Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

Last year, we went a little bit crazy with V’s kindergarten valentines and a gigantic castle mailbox, haha!

This year, I wanted to keep things a bit simpler, but I still wanted to do something handmade with her!  I’d seen some cute pencil valentine ideas, and as we discussed what she wanted to do (and browsed some Pinterest ideas together), we settled upon these cute little flags.  I made a simple printable design using my Silhouette software, and since my Silhouette SD isn’t working (I’ll be replacing it soon, hopefully!), I simply cut the cardstock into strips after we printed the sheets.

V did the rest!

She folded the flags, cut the banner ends, added stickers, and addressed and signed every single one.  She took particular care to select pencil designs for each friend and classmate that she thought that they would like best, and she taped them with washi tape on the inside of the flag before using a glue stick to seal the ends.



I really think they turned out well!!

She also did a wonderful job on her valentine box.  We went very simple this year, and we used some color-your-own wrapping paper that a friend had given to us.

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She worked very diligently on coloring it, and she even had Husband and I get involved on some of the hearts (we both enjoyed spending some peaceful coloring time with her :)).

Husband took great care to cover her mailbox with the finished paper…


…including finishing the edges of the mail slot opening:


…and covering the flaps that open on the side to get all of her cards and treats out at the end.


We added her name on a strip of pink vellum so as not to cover up too much of her coloring, and the box was done!  Simple, but still really pretty!  She was proud to take it to school with her.

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Cardboard truck

It all started because my four year old came up to me and said that he wanted to make a cardboard truck and paint it.

And so, Mommy decided that it should be a cardboard truck big enough to play in. And it should have moving parts.

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B advised as I built it, and he made his own control panel (he told me exactly the function of each “button” and “lever”).


After the cardboard pieces were cut out, he painted them on the back porch.

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(he even used some splatter painting techniques he’s seen on some crafting videos with me!)

When they were dry, we assembled the truck, and he’s been having a great time pretending to work at a construction site!






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Ever since we came up with the nautical theme for my son’s room (before he was born), and we’d chosen his name, I’ve wanted to make him one of these banners!  I guess that now that he’s almost four, it’s about time.

A few weeks ago, rather out of the blue, my daughter asked me to put up a banner on her door.  I’ve put this banner on her door in the past, and she’d remembered it.  As I did, my son asked why he didn’t have a banner for his door.  Since it was spring break, and I thought I had lots of extra time (ha!), I told him that I would make him one.

And I did!


I did an image search for “nautical flag alphabet” to figure out which flag corresponded to what letter, and I constructed the flags out of colored cardstock, based on 4″ squares.



I went old-school with hand-set eyelets in white textured cardstock strips along the top of each flag.  I threaded them onto off-white yarn to mimic the look of rope.



I think my son is pleased to have a banner of his own, and it makes me happy to see it hanging on his bedroom door!  It also feels really good to make a project that’s been on my wishlist for years!

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Valentine castle mailbox

I’d like to share a couple projects that V did recently for Valentine’s Day at school.  I’m really proud of her!


This first project is her Valentine mailbox.  The instructions that were sent home said that this was a family project, so we made it one!  (They also said that the only limit was our imagination…and it had to have the student’s name clearly marked on the front!)

I did a little pre-searching on Pinterest to gather some options from which V could choose.  As soon as she saw our short-list, she immediately chose a castle.  What we made is based on THIS and THIS.  Husband went searching for cardboard parts and oversaw V drawing out some crenellations to then cut with scissors.



I glued all the parts together and then spray painted the whole thing purple (well, as much as I could with an almost-empty can of paint!).  B watched this process with great interest!

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After the structure dried (and aired out–wow! I forgot how pungent spray paint is), I brought out a bunch of embellishments, and Vivian decorated her castle.  I was impressed with her choice of design– simply doilies and flowers, with some rick-rack trim.  She wrapped the cardboard tubes with paper, and then we got out the glue gun!


Since I have a low-temp glue gun, I thought this would be a great opportunity to start teaching her how to use it.  She attached spirals of ribbon to each of the towers, and then used the glue gun to attach the towers to the main structure.  I was really proud of V– at first, she was understandably a little scared to use the glue gun, but she gained confidence as I helped her, and by the end, she was using it by herself (I was right next to her, of course!!).



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…and here are the “glamor shots” of the finished castle!






V’s classmates were able to put their valentines into the box via the little drawbridge.

It looked like her kindergarten Valentine’s Day party was a lot of fun!



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The weekend before Christmas, I put together a Christmas party for the PreK through 5th grade kids’ classes at our church.  I wanted to have a craft activity that resulted in something that perhaps the children’s parents wouldn’t immediately throw away!

Since it was a Christmas party, I immediately thought of Christmas ornaments, and after a lot of Pinterest searching, I settled on non-salt-dough ornaments– they look a bit like porcelain.  I ended up doing a lot of testing and I probably ended up making at least eight batches (or half-batches) to test and produce enough ornaments for my estimated maximum number of party attendees.

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Since the children would be in their church clothes, I wanted them to be able to decorate these ornaments with something washable, and to my delight, ultra-washable markers worked perfectly on the baked clay!



I loved seeing the kids’ designs.  I had provided a very few samples just in case, but it looks to me that they came up with a lot of their own ideas, too!

On the backs of the ornaments, I pre-wrote the name of our Sunday School program and the year, and the kids added their names.  I had some left over, so I decided to experiment with paint to cover up the marker writing, since the date renders them unusable in the future.  Since the writing was in black, I naturally went to black paint and decided to try to make some star field designs.


For my own reference, and also in case someone else might be interested, this is what I found to be the most successful (and by this, I mean not always successful!) recipe+instructions:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3/4 cup water
  1. Combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and water in a medium pot over medium heat.  STIR CONSTANTLY!! As the mixture thickens, keep stirring!  Remove from heat when the consistency is like smooth mashed potatoes.
  2. Cool the dough in a glass bowl, covering it closely with plastic wrap.  Allow the dough to cool completely.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 175 to 185 degrees F (you should test this recipe in your own oven– too hot of an oven can result in slightly toasted-looking ornaments).  Line a baking sheet/tray with parchment paper.
  4. Knead cooled dough on a smooth surface until smooth and silky.  Helpful hint: a silicone mat is a great surface (not just your countertop!).
  5. On the silicone mat, roll out the dough to about a 1/4″ thickness.  Use cookie cutters to cut shapes, and move them to a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper.  Make sure to punch holes (using a toothpick, skewer, or even a plastic straw) if the shapes are to be used as ornaments or tags.
  6. Bake for 2 hours, turning the pieces over after 1 hour.  If the pieces still seem damp on the first side after two hours, turn them one more time (first side up again), and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. At the end of baking, turn off the oven, but do not open it.  Allow the clay pieces to cool completely in the oven (overnight is easiest).

(adapted from https://www.tipsfromatypicalmomblog.com/2012/12/better-than-salt-dough-homemade-clay.html)


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A little while ago, I saw these cute stamps and thought to myself, “I want a t-shirt that has some sort of crafty saying on it!” I loved the saying “make your own magic,” and seeing all the little crafting tool icons made me think that scissors would be perfect for me– since I love sewing and paper crafting so much.


I designed the image in my Silhouette Studio software, using the font Bruselo Script, which I purchased as part of a bundle from The Hungry JPEG.  I used a number of special characters and did a bit of playing with letter sizes and spacing to get everything just so.  I modified a star image to create the sparkle stars around the saying, and I used a scissors image that was part of a NSD cut file freebie from Scrapbook and Cards Today in 2015!



Once I had my design laid out, I flipped it for its mirror image.  I used freezer paper with the shiny waxed side UP on my cutting mat and cut it out with my Silhouette.

I ironed the freezer paper stencil onto my T-shirt, which was about $3 from Walmart.  There were lots of little fiddly bits to fit into the letters, but I watched some scrapbooking videos while I worked and had a happy time!


I used two coats of white fabric paint over my stencil before I let it dry overnight.  I am so pleased with how it turned out!!



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VBS robot alien

This little “costume” for my son was one of the most last-minute of the VBS theme costumes, but I think it’s my favorite!

Earlier in the week, Husband spent a lot of time getting Becker’s antennae just right; they are made from thin copper tubing and red plastic beads.


We hadn’t gotten much further than that when Friday morning rolled around.   I was stumped.  I browsed Pinterest for “easy boy alien costume” and similar searches, but was coming up with almost nothing reasonable!  On top of that, I didn’t have much access to my craft room because our contractors were replacing plumbing and had to cut into my ceiling to do so.

Somehow, though, the Pinterest search sparked the idea of a robot costume, and one of the VBS directors had mentioned lots of eyes…  I ran downstairs to my craft supplies and gathered all sorts of bits and bobs and my glue gun.  I assembled my crazy concoction on the kitchen counter while my kids played nearby.

The robot panel is on a base of felt, and I combined felt scraps with textured craft foam to make the different pieces.  I used reflective cardboard for the dial and added beads and sequins from a stash of random bits to give the idea of buttons.  There are little sliders, too– and they actually slide!– fluorescent green pipe cleaners thread through the plastic pony beads.  And of course, since it’s an alien robot costume, there are lots and lots of googly eyes.

robot alien shirt for VBS!

robot alien shirt for VBS!

robot alien shirt for VBS!

I sized the base panel to cover the screen printing on one of B’s red T-shirts, and while I had a phone meeting that afternoon, I hand-basted it into place!  B was so excited about his robot shirt, and it made the work worthwhile!




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