Wednesday, December 29, 2010

* Coffee Filters and Watercolors Snowflake Art


Remember this little guy from my favorite things post last week?

The girls and I have been having fun with coffee filters all week. 
I bought a package at the grocery store specifically for craft-usage.

We don't use this kind in our coffee maker-
we having boring brown #4 cone shaped filters
that aren't really good for much when it comes to crafting. 

(They are, however, great for composting in our kitchen vermicomposter!)


"E" decided to make a color wheel with hers.
She said the window in my art studio, over my sewing machine,
is/was boring and needed some color. 

She cut out the center of the filter,
then, carefully drew black lines with a marker
to divide each section. Then, she carefully painted
this little spectrum/color wheel. 

I love it and it looks great with the sunlight streaming through it. 
AND...
I love that she came up with the project completely on her own!


We also cut out snow flakes,
laid them on newspapers,
and carefully painted them with watercolor. 

I like cutting them out first, 
because the watercolor paint flattens them out
and stiffens them up a bit.  

They display really beautifully 
on windows, mirrors, and bulletin boards
when they're dry. 


My new view from my sewing machine --
Thanks "E"!

Fondly,
pink and green mama, MaryLea

Katie's Nesting Spot

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Homemade Gift: Wood-burning Kid Illustrated Art Keepsake Boxes

 

So I couldn't post this project until after Christmas because I didn't want Grandma's to see their gifts early. But it's also my favorite Christmas gift we made this year and it has been REALLY hard to not share it with you all!

I have complete directions on how to make these wooden keepsake boxes in my FREE  Homemade Gifts From the HeART lesson plan PDF booklet



But here's a quickie version.

Start with some cute wooden boxes from the craft store and some favorite drawings by your extremely talented resident artists (your kids!) 


Transfer the drawings to the wooden boxes with tracing paper, then use your wood-burning tool to trace over the whole drawing. Try not to pass out from the fumes! You might want to run an exhaust fan, wear a respirator mask, or do this project out in some fresh air.

Don't forget to add their names (in their own handwriting)to the project. My girls signed and dated the boxes on the bottom. 


Now for the tricky part, carefully watercolor your design/drawing. 

ProTips:  The wood bleeds easily. You don't need a lot of water. 
I like nicer watercolors better (like my Yarka watercolors)
Use a tiny brush.

Some sap may come to the surface from the woodburning process- creating a bit of a "resist" effect on the wood == frustrating!

Have facial tissues or coffee filters handy to soak up excess watercolor blobs and mistakes!


Close ups of the sides of the girls' Christmas box.
Both girls worked on the picture together, doing different parts. It really was a joint project. 

Because I copied the original drawing onto the boxes, I was able to make two identical boxes for both sets of Grandparents.




"E" is making the snail box to keep her fossil collection in. 


You can seal the box with beeswax or clear acrylic spray, I left ours plain. 

Happy Wood-burning! 

Fondly,
pink and green mama, MaryLea

Thursday, December 16, 2010

* Homemade Christmas: Toy Kitty Cat Carrier


My little 3.5 year-old "C" is OBSESSED with Kitty Cats.
She has quite a collection of stuffed kitty friends.

They all have names and distinct personalities.
She even has a "real" (pink) kitty bed upstairs in her room
that I let her buy on sale (with a coupon!) at the pet store earlier this year.

It's a really easy way to corral all of her plush feline friends.

She also loves carrying them around the house
but that usually means that mommy has to transport
6-8 kitties up and down the stairs several times a day.

I decided she needed a little cat carrier to keep her furry friends contained and portable. 


My solution after looking at several 
overpriced and ugly "real" carriers
was to make my own with stuff I already had in the house!

I used plastic needlepointing mesh material,
I don't know what this stuff is actually called!


I used one "Whole" Sheet of Plastic Mesh (far left above) as the topper
(10 1/4" by 13 1/2"),
One Rectangle as the Bottom (approx. 6" x10")
One skinny Rectangle as the Handle (7 1/2"x 2")
and Two Curved Semi-Circle Pieces 
as the Back of the carrier and  Front Door (approx. 6 1/2" wide by 6" tall). 


I'm sorry about the wacky dimensions, this was one of those
make-it-up-as-I-go projects so I was just
cutting stuff out and using scraps I had to make it work, 
(I really didn't want to go to the store!)

Same with how I sewed it together...
I just started stitching pieces together while sitting on the couch!

I did the little front door last. 


Stitching away with pink yarn and a big embroidery needle. 


Side view of the cat carrier
(also known as a mesh mail box with a handle)


View of the front of the carrier.


Pink elastic Ponytail holder stitched to the door to be the "clasp" for the door. 


"Samantha" cat and "Strawberry" cat check out their new digs!


How many kitties can this thing hold?


Such a happy Cat Mama, she even brought her cat carrier to school for Show and Tell!

Happy Crafting!

Fondly,
pink and green mama, MaryLea



Monday, December 13, 2010

* Homemade Christmas: Felt Bad Guys Set!


Who is that masked bandit wearing Moose Pajamas?



Role play is a huge part of our day around here.
Especially on the weekends. 
Props like Masks, Wands, and Silk Scarf Capes
play a big role in that.

I apologize for the fact that you pretty much only see my kids
wearing Pajamas in all of my posts!
My kids live in their PJs at home
(we really do get dressed when we go out in public....
most of the time -- 
maybe it's because their mom lives in Jeans and Slippers) 

I've had this little project 
bouncing around in my head
for the past year and I finally made it last weekend.
And no...I couldn't save it for Christmas but it
WOULD make a fantastic Homemade Christmas Gift!


For the "Sack" I cut down an old
pillow case and made it not quite as deep
(It was a King Sized Pillow case and
little arms would have had a hard time with it)

Now, I have to admit I thought I was being clever
by re-purposing materials we already had
(using the pillow case) BUT....
sewing the Felt "Dollar Sign" to the pillowcase
was a giant pain in the butt
because I was trying to manipulate the whole pillowcase
through my sewing machine (ugh!)

Using a flat piece of fabric to sew the felt to first
would have been MUCH easier.

I also should have stitched down the two straight lines
of the "Dollar Sign" first then the "S" shape.
I did it in a different order and it doesn't look great up close.
(However, my kids don't seem to care.)


Pinning the "Dollar Sign" in place.


I made up my own pattern by tracing
an existing play mask from our Dress-Up Box
onto two pieces of Green Felt.
Then, I stitched it all up with a piece of elastic
sandwiched in-between as the strap.


Then, I carefully cut out the eye holes with my
sharp sewing scissors.


The finished Mask. 
We might need some more in other colors!


Of course we needed some Gems and Jewels
for our Theif(s) so we raided our gold rocks
(gravel I spray painted Gold) 
stash from "C"s Pirates and Mermaids Party
and some of our Dollar Tree Glass Stones 
and Michael's Plastic Jewels. 


Hey! Get that bad guy!


Happy Homemade Gift-Making!

Fondly,
pink and green mama




Saturday, December 11, 2010

* Homemade Christmas: Felt Food Cookie Jar for Pretend Play



My sweet little niece is getting her
first play kitchen this Christmas. 

Aunt MaryLea is hooking her up with some
homemade felt food. 

I found this cute little plastic jar at the Dollar Tree
and thought it would make a perfect little cookie jar.


I made little felt cookies to go inside her jar.
Perfect for little tea parties and very low calorie!



I traced little felt circles and stitched them
together by hand with some embroidery thread and a bit of fluff, stuffing inside.

For the OREO cookies I just stacked up three white felt
circles inside two chocolate brown circles and stitched 
through all of the layers with dark brown floss.


I'm also making some fruit (strawberries and watermelon)
and veggies (peas, tomatoes, broccoli).

We'll see what else I come up with before Christmas,
it has been a fun little sewing project during evening
TV time....of course I'm making doubles of everything
because my own girls ask for everything they see me making for their cousin! 

Happy Homemade Gift-Making!

Fondly,
pink and green mama


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

* Homemade Christmas: Homemade Nativity



Get ready for my latest favorite green craft project! 
How stinkin' cute is this little Nativity?! 
This mama has been down for three weeks with the Worst. Cold. Ever.
Long story short -- my new hobby is "coughing."


It has meant a lot of time spent indoors so we've been keeping busy with 
art projects and crafts  made with stuff that's already in the house. 


"C" (age 3.5) and I decided to make our own  homemade Nativity last friday.
My kitchen table still has glue gun glue and glitter residue on it but it was totally worth it.
"C" did a great job and it sure is cute!

We made the manger with the Shutterfly box our Christmas cards arrived in.
I cut out the front with a knife and she and I worked together to glue popsicle sticks to the outside.


We left a hole in the top to stick our pencil angel. 


"C" drew faces for Joseph, Mary, the Angel, and Baby Jesus. 
I love Joseph's soul patch and Mary's Eyelashes!


We made Joseph and Mary by wrapping
toilet paper tubes with felt and gluing fabric scraps on them.


The Angel started with a cardboard shape I cut out of the leftover box front
with a fabric scrap dress.
 "C" cut out and added doily wings and another sweet face.


I glue-gunned a colored pencil (that never worked well anyway)
to the back of the angel so we could stick her in the top of the manger.


Yes, we used a wine cork to make Baby Jesus.
(I thought it was kind of funny)

We wrapped and glued a swaddle of scrap fabric and added another cute "C" drawn face.


For the cradle, we used another toilet paper tube with two pieces glued to the bottom for feet.
Added another scrap of fabric inside to make it "fancy." 


We didn't have a sparkly star
so we added glue and gold Martha Stewart glitter dust to a foam craft star
that mama glue-gunned to the top of the manger.

We glued some raffia in the bottom of the manger to be the "hay." 


When it was all dry, "C" set up the manger with visiting ponies, sheep, and unicorns. 
Gifts of gold rocks, gems, and presents from the three wise Polly Pockets.


If you look carefully at the last photo you might be able to see that she also
glued some doily snow flakes on the back wall of the manger.
She worked so hard to cut them out carefully and said they had to be there because, 
"Baby Jesus was born on a cold winter night" 


"C" loves her new Nativity set and so does our whole family. 
I think I'll be setting this one up for many, many years! 

Happy Green Crafting!

Fondly,
pink and green mama

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