Archive of ‘family’ category

art projects for kids and random other stuff

this past week’s art project with the kids was a little more ‘supply intensive’ than usual but very satisfying for the boys because it was guaranteed to result in a beautiful piece of art work. we made these glass art displays for the window. I can’t for the life of me remember the website that I saw this project on but it was amazing and filled with fantastic projects, many of which are bouncing around my head. sorry to that website and all their hard work. my head is obviously bouncing around with lots of stuff or I would remember your site!

this project uses dollar store glass frames with the backs removes, clear glue, glass pebbles, and suction cups.  to prolong the fun I also had the boys ‘wash’ the clear pebbles. they loved splashing them around in a tub of water and felt a part of the preparation of the project, which is always nice.  once everything was dried, I handed them both a bottle of clear glue, a prepared frame and  sponge-style paintbrush.  they poured on the glue and spread it with the paint brush (it’s important to put down lots of glue! my cautious boys poured out a small amount…I had to encourage them to really go for it.) then they can place the pebbles wherever they want.  interestingly, both boys stacked the pebbles on top of each other while I laid all of mine flat (of course I made one, too!).  I love the way that kids don’t always see the barriers that adults do…why not stack them?!

  

 

after they had dried for a LOOOOONG time, I super-glued suction cups onto the glass-side of the frames so they would stick up on the window.  and, that is were they are displayed now! (note: I don’t entirely trust the itty-bitty suction cups that I glued on, so they are still resting on the window sill a bit.)  it was a dreary, wet, grey week last week so it was nice to have a little something brightening up our window.

  

I think we are going to try this next. though, I’m seriously considering doing it without the kids and giving it to them as a holiday gift.

I’ve also got a lot of projects going for handmade holidays this year but I can’t share those just yet! don’t want any peaky peakers to lose out on their surprise. but, here are some nice ideas.

finally…keep your computer close tomorrow! it’s giveaway day at sew mama sew. hundreds of bloggers give away handmade items, sewing supplies, and other craft supplies. it’s insane and super fun and be sure to check back here! I’ve got a giveaway to seriously kit out a sewer! …it’s not to be missed, my friends.

advent insanity

I’ve been very hung-ho with holiday decorating this year.  my goal has been to slowly but surely make a handmade Christmas home.  that way I don’t feel the need to make EVERYTHING in one feel swoop. by making a few things every year I can get closer and closer to the homespun goodness this holiday deserves.  this year I’ve tackled advent-ing with fervor.  this was one of those ideas that grew really organically…drawing inspiration from a few places and then working its way into something that was its very own idea. a kind of a  mod advent hanging:

     {sorry for the sloppy, cloudy picture}

I loved the idea of little mittens.  our house is full of them…scattered everywhere…they never, ever match. so, mismatched mittens litter this advent…each one is its own pocket. I didn’t go in with a plan for these pockets and it turned out they are too small for toys and would only comfortably fit kitkats or candy canes.  neither are my favorite thing to get the kids on as a steady diet all December long.  so, I decided to go with something new and made little slips of paper with an activity on it. that way the boys can take turns pulling out the ‘advent’ but can both participate in the activity.  I had so much fun making these little tags. some of pretty generic and some are specific to things I know we are planning on doing.  lots of the tags involve making things (of course!) and I was aiming for a mix of giving acts for others and fun things to make it a magical month. I also mixed big activities with simple ones that can be easily accomplished on a weekday so it doesn’t become an addition to an overwhelming  ‘to-do’ list….one of them is ‘hug a friend’  or ‘pet the cat’, for example.

   

the mittens themselves are made of red felt with lime-green accent sewn onto white fleece backing. I used lots of stitches as part of the decorative effect.  the mittens are ‘hung’ on single-fold bias tape and the dates are marked with regular stamps using fabric paint. I kept the number pretty subtle because I like it like that.  a simple ribbon frames the bottom and makes a tube for hanging at the top.

  

and, oh yes, there is more!

I went a little head over heels for the whole advent things and made a second one as a gift my guy, Kevin, who built this website (he did a good job, no?). he has, prepare yourself (breath), four young girls. so, I made really big pockets on this one.  lord only knows how you manage ‘fairness’ with numbers that big. each pocket has a number on it. I was going for a patchwork quilt effect with this.  the fabrics are from here.

  

{don’t worry, I didn’t give him nasty old paintbrushes, just used that to illustrate the pocket-ness}

bring on the food

i really can’t express how happy thanksgiving makes me.  we’ve been menu planning all week.  here is part of an actual conversation:

what about brussel sprouts? oh my god! we don’t have a brussel sprout plan!

babe. babe. it’s okay. remember, we are going to do them for Christmas.

(and then i calmed down.)

 

it’s urgent and important these decisions.

in the end, we are having homemade cranberry relish and green bean casserole from here (horrible name but great magazine); roasted root vegetables; raw kale salad; marinated radishes because i couldn’t stop thinking about them after hearing someone discuss a recipe on the radio;  roasted potatoes; apple crumb pie; cupcakes from here; and oh yeah turkey/fake turkey and stuffing.

a mix of new and old, i suppose.  we will eat well, that much is for sure.

what about you?

whatever you munch on…have a great thanksgiving!

 

art projects for kids, mostly

for a long, long time my oldest, C, was just simply not interested in art projects. he dreaded them, complained about them, and refused to participate.

as you can imagine, this made a little part of my heart ache. eventually, (perhaps developmentally?) he came around. now he loves art projects and is eager to join in. i noticed that part of what won him over was when the results of his effort were more vibrant and exciting.  for example, he was all over coloring as soon as i brought oil pastels into the mix and he had more than drab crayons to color with.   (have you ever noticed how awful some of the art supplies are for kids! like the crayons they give you for free at the restaurant that barely even work! why bother! it’s such a turn off to the whole process.)  anyway, i’m trying to be all over this one and think up some fun and exciting art projects. so, the other day we went on a walk and collected rocks for the express purpose of painting them. the boys thought this was great. “paint rocks!” it was very exciting.

i’d envisioned this project as being simple…we paint the rocks, add some eyes and shazam! pet rocks.  but, we didn’t have goggly eyes, just green dots and the boys didn’t want two green dots on some of the rocks they wanted lots of green dots.  so, green dots were added with abandon and each new creation was set aside to dry on little foam sheets.  pretty soon we had a growing company of rocks and it was beginning to look awfully nice.

i’ll admit that i was responsible for lining them up quilt-like, in the beginning, but once it started it was C that decided which one went where.  in the end, both boys spent an honest 40 quiet, fully-concentrating minutes on this project, which is a lot for us. the best part? i really enjoyed this project and think it genuinely looks nice.  plus, i got a humbling reminder that my kids have their own innate sense of style and design and the best thing i can do is butt out.

this next project is basically the opposite.  i pretty much took charge and did most of the work (including the work of encouraging them to get excited about it) but it was totally worth it.  it’s so exciting.  SNOW GLOBES! ok, not snow globes but halloween globes but the same idea.  oh yes. homemade snow globes. let me say it again: snow/halloween globes. and, we made them. it’s so easy.

1. save up some jars with their lids and clean them.

2. find some stuff that fits inside.  this is a good things for kids to get involved in…’what fits? what doesn’t?

3. glue the stuff to the inside of the jar lid with hardcore glue, let it dry.

4. throw some glitter in the jar (we only had these metal party favors) and fill up with water (preferably distilled water if you want it to last a while) and a drop of glycerin to help the glitter float.

5. pop that lid on the jar and tip upside down.

yes, it is that easy. (we found glycerin at the health food store but i didn’t look very hard and i think we could have found it for cheaper elsewhere.)

here is martha’s version.  i can already tell you that we are going to be making a lot more of these for christmas.  if i had all the time in the world i fear that i would take this snow-globe making down a long, weird road…making little snowy worlds in a jar….i could get sucked into that, for sure.

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