many I ate myself. You can experiment with different flavors of graham crackers - mine were honey, but I think cinnamon or chocolate would be equally delicious.

Want more snow day fun? Check out my Indoor Sensory Play with Snow activity too!

Need snowflake sprinkles? Get them on Amazon. (affiliate link)

I'm always trying to find new ways to help make sure that my toddlers eat healthy foods, which is why I love making cookies with less sugar and processed ingredients. That's why I am so excited about Dr. Orlena Kerek's FREE Online Workshop on How To Help Your Children Eat Healthily. (affiliate links) It's happening on Wednesday, January 28 and will be packed with information on creating healthy habits, introducing new foods without stress, and my favorite idea - nothing is forbidden in moderation.

I will definitely be participating as I have one very picky eater! My other toddler is a little more accepting of new foods but I want to make sure I have all the tools I can to keep him that way for life.

Be sure to check out this awesome FREE workshop (affiliate link) with me!

If you need even more guidance, check out Dr. Orlena's full Healthy Eating for Kids Course. (affiliate link) It includes:

  • 9 videos over 4 weeks
  • Personal coaching from Dr. Orlena
  • Access to a Facebook group and Course Materials
It is a great value as you can't put a price on healthy eating habits for life! 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Finished Little Mermaid Poster Illustration


Here's the finished art for the Little Mermaid theater production. You can see the initial sketches here. Keen eyed Indiana Jones fans might notice something familiar on the ocean floor (too perfect in theme not to add).

Valentine's Day Breakfast Cookies with Hidden Vegetables


I love sweets, and it's easy to go overboard with candy and sugary treats on Valentine's Day. I wanted to find something fun and festive for the holiday to give to my boys for breakfast without going crazy on the sugar. I had some beet puree in the freezer and thought it would be the perfect thing to make a little treat that had the perfect Valentine's Day color but also packed a nutritional punch.

These cookies came together really easily - the hardest part is pureeing the beets. But if you like to sneak vegetables into your foods then I recommend having a few vegetable purees on hand in your freezer. This way you can make a big batch and just defrost what you need when you're ready to make a recipe.

If you need instructions on how to make the beet puree you can find them here (along with my Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe).

For the breakfast cookies, you will need:

2 cups quick oats
1 cup beet puree
1 egg
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until combined.

The beets just make the most gorgeous color, don't you think?

Scoop the dough into small balls onto a cookie sheet (I love my dough scoop).


Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until firm and set. This recipe made 18 balls using my scoop.


Allow to cool before serving.  The beets have an earthy flavor that is much more evident when the cookies are warm. Once they are cooled you will not notice it.


These cookies are packed with nutrition thanks to the beets, plus a little extra punch of protein from the egg and protein powder. They make a perfect on-the-go breakfast or afternoon snack. They are not very sweet, so don't expect a sugary flavor.  

I'm always trying to find new ways to help make sure that my toddlers eat healthy foods, even if it means hiding a veggie or two. That's why I am so excited about Dr. Orlena Kerek's FREE Online Workshop on How To Help Your Children Eat Healthily. (affiliate links) It's happening on Wednesday, January 28 and will be packed with information on creating healthy habits, introducing new foods without stress, and my favorite idea - nothing is forbidden in moderation.

I will definitely be participating as I have one very picky eater! My other toddler is a little more accepting of new foods but I want to make sure I have all the tools I can to keep him that way for life.

Be sure to check out this awesome FREE workshop (affiliate link) with me!

If you need even more guidance, check out Dr. Orlena's full Healthy Eating for Kids Course. (affiliate link) It includes:

  • 9 videos over 4 weeks
  • Personal coaching from Dr. Orlena
  • Access to a Facebook group and Course Materials
It is a great value as you can't put a price on healthy eating habits for life! 



Need any new kitchen gear? Here you go! (affiliate links)


Taking snacks on the go? Check out the awesome totes from Thirty One! (consultant link)