Archive for the ‘ Decor ’ Category

Gratitude Mobile: FamilyFun Test Drive

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

A deliciously cooked turkey. Check. A beautifully set table. Check. Pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie. Check, check, and check. So everything is ready for the Thanksgiving meal. There’s one thing left on your list…oh right—the lesson of this holiday. Take some time with your kids to reflect on what you are grateful for. As I learned this year, kids as young as two can understand the concept of gratitude, and it’s so important to start on this lesson early.

I sat down with Oliver and Sommer this week and talked about all the wonderful things and people that we have in our lives…from Lego trains to each other (Lego trains were mentioned first, mind you). So as a seasonal reminder of our good fortune, we made this festive little mobile from the November issue of Family Fun to hang in the kitchen so we can look up and remember all that we are grateful for.

How it’s done:

1. Punch circles from a 2″ to 3″ paper punch. (Kids love doing this part!)

2. Invite everyone to jot down a few things that inspire gratitude in them. Write “We’re thankful for …” on a larger circle.

3. To assemble the mobile, knot string onto the inner ring of an embroidery hoop, then extend it across to the opposite side, knot it, and trim. Repeat with 3 more lengths of thread to create 8 spokes. Gather the threads together at the center and knot a loop of twine around them for hanging.

4. Punch holes in the circles, then hang them from the hoop with thread. (I tied a circle on either side of a string and looped it over the hoop instead of tying. This allowed me to balance and move the circles as needed.)

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Painted Thanksgiving Pumpkins: Family Fun Test Drive

Friday, November 7th, 2014

I always end up with uncarved, unpainted, undecorated pumpkins post-Halloween. You know, the ones that are so round, so beautifully orange, or so perfectly ridged that you don’t want to mess with them? Don’t let them go to waste and turn them into a lovely, photo display for your upcoming Thanksgiving celebration!

  1. First, prime your pumpkins so the paint adheres to the surface. Let that dry, then let the kids paint their own designs and patterns. (Oliver and Sommer loved smothering these guys in paint. I helped a bit with the fine details, of course.)
  2. Use a pointed object like a nail or the end of needle-nose pliers to make a small hole on the top of the pumpkin (a job for an adult).
  3. Loop a 12-inch length of floral wire around something thick and round (I used my small craft paint bottles but you can also use a marker) to make a coil at one end. Slip it off and insert the pointed end into the pumpkin or gourd.

Fingers crossed, these pumpkins will last until Thanksgiving where they will no doubt make it into the centerpiece of my table. (Or perhaps I’ll place them on the buffet table and use them as menu markers next to the dishes! So many options!)

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Paper Pumpkin Disguises: FamilyFun Test Drive

Thursday, October 16th, 2014


Sometimes it takes me so long to figure out how to decorate my pumpkins that the season sneaks by and I just have a pile of naked pumpkins sitting on my mantle or dining table. I saw this cute “Lashes and ‘Staches” idea in the October issue of FamilyFun and thought to myself, Ok, this is so quick and noncommittal that I can whip these up until I decide what I want to do. But once I got started, I couldn’t stop, and if you think I’m undressing these cuties, well you’re mistaken! Craft paper, scissors, and glue dots—done! A fancy little family of pumpkins was born!

Do you want to get a closer look at that cute little girl? I thought so!

Just one note…if you are making these to live outdoors, use craft foam in lieu of paper.

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Happy Spider Craft: FamilyFun Test Drive

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Halloween is full of so many creepy crawlers that I dislike—spiders, rats, bats—and until my kids are of the age when they insist upon a creeped-out Halloween, I’m bound and determined to keep October colorful and happy!

So, while I admire the very realistic nature of these awesome spiders from the October issue of FamilyFun, I opted for a more cartoony version. Oliver and Sommer were great helps with this craft, but I did the final wire twist and glue.

What you’ll need:

  • 18-gauge wrapped floral wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Sponge brush
  • 2 pom-poms, 1 small and 1 larger
  • Tacky glue
  • 2 small round objects like brads, buttons, or beads for eyes
  • Sharpie (optional)
1. Paint 4 pieces of equal-length floral wire black. (When you use cloth- or paper-wrapped wire, the texture once painted gives a creepy, insect-like leg appearance.) I stood my wires up in a Styrofoam cube to dry (something I always keep on hand for projects like this).
2. While the paint is drying, Glue the 2 pom-poms together with tacky glue.
3. Glue the eyes to the smaller pom-pom. (I drew little black pupils on my white brads for more cuteness.)
4. Twist the 4 wires together in the center to form an 8-pronged starburst, and then pend the wires to resemble spider legs. Glue the pom-pom body to the center.
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DIY Fabric Wall Decals: FamilyFun Test Drive

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Ok craft lovers, fabric lovers, decor lovers…I just might blow your mind today. I consider myself well-versed in the world of crafts. After all, I did crafts for Parents for six years, I wrote a craft book (shameless plug: Project Kid), and I have the pleasure of writing this blog. But this FamilyFun Test Drive from the September issue officially blew my mind today! I literally had to try it to see if I really believed it.

Have you ever used Heat n Bond to make patches or decals for clothing? Did you know that you can use it to make decals for the wall? Yes, you heard correctly. You can iron Heat ‘n Bond onto the wall and create a removable wall decal. Just like that. My mind was racing with things to do (and now that I know it works, I’m ready to do more!), but I settled on the idea of putting some toys on the wall over my kids’ toy bin.

Here’s what you need:

1. Print or draw your desired shapes to the right size.

2. Iron the Heat ‘n Bond to the back of the fabric (follow package instructions) and then transfer the image to the back of the heat and bond. (I do this by outlining the picture with a pencil, then flipping it over and re-outlining it, thus transferring the pencil line to the Heat ‘n Bond paper.)

3. Cut out the shapes. The Heat ‘n Bond allows you to cut cottons and other fraying fabrics with a clean edge. No fraying or sewing! <3 <3 <3

4. Peel of the backing paper and literally iron the decal onto the wall. (I used the cotton setting of my iron.) Run your hand over the decal to make sure it bonds to the wall and to check to see if it’s cool before the kids touch it. (All ironing should be done with adult hands, obviously.)

Are you as amazed as I am? And I must tell you that when my sales person at City Quilter asked what I was doing with these materials, I explained the process and she was as stupefied by the technique as I was!

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Tags: | Categories: Crafts, Decor, DIY, FamilyFun Test Drive, kids