Category Archives: Crafts

A Saturday of Crafts

I know you’re wondering how you can get one of these groovy chandeliers!  Don’t worry.  I have two more where this comes from!  A wpid-IMAG1035.jpgpink one and a green one!  Complements of three crafty girls who got their hands on an Ipad and Pinterest.

And I can’t get you these adorable shoes.wpid-IMAG1029.jpg

But you can make them on your own for your favorite American Girl Doll, along with hand made skirt and wpid-IMAG1036.jpgtube top.  For the complete outfit you just need thin cardboard, old thin fabric, raffia, glue, a little bling accessory, and two old socks with the bottoms cut off.

I hate crafts.  It’s called lack of patience and distaste for a mess.  But three little girls love crafts and making messes.  And what’d I have them for, if not to s-t-r-e-t-c-h a lot.  That’s what it’s all about.

Posts in the Draft Bin:
GAPS Re(intro) Update
Coconunt Ice Cream
Metametrix Continued
Beet salad

Easter Rumba Shakers (Maracas)

My daughter cruises the internet for craft ideas.  She found one, and we modified it for Easter.  So the original idea is not ours.wpid-IMAG0348-1.jpg


  •  2 plastic forks (or spoons)
  • Plastic Easter egg
  • Dried beans, split peas, or other such items that will rattle
  • Tape (and/or hot glue)
  • Tissue Paper
  • Ribbon
  • Paint and paintbrushes, if desired


1.  Fill plastic egg with some dried beans or split peas (not too many or your maraca won’t rattle) and then snap the egg closed.  Tape the seams so the egg won’t fall open.

wpid-IMAG0350-1.jpg2.   Next, place the Easter egg between the prongs of the two plastic forks.  Tape the egg to the prongs so it won’t fall out.  We used Scotch tape, but duct tape would be good too.

3.  Tape handle of plastic forks together (alternatively you could hot glue them together).

4.  Once the egg is securely taped on and the handles fixed together, use tissue paper to cover the top of the egg and cut to size.

5.  Secure tissue paper with a ribbon.

6.  Paint the handles of the forks desired color (alternatively you could do this before you put on the tissue paper, but my kids wanted to rattle it so we just did painting last).  Dot paint onto tissue paper for further decoration.

7.  Shake, shake, shake it up!

Have a Happy Easter!

Making a Pinata

We make piñatas for the kids’ birthdays.  We enjoy the time together.  Also, the store-bought piñatas are made of cardboard and don’t fall to pieceswpid-IMAG1418.jpg the way a paper-mache piñata does.  Store-bought piñatas tend to fall to the ground before they are busted apart, if they ever bust apart–we usually end up tearing the cardboard and dumping out the surprises.  It’s an anti-climactic way to end a piñata for the kids.  It’s best to leave yourself 5-7 days to work on the piñata, but I have made do with just 3 days.  Our piñatas are stuffed with stickers, hairbands, Scotch tape, and Chapstick.

A Basic Piñata Made with Love

  • A couple of newspapers (in addition, you could use some layers of butcher paper or white computer sheet paper)
  • Wheat flour (or white glue if you have a severe wheat sensitivity contraindicating even being around wheat products)
  • Water
  • Balloon of choice (a 12-14 inch one or even a Mylar shaped one will work, see feature photo for post–it’s a Mylar balloon)
  • Tempera paint or whatever paint you let your kids use (fingerpaint, poster paint, etc)
  • Duct tape
  • Thick binder twine (it must support the piñata’s weight while being batted by overenergetic kids)
  • A bowl to sit the piñata on while you work on it
  • Exacto knife (or a kitchen paring knife or even scissors)


1.  Make the paper mache paste.  I’ve made both the cooked and uncooked kind.  I like to make the cooked kind because it’s smoother and a bit harder.  However, when I’m near the end of the piñata and have run out of paste, I quickly mix up the non-cooked kind and finish the piñata off with it.

Cooked-paste:  The ratio is 1 part flour to 5 parts water.  I usually use 2 cups of flour and 10 cups of water for ease of measuring.  I read somewhere where you can add scent to the paste if you want.  Sounds fun, but I’ve never tried it.

  • Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.
  • While waiting for water to boil, mix 2 cups of flour with 2 cup of warm water in a large bowl.  Mix well.
  • When the water is boiling, pour the flour/water mixture carefully into the pot. Stir well.
  • Bring pot contents back to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add a bit more water or water/flour paste if it’s too thick or too thin.  It should look like gravy.  Remove from heat.
  • Allow paste to cool before use.

No-cook paste:  Use about a 1:2 ratio of flour to water.  If you use 1 cup of flour, then use 2 cups of water.  Mix as well as you can to get lumps out.  If it seems too thick, add a bit more water.  If it’s as thick as pudding, it’s too thick.  You’re goal is more like a good, thick gravy.

White glue paste:  Use half water and half white glue.  Mix well.  I’ve never used this for a piñata.

2.  Blow up the balloon you want to use, depending on what you want to cram in there.  We usually use a 12 inch latex balloon, but we have even used a Mylar balloon from the Dollar Store shaped like a cupcake.  See other web sites if you want to get fancy with shapes and designs.

3.  Tear newspaper into strips.

  • Because you will put on several layers of newspaper at different times, it is helpful to alternate the kind of paper you use for the layers to make sure the balloon has been completely covered by that particular layer.  For example, I will use the black and white pages for a layer and then use the colored comics and advertisements for the next layer.  If I run out of colored pages, I’ll just grab some white computer paper sheets from our printer.  However, the thicker paper makes the piñata VERY strong, so you don’t want to do the whole piñata with paper!  Try to stick mostly with newspaper.
  • Usually it is recommended to rip one inch by 6 inch strips.  I’ve found applying strips this small takes up too much of my time.  I tear wide strips, about 3-4 inches wide.  Tear up lots of strips.

4.  Spread out newspaper or a dropcloth to set the balloon, paper mache paste, and newspaper strips on to catch the mess.  We make ours in the garage.  It is very, very messy (the paper mache, not my garage–although that’s kind of messy right now too).

wpid-IMAG0670.jpg5.  Dip a strip of newspaper into the paste.  Put in a few strips in at a time if you want.  I don’t put in too many because I get them all tangled together.  Get the strip wet with paste.  Run it through your fingers to get off excess and large lumps of paste.  Lay the wet strip of newspaper on the balloon and smooth it down flat with your hand, removing any lumpy paste or wrinkles in the newspaper. Leave a large enough hole at the end where the balloon knot is so you can fill the piñata with stuff.  If you’re hole is not big enough, you can cut it later to give you space to put your treats in.  Use a bowl to sit the piñata in so it doesn’t roll around while you work.

6.  Repeat pasting strips on over and over and over until the balloon is completely covered, always leaving that smallish hole at the top for filling.  Alternate the directions your strips run to give strength to the paper mache.  My strips overlap a lot, and if I have odd uncovered spaces I’m impatient to fill, I just rip odd shapes of newspaper and paste them on the uncovered spot.

7.  Allow to dry, about 8-12 hours.  To shorten drying time, use a fan blowing on the piñata.  During this time, if you’re not working in a very cold garage like I am, then store the paste covered in the fridge.

8.  Before you begin adding the next layer of newspaper strips, use the binder twine to make hanging strings.  Run the twine under wpid-IMAG0299.jpgthe bottom of the balloon and up the sides, leaving plenty of excess string at the top of the balloon where the hole in your piñata is.  Tape the string in place at the bottom, sides, and top.  Repeat again, running the twine again under and around other half of the balloon.  Tape into place well.  You will paper mache over the string and it will be not visible or just visible.  But you have to have a simple way to hang this thing without it falling too early.  I hope this is clear.  It’s difficult to explain on paper, and I wasn’t thinking about this post the last time I made a  piñata to take a photo.  There are sites showing you how to make a hook instead, but it requires a few more steps and items I don’t want to make time to get or do.

9.  Add another layer of paper mache over the strings.  If you’ve taped your strings on well, you can hang your piñata above your work site (if you can–maybe even move your work site if you want to a place you can hang it) and work on another layer while it’s hanging, rather than using your bowl.  Again as described above, dip the strips of newspaper in paste and apply to balloon, smoothing lumps and wrinkles.  Keep your strings together and out of the way of your paper mache-ing.  You don’t want the hanging strings inadvertently pasted to the sides of the piñata!  Here is where I sometimes use the colored pages from the newspaper, butcher paper, or even white computer sheet paper so I can see where I have put down the new layer.  Make sure and cover the balloon completely with this second layer.

9.  Allow to dry again.  Repeat layers for a total of 3-5 layers.  A nice thing to do is to finish the last layer in a plain kind of paper without print so no print shows through when you paint the piata.  I am usually getting started too late, and I only get 3 layers done.  We’re painting when it’s still unfortunately a bit damp.  But we make do, and it’s fun.  Ideally, you’d start 7 days before the party.

10.  If the balloon inside has not popped, pop it.  Since I’m in a cold garage, the balloon has usually popped by now.  In fact, you may want to consider bringing the piñata inside if it’s too cold.  Our balloon has popped prematurely before the first layer dried, and the piñata sagged without its support.  I was able to push the sagging side out again.  However, to be on the safe side, I sat the next piñata we made on a bowl and put it in the house.

11.  After you have 3-5 layers and they’re dried, add your surprises.  Hopefully you’ve left enough space at the top to fit them in.  If wpid-IMAG0297.jpgnot, use an Exacto knife to make a slash to allow you more space.

12.  Paper mache over the hole (cool) or duct tape it like we did (not cool).  Let dry again to touch.

15.  Paint as desired!

16.  Use the strings you put on after the first layer to hang your piñata.  Make sure the string you use to run to the ceiling is very strong and won’t break under the weight of your heavy piñata.  That’s no fun after all of that work.

Have you ever made a piñata?  Did you have fun?  Did the kids paint it?


Dixie Cup Goop

A great activity for any kid’s party.  My children request to make “goop” for every birthday party.  I’ve even organized this for the Valentine’s Day party for our large homeschool group.  About 2 years ago I bought the Borax and Elmer’s glue in bulk size on Amazon, and it has lasted me in good stead.  For my kids’ birthday parties, we work around the kitchen table (which has a plastic cover).  In the center of the table, I put out the Elmer’s glue, a large bowl of warm water with a 1/4 measuring cup in it, and a bowl of Borax powder with a 1/4 teaspoon measure in it.  To start them off, I usually pour the glue into the Dixie cup for them and then let them measure out the water, Borax, and put in the food coloring.

Dixie Cup Goop for One Person

  • 2 Dixie cups, 5 ounce size
  • White glue, about 2 ounces (I don’t measure, I fill the Dixie cup up about half-way)wpid-IMAG0285.jpg
  • 1/2 cup warm water, DIVIDED USAGE
  • Food coloring drops
  • 1/4 teaspoonful Borax laundry detergent powder  (break up any chunks as much as you can)
  • 2 wooden popsicle sticks (or spoons)
  • Small-medium sized bowl about the size of a cereal bowl


1.  Give each child 2 Dixie cups.

2.  Fill one Dixie cup half-way full of white glue and add 1/4 cup of warm water.  Add a couple of drops of food coloring if desired.  Use popsicle stick (or spoon) to stir and mix well.  Set aside.  If you’re helping other kids, to buy yourself time, tell all the kids it is SUPER important to stir a long time.  It does help the experiment, and it also buys you time to get everyone on their way.

3.  Fill the other Dixie cup with 1/4 teaspoonful Borax powder and 1/4 cup of warm water.  Stir well with your other popsicle stick (don’t use the same one or the reaction will start too early), trying to dissolve the Borax as much as possible.  Again, as you may be helping lots of kids measure, remind them of how important it is to stir, stir, stir.

4.  Transfer the glue/water mixture to the bowl, and then pour the Borax/water mixture into it.  Stir, stir, and stir.  A rubbery mess will begin wpid-IMAG0272.jpgforming.  Water will separate out.  Once there seems to be a good, rubbery gob, it’s time to put the stick/spoon down and knead the goop with your bare hands.  Squeeze out the liquid, and pour liquid out of the bowl as needed.  As the goop is handled and massaged, it will become a discrete goop and not so slippery.  Eventually, and it may take several minutes, the goop will be smooth, rubbery, and not wet.

5.  Store in a plastic baggie or a small jar.



1.  Try to make sure there are no lumps in the Borax powder.

2.  Don’t let the kids throw it on the ceiling, walls, or floors.  It stains.

3.  Don’t let them get it in their hair.

4.  Make sure hands are washed well after making and after playing with it.  Borax is a chemical.

5.  Stir all steps well.  The key is stirring well so the glue is dissolved and the Borax is dissolved.

6.  Borax can be found at Wal-Mart usually too.

Steal the Small Moments: A Fast Craft for Kids


“Can we bake a Christmas cake?”
“Can we make coconut donuts?”
“Can we do a craft?”
“Can I paint my fingernails?”

With the extra decorating, designing and ordering Christmas cards, planning a cookie exchange, choosing photos for our annual calendar, my girls and I haven’t had enough time doing fun Christmas stuff together.  After church today, we had lunch then I tidied up the kitchen.

“Well, look at that!  We have a half-hour before going to see The Living Christmas Tree!”

I chose an impromptu craft, and we went to work.  Within 15 minutes, we’d glued up these cute angels.  Then we had a heck of a time giggling over the results!  Check it out!  I’m so happy I took that time with the girls rather than checking e-mail, calling Mom, or picking up the living room.

wpid-IMAG1788.jpg  Okay, for real.  I’m embarrassed to tell you how to make these because I know you’re thinking, “Hmmm…those are quite the angels…”  But they were fun and super easy.  I’m thinking about having the materials out for our cookie exchange for kids to make if they want.  Instead of using a glue gun, I think glue dots might work.


Missing from photo: glue gun and yarn

3 coffee filters
2 cotton balls
colored ribbon of your choice (we used gold)
pipe cleaner for wings, hook (we used gray)
glue gun or maybe glue dots may work
pipe cleaner for halo (we used yellow)
paint (for eye color, lips, cheeks, eyelashes, and nose)
Optional:  yarn for hair and small cardboard to wrap it around

Step 1:   Place cotton balls inside one filter and gather filter around them.


Step 2:  Insert a second coffee filter inside the first and gather the filters together around the cotton balls to form a head.  Tie off with ribbon.



Step 3:  Fold third coffee filter in half and gather in center to form wings.  Tie off with the pipe cleaner.


Step 4:  Hot glue the wings to the “neck” of the angel.  Form the pipe cleaner into a hook and cut to length desired.


Step 5:  Form the pipe cleaner for the halo in to a circle of desired size.  Snip off the rest.


Step 6:  Hot glue the halo to back of the head.


Step 7:  Put a tiny bit of desired tempera paint colors onto a palette.  We used blue for eyes, black for nose and eyelashes, pink for cheeks, and red for lips.  Use the toothpick to paint onto the faces. Markers and other paints will bleed.


Step 8:  While paint dries (it does so quickly), make the hair if you wish!

Step 9:  Wrap yarn of desired color around about a 4-6 inch piece of cardboard (we used a flashcard) about 10 times (or more or less depending on how thick you want the hair) and cut.


Step 10:  Snip about a 4-6 inch piece of the yarn and use it to gather all the yarn on the board together in the center.  Tie a knot.


Step 11:  Slip the yarn off of the board.   Cut the yarn opposite of the string used to tie it all off.


Step 12:  Hot glue hair to angel.


Inspiration:  Kaboose (

P.S.  Glitter on the skirts would be beautiful!

My kids are ages 8, 7, and 3.  These angels take us about 15-30 minutes–depending on how particular we are

Have a good one!