Happy New Year!

Thank you for crafting, laughing and playing along with us in 2010!
We had a great year and hope you did too!

The most popular post of 2010 was the Recycled Apple Craft.

Although it is not the all time most popular project.  How To Make A Quick Clay Owl from 2009 has gotten more hits and continues to be popular.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Last Minute Christmas Crafting

I wanted to pop in and let you all know that Grandpa King is doing much better than expected and we are all very optimistic. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers!

Above is a snowman craft I helped Lu with for homework. We used one Styrofoam egg (I shaved a bit off the bottom so it would stand) and two Styrofoam balls held together by toothpicks and frosting. Lu did the decorating. The hat is a large marshmallow glued with frosting to a foam circle. The arms are made from the branches of some table grapes we had.

I wasn't able to finish the three gumdrop trees. I did manage one. It is pretty tall. I think Uncle C will be satisfied.

Hope you are all managing to finish up all your loose ends. 
Have a wonderful holiday!

XO Mama King

Merry Christmas

The 4 Crazy Kings wish you all a wonderful Christmas!

Unfortunately, the girl's Grandpa King and my dear sweet Father-in-Law is gravely ill. 
We will be on hiatus until the New Year. 


XO Mama King

Christmas Ornament Craft: Glittered Sea Shells

Em and I  saw the prettiest glittered sea shells in a local boutique. The "I could do that" bell rang in my head (you know that bell! I know it happens to you too my crafty readers!)... well, here you go!

Supplies: Sea Shells, Glue, Paint Brush, Fine Glitter*, Hot Glue Gun, Ornament Hanger

*Tip: fine glitter is smaller than regular kids craft glitter. It can be a more expensive than regular glitter so pick it up on sale or when you have a coupon. It makes a big difference in the finished look.

We have jars of sea shells at home from all our summer excursions at the beach.

All we did was dip a paintbrush in Mod Podge and paint onto the shell until the exterior is covered.

Tip: clean off glue from little hands before starting the glitter part!

Add glitter. Let dry. Tap off excess glitter. 

Heat up hot glue gun**. 

**Tip: You don't need an expensive glue gun. I have a cheapo one. I like the dual tempature ones just make sure you buy the correct glue sticks that go with your glue gun.

Squirt a glop of hot glue on the inside. Add a ornament hanger or ribbon. Let dry and hang on tree.

These would make great accents on the outside of a package.

Homemade Gift: Treasure Soap

It is that time of year again! Treasure Soap production is in full swing. Our little elves look forward to this annual tradition. Making soap is a great way for the kids to make a gift for their teachers. We contribute to the teacher money collection but like to give something small and personal from the girls.

The instructions for making soap comes on the package of glycerin you buy at the craft store. I let the girls add the special soap coloring, soap scent, soap glitter and of course the treasure! In the past we have used plastic toys and erasers (there are a lot of cool small erasers available these days.) This time we used miniature ornaments. 

You can buy a soap making kit but we bought all the items individually from Michael's Craft Store. The coloring, scent and glitter have lasted several years. We are just starting to run low on the coloring.  I melt the soap in a large Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave.  It is easy to cleanup since it is soap!

Tip: fill your soap mold halfway then add your treasure. Wait until somewhat set (you can pop them in the fridge) then add the rest of the soap. This prevents lighter objects from popping up and floating. Using this method allows for you to create a two tone color if you like. 

Tip: melt the soap in small batches so you can create a variety of colors.

Common Sense Tip: the soap is hot! You know your kids. If they are accident prone or prone not to follow directions than this may not be the craft for you. My youngest is 3 and really enjoyed adding the color, scent, glitter, and treasure. I supervised her the entire time and assisted her with the stirring. It is a great exercise in following directions. I poured the hot liquid into the molds for both my girls.

I used the stamped paper from yesterday to package the soaps. I used small plastic gift bags but you could use a zip top bag. Fold paper in half and cut the paper to size. Staple onto top of bags. 

Have your child or you write the person's name on the front. I wrote on the back, "Emme's Handmade Treasure Soap."

Have fun crafting with your kids!

Winter Kids Craft: Glitter Stars

This craft is for those not adverse to mixing small children, glue and glitter together. I am fearless (perhaps a bit too fearless) and let my girls have at it with the glitter and glue. 

Supplies: paper bag, glue, glitter, old or cheap snowflake stamp, and a plastic lid to use as your "stamp pad"

Squirt glue onto plastic lid.  Squish around. Tap stamp into glue or paint glue on with paint brush. I just let the kids squish the stamp into the glue not worrying about even coverage.

Add glitter while glue is still wet. Work in sections if you are doing a large piece of paper. Tap excess glue off paper.

Use to make cards or gift tags.

Not a fan of glitter? Use plain old stamp pads.

Santa, if your reading this, we need new stamp pads!

Have fun crafting with your kids!

The Joy of Taking the Christmas Card Photo

The day of the Christmas card photo shoot...

Not even a bribe of a lollipop was going to wipe that look off her face.

Christmas Kids Craft: Work In Progress Gumdrop Trees

The Gumdrop Tree is a new Christmas tradition. Last year was our first year making them. It came out so cute we are making a trio this year.  Last year I learned a few lessons.

  1. It takes a ton of gum drops and several hours to make just one tree. That is why we are starting early. 
  2. Little helpers make the process take 5x longer! But...the girls love helping so fa la la la....allow for extra time. It actually makes for a good quiet time activity. Depending on the child they may be able to do it for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  3. Stock up on your gumdrops! Get the larger ones so you won't have to use so many. I had slim pickings the few days before Christmas when I ran out. 
  4. Buy round toothpicks not flat - rooky mistake there. 
  5. Gumdrops have a sugary coating that little kids are attracted to. See story below.
  6. Toddler Friendly Tip: cut your toothpicks in half and attach toothpick to gumdrop so all your wee one has to do is poke it in the styrofoam.
Last years tree in progress.

Last year, I was a bit mortified when my Brother-in-law asked if he could eat the Gumdrop Tree after Christmas dinner. I gave him full disclosure. Which was, it had been sitting out for two weeks and a toddler who may or may not been trying to lick the the sugar off the gumdrops was my helper. He said he didn't mind and commenced to pick the gumdrops off the tree and eat them one after the other. Eww? I don't consider myself a germ-a-phobe but...anyone else with me on this one?

Anyway, Brother-in-law will be in GUMDROP HEAVEN because we are making 3 Trees. 

Girls, make sure you lick a couple of those gumdrops for Uncle C!

Christmas Kids Craft: Simple Wreath

You can't get simpler than this. Well, maybe...but than you would just have a paper plate. 
Bonus: this is a kids craft that you won't mind hanging up. 
(You know what I am talking about!)

paper plate, green felt, red pompoms, red ribbon, scissors, glue

Fold paper plate in half.
Cut out center along embossed edge.
Cut out leaf shapes from felt.

Tip: cut out rectangles first so all your leaves will be aprox. the same size. Also don't make them too small or you'll be cutting leaves until Valentines day. Fold leaves rectangle in half and cut out half a leaf shape. Open up and you should have a symmetrical leaf.

Give your kiddo the leaves and the glue. Let them glue the leaves on. Let them know that they can overlap the leaves and that they are trying to hide the white plate. After they glue on the leaves you can have them glue on the red pompoms (you can use sequins, buttons...) 
Let dry.
Tie a wide ribbon around top to create a pretty hanger (see picture.)

Christmas Kids Craft: Simple 3D Paper Ornaments

Paper, scissors, glue, clothes pins, glue, ribbon, sequins & glitter (optional), jingle bell (optional)

We made a simple triangle tree (using 3 panels) and a dreidel (using 4) to illustrate this project.  You can do this project with any symmetrically shaped object (bell, circular ornament, gingerbread man...) For the dreidel we used 4 cutouts. You could do a star and do as many a six cutouts for a really cool effect.

Tip: you can trace around a large cookie cutter if you don't trust your ability to free hand draw.

You will need to prep this activity for little ones. 

Cut out 3 identical triangles to make a tree. 
While holding the tree upright - fold each triangle in half corner to corner. 
This makes it easier to glue together later. Have your child decorate each triangle. 
Make sure they don't place and sequins or stiff objects in the fold. 
Let dry.

Measure out a length of ribbon longer than the ornament. allow for space at the top for hanging and the bottom for the bell (optional.)

String bell on and tie of to create a loop.

Assemble trees by gluing back half of one tree to the back half of a second tree. 
It will look a bit like a paper airplane. 
Use a clothes pin to hold in place. 
You can let dry to make it easier or throw caution to the wind and keep on gluing. 
You just may end up a little gluey.
Add a bead of glue to the spine of the tree (where the two trees meet)
Next lay the ribbon into the spine. 
Adjust so the bell hangs out the bottom of the tree.. 
Squirt glue all over the exposed halves to the backside of the third tree.
Place third tree on top of glue. 
Use one or two clothes pins to hold in place while it dries.

Have fun crafting with your elves!

Christmas Kids Craft: Model Magic Gingerbread Wreath

Here is a fun way to craft with all ages. Everyone can make a few "gingerbread" cutouts to create one family wreath or older kids can create their own wreaths. This would make a cute bedroom door decoration.

Supplies: Model Magic (it is lighter than clay), Paper Plate, Scissors, Glue, Cookie Cutters, Hole Punch, Fine Glitter & Ribbon

Tip: Use a plastic place mat or wax paper to roll out your MM.

Cut out your "gingerbread" shapes, ice them with glue and dust them with liberal amounts of fine glitter.
Cut out center of paper plate by folding plate in half and cutting along embossed line.
Assemble your "cookies" onto the paper plate and glue down.
I glued ours down while they were still slightly pliable. Doing so allowed the pieces to mold to the slightly concave edge of the paper plate.
Add a ribbon to hang.

I don't know if you can tell, we had a broken foot on the lower right gingerbread man. Watch out that you don't roll your MM to thin. The good news is, the MM glues together beautifully.

Have a great weekend!

Elegant (Last Minute!) Advent Calendar

I taped up some glittered chipboard letters spelling out "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Exactly 24 letters! I bought 2 boxes of glittered snowflakes from Walgreen's on the cheap. 

Notice I have conveniently cropped out our dining room table that is overflowing with a jumble of craft supplies, Thanksgiving school projects, and Christmas decorations. If you look in the bottom picture you can see the silhouette of Lu's pretzel rod tepee! Word is they are making pretzel rod advent wreaths in Sunday School this Sunday. Who knew you could make so many seasonal crafts with pretzel rods. This coming from the lady that constantly finds new uses for toilet paper tubes ;-)

I tapped in some straight pins under the letters. Each day the girls will hang up a snowflake. My kids know that when we get to the word "Christmas" we will be close to actual Christmas.

I think it looks very elegant and understated. I'm not sure if glittery letters and glittery snowflakes could be called understated? In our house the fact that they are all one color makes them understated! I have to admit I was looking for red glittery chipboard letters. Fortunately for us they only had silver at Michael's.

Christmas Kids Craft: Model Magic "Peppermint Candies"

To kick off December, I thought these little mints would be so sweet (couldn't resist) to make with your kids!
Can you tell I love Model Magic? And no, I don't get paid to endorse Model Magic. (Wouldn't that be nice.) When you see all the cute things you can make with this stuff you'll be a convert too! It is so light  which makes it easy for little hands to work with plus the colors are much more vibrant than air dry clay. The one draw back is that it is a bit $$. I always try to use my Michael's 40% off coupons and then buy a multi pack.

This is a project for elementary aged kids on up.

Start with equal sized amounts of red and white. Roll out into fat snakes. Stick them together (lightly.) Gently hold each end and twist in opposite directions.

Once they are loosely twisted roll gently with palm of your hand on work surface.
You should end up with a straight candy cane.

Roll up into a pinwheel shape. If making a lollipop add stick at this point. Let Dry

Wrap in plastic wrap or cellophane and secure with tape or tie with ribbon.

What to do with your candies?

Use a a package decoration.
Hang from a tree.
Glue to a paper plate wreath. 
Make a bunch and tie together to form a garland.

If you think of any other ideas let me know!

Happy Decorating!


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