Making Books with Kids review

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I had the pleasure of reviewing this book: Making Books with Kids (*affiliate link*), recently.

My youngest (who is 10) and I picked out a few types of books to make, and played around with them.

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The instructions are written clearly, and the books are easy enough for my daughter to make on her own. There are even pages to cut out to make pop-up books, which she can’t wait to try.

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I was interested in doing a stitched binding book (of course) and I chose to use all recycled materials, which was a creative choice on my part.

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We have a special book of Fairy Tales that I rip up and use for crafts (like these and these), and thought they would make a great art book…or two.

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I folded each page in half with the folded crease facing the edge, so paints and markers would be less likely to bleed through to the back.

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My girl had so much fun painting and drawing on these. So did I.

For the covers, I used old paper bags we had.

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These books were quick and easy to whip up, and we only needed a few tools! A bone folder is helpful, scissors (or paper cutter), awl, needle and embroidery thread.

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We used a permanent marker and watercolors, but you really can embellish with anything, depending how thick your paper is.

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This book is one we have gladly added to our personal library as it will be sure to get lots of use! I love the verstility of these crafts and that it inspired us to sit down and create. Anything that does that is a big thumbs up in my book.

*I did recieve a free copy of this book to review, but as always all opinions are mine, mine, mine*

Magazine Envelopes: Recycling craft

If you have been coming here for a while, you will know that I am not the most technology-savvy person out there. I still “Bookmark” things I like. Sometimes I even email them to myself so I don’t forget that I actually want to make the particular craft I have bookmarked.

Well, the other day I was going through said bookmarks, because the sheer number of them made my eyes cross, and stumbled upon one that I put aside for a rainy day in 2011.

Seriously. We live in the PNW. It rains all the time.

It was now or never.

Life of Sara Nicole has a tutorial for making envelopes out of magazine pages that I thought was brilliant.

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So I made a few myself.

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These were made using only one page out of a magazine, each, so they are small. Although in her tutorial, she suggests you open up the magazine flat, take the staples out, and use both pages as one. Which I did for the third one I made.

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I like both sizes. The smaller ones hold a business card (or two).

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While the larger size holds a full size letter (folded).

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This is a fun way to use up magazines. Since I traced my envelope shapes on cardstock, I can use them over and over!

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Now to write some letters!

Trash into treasure

I put out a call for clothesline or cotton rope to make these rope baskets (and these) that I have been obsessing about making, in my local Buy Nothing Project FB group, and one of the founders of the group happened to have some.

She actually found small pieces of rope that washed up onto the beach, and saved them. I loved that she collected them while cleaning up our beaches. YES!  So my task was to figure out how I could make them work, since usually these baskets/bowls take one continuous piece.

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I grabbed some string I had, and wrapped it around two ends to connect the pieces, and it worked! Really that easy. I was amazed I got it on the first try. It gives them a primitive look, don’t you think?

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I had enough to make two small bowls.

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I did give the pieces of rope a quick wash before I began sewing them, but I am so happy they retained some of the quirky inconsitent colors. I think it adds to the charm of the bowls.

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Perfect size for some of my sewing notions.

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Here’s a close-up:

Found beach rope turned into bowl

Found beach rope turned into bowl

My favorite part of recycling/upcycling is you never know what treasure that trash can be turned into, until you try.

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I know our beach walks will definitely have a rope-hunting component to them from now on!

What trash have you turned into treasure lately?

More Warrior Cats party things

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Kitty ears are done, as well as the tails! For each child, I free-handed the symbol for “Star Clan” and their names on ceramic mugs. I love how they came out! The marker I used is DecoArt glass paint marker (affiliate link). Once you paint them, you let them dry for 8 hours (I let mine sit out over night), then bake to set the paint. The cups are dishwasher safe after that! I am super impressed with this one. I cannot wait to do more elaborate designs!

What have YOU made today?

Warrior Cats Party: Play Mice

I mentioned on Sunday that my youngest is having a belated birthday party (because we were away for her actual birthday) in a few weeks, and the theme is Warrior Cats.

We are keeping it simple this year (mostly to save my sanity). We decided to make the camp outside, and one of the integral parts (I am told) is the “fresh kill”, AKA rodents/small animals.

So I thought I would whip up some mice!

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Really easy to do. Since they will most likely be tossed around and played with out in the mucky outdoors, I didn’t want to fuss to much about these.

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I took scraps of fake fur, hot glued a long thin strip of felt in for a tail, and hot glued them closed in a roll. Then I hot glued a bead on top.

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Done.

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I didn’t even add ears.

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She is thrilled.

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On to making the ears and tails!

DIY Tile Coasters

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I have been bitten by the tile coaster making bug! The other day I asked in my local Buy Nothing Project group if anyone had any tiles sitting around, unwanted. Within a few minutes someone had an entire box of tiles for me to play with.

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These are so easy to make, and really so much fun.

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You need white glue and water, tiles, pages of a book to tear up, a thin permanent marker, watercolors, and clear varnish, (optional: felt circle furniture protector thingies).

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First, tear up pages of a book (I keep one especially for this in my crafting supplies) and decoupage them on (with the white glue/water mixture) the tiles. If you need to see details of how to make your own decoupage medium, check out this post here.

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After they dry, take your permanent marker and draw something. Anything you want!

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After that, take some watercolor paints and give them some color.

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After the paint is dry, coat with clear varnish and let dry. Add felt circles to the backs to protect your furniture.

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Falafel saw me having so much fun with these and she wanted to do some, herself.

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I love hers so much.

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This project is really open to your interpretation. You can be as creative as you want!

DIY tile coaster tutorial

In the box of tiles were little ones that were begging to become magnets.

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I just decoupaged some pictures from the book, sealed them with varnish, then used my super strong E6000 glue (in a well ventilated area) to stick on circle magnets.

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SO CUTE.

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This guy cracks me up.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and as always, I would love to see yours if you give this a try!

Last minute gift? Give some fruit!

Friends of ours just gave us a wrapped up pomegranate for Christmas, and I have to say that I LOVE it. What a brilliant, simple gift.

I think we need to get back to basics.

In that spirit, I came up with two different ways to give another fruit:

Oranges!

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This first one, I actually saw while perusing Pinterest. There is a super simple tutorial here to make this fun orange wreath. All you need are some “cuties” or clementines, celophane wrap, and ribbon.

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Who doesn’t love cute fruit?!

The next one is a bit more complicated since I made the rope bowl first. But really, you could make a similar presentation with an already made bowl too.

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I saw this type of bowl or basket over at Maya Made and over at SouleMama, and decided to give it a whirl.

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All it took was some old cotton clothesline and my sewing machine.

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I think I’m hooked. These are so much fun to make, AND there are so many varieties you can play around with. I made this one with handles, but it isn’t mandatory.

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I just used whatever thread was in my machine already, and when it ran out (these do take A LOT of thread) I grabbed whatever was closest. Next time, though, I could be more intentional with the colors I choose. Even dye the rope first, if I wanted.

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There are also so many ways you can finish it. I opted for a spiral in front, but I have seen them with a loop, too. This is truly a customizable project.

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That is it! Fill with fruit of your choice. I love that our local Costco carries these, so there are plenty to share.

What are some last minute gift ideas you will be using?

Elfing up a storm: DIY Tile Coasters

I have been on a creating frenzy since we got back. We are being very social this season, and I really wanted to make a little something for each of those people we care about.

But I am also crunched for time.

So I went to my craft closet, and poked around a bit. I found a bunch of tiles of various sizes and textures. Enough of them were the same for a few sets of coasters and the large ones could be made into trivets. PERFECT.

I happen to keep an old book of fairy tales that I use for craft projects. AND I always seem to have plenty of glue and paint on hand. I also happened to have a package of those felt circle protector sticky things for some reason.

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So first, I mixed up a little white glue and water to make a decoupage medium. Then I brushed some glue mixture on the tile, tore up some pages from my fairy tale book, arranged them on the tile, and then brushed the glue mixture on top of them.

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I drew different designs (feathers, birds, hearts) on with a fine tip marker (after they dried), and then added a touch dilluted watercolor paint to them.

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After that dried, I sealed them with a clear varnish.

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I absolutely adore how they came out. I hope our friends do too! I can completely imagine making a whole bunch more of these for sure.

What are YOU elfing for the holidays?

My dress form is ready for the Holiday

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Please excuse the terrible photos. It has been raining non-stop here, and I have been too busy and too lazy to set up the indoor lighting set up.

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I asked our local Buy Nothing group if anyone had a broken or unwanted artificial Christmas tree I could have, and of course someone did!  My husband Jim helped me disassemble it, and we made this festive dress for my dress form, Martha (yes, I named my dress form).

She is so sparkly and pretty. I love that the hard work of pulling off all of those branches is done for next year.

I have been elfing up a storm here, and will try and get some decent photos of all the last minte gift ideas tomorrow!

In the Meantime: What have YOU made for the upcoming Holidays?

Toilet Paper Tube Advent Calendar

I was looking to use up more of the recycled goods we collect, only this time it is toilet paper tubes.

In steps Pinterest once again, and a brilliant idea from Recyclart.

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I didn’t make a little house like they did, but a tree shape instead. I was looking for quick and simple.

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I used a cereal box for the tree shape, then cut the cardboard tubes in half and glued them down. I topped them with parchment from our kitchen, cut into circles, with more glue.

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I used little slips of paper and wrote things on them, like “list 10 things you like about someone in the room“, and “do something kind for your sister“. But I also just slipped some mini candy canes in some days, too. I didn’t want this to be a sugar overload, and also didn’t want to just give them things to do. I tried to balance it out with fun for everyone, and tried to touch on being kind with each other this season. I feel like we need more of that.

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Do you do a count down calendar? What do you fill it with?