Make A Personalized Thanksgiving Keepsake: DIY Salt Dough Place Cards

Add a little something special to your fall tablescape or Thanksgiving table settings with this handmade salt dough place card DIY.
I can’t believe Turkey Day is right around the corner!  There are so many things to love about Thanksgiving: the food, the gratitude, the family time, the pie.  Yes, I think Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday because it is unabashedly centered around food.  I’m always on the hunt for new recipes and Imperial Sugar has an amazing Thanksgiving page full of great ones.  Not just recipes for pies (my favorite part of the feast) but appetizers, breakfast for company, and everything in between.

And if that wasn’t cool enough, they’ve totally got the kids covered with crafts, free printables, and much more!  The only thing I love as much as food is crafting with my little ones. So when I discovered these cool Salt Dough Leaf Napkin Holders, I knew exactly how we’d be spending our afternoon. We put our own creative twist on the project and I encourage you to do the same.  This is such a simple, fun, creative project.  And the recipe for salt dough from Imperial Sugar is the best I’ve tried.  I see many more salt dough crafts in our future.

Personalized Salt Dough Place Cards - A simple thanksgiving keepsake craft to brighten up your table. Easy enough to do with the kids and a great way to spend time together during this special holiday

To Make Salt Dough Leaves You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups salt
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Tin foil covered baking sheet
  • Red and yellow food coloring
  • Leaf shaped cookie cutter
  • Ribbon, twine and/or tulle
  • Optional: fallen leaves
  • Optional: metallic paint/ paint pen

Here's a great DIY fall craft project to do with the kids, perfect place setting for the Thanksgiving table too!
How to Make Salt Dough Leaves:

  1. Stir salt into 1/2 cup of water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat until hot.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. In a bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of water with the cornstarch until smooth.
  5. Add the cornstarch mixture to the salt mixture.
  6. Return the saucepan to the stove and cook, stirring constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens into the consistency of stiff mashed potatoes.
  7. Turn mixture out onto a glass plate and cover with a damp towel.
  8. Allow to cool, then divide dough into 3 equal parts. Add red food coloring to one, yellow to the second and orange (often a combination of red and yellow) to the third batch. ( We chose to make one red, one orange, and leave one white)
  9. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin or with your hands.
  10. Optional: Press leaves into the dough to create beautiful impressions.
  11. Use the leaf cookie cutter to cut out multiple shapes.
  12. Optional: For extra fun combine the leftover pieces of each color to create a marbled effect, cut more leaf shapes.
  13. Bake the leaves on a tin foil lined baking sheet at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours until completely hard.
  14. Let cool, decorate your leaves with metallic paint if you’d like.  If you would like them to be name plates, use a paint pen to write your guest’s names.
  15. Simply set them at each place setting or attach them to cloth napkins with ribbon, twine, or tulle.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Confetti Balloons for a Baby Shower

Clear balloons filled with themed confetti for a party or shower -- genius! Baby Shower Balloons -- fill clear balloons with confetti -- so smart! Clear balloons filled with clouds and stars for a baby shower

You’re in for an extra special treat today! Not only am I sharing with you the simplest tutorial ever on how to make your baby shower, birthday party, or any other special occasion really pop using confetti balloons — but there’s also a celebration going on in honor of a few ladies about to have babies whom I have grown to know and love.

Want that tutorial already? No problem, all you need is:

- some clear balloons (got mine at Party City, 12 inch)
- cardstock or tissue paper in the colors of your choice
- either a craft punch in your desired shape … OR the new Cricut Explore which I used to make almost 800 of these cutouts today!
- a helium tank (or access to helium)

Cut out all your shapes first making sure they are small enough to stuff inside the balloons. I cut mine into 1 inch squares. Once you have all your pieces cut, break them up into piles and sort out which colors and shapes you want to use where.

Use your fingers to get inside the balloon and stretch it open (just like putting out stockings or panty hose), then fill the balloon with your confetti.

Tip: It helps to have someone else around to help you stuff the balloons. The latex is hard to hold open and makes it difficult to do one-handed.

Once you are finished, blow the balloons up using the helium tank and tie closed. Add a coordinating ribbon and you’re done.

Custom illustrated baby shower invite from Hideous Dreadful Stinky

Just because we are thousands of miles away from our friends, doesn’t mean we can’t throw an amazing surprise shower for them!

We started by checking out the mom-to-be’s Pinterest boards and looking for common themes. It turned out Carla of Small + Friendly has been scouting out all things celestial for her little one, and Lacy of Living on Love has her head in the clouds, literally – dreaming up the most amazing vintage, farmhouse nursery with it’s hint of florals, pinks and clouds of course.

So how does outer space and vintage floral work together you ask?
Well, the inspiration for the shower went a little something like this.

A charming baby shower planned for one boy and one girl
Sources: (Top) Black/White Cloud | Clay Cloud Mobile | Pink Cloud Hat | Moon Card | Cloud Bookshelf
(Bottom) Star Decals | Moon Clock | Aqua Hat | Cloud Pillow | Celestial Print

The confetti balloons were my contribution to our virtual shower, I made a bundle for each mama and will send a set along with my gift for each mama in case they want balloons to display after the babies are born.

Clear balloons can be filled with all sorts of things, love this idea!

Want to see what the other ladies came up with? Me too! This is so exciting, each mom will wake up this morning and have no idea all these projects were done especially for them. We have everything from hand drawn invitations to cocktails to soothing favors to adorable handmade clothing and cool wall prints. You’ll have to see them all.

imagine gnats / Casa Crafty / Made With Moxie / Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! / petit a petit and family / Rajovilla / Kids Stuff World / Elsie Marley / Buzzmills / A Golden Afternoon / My Life at Playtime / Salsa Pie / this heart of mine / Classic Play


but wait, there’s still more!! What’s a baby shower without prizes?

Well, Rachel from Imagine Gnats volunteered to be in charge of games and prizes. After you’ve seen and shared all the projects head over to Imagine Gnats and enter to win some really awesome stuff, like this:

baby shower gifts made with love for baby and mama

ENTER TO WIN HERE

Valentines Crafts From The Heart

Valentines Day is fast approaching and if you are anything like me, you are just starting to think about what to do for the ones you love. Have no fear, there are plenty of amazing gift ideas, craft projects, and printables here you still have time to work on and feel great knowing you did something special, handmade and from the heart.

Geometric hearts are all the rage this year, here are three modern heart crafts you can make yourself!

I adore these Modern Valentine Cards you can download & print yourself
This Geometric Heart Necklace has my heart swooning
I should be wearing this Studded Sweatshirt right now I love it so much!

A collection of adorable heart shaped Valentines crafts for kids

Girls will love these sweet heart necklaces
all kids (and kids at heart) will get a kick out of these Secret Message Valentines
Fact: there is nothing cuter than Heart Patches on little knees
and fun printable coloring pages like these ALWAYS come in handy.

The sweetest heart shaped sweets for Valentine's

Nothing says I love you like some chocolate heart brownies!
or melt them with these super sweet Nutella heart tarts.
If that doesn’t win them over, surely these Valentine’s ginger cookies will do the trick.

There you have it, 10 of the best Valentines crafts around. Want more Valentine’s ideas? Find me sharing them on Pinterest or Flipboard.

Drip Painting Pumpkins with Preschoolers

My favorite craft activities are super simple, low-fuss, no-stress kinds of things we can all do together — like this drip pumpkin painting project we did last week.

Here's a pumpkin craft perfect for preschoolers I’ve seen the idea a few times on Pinterest and just knew it would be a great project we could all get involved with and have a good time in the process. What I wasn’t prepared for, was all the gorgeous drippage! Seriously, I could have stared at those swirling colors for hours, the kids too. We were mesmerized, who knew painting pumpkins could be so therapeutic.

Preshoolers will love this colorful, messy, fun pumpkin craft To make a puddle of psychedelic paint of your own, you’ll need a few of your favorite colors of craft paint, a pumpkin, a piece of cardboard and something for the pumpkin to sit on (I used a small plastic container). (We used a craft pumpkin so we could keep displaying these for years to come! Just wait till you see our next one)

To make your drip paint pumpkin, just squirt and squeeze. There’s really no wrong way to do this, but we all really enjoyed getting the paint up close to curve of the pumpkin and watching it ooze over the edge and drip down the sides!
Drip Painting Pumpkins with PreschoolersIf you make a drip paint pumpkin of your own, let me know or share a pic with me on Facebook — we’d love to see it!

10 Simple Pumpkin Crafts

I did something kinda cool yesterday. I taped a news segment in my living room!

I had a chance to chat with Natasha of HLN Weekend Express about all those fabulous, but simple pumpkin crafts we’ve seen popping up on Pinterest this year. I’m a huge fan because they’re super fun to do with the kids and none of them require carving. I’ve featured a few of my favorites here, catch the clip below to see which ones we discussed on air.

 

10 simple pumpkin crafts that dont involve carving

From Top to Bottom, L-R:
Watercolor Pumpkins — Nest of Posies
Sharpie Pumpkins — The Happy Housie
Fun Mummy Pumpkin — Sparkles & A Stove
Pom Pom Pumpkins — Design Improvised
Monogrammed Pumpkins — Mom.me
Blinged Out Pumpkins — Denise Designed
Glitter Pumpkins — A Glimpse Inside
Chalkboard Pumpkins — Living on Love
Washi Tape Pumpkins — The Grant Life
FrankenPumpkin — ARG Photographs

Catch the clip here:

Or see it online here.

Need more kid-friendly Halloween ideas? Find them here:

Inspired by Ubuntu: Destination South Africa!

You only need to take one look at the photos from Tea Collection‘s latest trip to South Africa to know I’d be head over heels in love with them — the colors, the patterns, the beauty. I just can’t get enough! I’m packing my bags and ready to go!

ubuntuAdd to all those lovely things, the inspiration behind their trip, and their tag line: Globally-inspired children’s clothes for little citizens of the world, and well teaming up with Tea Collection for a project like this seems like a match made in heaven.

travel to South Africa I knew I wanted to do something that would represent all those beautiful colors and patterns they found while on location, while still staying true to Tea’s playful, whimsical nature. I pulled from my past experiences and travels to Africa, added in a bit of Sweet and her love of all things artsy and handmade, and I give you our Ubuntu inspired project:
kids pillowcase craft project It’s a one of a kind, handprinted pillowcase made entirely from items we had on hand, just how the women in South Africa have to make their fabrics. I can’t seem to do a kid-related craft project without involving my children (just doesn’t seem right), so the majority of the design you see here is hers. She practiced several designs on paper and had a pretty good feel for what she wanted to do with her design.

I’m so impressed with how it all came together, it started out as just a plain white pillowcase. I’ll have a breakdown and a (updatedbit of a tutorial (updated) for you later in the week, for today I leave you with this sweet clip from Tea Collection about their trip and latest styles inspired by South Africa.

Eco Art Camera: A Quick How To

We call it the Eco Art Camera because it is part art project, part craft project, made of 100% recyclables and all around awesome. Seriously, my guys played with these things for months before they eventually pulled the buttons and lenses off, then we added them back to the recycle bin and who knows what’s become of them now.

IMG_2589 Pretty cool right? I was kind of impressed with them to, especially considering what we used to make them:
- an empty box of macaroni and cheese
- the lid from a large jar of spaghetti sauce
- half of a toilet paper roll
- a water bottle lid
- scrap pieces of aluminum foil, newspaper and string

As you’re about to see, tape and tempura paint were also used liberally …

IMG_2550

We started by wrapping our box in newspaper and then using our favorite painting technique (not finger painting, but whole hand painting – the messier the better) to cover the newspaper and give the camera it’s color. You could skip this step altogether if you’re pressed for time, but it was my kids favorite part and what gave this project so much personality.

Wait for the paper to dry, we set them outside and went to the park for awhile.

When you get back wrap half of a toilet paper roll and a small piece of cardboard in aluminum foil – a piece of a cereal box or the inside flap of the macaroni box will work just fine. Tape the toilet paper roll to the flat piece of cardboard and then attach the new shape to the front of your camera to make the lens.

Separate the outer plastic ring from your spaghetti sauce lid and hot glue it to the top right of your box to create a viewfinder, anything could be used here really – feel free to get creative with it.

Glue the water bottle lid to the top of the box to act as your shutter.

Carefully glue your neck strap on to the sides, this was the only piece of this project I had to keep fixing for my guys. I never did come up with a really secure way to make it stay … maybe you will! And then you’ll be so kind to tell me about it :) Thanks.

That’s it, that’s all there is to it. Hand the camera over to your budding photographer and let them get busy snapping. There’s so much fun to be had.
snap These were a prominent part of our playroom for a very long time, until a toddler got a hold of them. If treated properly, they will last a long time. And if not, they’re simple to make so you can always whip up a new one using items from your recycle bin!

Happy Earth Day weekend folks, tell me have you ever made something using items from your recycle bin? If you have a post or a photo leave it in the comments section, I’d love to see it!

Let me know if you have any questions about any of the steps and do me a favor and join me on Facebook, I’d love to chat with you there.

Valentines for Kids

Valentines Day is just five days away, are you ready? Yeah, me neither …

Great Valentine's Ideas for Kids

Thank goodness I helped put together this beautiful Pinterest board with the superest Mom I know, Val of Inner Child Fun. It’s chocked full of inspiration for DIY Valentines for kids ideas that can be done on the cheap and almost at a moments notice … perfect for procrastinators like me.

Here’s a few projects I’m going to try and make happen around here

valentines coloring pages for kids Color by Number Valentines (by one of my favorite Pinners!)

valentines day ideas for kids Valentine Kisses


Books instead of candy

valentines gifts for kids & Family Time Coupons

Lots more cool stuff on the board, stop by and check it out:
Inspiring Valentines Ideas,
follow it even … that would make my day!

by the way, our reader Sheri won the apron giveaway. Sheri, if you’re reading this … I still need your address.

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint

To make your own homemade sidewalk chalk paint, you will only need three ingredients ~ water, corn starch and a little food coloring. Quite possibly the simplest project with the kids ever! So simple in fact, I let the kids make the whole thing. They chose to make our first batch in purple, orange, green and blue but it wasn’t long before we had to come back in for a resupply. That’s when they cooked up some pretty neat red and neon green. The colors turned out so gorgeous, in a pastel sort of way.

how to make sidewalk chalk paint

I found this recipe for Sidewalk Chalk Paint on the Family Fun website and knew right away it would be the perfect post nap activity. Bonus points since I already had all the supplies needed for this on hand.

Sidewalk Chalk Paint Recipe

To make you own, you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Corn Starch
  • Food Coloring in assorted colors
  • Paint Brushes
  • Leftover Containers
  • A clear patch of concrete

I found a great step-by-step photo tutorial for you over at the Petite Elephant. Note: I only used between 6-10 drops of food coloring for each paint color (and made one recipe’s worth of each color). I read later, on at the Idea Room, that adding too much food coloring could potentially stain your driveway.

This was such an easy craft (even Dads could do it) and fun outdoor activity for the kids. The results were so cool I think it would be a great activity for kids, in school, for a play date, a birthday party or any event with lots of kids.

diy sidewalk chalk paint

The paint has a nice chalky texture when it dries and can even be painted over again with water (when you run out of paint) to create a new blended look (see pic below).

sidewalk chalk paint

All three of my children (ages 1-4) were able to participate in this summer boredom buster and the fun lasted for well over an hour so that ranks up there pretty high on my scale of activities for kids.

Let me know if you give this a try, I can’t wait to see pics. (Here’s a few pics of us in action)

Last Minute Father’s Day Ideas

Father’s Day is just around the corner and if you are a procrastinator like myself, you may be starting to get a little frantic. No need to fret, I’ve gathered some ideas that will really make him feel like the World’s Greatest Dad.

Let’s start with something super simple, a musical e-card from one of my FAVORITE kindie singers Francesca England. The song, Daddy-O, is a keeper too, you’ll want to hear it all year long …

{Click to go to Daddy O e-card}

which brings me to the next idea :) a musical performance!! Also, brought to you courtesy of Frances England.

Watch the video and help your kids learn the chorus – I’m going to be ambitious and see if I can teach them to act out the letters too :) It will be cute no matter how it turns out :) Thanks Frances, you continue to make life in our home happier (still sing Tricycle to my youngest as a lullaby)

Ok, ok you’re saying that was all fine & good but what you REALLY need is something tangible you can give the Dad in your life that you can make … say, like right now? No problem …

This Baseball String Bracelet from I Can Find The Time is pretty Awesome

These upcycled garden accents from Naturally Educational are pretty cool too
(They are supposed to be coasters, but I want some in my garden :) )

And these Tokens for Dad from Eighteen25 might be my favorite of the year :)

But the Dad’s Brag Book on Frugal Family Fun is vying for the win

So many incredible ideas … so little time

Have a fun project planned for Dad? I’d love to hear all about it :)