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.

 

Memory Plates

Plates 

Wish we could say we thought this up, but it’s floating around the internet from school and crafty websites, to personal family blogs. LOVE it though. Did you know your child’s artwork can become permanent on a plain glass plate? (We even bought ours from the dollar store, to see if this DIY worked on inexpensive plates). It does. The only items you need are: Oil based or paint based permanent markers, oven-proof white plates and an oven.
The plates in the photograph were actually drawn by preschool age children, ages 2, 3, and 4 1/2. We started out with just two plates, but decided to add one more to illustrate just how much a child’s drawing changes in one short year. (That’s why the last plate says 2014).
We thought it would be such fun to have a child make a birthday plate every year, or make a plate for Santa’s cookies with their Christmas list written on the back of the plate! AHHH! I wish I had known this before my children were grown. My favorite keepsakes always involve my children’s art.
How about a birthday dinner using all the birthday child’s plates? Mother’s Day or Father’s day plates done by each child in the family? First day of school plates? Umm. Yea. There are so many possibilities, and half of them are in YOUR head. Get crackin’. Carefully though.

INSTRUCTIONS
Draw pictures on the plate with Oil based or PAINT PERMANENT PEN markers only. Place (oven-proof) glass plate in a 300 degree pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Done.
*Hand wash only.

Emergency Heater

Emergency Stove

 

I’m kind of a worrier.  We’ve mentioned before that at the first “real” sign of Winter the nester in me starts up and I’m preparing for a calamity.  In November I filled 8 big containers with water and put them in the garage in a nesting frenzy.  In January our pipe gave out….not just any pipe, THE pipe. The one that helps you wash your hair and flush your toilets, and wash your dishes. Ugh.
Poor hubby heard water running at 4:00 in the morning.  He had to dig through 3 feet of snow in 5* temps to find the main water valve and turn it off. OFF.  We had no running water for three days.  Truthfully we’d turn it on once a night to flush and turbo shower.  We’d just let water leak into the house.  (We have some cleanliness standards).   Anyway, we used the emergency water in the garage. We boiled it and washed dishes, flushed the toilets with buckets and kept things running until we got help.  Not glamorous, but definitely a blessing.
That experience made for some emergency preparedness searching.  We found a good one here. It’s an emergency heater for your 72 hour kit in case the power goes off for a titch. Obviously it’s for a car or small space, and you need ventilation, but it’s totally easy to make and store. It took 3 minutes no lie.

WHAT YOU NEED:

New, quart-sized paint can ( Home Depot $3.50 )

  1. Unscented 70% isopropyl alcohol
  2. Large toilet paper roll
  3. One quarter and a pack of matches ( to tape to the can for easy opening )

Pull the inside tube out of the toilet paper. Pour the alcohol over the toilet paper. Seal the can with the lid. To use the heater, simply light the roll.  The end.

We are going to put an emergency tip or idea in our blog every so often.  Being prepared takes away your fear.

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!

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!

Up, Up and Away! Bubble Stabilizer

It’s finally Spring. The kids want to be out. You WANT the kids to be out. It’s perfect “bubble weather”. This is the best bubble solution recipe I’ve found. If you make it the night before it’s even better. Scoot your kiddies out the door.

  • 1/2 cup liquid dish soap (Dawn or Joy work best, but anything will do)
  • 1 tsp glycerin
  • 1/2 water

Glycerin added to bubbles makes them more “hearty”. They will blow bigger and float longer without breaking. You can purchase glycerin in the pharmacy section of the grocery store. It’s only a couple of dollars and will last forever. Glycerine is used in the making of some soaps, skin products and even food. It’s slimy, sweet and safe.

When my children were small, our favorite way to blow bubbles was with a set of paper or plastic disposable cups. Cut the bottom inch or two off the bottom of one of the cups. Do it as neatly as possible so there aren’t any jagged edges. Fill the other cup about 1/3 of the way up with bubble solution. Dip the bottomless cup into the cup of solution, pull it out and blow through the wide end into the cup. TaDa. If you blow slowly the bubbles get really big.

It’s fun to make a big batch of bubbles and pour it into a serve yourself drink container with a spout. That way the kids can refill their own cup when they need more.

Try it, you’ll be blown away!

 

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.

 

DIY Tooth Fairy Box

I have to admit I was surprised that my daughter was so fond of this easy DIY Tooth Fairy Box.  Sometimes I forget how simple things can be. Often, we’re the complicators. This easy craft was a pleasant reminder to simplify, because I like simple, it’s so…..simple.  However, if you’re one of those “complicators”  you can easily whip out some cute fabric and embellishments and glam this craft up as much as you like.  If you’re making it for a boy, the box could make to look like a car, toolbox or a super hero. But as for now, I’m going to keep it simple.

This is the reason we made the box today. You can see why it was a total emergency that it be done….by night fall.

 I did this the speediest way possible, ( it was an emergency you know).  I drew a tooth on a piece of printer paper.  Looking back I could have used cardstock because the embossing on the Altoids box is pretty deep.  I traced the tooth with a sharpie and simply colored around it.  I cut the paper to fit the top of the Altoids tin and Mod Podged it on.  The end. Tada.

I don’t know about your Tooth Fairy but ours has a hard time finding those microscopic toothies under heads and poofy pillows. This is a way to fix that little problem.  ALSO I bet she could fit some money in there!

She is one smart fairy!

 

DIY Easter Egg Piñata

 

Easter Egg Pinata

Want to make the easiest Easter Egg piñata ever? Our family makes a piñata  for Easter that’s so cinchy you could make one tonight.  One trip to the grocery store and you’re set. You only need a punchball, some decorative napkins and liquid starch.  (You’ll also need a few minutes, for the parade thrown in your honor)!

Blow up the punchball and tie it in a knot. Put it in a bowl so it doesn’t roll away.  Place the bowl and punchball on a cookie sheet or tray to catch the drips.  If you’re doing this as a family project, you could do it outside, but it’s not a hard clean up. Pour some liquid starch in a pie plate or large shallow bowl. Open the napkins and dip them in the starch and begin laying them all over the ball. You can start the piñata with plain paper towels and use the decorated napkins for the last layer or two. You’ll need about four or five layers of napkins.

When you’ve finished one side, flip the punchball over and do the other side.  Rest assured your kiddies will slap on some big balls and clumps.  Just keep smoothing them up a little. The last few layers will cover a multitude of  lumps. You can’t really mess it up too much.

The piñata  will take 24-36 hours to dry depending on the thickness. Flip the piñata over every once in a while so it will dry evenly.

When your piñata is dry, pop the balloon and cut a small “U” shaped flap at the top.  This opening should be just big enough to fill the piñata.  Make  two pencil sized holes across from each other roughly four inches from the top.  Thread a small rope through the two holes and tie them together to help keep the flap closed.  ( If you have the time, you could cover the seam with a few more napkins and starch.)  Leave enough spare rope to hang it.

If you have a large group, use a pool noodle for your first round of  “whacks” so everyone gets a chance.  We advise putting your treats in individual baggies with a few loose candies. You know as well as we do, that the older kids at a party will mow a three-year old over faster than you can slap a tick!

Have fun!