Christmas Card Book

I don’t think it’s come up yet, but I am a bit of a pack rat. I save stuff that I will probably never need again, but I don’t like letting go. I’m not talking about collectibles either, like my Star Wars toys, still in the package, I’m talking about cards. Birthday cards, Christmas cards, even get well soon cards. I like holding onto them.
Along came this brilliant pin that showed me exactly what to do with them!

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Start by punching holes in your cards. Do a little planning and make sure they’ll all be going the same way. Using a three hole punch will be the easiest way to do this, just so the holes are spaced evenly.

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Next up, make yourself a snazzy cover for your card book. I just dug into my scrapbook paper and my fancy scissors. The original blogger has a link to some fancy cover templates, but I like going my own way most of the time.

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I used note card rings to “bind” my book together. I had our family Christmas card as the first card in our book.

I was super pleased with how this came out! Even Tony was impressed at my new ways of hoarding. Huge accomplishment today! If you’ve been keeping your Christmas cards, with no apparent use for them, this is the craft for you!

Happy crafting!

Salt Dough Paw Print Ornaments

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I’ve been having fun with salt dough, especially since I found a simple and reasonable recipe for it! We’ve made handprint snowmen, and we had some fun with the neighbor kids a few days ago, that may or may not end up as a blog. So I decided to go another step with it.

Our dogs are part of our family. They drive us crazy, and sometimes make traveling a little complicated, but they are our fur babies! Juliet is our oldest dog. She was eight years old when we adopted her from the rescue. A lab/rot mix, she is very sweet and was very well trained! It was hard to believe she was abandoned. We’ve had Juliet for six years now, making her a very old fourteen year old dog. She has some health issues, and I worry every time Christmas rolls around, that it may be her last. I wanted to take time to make a cute ornament this year with her pawprint.

Taking some of the salt dough:
•1 cup flour
•1 cup salt
•1/2 cup water
Mixed to a playdough consistency
Roll it flat on a piece of aluminum foil. This recipe is a little sticky, which can make it difficult to avoid clinging fur. The best way to avoid this is to sprinkle a layer of flour over the top of your dough.

Be gentle with your fur babies, many of them do not like their paws played with! After you get a good impression, you may have to press firmly, poke a hole in the top for hanging purposes and let it dry completely. This take time, up to a week to set completely.

After it has dried, use a sharpie, or other permanent marker, to write the dog’s name and the year on the ornament. Then you string a pretty ribbon through the hole and you are all set! A cute ornament to go on the tree and show everyone how much you love your dog.

Happy crafting all!

Salt Dough Handprint Snowmen

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This was a hassle. Fun for the kids and super cute, but salt dough is such a pain in the butt! If anyone has a better salt dough recipe than this one, please let me know!

•1 cup flour
•1 cup salt
•1/2 cup water

It’s easy to manipulate, but it takes forever to dry! I’ve tried letting it air dry, baking it in the oven at 200° for a few hours, but it still takes forever! This particular project ended up sitting for almost a week before I was content to paint it.

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Rant over! Mix your ingredients together until you have the consistency of play dough. Roll it flat and get your kids handprints in the dough. Then you cut out around your handprints and use a straw to cut out a hole for you to string it up.

After it has set to complete hardness, you are all set for the next phase. I put several layers of white paint on them, giving an hour between coats, to dry.

Once you are sure it’s dry, it’s best to let it dry overnight, outline the handprints with a sharpie. Afterwards, let your kids go to town, making snowmen out of their fingers.

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Arthur was content to draw the snowmen and be done. He wanted to get back to his toys. Make sure you have enough room to put the kids name and year, unless you want to put it on the back.

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Chiara just colored away. She did make snowmen, but by the end they were obscured by the amount of color. It’s totally her though!

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This is Chiara’s masterpiece. I think the most important thing to remember is to not stifle the kids creativity. Let them be them!

After the coloring is complete, the sharpie ink having had time to dry completely, sprinkle a little white glitter, think snow sparkle, over it and spray it with lacquer. I personally went with spray mod podge. Now I have a beautiful and unique keepsake that remind me how small their hands once were.

Craft on all, craft on!

Kids Workshops at Home Depot

Chalkboard Hangars

Chalkboard Hangars

I’ve recently discovered that not everyone knows about the Home Depot Kids Workshops. I’ve known about them for several years, but our attendance has been sporadic until recently. Most people know about the workshops they offer for adults, the ones that show people how to different things, like retile a bathroom or install cabinets, but once a month they offer a kids workshop. The first Saturday of every month, from 9am to noon, there is a Kids Workshop available for kids ages 5-12. I’ve seen younger kids there, but they may require more parental assistance. This is also a free activity, which to someone on a budget, that makes it even better!

Arthur building his football game

Arthur building his football game

If you arrive early enough, or if your store is prepared enough, they have little Home Depot aprons for the kids. They write their names on them and it makes a great place to put the pins they get for completing the project. When you arrive, they give you your kit, which contains all the pieces, including nails. You then find your area and follow the simple, step-by-step directions for assembly. I’m not sure why, but Arthur likes to crouch on the bucket seats our store uses. Maybe he thinks he’s Gollum?

Chiara painting her football game

Chiara painting her football game

Sometimes the projects require painting, which they provide, and don’t worry, the paint washes out of clothes. Chiara loves the painting part! Note the cuteness of the apron?

Arthur and his ambulance

Arthur and his ambulance

Our store, and I’m sure others as well, does a safety weekend once a year. The above picture was from our first safety weekend and the kids built ambulances.

Firetrucks

Firetrucks

This month, for our safety weekend, the kids built these awesome firetrucks. These were really simple, simple enough that my 5 and 8 year old were able to assemble them with almost no assistance from me.

I know, especially in the summer, it can be difficult to find things to occupy your children. You want to keep their minds engaged and prevent them from completely vegging out in front of the tv. This may only be a single activity, once a month, but it’s fun and helps build their confidence. After all, when they go home, they have something physical to show for their effort. Something they can play with, and given that it’s made of wood, it can be sturdier than some store bought toys.

I highly suggest checking out the Home Depot website, search their workshops page and click on the kids workshop link. You won’t regret it and I’m sure your kids will love it!

Seek and Find Jar

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I’ve seen these seek and find jars for sale in a bunch of different places. I’ve always found them a little silly, but the idea has obviously been hanging out in my brain, since I decided to make one!

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The idea started for me when I found an eight pack of these guys. I love the minions! Walmart has several mini-sets available for the release of the movie next weekend. Combining these with my plastic Voss water bottle, I had the makings of my own DIY seek and find!

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I started by filling four sandwich bags with rice. I ended up putting twenty drops of food coloring in each bag, then had the kids help me shake them up.

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The colored rice makes the searching a little more interesting. Looking for colored toys in white rice is a little too easy!

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Chiara was a little mad at me for dropping the toys into the bottom of the bottle.

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She was even more mad when I layered rice over the top!

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I thought about using glue to seal the lid on, but decided that duct tape would be easier to remove if I decided to add more toys later. I just didn’t want to make the seal permanent!

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It takes a lot of shaking to get your toys worked up into the rice. I’m talking arm workout shaking! Prepare your muscles, but it’s really fun to watch the colors mix together.

So far Arthur has played with it a little bit, finding six of the eight before getting bored with it. I think I’ll have to take it to my friend Jenna’s house, her little Ollie will probably really enjoy it!

Soda (Pop) Can Caddy

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I actually saw this awesome video on a Facebook link, and had to try this quickly. After all, the supplies needed for this can be found in almost every home in America.
•6 soda (pop) cans
•hot glue gun and glue
•hole punch
•wire or pipe cleaner
•manual can opener

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I love what Coke and Sprite have going on right now with their cans. Coke has fun words describing people, things like “Legend”, “Superstar” and “Dreamer”. Sprite just recently started with quotes from songs (at least I think they’re song lyrics).

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This next step absolutely blew my mind! You take any manual can opener, although I have met people who don’t know how to use them, and run it around the edge, like any other can, and you will be left with a perfectly smooth – edged, open can.

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Next step is to take your hot glue gun and attach the cans to each other, keeping the words or quotes facing outward.

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I had a bit of an issue keeping the cans perfectly squared up, but I never claimed to be perfect!

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Next step requires your hole punch and wire. The original pin only had four cans with holes punched, but I wanted a little more reinforcement. I punched holes across from each other on all six cans, this let me thread the wire through them all, criss-crossing the wire like shoelaces. Then I just doubled up a longer strand of wire and made myself a handle.

It was a quick project, and it was funny because Tony was just as amazed as I was by the smoothness left behind by the can opener!

This would be a nice addition to your summer barbecue or picnic, so get crafting!

Father’s Day Gift

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This is a super simple gift for daddy. I found this idea on Pinterest and I figured it would suit Tony to the ground!
All you need for this is a plain craft frame, available at any craft store or Walmart. The one I used was only $.98. You can’t beat that! I was lucky enough to find this carbon fiber looking duct tape at Walmart too.
All you do it layer the duct tape over the frame in whatever pattern you like. For the word part, I used a piece of my scrapbooking paper to write

Daddy & Duct Tape keep this family together.

I used basic grey duct tape to make the little X in the middle.
Tony loved it and it now has a place of honor on the shelf above his desk.
Simple and cute? Check! Simple gift for dad? Check!
Happy Father’s Day guys!

Foam Dough

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Two simple and common ingredients and one horrible mess! The kids did enjoy playing with it, after all, kids love a good mess, but I don’t see us playing with this stuff again.

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Start by taking equal parts cornstarch and shaving cream. This gave me a chance to use my Jurassic World shaving cream leftover from the marbled butterflies we made last week.
I started with 1 cup cornstarch and 1 cup shaving cream. I ended up adding almost another full cup of shaving cream to get a good texture.

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It’s texture is very similar to the moon sand that was advertised all over TV a few years ago. It’s very crumbly…..

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…. but it packs together very well.

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I added some red and blue food coloring to different piles to give some color. Am I the only one who feels this looks like blood? Anyway…..

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We spent quite a bit of time forming walls with the foam dough. Unfortunately I don’t have any molds to use for this, but they enjoyed it.
The mess wasn’t hard to clean up, but it was everywhere. It fell off the edge of the table, mashed into the table, all over their hands! Ugh! It wiped clean and you can vacuum it if necessary, but I’ll take play dough any day over this stuff!
Original pin can be found here.

Marbled Butterflies

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Although the weather was perfect outside today, after our stomping around the metroparks yesterday, I was in no mood for another outdoor adventure. That led to a raiding of Pinterest. I had a pin on my Fun for Kids board, but for whatever reason, the link is no longer good. It’s OK though because I remember the basics of how this works.

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Start with some shaving cream, plain white, so I had to buy some, as ours is a neon blue color. Yes, that is a special edition Jurassic World Barbasol. It made Arthur happy and was cheap!

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You will need a piece of cardboard for smoothing. I used a cookie sheet layered with aluminum foil as my work surface. You can use pretty much any surface, just keep cleanup in mind!

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Once you have your shaving cream smoothed out, it doesn’t have to be perfect, place some different colored drops of food coloring on it. Go easy at first, you can always add more later.

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This is where you can let the kids go nuts, swirling and twirling with a toothpick, or a chopstick, until the colors are all blended in a fun color design.

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Now you’re ready for transferring to paper!

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Lay your piece of paper over your color-swirled shaving cream and press gently. You’ll start to see the color bleeding through, but it’ll be ok, trust me.

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We made several different patterns while playing today. We would do one transfer, add more color and swirl again.

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In the end we had these four beauties. The very faint one on the right side was my first attempt, clearly not using enough food coloring.
While letting these dry, I was playing with the shaving cream, you know, like you do, until all of the colors blended into a bluish-green color.

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I’m sorry, but no one here should be surprised that I did this! This is also a fine example of how you can blend the colors like this before swirling more colors on top. It’ll give you a different background color. Pretty cool, yes?

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After everything dried, I folded the paper in half and cut out my butterfly shape.

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Something like this, but you can make up any shape really.

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Cute and colorful!

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The sunlight backing made it tough to see the colors, but these are a cute addition to our front window. Nothing quite like homemade decorations!
Craft on everyone!

Minion Goggles

Originally, I did have a pin for this one. However, my friend Jenna and I completely altered this to suit our own needs so there is no longer an original reference to this craft!

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My friend Jenna asked if I would help her make minion goggles for her daughter’s dance recital. They are dressing as minions for their number and for whatever reason, they didn’t buy the goggles with the costumes. We kicked around several ideas before settling on this one.
We started off with canning lids as the lenses. We tried hot gluing them together, but it didn’t adhere very well to the metal lid.

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I ended up taking a piece of the elastic she had purchased for the bands and used my über basic sewing skills to attach the two lenses, for the double eyed minions anyway.
Figure out the length you need to go around your head, or your child’s head, and give yourself maybe an extra inch to sew.

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Attach the elastic to your lenses, like so.

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We enlisted Tony to draw the eyes, going googly, as he’s the least likely to screw them up.
We also tested a few different methods of attaching the eyes in the lens before settling on a caulking like method.

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Using the insert to the lid to hold the eye in place, I used my hot glue gun to lay a layer of glue around the edge and held it tightly together for a few seconds while it set.
The girls are using the goggles as headbands, that’s why we have eyes in ours.

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This is a pretty weird look, yes?

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Here is a sample of our googly eyed goggles.
Like I said, I will be adding a picture of the girls in costume with the goggles and hopefully they don’t look as weird as we do!
Happy crafting all!