Monday, April 30, 2012

May Day Paper Bag Flower Basket

Here's a super simple and fun May Day Flower Basket to make with your kids! I was inspired by Pinterest but took off on my own as we created ours at home.  Here's what you'll need:

brown paper lunch bags
chenille stems
colored cardstock or other paper
floral foam block
scissors, stapler, markers, etc

Keep your brown paper lunch bags folded up and have your child (or you) cut off several inches (about 6ish) from the top.  Have your child decorate the remaining bag any way you want! Glitter glue, stickers, paint... or plain ol' markers like we did. I was so impressed when my daughter, Molly (5), drew beautiful flowers all over hers! We used Crayola washable markers (of course!) so my son, Ben (2), could participate too!

Use the top portion of the paper bag you removed to cut a 1 inch strip to be your handle. Snip it so it's not a full circle and trim it so it's not so long.  In other words, cut a 1"x9" rectangle! Staple this to the sides of the bag to create your handle. Place a floral foam block inside the bag. I found mine at Walmart a while ago and just kept them on hand... you know - in case I wanted to make something like this spur of the moment! I used my trusty old steak knife (that I use to cut cardboard boxes with...) to trim it down to size.

Meanwhile, cut out several 3" flowers from the colored card stock.  I actually have an electric cutter (Cricut) so cutting out flowers was super quick and easy! Ours already had a hole in the middle of each flower, but you can use a hole punch to make yours.  Poke a chenille stem through that hole a couple inches; fold it over; and twist it on itself to create your flower stem! If you have green ones, those would be great... but if you have sparkly, colorful ones on hand like we did, then go with it! Finally, poke your "flowers" into the foam block and display your special May Day Flower Basket!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Great Gift for Teams, Teachers, Moms, Brides... Anyone!

I stumbled across a wonderful website that I've already used more than once to create one-of-a-kind gifts! can take any group of words and artistically arrange them into different shapes. You choose the words, color scheme, font, font size, layout, and orientation.  Then you choose the overall shape such as a heart, angel, hand print or even an outline of South America! The website suggests many uses for these "word clouds" ranging from brainstorming to love letters and from schoolwork to artwork. I have used them to make gifts for team members and coaches at the end of their season which I'll describe below.

First I started by entering my group of words: I included the team name, our show title and year, and all the members' and instructors' names.  I also included key words from our season and certain elements of our sport. If you want a word to show up larger, just type it in multiple times! Connect two-part words by typing an asterisk (*) that won't show up, such as "Great*Job".

Toggle through all the options to pick your favorites.  This includes the font, color scheme, etc. Once you're happy with the final result, Tagxedo lets you print or save your masterpiece! Since I made nearly 20 for each of my last two projects, I actually had mine printed at a local Fed Ex/Kinkos. Be sure you print it the correct size - for a 3.5 x 5 frame, try printing it at just 1/4 of the page. 

As you may have guessed by that last statement, I framed all mine! I found great frames at the Dollar Tree - I LOVE the Dollar Tree!  Finally, I decorated each frame by hot gluing artificial flowers to the corners.  Our performance this season was titled "Yellow" so I chose yellow flowers, but you can get creative and add foam shapes, ribbons, trinkets, or beads to yours!

Also consider making them for a teacher at the end of the school year with all the student's names in the shape of an apple!  Make one for a bride-to-be at her shower filled with well wishes or wedding-related words in the shape of a heart or umbrella! Make one for an expectant mother with childhood milestones in the shape of a foot print... or make one for your own mother for Mother's Day filled with words of love and gratitude in the shape of a flower. Then in June, don't forget your father at Father's Day in the shape of a fish! There are so many possibilities with Tagxedo and a little bit of creativity!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Paper Plate Handprint Flowers

After Easter was over, it took me some time to decide on a new theme for our projects because all the fun holidays are over. I finally "picked" flowers (pun intended!) to represent May Day, Mother's Day, and Spring! The first flower we made was inspired by a project from Oriental Trading.

First, I traced the kids' hands on green construction paper. While I cut out their hand prints (both right and left), Molly (5) colored a paper plate around the edges. Ben (2) happily gave me his hands to trace and scribbled on some paper but couldn't be bothered to color a paper plate so I got to color his!

Next, cut a strip of green construction paper and glue it to the back of your paper plate for the stem. Glue your child's hand prints to the stem to be the leaves! Glue a circle to the middle of your flower, cut from construction paper. I traced the bottom of a bowl to help Molly make a good circle.

Finally, I stapled a loop of ribbon to the tops for hanging, and trimmed little triangles out all around the paper plate to make petals. You can add a photo of your child in the middle of your flower, or their name and the year as a final touch!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hopping Easter Bunny Craft

Here is an idea I adapted from an activity called Jumping Cups I found in an old Family Fun magazine. The original instruction can be found online but here is my slightly adjusted version: Hopping Easter Bunny Cups!

Here's what you'll need:

two paper or plastic cups

Begin by cutting the rubber band into two pieces and tie a knot in each side. Draw an Easter Bunny on paper and cut it out. Your kids can color it in however they like! They can also decorate the cups with construction paper, markers, or stickers. We used leftover birthday party cups so they were already pretty colorful!

Next, cut four slits in the rim of one cup, about an inch deep, on opposite sides.  Tape the end of each cut so they don't tear any further. Now slide the rubber bands into those slits so they make an X.

Finally, tape your paper bunny to that same cup, and rest it on top of the plain cup. When you push down on the top cup then let go, your bunny will hop up into the air!

Here is a video of Molly (5) playing with her Hopping Easter Bunny so you can see how high it can go! Even though you might not want your younger children doing the cutting involved in this project, it is still a fun activity for them to play with - Ben (2) loved making his Bunny jump off the kitchen table!

Hand Print Easter Bunny and Spring Flowers

We have been so busy with our Countdown To Easter! We have done so many crafts and activities and made some fun snacks so I really need to catch up with myself!

A while ago we made some Handprint Birthday Cakes and I came up with the idea to make Handprint Easter Bunnies! We used washable finger paints and I helped my kids cover  their palm, middle finger, and ring finger of one hand. For Molly (5) we  used red but added some purple on the ears.  Ben (2) got blue.  After the paint was dry, we stuck on googly eyes and a foam sticker heart for the nose.  Then we glued on craft pom poms to be the bunnies' tails! Finally, I drew on the other details with a permanent marker. I can't wait to make one of these with my kids each year to see how much their hand print has grown!

A second project we did with hand prints was to make Spring flowers! This was actually something I did with the five month old twins I babysit during the day as a surprise for their mom.  Make a print of each hand to be your two flowers, and a print of each foot to be the leaves! I used Crayola washable markers on the babies because it can be controlled (unlike finger paints) and it can be cleaned easily with a wet washcloth. Naturally, the foot prints were easier to do with the babies since they kept wanting to ball up their fists! I added on the details with markers and labeled each print with their name and the year. 

I came across the hand print and foot print flower on Pinterest! Here is a link to the original blog that posted it as a great Mother's Day gift idea!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Paper Plate Easter Bunny

I found this super cute and easy craft idea on Pinterest! Molly (5) was able to put together this fun Easter bunny in just a few minutes and it makes such a cute decoration. 

First I had her draw a circle with pink marker in the middle of a paper plate, and color it in. When she was finished, I drew a thin line with pencil down the middle so she could cut the paper plate in half. This was a good review of the circle shape and the dome, or half circle, shape.

Next, I let her glue on two cotton balls for the bunny's face on a second plain white paper plate.  She glued on a pink craft pom pom for it's nose, then drew on the eyes and mouth. I simply stapled the first paper plate on to be the ears and we were done!

I love quick crafts like these because it was so easy to set up and clean up! We just had a few minutes before Ben (2) woke up from his nap so it was nice to have a chance to do something special with my daughter in that short time!

Later, I must note, she colored her bunny with purple fur!

Click Here for the original craft post I found on Pinterest!