Friday, December 30, 2011

Building with marshmallows


For one of our activities counting down to Christmas, we pulled out some marshmallows and toothpicks. We had never done this before, but I had seen it here and thought it would be a fun wintery activity since the marshmallows are white and fluffy just like snow.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas themed pictionary


I thought I would share one last Christmas activity we did before signing off until after Christmas.  This is something that can easily be pulled out to be worked on while parents are getting things ready for the big day.

For day 14 of the Creative Christmas Countdown, Laura at Art for Little Hands shared three fun drawing games to play with a Christmas theme.  We decided we would try pictionary first.  It was fun to see how each of my girls played along being only 7, 5 and nearly 3.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas tree pinecones

Aah!  Christmas is almost here and I have hardly posted any crafts.  I thought I'd share this one anyway because it was so much fun to do. 

Last year we painted pinecones and decorated with glitter, but I don't know what happened to them.  I couldn't find them this year so, of course, we had to make some new ones.  Back in June we did this open-ended craft with pine cones and Mina stuck pom poms all over her pinecone,  so I knew those had to be part of our Christmas tree pinecones this year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Monday Madness 13

Christmas week is here!  I hope you are ready and in the spirit.  This week I have decided to feature the most popular links shared last week because I just couldn't decide myself who to feature.  Here are the top four posts from last week:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homemade gift- hand and foot stamped dish towels



This year for my kids' school teachers we painted some dish towels.  Inspired by this pin on Pinterest, I decided to go really simple and use my girls footprints to make some Christmas trees on the towels.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ornament Traditions


Just a quick post today to share a tradition we started when Lou {now age 7} was a baby. 

Each year on Christmas Eve we give each of the kids an ornament that is fitting to their personality and interests. 

The last two years we have decided that this makes the perfect {inexpensive} gift for our girls to give to each other.  We have them draw names so each girl gives and receives one ornament.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cards {Trees and Snowflakes}

For day 2 of the Creative Christmas Countdown, Dilly-Dali Art shared some fantastic ways to make your own Christmas cards so the next day we pulled out our supplies to make some of our own as an advent activity.

I was way too optimistic about this and started preparing way too many things for us to be able to do in one afternoon.  Then I saw my dusty heart-shaped paper punch sitting in the drawer and decided we could use that to make some Christmas trees on our paper.  Of course, hearts are so simple to make even if you don't have a punch. 

I have so much scrapbook paper I bought on a major discount at a warehouse sale.  I had an entire pack of this polka-dot forest green that was perfect for Christmas trees.  Scraps of wrapping paper would be a great alternative if you don't have oodles of scrapbook paper like I have seemed to collect.

I pre-punched the hearts because the girls always get frustrated with the punch.  It takes a little more strength than they have to be able to make a clean punch.  I showed them how to glue them upside down onto their card starting at the bottom and working their way up to make a layered effect. 

Then I handed over some Q-tips and some paint to let them decorate their trees.

I ended up gluing Mina's tree to her card and she decorated it a bit with paint.  But she was much more interested in starting over with a blank card and painting to her heart's content.  I think it looks like a snowman, not sure if that's what it was meant to be. 

Next I wanted to let the girls use their favorite snowflake stencils with some craft chalks
to make another card.  The girls received these wonderful laminated paper stencils from a neighbor soon after Mina was born.  They have held up so well and the girls use them year round. 

The girls rubbed their Q-tips in the chalk and transferred the color onto their card.  After they were done with the chalk, I went over the design with slightly damp Q-tip to make it look like watercolor.

Immediately after we had finished the cards, Lou opened up one of her finished cards and began to write a story in it. 
Our snowflake cards and Mina's snowman card

Our finished Christmas tree cards {yes, some of them are floating}


Have you made some Christmas cards this year? 
If you have be sure to go link them up over at Dilly-Dali Art!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Monday Madness #12

Welcome back to Monday Madness!  So many creative and festive posts were shared last week.  Here are a few of my favorites:


Reading Confetti made created this whimsical Christmas tree.  But...oops, you've got to see how it ended. 


Kitchen Counter Chronicles shared with us a fantastic round-up of "green" ornaments all made from upcycled products.




Camp Slop made these extra large paper gingerbread men.  Go check it out!


If you have been featured here go ahead and grab the "featured at" button from my side bar!

Now on to this week's party!  Art for Little Hands and I would love if you would share something to brighten our day and start our week off on the right foot.  Go ahead and link up one (ok, maybe 2 or 3 if it's fantastic) blog post: new or old posts welcome.

Don't worry if you don't have a craft to link up, it can be absolutely anything to help brighten our day!  One of us will be by to comment on your post and each of us will share some of our favorites next week.  I would also love it if you would "follow" me in one way or another. 



Feel free to add this button if you are submitting:


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


Don't forget to share some comment love while you are checking out some of the other great posts linked up this week.





Friday, December 9, 2011

Paper Candy Canes


We made these fun paper candy canes for our first stocking advent activity.  I had seen the idea the day before at The Chocolate Muffin Tree.  It looked simple enough to do for an after school project.  Little did I know that it was also simple and easy enough for a before school project because that's what ended up happening.  Yep, 7 a.m. and we were crafting these. 

All you need to make these is:
  •  a couple of markers (red and green are traditional colors, but any will do)
  •  several sheets of white copy paper
  • clear tape


Start by drawing your stripes around the edges of the paper.  No need to worry about the middle because you won't see it once it's all rolled up.


Mina (age 2) didn't understand why I would be limiting her to the edges of her paper so she just started to draw.


I pulled out some bingo dot markers and Mina was able to place the dots around the edges just fine.  Lou joined in and created some polka dot candy canes.


This was only the beginning.  She came up with several different designs - squiggles, dotted lines, zig-zags, etc.

After the edges are decorated, use the marker to help roll up your paper in a diagonal fashion.  Then slide the marker out and secure it with a piece of tape.


Next, take your marker and use it to curl one end of your paper stick. 


There's your candy cane!

I didn't realize these would be such a hit.  My girls {namely Maisy} have come back to this project several times during the last week because it's something the girls can do without supervision or other help.  We are displaying a few here in this hurricane vase, but they would not all fit.  These would make a great bunting to hang across the doorways if strung together. 

I love simple crafts!  What other super simple holiday crafts have you done?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toy Block Keepsake Tree

Today I want to share this little block tree- a tradition on my husband's side of the family. This is given to each member of the family as a wedding gift.  It's a fun way to display little trinkets from places we visit, not to mention an excuse to buy some of those cute little things we find occassionally that have our names on them. 


The tree is made out of traditional ABC blocks, stuck together with hot glue, and placed on a small lazy-susan so it can easily be turned and admired.  We have also added a string of super tiny faux lights.



Do you have a fun way you display little trinkets you pick up when you travel? 

Making Magical Christmas Memories





Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Crystal Ornaments

A few weeks ago I was at my sister-in-law's house and noticed this really awesome crystallized piece of art.  It was actually her daughter's name that had been crystallized, but she said she had done it a couple years back using this recipe and done snowflakes also.  I love it when I stumble upon something new and different, plus it's a great way to see science in action. 

This project does require adult supervision as it uses boiling water and borax (which must not be ingested).  A small child could help by stirring the mixture if they can be careful not to splash the hot water.  My 5 and 7 year olds did a great job with this part.  I did not let my 2 year old do any of the stirring.



To do this project you will need:

  • wide mouth jar (pint or larger)



  • pipe cleaners



  • borax
    (sugar or salt can be used in its place, it just takes longer for the crystals to form)


  • I found my borax at Wal-mart next to the laundry detergent.

  • pencil



  • boiling water



  • food coloring (opt.)



  • scissors




  • Start by taking your pipe cleaner and cutting and bending it into the desired shape.  Here Maisy used a little help in getting this snowflake shape.  Be sure to leave a longer piece coming off the top so it will be able to wrap around a pencil.


    Fill a wide mouth jar with boiling water and add 1 tbsp. of borax at a time, stirring until it's dissolved. You may also opt to tint your water with a little food coloring.

    It is suggested that you use 3 tbsp. of borax to 1 cup of water.  I didn't measure my water and some of my jars seemed to be a little too diluted because the crystals took longer to form or just didn't form as many. 

    Gently lower the pipe cleaner shape into the water and place it somewhere where it can sit undisturbed for an entire day.  Yes, patience is needed in order for the crystals to form. 


    The bottom of the jars eventually became coated in these crystals.



    I flaked them off the jar after our ornaments were done and saved the crystals.  I think they may make a fun addition to a later winter craft project.

    Here's a couple of our finished ornaments.  We made a few snowflakes, a wreath and a star.  Here's a couple of our ornaments:

    snowflake


    wreath


    In the summer we made this using borax.

    Have you experimented with borax crystals or made crystals in another way?

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Monday Madness #11

    Welcome back to Monday Madness.  We had a lot of fun and clever things linked up last week.  I think the holidays really seem to bring out our most creative side.  Here are a few of my favorites:


    Creativity My Passion shared how to make these glittery salt dough ornaments and how to get that glitter to stay on the ornament and not flake off.


    Christmas Pack

    Living Life Intentionally shared a fun and FREE Christmas printable pack so make sure to hop on over and grab yours.


    Happy Whimsical Hearts shared this cute homemade gift her son made for his little sister. I know my girls would be interested in this fun homemade toy.



    If you have been featured here go ahead and grab the "featured at" button from my side bar!

    Now on to this week's party!  Art for Little Hands and I would love if you would share something to brighten our day and start our week off on the right foot.  Go ahead and link up one (ok, maybe 2 or 3 if it's fantastic) blog post: new or old posts welcome.

    Don't worry if you don't have a craft to link up, it can be absolutely anything to help brighten our day!  One of us will be by to comment on your post and each of us will share some of our favorites next week.  I would also love it if you would "follow" me in one way or another. 



    Feel free to add this button if you are submitting:


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


    Don't forget to share some comment love while you are checking out some of the other great posts linked up this week.




    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Sticky collage with crayon wrappers

    The activity for day 13 of the Hands on Play Challenge was to create sticky art.  I decided to pull out some contact paper for Mina to play on while Maisy was at school. 

    Pinned Image
    I started out trying to do this play challenge like I had seen on Pinterest...


    But we just couldn't get our toothpicks to stick.  I don't know if it's because our contact paper wasn't the brand name.  Apparently it just wasn't sticky enough. 

    Fortunately, I had been saving some of our crayon wrappers for another idea I had seen on Pinterest, but never gotten around to.  Mina loved sticking all the different colored papers on to the sheet.

    She liked naming all the colors and counting how many she had put onto the sheet.  I helped her to make an "M" on the sheet. 

    Of course when Maisy came home from school she wanted to join in the fun, too.  She had her own ideas on how to do her collage - just throw it on and hope it sticks.


    Or else just smack it on. 

    When the girls were done with their creations, I cut to fit another piece of contact paper to seal it up and then stuck them to the window.
    Making collages with contact paper is so much fun, but the best part about it is that it's mess-free.

    What other materials do your kids like to stick to contact paper when making a collage?

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