Category Archives: kid craft

Tis the (crafting) season!

The kiddos and I have been very busy, crafting our way through the month of December.  Some of the things we have made are gifts, so I can’t show them just yet (Hi Mom), but all the construction paper decorations?  Brace yourselves.

Here we have both the paper chain that Joe and the kids (well, mostly Joe) made, and also the Fruit Loop garland that Violet and I made (while Jonas ate them by the handful out of the bowl.  It was like a race to see who would win – would we get a decent length of garland?  Or would Jonas eat too many before we could string them.  And if Jonas really at that many Fruit Loops, who would be responsible for cleaning up the technicolor puke 30 min later?  Competivie crafting – gotta love the adreniline rush.)  I think this is the happiest, most fun tree on the planet.

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What is the secret to photographing these things?  Should I have stood outside to take the picture?  I guess then the would look white instead of black. I did the top two of these, Violet did the other three.  We are the snowflake masters.

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Killing me with cuteness.  I’ll never buy a card again.  She came up with the format for these all on her own – Christmas tree on the front, picture of her and the people she was sending the card to inside, “from Violet” and a bunch of hearts on the back.  Sooooo cute.  (This one is to Aunty Suz and Uncle Matt.  If you look you see Violet, then Suz, then me (not sure how I snuck in there), then Matt.  Matt is obviously the one that works outside – look at that tan!  I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that the other three all got some kind of skin color added, but I stayed the color of the paper. Hmph.)

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When we ran out of glue sticks,  it was time to try something new.  Enter the shrinky dinks –


Please excuse the cookie crumbs on her face.  We’ve also been doing a lot of baking.

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I found this lone set on the shelves of the NEX and snatched it up.  We started by making these charms, and then I added them to this necklace, along with some tiny bells.  She. Loves. It.  She has been wearing it every day, and is so besotted with the concept of making her own jewelry (which is pretty exciting for me, as I got her a big charm maker thing for Christmas.  Watch this space for tons of very chic jewels. )

After we had exhausted the plastic accessories options, Jonas and I made this ornament –


Can you see his hat here?  The top section is  a black hat.  I don’t know why I have the need to point that out, but there it is.

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– which I looooooove.  It came out exactly like I pictured it, and it was a fun and simple project that the toddler could do with me.  I drew the circles, he colored the heck out of them with a white pencil, and then he directed me while I drew on the coal, carrot, and scarf.  We cut them out together, he punched the holes for the jump-rings, then we watched the magic that is a shrinky dink in the toaster oven.  Now when people walk in the door he’s showing them “LOOK at DAT!  Do you see dat ornament? I MADE DAT!”

We’ve  also discovered that shrinky dinks can make some pretty awesome gifts for loved ones…  but that’ll have to be a January retrospective post. 😉

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And finally, when construction paper and glue sticks and incredible cookie creations (seriously – check out my mom blog for pics of the most elaborately decorated Christmas cookies of all time.  It was a tough call on whether they should go over there or over here.  Works. Of. Art.) and science experiments with plastic and heat are just not enough, it’s time to pull out the big guns – poster paints and sponge stamps.  Oh, yes – we made our own wrapping paper. 🙂

Making it was fun, but photographing it was a freaking hoot –


This roll of brown paper was significantly cheaper than fancy wrapping paper, the process was fun, and I think the end result rocks.  I would love to get a present wrapped in this.  My holiday shopping list is getting smaller and smaller – no more cards, no more wrapping paper… what else can I force the kids to make for me so I can save a buck?

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Oh Mommy!  What are you doing?  Are you taking pictures of our paper?  We want to be in the pictures, too!

Uh, ok – but how are you going to get in a picture of paper?  Do you want to hold it, or…. oh.  Interesting.


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Laying on the paper.  Not the direction I thought we were going to go. Ok, we can do this, but can you maybe  get your fingers out of your mouth, Boo?  And V – what’s with the evil Grinchy-Claus smile?  If we’re gonna do this, let’s do it right.  Big smiles, everyone!


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Huh.  No.  Really, guys, can you just look up at me and smile?  No binocular eyes?  No big heart with the hands?  Just, you know, smiling for the camera?  So I can get a nice picture?  Of you and your paper?  Please?  Yes?  Ok – here we go…


Another thing going on here – Jonas refused to put on a shirt because he wanted his “nickels” to be in the picture.  He’s very proud of those nickels, and he’d like the internet at large to be able to appreciate them as we do.  So, internet, enjoy the nickels.  Merry Christmas.

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GUYS!  You know, Santa’s watching!  Oh, nevermind.  Let’s wrap the presents.


Yes, Jonas can spell and write his name now.  My baby.  Sniff.  (I love how when he ran out of room, he just put the S right on top of the N and A.  He’s two (for another 9 days), cut him some slack.)

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Fabulous!  Next we will have to work on replacing all these shiny bows with something made out of paper.  Ooh!  Or yarn! Hmmm….

Hope you all are having a fab holiday season, and that you’re not being exposed to Shrek the Halls nearly as much as I am.  Merry merry.

-J


Terminato!

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Miracles happen!  We’re done!
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Who could have anticipated that this would be a two-week process? (Answer: My mother and Joe.)

We made the dough.  We shaped the beads.  We baked the beads.  We drilled the beads. We painted the beads.  We ignored the beads for a week, then clear-coated them.  We finally, eventually, miraculously remembered the poor beads and strung them into stylish necklaces for the under 5 set around here.

Eh – you know all this already.  Let’s get to the pictures –

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That’s a nice looking bowl of beads.

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Got the kids set up with beads and yarn and let them at it.  Jayne had a plastic darning needle, for Jonas I just taped the end of his yarn (Madam was ADAMANT that she NEEDED a NEEDLE like a GROWN UP.  She had *way* more trouble than he did.  The tape was a better choice.)

 

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This is serious work.
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See?  Serious.
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What?  That wasn’t quite enough picture of cute kids stringing beads for you?  No problem.

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Originally, I gave him markers and paper.  He kept begging for “Fruit loops and yarn, Mommy!  Fruit loops and yarn… LIKE JAYNIE!” He’s remembering the Fruit Loop garland we made for the Christmas tree (thanks, Tiff!)  Even after he determined these were not fun to eat, he had a blast stringing them.  This kid has “FUTURE CRAFTSTER” written all over him.

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Time to trim those bangs before she starts running into things.

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In the end we had one stylish Jaynie necklace, and one string  with every single other bead crowded onto it.  I’m leaving that one open so he can pull them off and put them back on at will.  I’m going to call it the “Mommy’s making dinner” project.

On to the fashion show!

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 If I was one of those paranoid smart bloggers that kept their family anonymous, this would be the pic I’d show you.

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But considering I’ve already posted her butt all over the internet, I’ll show you this one.  How cute is she?

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In other crafty news – the gift has still not been gifted, so I still cannot blog it.  The ball of pink yarn still sits on the windowsill staring at me, and the weather has held at long sleeved shirts and light hoodie temps for a couple of weeks now – another winter gone without me knitting myself a hat.  I did do the drawing on Jonas’s window – first step towards faux-stained-glass-goodness –

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I’m looking at this picture, and can’t help but wonder *what* I am doing inside blogging on a day like this.

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 Of course, as soon as I was done w/ all the measuring and fiddling and drawing… I totally changed my mind.  I don’t think these letters are going to make it.  I’m feeling a turtles/fish/frogs/swirls/stars thing coming on.  I’m off to find my windex…

 

 

 

 

 

Backwards progress

This weekend the kimono came off the needles. I looked at it for a long time, prepared to seam, folded, thought about it, held it up to a doll, checked my calendar….

then turned it back into this lovely ball of pink yarn.

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Photographed on the windowsill, to help me remember that not *all* of my projects are abysmal failures.

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This is what I love about knitting – its just like ceramics. The worst that happens is you end up back where you started. The only waste is your time, and if you are doing this for fun… well, more fun for you! Now I have a new ball of yarn to play with, and a baby gift to buy. (Jayne wants me to make a kimono for her. All the other little ballerinas in her class have those cute wrap sweaters to keep warm with, she usually wears a Cinderella sweatshirt. Guess I’m off to do some math. Probably I should have measured the one I just knit before I ripped it back.)

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In other disastrous knitting news –

 

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$*#%!

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I handwashed this sucker because I was feeling a little protective of it. I guess I should have read the soap carefully. That part on the bottle where it says it might BLEACH A BIG SWIRL ON YOUR HANDKNIT FRICKIN SWEATER didn’t get my attention. Seriously? SERIOSLY?

Eh – I just leave him in the stroller when we go out and nobody knows its there. 😉

No, really – I put it in the washing machine and it faded quite a bit. I think one or two more washes and it’ll be uniformly faded. Good Lord. Here I was, trying to do right by it, and this. Then I throw it in w/ the rest of the clothes and it does just fine – gets softer and yummier and totally survives with no odd discolorations. Urgh.

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The beads have still not been turned into fabulous handmade jewelry. They *have* been sprayed (one one side.) And here they sit, waiting for someone to remember them and give them another hit w/ the clear coat.

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The clear really made their colors look great.

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Maybe we’ll spray them again today, and actually string them tomorrow. That way, come Wednesday, we can start a new project! I know, crazy! Hey – anything can happen.

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I did manage to create one winner this week. I started a project. I finished that same project. At no point did I have to start completely over, or lose time to buffoonery. Sure, finishing it up at 2am means there’s some pretty ugly sewing on some of it, but nothing you’ll see on this blog. Its all about the artfully cropped photo, people.

Speaking of artfully cropped – I can’t show you this project yet. Its a gift for a blog stalker, so I have to actually give it to her before I show it to you. I can tease you, however –

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Whatever could it be?

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Hmmmm.

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That’s it for now. Tomorrow – the other 47,000 pictures I took of this project, new plans for pink yarn, and maybe bead stringing 101 (hey – miracles happen every day.)

 

 

 

Bead update

Things are moving forward again on the Great Beaded Necklace Project of 2008.  Jaynie was less than  thrilled about “doing all the same stuff that we already did AGAIN” (ie – making another batch of beads), so Joe stepped in and fixed the old ones.  With a drill.  No, seriously.

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He cleared the counter in front of him before he’d let me take a picture, and then I take it from the side so you can see the empty corn flakes box behind him.  Nice.

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 He honest-to-God got out a drill and drilled holes in our salt dough beads.  Only a man would think up this solution.

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“I scratched myself a couple of times, but not as many as I thought I might.”

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Disaster averted, it was finally time to paint.  Step one, distract Trouble so the big girls can do some serious painting.

 

 

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We like to nurture those artistic instincts early in this house. 

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 Then I went searching for supplies. I found these kid-friendly paints in Jayne’s art supply stash, and rejoiced that I would not have to burn my overpriced “I bought this here in Italy” acrylic paint for a kid project.  So, take these paints –

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Out of this color selection, Jayne used two – pink and purple.  Such a girl.

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and this cute (and incredibly serious) artist –

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Painting her 32nd purple bead.

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 and you end up with these little beauties –

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Not bad if I do say so myself.

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Tonight I’m going to give them a quick spray of clear paint to seal them, then tomorrow we (finally, actually, miraculously) make the necklaces.  At first Jayne said we could make necklaces for her, for me, for friends, for Aunty Suz… then while we were painting she said they would all be for her, then when we were done painting she said all the beads SHE had painted that were EXTRA PRETTY would be for her, but the UGLY beads that I had painted could be for other people.

Geesh.  Everyone’s a critic.

 

 

 

 

Disaster!

Well, two disasters, actually. The first being that I’ve ALREADY WRITTEN THIS POST. I hit “publish” and everything. Then I log on this morning to discover that its missing from the blog. Stupid thing isn’t even saved as a draft? The hell, WordPress? You think I have an unlimited amount of free time with which to make these scintillating posts? Jeez.

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Original disaster –

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Can you see the problem?

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These babies were air-drying just fine, but I caved to Little Miss “I wanna paint TONIGHT!” and popped them in the oven for an hour. The poofed. Not a lot, in fact it rounded them out nicely. Instead of looking like Mutant Cheerios they looked like actual beads. Oh, except for one all-important bead characteristic.

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Dammit.

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The holes closed. All of them. The heart still has it’s hole, but all the others are now little dough balls instead of little dough beads.

The original plan (and what I POSTED LAST NIGHT) was for me to stay up redoing them all, so Madam would never know it happened. Yeah. That didn’t happen. Which I’ve now decided is a good thing. The kid has to learn that projects don’t always go according to plan, right? Its not *just* about me not wanting to make a billion beads all by myself. Its about teaching an important lesson on disappointment and dealing with setbacks. Right?

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Good thing we made extra dough.

More of the same…

But this time with pictures!

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What? You don’t wear a tiara while you craft?
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Jaynie rolled the dough into little balls, and I made the center holes with my trusty dpn. I never, ever knit with those things – but man do they come in handy for everyfreakingthing else. Honestly – its practically to the point where I never leave home without one.

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Look at that concentration. This is a true artist at work.
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This, on the other hand, is a boy who just discovered how bad salt dough tastes.
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That’s a good looking bead.
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She rolled, I holed, Jonas made a mess. When we were done I let them air dry for a few hours, then popped them all onto a cookie sheet and threw them in the oven. (Why didn’t I think to just lay them straight on a cookie sheet after making the holes, therefore eliminating the hours where I waited for them to get firm enough to transfer? These are the questions that could keep me up at night if I was a little more OCD.)

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Yet another use for Reynolds Release foil.
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They look like mutant Cheerios, and smell like homemade french bread in my oven. Tomorrow we paint! Jayne wants to paint all of hers “Pink and yellow! Because those are my faaaaavorite colors!” I’m planning green. Maybe red. Maybe yellow with blue polka-dots. Sky’s the limit!

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Knitting update –

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How fun is that color? Who says newborns need to wear pastels?
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Kimono is *almost* off the needles and ready for seaming. I just need one more evening of TV watching as opposed to internet surfing. Time to break out the ER DVD’s (Oh, Dr. Kovach!)

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I don’t know what this looks like, but “sweater” is not what comes to mind.
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Tomorrow we paint! And hey! While I have the paints out, maybe I get to work on a JONAS sign for his room? Its only been like a year since I finished Jayne’s…..

Nah.

Wednesday is….

We crafted. I have no pictures of this because I was elbow deep in flour and salt and didn’t want to shmutz up my camera. Yes, that’s the technical term.

Today we did the first step to making jewelry – make the dough. We used a basic salt/flour/water recipe that Jayne carefully measured and poured and stirred and kneaded and managed to get all. over. the. kitchen.

Tomorrow she’ll make beads out of it (if you’re wondering why we didn’t get to this today… a little thing called The Little Brother got in the way.) We’ll bake ’em, paint ’em, and string ’em into a necklace. I’ll attempt to get pictures of all of that.

In other news, I’m actually knitting something. And I’m practicing knitting monogamy in an attempt to get a tiny sweater to a new baby before it warms up (too late, baby’s in Florida. Grrr.)

I have no pictures of this, either, but Google images (or Immangini, for those of us in Bella Italia) has not failed me this time – you can see 406 examples of what I’m knitting here. Its the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono from Mason Dixon Knitting and its a pretty quick little project. I’m using Cotton Ease in Bubble Gum Pink (hat on right, duh) and I’m loving it. Considering this baby lives in a warm climate I figured wool was right out, and this is some seriously soft, nice cotton yarn.

Right now it doesn’t look anything like a sweater, but I have faith that after I preform knitwear origami on it it’ll come together. Wish me luck on the seaming – it’ll be a new experience for me.

Tomorrow I’ll post something with pictures. Maybe.