Sep 01

Crafty Recipes: Non-Cook Playdough

Child's hand pounding colourful doughThis is a recipe that I created when I was working in preschool.  There isn’t too many opportunities when you want to make playdough with the children, especially since our kitchen was upstairs and didn’t have enough room to sit and make it with 16 children.  This meant that teachers in my center often made non-cook playdough recipes.  My revised playdough was so popular that teachers in other centers started using it. What you need:

  • 3 cups of Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of Salt (the more salt you add, the different the texture will be so if you want a course textured playdough, use more salt.)
  • 2 tablespoons of Cooking Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Cream of Tartar (this is optional and I have made it with and without the cream of tartar, it really just depends on whether I have it in stock or not)
  • 2 tablespoons of Liquid Dish Soap
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of Liquid Tempura Paint (you can find this at dollar, craft or school supply stores.)

Pour everything except the water into a large bowl and begin to Knead.  Add the water slowly until you have a dough like texture.  Dust the table with flour and give a small piece to the children to knead.  Pull out all the playdough tools you have and enjoy. If you store this in a ziplock bag, it should last about 5 to 7 days, give or take a few days.  You can also take this recipe and cook it since it is very similar to cooked playdough and uses all the same ingredients except the tempura paint. *Note: The quantities of ingredients are approximates since I never measured out the ingredients when I made the playdough with my class.  Add or remove some ingredients to get the desired affect.*

Sirena

Sep 01

Crafty Recipe: Cooked Playdough

playdoughAs many of you know, I am a big fan of playdough.  Usually, I prefer to make a non-cooked playdough since it takes less time and I can make it with my kids.  Sometimes, though; I like to make the cooked playdough since it usually lasts longer than the non-cooked.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 6 tsp cream of tartar
  • Food Coloring

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add in the water and oil.
  3. Place on the stove and cook at a low-medium to a medium temperature.
  4. Stir continuously until the dough pulls away from the pot. (Another test is if it can be pinched without sticking to you fingers but be careful since it is hot.)
  5. Remove from the heat and place on a cutting board.
  6. Knead the dough until it has the proper consistancy.
  7. Break into 3 or 4 balls and set to the side.
  8. Add a few drops of food coloring to each ball and knead until the color is blended in.

*optional: if you are only making one color, you can add the food coloring to the water and cook the color in.*

Sirena Van Schaik

Sep 01

Crafty Recipes: Whipped Snow

SnowmanIt’s probably a little early to be dreaming about snow but with the muggy weather I had today, I’m almost ready for winter. Well, almost ready…okay, not really, but the thought of winter made me think that it would be an excellent time to share my recipe for Whipped Snow.

This is a fun little recipe to bring out on rainy days or as an outdoor activity on a warm sunny day.

What you need:

  • 2 cups of laundry soap (ivory flakes works really well but any type of powdered or flaked laundry soap is fine)
  • 4 cups of water
  • food coloring (this is completely optional but you can divide the whipped snow to make several different colors by adding a few drops of food coloring)

Directions:

  1. Measure out the laundry soap into a large bowl.
  2. Slowly pour in the water as you mix the flakes with an electric mixer.
  3. Continue to mix on high until the soap becomes fluffy.
  4. Separate into several bowls and fold in a few drops of food coloring if you choose to color the whipped snow.
  5. Give to the kids and let them create their own whipped snow sculptures.

One thing about whipped snow is that it can be left out over night and it will dry in the shapes you created.

Sirena Van Schaik

Sep 01

Crafty Recipes: Milk Paint

Boy Painting wth Chalk PaintOkay, this is a very interesting paint since the end result provides a very shiny finish to the painting. It isn’t a paint that you will want to save but much like tongue painting, you can have a lot of fun with this paint.

It is very easy to make, it provides a different texture to work with and it has an interesting smell to it. The sensory experience will definitely be improved with this art recipe.

What you need:

  • one can of condensed milk
  • food coloring
  • resealable containers

Directions:

  1. The amount of condensed milk that you use greatly depends on how much you will be painting and how many colors you are going to offer. Usually one can will give you enough paint for about 3 or 4 colors but you won’t have a lot of extras. A lot of people will use between 1/2 and 1 cup of condensed milk for each paint color. When you have decided what you are doing, pour in the desired amount into the small resealable container.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir until the color is well blended.
  3. Take out a piece of construction paper and paintbrushes and get painting.

*Mix it up: Mix up the craft by having your child paint on an art easel. I find Milk Paint is a bit thinner than regular paint so the child has to learn through trial and error (or cause and effect) how to keep the paint from dripping down the paper.*

Sirena Van Schaik

Sep 01

Crafty Recipes: Face Paint

Butterfly FaceWith Halloween a little over a month away, I like to start planning out some things for Halloween. It is a great time of the year, one of my favorites and in a few short weeks, if you celebrate Halloween, you will be getting costumes ready and all the other little goodies that are involved.

Halloween can be a pretty expensive holiday, and face paint is just one of those things that can bring up the price of the holiday. That’s where this little craft recipe comes in handy but you can use the face paint year round.

What you need:

  • 1-1/2 tsp of water
  • 3 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 tsp of cold cream
  • a few drops of food coloring

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the cold cream and the cornstarch until it is well blended.
  2. Stir in the water slowly.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring.
  4. Pour into an airtight container for storage.

When you use the face paint, apply it with a paint brush or purchase small rubber stamps from a craft store (the cheap foam ones) and dip it into the paint before pressing it on the face. This face paint washes off very easily with soap and water but make sure you do not use too much food coloring since it can dye the skin.

-Sirena Van Schaik

Sep 01

Kids play – get creative with baking soda

get creative with baking sodaTo unleash creativity and encourage scientific inquiry, it’s important to stimulate a child’s mind with exploration and play. Often, this is as simple as turning to your own kitchen cupboards.

Baking soda, for example, along with other household products, is a key ingredient for activities and projects. Rain or shine, for birthdays or class projects, the options are endless. You can make watercolours, play clay, magic beans and the well-known erupting volcano. With adult supervision, kids can be given creative license for fun all day.

To make simple watercolour paint with baking soda, follow these easy instructions:

What you need:

2 tablespoons Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1 packet dry unsweetened drink mix (any flavour)

2 tablespoons water

How to make it:

1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add water and stir until fizzing stops; different drink mix flavours will give you different colours.

3. For more intense watercolour, a few drops of food colouring can be added to the mix.

4. Paint with them right away, or pour into jar lids or a plastic tray and let harden for future use.

More ideas can be found at www.armandhammerbakingsoda.ca.

www.newscanada.com

Aug 26

Make a Ghastly Garland

Halloween Trends Feature Colorful Charm and Whimsy (Project Included Below)

Ghastly Garland

Ghastly Garland

(ARA) – Halloween has become the second most-decorated holiday of the year. Decorations for house and yard to welcome trick-or-treaters are all the rage. This year an estimated $4.96 billion will be spent on holiday decor in addition to costumes, making it the sixth largest spending holiday of the year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

Keeping up with what’s in style this Halloween season will help you have the hippest, spookiest house on the block. “Creating festive Halloween decorations can be easy and fun for the whole family, whether you’re a beginner or advanced at crafting,” says Susan Atchison, trend expert for Jo-Ann Stores. “This season, creepy, scary monsters are out. Instead, a new cast of goofy ghouls takes their place with silly expressions, crazy colors and lots of whimsical, kid-friendly charm.”Slightly surprising colors are popping up this Halloween, bringing lots of animated personality to the color palette. Lime green, bright purple and electric blue combine with classic orange and black to create fun color combinations — not frightening. For a slightly more sinister Halloween atmosphere, use shades of gray and olive green paired with spicy orange, golden yellow and dusky blue. Or, the traditional colors of orange, black, brown and yellow appear in almost every possible shade and hue to recreate the simplicity and charm of a vintage Halloween.Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party or just decorating for trick-or-treaters, these easy ideas from Jo-Ann Stores will add a playful, creative touch to your not-so-scary venue:

* Give trick-or-treaters a warm welcome to your home with metal stand-up figurines in vivid colors and lively expressions.

* Dress up your table with a “Boo” table runner and candy dish, jack-o-lantern serving dishes and not-so-spooky trays and platters to add character and charm to your Halloween monster mash.

* Find partyware and décor in matching bright colors and themes to set the tone for Halloween parties at home or in the classroom.

* Display Halloween goodies with a Frankenstein and Skeleton treat bucket — a fun way to watch even the littlest monsters scream with delight at the treats displayed at their own height.

* Deck the walls and windows with a ghastly garland of spiders, bats, monsters and pumpkins for a playful fright (see instructions). Add a strand of colorful sparkling lights to create fun shadows inside and out.

* Create a personalized treat bag, use colorful fur, felt and yarn to create a cat, a scary or funny face — for a fun alternative to the typical plastic pumpkin treat bag.

For more ideas and a monstrous selection of the latest trends in indoor and outdoor Halloween decorating projects, visit your local Jo-Ann fabric and craft store.

Courtesy of ARAcontent


Ghastly Garland

Supplies and Tools:

* String-along Poms, black
* Textured yarn: black, green multicolored, green ribbon — 1 skein each
* 1/8 yard purple tulle
* 15 black chenille stems
* Craft foam sheets: 1 orange, 1 green, 3 purple
* Sticky-back craft foam sheets: 2 black, 1 white
* Wiggle eyes
* Scissors and pinking shears
* Purple embroidery floss, 1 skein
* Alphabet template, optional
* Tacky glue
* Hole punch
* Push pins

Directions:

1. Create ornaments:
a. Pumpkins: Cut two 5-inch orange craft foam circles. Decorate with wiggle eyes, black craft foam nose and mouth, and green craft foam stem and leaf.
b. Monsters: Cut two 5-inch flower pot shaped green craft foam pieces. Decorate with wiggle eyes, green craft foam nose, round orange craft foam cheeks, chenille stem smile and black craft foam hair. Gather 5- by 10-inch tulle, wrap short end with floss to form fan shape and glue to the back.
c. Bats: Cut seven 8-inch bat shaped purple craft foam pieces. Cut BEWARE! letters out of white craft foam then glue onto bats. Glue on wiggle eyes.
d. Spiders — Using pinking shears, cut six 3-inch circles of black craft foam. Place eight 6-inch chenille stem legs between two circles, then glue together to form one spider. Glue eyes on both sides of spiders.

2. Attach the String-along Poms to the wall with push pins to make assembly easier.

Allow about a foot of Poms to hang down on each end.

3. Attach ornaments to Poms using chenille stems or yarn. Cut the black and green multicolored yarns together in various lengths and tie between each pom-pom. Cut green ribbon yarn and tie so the tails stick out above the garland. Do the same with scraps of purple tulle.

Approximate Crafting Time: 3 hours
Skill Level: No experience needed

Aug 25

Three Spooky Halloween Craft Projects

How to make your Halloween festivities extra spooky

Ghostly globes

Ghostly globes

(ARA) – Halloween is the second most decorated holiday, so it won’t be long until ghouls and goblins, witches and vampires, pumpkins and candy corn adornments begin appearing in advance of trick-or-treating and haunting celebrations.

This year, instead of buying your decorations, why not brew a little imagination? Just stir in a few items you already have around the house and a couple of cans of spray paint to create bewitching, inexpensive pieces for your home and yard. Here are three project ideas to inspire and help you easily put some extra spookiness in your Halloween trick-or-treating.

Ghoulish gravestones

Turn a couple of old boxes into a chilling graveyard to keep the goblins and vampires at bay.

What you’ll need: Black granite textured “stone” spray paint, such as Krylon’s Make It Stone; spray adhesive; glow-in-the-dark paint; boxes (note: old shipping boxes work well); foam or wood letters; various Halloween decorations; hot or super glue; packing tape; newspaper; large nails or ground stakes; and scissors.

How to do it: Set up a spray paint area in a well-ventilated area by covering a table with newspaper. Assemble a box and tape over folded seams leaving one end open, as that will serve as the bottom of your gravestone. Cut a name plaque to fit the box from the cardboard of another and affix with spray adhesive. Glue letters onto the plaque.

Embellish the top of your gravestone with glued-on Halloween decorations, like a bat or skull. Paint the entire gravestone with two to three coats of “stone” spray paint, letting it dry between coats. Once it’s dry, highlight areas with glow-in-the-dark paint. Place a stake in the ground, prop up your box and enjoy scaring the neighbors with your ghoulishly gorgeous graveyard.

Ghostly globes

Add a spooky twist to your outside walkway on All Hallow’s Eve – without having to carve several messy pumpkins – by creating glowing ghostly globes.

What you’ll need: Round glass votives; newspaper; one can each of white frosted glass, white and glow-in-the-dark spray paint, such as Krylon Glowz; and a black craft pen.

How to do it: Cover your workspace with newspaper.

Spray several light coats of white frosted glass paint on the lip of each votive and let dry. Next, add several light coats of white paint to the outside bottom of votives, blending the white seamlessly with the frosted glass. Let dry completely. Spray the entire exterior with glow-in-the dark paint, which will allow your votives to shine even when not lit. Finally, draw facial features with a black paint pen.

Spooky party servers

Embellish your Halloween party buffet by transforming ordinary terra cotta pots into spooky party servers.

What you’ll need: White primer; pumpkin orange, gloss white and gold glitter spray paint; black webbing spray from Krylon; brush-on black paint; repositionable adhesive; assorted terra cotta pots and saucers; metal or enamel bowl; glue; paper; pencil; scissors; and a small paint brush.

How to do it: Wash the pots and saucers. Allow to dry. Spray all the terra cotta with white primer. Let dry and spray with gloss white. Once dry, turn pots upside down and glue the bottom of a saucer to the bottom of each pot. Draw ghosts, tombstones and other scary characters on paper. Cut the shapes out and spray one side with repositionable adhesive.

Position the paper shapes randomly on the pots. Spray the outside of the bowl and terra cotta pieces with pumpkin orange paint. Once dry, spray all the pieces with black webbing spray, then lightly with gold glitter spray. When all the paint is dry, remove paper templates and add details, such as features on the ghosts and words on the tombstones, with black paint. Be sure to not to place unwrapped food on any painted surface.

For more Halloween decorating inspiration, there are a plethora of arts and crafts websites, such as yourholidaystyle.com, offering tips, tricks and inspiration to help you spook your family, guests and trick-or-treaters.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Aug 15

Combining Scrapbook Text and Photos In Creative Ways

Woman scrapbookingAlmost every scrapbook will contain a combination of text and drawings or photos. After all, the whole purpose of a scrapbook is to capture your experiences and memories for all time. One of the most common ways we do that is to record words and images. There is an infinite number of ways to do that to express your unique creativity.

Many scrapbookers will write descriptions under photos. But even simple text recording the date and location doesn’t have to be plain. You can dress it up by using an interesting font. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have the skill to create one, there are hundreds you can buy. Or, you can find one on the Internet, print it out and paste it under the photo.

Now that you’ve got your creative juices warmed up, you can take your scrapbook to the next level.

Images always bring to mind more than just what’s shown in the photo or drawing. They bring all sorts of associations with them. Those bring more memories to mind, and those in turn still more. Use that to spice up your text in both content and form.

Turn a simple phrase into a work of art by enlarging it, splitting the sentence in half, turning it upside down, coloring it, moving some words above or below the others, separating them off…. The possibilities are endless. But be clever and do more than just alter them at random. Let the associations those images bring to mind guide you.

A photo of a snow-capped mountain from a winter vacation may bring to mind two levels, separated by the snow line. Shape your sentence into a triangle and color the words on top in white, while those below are soft greens and browns. An image of delightful deer bouncing through a forest suggests movement. Let your words dance by running them up, down, up, down on top of the picture.

Make a window page, with photos covered by small square flaps that reveal or cover the photo as you want. Then place your text on the outside to give a preview or on the inside to label the photo.

Now go 3-D. Many scrapbooks are two dimensional and the creativity they display within those boundaries is amazing. But use that third direction to bring your scrapbook to a whole new level.

Scrapbook cubes are a great way to get started loosening up those limitations in your thinking. Make a photo cube by cropping photos and placing them on a cube made of plastic, cardboard or metal. You can make your own or buy just the size you want.

Paste the photos on the cube, then use text to describe and decorate. Simple phrases can be placed above or below the photos, just as you would on a scrapbook page. But how about taking advantage of that third dimension and laying them on the edge? They can stream out along a ribbon or lay across a corner.

There’s only one limit to the way you can creatively combine photos and text in your scrapbook: your imagination.

Jul 27

Scrapbooking – Basic Supplies to Get Started

scrapbookingOne of the great things about scrapbooking is how inexpensive it is to get started. All you need are a few basic supplies that don’t cost much. Unless you do all your scrapbooking digital style (on the computer), you’ll need something to store all your memories in. So, the first requirement is a good album.

You can go with any size that suits your fancy. Two standard sizes are 8 1/2 in x 11 in and 12 in x 12 in, but you could go with 11 in x 14 in for those larger photos. Even larger albums are available if you want to make a really special gift for yourself or a cherished friend or relative. A basic 8 1/2 x 11 album will go for around $10 and a 12 in x 12 in album is usually less than $20.

Don’t worry about finding paper and other supplies if you go larger. Paper comes in every size from 1 in x 1 in Post-It notes to 2 feet x 3 feet or larger. Art stores are a good second alternative if you can’t find just what you want in the scrapbooking section. And all sizes come in all sorts of colors and designs. Your imagination is the only limit, not the materials available.

You’ll need something to cut and trim the paper, so a sharp pair of scissors and an Xacto knife are really helpful. A sturdy paper trimmer is always helpful for those who aren’t very steady with scissors or knife.

Remember, you don’t always cut exactly straight lines or 90 degree angles, though. Sometimes you may want to create a round page, a hexagonal page or some other shape to go with your design. Sometimes interesting items call for an equally interesting background. A good stencil or template will help there.

Part of that design will usually be hand written or drawn, words and illustrations. So, you’ll need some good pens and pencils. A range of colors is helpful. Start with basic black and expand as your needs grow. Green on red paper or red on green paper is great for Christmas, but don’t forget about all the other holidays. And, also, as far as a scrapbook is concerned, every day might be a holiday.

You’ll need some adhesive to attach photos, locks of hair, buttons, ribbons, poems on cards or paper…. In short, anything you might want to put into your scrapbook! Old-fashioned small bottles of paper glue with a small brush in the top still work well, provided you get the acid-free type. But take advantage of technology advances and get yourself a glue stick, glue dots or double-sided tape for those small, quick additions.

If you like to create on the computer, you’ll want to experiment with different kinds of paper for printouts. But you’ll also want to invest in some CDs and recording or CD burning software. That way you can easily record the baby’s first word or a favorite piece of music. You can store the CD in the scrapbook or just make it part of your overall scrapbooking collection.

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