Fun Friday: Personality Doppelgangers

DopplegangerDefinition2_FixedI saw the idea of a personality doppelganger on another blog and I thought it was a cute idea (please forgive me for not knowing the exact name of the blog because I found it by accident and when I tried to get the link, I couldn’t find it again for the life of me!).  The basic concept is to think of a celebrity (or well-known character) whose personality reminds you of your kid(s).  I like the idea of comparing personalities vs. looks because I believe that personality is so much more telling of who a person is!

So, here’s what I came up with for how my precious little ones have developed so far. 🙂

First up: Big Brother.  DSCN3450I have been told several times that because he has a very sophisticated vocabulary for his age and loves learning, he reminds people of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory.  Now, he’s no Einstein, but I totally get the comparison, especially since he loves to point out when I am being sarcastic (though I’d like to think my boy’s social skills are on a much higher level than Sheldon’s).

sheldon

Next, The Princess.  DSCN3545Now, you might think that I would compare her to a princess since that’s how I refer to her, but my sweet girl reminds me WAY too much of my little sister (which is scary) who was actually named after the Chipette “Brittany” from the original Alvin and the Chipmunks.  She’s definitely sassy and not one to back down easily.brittchip

And, finally, we have Big Trouble.  DSCN2998My original thought was to post a picture of the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Toons because he is just a mess; but lately, he has been acting more like the Dog from Up.  I find myself saying “focus” a lot these days because he will be talking about something and then stop suddenly and notice something else exciting…and then something else…and something else, etc.  Every time he does this, I immediately want to shout out “SQUIRREL”.upSo, here you have my approximation of my children’s personality doppelgangers.

Does anyone else ever have these kinds of comparisons with their kids? 🙂

Advertisements

Fun Friday – Crayon and Sandpaper Iron-On Transfers

I am notoriously bad at crafts.  I think Pinterest is the devil because my crafts NEVER turn out the way they should, regardless of how easy someone claims the project is.  As such, I have just about given up trying homemade things lately.pinterest 2

However, I discovered a website (The Crafty Collaborative) that features several daring women who try out various crafts and recipes and then let you know the honest scoop on how “easy” they really are!  You get pros and cons from multiple ladies who are testing out the same craft so you know if it really is something worth trying!  I appreciate this on so many levels!

Their most recent art project was making a homemade iron-on design using only sandpaper and crayons!  This looked like a legitimate project to me and the ladies all testified that it was, so my kids and I sat down to attempt it too.

*To try this yourself, you will need the following items:

  • Crayons (old crayons would work great because they will get worn down on the sandpaper)
  • Sandpaper
  • An Iron
  • Paper Towels
  • A plain t-shirt, tote bag, pillowcase, etc. that you can put a decal on

I love that the materials for this project are all things that you probably have just lying around the house!  Cheap and easy? YES, PLEASE!

The kids sat down and colored a design on their individual sheets of sandpaper (we used the thin grit so it was easier to color on).

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

When they were finished, I flipped the paper over, lined it up on an old white t-shirt, and ironed it on.  It only took about 5 seconds to get the picture on the t-shirt!  Then, I put a paper towel over the t-shirt picture and ironed a few times to get the excess wax off.

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

Voila; new art shirts for school (we purposely tested this out on daddy’s old t-shirts because they would be used for messy art projects anyway and I was still a little skeptical of the outcome, given my history of crafting).

showing off their shirts

showing off their shirts

You do have to push down on the crayons a little harder than usual to make sure that the picture is really bright on the sandpaper or the picture will be faint (notice that my son’s shirt is not nearly as bright in certain spots because he didn’t color as hard).

And, if you want to put any words or numbers in the picture, you have to remember to write them backwards on the paper or they will show up backwards on the shirt.  My son forgot that rule and had to adjust his picture accordingly (BUT MOM, HOW DO YOU DRAW A FOOTBALL PLAYER WITHOUT THEIR NAME AND JERSEY NUMBER?! – a question that should have been asked before he started drawing seeing as though I only had 2 pieces of sandpaper at that time), which is why his looks a little wonky – he tried to turn the numbers/letters he drew into helmets on a football field, but he gets his artistic ability from his mama so it is what it is.

The whole point of my rambling is that the project was SO simple and required very little preparation, no specialty tools, little to no money, and very little work on my part – HOORAY!  pinterest 1It is definitely something that I would recommend trying with your kids the next time they get “bored” or if you need a cute gift for a grandparent or family member.

Thanks The Crafty Collaborative for reviewing this fun idea so that I was brave enough to try it myself!

How To Tote a Car Seat Through An Airport Without Losing Your Mind (Or Spending A Fortune)

airplaneI’m the first to admit that the scariest part about flying cross-country with our three young children was thinking about how in the world we were going to get our 2-year-old (Big Trouble) to sit still on the flights.  I mean, he doesn’t sit still at home or nearly anywhere else, so why would I even think he would stay in an easily escapable plane seat?  Even though I have never used a car seat on a flight before, I knew I really didn’t have any other options if I didn’t want our flight crew to kick us off the plane.  My tiny “angel” had to be strapped in.

I started asking around and getting ideas from various people and friends and family and while the consensus was that it is a pain to use a car seat on an airplane (yes, it is, when you factor in the narrow aisles and even smaller areas for leg room between the seats while you are trying to set everything up), there are things you can use to get it around the airport without a lot of trouble; everything from specialty bags with wheels, to collapsable luggage carts, to specialized straps that you can buy to attach the seat to a rolling luggage.  The prices ranged from $19.95 to over $100.

Well, there was no way I was going to spend a ton of money when we hardly ever fly, not to mention that a lot of these products had to be ordered well in advance and had numerous reviews citing that they are not as easy to use as they appear so I would need to practice so that I don’t hold up the line at security and getting on and off the plane.  Um, no; having to practice something hardly makes it easy.  But, we had a TON of luggage that would be going with us and there was no way anyone could carry the car seat through the airport.  So, I looked around for an alternative and, guess what?  I found it very easily for $1.50 at The Home Depot.

all of our junk on the "helpful" luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

all of our junk on the “helpful” luggage cart (this did not include the car seat or our three kids so you can imagine the struggles)

The mystery item that was the secret to my success?  A bungee cord with plastic hooks.  Seriously.  That’s it.  It is an adjustable cord that allows it to go from 24″ to 42″ so it will fit any size car seat and rolling carry-on luggage (no, it was not created especially for this purpose but I had no idea what size I would need so the adjustable worked beautifully).  And, it literally took me about 10 seconds to strap together and less than that to take it apart.  Every time.  Absolute life saver in my book.

perfection

perfection

Just flip the seat upside down, place it on top of the luggage and strap on.  Never had an issue with it sliding or falling off or not wheeling correctly, etc.  And, the cord doesn’t have metal so it’s safe for you, security doesn’t think you are going to use it as a weapon on anyone else, and it’s easily stored in a back pack or the rolling carry-on until the next use.

The car seat worked well for us and Big Trouble was renamed “Just a Little Trouble Because We’re Flying At Awful Times” for the duration of our flights to the West Coast and back home again.

california7

Strapped in and ready for Take Off!

Seriously, if you are flying and need to bring a car seat, even if you just check it at the gate so that there’s no fear of losing it along the way, this is the way to go!!!  Now, if only I could have figured out how to strap Big Trouble to the bigger luggage…..

Summer Camp Recycled Crafts – Part 2

As promised in Part 1, I’ve got a few more “green” crafts from Summer Camp to share with you and here they are!

  • Fabric CD Coasters – At the same local shop we found the old VHS cases (The fantastic Sharing Tree if you live in the Tallahassee area – you can fill a huge tote bag full of scrap/recycled materials for only $5!), we also found bulk used CDs and Fabric Sample booklets.  We used these materials to create fun coasters for the kids to give as gifts.  You simply trace the CD onto the fabric with chalk or a pencil, cut it out, glue it on one side of the CD and cover the fabric with Mod Podge to seal it.  We used small pieces of Duct Tape to cover the hole in the back just to guarantee the liquid wouldn’t seep through there and we placed little foam pieces on the back to raise the coasters off of the table a little.  So easy and with so many fabric choices available (even from old shower curtains, drapes, towels, etc., that you have lying around the house), the possibilities are endless if you want to match them to your home decor or create as a gift!
We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)

We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)  These were still wet with glue, but they dried solid and work GREAT!

  • Cereal Box Collages – We cut the front and back cardboard pieces from recycled cereal boxes to use as a mat for creating a collage.  We then let the kids create a theme by using old magazines as inspiration.  The children used animals, fun shaped letters, and other things to create theirs.  This could be a totally free craft to create on a rainy day if you have old magazines, a cereal box (or even a shoe box or mailing box or the back of an old book that is falling apart) and some glue!

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and creating a collage of those.

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and create a collage of those – ANY theme would work.

  • Cupcake Liner and Egg Carton “Flower Garden” – For the end of the week luncheon centerpieces the second week of camp, we let the younger kids make “flowers” out of cupcake liners, popsicle sticks, and other tiny odds and ends.  We then placed their flowers into egg cartons which they painted green to resemble a patch of grass.  It was really interesting to watch some kids really decorate the inside of their flowers, while others were content to just glue a single button or pom-pom inside and call it a day.  In the end, it was a simple project but also a colorful one that the kids enjoyed.

    Our little "gardens"

    Our little “gardens”

  •  Crystal Light Find-It Game –  I have done this craft with my own kids (as seen in this post) and they had a blast so when we realized that we had enough random materials to let the pre-K and Kindergarten kids make this, we ran with this adapted version.  Instead of soda bottles, we used empty Crystal Light containers that were donated to our class.  We also had a small package of birdseed so we used that instead of rice.  Turns out, both containers and both “filler” items work just fine.  You simply fill the container 3/4 of the way with whatever filler you choose, add random “treasures” (such as lego pieces, foam cutouts, buttons, beads, Barbie shoes, etc. – whatever items will fit in the container) to the top of the filler, seal it with either glue or duct tape, as shown in the picture below, and shake it up good so that the items are mixed into the filler.  *Remember to make a list of the items you will be searching for, just so you don’t forget!*  Now the kids have a game for the house or on the go!
    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking)

    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking) 

    find it 2

    Our finished product (minus the clue card)

Pet Rocks – As an extra time filler, we brought back the 70’s fad, pet rocks!  All you need is paint, little googly eyes, yarn or confetti and rocks from your yard or garden.  Surprisingly, even the older kids seemed to like this.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in "Monsters Inc." :)  Very creative.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in “Monsters Inc.” 🙂 Very creative.

During the camp we also used the fabric samples to create bookmarks and decorative binder clips (although I failed to get a shot of those).  We really enjoyed finding new ways to use left over materials and recycled materials.  Not only did it make crafting less expensive, it allowed us to repurpose items that you might not think could be repurposed.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me with ideas in my original post and I hope you are inspired to try a few of these projects yourself!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday – Legacy

Right now, at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts, there are numerous pieces of artwork created by children from area schools as part of their “Generations” exhibit.  My son was asked to be a part of one of the exhibits based on the theme of “my legacy”.  The children from his school were to create a picture and a poem based on one word that they chose to be their legacy to the world.  I’m proud to say that he chose the word, HELPFULNESS.  I like that legacy.

His legacy: helping the world.

His legacy: helping the world.

Summer Camp Recycled Crafts – Part I

I have been MIA for the last two weeks or so thanks to my exhausting job as an assistant arts and crafts teacher at a local camp.

I’m happy to report that the kids, including older boys, loved the crafts – many of which came from the ideas y’all sent me earlier this year – and I really wanted to share them with you because if I was able to help kids accomplish these projects (in the midst of dealing with inept babysitters for Big Trouble), ANYONE can do it and it might give you some cool projects to attempt during the long Summer months when moms can start going crazy!

Get ready for a huge photo dump (which is why this will be in 2 parts).  Disclaimer – the photos aren’t fantastic because I was frantically trying to remember to catch the finished projects with my lousy phone in between cleaning up and helping kids, but you’ll still get the gist.

  • Button Bowls (I did a separate post about these when I was testing it out at home if you want directions, but it’s super easy, only slightly messy – unless you are doing it with 10 kids at camp – and only involves a balloon, buttons and glue/mod podge)!
button bowls!

button bowls!

  • Yarn Wine Bottle Vase – We used empty wine bottles, a bit of yarn, and glue to create beautifully unique vases which were used as centerpieces for a luncheon on the last day of camp.  (We also had the kids make tissue paper flowers to put in them but of course I forgot to take a picture of those).  This was a great project for the older kids, 3rd grade and up, because after we tied the top part of the ribbon onto the lip of the bottle, they just painted small portions with glue and started wrapping the yarn.  Occasionally, the yarn would slide down, but it was very easy to just push it back up tightly, even if you decided to use different color yarns and had to tie on another piece.
I actually made this one myself out of one roll of green yarn that changed shades every few feet.

I actually made this one myself out of one roll of green yarn that changed shades every few feet.

  • Toilet Paper Roll Owl – Since owls have been on trend recently, we made cute owls out of toilet paper rolls, leaves, feathers, markers, googly eyes and a few other crafty odds and ends.
This little guy lost a feather wing on the way home, but he still has his leaf wing and nose.

This little guy lost a feather wing on the way home, but he still has his leaf wing and nose.

  • VHS Pencil/Treasure Boxes – When looking around for “green” art supplies, we came across a small store that had a stash of old, clear VHS tape boxes.  We thought they would be perfect and easy for the kids to decorate as a “if I finish early” project.
Each kid used Sharpies to decorate their box however they wished

Each kid used Sharpies to decorate their box however they wished

  • Matisse-inspired Name Art In my original recycled crafts blog, one of my art teacher friends offered this idea as she had done it with some of her older students in her class this year.  We loved this inspiration, but some of the kids were too small to be able to cut cool letters out of paper so we tweaked the idea a little and wrote each kid’s name on a thick mat board and gave them numerous craft supplies (such as broken crayons, pom poms, buttons, beads, feathers, googly eyes, tissue paper, confetti, etc.) to be used to create their own special work of art.
some turned out better than others, but each kid LOVED this project.

some turned out better than others, but each kid LOVED this project.

  • Tile Trivets – This was another time filler project, but the kids really enjoyed it and many of them made them as gifts for Father’s Day.  We just purchased tiles in bulk from Home Depot and let the kids decorate them with Sharpies.  Then, when they were finished, we applied a light sealant over them so that the artwork won’t come off if they have to wash them.  We also added a few small squares of foam squares to the bottom to make sure they wouldn’t scratch any tables or countertops.
If you look closely, you will see a few with hands on them as we traced the hands of the Pre-K and K kids for their parents because you know they have such cute and tiny hands right now!

If you look closely, you will see a few tiles with decorated hands on them.  We traced the hands of the Pre-K and K kids for their parents because you know they have such cute and tiny hands right now!

some of the kids took the "art" part very seriously and came up with some really cool drawings and ideas.

some of the kids took the “art” part very seriously and came up with some really cool drawings and ideas.

  • Potholders – This craft should look very familiar to most of you because it has been around for a long time.  We purchased some inexpensive plastic looms from Hobby Lobby and ordered the already cut pieces of stretchy fabric for the kids to weave potholders out of.  This wasn’t particularly “green” but the original idea was to use old tshirts and socks, cut in the same fashion as the strips we bought, to create the potholders.  We ran out of prep time, but that is definitely a way to create a “green” potholder!
not fancy, but does the job

not fancy, but does the job

These are just a few of the crafts that we did over the past 2 weeks and I will have a few more to share later on in the week.  I hope you are inspired by these projects enough to want to try creating your own masterpieces with your kids! 🙂

Painting With A Highwayman

A few weekends ago, my older son was invited to attend a special painting session with Aletha Butler, a second generation Florida “Highwayman” artist.  If you are not familiar with this famous group of artists, here’s a little snippet on their history.

The Florida Highwaymen, a group of 26 African-Americans, broke convention to paint beautiful iconic landscapes. Originating in the mid 1950’s, an era marked by racism and poverty, these self-taught entrepreneurs mentored each other while they painted on basic materials like Upson board for canvasses, and crown molding for frames. Local galleries shunned their work, so they peddled their art from car trunks along area roadways, hence their name. Their art freed them from work in citrus groves and labor camps, and they created a body of work that has become not only a timeless collection of a natural environment, but a symbol of determination and belief in oneself.   The surviving Highwaymen, now in their sixties and seventies, are an important chapter in America’s culture and history, indeed, a National Treasure. Their self-determination in the face of adversity remains an important story of perseverance, inspiration and creativity.

We were very excited to learn that siblings were welcome to attend this outing as well so I left Big Trouble with Daddy (can you imagine him with an abundance of paint and a huge landscape to destroy?!) and headed over to Mission San Luis to meet the artist and learn more about her painting style.

introduction to the Butler family

introduction to the Butler family

The day couldn’t have been more perfect for the outdoor session; it was sunny, in the low 70’s, with a calm, cool breeze.  The group of children who attended was small enough that Ms. Butler was able to interact with everyone easily.  We were delighted to learn that she had brought her mother and father, Robert Butler, an original member of the Highwaymen, along to the session as well.  The trio of Butlers proved to be lovely people; extremely accommodating and friendly to all of the children.

Now, my mother’s paternal side of the family are all very artistic.  My great-grandmother was an artist, as was my great-uncle, and most of the distant relations have some sort of artistic ability.  As much I as wanted to inherit this ability like my mom and brother and sister, it was not in the cards for me.  I am a very creative person, but artistic? Not so much.  My older son is very much like me in that he desperately longs to be artistic, but his strength lies in the “art” of writing vs. the visual arts.  We knew this heading into the session, so I was interested to see what both he and my daughter (who shows a little more promise in the arts, at least when she takes her time) would come up with.

watching the demonstration

watching the demonstration

The kids watched Ms. Butler explain how she starts by using shapes and mixing colors and it was amazing to watch her make it look so simple (it definitely is not simple).  My daughter started off trying to paint the landscape like Ms. Butler did, and it looked really good until she discovered that mixing the colors and just spreading them across the canvas was more fun – she was “exspearminting”.  The flower she had been working on was quickly covered by randomness.

notice how calm and normal the pictures started off

notice how calm and normal the pictures started off

the mess that it turned into when she started mixing colors

the mess that it turned into when she started mixing colors

I did no painting and somehow I was still covered in paint....

I did no painting and somehow I was still covered in paint thanks to her “experiments”….

My son chose a different route and tried to paint a copy of an amazing painting Ms. Butler had done of a frog on a leaf.

Ms. Butler's painting

Ms. Butler’s painting

the beginning of a frog

the beginning of his copy

I could tell what he was going for, but the colors kind of just started blending into each other and he started getting a little frustrated when no one else could tell what he was painting.  At that point, Mr. Butler came over and started talking to my son about his painting.  He had just finished painting a picture with another student, so my son bravely asked if he would mind painting with him.  I thought he might have been tired from making the rounds earlier, but he sat right down with my son and gave him a one-on-one lesson about how he creates paintings.

discussing painting with Robert Butler

discussing painting with Robert Butler and a friend

He used the weird colors that my son had used and placed them in the same parts of the canvas that my son had, but reinterpreted it to create a landscape.

starting his copy of my son's picture

starting his copy of my son’s picture, using just the colors and placement

a little more added to the canvas

a little more added to the canvas

things are starting to look like actual objects with just simple strokes of the brush

things are starting to look like actual objects with just simple strokes of the brush

adding the finishing touches

adding the finishing touches

pointing out the similarities and differences because every artist has a different point of view

pointing out the similarities and differences because every artist has a different point of view

IT WAS AMAZING.  And it only took him about 15 minutes to complete his painting.  He even signed it and gave it to my son to keep, while sweetly asking my son to send him a signed piece when he gets older in exchange.

The two paintings side by side

The two paintings side by side (it’s hard to tell from this picture, but up close, the details in Mr. Butler’s painting are so vivid and create a simplistically beautiful portrait of a small pond within a bright, wooded area – and that all came from just glancing at my son’s color scheme!)

I know my 7-year-old doesn’t fully comprehend how special that moment (or the gift of the picture) was, but I sure do.  I am going to frame both pictures and hang them in his room so that we can remember this experience.

Both Robert and Aletha Butler, as well as many of the other Butler children, still work as artists and sell their beautiful paintings, so if you are in the market for a beautiful landscape painting, please check this extraordinary family out.  You won’t be disappointed.

**If you are in the Tallahassee area, Ms. Butler’s work will be on display at the FSU Fine Arts Museum from May-July as part of the Generations exhibit.  My son will also have a piece there too as part of a class legacy project!**

Button Bowl (Pinterest DIY Semi-Success)

This past weekend, the kids and I decided to try out one of the crafts that I posted about on my recycled crafts blog party post to see if it was really doable for the Summer Camp crowd.  I had all of the supplies on hand (or at least worthy enough versions of the supplies) so we got them all out and sat down to create our masterpiece.

As it turns out, this is a pretty easy craft to make (I am about to share the instructions for you to try); but, having said that, please know that I had four extra “helping” hands and a toddler who was doing his best to steal the buttons and roll in the glue every 10 seconds so our final outcome wasn’t as pristine as I had hoped.  It did come out in one piece though and after so many epic failures from Pinterest, I have to mark this one in the “success” column.

Anyhow, here’s what we did!  Hope you get a chance to try it yourself (I’m sure yours will turn out much better).  These actually could make really cute gifts.

what we were aiming for

This was the example bowl – ours does not look like this

First, we gathered up the necessary supplies: a balloon, buttons, white glue, a paintbrush and a bowl.

the goods

the goods

Next, we blew the balloon up to a reasonable size, tied it and placed it in the bowl so that it would be balanced.

The balloon "bowl form"

The balloon “bowl form”

You’ll notice that I drew a line on it with a sharpie so that the kids knew where they were supposed to stop with the balloons (or start, however you want to look at it).

Then we used the paint brush to cover the part of the balloon that was above the line with glue.  APPLY LIBERALLY.  I cannot emphasize enough that the more glue, the better.  I actually took a picture of what the balloon looked like after we added the first layer of glue, but then quickly realized that you couldn’t see it in a picture because I used a white balloon like the genius that I am.  I recommend using a darker color so you can see how exactly where the glue is going.

Let that glue dry for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much glue you used.  As long as it is dry to the touch, you’re good.  Then add another layer of glue on top of the first layer.  This creates the base of your bowl and is what ultimately will help hold everything together.

Next, we started the fun part: adding the buttons!

buttons, buttons everywhere!

buttons, buttons everywhere!

As you can see, the kids chose buttons of different sizes (which will still work if that’s what you have laying around the house, but it’s not as easy to keep them in a straight line for purposes of the top of the bowl) and they didn’t plan any kind of color pattern but hey, they did it themselves and that’s what counts, right?  Just make sure that all of the buttons are touching for a more even look (and because it helps the glue adhere better – we had issues so learn from us).

We let these buttons dry overnight just to make sure they were on there good, but a few hours should do the trick if you have the time to glue them on and then come back.  Once the buttons are tightly glued on, you use the glue to paint over the buttons.  Again, the more glue, the better.  We used a sponge brush and found it somewhat difficult to get the glue in the spaces between the buttons so when we do this at the Summer Camp, we will be using regular paint brushes.  It is really important that the glue covers EVERYTHING including those spaces or the bowl will fall apart.

glue on top of the buttons

glue on top of the buttons

Once that glue dries, you repeat the “glue-over” process 1-2 more times, just to add those necessary extra layers of protection for the buttons.  Yes, this is a drawn out process because of the drying time, but it is very simple and the gluing only takes a few minutes each time so it’s a project you can do in between other tasks because you can walk away from it if you need to.

Finally, once all of the glue is dry, we sliced a small hole where the balloon was tied.  This slowly let the air out of the balloon without popping it, which allows the balloon to slowly pull itself away from the glue of the bowl without breaking the bowl.  You don’t have to do a thing until the balloon is completely peeled off.  You may have some jagged glue edges at the top if you weren’t careful about the glue around the base/where the buttons stop (my kids weren’t – SHOCKER) but I had no problem just slicing it off with some sharp scissors or exacto knife.

Our button bowl

Our button bowl

And there you have it.  A bowl made out of nothing but buttons and glue.  Obviously, the bowl isn’t made to be used for anything edible or heavy, but is sturdy enough to hold light things or for decorative use.  We loved this fun way to use old buttons (and some new ones because we didn’t quite have enough just from my sewing kit) and I hope you are inspired to create an even better version of this “green” craft!


Blog Party – Recycled Crafts For Older Kids and Teens

party-clip-art-10I want to say a special thank you to everyone who contributed to this blog “party”!  I got some wonderful ideas and can’t wait to share them all with the head art teacher!  Kick back and get ready to be inspired by all of these great recycled crafts!

First up we have Valerie from Atlanta Mom of Three who shared several ideas ranging from cardboard box bookmarks to clothespin magnets and more!

Atlanta Mom of Three

Atlanta Mom of Three

***

Next, we have Lauren and Tami from Side By Side Design who offered some neat ways for the kids to recreate famous works of art using recycled household materials such as cereal boxes and soda bottles!sunflowers

Side By Side Design

Side By Side Design

***

Sarah at My Beautiful, Magic, Sometimes Dramatic – Life  shared her idea for an easy homemade bird feeder made with items from nature.

My BMSD Life

My BMSD Life

***

Here’s a cool idea from James at Dad’s Round Table on how to create your own comic book!  This would be great for the budding artists out there, especially the boys, who seem to be a tougher sell when it comes to arts and crafts!

James

James Hudyma

***

Motherhood Is An Art, aka the very artistic Melissa, offered new and fun ways to repurpose old furniture such as drawers, tables and a even a piece of wainscot left over from a remodel.

Motherhood is an Art

Motherhood is an Art

 ***

Amber, an actual Elementary art teacher, suggested using ideas from famous artists (such as Matisse) and making them your own.

Matisse inspired name panels

Matisse inspired name panels

***

Finally, here’s a sampling of some of the projects I found.

Look at this cute way to turn old dvds and cds into coasters.cds

You can also repurpose old, plain mugs or tea cups using only a Sharpie and the oven!mug

Think old wine bottles are trash?  Try this instead!chalkboard wine bottles

Have a ton of old buttons laying around the house?  Turn them into a bowl!bowl

Need a new, uniquely designed clock? Try making one from an old record and some magazines!clock

These are just a few of the ideas I found on the internet.  For a larger list of projects and websites with more ideas, please check out my Recycled Crafts Board on Pinterest.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this party!  Be sure to click on the links to check out everyone’s official blog posts for more ideas and instructions!

Happy Passover

As you may or may not know by now, our family is an interfaith one.  My husband is Jewish and I am a Christian.  As such, we celebrate all of the holidays surrounding both religions (which basically means Christmas and Easter and then all of the Jewish holidays that I am still learning about).

I did know a thing or two about Passover prior to meeting my husband, however, as it goes hand in hand with Easter each year.  As such, I came up with a tradition for our kids that incorporates a bit of fun representing both Passover and Easter.  Instead of decorating eggs (which we would totally do if any of my kids would actually eat them instead of leaving them to rot, thus making my husband feel like he needs to get his year’s worth of cholesterol at one sitting), we decorate Matzo.

Eggs or Matzo? either way, you can decorate!

Eggs or Matzo? either way, you can decorate!

Now, as a shiksa, I am not a fan of the matzo.  It reminds me of the paper-eque wafers we used to eat during communion at my Episcopalian Day School when I was little – in a word, BLECH (that’s a word, right?).  But, I realize the significance of the matzo, and I realize that my husband actually enjoys the taste somehow, so we make it work.  We get chocolate from the store and then the kids go and pick out a few colors of candy melts from Michael’s and we make chocolate matzo covered with “pretty” candy melt decorations.  Then we let it set in the fridge for a few minutes and it is a cold and tasty treat that tastes nothing like cardboard.

I’m the first to admit that it is kind of a pain to cover the plain matzo in chocolate, especially with lots of little “helping” hands, so when I found pre-dipped chocolate matzo at our grocery store last week, I BOUGHT IT!  It didn’t matter that it was twice the amount of the regular box and only contained 3 pieces (actually, it would have mattered if I had realized that there were only 3 pieces inside before I bought it, but since I was clueless, it seemed to be the perfect purchase).

It just so happened that my mom was coming into town for the day because she had to miss my daughter’s birthday party due to my grandma going into the hospital the night before and she wanted to make it up to her.  So, while Big Trouble headed up to take his nap, I busted out our craft table and got out the goods so that my mom could help the kids this year.  Sucker.  (just kidding, mom, love you)

decorating is fun!

decorating is fun!

It started out great.  I melted the candy melts (this year’s colors were purple and blue) and poured them into little decorating bags; I then found some hot pink sprinkles, and handed over the reigns to Gigi.

squeezing out the good stuff

squeezing out the good stuff

Approximately 2.5 seconds into the project, Big Trouble decided that he was not going to go down that easily for his nap.  We heard his big old feet on our stairs and my daughter, who spooks easily, tried to grab hers so that her little brother wouldn’t get it and in the process, dropped it all over the floor.  This resulted in a broken plate, her creation all over the ground and many tears.  Of course this is how things would go down.  Meanwhile, the candy melts have immediately hardened onto our tile floor and Big Trouble is trying his best to play the role of family dog by picking up stray pieces of chocolate matzo and putting them into his mouth.  Luckily, he is the 3rd child and I am beyond my fear of germs.  It’s still gross though.

After we stopped decorating and started scraping the floor (literally scraping because using a knife was the only way to get that junk off), we managed to convince my daughter that the 3rd piece of matzo from the box could be hers, even though it was just a bunch of broken pieces.  She seemed to be ok with this and got back to decorating, while I kept Big Trouble out of, well, big trouble.

she got to decorate 4 pieces instead of 1! (that's how we had to approach this debacle)

she got to decorate 4 pieces instead of 1! (that’s how we had to approach this debacle)

My son finished his and he could tell me what each one was even though my unenlightened eyes couldn’t quite see it.  Apparently the holes in my decorating bags were too big so it’s my fault the things came out blobby.  We’ll just agree that Moses and Jesus had a great time playing ball together on the matzo court.

it's a basketball hoop with a basketball - can't you tell?

it’s a basketball hoop with a basketball – can’t you tell?

When all was said and done, this project was actually VERY tasty and it’s all about the memories, right?  We’ll stick with our homemade chocolate matzo in the future (so that we have lots of extra pieces for the next time disaster strikes – because you know it will).  Lesson learned.  Happy Passover from our crazy house to yours! 🙂