Saturday, December 31, 2011

scrumdilly-do! the year in review.

I hope you enjoyed all the handmade fun we brought to you this year! From cardboard tube kazoos to newspaper pom-poms to fingerprint valentines there was all sorts of crafty fun going on. And to think that I had even more in the works that never got finished. There is always 2012. Thank you more than kindly for following this little blog. I only hope we can grow bigger and better. You support means the world to us. Hope your 2011 was a superb one and happy 2012! 

*you can click through the archives to check out these projects. ya know...if ya like.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Simms Taback 1932-2011

 Simms Taback was an author and illustrator who used a lot of happy color. He was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 2000 for Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. If you have not had the pleasure of reading any of his books, I recommend you hit up your local bookstore or library for a read or two or three. I grew up with his illustrations. Mr. Taback passed away this past Sunday. Rest in peace and color, rest in peace and color...

Friday, December 23, 2011

 Wishing you and yours a tremendous end to 2011 and a most dazzling welcome to 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

time for snowflakes

 Last year I made my snowflakes from cupcake liners. This year I threw in some coffee filters and a couple of paper punches...aren't they pretty?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

memory game a-go-go

 I've got three left in and plan on hitting the post office Monday...hurry!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Make a Retro Tissue Tree

 When I was growing up, Christmas and Christmas decor was always a bit of a big deal in my house. There are things that only came out at Christmas time that while now long gone, still stick clearly in the noggin. From my mother's winter window ledge display (handmade by her) to our homemade salt dough ornaments (now lone gone) these iconic holiday goodies are what makes Christmas Christmas. Sadly, most of these treasures have been lost (along with my dear, quirky, mother) but a few are still around and today I am going to show you a redo of a Christmas Wall Hanging my sister made back in the 1960s, when she was six years old. For this version, you'll need to scrounge around for some items you may already have and pick up a small piece of burlap to begin, are ya ready?

*cardboard (cereal box or other thin board is fine)
*piece of burlap (my finished piece is about 8"X11")
*straight edge
*clothespins or paper clips
*crepe paper (streamers are fine)
*white glue
*sparkly pipe cleaner
*vintage button, pin or earring
*sewing machine (optional)
Grab your cardboard and cut it down to a manageable size. The original tree is about 10"X12", I repurposed a stuffing mix box (from Turkey Day) and simply cut out the front, it measures about 8"X10".  Cut your burlap down to size about 2"-3" larger all around than your cardboard. Smother your cardboard with glue (the blank side) and center your burlap over it. Place a sheet of wax paper on top and a stack of books to weigh it all down and set is aside to dry. Once the burlap is dry, give it a whirl through the sewing machine, going around all four sides using a running stitch. I ended up doing this after the tissue tree was finished which is fine but you may wish to get a go on it first. You do not need to be it will help keep the burlap in place and give it a little extra incentive to not unravel too much.
While the glue is drying, have your kiddos select up to three (harmonious) colors of crepe paper or streamers. Streamers are great for crafting as they are inexpensive and have multiple uses. My sister's tree used three shades of green. My redo involved a bit of a modern twist on colors. Keep the palette simple which is why I suggest limiting it to three colors. Once they have their colors selected, hand them some scissors and let them cut of squares of streamer into a shallow dish. Set aside.
 While your kiddo is cutting up crepe paper, grab the other side of the box you repurposed (or any piece of cardboard) and cut out a triangle shape for your tree. This is where the straight edge comes in. This part is for grown-ups ONLY. When the glue is dry on your cardboard, clip your tree stencil to the front using paper clips or clothes pins.
Grab a small sponge or cut a clean sponge into a small square and give your paint a squirt onto a lid or other flattish container. Have your kiddo dab the sponge into the paint then onto their burlap. Have them use an up and down motion. This doesn't have to be even, this is more of a guide for the tissue paper and a nice bit of color for any spots that go unnoticed. Set aside to dry, it shouldn't take long,
Pour a small amount of glue onto a lid or other small flat dish or tray and have your kiddo grab a square of tissue and crumple it into a ball. Dab the tissue ball into the glue then place onto the edge of the triangle/tree. Continue until the tree is outlined. They may wish to use all one color or randomly mix it up, either way is fine, it is their tree.
Once the outline of the tree is finished, they may continue adding tissue balls until the entire tree is finished. Refill glue as needed. To create the trunk, fold one square in half twice to make a smaller squarish shape.
Once the tissue tree has been completed, give your button/earring/pin a healthy does of tacky glue and glue to the top for the tree's star. 
Next, grab your sparkly pipe cleaner and cut into four pieces varying the lengths. This will become your tinsel. Bend and shape if you wish and give each piece a good dose of glue before pressing down. Set aside to dry. Pipe cleaners and glue can be tricky as the pipe cleaner takes a while to warm up to the glue. Make sure your kiddo has something else to do next so that they do not fiddle with the pipe cleaner pieces.
Once everything is dry, use a large pin or needle to gently tug away the extra strands of burlap from the edges. They should unravel fairly easily. Your kiddo will probably like this part. Lookie at the happy fringe! Use scissors to trim if you need to.
Flip the whole thing over and tape a length of yarn to the back (one legnth of tape at each end of the yarn). I braided up my yarn, you do not have to. You can also use ribbon or twine. If you like, glue a happy paper backing to your board first so that you are not greeted with a product picture (I kinda like the product picture, it will give you a retro feel in about twenty -years or so). Have your kiddo sign and date the back as well. 
 Find a happy place to hang and admire. Now go bake some Christmas cookies! This project uses up all sorts of nifty developmental elements for your kiddo; scissor cutting, measuring, practicing the up and down of the sponge painting, small/fine motor skills during the balling and glueing, patterning and color fun in selecting their colors and shape recognition using "circles" in the triangle. This is a less than open-ended project but has its bits of usefulness in preparing your kiddo for following instructions, planning their vision within a set of instructions and using up all those nifty skills they are developing. I hope you enjoy this project and if you do make a tissue tree, please add it to the flickr group and/or email me an image and link and I'll add you to the 'do! Happy crafting!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Homemade Holidays: Tinfoil Festive Hanukkah Cards

 I never grow tired of the dazzle that is tinfoil festive. I was in in need of a Hanukkah card or two so I whipped out some supplies and created these nifty bits. Wanna make yer own set? You may already have the supplies on hand. Let's see...

*tin foil
*white glue
*cardboard (I used a cereal box)
*scissors or for grown ups only, a straight blade
*crepe paper streamer or colored tissue
*embroidery thread
*glitter, sequins or other flat sparkly bits
Set up your work area by laying out a splat mat or a large sheet of wax paper. Have your kiddo cut or tear a bunch of colored tissue (I used crepe paper streamers), other thin papers and embroidery thread or yarn. Place them on a plate or nearby for easy access.
 Lay out a large sheet of tinfoil (size is up to you). Poor a blob of glue onto your tinfoil and have your kiddo spread the sticky mess all over using a paintbrush, damp sponge or sponge brush.
Brush on or flatten on bits of tissue paper. The more you play around with them, the wetter they get which causes bunching and tearing. Add snipped bits of thread, yarn or string and then more tissue for a layered look. While the glue is still wet, dazzle it up even more with a shakey shake of glitter or salt. Set aside to dry.
While the festive fun is drying, grab some cardboard boxes (cereal and cracker boxes work great, I think I used a yogurt box) and cut into manageable, card-sized rectangles.
Create a stencil for your kiddos of whatever shape you like. I cut a triangle from a magazine insert to create the Star of David. The dreidel was drawn free-form. Flip your rectangles over so the blank side faces down and have your kiddos trace the shape onto the printed side using a dark colored marker.
Cut out the shape your kiddos traced. This part is for the grown-ups only as blades are involved.
 Once your tinfoil fun is all dry and the tack is gone, smother the printed side of your cardboard cards with white glue and have your kiddo place the cards, sticky side down on top of the foil fun. Repeat until all your cut pieces are camping out onto the foil. Lay a sheet of wax paper on top and stack a pile of books on top of that to flatten out the cardboard and give the glue a chance to stick. If you have chosen to cut your foil first, then use paperclips or clothespins to hold the edges places.
Once everything is dry, cut around cardboard with scissors and write a happy message on the back. Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homemade Holidays: make a mini yarn garland

 Happy December friends! Here's a nifty, easy (with a wee bit of wait time involved) garland project that can be adapted for any holiday. This year, I am using it for Christmas but change the color of the yarn and it can become a New Year's, Valentine's Day, Halloween or Hanukkah garland as well. Your kiddos will enjoy making this as it involves that delightfully messy and sticky stuff we know as glue. Tink kiddos will fully immerse themselves into the goo but your older kiddos can have a go at working those fine motor skills as they wrap that yarn around something smaller than a balloon. Don;t forget to cover your surfaces, this can get messy.

*5 or more plastic eggs that open
*plastic wrap
*wax paper
*white glue or mod podge
*sequins, buttons, happy beads or old costume jewelry bits
*4 or more mini ornaments (optional)
 Lay a sheet of wax paper over your work surface area and have your kiddos separate those eggs.
 Hand your kiddo a pair of (kiddo safe) scissors and let them cut up the yarn into a series of smallish lengths 3"-8" inches. This does not have to be exact. One long length (about 10") is enough for one evenly wrapped egg half but we're giving this project to our kiddos to do so they may prefer working with smaller lengths. Dump the yarn bits into a shallow dish with a healthy amount of white glue or mod podge and allow to soak in.
Wrap each egg half with a bit of plastic wrap, tucking the ends and edges up into the egg cavity. You can tape into place if you like but if you get a good bunch of wrap tucked under, it should remain in place as it sticks all over itself.
To begin wrapping, your kiddo(s) can pick up one piece of yarn with one hand while using the thumb and pointer finger of the other to squeeze excess glue out. Plop the sticky strand atop a plastic covered egg half and wrap around. Repeat with more yarn until satisfied. your kiddo can do an even wrap if they are older and more in control of their motor skills or they can do a wonky, squigglely wrap. The nifty thing is that the egg halves are so small, they won;t need a lot of yarn to cover.
Continue until all egg halves are covered and set aside to dry over night. The damp sponge is there for your kiddos to wipe excess sticky from their fingers as they work. I used the smaller, more round halves of my plastic eggs but you and your kiddos can use either/or or both. If you do not have eggs, try using an upside down egg carton covered in wrap or small round bottomed cups.
When dry, remove plastic and yarn from egg half. It should easily be separated from the egg. Next, and I suggest you do t his part, gently hold the yarn magic in one hand while pulling away the plastic wrap with the other. If there are dried blobby bits of glue, you can use your scissors to trim a little.
Hand your kiddo a bottle of tacky or craft glue and a small assortment of buttons and baubles and have them glue one happy bit into the cup of the yarn (like a nest...ooh...use brown yarn and make a spring bird and nest garland. I think I will do that!) They can of course glue more than one happy bit or if they are of the age where the baubles and bits may end up in their nose instead, let them shake a bit of glitter on top and set aside to dry.

Once everything is dry it is time to assemble garland. Cut a long length of yarn at least six feet and thread your yarn cups on. If you like you can alternate with a pretty ornament in between. I made a separate mini ornament garland and looped them up together when I hung them. Once you get the first cup on, double loop and knot one end of the yarn to anchor it in place. The first cup will be the one to keep the rest from slipping right off. To keep the whole shebang from crashing into each other, loop the yarn through each happy bit twice kind of like a running stitch, over, under and over again and on into the next one. If the yarn is too sloopy, use a small square of tape to pinch off and taper the end.
Once you are finished, loop and knot your ends for ease of hanging and find a nifty place to showcase. Have fun and I'm here if you have any questions!