Ok, it’s time for a moment of shameless self-promotion! My craft book, Project Kid, hit the shelves this week, and I couldn’t be more proud! It’s a book for kids ages 3 and up (I don’t like to put an end cap because even adults tell me they want to make my projects!) with over 100 unique (and awesome, if I do say so myself) projects.
I really tried to look at the world through the eyes of a child, seeing juice boxes as the bodies of owls and paper towel tubes as freight trains. My trips to the grocery store were spent staring at oatmeal containers and cereal boxes, trying to invent new ways to transform them. The rocket on the cover? That’s a Dove body wash bottle covered in a sock! Scroll down for a how-to of one of my favorite projects in the book, but first, check out this fun video that my publisher, Artisan Books produced to really capture the whimsy and playfulness of the book.
And now, let’s get crafting! Visit my website ProjectKid.com for information about craft events and book signings in your area! You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates and fun pics!
Painted Feather Peacock Fan
What you’ll need:
8 to 10 white feathers
Acrylic paint in blue, yellow, green, and turquoise
Gold glitter glue
Blue and yellow craft paper
Paint the feathers as shown or in your own design. Let dry.
Add glitter glue embellishments—tiny dots or thin stripes are best. Let dry.
To create the peacock’s body, draw a 2-inch tall figure eight on the back of the blue craft paper; make the top oval about half the size of the bottom one. Cut along the outside edge of the figure eight, leaving about 1⁄8 inch of space around it.
For the beak, cut a tiny triangle from the yellow craft paper and glue it, pointing down, to the small end of the figure eight.
To create your fan, cut a 1-inch square from either color of craft paper and glue the bottom points of your feathers to it close together in a fan shape.
Finish by gluing the large side of the figure eight on top of the junction of the feathers.
Cupcakes, cell phones, Hello Kitty, and BLING! What do these things have in common, you ask? The answer: decoden! And what is decoden? It’s a Japanese-inspired craft trend that is sweeping the nation. Deco is short for decorate and Den is short for denwa, the Japenese word for phone. The technique started as a cell phone decoration, but now you can see it on everything from compact mirrors to picture frames to even finger nails! In short, decoden is just another form of mosaic, but instead of using tiles, you use rhinestones, pearls, clay charms, and, of course, glitter!
Until now, the supplies were a little hard to come by here in the US. You could buy them on Amazon or Etsy, but it was cost-prohibitive because they are mostly coming from Japan. Now, Mod Podge (my favorite craft supply ever) has come out with product line that will make DecoDen a hit here in the States (check your local Michaels Stores for availability). Visit Cathie & Steve’s Handmade Happy Hour to read about the products and to watch videos about how the products work. They were kind enough to send a heap of supplies for my friend Sophia’s 12th birthday party, and I can tell you first hand that THIS IS FUN. I loved it and the kids were obsessed!
To start your decoden projects, you need a few basic things—collage clay (commonly called whip), the object that you want to decorate, and your embellishments (charms-commonly referred to as cabochons, rhinestones, beads, mini-erasers, glitter). You can also use dimensional paint as the adhesive to stick the items to the object. Most of the charms that you see in the photo above are plastic trinkets that I pulled off of inexpensive hair rubber bands and clips, but kids can make their own with polymer clay or with Mod Podge’s new product called Mod Melts. You use the melts with a glue gun and silicone molds to make your own cabochons.
The Collage Clay goes on like icing (but don’t eat it!) It comes packaged in a piping bag and comes with 3 different tips. Here I am showing the kids how you can apply the clay in different patterns, and Victoria is practicing her technique before applying it to her frame.
And then, the decorating began. I offered very little design direction—the kids just went for it full speed ahead. Some went for broad strokes with big, overlapping chunky decorations, and others spent the entire 3-hour party painstakingly applying tiny rhinestones like a mosaic to the back of their phone cases. It was so insane to watch!
If you want to learn all the ins and outs of decoden, check out this brand new book, DecoDen Bling by Alice Fisher. Jump on this craft train people. You’re looking at the next Rainbow Loom explosion!
Birthday girl Sophia was more than pleased with her unique decoden birthday party! I might venture to say it is one of the first of its kind around these parts!
I’m always the clueless one on April 1st. I fall for every prank, and I never remember to play them on anyone. But not this year! If you need a little inspiration, here are a few April Fools’ tricks for everyone in your life!
FOR YOUR KIDS
Stick adhesive googly eyes on everything in the refrigerator. I’m in love with the strawberries! This just makes me giggle and I think milk and juice should always be staring back at me. Found via Fun for EP Kids.
FOR YOUR SPOUSE
Time consuming and expensive, this post-it covered car is worth it! Found via Bored Panda.
FOR YOUR FRIENDS
Is it book club night? Fool your pals with this elegant cheese platter that’s really made of cookies and rolled out fruit chews! Our genius friends at FamilyFun thought of that one!
FOR YOUR CO-WORKER
Cover your co-worker’s computer mouse sensor with a piece of paper. They’ll be on the phone with the IT department in no time (or throwing it across the room)! Found via Rocketnews.
FOR YOUR PARENTS (for all you kids reading this blog!)
Create a “spill” on a computer with dried white glue (make sure it’s REALLY dry before putting on the keyboard). Found via Pinterest.
Both of my little ones, ages 2 and 3 1/2, are obsessed with letters. It’s becoming clear that my older child, Oliver, is really starting to understand that letters make up words and words make up sentences and we read sentences in order to recite stories at bedtime. Sommer, my younger, is just getting into the habit of pointing out the letters that she knows when we read her favorite color book. Now that Oliver is beginning to get the whole letter/word thing, I want to start making it super-fun and creative to learn letters. These 4 alphabet games make me want to play too!
In addition to the love of letters, Oliver and Sommer are also obsessed with our spray bottle. It has become a favorite tub toy of late. Dirt and Boogers came up with this super fun way of identifying letters. Write letters with washable markers on a piece of paper, hang it outdoors, call out a letter and have the kids spray that letter with water until it runs down the paper. I’m thinking I might recreate this as a long paper line so the water doesn’t obscure the letters below it. (Or you can try it with chalk on the sidewalk.)
The Imagination Tree came up with this fun ping-pong ball and cardboard-tube letter game. Write letters on the balls and also on the tubes and have the kids pair the corresponding letters. You can write the lower case on the ball and the upper case on the tube to teach them which is which. You can buy ping-pong balls very affordably at Oriental Trading.
Clothespins are one of my favorite things to have around the house…both for crafts and for use as mini-clamps. Write letters on the bottom ends of the clothespins and write the corresponding words on paper. Have your kids clip the letters to match the paper. Once they complete a word, have them draw a picture on the paper next to the letters. Found via Pinterest.
Especially appropriate for this time of year, this plastic egg game is another great way to teach how to match lower and upper case letters. Stick letter stickers to either side of eggs and have the kids match them up to complete the egg. Found on Playing House in Maryland.
I never really thought of the concept of HAPPY as a hot topic. Pinterest is full of “happy” mantras (see above), we teach our kids that when they’re happy and they know it, they should clap their hands, and we are constantly bombarded with advertisements for cars, candy bars, and clothing that lead us to believe that their product is the answer to the ever-present, but rarely asked question: What Makes YOU Happy?
In honor of the International Day of Happiness on March 20th, I think right now is a good time to ask, tell, and show the world your answer(s). Amazingly, this day was commissioned by the General Assembly of the United Nations to raise awareness that well-being and happiness are fundamental to human life. According to the poll on the Day of Happiness website that asks which is more important, happiness and wellbeing or money and stuff, 87% chose the former (thankfully). So it seems that collectively we get it—that material stuff, surface beauty, and flashy blingy bling won’t permanently turn a frown upside-down.
To join the movement and remind yourself what really makes you tick, upload your photographs to any social media with the hashtag #happinessday, and it will feed into this amazing collection of the world’s images of happiness. You can also just go into an old post and add the hashtag. (That’s what I did. A few times.)
So don’t look at March 20th as a day for extra emoticons on your texts and Facebook posts—really hit the pause button and take a moment to reflect on what makes YOU clap your hands.
P.S…it’s also the first day of Spring. I think there’d be an awful lot more happiness around if it actually felt like it!