Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

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.  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.

2017-12-16 08.11.25

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.
  7. At the end of the two hours, 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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Well, another week of VBS is in the books!   We had a crazy-and-fun time again this year, and of course, I couldn’t resist coming up with headwear (and sometimes more…) for each of the nights’ themes.  You know that I love costumes of any kind!

We tried to color-coordinate the themes to the kids’ class colors (because of course, I need to make it more challenging!).  B was in the “Lil’ Red Rockets” preschool group, and V was in the “Galactic Green” kindergarten class.  Husband and I did a little bit of pre-planning and a tiny bit of advance work, but most of these were developed on the day itself…  I intended to do headbands for V and myself again (since they worked out so well last year), and my friend P gave the awesome suggestion of decorating a ball cap for B!  My headband for the week, upon which I based all of my crazy decorations, was actually a cover (made from THIS pattern–I’ve made countless headband covers over the years!) that I sewed from the hot pink bandana that we wore to designate ourselves as the snack team.  I also made a quick ruffly clip with more strips from the bandana to embellish the headband even further– I also used this clip to help stabilize and attach some of the pieces.

My friend J gave us a hand-me-down red hat that we used for B’s headwear.  It had a team logo on the front, but I used my VBS iron-on logo and turned it into a patch to go over it.  I ironed the logo onto some heavy-weight cotton, which I had interfaced with fuseable interfacing.  Then I satin-stitched a border around the logo and cut it out close to the outside edge of the stitching.  I hand-basted this “patch” onto the front of the hat, and I think it turned out really cute!


Monday night was space night.  I really, really wanted us each to have a rocket launching over our heads…and these creations, made from cardboard toilet paper tubes covered in paper with tissue paper flames, turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected!  I managed to rig them up well enough, though!

rocket selfie!  VBS day 1 (space theme)


Tuesday night was super hero night.  Husband and I brainstormed a few superheroes that had a signature color that coordinated with each of our kids’ group color.  We chose logos, and I used my Silhouette to die cut or print-and-cut those logos from cardstock.   In keeping with the bobbing-above-the-head tradition, I mounted them on wire and attached them to each kid’s head.  B’s was mounted on his hat, and V’s wrapped around her hair bun.  I’ll show you my superhero contribution in a future post…(I couldn’t think of any hot pink superheroes that had easily-recognizable logos, so I went with an apron!)



Wednesday night was color night– each kid dressed in their VBS T-shirt (a plain colored shirt with the iron-on logo affixed to the front), and I broke out the hair mascara from a few Halloweens ago and went to town on their hair.  The kids LOVED having their hair colored!  Vivian also wore a little ruffly hair clip I made from fabric scraps, and I painted her fingernails with green polish!


Vivian with Galactic Green hair

Thursday night was pajama night.  I liked the moon-and-stars idea that I’d done last year, so I just modified the attachments I’d made for V and myself.  For B, I cut out red stars from textured craft foam and made a white felt moon (a red moon felt a little too grim!).

pajama night for VBS!  I made moons and stars for us to wear on our heads

pajama night for VBS!  I made moons and stars for us to wear on our heads

Friday night was create-your-own alien night.  By the end of this crazy week, I thought I was clean out of ideas (we also had our upstairs hall bathroom remodel begin on Wednesday morning, and on Friday morning, they needed to cut into my craft room ceiling for some plumbing work…)  However, some ideas came together at the last minute!  I’m going to do a separate post about my son’s outfit, but I’ll show my cute aliens off here, too!  B was a red robot alien, and V was a green sparkly alien!  We combined an old Tinkerbell dress-up costume with a sequined jacket her sparkly alien costume, and I made antennae eyes with pompoms and green mesh, which we attached to her hair buns with wire.




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We had quite a few activities planned for the princess party.  As the guests arrived, we had Rapunzel/Tangled coloring pages and crayons out on the table, as well as little “kits” set up to make Pascal blowers.

coloring pages and Pascal blowers to put together in the dining room

I’m really glad that I switched from regular craft foam to adhesive craft foam–it made all the difference!

Vivian made a Pascal blower

Becker made a Pascal blower with Mommy's help

We also had beanbag games set up in the entryway, where guests could throw “apple” (red) beanbags into a hole for Maximus and “satchel” (black) beanbags into a hole for Flynn.

Vivian's fifth birthday party [Ed's camera]

We did one “organized” party game before the “main event!”  I had cut a whole pile of small paper apples with my Silhouette, and we hid them around the rooms in which the party was happening.  The guests each collected at least five and they turned them in for a “reward from Maximus”– a little bag of red and green M&Ms (they were supposed to be apples, haha!)


do you spy my Rapunzel charm bracelet?  I was Disney-bounding Rapunzel for the party, of course! 😉

The main event was the whole reason we decided to put on this party!  Husband found out about “party princesses” (entertainers who come to a birthday party dressed as a favorite princess character) and decided that they would be absolutely perfect for V.  And of course, they were!  We had requested that Rapunzel come to V’s party, and we were delightedly surprised when Aurora came with her!  The princesses sang, told stories, worked on a little craft, and played some games with the guests.  It was so sweet to see the little girls interacting with the princesses!  At the end, Rapunzel did a little coronation ceremony for V and then V gave out “coronation gifts” to each of the guests (toy rings for the girls, and sticky hands for the boys).


Aurora, Vivian, and Rapunzel

As we did the different activities, the guests put their little treats and treasures into paper bags that I’d labeled with their names on tags that were styled after the party invitation. Also inside each of those bags was a little watercolor set shaped like a palette, and I added a little tag that says “Add a few new paintings to your gallery”

one of the favors for the kids

The party was so much fun to plan and even more fun to see in action… but it was so much work (totally worth it)!  The next party we do will probably be for B’s fifth birthday party– a few years from now, haha!

This is the last post in my series about our daughter’s princess party; click here for all the posts

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Speaking of food… Another of our favorite scenes from the movie (who are we kidding, really, we love the whole thing, haha!) is in the Snuggly Duckling with the pub thugs. I decided to recreate the Snuggly Duckling sign to display the menu for the party.

hand-painted Snuggly Duckling sign for displaying the menu

hand-painted Snuggly Duckling sign for displaying the menu

I made the sign by painting posterboard with acrylic paint. I’m pretty proud of myself for how it turned out! (Especially considering that screenshots from the movie are fairly blurry).

I hung the menu underneath.  We had fun giving the food punny names (thanks, Pinterest, for some of the ideas!).

To drink, we had lemonade. Oh wait, I mean magic golden flower juice.

lemonade.  Oh wait, I mean magic golden flower juice

We had “Snuggly Duckling nuggets” (a Chick-fil-A platter of chicken nuggets, my daughter’s absolute favorite, which we served in a cast iron frying pan), “Flynn’s Golden Treasure” (macaroni and cheese), “Rapunzel’s Braids” (honey wheat pretzel twists), “Pascal’s Platter” (carrot and cucumber sticks), “Maximus’ Delight” (apple slices), “Gothel’s Hazelnut Dip” (a dip for the apples and pretzels made from Nutella, cream cheese, and whipped topping), and finally, “Attila’s Sublime Cupcakes” (see the next post!).

I think the spread of food was pretty good, if I do say so myself!

How could we resist making black paper plates into frying pans (who knew, right?)?!

Stay tuned for more about our daughter’s princess party!  


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Instead of doing a general princess theme for V’s party, we decided to narrow it down and choose one princess to focus upon.  It seems like our family is definitely on a Tangled kick!  It’s one of V’s two favorite princess movies, and we all love Rapunzel’s brave, spunky, persistent and sweet personality.  Plus, the movie’s aesthetic is gorgeous!

The main imagery that stood out to me from the movie is (of course!) the floating lanterns, but also the scene in which Rapunzel and Flynn participate in the city’s festival, with those beautiful purple pennant banners!  When we were in Disney World last January, one of my favorite areas of the Magic Kingdom was new Fantasyland.  Especially the Rapunzel theming!


I took this photo (and many others!) of the area of Fantasyland themed after the Tangled movie. We loved the scenery!

Between my photos of the park and the movie imagery itself, we came up with a plan for the decorations!

pennant banners and lanterns

Husband made so many paper lanterns!  He made some by shaping cylinders of white paper, and others by cutting the tops and bottoms off of white paper lunch bags.  On all of them, he stenciled yellow sunbursts (the icon of Rapunzel’s kingdom).  He attached fish line and hung them from the ceiling.

pennant banners and lanterns

In the living, room, where the main activity of the party occurred, I draped some purple tulle from the ceiling over the fireplace and added some tissue paper pom poms.  Radiating out from this point, we hung yards of pennant banners.

pennant banners and lanterns

I cut each one out of purple cardstock.  I traced in the Silhouette Studio software the sunburst design that I downloaded from the Disney Family website and turned it into a cut file and inserted it into a curved triangle flag shape.   (We also used this cut file for the stencil Husband used to paint each of the lanterns!)

pennant banners and lanterns

oooh, so pretty

We also had lanterns and pennant banners in the dining room, where we had some of the coloring activities and the kids ate their food.

there were pennant banners and lanterns in the dining room, too!

If you look closely, you can see a “magic golden flower” in a vase in the center of the dining room table!

Stay tuned for more about our daughter’s princess party!  


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