April 29, 2011

Hula Blockers

While in the waiting room of the pediatrician's office before my son's checkup the other day, I was browsing through an issue of Family Fun magazine.  I came across this simple and fun game using a couple of hula hoops and a bean bag.  Because the kids just got hula hoops in their Easter baskets, I made a mental note to try the game soon at home.  ( I also made a mental note to renew my subscription to Family Fun.  It has TONS of great ideas and I'm not sure why I let my subscription lapse.)

Now, I can't remember what name they gave the game in the magazine, so we decided to call it "Hula Blockers".  The kids loved chanting " Hu-la Block-ers, Hu-la Block-ers" while someone was preparing to throw.  I loved how totally simple this game was to set up and play, yet still really fun for all of us.

All you need is a couple of hula hoops and a bean bag.  Set the hula hoops flat on the ground several feet apart (ours were about 8 feet or so).  

To play, each player stands in their own hula hoop and attempts to toss the bean bag into the other hoop.  The defender tries to block the bean bag from landing inside the circle, by using their hands, feet, head, etc. to deflect it.  

Playing defense!

A point is scored each time a bean bag successfully lands inside your opponents hula hoop.

A low toss can be blocked with your foot.

I'm sure we'll be playing this game a lot this summer. 

Sharing the fun at:

Glue Batik Framed Art

When I started this blog, my goal was to share some of the projects and activities my kids and I have enjoyed, with the hope that others might enjoy them as well.  That's why I really love it when someone leaves a comment that they like one of the ideas I've shared.  And, I really, really love it when a reader takes a minute to let me know that they actually tried a project and it turned out well.  So, you can imagine how much I really, really, really loved getting an email from Jenny sharing pictures of the glue batik Mother's Day project she did after seeing our Glue Batik Easter Fabric post.  She had the great idea to do the batik on fabric, then frame the finished artwork as a gift.

Check out these gorgeous flowers her children painted and how amazing they look framed.

I totally want to some more Glue Batik with the kids and frame it like this!

She even made a great collage showing her kids' involvement with each step.

Thanks so much, Jenny, for taking the time to share your project with me.

Oh, and if any of you are in need of some graphic design work for photo cards or other gifts, I was browsing Jenny's website, Pixy Print Lane,  and she does some great work.  I'm sure if you needed some graduation announcements or other designs she'd be able to work with you to create something special.

April 28, 2011

Melted Crayon Easter Eggs

Just a quick post to share the fun technique we used to decorate Easter eggs last week ~ using crayons to color on still hot, just boiled eggs (thanks to Family Fun for the great idea!).

Pretty neat, huh?  The crayon wax melts right onto the egg.

They were really simple to make and the kids really enjoyed it.


1.  Hard boil your eggs.  While my eggs were boiling, I turned my empty egg carton upside down and cut off part of it to make a holder for the hot eggs.

2.  When the eggs have finished cooking, take one out of the hot water and set it on your handy holder.  Use your crayons to draw your design or pattern.  NOTE:  The eggs are definitely hot to the touch, but my kids were able to hold the egg steady with their fingertips while coloring, then letting go for a few seconds when it got too hot.

Pretty polka dots
Working on a rainbow.
3.  Allow the eggs to cool.  The crayon wax will smear a bit when it's still warm, but once cool, stays on fine.

April 25, 2011

Easter Morning Candy Hunt

These faces say it all ~ they LOVED this Candy Hunt!!!

This year was the first Easter that we did not travel to visit relatives and just stayed home instead.  While we definitely missed seeing our families, I really enjoyed starting a few new traditions just for us.  

One of the fun and sneaky things the Easter Bunny did was hide the kids' candy in the cute little Felt Bunny Treat Bags I'd made.  They came out to find that their baskets contained a few goodies (sidewalk chalk, a toothbrush, a bubble wand, etc.), but no candy.  Then they saw this note:

It read:

"Where's my candy? you might say,
Well, I hid it before I hopped away!
Follow each note and solve each clue,
To find the sweets I left for you!

The Easter Bunny

Each of the five clues led them around the house where they found their hidden bags.  I'm sure you have your own awesome hiding places at your houses, but here's the clues and hiding places I used.  (Plus, I can show off my mad rhyming skillz! :)  )

Go to where you brush your teeth,
Then look above and look beneath.

Hidden in the bathroom vanity.

Now go to where you play some Wii,
and you will find some treats from me!

Hidden next to the Wii.

Where do we put our dirty dishes after dinner?
Check out that spot, it might be a winner!

Hidden in the dishwasher ( full of clean dishes that I hadn't put away because I was writing poetry!)

Your shoes go here when you walk in the door,
Go look in that spot and you might find some more.

Next to the shoe baskets in our living room

This is the room where you go to play,
Will there be candy there?  "Perhaps," I say.

The final bags hidden in their playroom with a small chocolate bunny.

The kids really loved this little candy hunt and I truly loved seeing their faces and their excitement as they solved each clue and gathered more candy.  Plus, even though they still got a lot of sweets, I was actually able to give them a lot less than in previous years ~ the amount of candy wasn't noticed because they were so excited about finding it!

Felt Bunny Treat Bags

I came across the idea for these adorable felt bunny bags on this great blog, Creative "Try"als.  I thought they would be perfect to use instead of plastic eggs in my kids' Easter baskets.  I made a few little changes to the cute bags Sue made.  Because I made 15 ( five for each kid ), they took a bit of time, but they turned out really, really cute.  The kids LOVED them and I know I'll use them for years to come.

Make sure you also check out the really fun Easter Morning Candy Hunt we did with our bags.

Check them out...

easter basket ideas, bunny bags, felt bunny bags

  • felt ( I used some felt yardage I had left over from another project, but you could use the felt sheets as well)
  • acrylic paint
  • ribbon
1.  Cut your felt pieces for each bunny.  The size is pretty much up to you, depending on how large or small your want your bag.  I cut mine to be approx. 6x9" on the fold, so opened up they'd be 6x18".  If you're using the felt sheets, you'd fold it in half and cut to make two 6x9" pieces.

My felt cut out with the fold at the bottom.

2.  Now, cut out the ear shapes from each rectangle.

Starting to look like a bunny.

3.  Sew the front and back pieces together, leaving the space between the ears open.  Because mine was cut on the fold, I didn't have to sew across the bottom.  If you used two pieces, you'll sew the bottom too.

Edges sewn with space between the ears left open.

4.  Using acrylic paints, paint in the ears, nose and eyes.  I think it would also be cute to use patterned fabric and iron-on adhesive for these pieces.  ( I also added whiskers later, because I thought my bunnies looked a little bare without them )

Painting on the bunny's features.

5.  Let your paint dry and get your ribbon ready.

All fifteen bunnies soaking up the sun on my back deck.

6.  On the back of each bunny, cut two small vertical slits in between the ears.  Then on the front, cut two pairs of slits closer to the ears.  These will help hold your ribbon in place when you tie your bags closed.

Fold and cut the slits.

A little tougher to see, but the pairs of cuts are near the ears.

7.  Thread your ribbon through.  I added a drop of hot glue on the back of each bunny where I threaded the ribbon through to hold it in place, since we'd be reusing them and I didn't want to keep replacing ribbons.

8.  Fill your bunny treat bags, then tie them closed, adjusting the ears if necessary.

Good thing they also got toothbrushes and floss in their baskets!

If you have more than one kid, make sure you put EXACTLY the same amount in each bag!

That's it!  How super cute are they?  

See how I used these bags for a cute Scavenger Hunt HERE!

Easy Easter Table Runner

Last week, I posted about the great fun we had making Glue Batik Easter Art.  The kids' designs turned out so pretty and I knew I wanted to make something out of them.  Well, the night before Easter, I was able to make a really cute table runner. (see my confession HERE)

Now, I know that a better seamstress could have made a really incredible table runner from scratch, but this project is the perfect solution for someone like me who can sew just well enough to put things together (or even someone who doesn't sew at all).  It looked really pretty on our Easter table and because it has the kids' artwork on it, I know I'll treasure it for years.

Look at the pretty table runner (not the scratches on my table or the wrinkles in the fabric!)

Now, wait till you see how simple it was!

  • fabric artwork pieces
  • Heat-n-Bond iron on adhesive ( Lite hold if you're going to topstitch, Ultra hold if you're going no-sew)
  • premade table runner that coordinates with your artwork pieces ( I scored mine for $6.99 on clearance!)
  • iron and/or sewing machine

1.  On your fabric artwork pieces, fold over 1/4" to the wrong side on each edge and iron.

Look how lazy resourceful I am, using a folded towel instead of going downstairs to my ironing board!

2.  Cut a piece of Heat-n-Bond that is just slightly smaller than your finished artwork piece.  Iron to the wrong side of your artwork.

I got it as close to the edges as I could to help catch the raw edge.

3.  Decide on the placement of your pieces, then peel off the paper backing and iron into place.

Somehow, my squares are slightly different sizes!  Oh well!

4.  If you're going no-sew and used the Ultra Hold Heat-n-Bond, you're all finished (how easy was that?!)

5.  If you have a sewing machine and want a little bit more finished look, simply topstitch around each square close to the edge.

That's it!  Your new table runner is finished!  

Once again, admire the idea, but ignore the wrinkles!

How easy would it be to do something similar for each holiday or just for everyday?  You could use the Glue Batik technique, or any other fabric decorating technique, and feature your kids' creations at the dinner table.

Linking up this project at the following awesome blogs:


Junkie handmade projects

If I was a better blogger...

...  I'd be organized enough to have all my holiday projects completed well before the holiday.  I'd have the posts written in plenty of time so you could do your own holiday project with time to spare.

Unfortunately, I'm not that kind of blogger.  I'm just me ~ a sometimes creative, but always last-minute kind of crafter.  I might be able to do a few things ahead of time, but the majority of my "work" is done late at night in the few days before a deadline, event or holiday.  As much as I'd like to change, this is how I've operated for a few decades now, so I wouldn't bet on it.

So, even though Easter is over, I still have a few cute projects to share with you this week.  Some of them, you might be able to adapt to other events or holidays.  For the other, more Easter-specific crafts, well, you have a REALLY AWESOME head start on getting them done for next year!  :D

April 24, 2011

Sherwood Gardens (Baltimore, MD)

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Not only did the kids get a huge kick out of their Easter Scavenger Hunt this morning and not only was it a gorgeous 85 degrees here in Maryland today, but Easter coincided perfectly with the tulips being in full bloom at Sherwood Gardens in Baltimore!  So, after church, while the kids were still dressed in their Easter best, we went to walk through the gardens and snap a few pictures!

If you're lucky enough to be local or if you're ever in Baltimore in late April / early May, it's definitely worth a stop.  You can even combine a stroll through the gardens with other stops.   They're very close to the Johns Hopkins University campus and the Baltimore Museum of Art and less than 20 minutes from the Maryland Zoo and the downtown Inner Harbor attractions.

Aren't they gorgeous?

Over 80,000 bulbs are planted each year.

They weren't fighting and I got it on camera!

Guess whose  favorite color is yellow?

Like twins, but just sisters ~ they call themselves "twisters"!

Not even posed!  He actually enjoyed himself at the gardens (after some initial grouchiness!)

Tulips of every color!

My beautiful oldest daughter!

Doesn't he look so handsome?

My little princess!

April 21, 2011

This is Why I Love Them!

I have to be honest here.  For the better part of each day, my kids drive me nuts!  With three kids so close in age in a small house, they seem to  fight, bicker and whine ALL. THE. TIME!!  Sometimes I can keep patient and let them work it out and intervene when necessary.  At other times, the constant complaining grates on my last nerve (especially after I just took the time to do a project or activity with them ~  arggggh! )

I love them, I truly do, and I couldn't imagine my life without them.  However, there are those days that are harder than others.  A lot of times, it's on one of those rough days that they do something that just makes me stop, take notice and think, "This is Why I Love Them!"

Yesterday was one of those rough days.  The kids and I had been home with each other for several days on Spring Break.  We were stuck at the house waiting for a repair man.  They were bickering because they didn't want to play together, then whining that they were bored when they were playing separately.  After lunch, I sent them out into the backyard to get out of my hair before I lost it to get some fresh air and run around.

After a few minutes, they started excitedly calling for me to come outside, quick!  I came out to find them holding this little guy...
It's a skink and basically looks like a fat worm with legs and a head!

All fighting ceased and they jumped into action!  

The girls got a plastic container and immediately started making a home for "Sammy" complete with a moss floor, dandelion decorations and a bottlecap of water for a "spa".   

My son ran inside, got on Ask Kids on the computer to research what skinks like to eat.  He wrote down the list and the three kids started discussing what they should make for his first meal at his new home.  ( They decided on bananas and cucumbers, because the insects would be too hard to catch! )  

They worked together so nicely and with such joy, I couldn't help just watching them and feeling glad that I've been blessed to be their mother.

Watching to see if he'd gobble up his banana.  ( He didn't!)

The researched list of the dietary favorites of a skink!

Of course, the fighting resumed within an hour and the skink was dead by this morning, but I enjoyed the moment while it lasted!

Glue Batik Easter Fabric

I am so thrilled with our first attempt at glue batik.  Batik fabrics are usually created using wax and fabric dyes.  We used a simplified version I found at That Artist Woman which uses blue gel school glue and acrylic paints.  The kids had a fun time making their Easter designs ( spread over two days ) and the end result is really pretty.  After all the artwork pieces were finished, I made them into this really Easy Easter Table Runner.

First, our Easter Egg Glue Batik creations!

Next, the process we used to make them.

Here's what you need:
Here's what to do:
1.  Because we were doing Easter eggs, I drew an egg shape on a piece of paper under our fabric to use as a guideline.  You can do that with any shape or design, or just do a freehand design.

2.  Using the glue, outline your shape then fill it in with your pattern of choice.  Wherever there is glue will stay white, so keep that in mind when deciding how thick or thin to make your glue line and what areas to cover.

3.  Once your design is complete, take your fabric off the paper you used as a guideline and put it on waxed paper.  Set aside to dry completely (overnight worked for us)

4.  When the glue has dried, get ready to paint!  I put down pieces of waxed paper, then watered down regular acrylic paints. It was easy to paint on and gave a cool watercolor effect on the fabric.  ( I didn't measure, but I'd say roughly half paint and half water, maybe a little more paint).

He was a little reluctant at first, but ended up really enjoying it.

5.  You can paint right over the dried lines of glue to cover your whole panel.

6.  When finished, set your panel aside and let the paint dry all the way.

Drying outside.

7.  Next, fill the sink or a bucket with warm, almost hot, water.  Soak your fabric pieces, then rub to get the glue off.  You'll see the paint that was on top of the glue come off first, then rub a little more to get all the glue off.  ( I found that the sections that still had glue on them felt slippery, once the glue was off you could feel the difference.  I used an old toothbrush to rub off any stubborn spots of glue. )

Rinsing off the glue and excess paint.

8.  That's it!  Wring out your fabric and hang to dry or pop it in the dryer.  Then use it to make something special.

Isn't it cool?

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