Category Archives: crafting with kids
Our fall crafting streak continues and I wanted to pop in quickly (I am in the midst of editing tons of photos from a beautiful wedding I had the honor of shooting about a week and a half ago) and share!
Stamps are one of the kids favorite, easy, “projects” to pull out and do. I was inspired by this blog post as well as by the section she contributed to in Amanda’s book (which is featured in her post) and starting thinking about what bits of nature the kids and I might be able to find around our own back yard that would make nice stamps. Unfortunately, we don’t have any beautiful Black Walnut or Asian Poppy trees around here that would supply us with unique nuts and pods for stamping with, but we took a good look at what we did have and ended up finding something that turned out to be easy, fun and beautiful.
Our summer okra plants are starting to slow down a bit, but the okra is starting to become tough and fibrous more quickly and honestly, we are just tired of eating okra by September. We harvested a handful of them, brought them in, cut them and found a beautiful nature stamp.
It was so fun to watch the kids fill their pages with the colorful prints. They look very similar to flowers.
They were so much fun, even I couldn’t resist stamping it up too. I would love do this type of stamping again on some undyed linen or muslin squares and make some fall bunting with them.
Since we didn’t really find anything else out back that would make a good nature stamp, we looked inside. Since we have been learning about apples over the past few weeks and we had a perfect few in the fruit bowl, I thought the classic Kindergarten apple printing project would be fun to do too.
I loved revealing the star shaped core of an apple when you cut it straight through the center. I felt a bit like a magician given the reaction of my four year old.
For the apple prints, we used poster paint instead of stamp pads.
Again, so fun I couldn’t help but join.
All and all our nature prints were a success. Miss Amelia was napping through most of it, but when she woke up she jumped in and had her chance to stamp.
And she also discovered that not only does okra make a great stamp, it also makes a great snack.
Not sure I agree with her on that sentiment (I prefer mine cooked), but hey, whatever floats your boat baby!
This was a great project for not only getting out and enjoying the nicer weather (while you are searching for nature bits to stamp with), but you could print all sorts of fun things to hang, display, use or wear.
If anyone does their own nature stamps, I’d love to hear how they turned out!
Even though the temps here in Central Texas are still flirting dangerously with the dreaded 100 degree mark (seriously, 97 is SO much better than 102), the fall crafting bug has officially bitten Mama B. It’s the same almost every year and I just can’t help it. Even though our temperatures aren’t screaming autumn (or even whispering it really), there are other little things I can’t help but notice. Earlier sunsets, high school stadium lights on Friday nights. A new breeze that feels especially refreshing in the early morning walks about the garden. September is the month in which the changes begin, most definitely. So I snag a pumpkin spice candle off the shelf at the store, indulge in that little fresh market bunch of orange, gold and crimson blooms and I giddily plan our fall crafts.
First up this year was a simple, fun project of melted wax autumn leaves.
On our visit to Washington we were lucky enough to see some of the first leaves begin to fall and change. One particular park we visited was littered with small leaves that had beautiful splashes of green, yellow and red throughout and we collected a handful of them, hopeful to bring them home for our nature box. Sadly, by the time I was finding a spot to pack them just later that evening, they had become curled, dry and crumbly. We left them behind and I promised Asher we would do our own leaf project when we got home. This one definitely satisfied this our early craving for fall leaves!
I peeled paper off of old or broken crayons and set everything up the night before so that we could dive right in the next morning. (I highly recommend set-ups at times when little ones are otherwise occupied!)
Here is a list of the things you will need:
- wax crayons in fall colors (with paper covers removed)
- cheese grater and/or vegetable peeler
-old or dark colored towel (to protect your ironing board from wax stains)
-iron and ironing board
-leaf pattern templates if you have any on hand- these really aren’t needed but can help if you want to make particular types of leaves (ie. maple, oak, ect)
First thing you do is get those little hands (carefully) to work grating. We used both the cheese grater for very fine shavings as well as the vegetable peeler for larger chunks/shavings and got two very different looks. Asher and Amelia were both able to use the cheese grater easily and safely, but I would keep the peeler in the hands of older children (Asher did great with it). Although the finer shavings were pretty to look at in a big pile on the paper, once they melted down they were much more likely to run all together and create more of a mushy brown look if you aren’t very careful with the ironing part. For this reason I preferred the peeler for creating larger shavings and chunks of wax. Asher preferred a mixture of the two.
After filling your paper with the color shavings of choice, tear off another piece of wax paper about the same size to lay over the top of your shavings. I found that picking up the paper filled with shavings, moving it to the ironing board (which was covered with the old towel) and then placing the top layer of wax paper was easiest. You want to heat your iron up to a medium to low setting, make sure there is no water or steam leaking out (I had to press the steam button a few times to release a bit of the remaining water in mine while ironing over the dry towel) and in slow, up and down motions press to melt the wax. Be sure not to move the iron from side to side as you would when ironing clothes because this will cause your colors to spread, run and mix all together (making a brownish blah color). If you want to spread some colors a bit, use the very tip of your iron to slowly spread them. After pressing the top, I flipped the paper and pressed a bit on the other side as well, especially on those larger piles of finely grated wax, to be sure that they were melted through on both sides of wax paper.
After you are finished pressing, give your wax a few minutes to cool down and dry. When the wax feels properly dried, start cutting out your leaves! We used both patterns and did many “freestyle” designs. Let your creativity flow.
If the edges of your leaves look a little bit frayed or the wax starts to crumble, put them back on your ironing board and do a quick second press around the edges. You could even pre-cut your wax paper into leaf shapes before grating and melting the wax in between them, but I find that I prefer doing it on a larger sheet and then cutting out because the pressing/melting process tends to be less messy.
After our leaves were completely cut out and dried, we were left with the big decision as to how we would display them. We decided on a few different options (and I’m sure you all could share a few others of your own!). We poked holes in the tips of many of the leaves and tied a bit of twine through them to hang them on windows and on a branch mobile. The mobile was Asher’s idea and how he wanted to display them in his own room. I wanted to hang some in the kitchen window so that I could enjoy their beauty as I go about my normal tasks of cooking and dish washing.
And the leftovers we simply taped straight onto the other windows around the house. It was a quick project that was easy for me to help finish and/or clean- up after the kids. Not that I don’t encourage them to participate in normal completion and clean-up of their projects, but, you know how the attention spans of the (almost) 2 and 4-year-old crowds can be.
If you try this project at home, I would love to see your results or even just hear about them in the comments!
And then, if you are feeling really fall inspired- ride that high and get cooking.
Maybe bake some fresh bread…
Everyday Oat Bread. A delicious wheat, honey and oat bread from Amanda Soule’s new book. It’s definitely a new family fav.
Or whip up a pot of creamy potato and leek soup…
Recipe from the same book, but slightly adapted to our family’s taste. Great fall soup but would be perfect for a cold winter day.
Or make a batch of fresh peach ice cream with that awesome new ice cream maker your mom got you as a late anniversary present (thanks Mom and Dad)!
Don’t think I have ever eaten peach ice cream this delish, seriously.
Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Cheers to being bitten by the autumn craft bug!
That’s pretty much been every day this past week.
The backyard grass is slowly turning from crunchy gold to soft green and every inch of our little garden plot is at it’s limit (maybe even a little over) with seeds of promise.
Spring has definitely sprung.
And here is the official list of garden plants for the spring:
mandarin tree on the porch
Shallots, garlic, onions, spinach, chard, arugula, mesclun mix, 12 assorted tomatoes (lots of heirloom varieties), 5 assorted peppers (red, orange, green bell, jalapeno, habanero), 3 belstar broccoli, 2 eggplant, green beans, sugar snap peas, radishes, pumpkins, cucumbers, yellow summer squash, cantaloupe, corn, carrots, 3 blueberry bushes, 2 strawberries, assorted cutting herbs, cutting flowers including sunflowers, zinnia, calendula, lavender, echinacea and ranunculus and 3 different patio citrus trees (meyer lemon, mexican lime, mandarin orange). Whew! I’d love to do some okra too, maybe we will be able to find a starter later on because I didn’t start any of our own seeds this spring. Everything that wasn’t a nursery purchased transplant was directly sown into the garden. We are seeing a few little green sprouts so far and it is definitely exciting. After all the work we did amending and tilling the soil this past month, I am hoping for great summer bounty.
Actually, we even had our first “harvest” today. A single little strawberry, ripe for the picking.
Asher was so excited, the strawberries were his choice and the one plant out there that he insists on watering faithfully. He picked it, brought it in and after a quick rinse ate the little berry with big pride.
Speaking of this strawberry growing character reminds me (as if I could forget)…
he has a birthday coming up. In two days to be exact, my baby will turn four. Four! We are celebrating tomorrow and I when asked him what he wanted to do for his party, he said he wanted a rainbow cake, a craft project with his friends and all of his favorite things. “You got it baby”, I told him.
So we’ve planned a party at his favorite park, with a picture frame craft project, pirates booty and gourmet jelly beans for snack, and every flavor of Izzy soda to drink.
And of course, we will have rainbow cake.
I actually spent all day today party baking and I have to say, this cake will be my crowning achievement of baking projects so far (probably even over this one).
The rainbow cake. Homemade white buttercream icing is already whipped up and waiting to cover that bad boy tomorrow before party time. I didn’t realize quite how tall this little beauty would stack up to be, so I had also baked 24 rainbow cupcakes.
Hope everyone tomorrow is really hungry for cake.
The only big thing we did indoors this week was a painting extravaganza. I was pre-painting all of the frames to be decorated tomorrow in order to avoid acrylic paint mess out at the park. Asher was the one who carefully selected each color this week while we were party-craft shopping and I love, love, love his choices.
I think I am just slightly drunk on this new spring palette of color, but I am loving this “rainbow” theme he has going in his little mind for this year’s birthday.
Miss Amelia and her personal masterpieces of the day (to keep her busy while I painted party frames).
And of course she went straight to the bath after that project.
So anyhow, I think we are all ready to party tomorrow!
Stay tuned Monday (Asher’s real birthday) for some party pics and most likely a sappy post about how I can’t believe four years have passed since my first baby was placed in my new mama arms.
Seriously. Can hardly believe it.
I’m in a bit of a funk as of late.
This funk seems to hit me every year around the same time- as winter is coming to and end and spring is just around the corner. She has been peeking around that corner shyly these past few weeks, teasing us with moments when the sun kisses bare skin warm and with little bits of green peeking out of small, hidden places, but catching my eye none the less.
This time usually yields a lot of productivity in the house (as well as in the soul). Closet cleaning, clothing and toys selected for donation, re-thinking our systems and making them more effective, dusting and scrubbing in forgotten corners and crevices (of house and heart). Activity that is very fitting for the Lenten season that we are about to enter….
I also get restless and do things like cut bangs in my hair (except this year I saved my $60 and did it myself), dream + plan the spring garden and try my hand at new trades, just for fun.
my first attempt at cross-stitching. the first little heart was rough, but things went uphill for the next three.
Or needle felting.
There has also been lots of the regular types of crafts that are ongoing in our home. Knitting projects and the usual variety of kid coloring and painting (although we have been mixing it up with stickers and negative spaces in the canvas). Asher has been helping Mama plan the garden and he has decided that he wants to plant “a tiny orange tree”. We could totally do a small citrus tree in a huge pot on the porch. And now, it’s in the plans…
he drew it right there into the plans. i have a feeling mama might get jealous and want a lemon and lime tree too.
i love it when that tongue slips out in concentration.
And while we have big plans to get the garden ready for planting in, we have to see the remainder of these chilly, wet days out. There aren’t many left…
watching the rain
And these photos are completely unrelated to the season, but I snapped them the other night and I love them.
Daddy reading to his babies…
Hope everyone out there is still staying warm and enjoying the last cozy winter days before spring!
It’s hard to believe that we are already half-way through the Advent season, but true! Although I really wanted to have all of our Christmas shopping completed before Advent even began (a goal for next year), I am really glad that have been able to slow down a bit and really contemplate what the season is all about. A big part of that, for us, is our family traditions.
Although you don’t need children to have traditions, continuing our traditions with the purpose of passing them along, as well as embracing new traditions for the sake of childhood learning are pretty much my favorite thing about our family traditions. If I would have been on the ball and spurred on by the spirit of sharing, I would have posted BEFORE Advent began, but alas, as I continue to write entry after entry in this season of life, we are cruising along at a speed that often leaves blogging time behind in the dust.
So, this Advent, we continued our long standing tradition of the Advent wreath…
it’s tiny and homemade, but it still works for us and fits perfectly on the table
I was so blessed to get a few great books through my Catholic women study group, we have been enjoying the readings nightly. It just makes family dinner at the table a little more special when we get to light our candles and read a bit together. I almost want to continue it in some form all year long!
We celebrated the feast day of Saint Nicholas this year on December 6th. On the eve of his feast day, we sat down to dinner and lit our wreath candles and read stories about his life to the kids while they colored pictures of him. We left our shoes out on the front porch that night in hopes that he would stop by and leave us some treats, and sure enough, look what we found in the morning!
shoes filled with oranges, candy canes and golden coins
This year we also did a few things differently with our nativity. Starting with a new bed for baby Jesus made out of popsicle sticks and glue. We placed a jar of “straw” nearby and when Asher is caught doing good deeds around the house, he is invited to add a bit of straw to the bed so that when his birthday arrives, Baby Jesus will have a nice, soft bed. As he gets older we can start to use little bits of yellow paper that he can actually write his good deeds on. I’ll take a moment to brag and say that so far, Baby Jesus’s bed is looking pretty comfy. This year is also the first year that we have sent our “characters” out on real adventures. Mary + Joseph, as well as the Wise Men are starting at far corners of the house, and slowly week by week, they are making their way towards Bethlehem. It’s been fun with Asher and has truly brought more meaning to the whole “Christmas Story”.
Mary + Joseph starting their journey
Another new tradition that we have started this year is the Jesse Tree. We improvised the tree part, instead of finding/making a traditional “branchy” bare tree, we just used Asher’s little Christmas tree that he has in his room. I found some great ornaments online and after a quick project of cutting and attaching ribbon, we had TWO sets of ornaments (because we liked them both too much). We have had so much fun reading a story from the bible each evening as we add the ornaments.
“symbol” ornaments along with “people” ornaments
It was freeing in a way, to let go of the desire to decorate solely for beauty, and to decorate with purpose this year. I mean, the decorations are truly both symbolic and beautiful, but maybe not like Martha Stewart or Pottery Barn beautiful (which is how I like to envision the beauty inside my home looking like most of the time). Actually, as much as I wish it, my house never has and most likely never will look like a page out of the Pottery Barn catalog, but a girl can dream.
My real dream is that these memories and traditions that we build with our children, especially during this special season of the year, will be remembered, cherished, and passed down by them to their own children. They may not remember living in a “Martha Stewart perfect” house, but if they remember the beauty and love that these family traditions fill our home with, then I am truly happy.
Anyone else have traditions that they celebrate with? We have a few more yet to occur, like baking with Nina or blowing out the candles on a birthday cake made for Baby Jesus on Christmas morning- looking forward to those!
We also picked out our beautiful fresh tree, brought it home and decorated it. I love the way it smells in our house right now! And I love that it is filled with a mixture of ornaments that have been handed down to us from my parents, some gifted to us over the years of our marriage so far, and some new ones that we picked out together as a family. And we got a new star for the top this year!
It’s been nice to take decorating slowly this year- instead of having a huge Saturday decorating fest, we have been putting some garland up here, some lights up there, and slowing down to prepare for the celebration instead of feeling like we have done it all and are starting the party early.
We’ve been sticking to mostly online shopping as well, I’m just not brave enough to head out into the public domains and face the madness!
In other happenings, both kids have recently been diagnosed with some minor dental issues. I never dreamed I would be facing cavities so early in motherhood (especially since we are great at teeth brushing!), but lo, I am afraid that the kids may have inherited my “high risk for cavity” teeth. Poor baby had to have some work done on her top little teeth and due to the sedation required to do the work, it was a long and emotional morning for mama. She bounced right back and is doing great now, but oh how I want to avoid ever having to do this again!
morning of dentist visit, recovering
brother taking care of her-in her big girl bed (which was my childhood bed)
We continue to look forward with eager hearts to Christmas! How are you preparing right now?