Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

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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July 1st, 2013 at 11:46 am

Crafts to Celebrate the 4th of July

The 4th of July is a day to show our patriotism and love of country. It is a great time to teach your kids about the flag, patriotic songs and other traditions that go along with the day. It is also surrounded with the bright colors of red, white and blue. Here are some great crafts to help celebrate the 4th of July.

No Sew Flag Shirts – grab a white garanimals shirt and some ribbon and make this adorable flag shirt.

Fun 4th of July Printables

Patriotic Word Art

Flour Lawn Stars 

Red White and Blue Fan

Popsicle Stick Flags

Glitter Fireworks – Take some construction paper and draw out lines like in an exploded firework. Sprinkle colored glitter and let dry.

Construction Paper Firecrackers

Flag Handprint – Paint a hand to look like the flag like the one at the top of this post. Press firmly on a sheet of paper.

Tin Can Windsocks

Patriotic Coloring Pages

Freezer Stencil Shirts

Do a couple of these crafts this week to show your pride in being an American!

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

 

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June 26th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Princess Party on a Budget

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Most little girls dream of being a Princess. Nothing is more glamorous than beautiful ball gowns, jeweled tiaras and everything else that comes with being “royalty.” Disney is famous for it’s variety of princess films and products…there’s a princess for every personality!

While it seems like all the trimmings can add up to a lot, a princess party can be done on a budget! Follow these tips and tricks for an unforgettable fairy tale she’ll remember forever.

Decorations

We used two backdrops, one of the Disney princesses and one of Cinderella’s castle. We also took pink and purple tissue paper and made pomanders that we hung from the ceiling…here’s a great tutorial for making them. Crepe paper streamers, flowers and additional ceiling decorations put on the finishing touches!

Food

We went simple and ordered pizza, but there are tons of foods you can make yourself for the kids…chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, hot dogs and finger sandwiches are all quick and easy. For dessert, we used tiered cupcake stand and filled it with pink and purple frosted cupcakes with crown decorations.

Games/Activities

We had all the little girls come dressed up as their favorite princess, and the first thing we did was give princess makeovers with face paint! Other games we played were freeze dance and pin the lips on the frog prince.

Extras

When it comes to the princess party, it’s all about the extras! The kids’ favorite part was the candy buffet, where we gave out empty goodie bags they could fill! Each child received their own personalized teacup drink container and pink chair to take home! Tiara rings were used as napkin holders and acted as favors as well. They also went home with a goody bag full of stickers and novelty items. We kept everything within the pink and purple color scheme so that it all came together. We even had a friend dress up as Belle and take pictures and play games with the kids!

When in doubt, use your imagination!

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June 6th, 2013 at 5:00 am

DIY Flower Arrangements

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I’ve always admired the gorgeous bouquets my local florist puts together. Flowers are great as gifts for pretty much any occasion and they brighten up a room with pops of color and fragrance. Recently, I decided it was time for me to try my hand at floral arranging. Here’s what I learned:

1)    Start by planning a theme.

A lot of things needs to be considered…color, size, types of flowers, type of vase or base, where it’s going/who you’re giving it to, etc. I like bright, colorful bouquets myself.

2)    Purchase materials.

You’ll need a base, flowers, filler (berries, leafy plants, babies breath, etc.), and possibly floral foam or plastic water dish. Other materials you might need, you probably have around the house: scissors or floral shears and scotch tape.

3)    Form the base.

Your base can really be anything…use your imagination. You can use a regular vase or get creative with a wide curved bowl, a basket, or even a chalice for a smaller arrangement. If you decide to use a wide base, make a grid with the scotch tape so you are able to use it as a guide. If you use the floral foam, cut it to fit your base and then soak it in water before you add your florals.

4)    Work from the outside in.

Choose leafy greens and place them along the outside of the base, draping over the lip slightly. Work your way inside, alternating different sizes…I like to work in floral “rings.” I also prefer to leave the berry/delicate filler to the end and disperse it throughout wherever it looks good. Sometimes very delicate filler needs to be placed in bunches, and can be kept together by wrapping thin wire around a few sprigs. Keep in mind that most arrangements need dimension, so clip your stems at different lengths that look best…it creates “levels” and allows all the different flowers to show through at all angles.

If you’re looking for a really simple tutorial to wet your feet with, Weddingchicks.com offers this great step-by-step guide for making the gorgeous arrangement shown above. Martha Stewart also offers her expertise with these flower arranging tips.

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May 29th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

DIY Outdoor Décor

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It’s common knowledge that we’re outside more when the weather is warmer. ‘Tis the season to decorate your yard! Garden, siding and patio décor add nice touches to your yard and can be admired not only by your family and guests, but by passers-by (so don’t ignore the front of your home!). Just the other day while getting the mail, a neighbor stopped me to let me know how beautiful my front yard looked. All it took was some nice gardening, a welcoming door hanger, some hanging plants and potted plants with cute garden stakes. Simple, yet so effective. Here are some outdoor décor ideas you can make yourself!

  • Stepping Stones  - Add beach glass, shells, marbles, or other small items you’ve collected over the years, or add your kids’ handprints!
  • Fire Pit  - You don’t need a contractor to put in a fire pit, it’s simpler than you think and will save you money to DIY!
  • House Number Wreath - A lovely way to showcase your house number and decorate your front door at the same time.

 

 

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