Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Noise Maker

I have found a few fun ideas for the kiddos to make for New Year's. Here is one of my favorites...I got it off of http://crafts.kaboose.com/.

What you'll need:
Miniature paper plate
Colorful paper streamers or tissue paper
Craft jewels, large and medium
Peach craft paint (optional)
White craft glue or hot glue gun
Beans or beads

How to make it:
If you like, paint the paper plate with peach paint. Let dry.
Fold paper plate in half to find center. Make a crease that you can see and unfold.
Place paper plate onto work surface. Cut streamers or tissue paper into thin strips about 4-5” long.
Glue the strips to the rim of the plate, only on one side (see your crease) leaving most of the strip sticking out. The glued end of the strips will be on the inside of the plate once folded. Glue colors in an alternating pattern.
Fold the plate and place a handful of beans or beads inside. Glue the plate closed.
Decorate the outside of the plate with craft jewels.

You can purchase craft jewels in variety bags at your local craft supply store.
Make decorating this craft easier by using stickers instead of craft jewels, a great option for smaller children.
Save leftover crepe paper streamers from birthday parties for future craft projects.

Here is another off of that website:

What you'll need:
Empty plastic water bottle
Beans, coins, or other items to place inside
1 sheet white tissue paper
Scraps of tissue paper in various colors, cut into small squares
24” long strip of light blue crepe paper streamer
24” long strip of pink crepe paper streamer
White craft glue

How to make it:
Place a handful of beads or coins inside the clean, dry water bottle. Run some glue around the mouth of the bottle and replace the cap.
Make a mixture of 1/2 white craft glue and 1/2 water that will be enough to cover the bottle a few times over.
Tear white tissue paper into large chunks, approximately 4”x2”.
Paint a small section of the outside of the water bottle with the glue mixture. Place a torn piece of white tissue paper onto the glue mixture and paint over it with the glue mixture. Repeat this process, covering the entire bottle with 2-3 coats of white.
Apply small colorful squares of tissue paper randomly over the white tissue paper to resemble confetti.
Cut each strip of crepe paper streamer in half. Carefully tie one of the pieces around the neck of the bottle. Repeat with other lengths of crepe paper. Use scissors to cut each length to about 4” hanging length, and then cut upwards into thin strips. Use a couple pieces of the excess crepe paper you just cut off to twist around the neck of the bottle and glue in place. Allow to dry for several hours.

Save tissue paper from birthday parties to use in projects such as these.
Always save extra, and used crepe paper streamers from parties to use in craft projects.
If you don’t have any crepe paper you can use regular ribbon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Finished Product

So, we got our Salt Dough ornaments finished on Christmas Eve...nothing like cutting it close!! I love how they turned out & we will definitely make more for next year!!

Royal Icing

I have an awesome butter cream frosting recipe, but have wanted to try out Royal Icing. I have been concerned about the raw egg whites, but have found this recipe off http://www.allrecipes.com/ . It says that it yields 3 cups of icing.


3 tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons water

Here's what you do:

Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7 to 10 minutes, or until icing forms peaks. Tip: Keep icing covered with a wet kitchen towel at all times. Icing can dry out quickly.

I plan on making sugar cookies with royal icing some time this week. We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teacher Gifts

This is my first year doing teacher gifts. I nearly forgot. My sister in law & I (but mostly her) did tile magnets. The tiles are tiny & then we bought vinyl to put on the tile that said "Live", "Laugh", & "Love". I then attached magnets to the back of the tile. They were pretty easy & super cute. I wrapped them up & they were ready to go! Thanks Val for all that you did! They turned out super cute!!!

Ribbon Bookmarks--Part 2

The bookmarks are finished. Kaden was a huge helper. We used a hot glue gun to attach the buttons to each other & then to attach the buttons to the ribbon. I used the glue gun & put some glue on & then Kaden (my 4 year old) would stick the buttons on. He did a great job & was super excited to be making his Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ribbon Bookmarks

With Christmas approaching (quickly), I decided that I should probably go through my ribbons & buttons to make sure that we have everything that we need to make them.

First, I gathered my stash...

Then, I cut the ribbon to the right size (I did just a bit over 12 inches). I layed out my ribbons & matched up the buttons that I wanted to use.

My last step was trimming & burning the ends so that they wouldn't fray. I had to trim the thicker ribbon down so that the corners didn't show.

Here is my ending product for tonight. I am pretty happy with how they turned out! I knew that my dollar ribbons would come in handy some day!! Tomorrow morning we will sit down & glue all of the buttons on & decide which bookmark is for who. If you get one of these, just act surprised for the boy's sake! Thanks!

Tomorrow & Tuesday will include painting the ornaments that are still sitting on my counter & gluing the buttons on the ribbon. Somewhere in there we will also be making cookies. There will be more posts to follow...so keep checking back. :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

A change in plans...

Well, there will be no painting today! There has been a HUGE snow storm & I spent most of my day driving to the tire store & then getting my tires replaced. We will get them painted & as soon as I do...I promise to post the finished product. Sorry!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

**Salt Dough Ornaments--part 1**

Tonight, we were able to find a bit of time to make the salt dough ornament recipe. It was too much fun. A few things to note:

#1..I ended up mixing up 3 batches of the recipe...It made the amount of ornaments in the photo (plus a little left over for the kids to goof around with).

#2..I tested both the oven & the microwave method. I would definitely suggest the oven. It takes a lot longer, but they turn out way better. I only ended up cooking mine for 1 minute in the microwave & it came out with big bubbles & it wasn't a smooth surface. I did all of the rest in the oven & was very pleased with how they looked!

#3..We did most of the ornaments with cookie cutters, but at the very end we did some 3-D ones. I made our family of snowmen (& snowwoman) & the boys made balls with a hole in them. They were just giant clumps of dough, but they have character.

#4..I used a straw to make the hole for the ribbon. You still need to stir it around for a minute because the hole will shrink up a bit as you cook it, but I think that the straw made it quicker & the boys could help easier. Plus, the dough stays up in the straw.

Up to this point the directions that I gave you were great! It is really simple & the kids loved kneading the dough & mixing in the ingredients. Stay tuned for the second installment...PAINTING & EMBELLISHING! I am kind of excited to see how they turn out!

**If you make these, please let me know. I would love to see pictures of what you have done!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Salt Dough Ornaments

I found this on http://crafts.kaboose.com. Just search "Salt Dough Ornaments". Here is what you will need:

½ cup salt
1 cup flour
½ cup water

Rolling pin
Cookie sheet
Miniature cookie cutters
Acrylic paints
Glitter glue or glitter paint

Here's what you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.**
2. Mix salt, flour, and water together until dough is formed.
3. Knead the dough on a floured surface until the mixture is elastic and smooth. If dough is too sticky, sprinkle with flour, continue to do so until stickiness is gone. Do not add too much flour, this will dry out the dough and will cause it to crack before you get a chance to bake it.
4. Roll out the dough to about ¼” thick with a rolling pin that has been dusted with flour.
5. Use cookie cutters to cut the shapes that you want.
6. Use a toothpick to make a hole toward the top of the shape. Poke the toothpick into the shape, then holding toothpick straight up and down, make a circular motion as if you were stirring something. Keep circling until the hole is the size you want.
7. Place all shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and place into the preheated oven.
8. Bake for 2 hours.
9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
10. Paint the ornaments.
11. When paint is dry, use glitter glue (we used green) or glitter paint (we used gold) to put a sparkling cover coat on your ornaments.
12. When dry, thread ribbon through hole and tie in a knot in the back.

**I also read on another recipe where you can microwave them instead of using the oven. I got this step off of http://www.allfreecrafts.com. Here is what they say:

Using a microwave-safe plate (not paper or cardboard), microwave a plate of your ornaments for 1 to 4 minutes, increasing the time by 1 minute increments and keeping a close eye on the microwave as the ornaments bake. Microwave power levels differ greatly, so use high power in a less-powerful oven, but lower it if your oven tends to heat things very quickly. You don't want to risk a fire! Let the ornaments cool completely before decorating.

If your toppers are large enough, you can make two holes in each so that you can thread ribbon through like a button, only showing a small amount of ribbon on the front.
These make adorable pins to wear to school. Just don’t make a hole. Glue a pin back to the back of the completed ornament instead.
Uncooked salt dough doesn’t keep well, so only make enough dough for the ornaments you are going to make. If you are only making a few toppers, halve the ingredients above. The listed amounts will make enough ornaments for a classroom of 20.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gift Tags

I spent a lot of time looking for the right wrapping paper. When I finally found it, I could imagine searching for matching gift tags. I looked on the Internet to find some cute templates to use, but really didn't find any that I liked. I decided that I would just have to make my own.

I just used scraps from my scrapbook stuff & found patterns & solids that would match. Then I cut a small circle(2 inch) and then a slightly bigger one (2.5 inch). I inked the edges with brown & then glued the small circle onto the bigger one. I made small hole punch at the top of the bigger circle. I had some wire that I have used for scrapbooking projects & wrapped it around a sharpie pen. Then I used the coil to put through the hole in the paper as a little hanger for the ornament.

Now I am going to get some yarn attach it to my presents. I don't have the yarn yet & I haven't started wrapping yet...so I can't post the finished product.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Homemade Christmas Gifts

I have been looking for something for my boys to make for Christmas gifts. I wanted it to be something that people could use. Once again...Family Fun came through for me! These are adorable & look so easy to make!

Here is how you make these bookmarks:

Simply cut lengths of ribbon (ours are 12 to 14 inches long, to fit a standard-size hardcover book), then attach buttons to the ends using tacky glue or a glue gun. Shown here are just a few of the decorating options: sandwiching the ribbon's ends between two buttons; stacking smaller atop larger buttons; and grouping several small buttons in a pattern.

Snowman Ornament

I found this on the Family Fun website. I have been looking for fun ornaments to make with my boys (4 years & 2 years)...& these are the winners.

3 round objects (we used a spice jar lid, the bottom of a yogurt container, and a mason jar lid)
Craft foam, white and orange
Glue dots
Fishing Line
Permanent marker

Time needed: Under 1 Hour

1. Using the round objects as patterns, cut out 2 white foam circles in each size. 2. Place one set of the circles on a flat surface, spacing them 1/4 inch apart. With glue dots, glue a 12-inch piece of fishing line across the circles as shown, then firmly press the matching circles on top. 3. Use more glue dots to attach buttons and an orange craft foam nose. With a permanent marker, draw on eyes and a mouth. Finally, tie a ribbon scarf around the fishing line at the neck, and then knot the line above the head to create a loop for hanging.
On the comments on this...everyone said that they made a hat for the snowman out of the craft foam. I can't wait to make these & put them on our tree.


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