Moms need to create too - paper cone wreath

Time for you to see what I've been working on when I've gotten a few minutes to myself.  Yes I love to create, I just don't get to do it as often as I'd like.  I recently saw this really great wreath on The Corner House Blog and I knew I had to make one because I have a TON of scrapbook paper, but I've gone digital so I don't use the stuff as much as I used to. 

I used these 5 double-sided 12x12 papers and an old book that had been collecting dust in the basement.

I borrowed a scallop punch from my niece (it was just under 3 inches in diameter) and punched away for quite sometime until I had a nice stack of cute little scallop circles.
Now, I could have run to the dollar store to buy a 12 inch wreath, but somehow I always spend $40 or more at that place so I opted to roll up some newspaper and secure it with some lovely blue tape to make my wreath base.  No one's going to know how ugly it was before right?

Some of the circles I hot-glued together to make them a little larger before I would roll them up into the cone shape.  I made all sizes of cones - skinny, fat, and double-up ones.

This is how a few of them looked before I started to glue them onto my makeshift wreath.

Glue, glue, and glue some more - filling in all those tiny spots.  I also glued some of the scallops flat onto the back of the wreath - I know no one was going to see it anyway, but I had to cover my bases.

Drum roll . . . Voile!  I had finally finished it!  I'm pretty pleased with my wreath - now I have something pretty to look at in my bathroom.  It took me probably a good 6 to 8 hours - slow and steady, but I think it was worth it.  All it cost was a few hot glue sticks (probably a whole package), an old dusty book, and a few sheets of scrapbooking paper.

Water painting - on a chalkboard

A clean alternative to painting - something I have recently seen on Art for Little Hands as well as Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.  I needed a way to keep Mina busy on this particular afternoon so I could work on getting homework done with my 7 year old.  I took a paint brush and a cup of water to the chalk board and let her take the ropes. 


The chalkboard had not been erased from some "playing school" the previous day and had some words written on it.   Mina immediately began tracing over the letters. Wow, I didn't know this was going to be an educational experience for her.  Even better!  I had never thought to have her trace letters before, but I can see now that she is ready.

Eventually, after she had gone over all the letters on the board she began to fill in the spaces and "paint" with the water.   Once the water would start to dry, she would start over again.  This kept her busy for a good 30 minutes or so - enough time for me to watch over my 7 year old as she completed her homework. 

Monday Madness Link Party #1

Mondays can be tough!  Let Kids Create and Art for Little Hands have teamed up to create a new link party every Monday to help start your week off right.  Link up one of your favorite posts to help brighten our day - Anything to inspire and delight is welcome.

Have something to share? Link up one blog post per week: new or old posts welcome.  I will share some of my favorites next week.

Feel free to add this button if you are submitting:

*with your link you give me permission to use pictures from your post to share with others.

Learning to sew

The past year or so I have really started to enjoy sewing.  I am still learning, really, but have been able to make a few things for my girls.  So naturally they have been interested in learning to sew something themselves.  I don't know what a good age is to begin learning on a machine, but this is the second time I have given Lou (age 7 1/2) a mini sewing lesson. 

She made a pillow.  I think a pillow is a great thing to sew for a beginner because it only involves straight lines and it's fun because it's something she can actually use.  I traced around a box onto some scrap fabric we had and I cut it out since my scissors are a little dull, but next time I think I'll let her do the cutting also.

Sewing carefully at a low speed, she was able to keep a pretty straight line.

Turning the fabric right side out to prepare for stuffing.

Stuffing the pillow.

All done!  "Sew" cute, I stitched up the small hole we had left to insert the stuffing. 
Other than that, she did it entirely herself!  She wants to make more, next time
I think we can try something with a little curve to it - maybe a stocking for her
stuffed animal or doll?  We'll see!

New Linky Party


Good news!  I have teamed up with Art for Little Hands to bring you a new linky party we will be calling Monday Madness.  Our first linky party will be this coming Monday.  It is a chance for you to share a post (old or new) that might help to brighten someone's day - children's crafts, mommy crafts, inspirational stories...anything!  Can't wait to see what everyone has to share!

7 benefits of coloring

My girls love to color and I have sometimes wondered if there were better ways they could be spending their time.  I have asked myself the question, "Is this just a great way to occupy them for a bit?  Or are there actual lessons to be learned from such an ordinary task?"  Given more thought, I have found that there are actually several benefits for children when they simply color a printed page. 

1- Coloring helps a child practice holding a writing tool the correct way and aids in developing those tiny muscles in their hands, fingers, and wrist.

2- Coloring aids in hand-eye coordination as the child learns to color within the specified area.

3- Children develop the skill of patience and learn to focus on details when coloring. Such a sense of accomplishment is achieved when a coloring page is completed.

4- Coloring allows a child to relax and be comfortable while creating a piece of art. Children can fill in the figures and shapes on the page any way they choose, whereas drawing can sometimes be a little intimidating that the outcome won't be exactly as they wanted.

5- Coloring a simple printed page helps a child to recognize color, hue, line, perspective, shape and form. It also helps a child to see and recognize patterns - a pre-reading and pre-math skill.

6- Eventually a child can even learn to plan as they decide the colors they will use in their picture and then what order they are going to color things within the picture.

7- Last, but not least, coloring can allow you and your child to have some quality quiet time together.  It can provide a wonderful time to sit and chat with your child.

What other benefits have you seen as your children have spent their time coloring?

Exploring rubber stamps and ink

Maisy was at preschool and I really needed to figure out something to keep Mina occupied for a little bit.  I have a bunch of old mini stamp pads and a set of rubber stamps I picked up at the dollar store a while back so I let her figure those out.   Yes it was definitely messy, but boy did she have fun.

 At first she just wanted to stamp the little stamp pads right onto the paper, I think she tried every single one.  She tried stamping dry stamps onto the paper (no ink) and wasn't too pleased with it.  I had to show her that the stamps needed to be pressed onto the ink pad before applying them to the paper. 

So she tried the stamps a few times with the ink, but then went right back to the plain stamp pads. 

She even found one stamp pad that had come unglued from the base.  Oh boy, that made her giggle.

She loved stamping her hand print onto the paper.

 She definitely had a good time - reminds me that it's the process, not the product. 

I would love it if  you'd click and vote for me!

Cardboard Firetruck

This afternoon Maisy came home from preschool all excited about being able to meet a firefighter and see inside the truck.  She was absolutely ecstatic.  She immediately started asking if she could make her own firetruck out of an old box, luckily I found a couple that would work.  She wanted to paint it so I pulled out the tempera paints, a couple of brushes and rollers (from the dollar store) and let her and Mina get to work.

The boxes that we had were very shallow so I taped the top flaps together to extend the depth of the box, then did the same with the bottom flaps.  This allowed the box to become a foot powered car.

Before the girls began their painting, I drew a couple of wheels on each side of the box that they were able to go over with the black paint and then fill it in. 

 Then Maisy got to work rolling her red paint onto her firetruck.  At first she really wanted to do it with the truck standing up.  The paint wasn't going on as smoothly as she would have liked so she finally decided to lay it flat after a little persuasion - and observing how fast Mina was painting hers while it was laid flat on the ground.

 Mina really enjoyed rolling the paint on and she really completed hers quite quickly.

After adding a front windshield, Mina's firetruck was ready to roll.  She was excited.  I decided I would cut out some handle in the sides (not pictured here) for her so she could carry it a little easier, but she still just wanted to grab the top.

 Play is in full swing and the firetrucks have now transformed into a train. 

I would love it if you'd click and vote for me!

Dinosaurs and play dough

What kid doesn't love play dough?  It really is a fantastic medium to create and play with, but sometimes it's even more fun if you break away from the usual play dough toys (spaghetti press, scissors, cookie cutters, etc...).

I've been needing to make a new batch (homemade is the best, it doesn't dry out like the store-bought) since ours had turned gray from all the play we've done with it.  I found this website which is totally dedicated to different play dough recipes and gave this recipe a try.  I can't wait to try some of the other recipes. 

One thing  that's important when you make play dough if you want to have vibrant colors - add the food coloring before you heat the dough.  If color is added to the white dough after the heating process, the colors will be more muted. 

Just look at all the fun these girls had with their dinosaurs, rolling pin, and some wiggly eyes!

It's so fun to see them play and work together.

Dinosaur tracks

What are some other fun ways your kids like to play with play dough?  Jamie at Hands On: As We Grow recently shared 34 ways to play with play dough - make sure you check it out!

Making prints with fruits and veggies (again)

Yes, we did this back in June - but I have been wanting to try this again ever since and use fruits and vegetables with more interesting shapes and textures than we used previously.  This time I cut up an orange, a pear, celery, bell pepper, and sliced the rind off a pineapple. I had the girls each choose 2 colors they wanted to use, but they both just wanted yellow and green so they shared their paint.

The orange was quite juicy, but still left a nice shape.

I love that Mina decides to use the side of the pineapple instead of the side with texture.

Maisy goes for the flat side of the pineapple.

Then she adds a nice pear print.

Mina adds some curvy celery stamping.

Maisy follows suit.

One of my personal favorite shapes was the bell pepper.

Mina decides to use one of the celery sticks as a paint brush and makes some great strokes.

Then she decides to get a little on her finger and see how that looks on the paper.

Near the end, Mina spends a few minutes painting the bell pepper with the celery stick.

The final masterpieces as created by Maisy (age 4 1/2) and Mina (age 2).
This is a terrific thing to try with kids to let them explore painting along with different shapes and textures. 


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