Friday, January 30, 2009

Martha's Flowers

In keeping with my homemade decorations for the upcoming baby shower tomorrow,
I decided to make my own flowers.
Fresh flowers are lovely but don't last very long
and I can't even compost them this time of year.
Why not make flowers I can re-use
for my daughter's birthday party and Valentine's day next month?

But I have to admit that buying this Martha Stewart crafts kit made my job a lot easier.
The directions were not as clear as I would have liked but I am very happy with the finished product. It was much easier than cutting all of the tissue paper myself, trimming floral wire, and hunting down my AWOL roll of florist's tape.

To make the "vase", I wrapped an empty cardboard Trader Joe's coffee can with scrap-booking paper scraps (from the invitations project) and used my CM tape runner to adhere it.

Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle and make it pretty while you're at it.

Now...I'm off to:
clean my house,
keep my kids from trashing the clean house,
bake cinnamon rolls and quiche,
and wash my grandmother's china and wine glasses
before the big day tomorrow!

I'll post photos after I recover from the big event.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baby Shower Printed Paper Banner

More of my homemade, use what you have, baby shower decorations. Good thing I have enough scrap-booking and craft supplies to outlast my own generation -- I have enough goodies stashed here to give Martha a run for her money (she's up on my next post!)

This little banner was easy and fun to make. I printed the letters onto pink card stock with my computer. Then, I trimmed them with my paper cutter and used my trusty Creative Memories corner rounder to soften the edges. I mounted each letter on scrapbook paper, also trimmed and rounded. Adhered it all with my CM tape runner, punched holes in each corner, and strung them on a ribbon.

B-A-B-Y = C-U-T-E!

Girlie and sweet just like the mommy-to-be!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In My Studio: New Basket

In my studio right now is this basket I finished at the beginning of December. I'm just now getting around to posting it. I love the colors, I started it when the leaves were changing and it just has a nice warm cozy feeling to me. I wish I were a cat so I could curl up and take a nap on the window sill in it. Of course, if I were a cat I wouldn't have opposable thumbs which would make basket making a bit more challenging.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Red Plate Special

In our household, when someone has a special day or has accomplished something extra special they are rewarded with dinner arriving on the red plate. There is only one and the recipient usually does not know they are getting it until their dinner arrives at the table. The red plate does not come out every week. It is much more magical because you never know when it is going to appear but it is always welcomed with smiles and applause and makes dinner that night just a bit more special. In the case of the Frog Princess, she also gets her milk in a small wine glass we have reserved just for her on red plate nights.

What kind of fun family traditions do you have?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oatmeal Sensory Box --Keep 'Em Busy When It's Gross Outside!

Mini-Saurus "cooking" in her Oatmeal Box.

So this is the box that started it all. The famous oatmeal box. I made one for the Frog Princess (now almost 6 years old) when she was a toddler. It was a great way to keep her entertained in my kitchen while I cooked dinner or unloaded the dishwasher. Also a fantastic distraction when the weather outside is awful (winter and summer!) She loved it then and still loves it today. If she ate some of it, no harm no foul, it was just some extra fiber. I didn't introduce the sand table outside until this box was mastered and I knew the "tasting" stage was over.

I recycle fruit snack or pudding cups, detergent caps, and spice bottles for experiments with pouring and filling. It is great for hand eye coordination, fine motor development and serves as a great sensory experience. Both of my girls have a great time digging in. When they're done they get a little Montessori-style lesson in cleaning up with small dust pans and brooms. Don't be afraid of a little clean up at your house! It is a great learning tool and a gentle way to teach siblings how to play nicely together.

Go check out my old posts about my Ocean Box, Construction Box, and Winter Box. I just gave my favorite two year old up the street an Ocean box for her birthday last weekend and every kid (all ages from 8 years-22 months) dove into it for the next 30 minutes of the party. Same thing happened when I gave my other friend's little boy a Construction box for his birthday. Sometimes a box of rocks (or sand...or oatmeal) is all they need to have fun!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Little House in the Big Woods - Barbie Log Cabin Made From A Box

The Frog Princess playing first thing after breakfast in her pjs.

The "barn" she built...notice the bear in the metal pot by the pig pen.
They were cooking him for dinner.

Pioneer Barbie "Ma" cooking at on her open fire.

Welcome to our little house in the (not so big) family room. The Frog Princess and I recently finished reading our first Laura Ingles Wilder book and she is digging the pioneer lifestyle. So, instead of building the world's largest Lincoln Log cabin (which I may still do for her birthday with the Freecycled lincoln logs I scored last month) we crafted this little Barbie love shack out of two empty xerox paper boxes.

Yes, that is a fireplace built out of half a kid's shoe box (wrapped in brown construction paper) with lincoln "logs" and a battery operated tea light "fire" Yes, that is a black construction paper stove with a paper towel tube chimney. And yes...those are real packing tape windows with working shutters to let in the light but keep out the bears and wolves. Yes, I know the cat is on the kitchen table trying to eat the roasted chicken. What can I say, she sets her little world up with quite a dose of reality learned from our own household!

Time invested: One little sister's afternoon nap on a Saturday while mom and the Frog Princess glued strips of brown construction paper "logs" to the outside of the box.

Result: Hours of play with pioneer Barbies trying to get through the harsh winter here under the Christmas tree without getting eaten by plastic bears or wolves hiding under the couch. Great plot lines and use of imagination and learning to tolerate Mini-Saurus barging in...and "Mooooommmmm!! She's wrecking everything I just set up!"

Finally, a life long (I hope) love of great books. We found three more from the series at the used book store this weekend and can't wait to dive in as soon as we're finished reading our second-hand Colonial Williamsburg-era books about Felicity from the American Girl Doll book series. I think I may have a hoop skirt sewing project in my future!

Yes, that's the felt play mat as the front yard and pond where the pioneer Barbies bathe and get their drinking water much like the Godavari river but a wee bit smaller!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Homemade Christmas Gifts Reveal #3: Family Shape Puzzle

Step One: Use What You Have.
Start with a store bought puzzle.
I used this version from Melissa and Doug for both puzzles.
I used one that I already had in the house for my own daughter
and one that I got from Freecycle to re-make for my Sister In Law's new baby.

Step Two: Follow the Lines.
Trace Family Photos to glue into the holes.

Step Three: Put On a Happy Face.
Here is the puzzle with photos glued into the holes.
Cover with protective coating of clear Mod Podge when the glue is dry.

Step Four: Get Artsy.
To Jazz it Up...I took off the handles and added scrapbooking paper
to each shape andcoated these with a layer of Modge Podge as well.

Here is my adorable sister in law opening hers on Christmas day!
How cute would this be for baby's first Christmas
(or as a first birthday present... or even for a shower gift?!)

Happy Re-cycled Crafting!

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