Christmas Light Basket

Christmas Light Basket

Finished product

This picture does not do this basket justice.  It really is beautiful. Beautiful, and super easy to make. This one took about forty five minutes. It would be a fabulous gift and would be a great addition to your Christmas decorations because it adds light and a festive atmosphere wherever you put it. It can be simple, made with just a few objects, or a fun and light-hearted basket with children in mind. You could use lots of colors and ornaments with a theme in mind. These baskets make wonderful “solo” decorations for a college dorm, apartment, grandma’s house, retirement center, small apartment or office even a hospital room. If you make them as gifts, you’ll definitely on the “good list”

Plug in your glue gun so it can heat up while you stuff the basket. To begin, simply loosely roll up a paper grocery bag and push it into the basket to form a mound.

Christmas Light Basket

Pinecones and Lights

Next, begin gluing pinecones to the mound in the basket. Place them 1-2 inches apart until they have filled the basket. Leaving the plug side of the lights outside the basket, begin to wind the lights around the pinecones. Don’t worry about it looking perfect or completely filled in because you will be adding pine pieces and ornaments and berries to fill in.

Christmas Light Basket

Add Tree Branches

 

Now just cut your pine boughs off the wreath and glue them in strategically around the pinecones and lights. Add berries, ornaments, bells, small wooden toys…the possibilities are endless with themes and colors you may pick.

Make one. I make one for someone every year. It’s fun, fast, and easy. Try it. Make it merrily.

 

Altoids Tins Are Curiously Helpful

Headphone holderI am a runner.  I love saying that.  There are no requirements to be a runner, other than actually running.  There is no test to pass.  When I run I HAVE to listen to music.  It helps my mind not listen to my body trying to talk itself into turning around and crawling home.  I love my little Altoids tin turned headphone holder.  It’s perfect for throwing in your gym bag or putting in your running shoes so you never leave home without them.  And what’s better than not leaving them at home is not having to detangle them!  I used Mod Podge to attach an inspiring saying.  The instructions are the same as the Tooth Fairy box found here.  Just so we are all clear, you don’t even need to exercise.  Not having tangled headphones are always a bonus, but if you do exercise, happy trails!

Fall Thanks

Mod Podge, card stock and Mother Nature= Fall Thanks.  An easy, fun kid-adult creative outlet. We found this craft via Wild and Precious and knew we had to share it.  You’ll love this website and the articles written. They always lift us up and make us want to be better.

Fall Thanks.  Fall Leaf thank you cards

Lovely.

Fall Thanks.  Fall Leaf thank you cards

We love this idea. It would be such fun to make cute place cards for a Thanksgiving dinner, or stationary as a gift for someone you love.  My family had a blast making thank you cards. Go on one last ride up the canyon and bring back a fun family activity in the process.

Fall Thanks.  Fall Leaf thank you cards

“Plant” this one in your to-do pile, and don’t “leaf ” it sittin’ there.

Rock Star Party

Jammin Guitar

Future rock stars of America unite!

If you want  to have a fun, inexpensive and age adaptable party, a Rock Star party might be the way to go. These guitars are a cinch to make.

What you’ll need:

  • heavy tri-fold poster display boards (3 guitars per board)
  • large paint sticks (free at Home Depot )
  • large rubber bands (Office Depot has bright-colored giant rubber bands)
  • paint or stickers
  • scrapbook paper
  • Shrinky Dink paper to make a guitar pick (available at Micheal’s or any craft store.  *You can also use any plastic “to-g0” container with a #6 on the bottom.
  • golf tees

With these easily accessible items we made rubber band guitars that 3-6  year olds went nuts for.  With an hour or two of  pre- preparation you can put guitars together that are ready to be decorated by your guests. We purchased tri-fold display poster boards at Wal-Mart but any office supply carries them. They are the same boards used for displays for science projects etc. They cost between $2.00-$3.00. You can easily make 3 guitars with one poster board. Yes. They are more difficult to cut than cardstock or regular poster board.  Yes. You may curse us if you are making more than 10 but…whip out the good scissors and trudge on my friend.

The guitars are easy to freehand with different google images you may find on-line.  They don’t have to be perfect.

Trace a guitar on the  poster board and cut it out. Cut a 1×4″ piece of the same cardboard to glue near the bottom of the guitar.  This will lift the rubber band strings up a bit so they make more noise.  (see photo).  We used a glue gun to attach it.

Using a glue gun, secure the paint stick to the back of the guitar and pull 4-6 strings up and around it.

Cute scrapbook paper cut the width of the paint sticks will really sass up the neck of the guitar. Attach 4-6 golf tees as shown in the photo.

Decorate with paint or stickers.

Strumming home made guitar

“Rock it man”

Home made guitar ingredients

We also bought regular poster boards, folded them in half, stapled the edges and cut a handle to make a guitar case. You could use colored poster board or let the children decorate them.  Optional but cool.

Home made custom guitar pick

Shrinky Dink guitar picks are sooo fun to make and watch shrink in the oven.  If you buy the kit the instructions are simple and included.  If you are using a to-go container, cut a guitar pick shape out of the plastic (there must be a#6 embedded on the bottom).  The cut shape should be 4-5 times bigger than the actual size you’ll need in the end.  Decorate the picks with permanent markers and put them on a cookie sheet (ink side up). Cook them from 1-5 minutes in a  pre-heated 325 degree oven.  They will curl up first and then flatten so don’t panic.  Try a few first.

Home made custom guitar pick materials

Ideas:

  • Send invites announcing a “Reunion Tour”
  • Take pictures of the children jammin’ or video them for a while and let them watch their music video.
  • Play music and let the kids rock out with their guitars
  • Use dollar store note books as autograph books everyone can sign.
  • Musical chairs
  • Play music and have the kids “freeze” when the music turns off.
  • Make back stage passes out of a lanyard (available at party stores)

If the children are younger, decorating the guitars might be enough.  If they’re older, the music videos or playing Guitar Hero could be added. You have tons of options.

Have fun and rock on baby!

Marvelous Marshmallow Catapult

Do you have an extra 2×4 sittin’ around your garage? If you do, take a look at this super easy marshmallow catapult! It’s a blast to play with, and costs practically nothing to make. The piece of wood you use can be cut square or at an angle (see above). Best of all there is NO exact measuring required! This would be a fun family activity, Cub scout contest, or even a birthday party take- home if you whipped up a few before the party. It’s simple to do:

  • Cut a piece of wood about twice as long as a clothes pin and sand it a  bit.
  • Glue two clothes pins together on top of each other facing the same direction, and then glue them to the wood block. The back of the clothes pin should be even with the end of the wood.
    (Wood glue is best, but a quick drying epoxy that can be used on wood will also work).
  • Using wood glue again, attach a tongue depressor to the clothes pins about an inch behind the clothes pin’s opening.
  • Next, using a glue gun, glue a milk jug lid to the tongue depressor, to act as the bucket.  Be sure to leave about 1/2 inch at the
    end for easy flippin’.
  •  Decorate with stickers, markers or paint.

Now all you have to do is dig around your kitchen for some marshmallows. Soft marshmallows? Great. Stale? Better. Pom-poms? Sure. Cereal? Absolutely. Ideally, if you have a dog that can “bark-umme” up the remnants of battle…You, my friend, are good to go.
READY. AIM. FIRE!

Super Tee Duper

Are you looking for a birthday theme, play group activity, Halloween costume, or even just a rainy day project? Look no further. Super heroes to the rescue!

You can make a “super cool” cape from an ordinary t-shirt!  Making a super hero cape is easy peasy:  Simply remove the sleeves and cut off the front of the t-shirt. Cut carefully around the neck hole, leaving it so it can be pulled over your child’s head. Easy on,easy “take off”!

We made these capes at preschool for a hero themed summer camp. You can make any design or word by carving it into green florists foam with a sharpened pencil and then painting over your design with acrylic paint.  After painting the foam, press the design onto the shirt. It can be reused over and over if you can keep the kiddos from poking their fingers into it. ( I was doing it….it’s fun!) 

If you are going to write words, don’t forget to write them backwards. I totally bombed that one the first time. POW! and BAM! make a lot more sense than !WOP and !MAB.  

Make a mask covered with stickers or paint for “incognito emergencies”.

Off to fight crime in the city, neighborhood backyard! 

*The photo opportunities are endless…

  1.  Come out of a refrigerator box “phone booth”
  2.  Lay on a table with arms out flying
  3. Lift cardboard dumbbells
  4. Wrap rope around a bad guy

 Use your imagination.  I know you have t-shirts just lying around, so if your children are too….You’re in business.

Flip For These Flops

 Pretend you’ve never seen these before…O.K… fine, but we love them.  Kiddie flip-flops (or “bigger than kiddie” flip-flops) tied off with a cute bow. Ribbon that’s skinny or fat, two different colors or curly or straight. You can’t go wrong.  Flip-flops for girls could match their fourth of July outfit, or even their swimming suit. I can picture some pretty sassy walks  from  little girls, as they strut into the pool with cutsie footwear. Girls could have a matching bow in their hair. Boys could have Super Hero or other “manly” ribbon just wrapped around the plastic top and glued down on the end. 

They cost next to nothing and could even help your children find their own flip-flops in a pile somewhere! It might be a fun summer birthday activity or activity days craft as well.

Face the toe end of the flip-flop and wrap the ribbon from the front to the back.  Tie it around the toe separator then up and over the strap so the bow lays straight. Hey, I wear some myself , but Iwas told people don’t like to see feet in a picture…especially my kind of  feet I guess. I do have pretty pudgy toes. (Why do you think I need the bows)?

 

Pucker Up Buttercup!

 

I made three different recipes and flavors of lip gloss today!  Easy Peasy once you have the ingredients.  If you love Burt’s Bees peppermint lip balm you are gonna be jigging around in your house!  This is half the cost as Burts Bees and you made it yourself.  All three recipes use the same steps, are 100% natural and YOU pick the flavor you like.  Whoop! Whoop!  Adding lip color and essential oils are optional.  When the recipe calls for teaspoons or tablespoons of beeswax, it always means grated and lightly packed.

Martha Stewart’s recipe

Ingredients

3 tsp grated beeswax

5 tsp jojoba oil

6-7 drops essential oil (I used lemon)

1 tsp honey

lip color (optional) * I used a squirt of my own (much too flashy) lip gloss, to add a hint of color.  You can use the tip or end of an old tube of lipstick.  Add as much or little color as desired.

This lip balm is more of a gloss

This recipe was from deliacreates

Ingredients

2 tbsp beeswax

3 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tbsp almond oil (I used jojoba oil)

10 drops essential oil (I used peppermint)

This one was our favorite. Most like Burt’s Bees.

This recipe is from apartmenttherapy.com

Ingredients

2 tsp beeswax

2 1/4 tsp jojoba oil

6 drops essential oil (I used peppermint)

The first step is to grate the beeswax.  You can purchase beeswax at Whole Foods or many other health stores but we found a GREAT cheap place here:   It would also be fantastic to buy beeswax from a local beekeeper.  Before you begin, Delia suggested purchasing a grater from the dollar store.  I was very “grate”ful I did!  It’s hard to remove grated wax from a grater!

  Combine the beeswax and oils (coconut, jojoba or almond), melt them together in the top of a double boiler, or glass measuring cup for ease in pouring.  Stir well.

Remove from heat; add honey, essential oils and lip color if desired.   You can use any flavored oil or lip coloring. Mix thoroughly so the honey does not clump.

Pour the mixture into containers; let them sit for 20 minutes before covering or moving.

If you want to use “chapstick type” tubes you can purchase them here.  Look around because they have really cute styles, colors and shapes if you are trying to coordinate a birthday party.  They can be easily filled with a medication dispenser.  You can make LOTS of lip gloss with one ounce of beeswax.

We loved all recipes for different reasons.  If I had to pick only one, I would go with the recipe from apartmentherapy.  It’s the easiest and the Burt’s Bees- iest!  Remember that coconut oil liquefies in temperatures of 70 degrees F.  So if your taking it to the pool….you’ll be swimming in it!  It is a great bedside or winter chapped lip balm.