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.

 

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!

Popping Off

Looking for a fun activity for a birthday party, activity days, scouts or  just for fun?  This is it!  We’ve seen versions of these poppers around in magazines and other websites but they were made out of heavy plastic cups.  We made several of them to use as a possible activity for a preschool camp.  They were fun, but so flimsy we couldn’t get them to work  right even with the heaviest of cups.  Also, the big cups were harder to manage for little hands.

Searching for a sturdier way to make a popper, we went to Home Depot and bought some PVC pipe. With the help of Mr. “Depot” and his trusty saw, the cool super sturdy popper was born!  (Right in the sprinkler isle in front of everybody). One 4 foot piece of PVC ( 2 inch pipe) made 12 poppers for about $6.00.

They couldn’t be more simple to make:  Buy some bigger birthday balloons.  Tie a knot in the bottom just like you would if you blew it up.  Cut off the very top of the round part of the balloon (just a bit).  Pull the balloon over the pipe. You’re done.  Ta Da. (The balloon stays nice and tight).  Put a pom-pom or a marshmallow in the hole, pull back on the knot and stand back!  Straight up is the best.  They really fly.  You can shoot several small pom-poms at a time or one giant one.  Try to pop one and catch it.  They’re fun for everyone!

* You will have to sand the PVC if it’s rough or it may make a hole in the balloon.  Also remember to be careful if you have young children because there are small items and balloons involved.

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)?

 

Let’s Go Fly A….Bag ♫

I looked out the window the other day to see a plastic bag floating up in the air over my fence. Connected to the bag was a piece of yarn.  Connected to the piece of yarn was a little boy, my cute neighbor Caleb.  He had made a kite! It worked like a charm and kept him entertained for most of the afternoon. I told him he was a genius and I was going to take his picture and put him on my blog. We would call it: “Caleb’s Creation”.  Well, he wasn’t going to forget that. I told him to bring a kite to soccer practice and I would take his picture. I forgot my camera…He didn’t forget his kite. I took this picture with my phone. What a cutie. Making the kite is easy to do, simply tie the yarn or string to the handles of a grocery bag.

Wouldn’t it be fun to have “kite” supplies in your car for entertainment emergencies? Think of all those soccer and baseball practices when your child that’s NOT on the team is going nuts.  How about a picnic in the park?  Try it just for fun, (and pick up the garbage when you leave).

Thank you Caleb!

POW! BANG! BAM!

BOOM, BOOM, POW! How do you like me now? We were first introduced to the marshmallow gun in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where we paid $12.00 only to realize, that even anti-crafties could make one. We took it apart, measured the pieces of PVC sprinkler pipe and made twenty, (not a typo), twenty more. My oldest daughters had all out wars with the neighborhood boys who soon learned that a girl wearing a hoodie sweatshirt (to protect their hair from the dreaded “moistmallow”), could beat them anytime, anyplace. I have fond memories of them coming in the house breathless from a neighborhood chase, their sweatshirts speckled with circles of marshmallow dust.

Although a grass full of marshmallows isn’t always my favorite thing, they do disappear when your sprinklers go on. I shudder to think of the sheer number of marshmallows my dogs have consumed via the M-Gun.

If you’re up to the challenge, you will need:

  • One 17 inch long piece of 3/4″ pvc pipe. (Sprinkler section of a Home Improvement store)
  • One “t” shaped 2 1/2″ connector
  • One end cap
  • Two elbow shaped connectors (our say D2466 on the side)

Using a small saw or sprinkler cutter, mark and cut the pipe into the following pieces:

  • One 3″ piece
  • One 8″ piece
  • One 3 1/2″ piece
  • One 2″ piece

Hook them together as shown. We decorated them with colored duct tape, but spray paint would be great because the fit would be tighter. Make two different colors and have teams for a fun summer night activity, birthday party or youth activity. We’ve lent ours to friends a hundred times. Make one and try it out. Hard short breaths are the best!

Get your hoodie on.

 

No Green Thumb Required

Spring has sprung and my kids have loved watching their world (the neighborhood) blossom and grow.  They had an absolute blast making these charming little Easter grass baskets.  Everyday they run downstairs to the kitchen window to check the progress the grass has made.  And just like flowers, bringing the grass indoors adds to any room.

Procrastinators read carefully if your planning this for Easter or you will be enjoying a basket o’ dirt if you don’t start by Saturday. Even if you do it later, it would be a darling addition to your home that could be enjoyed for weeks. The grass pictured above was planted a week ago. If you start today you may need to give your grass a trim by Easter.  My kids are looking forward to giving the grass it’s first haircut.  All you need for a spring grass centerpiece is Hard Red Winter Wheat, small rocks, soil and a container.  You can find the Hard Red Winter Wheat at any health food store. It is also known as wheatgrass and is only about $1.20 lb.

Day 5

Once you’ve gathered all your items you can get started.  First you need to put a small layer of rocks, (about 1/4 of the container),in the bottom of the container. Then add soil leaving about an inch to spare at the top.  Spread a generous layer of seeds along the top of the soil.  Next, cover the seeds with a very thin layer of soil. Water immediately and keep the soil damp daily.  I sprayed mine every morning with a spray bottle.  Put your container in a well-lit window.  You’ll start to see the sprouts moving the dirt around on day 2 or 3.  You could even juice the grass for some health benefits when they’re ready!

Hoppy Easter!

Safety Pin Bracelet

I remember being twelve and making safety-pin bracelets at girls camp.  I thought they were so cool.  I wore the bracelet every day until I lost it at the pool the next summer.  It was red, white, and blue. So patriotic.  So 1974.   Well, safety-pin bracelets have come back full circle… Now I just need the Farrah Fawcett hair-do to come back because I NAILED that look!

I got a safety pin bracelet for Christmas this year and had it on for part of the day before I realized it was a safety-pin bracelet.  Hip and cute with endless possibilities.  Here is what you need to gather to make one:

  •  Medium or large sized safety pins (gold or silver)
  •  Assorted beads of your choice (small enough to fit on the safety-pin and still close it)
  •  Medium grade stretchy elastic string

Set up beads in the order you like and fill the safety-pin to capacity and close.  Cut two pieces of elastic string slightly larger than your wrist size.  String one piece of elastic through the bottom loop of the safety-pin and the another string through the eye of the closed pin clasp.  Continue adding beaded safety pins until the elastic are filled to your wrist size.  The bracelet shown used twenty-nine safety pins with four beads on either side of the each pin.  Two on the top, and two on the bottom.  Tie it off, then show it off!

You can buy lots of different colored pins and millions of different beads.  Cheap and fun to make.  It would be a fun craft for a sleep-over, girl’s camp, activity days or a birthday party.