Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

December 6th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Handmade Gift Tags

photoEvery gift needs a to and from tag. You see stacks of expensive gift tags to buy. Did you ever think of making your own?

Now, I know some of you are saying – I’m not creative or crafty, but I have some easy options for you. Or you can put the kids to work!

I like to purchase either the large or small address labels found in the office supple stores. There are so many things you can do with these to make them fun for the holidays!

Add Stickers: Buy some holiday themed stickers for the kids to apply.

Color on them: Let the kids go crazy and decorate each with a photo or scribble all over the page.  If you are more adventurous get out the paints!

Print a picture: Take a photo of the kids and add it to decorate the label. Even better, have the kids color a christmas picture, scan, shrink and put it on each label and print out!

Glue on fun things: Use old buttons, ribbons, and other fun things to decorate the gift tag

Get crazy – there are so many fun options to decorate tags. Just ask your kids to be creative!

If you want something not made by kids check out these printable options:

Printable Holiday Tags

Bright Gift Tags

Fun Gift Tags

Mixture of Gift Tags

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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December 2nd, 2013 at 5:00 am

Handmade Gifts Children Can Make

handmade-ornamentsMy favorite gift to receive from my children is always a handmade one. It is so fun to see all the care they put into it to make it special just for me! Here are some ideas for easy gifts that are perfect for your kids to make for teachers, family and friends.

Ornaments – The possibilities are endless. Use paper and photos, pipe cleaners or practically anything found in your craft box. Be adventurous and make salt dough ornaments you can paint.

Soap Dispenser - Use art work as the design for the transparency. Shrink it down and color copy it for an amazing design.

Candle  - I love this idea using children’s artwork on tissue paper. Great idea to spruce up a regular chunky candle.

Handprint Art – Pinterest has an amazing collection of everything and anything you can make with your hand. Make something and frame or upload to a calendar design. It’s great to collect kids handprints so you can remember when they were so little. I made adorable reindeer out of feet here.

Custom Canvas – Buy some white canvas and paint and have your child young and old create a custom wall hanging.

Food – Work with your child to create some cookies, bread, jarred mix, or even christmas candies or fudge to share. Snap a picture while they are helping and use it as part of the gift tag.

Now, I need to get start working on some gifts for my family. Be creative and have fun! It isn’t just about the gift but the quality time that you spend with your child while creating these!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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November 18th, 2013 at 10:04 am

Tissue Paper Suncatchers

suncatcherOne of my favorite crafts involves only a couple materials and brightens any window. A tissue paper suncatcher is an easy craft for very young children and yet older children can make it their own also.

Materials

  • Tissue paper in various colors
  • Scissors
  • Clear Contact Paper
  • Double-sided tape

1. Cut various colors of tissue paper into small pieces. Use colors that would go along with what your final project will be. Typically the pieces are cut into squares, but you can also use other shapes of tissue.

2. Cut 2 pieces of clear contact paper that are the same size.

3. Remove the backing from one pieces and put it sticky side up on a table. Tape the corners down so the contact paper lays flat.

4. Stick overlapping pieces of tissue onto the contact paper.

5. Continue sticking pieces of tissue paper until the entire piece of contact paper is filled.

6. Position the sticky side of the second piece of contact paper onto the  tissue paper collage. Press it down firmly to seal in the tissue paper pieces.

7. Cut out the shape you would like the sun catcher to be. You can pre-draw the shapes onto the contact paper prior to cutting.

8. Tape these onto glass windows or doors or punch a hold near the top and hang with a ribbon or string.

Here are some great examples:

Turkey

Butterfly

Snow in the windows

Kites

Pumpkin

Shamrock

Flower

Fish

Rainbow

Bunny

Christmas Tree

Stained glass trees

Ornaments

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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October 22nd, 2013 at 5:00 am

Don’t Toss Those Egg Cartons – Turn Them Into Toys

boxplayforkidsIsn’t it too funny when your kids have more fun playing with the box the toy came in than with the toy itself. I’ve got loads of photos of my kids climbing in and out of them or wearing them on their heads, walking around with only their little legs sticking out. And as they got older it was great to see what creative ideas they came up with for re-using leftover packaging for fun and imaginative play.

I remember many hours myself playing with boxes and containers as a kid. They provided the raw materials for my homemade version of the Barbie Dreamhouse, complete with furniture made from the styrofoam packing materials.

Well there’s a company, Box Play for Kids, that makes inexpensive stickers that transform empty boxes into fun toys that can entertain your child for hours. They have re-imagined half gallon milk cartons as animals or buildings and empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls as musical instruments and binoculars. My favorite is the keyboard sticker that turns an empty egg carton into a piano.

Check out their website and see what clever ideas they have for recycling everyday objects into something colorful and fun. They even have ideas and kits for parties that are wildly creative. These folks consider play time to be serious business and have created a terrific way to foster a child’s imagination and creativity with simple materials.

Which is your favorite?

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

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October 21st, 2013 at 5:00 am

Pumpkin Carving

pumpkin-carvingWell, it is a little over a week to Halloween and one of the things left on my to-do list is to get our pumpkins carved. If you are new to carving, here is a quick how to:

  1. Cover your work space and wipe down the outside of the pumpkin. I usually use old newspaper to cover our table.
  2. Cut a hole at the top of the pumpkin to access the inside with your knife at an angle so the top can be replaced without falling through.
  3. Start scooping. If you plan on baking the seeds, seperate from the guts. There is a great seed roasting tutorial here.
  4. Clean up the inside by scraping to smooth it out.
  5. Pick out a design and either drawn or tape onto the pumpkin
  6. Make a dot to dot pattern to transfer the design onto the pumpkin and then use a knife to cut along the dots.
  7. Light it up! It’s so great that there are battery operated lights for pumpkins instead of worrying about candles.

Need a design idea?

Some people like to use the traditional Jack O’Lantern face, but others are more adventurous. If you are a carving expert, check out these Disney carving templates. This Cookie Monster pumpkin is adorable too and doesn’t involve much carving. Or you can use this amazing site and the 305 stencil links it contains. With everything from Star Wars to a kid’s collection you have to find one you love!

Want your pumpkins to last?

To keep your carved pumpkins from rotting give them a simple bath. Use a large plastic tub and add one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water. Soak the pumpkin for 4-6 hours. Make sure to turn the pumpkin several times so all sides are immerse. This will make it last for several days. You can also spritz the pumpkins inside and out every couple days with the bleach water solution to ensure your pumpkins last as long as possible.

How do you like to carve your pumpkins?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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October 17th, 2013 at 5:00 am

DIY Autumn Decor

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In my opinion, fall has the best seasonal decor. There’s just so much you can do with the colors, holidays and seasonal pieces (pumpkins/gourds, leaves, etc.). While the stores take advantage of this great opportunity, there are so many options for DIY home decor that is fun to make and just as (or more) beautiful than anything store-bought. Here are some great projects to spice up your home with autumn accents.

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October 10th, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Leaf Crafts for Kids

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One of the best aspects of the fall season is the beautiful, color-changed leaves in browns, reds, oranges and yellows. Not only do they give you a chance to teach your kids about nature, they also make the perfect base for a fun crafts! On a nice day, make it an outing and take your kids to collect a variety of leaves (oak, maple, etc.) in as many different colors as they can find, and use them for these great projects.

 

 

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October 3rd, 2013 at 11:12 am

Fall Traditions

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As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized just how important traditions are. As a child, seasonal and holiday traditions were things I looked forward to all year. There’s excitement in knowing a special activity or outing is approaching…they are some of my fondest memories, and now as an adult, I love seeing the children in our family experience the same excitement. Here are some of our fall traditions to inspire you…perhaps you have your own or will start some new ones this year!

Apple and pumpkin picking

At the beginning of every October we pack the family up for a fun-filled autumn day of pumpkin and apple picking. We go to “pick your own” places where you can pick them right off the tree and vine. The kids love climbing the trees and picking the apples, and selecting their own pumpkins. The places we go to usually have a corn maze and other fun activities for the kids to enjoy. I, myself, love the seasoned corn on the cob and apple cider they sell…YUM! After a long day out, we come home and make a warm, hearty meal like beef stew or chili.

Baking pies and banana bread

The kids really love helping make pies from the apples they pick themselves! Apple and pumpkin pie are my usuals, but berry pies are delicious as well. My family has a chocolate chip banana bread (no nuts) recipe that has been passed down for generations, so we make a few loafs for the house and a few to give as gifts to friends and family. Here’s a popular recipe similar to mine (can’t give away all the family secrets!).

Pumpkin carving and painting

Needless to say, this is the most popular tradition with the kids…it’s a great way for them to get creative. Sometimes we use stencils we print online and other times they just let their imagination run. The little ones use paint to safely decorate their pumpkins instead of carving utensils.

Halloween books and movies

Since Halloween can be a somewhat scary time for kids, it’s nice to read books that celebrate and poke fun at the holiday. When I was little, my mother used to read me my favorite Halloween book, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. GoodReads has a list with other great titles you can see here. For the little ones, watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and the older ones will enjoy Nightmare Before Christmas (bonus, two holidays in one!).

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August 7th, 2013 at 5:00 am

10 Awesome DIY Parenting Items

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We’re always on the lookout great DIY projects for parents that will make their lives easier in affordable ways. We’ve compiled the 10 coolest and most useful items for you and your kids that you can make yourself! Which one will you make first?

What other DIY items have you found the most useful?

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July 31st, 2013 at 8:21 am

DIY Hair Accessories for Little Girls

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Anyone who has ever dressed a little girl knows that there are countless ways to accessorize their outfits. There are so many different clips, headbands, hair ties, etc. and they can get quite pricey. Then there are times when you just can’t find the perfect bow to go with a particular outfit. Why not make your own? YOU choose the type, shape, style, material, etc. Your options are endless! We’ve put together a list of online resources that will help you “do it yourself!” Check out these great tutorials:

Have you ever made your own hair bows? Do you have any tips?

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