Balloon Valentine

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Wow, it’s not even February and I’m done with the kids Valentines. Go me! I’ve had this site pinned for a little while and I decided this is the year is the right year for this.

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To do this Valentine, you need your pictures, with or without added text. Have your kid hold their hand up, as if holding a balloon. Then you need a straight blade, I used my trusty work box cutter, and balloons.

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When you are cutting, cut your lines above and below the fist. You don’t need wide cuts, like the picture on the left. Thin, almost invisible lines, like those on the right, work just as well.

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Then you thread the balloon through the cuts. The easiest method for this is to gently bend the photo and thread through both cuts in one motion.

Then you have your finished Valentines. Ready to offer balloons to your children’s classmates.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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!

Holiday Cheer 2015

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Christmas has rolled around again. I’m never quite sure how it comes so fast, but I love it every year. We have our little family traditions that we’ve developed over the years, and some that we’re still adjusting to suit our family.
One tradition that we’ve been very consistent with is setting up our tree shortly after Thanksgiving. Depending on work schedules, we set up our tree sometime between the day after Thanksgiving and the first of December. We’re very serious about keeping our holidays separate. Halloween / Thanksgiving / Christmas. We don’t do Hallothanksmas!
Another tradition we’ve stuck to is a new ornament for everyone each year. As the kids have gotten older, they get to pick out their own, and they love it! We stick to Hallmark, as they have such beautiful ornaments.

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There are a few ornaments I get even though the kids don’t choose them. For instance, the Rapunzel ornaments, we’ve gotten them each year (I still need to get this year’s) because I love sets. We don’t exactly do themes for our trees, so it’s a nice eclectic look!

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Window snowflakes are a tradition that we started last year, and the kids love it! At first they looked a little silly because I was folding the paper weird. After a few forays onto Pinterest, I found a good folding technique to get these awesome six-pointed stars. Almost any time the kids get bored around Christmas, they’ll bring me paper and ask, “can I make a snowflake?”

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I think one of my current favorite traditions is our Elf on the Shelf, Iroh. He started visiting us last Christmas and the antics just keep going! It can be difficult with my new third shift schedule to keep him in motion, but it stays fun, especially with Pinterest to help me!

I don’t have a picture to go with this one, but it’s a tradition of ours that just sort of evolved since Arthur was little. Presents had to stay hidden, mainly because Mr. Man kept opening them, or tearing at the paper, like any child will at that age. The presents remained hidden until he went to bed on Christmas Eve. Now that the kids are five and eight, they know I have the presents in the basement. They’ve seen my wrapping station and even the pile of wrapped presents when helping me do laundry. It remains exciting though, even knowing they’re coming, to see that impact Christmas morning of all the presents “suddenly appearing” like magic!

Another one we started last year is the decorating of gingerbread houses. The kids loved this! We usually do it the week before Christmas so that we can demolish and devour them within a day or so of Christmas. I can’t wait to do this this year because Arthur is getting a train gingerbread kit!

I’d love to hear about different Christmas traditions you have with your family.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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!

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!

“I Love You” Valentines

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I’m actually proud of myself. Other than not knowing how many kids are in my son’s class, and potentially having to make more, the kids’ valentines are done already!
I adapted this idea from here. Originally it was suncatchers, but I saw this pin and thought about making valentines for the kids!

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You start by making a stencil of your child’s hand.

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Once you have your hands cut out, you can have your child sign their name if you would like.

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My next step was to dig out my glue gun and glue the middle and ring fingers down. For those who don’t know, this is “I Love You” in sign language.

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Last step was to attach the heart candy, I used Hershey’s. I used my glue gun, just be sure the candy wrapper completely covers the chocolate.
Happy Valentine’s Day!