Birdseed Valentine


This craft is not a new one, but we were inspired to make it because it was featured in Bridget’s Highlights magazine. I liked the idea that we were making Valentines for the birds, although you could make any shape that you wish, we made hearts.

1.  Cut out a cardboard heart, punch a hole in the center and thread it with a ribbon (we used pipe cleaners.)

2. Spread the heart with peanut  butter or vegetable shortening on both sides.  I let the kids start it, but I finished it.

3.  Coat both sides with birdseed.  I had a large bowl which perfectly held the heart without it touching the bottom, which made it easy to sprinkle and then flip it over, while limiting the mess. It did make quite a mess though, so do this craft the day before you mop the floor.

4.  We made three birdseed hearts, but I hung each one up outside immediately after each one was finished.  For the last one, I let the kids come with to hang it up.

5.  Now hopefully Those Darn Squirrels will let the birds have it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

easy homemade cards


I started to make my own cards because my husband was always complaining about how much cards cost.  And he is right, the truly beautiful cards can cost $5-$8.  I am not saying they are not worth the money, it is just that it can be fun and easy to make cute personalized cards for way less than $1 each.

These are the most recent ones I made, by simply cutting out pages from old “learning to read” books.  I thought they were charming and I simply used a glue stick to adhere the page to the front of a card. (The gluing is a great step that kids can help with.) Any old storybooks would work for images.  Used children’s books can be very inexpensive  and frequently are scribbled on or damaged, justifying the need to re-purpose them.  Paper Source makes lovely affordable blank cards and envelopes in a rainbow of colors and shapes. I purchased this huge pack of flat cards at Michaels.

Bridget received a beautiful homemade birthday card that my sister-in-law made in a similar manner and it really stood out among the other cards she received.

Having a special place to make and write cards also makes it extra enjoyable.  This old writing desk belonged to my great-grandmother. I love that I can just close it up and hide my mess (it lives in our main living/family room).  My kids call it my “special desk” and they know not to touch it. I also LOVE George Washington. . .

Along the lines of paper crafting, I recently discovered an activity that can keep my daughter busy for hours.  Pretty paper, scissors, and a hole punch.  She busied herself making bracelets, by cutting out shapes, punching holes in them and stringing them together.  Sometimes a catalog and scissors can do the trick.  She loves to cut out all of the pictures of the toys from the Oriental Trading Company catalog!

shoebox dollhouse


We have fallen for Calico Critters.  I had a few when I was little and we bought Bridget a few for Christmas.  I was very tempted to buy a house for them, but we really don’t need one and so I decided to make a shoebox dollhouse for them to live in. This is a very old idea and there are many ways to do it.  I used two books for inspiration, Green Crafts for Children and Homemade Fun.

  1. We selected four shoe boxes that had similar height and width (you can use as many as you like, or only one, depending on the number of rooms you would like to have)
  2. We painted the insides of the boxes
  3. We glued them together with  hot glue and used clothespins to hold the boxes together as the glue dried
  4. I used mod podge to cover the boxes in paper to make the outside a little prettier
  5. I used a piece of cardboard to make the roof, I also modged poged paper on it and hot glued it in place
  6. We have not done too much else, but you can cut out windows, make furniture, curtains, etc.

 


 

 

 

Bridget has enjoyed playing with it and it has made a cute place for her hedgehog family to live.

As this is another girl craft, I will share a picture of my chubby cheeked boy.  Let’s just say he LOVES trucks (or frucks as he calls them.)

 

the great thaw


I know it is not spring, but Bridget thinks it is and after the past couple of days I know I can survive until it does come.  My children enjoyed splashing in the puddles as the ice finally melted.

 

It also helped that B and I got out of Dodge last week when we were having the bitter cold weather.  We jetted to San Francisco to visit my sister.  They have a meyer lemon tree in their backyard and one of the first things we did was make lemonade.  Nothing tastes better than fresh homemade lemonade.

 

 

 

Homeade Lemonade

  • make simple syrup (1/1 ratio of sugar and water) : boil 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar and let cool
  • squeeze about 2 cups of lemon juice
  • Combine simply syrup and lemon juice and pour over ice and add 3-4 cups of water to taste

Bridget sometimes will find a lemon in the fridge and squeeze the juice into her play pitcher and add sugar and water and mix it all up- it always tastes yummy!

I have to say it was extra fun making the lemonade in a kitchen that looks like this

Because we were feeling so springy today, we made a butterfly craft.  The idea actually came from a craft  saw on the oriental trading company website.

We simply painted an old toilet paper roll added googly eyes, a pipe cleaner antennae, and some tissue paper wings.
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cooped up fun


I find being cooped up in our home without a schedule to be a great hindrance to my creative juices.  I thrive on structure and schedules, and flounder when every activity is canceled for four days in a row.

I do, however, think it is good for me and the kids to slow down and enjoy going a little crazy within the walls of our home. We have stayed in our pajamas all day, made forts, had indoor picnics and watched hours of Super Friends

We love tea parties.  We have at least five different tea sets.  I have to say that the one pictured above is our favorite.  It was  birthday a 2nd birthday gift from dear friends.  It is enamel coated so the kids can really but tea (or lemonade or water) in it.  They pretend with it too, it may be one of our most played with toys.

I love paper dolls. When my mom was in labor with my sister she sat on the couch and cut out paper dolls for me.  Bridget was recently introduced to paper dolls because her aunt gave her this really beautiful book for Christmas.

While you can cut the book up, I chose to make copies of the dolls and clothes so that we can keep the book intact. The book also includes beautiful scenes to use as backdrops for play.  Paper dolls are one of those lovely, timeless toys that are perfect for quiet winter play.

When Bridget gets older I would love to get her some of these custom paper dolls, which I think would be a lovely gift for any little girl.

A  note about our crafting:

I started really crafting with Bridget when she was 2-1/2. She will be 4 in a few weeks.  In general it seems that more girly crafts  exist. Given this and that my oldest is a girl, most crafts on this blog while be girlish. My son is 19 months and shows interest in what we do, but is not quite old enough to really participate.  I hope as Paddy grows that we will discover cool boyish crafts that we can all enjoy together.

My son however, looks like he may grow up to be baller.  He already shoots hoops, and they actually go in. . .

Another cooped up activity: lots of time playing in the basement where we keep the basketball or  “baball” as Paddy calls it.

clothespin dolls


Bridget found some clothespins I had recently bought and wanted to do a craft with them.  I bought them specifically to make clothespin dolls.  This is not that different from the princess wooden spoon, but just as much fun and you can make an entire family!

The directions and inspiration was from the book Green Crafts For Children.

Bridget enjoyed drawing the faces on the dolls

After drawing faces with markers, we cut strips of fabric for dresses and used yard to wrap around to secure the dress and make a top.  We used a dab of hot glue to secure the yarn.  We then made yarn hair and used hot glue to secure.  For the boys, the instructions call to wrap the “legs” with yarn, but that takes a little time and I had to do it.  We found we could color the legs with markers to make pants for two of our boy dolls.  You could also use paint, but I did not feel like a paint mess that afternoon.

We also snacked on this delicious mix:

  • 1 part pistachios (we like Trader Joe’s dry roasted/salted nutmeats)
  • 1 part mini chocolate chips (we had these left over from our walrus cupcakes)
  • 1 part raisins (cranberries or cherries would be yummy too!) our family: daddy (it was B’s idea to make a tie for him),  mom, Bridget, Paddy, Gaga and Papa

Princess Spoon


My daughter is a very crafty girl.  Most days she says, “let’s make a craft!”  She told me that her teacher calls her “craft girl” at school.  I try to keep simple, inexpensive ready-made craft kits on hand for days when my creative juices aren’t flowing. 

However, I am currently all out of craft kits, so I said “let’s go look in our craft room and see what we can find.”  Somedays half the fun is selecting a craft to do.  We have a rather large mudroom that we use as a craft space for the kids. 

I broke out our “I can cut and stick” book in search of ideas and found the page where you take a wooden spoon and turn it into a princess. 

It met our qualifications of being simple and we have all the supplies on hand.

  • We simply painted one side of an extra wooden spoon.
  • We then cut yard for hair (Bridget loves to cut anything) and of course we used red yarn
  • We then hot glued the hair on (the book calls for regular glue, but hot glue sticks better and dries quickly)
  • Bridget glued sequences on a doily for the crown
  • We drew on a face and added googly eyes (another favorite craft item)
  • We then simply wrapped the handle of the spoon with fabric and secured with a rubber band and tied a tulle bow around it to hide the rubber band.

You could make several of these and use as puppets.  Bridget also suggested we make a pirate spoon next time. . .Finished princess spoon

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