This is the simplest trick in the book, but it makes the cutest Christmas cards your kiddo can send to their friends and family. I remember watercoloring with rubber cement all the time when I was little but I totally forgot about it till the other day. Anyway, you can create a ton of cards quite quickly. All with their own unique look. Perfect even for small kids- let them just have at it!! Whatever you painted underneath will show through no matter how crazy their paint job is. Older kids could of course paint with the rubber cement themselves. I painted the scenes first for Rowan because it’s little tricky to see what you’re painting.
1. Think of simple, christmasy designs to paint on the paper. You really are painting with invisible ink (so to speak) so the more detailed you get, the harder it will be to remember where or what you painted last. Apply a thick coat to the front side of the watercolor paper. Watercolors absorb differently to the front and back of the paper. The front is where it’s at. The overall outcome will not work as well if you use the wrong side of the paper (in our experience).
2. Let the rubber cement dry.
3. I explained and tried to show Rowan the pictures that I painted. Then I just let her go to town with her own ideas of how to paint the cards. You can also let your kid sprinkle glitter on the cards while the paint is wet. Glitter and I have a love hate relationship. It comes out only on special occasions. hahahaha.
4. Done! Let your kids write special notes on the inside and deliver before Christmas.
Did you know that Kev and I fell head over heels for each other in book making class in art school? So nerdy, right? Needless to say, I’m kind of obsessed with making handmade books. There is something so fun about making a book and binding it together. When I was first pregnant with Rowan I couldn’t wait until the day we could make cute little books together filled with her drawings and stories. For Rowan’s birthday this year we got her a camera. It’s waterproof and shock proof making it perfect for a 4 year old. She was showing so much interest in taking pictures with our phones, we wanted to help foster that creative spirit. She takes her little camera everywhere! One particular day a few weeks ago, we were walking around one of our favorite cities around us and I told Rowan she should document our time out and about. Then we came up with the idea that we could make her very first photo diary book… “The Photo Book of Troy, NY” captured by Rowan Winter Richardson.
She was in!
We teamed up with Canon USA to create this super cute photo book. A lot of the actual book making was done by me, obviously, but the photos, drawings and words are all her own. You could make so many variety of books with photos you print out. The possibilities are endless!!!
roll of kraft paper
1. Collect photos of whatever you’d like. I chose all the photos Rowan took on our outing and laid them out in photoshop. I designed each an 8.5″ x 11″ page so 2 photos would fit and print together. We haven’t had a printer in our house since we were first married. I will admit that I can’t imagine not having one now. Our PIXMA MG7520 printer is so simple to use and it’s been so fun to just come up with projects on a whim that use photos without having to go to Staples to get things printed out. I love the connivence and great quality!
2. Print all your photos. I planned to fold each page in half and trim all the white space around the photos. About 3/4″ of the left see of your page will be covered by the binding. Make sure you plan accordingly so something important isn’t being covered up.
3. Once all your pictures are trimmed, measure the length and height of the page. This will give you the dimensions of what your covers should be.
4. Say your pages are 4″ x 3″. You will cut 2 covers (front and back) from the mat board that will be 4″ x 3″. To make it so the covers can open easily I made what is called a stab binding. On each of your covers you will cut off the last 3/4″. This will create the binding. You will now have 2 pieces for each the front and back covers measuring 3/4″ x 3″ and 3.25″ x 3″. Trim those last pieces to be 3″ x 3″. This will allow for the .25″ gap to allow the book cover to open while still being the same measurements of the pages. See picture below.
5. Have your little one color whatever they would like on some kraft paper. Patterns, scribbles, pictures, whatever their little hearts desire. You will use this to cover the matboard making the front and back covers. Trim down the paper so there is about an 1.5″ extra around the matboard.
6. Glue down the matboard to kraft paper (you could really use any paper you wanted to make the covers). Align the binding piece creating .25″ gap between the 2 pieces. Glue corners first by folding them in, then glue the sides.
7. Cut some end paper to cover the inside of the matboard. Trim them to be just a tad smaller than the size of the covers. Glue them in place.
8. Measure across the binding every half inch and make a mark. Clamp your whole book together. Drill holes through each of the marks all the way through the book. Keep the book clamped the entire time.
9. Through the holes sew your binding together. Tie the ends together and your book it done! You can now take off the clamp.
10. I had Rowan come up with captions for each of her photos and she wrote them on the opposite page of the picture. What a special little keepsake for them. Make sure you date the book so years from now you know when exactly they made it!
We plan on continuing making tons of “Rowan’s Photo Books” as she takes more pictures with her camera. She is so proud of them! She made sure she brought it with us this week to show all her Grandparents. She has little stories about each picture. So cute!!!
My sister got Rowan the coolest book for her birthday. It’s loaded with tons of great ideas for Moms and kids. In a desperate moment last week to find something to entertain the girls, I grabbed the book looking for something we could do. Playdough!! My girls love play dough. I’ve never made it before and was super excited to try it out. We even juiced some beets, kale and used turmeric to naturally color the dough. I also added a few drops of essential oils and glitter and WOW!! it was a hit! The girls have had so much fun playing with it. At first I thought it was even too pretty to play with!
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp plain cooking oil
food coloring – if you’re using homemade colors, they should be added as water replacement. For example, if you’re using half a cup of color, you then will only need half a cup of water. I juiced kale, beets and then boiled some turmeric and used that instead of the water.
essential oils (your choice)
1. Add flour, salt, water, cream of tartar, oil, and food color to a small pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring consistently.
2. After a couple of minutes you will notice the mixture starting to clump. It will get harder and harder to stir, eventually turning into one big lump.
3. Scoop the lump out onto a floured surface and knead all together. Press out flat and sprinkle with glitter. Knead together. Do the same with essential oils.
4. Bring out all the cookie cutters and have lots of fun! Keep in air tight containers when you are finished playing.
^^I am still blown away by how beautiful the colors came out.
*This recipe is from the Recipes for Play book by Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener
Looking for an afternoon activity to do with your little ones? Here’s a super simple fall mobile you guys can create together. Plus! It gets you all outside for a little bit first. I’m really trying to get everyone outside for at least 30 mins a day even in the fall and winter. It’s easy to retreat into the warmth and never venture outside but I think it’s important.
Anyway…Head out to your backyard, the park or a nearby hiking trail. I brought along big gallon sized ziplock bags for the girls. I told them they were looking for nature treasures to collect and put in their special “treasure bags”. They were allowed to pick up anything they thought was neat or interesting. I talked about how we should look for items of different size, colors and textures. It was fun to see them run along the trail looking for cool items that caught their attention. Make sure they pick up at least one stick to use to hang the other items from.
Once we were home, I laid out all the items on the table. I let them then pick out their most favorite items and we worked together to string them on some embroidery floss. We talked about balance (both physical weight and aesthetically) as we hung them from the stick. I had to help with the tying and the use of hot glue. It makes for the cutest fall decoration for your house!
My girls love puppets! I hear them downstairs all the time laughing as they put on puppet shows for each other. Of course Finley’s version of a puppet show is just shoving a puppet through the curtain and laughing, but Rowan still thinks it’s hilarious. Kev can put on a pretty impressive puppet show too! I wanted to make new puppets for them and thought, what would be cuter than actually making family puppets? I teamed up with Canon USA to create these super cute pop-up family puppets!
Craft Cones (I bought these on Amazon)
Fabric transfer paper
Wooden craft beads
Ribbon, trim, buttons
I started with a cute picture of Rowan. I decided to change the color to be black and white and then printed it on my PIXMA MG7520 directly onto the fabric transfer paper. I ordered the transfer paper right from Amazon but you can also find it at any craft store. I cut just her head out and then ironed it on to some muslin fabric.
I decided to make them sort of whimsical and circus like by adding painted details to their heads. Next I cut out an outfit from my fabric choices. I kept it simple, just freehanding a basic shirt shape. You will need 2 pieces of each shape to sew a complete puppet. Remember to make the bottom of the skirt as wide as your cone. You will be gluing the skirt part to the top of the cone so make sure it’s big enough to fit around.
I sewed the head, collar and skirt to the front and back pieces of the shirt. Then putting right sides together, I sewed it all together to create the puppet. Here’s the extra fun part… the accessories! I loved picking out fun trim, ribbon and buttons to add to the puppet.
I added a tiny bit of batting inside of her head to give it some shape. Take a large wooden ball and dowel and hot glue it inside the puppet at it’s neckline to give it the support and stability to pop up. The dowel needs to long enough to go from inside the puppet, down through the cone and attach to another wooden ball at the bottom of the cone.
Time to decorate the cone! Paint it, cover it in fabric, or leave as is. Totally up to you! I decided to paint ours and to add a felt initial to the top. You can also paint the end of the dowel and the wooden ball that you will be pulling and pushing to make the puppet pop up. Cut the tip of the cone off to create a hole just big enough for the dowel to pass through. Assemble it all together.
Hot glue the bottom edge of the puppet’s skirt to the outside top edge of the cone. It doesn’t have to be exact, you will be covering the edge with some ribbon to help it have a more finished look. Once it’s glued, add the ribbon and make sure it’s hot glued to half the skirt’s edge and half the cone. Pull the puppet into the cone and you’re ready to play!!
With spring just around the corner (as I chat to myself daily) what better way to celebrate than with a super cute and easy craft you can do with your kids. I had a bunch of wooden embroidery hoops lying around that we decided to glue our flowers to. But you could make all kinds of different wreaths with the flowers. Rowan thought the finished craft was pretty cool and hung the wreath on the door to her room.
1. Cut out the egg pods from the carton. Trim and cut them into different shaped flowers. Use all the parts of the carton to create centers and to cut leaves out. If you kids are good with scissors they can totally do this part. It was a little too hard for Rowan still.
2. Let them have at it! Give them a bunch of bright colors to paint all the different flowers with. Do your kids always want to mix all the colors into one mucky brown color? I always have to try to get Rowan to paint with each color separately.
3. Hot glue all the parts of the flowers together. I added a few vintage buttons and pom poms to our centers.
4. Arrange and hot glue to wooden embroidery hoop. Attach string to top and hang somewhere in your house.
I won’t lie. I’ve been looking forward to this day since before I had kids. I dreamed of the day when I would get to make Valentine’s Day cards with our kids to bring in to school. The day is finally here!! Tomorrow is Rowan’s Valentine’s Day party at school and we’ve been busy all week making little goodies for her friends. We decided to make some cute bird seed feeders in the shape of hearts for her to give out. We designed little bags to put them in. Rowan colored in the hearts on the bag and painted some paper for us to cut the hearts out for the top. Now let’s just hope the snow doesn’t rain on our parade. My fingers are crossed school doesn’t get canceled tomorrow.
4 cups of bird seed
1 envelope of unflavored Knox gelatin
3/4 cup of flour
1/2 cup of water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 Tbsp corn syrup
Heart cookie cutters
Cooking spray/ or oil
1. In a large bowl, mix everything but the bird seed together. Mix well.
2. Add bird seed. Stir until combined evenly.
3. Spray inside of heart cookie cutter with cooking spray.
4. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
5. Place cookie cutter down on baking sheet, fill with bird seed mixer. It will be sticky. You can use fingers or you can spray your wooden spoon with cooking spray to help.
5. Pack cookie cutter with mixture. You can use the back of a measuring cup to pack it in and make it flat.
6. Poke a straw through the heart towards the top.
7. Lift cookie cutter. You should be able to slide bird seed heart right out.
8. Respray cookie cutter. Repeat all steps.
9. Let them dry for a few hours to over night until they are hardened.
10. Tie twine through the hole and then give as gifts or hang outside on your tree
Happy Valentine’s Day.
(To see another super easy preschool bird feeder craft I did- head on over to the Little Hip Squeak blog and check it out!)