Valentine Beanbags!

14 02 2011

Raise your hand if you know I tend to go overboard at Valentine’s Day.

Ah, I see more than half of you with your hands up. As you may have guessed, this year was certainly no exception. We’ll see how much time I can find this week to show you all of our projects.

First up, I made a pile of bean bags out of left over felt from Seth’s halloween costume, an old grey t-shirt and a large bag of rice. I had everything on hand except the rice, which I found on sale – bonus! I would have preferred to have found some old sweaters to felt down or some lovely new wool felt to use, but time and money were not on my side so I made do.

Eleanor helped fill them with the rice. She and her brother also helped sweep up the rice after one rather large spill that happened when my back was turned. I just kept repeating in my head – practical life lesson, it’s ok, breath, practical life lesson….

In this pile, you can see one with the tag hand sewn on. It was the only one that had a tag by the time the sun was going down yesterday.  I purposefully sewed the hearts a little wonky twice around, but I’ll admit by the time I was on my 22nd one they were REALLY wonky.  I somehow doubt the 3 to 5 year olds will care though.

I suggested to Eleanor that she might want to write an E on the back of each card, but she would have none of it. She wanted to trace her full name on each and every card. The crazy part is she did it! Half last night and the rest this morning. We were a little late for school, but I wasn’t going to stop that concentration and persistence.  Even last year Seth didn’t make it through signing all his valentine’s and his name is so much shorter than hers. It was very unexpected. She even added a little sticker to each one.

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Find someone to hug and slowly enjoy a good chocolate treat.





Valentine Garland

11 02 2011

Although I really wanted to make Jackie’s Valentine Bunting, I just didn’t have the type of string in my stash that I was envisioning in my head. When that happens, I’m just never satisfied with any other options.

Since I still wanted a garland to hang up and the kids were asking for a valentine’s day craft project I went a different route.

Turning toilet paper tube rolls into hearts is certainly not new, but it did fit my demands of the day. In fact, it turned out better than expected. The kids got to paint pink hearts, Eleanor got to do a bit of lacing with sparkly yarn and not a single person that has walked into my house could tell that we used toilet paper tubes until I told them.

Love these action shots of Eleanor concentrating so hard on her lacing. I think the close up makes it look like the needle was magically sewing by itself but it was jut a fluke that I caught it mid-air after she dropped the needle.

And while we were waiting for the paint to dry we made super yummy banana chocolate chip muffins. Seth thoroughly enjoyed mashing the bananas. We only made a half batch though and they were gone FAST. I plan on making another full batch for Monday morning.





Family Valentines

18 02 2010

This last Saturday, the day before Valentines Day, the entire family took a class at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. Originally, it was going to be just Seth and I, but then it evolved into a family event. I’m really happy it did, because we had a blast.

The instructor, Ellen Ferrari, was great at getting AND keeping the kids interest. Considering the age span of children from 2 to 5 or 6, this is quite a feat.  What’s more impressive is how she knew exactly how to explain the techniques so that everyone from Eleanor to Seth to Steve to little ol’ me could understand. She provided plenty of materials and even allowed us to take home what we didn’t use. This was especially nice as the adults, of course, didn’t get as much time to work on their own cards.

The playing card valentine at the top was made by Seth. He really enjoyed the uniqueness of each type of valentine and all of the different materials. This pocket valentine is by Eleanor. She learned how to use a bone folder! Silly me, I had never even thought to show her a bone folder even though I always know where mine is. She spent much of her time in the class coloring and glueing. This little master piece, however, was completed at home the next day. The folding had been done in class but it still needed embellishing. So while Seth and his father worked on breakfast, Eleanor and I hid in my bedroom finishing up our valentines. We spread all the materials we had brought home over the bed and just went to town. The best part was when the light bulb went off over Eleanor’s head and she figured out the scissors. After that I couldn’t stop her from cutting little bits of paper to glue in place.

To think, these are just a few of the valentines we made. There was a total of 4 per person worked on. And even though it was a class aimed at preschoolers I learned something too – how to make pop out hearts!





Valentines, Limits and Ziplocks

11 02 2010

Since I had techinical difficulties last night, it’s one big post tonight. Fingers crossed.

Eleanor’s valentine’s are almost done. I just need to tie a few more together and they’ll be set. Heart shaped crayons in little bags tied to cards made from a painting of Eleanor’s. I’m pretty proud of myself here. On time, no stress, all materials found in my house. It all equals success. (Just don’t ask me about Seth’s valentines yet. That’s another story all together.)

The crayons you saw in the previous post. To make the cards I cut down a painting Eleanor did into little 2.5×3.5″ cards. Not just any painting, but a painting I deliberately set limits on. I suggested she make a red painting. Set out a sheet of water color paper, red paint and a big fat paint brush. I was surprised she went for this. Usually when I set limits there’s some pleading involved for something I’m trying to avoid. But this time it worked. Maybe it’s because I’ve only pulled out the paints one other time so far this year. Who knows.

Seth wanted in on the action too. He worked really hard at making hearts. This shot is just for Jen. To show how well I’ve been passing on my pondering trait to my son.

I kept Eleanor in the loop as far as what the next step was but didn’t elaborate beyond that. Another excellent idea for handling 2 year olds if I do say so myself. After the red painting had dried I set out the painting supplies again.

Only this time I just provided the same paper she had already painted on, pink paint and a very small paint brush. She went to town making dots and lines and circles. A good time.

Once the pink dried I cut the paper down, punched holes in one corner and wrote on the backside. No determining which crayon went with which child, making it easier at delivery time.

I had envisioned placing the crayons in little cellophane bags and tying them to the card but you better believe I wasn’t about to hop in the car and drive across town just to lay money down on a dozen little cellophane bags. No siry! So after a little creative brainstorming I decided that there wasn’t any reason I couldn’t sew a ziplock bag to fit my needs. So here is how one ziplock becomes two little treat bags:

Step 1 – sew 2 lines down the middle. The foot may leave a little mark on the plastic and it will probably pucker a little once or twice but no-one will notice, especially the kids.

Step 2 – cut off the top and down the middle.

Wallah! All that was left then was to tie the bags to the cards with scrap bits of ribbon I’ve been accumulating for just such a need.

Now. Back to that Seth issue…





Heart Crayons

8 02 2010

A little over a week ago we melted a bunch of crayons down for a little gift to go with Eleanor’s valentines. It’s not really that we had a bunch of broken crayons but more that we had a disproportionate amount of blue, purple & yellow. Of course, Seth wanted a green one, of which we had VERY little. And Eleanor wanted orange, again not a lot of extra orange but a bit. The kids had a hard time helping take the paper off though they tried. The mold is a $2 ice cube tray purchased a year ago at Ikea. Since it, of course, does not state that it’s microwave safe I was too chicken to try. So I microwaved the crayons in little batches in pyrex. This meant the kids really could only direct vs. participate but we still enjoyed it. It also meant that mixing colors was a bit more challenging. I do think it would be more fun if they got to arrange the crayons in a tin and I just popped it in the oven. I’ll just have to keep my eyes open when thrifting. You never know when a funky metal candy mold or some tiny muffin tin might turn up.





Kick Off

7 02 2010

We kicked off our week of hearts and pink  this weekend.  After some painting with tons of red paint and a little pink the bathroom sink needed a good scrubbing. Seth really had the best intentions trying to help clean up, but… So when he ran off to play, I cleaned up his sister’s paint brush and gave the whole sink a good scrubbing. It looked so shiny and clean I decided it needed some new soap. Heart shaped soap. Handmade by my sis. They were a little lonely so I added the flower one, also made by her.

We also pulled out the heart matching game I made last year. Now I just need to find time this week to help Seth make his Valentine’s Day box and the rest of the cards. And don’t even get me started on the felt bean bags with hearts that last year I swore I would make for this year. Or the crocheted heart chain garland. Or…or…or…





Spilled Wine Art

6 12 2009

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m kidding. Clumsy, but kidding.





Candy Cane Hearts

2 02 2009

We have an amazing pile of candy canes still left in our house. Steve bought a rather large box of the small size ones just after Christmas for a quarter. The expiration date is in 2010 so I suppose I could keep them for next Christmas but that seems wrong, expiration date or not. Both kids would eat them all day if it wasn’t for the fact that I keep them in the cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind as the saying goes. Anyway, I loved the idea of turning our Christmas treats into Valentines Day treats. It’s quite brilliant. I followed the extremely simple directions from Make and Takes. Either I should have adjusted the time because I used the small canes vs. the large or well, uh, I shouldn’t have accidently turned off the timer in the middles and had to guesstimate how much longer to bake them. Because, as you can see, they oozed a little in a few spots. But no matter, I still love how they turned out and was amazed at how easy they were to shape when I took them out of the oven.








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