Archive for the ‘ Inspired ’ Category

Plastic Bottle Bug House: FamilyFun Test Drive

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Last Sunday night at 6:30pm, my cousin-in-law Jane took Oliver and Sommer on an “adventure” walk. Which, in Brooklyn and at that hour, meant a stroll down the block. Oliver walked slowly back into the apartment 20 minutes later with his hands cupped, saying “Mommy, look, look!” He pried open his clam-shelled fingers to reveal a furry, yellow caterpillar. “His name is Kinini,” Oliver beamed.

So we poked some holes in a jar lid to make him a little make-shift hotel room to hang out in for a few hours and then took him back after the kids went to bed. (We, of course, warned them of this in advance.) So what better FamilyFun summer craft to test out this month than the Bug Inn—an easy-to-make observation station that gives kids a closer look at their insect friends.

What you’ll need:

  • Clear drink bottle
  • Craft knife
  • Window screen repair material
  • Duct tape
  • Adhesive-backed Velcro

First, cut an opening with the craft knife in the side of the bottle. If your screen is a certain size, make this hole a bit smaller than that piece of screen. This is definitely a job for an adult!

Then, cover the edges of the opening by folding over a 1-inch wide piece of duct tape. It’s okay if it’s a bit messy, it will eventually be covered up.

Next, create a duct-tape border around the piece of screen, using the same size duct-tape strip.

Then, tape one side of the window to the bottle over the opening, and put the velcro on the other side so the door stays closed. (I cut my Velcro dots in half to fit on the width of my tape frame.)

Now, it’s time to take it outside and collect sticks and leaves to make a comfy stay for our bug friends.

They each took their turn filling the bottle bug house, and then it was time to find Kinini’s brother, Shippy. I told Oliver that it would be hard to find Kinini again, but that we might run into his brother; Oliver told me his name is Shippy.

After no caterpillars were found, we settled on Kinini’s cousin, a roly poly. (He’s a little shy and hasn’t told us his name yet.) I told Oliver that Kinini and his brothers were probably napping after their lunch, so we’d come back later for a visit.

This little Bottle Bug Hotel is going to be the most desired hot-spot in the neighborhood. I might have to start charging these bugs rent!

Footnote: We talked a lot about returning our bug tenants to their homes after a few hours. I think both Sommer and Oliver understand that everyone, even bugs, likes to go home eventually!

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President Obama’s National Day of Making!

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

I was raised to listen to authority. I took it seriously (most of the time) and today, I think we should all listen to our president’s declaration of the National Day of Making! While I do realize that Mr. President is trying to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in technology and the like, I don’t think we have to discount our need (and love) for the decorative arts! So I say…make robots, make jewelry, make cupcakes!

Here’s a fun, quick, and easy little project that you can do with your kids on this first National Day of Making!

What you’ll need:

  1. Decorate beads with paint pens and let dry. While they are drying, wrap cord around 2 fingers about 8-10 times. Cut bundle from the spool.
  2. Cut a 20″ piece of cord and thread it through the loops of the bundle.
  3. Tie a knot to keep the bundle together in the center of the 20″ cord.
  4. Cut the loops at the bottom and thread the long strings through the 2 beads to make a necklace. (not shown)

Today is the first ever White House Maker Faire (oh how I’d love to be there!)—visit the website to learn, watch, and make! Post what you are making on social media with the hashtag, #nationofmakers .

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A Happy Earth Day Craft!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

When I think of Earth Day crafting, I think of 2 things. First, I think of upcycling…taking something out of the recycling bin and turning it into something else. Secondly, I think about crafting with elements of nature…shopping in your backyard or park for FREE craft supplies provided by Mother Nature herself.

This craft does both, plus, it’s cute as a button (mushroom)! It’s from my new book, Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun which happens to be chock full of upcycling and nature crafts alike! Visit my website, Project Kid, for the full how-to!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

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Egg-cellent Egg Carton Easter Crafts

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Which came first, the carton or the egg? Just a little egg humor to start off one of my favorite posts this spring—crafts for Easter made from egg cartons! We focus so much on the egg, and that poor container just gets tossed aside into the recycling bin—so much potential wasted. This year, stop yourself and make one of these six crafts with your kids!

I have seen a fair share of wreaths made from egg carton segments, and they are lovely, but to be honest, they look like an insane amount of work. And that’s what I love about this beauty from Honest to Nod, the Land of Nod blog. You don’t have to save dozens of egg cartons, cut them up, and paint them. These lovely flowers are made from just one carton, and as you see in the how-to photos, they are legitimately created by a young child. Really, they had me at the embroidery hoop. Just adorable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually don’t love the styrofoam cartons, but these little chicks from Parenting.com are just perfect. They are so easy to make and I can just imagine one sitting on each plate at the Easter brunch table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d be hard-pressed to find a party supply website with more style than Shop Sweet Lulu. And again, they knocked my socks off with this adorable take on an egg-carton Easter basket. They call them Easter Sundae Kits, because they are intended to be used to decorate a bowl of ice cream. How genius? Give the kids an array of candy in the mini cartons and decorate the top with a paper pinwheel and a spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If these little baskets look a little Christmasy, it’s because they were designed with that holiday in mind. But I think they have such potential to be intended for Easter and I’m super-tempted to whip some up tomorrow (stay tuned). You can find these and other gorgeous craft ideas in this issue of Inspired Ideas.      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egg cups are one of the joys of Easter in my book. I love seeing all of the variations and styles from around the globe. These hand-painted, cardboard versions from Zakka Life stand up to any others if you ask me.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t find the origin of this photograph, so I’m sad to not give credit where credit is due because This. Is. Amazing. Turn parts of your carton into a chicken. Can you even stand it? Found via Pinterest.        

Click here for more crafts you can make out of household items.

Surprise Easter Basket
Surprise Easter Basket
Surprise Easter Basket

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What Makes YOU Happy?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

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!

Download our free happy kitty coloring page to celebrate the first days of Spring!

If You're Happy and You Know It
If You're Happy and You Know It
If You're Happy and You Know It

Top Row: 1, 2, 3Middle Row: 4, 5, 6Bottom Row: 7, 8, 9

 

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