Take-Out Box Thank You “Cards”

Unbelievably, the last day of school jumped on us out of nowhere. I know everyone says it… time flies, it all goes by so fast, etc, etc. But Kindergarten was warp speed ahead. Snip-snap, this year is done.

Sharpies!

Sharpies!


Jack was officially “promoted” to 1st grade today and, since we’ve been spinning in end of school activities, we kept it pretty simple in the thank you department. We made some cookies in custom decorated Chinese take-out cartons for his Kindergarten teacher and his after-school care teachers.

I picked up these blank Chinese take-out cartons at the party store for less than a buck. Rather than make thank you cards, we did it directly on the take-out boxes themselves. Jack was all over the box art, I was on cookie baking duty, everyone participated in cookie eating.

We kept it simple, some Sharpies and some imagination…

Jack's school mascot is the owls.

Jack’s school mascot is the owls.


Nature Scene

Nature Scene


color explosion

color explosion

frog study

frog study

                                                                    

Buerre & Sel Jammers

Buerre & Sel Jammers


RECIPE
We filled the boxes with one of our favorite cookies: Buerre and Sel Jammers (Bon Appetit). With “butter” in the recipe’s title, how can one go wrong?

Baking Machines

Baking Machines


Are they done yet?

Are they done yet?

Button Bracelets: An Addict’s Story

I am kinda cheating because I really didn’t make this today for the Make Stuff Up Challenge. I am writing about it today but really it was part of a making binge on Sunday.

Finished Button Bracelet

Finished Button Bracelet


If you recall, on Sunday I made some tie dye tissue paper flowers for my neighbor girl’s birthday. But what I didn’t tell you was that there was a bit of a compulsive edge to that day. Really, I couldn’t stop making things. And in between waiting on my tie dye paper to dry for the flowers, and my bead bowls to melt in the oven (more info on that another day) I couldn’t just let it go and do something responsible like clean the house, hang out with my family, or shower. Like I said, it was a binge. It was not healthy.

The kids, who originally were planned participants, had realized by the third craft that I had moved into crazy town. They headed off to play in the backyard. But come on kids… button bracelets?!?!

And to be honest, while I loved how the paper flowers turned out, the other crafts of the day suffered from manic energy. I like the concept of these bracelets, I like the buttons, I am just not sure I love how it all came together. Plus this was really meant as a kid’s craft activity so I’ll try it again sometime when I haven’t burnt out the family with my addictive behaviors.

Things You'll Need

Things You’ll Need


SUPPLIES:
– Elastic Cord
– Buttons
– Crimp beads

HOW TO:
– Cut a piece of elastic cord about twice as long as you want the finished bracelet to be
– Weave the elastic cord in and out of the button holes from back to front, then repeat.
– Once it’s the right length, put each end through a crimp bead (or two for extra strength)
– Use needle nose pliers to “smash” down the crimp beads
– cut the extra cord off

Stringing the Buttons

Stringing the Buttons


Finished Bracelet

Finished Bracelet

I got this idea from a Martha Stewart Kid Craft Article. This would be cute with vintage buttons but things were a little limited in the Notions department of my local craft store so I ended up with these transparent glittery ones. This would also make a good craft for a kids party with lots of bright colored buttons to choose from.

Oh, and BTW… I craft-crashed over the last 24 hours which is why I have nothing new to write about. I am going to recover over the next few days with some more abstract interpretations of “making.”

Up Next: Something with music.

Tie Dye Tissue Paper Flowers

Tie Dye Tissue Flowers

Tie Dye Tissue Flowers


It was my lovely neighbor Vivian’s 8th birthday today. I’ve known her since her chubby toddler cheeks moved in six years ago so I wanted to make her something special. I didn’t have all the time in the world, her party was in a few hours, so I landed on giant paper flowers. Simple, I had all the stuff, and still a bit of a new challenge for my Make Stuff Challenge. Not nearly as time consuming or precise as the paper flowers I made for Teacher Appreciation Day, these were fun and very free form. So free form that to be honest they were one big experiment.

I based the flower design on those tissue paper pom-poms. The paper dying job was a guessing game but turned out pretty well for it being the first time.

Here’s what I did…

Supplies

Messy Stuff


SUPPLIES:

  • Plain white sheets of tissue paper
  • Food coloring and/or watercolor paints
  • Paintbrush
  • A bowl
  • Floral Stem Wire (thick, like 18 gauge)
  • Scissors
                                                                               
    First I stacked 8 sheets of the tissue paper and accordion folded it. Then I cut a half circle on each end.

    Accordion Fold

    Accordion Fold

    Petal Cut

    Petal Cut

                                                                 
    I filled a small bowl with water and some drops of pink food coloring. I then dripped various colors of food coloring straight onto the white tissue paper on both ends and then quickly dunked the entire paper into the bowl. I then flattened it out and painted some green watercolor on randomly and left it to dry on the grass.

    Food Coloring Drip

    Food Coloring Drip

    As the paper dried a bit, I carefully pulled the sheets apart to help speed up the drying.

    Wet version

    Wet version

    Once dry, I then re-folded the sheets in an accordion fold and tied a floral wire stem around the middle and twisted it tight. Then I carefully pulled up each sheet on both sides until it was puffy.

    Fold

    Fold

    Twist

    Twist


    Carefully Pull Up Each Sheet

    Carefully Pull Up Each Sheet


    Close Up

    Close Up


    Both Flowers

    Both Flowers

    Things I Learned:
    – Tissue paper is surprisingly tough, it withstood all of this dying and pulling pretty well.
    – The color dried much lighter than I thought it would.
    – Don’t worry if your hands are all dyed up, it comes off after a couple of hand washes.
    – The experiments could go on infinitely. I think it would be cool to paint glue on each tip and dip in a little glitter. Or watercolor paint a bunch of colors all over the paper rather than drip color on. Basically I learned I will be playing around with this concept more.

    Vivian loved her flower as did Elise who got the other one of the two. I twisted it around the post of her bed… floral stem wire is good that way.

    Elise with Flowers

    Elise with Flowers

Pinkalicious: Experiments with RIT Dye

Doesn't take much.

Doesn’t take much.


I ran across a blog post today on how to dye a shirt. Inspired! I’ve had a packet of Fuchsia RIT dye sitting on my dresser for awhile now. I bought it to give new life to one of my favorite blouses that’s seen better days. But fuchsia? I just wasn’t sure. It’s so, well… it’s so pink. So I thought I’d try it out on someone else’s clothing first… like maybe the girl who makes me read her Pinkalicious books every day. She seemed like someone who’d be up for dying some things pink. So we rounded up a couple of her dingier white shirts and got to work.

I wanted to make something too, something cheap that I could experiment a bit on before moving on to more expensive items in my closet. I grabbed a plain white t-shirt, mens XL, and took some scissors to it with the goal of making a bathing suit cover up. An ombre tank top that is longer in the back.

Elise helping out.

Elise helping out.

Dying things.

Dying things.


                         

Here’s How:
I followed directions on this Anthropologie blog post.

My Learnings:
– It’s easy & fast! Doing the entire project took less than 30 mins.
– It’s not that messy, even with a six and four year old participating.
– The dye absorbs quickly! So if you want an ombre effect, it’s hard to get a really light shade. I think next time I might try having two bowls, one with more diluted dye for the lighter part.
– I had left the top of my tank white but, even after rinsing well, the pink bled onto the white leaving it splotchy. Not sure what would have helped here, maybe a longer rinse.
– I will dye clothing again. It was super easy and gave new life to old garments.

Men's T-Shirt stolen from my husband.

Men’s T-Shirt stolen from my husband.

A few snip, snips.

A few snip, snips.

The finished product. Not as sharp as I would have liked but will do as a pool cover up.

The finished product. Not as sharp as I wanted, but will do as a pool cover up.

BEFORE - looks closely, those are some nasty looking stains.

BEFORE – yucky stains.

AFTER

AFTER


                
BEFORE

BEFORE – I wanted ombre, messed up, dunked the entire thing.

AFTER

AFTER – I wanted to ombre this but messed it up so just dunked the entire thing.


                                                
Oh, incidentally Jack’s favorite color is pink though he won’t actually wear it. Peer pressure at six. crazy. He did dye some socks but the material didn’t hold the color well in the rinse out phase so he moved on to other activities.

Paper Castles & Triple Headed Dragons

After a very busy day adventuring yesterday we decided to lay low today and relax. On these down days I feel even more pressure to complete my Make Stuff Up Challenge. It’s one thing to fumble it on a busy day, but little excuse on a day like this. Except, of course, for my total lack of motivation. Or so I thought…

DIY Puppet Show

DIY Paper Puppets

I had figured by 5:30 my window had closed until, completely unsolicited, Jack said “remember those paper dragons you used to make me, can we make those again” and just like that, inspiration ignited. Though really it was all Jack, I was just executing on the idea. The paper dragon idea expanded to include a castle, a princess, guards, and an entire slew of items we set out to make.

Jack and I worked as a team, he would tell me what he wanted, I would draw it. He would color it, I would cut it out and tape a stick to it. It was a blast and maybe the most creative thing we’ve done together. And it’s not over. He has a whole puppet show script he’s formulating in his head. He’s the producer & director, actor and sound FXs (Dragon fire explosions being his speciality)… I am the set designer. Elise isn’t as focused on it, but will participate as the occasional actress, co-director, and coloring assistant.

Watching Jack get so excited, inspired, proud, and hands-on with it made me smile from deep within.

I have been tasked with making the following: a queen, a king, a prince with a sword in sheath, a dragon cave, a dungeon, and a jester. Clearly this won’t happen tonight so I’ll follow up as the puppet collection grows but for now, here’s what we made up tonight.

This is all it took.

This is all it took.


Jack's vision, a 3-headed fire breathing dragon with a spiky ball tale so I drew this.

Jack’s vision, a 3-headed fire breathing dragon with a spiky ball tale so I drew this.

I sketched this guy and then photo copied him a bunch of times.

I sketched this guy and then photo copied him a bunch of times.


Elise coloring her princess.

Elise coloring her princess.


Jack coloring his dragon.

Jack coloring his dragon.

Imagination igniter.

Imagination igniter.

I made the castle out of card stock and tape and the puppets are card stock, tape, BBQ skewers.

I made the castle out of card stock and tape and the puppets are card stock, tape, BBQ skewers.

DAY 15: Jack Makes Stuff Up Too…

I make things for two reasons: 1) I love doing it 2) I want my kids to grow up knowing the importance of creativity, hands-on problem solving, and the joy of making stuff.

Tonight I realized my six year old gets it. Not just likes to do arts and crafts gets-it, but actually finds joy in making things up from scratch in his head. What a cool moment to watch him, all on his own, create layers of stuff all from his own mind, enjoy doing it, AND be doing it to gift to someone else.

JACK’S MAKE STUFF UP:
Tomorrow is the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week so I asked Jack what he’d like to do for his teacher to say thanks. He thought about it for a sec, walked out of the room, and returned with a handful of various erasers. Earlier that day, his teacher had mentioned to him that she was out of erasers so Jack pinpointed this as the perfect gift for her. We continued scavenging around the house pulling together pink pearls, dinosaurs, random Japanese food erasers, etc into one bag to give to her. She might look at this bag of erasers and think huh? But I trust she’ll understand the completely thoughtful gesture.

He also made her a bracelet but my favorite is the card…

Jack is a bit of a jokester, loves a good prank and has lately started making up his own material. The jokes started off really obvious, as you’d expect for a six year old. But tonight, he worked it out. He started it off, tried a few punchlines, kept iterating, and BAM you could see it on his face… he HAD it. And it made me frickin laugh. It was super contextual and it worked. The backstory: His teacher has tadpoles in the class, she feeds these tadpoles lettuce all the time. This is his Teacher Appreciation Day card for her…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s funny right? Too much lettuce? Gets tadpoles to take care of the problem? ok. I am his mom but I won’t laugh at every joke. I loved this one.

Also, I am a little creatively tapped today and needed someone else to take the reigns on the Make Stuff Up Challenge so thanks Jack!

DAY 14: Clue Party Invites!

Jack Won!

Jack Won!

My son is addicted to Clue. Not an app, not online… Good ole, low-fi, board game, CLUE.

Don’t get me wrong, he begs for the iPad like no other, and has built more pixelated structures in Minecraft than I would like to admit, but he’s a gamer through and through loving all types indiscriminately. Battleship, Temple Run, Wall-ball, board games, Uno, Chess, Angry Birds, Tic-tac-toe… he would play games all day if he could.

CLUE PARTY INVITES
Jack is also a Clue evangelist, plotting to host multiple Clue parties with various groups of friends over the coming weeks. He insists that he will sit out to help teach the friends who don’t know how to play. Love him.

DIY Clue Party Invites

DIY Clue Party Invites

So we set about to make invites. Not evites, not emails. Paper invites in paper envelopes to go with the low-tech vibe of the night. Jack picked who gets which character/weapon/room and I whipped up the rest with the help of my scanner, printer, and abundance of card stock surplus I’ve been chipping away at.

Clue Party Invites

Clue Party Invites

There are tons of versions of Clue out there but I LOVE the illustrations in this Vintage remake.

Invite Copy

Invite Copy

The first Clue party is this Saturday. It’s truly an experiment to see how six, 6 year olds handle playing Clue against one another with one very zealous “instructor” watching over them. Well, there’s always pizza and ice cream as a distraction.