Valentine Matching Clip Job

2 02 2012

Inspired by a photograph found via pinterest, I decided to make a valentine themed job for Eleanor’s preschool classroom. When I showed it to Eleanor she loved the idea. Well, except for the sharing part. Apparently there was a bit of a concern about a specific little boy ruining it with his “germs”.

I promised to laminate it and told her if she liked it, I could make a 2nd set for home and she graciously gave her consent. Seeing as she couldn’t keep her hands off it last night when it wasn’t even done yet, I have a feeling I’ll be making that 2nd set.

I backed 14 pretty papers with pink card stock, laminated and cut out hearts.

I was having difficulty with glue and the clothespins as I was trying to use the left over laminated scraps. However, not a single type of glue in my household would hold those puppies together. I finally took a step back and simplified. Using a little more fresh unlaminated paper and good old modge podge I got the job done.

The arrow points are still laminated as I feared a gaggle of preschoolers would otherwise do them in. Plus both clips and hearts are backed in solid pink.

Eleanor was rather upset that she couldn’t bring it to school this morning, but now it’s ready and waiting for her.


Scavenger Hunt

23 06 2011

We’re very into scavenger hunts around here. In the car, the house or the yard. With picture clues or words. Lists of items to find, clues that take you from room to room or simply a hide and seek affair. The kids just can’t seem to get enough of them. So when thinking of what games the kids might enjoy at Eleanor’s birthday party, it didn’t take me long to land on a scavenger hunt. And since both of the crafts and all of the decorations were flower related, it was time to do something with butterflies.

I made these magnets using wood circles, photos, modge podge, dimensional glaze, super glue and, of course, magnets. The wood circles were cut from branches in our backyard. Each one sanded down smooth while I dreamed of a hundred other projects I could use them for.

I even got a little help. This is her best “why are you taking a picture of me” face while wearing a nightgown over her other jammies and a matching headband to boot.

Although I have plenty of my own pics of various butterfly stages, I decided to go with the classic monarch. And since I only had a shot of the caterpillar stage, I went looking on flickr for the rest. I was fortunate to find images which allow for personal use. The egg shot is from kiwinz and the butterfly is from grandma sandy+chuck. I’d tell you the chrysalis shot only I lost the link. Sorry chrysalis photographer! But I can say that I really appreciate their willingness to share and plan to look at creative commons licenses for some of my photos.

I printed the pics on plain paper and affixed them to the discs with modge podge. After they dried I added a layer of dimensional glaze. Awesome stuff, I tell ya. It adds a nice think resin like coating. The right side of this pic is before adding the glaze, the left after. It goes on sort of milky but dries clear after a day or two as you can sort of see in the top photo. Hard to take a pic of, but I think you get the idea. The last piece of the pie was to glue the magnets on the backs. I used your regular ol’ black circle magnets but would really love to research stronger magnets for future projects. I think the patience needed for this projects was the hardest part. All that waiting for things to dry drove me nuts. I so wanted to touch them. And well, I did. Once. Had to re-do that one.

I made a complete set of 4 for each child attending the party. Fortunately, the rain eased up so we could do the scavenger hunt outside. We bundled everyone up, headed to the backyard and had a brief discussion on the 4 stages of a butterflies life cycle. Most of the kids were 3 or 4 years old after all. They were jumping up and down to tell me the answers. We then sent them into the yard to find one of each magnet. Once they found their 4, I sent them back to help their friends.

The magnets were theirs to keep but I felt a reward for finding all 4 was still needed. And what did they get? A flower lollipop of course!

And could I stop at just one flower per kid? Oh, no. Not me. I had to make a whole basket full.

Super easy to make while watching tv after the kids go to bed, but not so easy to make when they’re around. “I want root beer flavor” “I want cotton candy!” “Will you write my name on this one?” Ugh – go away.

I used left over crepe paper streamers from a past birthday party, winding around the sucker while occasionally folding in a bit at the bottom. Then I secured them with some floral tape, which I continued all the way down the stem. It took a couple practice goes, but I eventually got the knack of it.

After each child picked out theirs (and immediately tore off the crepe paper) I divvied out most of the rest into the thank you bags.

I really had fun creating the magnets and lollipop flowers and the kids really seemed to enjoy it all too. This was the one project I did more than a day in advance. And good thing too, with all that drying time!

April Fool’s Yellow

5 04 2011

Seth had been looking forward to April Fool’s Day for some time, dreaming of the day he cold play a prank on someone. Preferably this joke would be played on his father. So we quietly planned how best to get his papa.

A friend of mine had got me a subscription to Family Fun magazine, saying it made her think of me. And although it’s disney, I know what she means. It’s a fun magazine full of projects that are easily executable. When this mag comes I usually have to patiently wait for Seth to go through it and then I get my turn. When I saw this “sponge cake” prank in the last issue I knew it would be perfect.

Here I give you my yellow for Poppytalk’s Spring Colour Week:

Yep, that’s really a sponge under that chocolate icing! We made a real cake too. It would have been suspicious had we just given him a piece of cake only. We hid a real piece of cake for him and handed out the other plates – real cake for me and the kids, sponge cake for Papa. As Steve tried his best to cut a bite off with his fork you could see the wheels turning – what’s going on? they really messed up the cake, I wonder if this is one of Seth’s own recipes (those usually taste like play dough btw). All the while he was trying to be polite and not let the kids know his concern. And although Eleanor almost gave away the surprise earlier in the day, they had held it together until that moment. They both fell on the floor laughing so hard that I couldn’t keep a straight face.

It was perfect!

Paper Doll Snowflakes

13 01 2011

Snow is gently falling as I type this so it seems only proper that I should post about paper snowflakes. Making paper snowflakes is a favorite pastime around here. We slowly add to our collection over the course of the winter eventually covering our sunroom windows with all shapes and sizes. I think my paper doll snowflake might be my favorite so far this year. In hopes of keeping your winter spirits up, I thought I’d share the how to:

Materials – a pencil, sharp scissors and a thin, square sheet of paper. I like tracing paper, but there are many options to choose from – newsprint or gift wrap for example. Normal printer paper works too but is a little more difficult to work with as it gets bulky and rather thick to cut.

Step 1 – All snowflakes are 6 sided so you must fold your paper into a pie wedge of 6 layers. There are a few ways to do this, here is one I like:

Fold the paper in half corner to corner forming a triangle.

Find the middle of the sheet below the triangles tip and fold one side over at an angle.

Then fold the other side over in the opposite direction. I don’t know the exact angle degree but I can tell you it will take a couple attempts and that’s ok. It will not hurt your final product to unfold and refold a couple times. The goal is to get the folded edges to line up together. I tend to fold a pile of these to have available for my son to cut so I get plenty of practice.

Step 2 – draw your image. I rarely do this step unless I have a specific outcome in mind such as a ring of girl dolls. Not how the the legs, arms and the corners of the skirt all hit the folded edges. This is what will hold the snowflake together and prevent it from becoming a rather flimsy pile of 6 separate paper dolls.

Step 3 – cut!

Step 4 – unfold, admire and stick on your window with a little tape or a glue stick.

Just a reminder to those of you in a winter climate right now – there are still a few more months to go, you might as well see the beauty and find a way to appreciate the season. When you do that it ends sooner than you expect.

Advent Calendar!

8 12 2010

Every year I become enchanted with all the beautiful – and often complex – advent calendars out on the net. In fact, I become rather obsessed. The closer christmas comes, the more disappointed I become with myself for not pulling it off. Logically, I know that’s silly. One simply CANNOT do everything. But this year I found myself once again dreaming of little envelopes or bags filled with activities and the occasional sweet. I figured I’m no longer employed outside the home, so why can’t I pull this off? And then boom! December was upon us and I decided to have a good old fashion sit down with myself on what is important and what I have time to do while still enjoying the season. Enjoyment being key as all the hard work in the world isn’t worth it if you’re not enjoying  yourself. So I came to terms with an advent calendar not being in our cards this year.

That very same day, Seth came home with a strong desire to make an advent calendar. Did he sense I had just tossed that possibility out the window? All I can tell you is that he was NOT going to take no for an answer. He started digging through the recycling bin and the basement, emphatically saying no to any of my suggestions that involved leaving the house to buy supplies, and he came up with a plan. His own plan. The best kind.

He found the base materials:

  • a flattened cardboard box
  • green construction paper
  • a flattened paperboard box (from a large box of crackers)
  • a box cutter (actually he asked for this one)
  • a self healing cut mat (I kid you not – his idea)

I filled in the gaps:

  • white duct tape
  • markers and colored pencils
  • a bone folder


  1. We cut the cardboard and paper board to the same rectangular size, roughly 11X24″
  2. Then we covered the cardboard with a few pieces of construction paper
  3. These 3 pieces would form our layers but before attaching them we had a little work to do. Although Seth didn’t think it necessary I wanted a little picture on the front. You know, something to gussy it up. I was thinking along the lines that Seth or myself could draw. A snowman or a christmas tree perhaps. But Seth, with his infinite wisdom, chose a cabin. After sketching out a few ideas on scratch paper I looked up at him and said “maybe we should wait until your dad gets home”. To which he replied “because he designs houses at work”. “Yeah.” “Good idea.” And so we did.

    And boy am I glad we did.
  4. Next I used a stencil to trace out 24 uniform window openings and cut out the 3 sides with a box cutter. I also scored the 4th side of the window using a bone folder to make the window open more easily.
  5. Steve numbered the boxes and filled in the image with snow and sky coloring
  6. Despite my worry that duct tape was no longer classy enough for this masterpiece I went ahead and used it to edge the piece and hold the top paperboard layer to the paper covered cardboard.

I’m adding messages only a day or two prior to the window being opened to prevent peaking as well as to give me the flexibility I need around the holidays. I’ve got a whole list to draw from so that if I don’t feel like making cookies with the kids the next day I can replace it with something like give someone a compliment instead. Gently as I can, I pull back the window being careful not to truly crease the board. Then I write a little suggested activity for the day. Here’s a sampling of my list:

  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Sing a christmas carol
  • Buy a christmas tree
  • Decorate the tree
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Go sledding
  • Give someone a hug
  • Make orange pomanders
  • Go for a drive in our pjs to see christmas lights
  • Watch Rudolf
  • Make someone smile today
  • Dance to christmas music
  • Drink hot cocoa

Granted, you can see the Cheese It box front when you open the windows. If we do it again maybe I’d glue down a backing paper or paint it. But really, it doesn’t hurt the overall effect and the kids don’t seem to notice once bit. The best part of this project? That it was a collaborative effort. In my opinion, the best holiday projects, are ones you do with someone else. The fact that it was based off my son’s idea and initiative only makes it that much better, giving him confidence and pride in the outcome.

Happy Thanksgiving!

23 11 2010

Seth has been keenly interested in assigned seating ever since starting kindergarten. Eleanor loves the ritual of setting out place cards at dinner daily. When I saw these by Alphamom on The Crafty Crow I couldn’t resist replacing the old dirty strips of paper the kids had been using. It was the perfect project for Seth’s last day home when he was sick last week. Too sick to go to school, not sick enough to just lay on the couch.We found all the materials in the recycle bin and the kids love them.

Sandcastle Flags

10 09 2010

While in Florida, Seth requested a craft. We had minimal supplies on hand and after ascertaining that simply coloring was not going to cut it, I pulled up The Crafty Crow. Fortunately for me, the post that day just happened to be ocean themed. What are the odds? One project immediately stood out to Seth – sandcastle flags. The ones shown on The Crafty Crow are actually free printables from Joey’s Dream Garden. And while they’re cute, we didn’t have access to a printer. None the less, they were inspiring and Seth set to work with construction paper, colored pencils and straws. All items we were lucky enough to find in the beach house.

I’ll admit there was a bit of a meltdown when the wind kept blowing one of his flags a direction Seth did not, under ANY circumstances, want it to blow. Hence the reeds holding the one flag in place.

Phew! Crisis averted.