Category Archives: crafts

Do it yourself halloween decorations

 photo(22) The boys and I have been busy spooking up our house. Determined not to spend money on anything but pumpkins, I decided to forge around the house to create decorations myself.

I admit, I’m in love with anything from Pottery Barn Kids, especially their painted signs. Though I wanted to make something more personal while incorporating my love of handprint and footprint art (not to mention not breaking the bank.)

2$ later, I was ready to make my own signs to hang and place in the garden.  The boys and I painted the stakes, then decorated them.  After putting on the final gloss and nailing them together, they were ready.  Voila- a fun decoration that will grace our house for years to come.

Want to20131018-123533.jpg do it yourself? All you need are a few supplies. You may even have some on hand.  If you want to make the garden sign – then grab one piece if wood about 2-3 feet long and wooden stakes (as many as you like available at amazon), a few nails and paint, and a sealer. Hardware stores sell single fence pieces separately. Mine was 2$ which beat spending 19$ per sign from Pottery Barn Kids.

If you want to make a hanging sign, just grab some eye screws that yophoto(23)u would use for hanging a picture and a bit of twine.  Super easy!

By the way, don’t let a trip to the hardware store set you back.  It’s pretty to find the wood section – just follow the scent of sawdust.  Of course, in doing so be ready to see some Christmas goodies.  Can’t we get through Halloween first?  And what about Thanksgiving?  Those turkeys need to be celebrated!

After you are ready to go – break out your paint and go to town. I used tempera paint as it is what I have most of, but acrylic would work even better.

Let your creativity guide ya! The possibilities are endless.  Need inspiration? Do a quick Google search for images.

Once you finish painting, let it dry. Once dry, then coat with a sealer.  I used a gloss varnish as it was what I had on hand from making CJ’s solar system for his room, but there 20131018-123458.jpgare spray sealers that will work too.  Again, just grab it at the hardware store.  At this point you can add glitter if ya like.  My boys sprinkled it on everything.  And, it made a cute accentuation of the pumpkin stems, which you may have guessed were made with their thumbprints.  Let dry overnight.

Then you’re ready to break out the tools. Grab your hammer photo(21)and a couple of nails and seal the deal. Or let your little Bob the Builders have fun nailing it in.    I must say that my late grandfather who was a talented carpenter and general contractor would have loved teaching the boys to drive in a nail.  But alas, I got to have the pleasure.

Then, get your goblins to help you pick a spot for your decorations!


What’s in your backyard?

Fun with Sheets!

of Women and Wine


Today was one of those days when after a morning adventure down at the Sonoma County Regional Park, the boys just wanted to explore the backyard.  They found some pretty long sticks.  In an attempt to keep them from sword fighting, I asked the boys if they wanted to build something.  I already knew that the boys would want to do this as both of them love building anything.  Inspired by a friend who just built a teepee for a party they’re throwing, I thought about recreating a mini version for the boys.

The entire process was fun and a reminder of why life out here in the country is so fabulous.  After finding the long sticks, the boys helped hold up the sticks while I tied them together with green rope.  Wrap it up in an old sheet secured with clothespins, and voila – a cozy spot where…

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Inexpensive Toddler Ornament Craft, Family Heirloom & Christmas Gift

The other day, Bobby and I decorated our tree.  Amongst the nutcrackers, silver balls and bells, there were special ornaments to hang.  These glass snowballs were made by Bobby’s handprints from past years.  He was so excited to learn that he made these treasured ornaments.  Now, everyday he goes to admire those ornaments.  He points to them with such pride and says “i did it.”  This year we’ll be making some for CJ too.

These little ornaments also make treasured family heirlooms and affordable gifts.  For us, we’ll be making these same ornaments every year.

With a few supplies you can make them too!  My color scheme is white and silver.  So, I bought clear glass ball ornaments and decorated them with little sparkly white handprints.  You can also do the same thing with other glass ornaments – red, silver, etc.  Just think of a color scheme you want through the years.

All you need are paintable glass ornaments (I get mine from JoAnn’s Fabrics & Crafts), acrylic paint, a sponge paintbrush and DecoArt Glamour Dust.   Before starting make sure your little one is wearing clothes that you don’t mind being decorated with paint, get your supplies ready, and go!

  • Squeeze acrylic paint onto a paper plate or something.
  • Then apply paint to your child’s hand with the sponge paintbrush.
  • Help them carefully wrap their hand around the glass ball.
  • Repeat for as many times as you want ornaments.
  • Go wash your child’s hands immediately – acrylic paint comes off with soap and water.
  • After tot is all clean then sprinkle the Glamour Dust on Ornaments.
  • Let the ornaments dry for a few days.
  • Then use a Sharpe Pen to write initials and the year.
  • Enjoy, treasure and share your creation.

Happy crafting!

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Rainy Day Fun – Ornaments With A Bit of History

Desperate for a rainy day activity, I remembered back to when a babysitter in days of past made cookie ornaments.  It dawned on me that Bobby might like doing something like that, after all he does love to play with playdough.  Salt-dough is basically the same thing but more keepsake friendly.

The difference between the two recipes comes down to oil – play dough has it, salt-dough doesn’t.  Consequently salt-dough dries hard giving lasting life to your child’s creations.  The good news is that kids can play with the dough for days (just keep it airtight) and then dry their creations for further play or even gifts.

Here’s how to make salt dough.  Take 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt and 3/4 cup warm water.  Mix all ingredients and kneed for 5 minutes.  Then play!

We made animals and even cookie cutter ornaments in the shapes of cowboy boots as Bobby has been really into Woody from Toy Story lately.  If you decide to make ornaments, make sure to make holes in them before you set them out to dry.  Straws make perfect holes.  Drying takes about a week.  After they are dry, you can color them with paints or markers.

As a side note, making cookie ornaments also provides a way to teach a bit of history.  The whole tradition of decorating a Christmas tree started in Europe. Back then trees were decorated primarily with food and candy as a symbol of giving thanks for daily bread.

Wishing you rainy days filled with fun!

Fall Foliage Fun

One of my favorite things about fall is the abundance of beautiful leaves.   They provide hours of entertainment.  Bobby has had fun raking them into huge piles; then, running through the pile and lastly tossing the remnants of the pile into the air.  Of course, CJ has been part of the action too by crawling through the piles.

Living amongst trees provides not only rambunctious activities but also crafty ones as well. After collecting a few special leaves, Bobby and I have made impressions in salt-dough, centerpieces and paintings.   My favorite project so far has been the classic leaf print.  It’s easy, fast and provides lots of creative fun.

All you need to do is gather a few leaves, paints, brushes and paper.

Paint the leaf and then press the painted leaf on a blank paper.  Remove it carefully and let it dry.  Voila, a beautiful autumn decoration to cherish for years to come.  Make extras to send along to family or to bring with you as a hostess gift on Thanksgiving.

Cheap & Easy Halloween Decorations

With Halloween in the air, it’s time to dress up with your home with ghosts and goblins.  Decorations are the perfect excuse to have some crafty fun!  There’s no need to break the bank.  So, here are a couple of ideas for decorations that are both easy and inexpensive.

Hanging Ghosts – Use your stash of plastic grocery bags to make ghosts.  Just buy some white trash can liners and a sharpe pen.  Draw eyes and a mouth on the plastic trash liner, then stuff with grocery bags.  Tie with a string or fishing line and hang in front of your house.  These ghosts will fly in the breeze and are weatherproof!

Lanterns – Make lanterns out of sandwich bags or old milk jugs.  Break out a sharpe pen and draw faces on them!  If using milk jugs cut a hole out of the bottom to put in the lights.  Use either a string of white lights or battery operated tea lights.

Window Silhouettes – All you need is black paper and a little imagination to decorate your windows.  Just cut festive shapes like cats, bats and witches, out of black construction paper and hang on the inside of your window.  If you’re low on construction paper, just paint anyother paper black and it will do the same thing.

Happy Halloween!