March 29, 2014

Craftsy – FREE online crafting classes

Craftsy-FREE-Classes

Have you heard of Craftsy? It’s FREE website that regularly offers FREE crafting classes. I saw today that they have a collection of cake decorating classes for FREE, which I think would be really interesting. They also have FREE recipes for cake decorating – like frosting, marshmallow fondant, gum paste recipe, and even a Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe!

The FREE cake decorating classes include:

The Hand-Painted Cake

Modern Buttercream Frosting Class

Basic Fondant Techniques

FREE-Classes-Craftsy

They have a lot of other FREE classes available right now – I’m seeing 27 FREE classes at this time. Everything from drawing, to knife skills to photography and more.

September 25, 2013

Easy Owl Craft for Kids – Make your own line-up of owls, using cotton batting

Originally published last year, I’m sharing again!

This craft was a hoot. I couldn’t help myself, sorry. But it is true. I think these fluffy little owls are as cute as can be and it really is an easy, easy craft. My five- and two-year-old both loved it and I luckily had all the items here at home. I stole this idea from preschool.

I especially like how you can line up your kid’s projects – so you can have a long row of owls. This looks really cool in a classroom or a hallway at school.

YOU WILL NEED

Construction paper – black, brown, orange and yellow

Cotton batting or stuffing – From an old throw pillow or quilt batting. You could try cotton balls but I had a hard time getting them to stick together.

Garage sale price stickers – or you can just cut out round eyes from regular paper

Scissors

Glue

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March 25, 2013

Felted Eggs. How to make felted eggs. They are cute, in an ugly sorta way.

how-to-make-felted-eggs

Felted Egg Craft

I found this craft idea in a recent Family Fun magazine and thought I’d give it a try. I don’t get super excited about the cutsie, tootsie Easter decorations. But thought the felted eggs in the magazine were kinda charming. So I thought I’d give it a try. . . they turned out cute, in an earthy, awkward way. 🙂 If I had more “springy colors” perhaps they would have turned out better.

Don’t be too hard on yourself with this craft – from what I could tell it’s tricky to be detail-oriented! My Type-A personality was cringing as I tried to make the eggs look a specific way. Just have fun with it.

SUPPLIES

Plastic eggs – Hopefully you have some already, I did.

Wool roving – I found it in small bags at Michael’s for $2.25. I used a 20% off coupon to pay under $2 each, but I bought a lot more than I needed. Family Fun estimates 1/8 oz will cover each egg.

Nylons – I bought a pair of knee-high hose at Rite Aid for $0.50 cents

Electrical tape – Hopefully you have some around, but if not, Lowes has it for as low as $0.97 a roll.

Optional – 100% Wool yarn. I didn’t use this, but I guess you can use it for more detailed work?

DIRECTIONS

1.) Use electrical tape to seal the eggs.

2.) Pull the wool roving apart and wrap the wool around the egg. Trying to keep it pulled tightly. Wrap other colors around. It’s good to have some colors going perpendicular as they seem to stick better. Use enough to cover the eggs. If you have 100% wool yarn you can use it also – perhaps to do more detailed work. It ain’t pretty.

3.) Take a nylon legging and carefully put the egg inside the legging. Be careful that the wool roving doesn’t move around. I found the easiest way to do this is to hold the egg in your hand tightly to put in legging.

4.) If you are doing more than one egg, twist the nylon and separate eggs with twist ties. I tied the nylons and used rubberbands.

5.) Take your nylon full of wool eggs and throw it into washer – wash on hot. Then throw into dryer and dry on hot. This process shrinks the wool around the egg. They should be done!

6.) Cut open nylon and remove eggs!

How-to-Make-Felted-Eggs-Easy

I think if I had some light blues, pinks and lavenders they might look more “Easter-ish” but Michael’s was out of those colors when we went. I love the look of wool and I’m fascinated at the idea of felting things, but haven’t really explored it much.

I found this idea in the latest issue of Family Fun magazine! It was originally posted in April 2012 – but I wanted to share it again!

Have you worked with wool roving before? Do you have an Easter craft you want to share?

March 13, 2013

Recycle old greeting cards into brand new cards

Used-Thank-You-Cards-new-cards

I originally published this in November 2011, but wanted to share it again!

A greeting card at the grocery store can cost you anywhere from $0.99 to $6.99 for those fancy ones that sing (and for that price I think they should do the dishes, too). If you love the idea of giving cards, but have a hard time with the cost – here’s a great way to get creative, save some money and give a heart-felt note without breaking the bank.

I save old cards in a storage bin.

I have saved every card someone has given me. I save them for two reasons – some for sentimental reasons, others for “I can reuse this again” reasons! Set your sentimental cards aside, I’m not suggesting you do anything but treasure those. But for the cards you get that are nice but not necessarily keepsake worthy – let’s remake them into another card!

What you’ll need:

  • Old thank you cards (or any cards – thinking of you, happy birthday, etc.)
  • Blank cards/envelopes or white cardstock to make your cards
  • Glue, scissors and any other crafty stuff that you like to use
  • Creativity

I like to buy the big boxes of colored blank cards from JoAnns or Michaels when I have a 40-50% off coupon – you can get them from $5-$10. You can also find cards at thrift stores and garage sales.

Take the components you like from your original thank you cards and figure out a way to combine them to make new cards! You can make thank you cards, birthday cards, thinking of you cards – or even Christmas cards with previous year’s cards!

I like this idea because it gives the allure of a fancy, homemade card – but you don’t need to spend all the money on the expensive embellishments, papers or scrapbooking supplies.

Here are some examples of ones I made:

This card has really pretty textured paper on it – so I just cut out a piece of the front card, some linen card stock from my wedding invitations (eight years old) and glued it on a colored card.

For this one I took two different thank you cards and cut out the “Many Thanks” from the front cover of the bird-themed card. I then used the polka dot cover from the other card as a background color and added the thank you piece to the inside of the card. You can also put little decorations on the envelopes!

This one had great raised, textured flower pieces that I cut out and glued to the front of the new brown card. I used a “thank you” stamp on a piece of scrap paper and added that to the front. Super easy and I probably would have paid $4 or $6 for a store-bought card with the raised, textured flowers.

I encourage you to be creative with wrapping papers, magazines, mailers and cards to find creative elements that can be part of your semi-homemade gift card.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

If you like this post you might also like:

October 11, 2012

Feeling crafty? Get in on the Coupon Bonanza at Michaels

Michaels-logo

In addition to their weekly coupon (20% off entire purchase including sale items), Michaels has 7 bonus coupons good today and tomorrow (October 11 & 12); other coupons are good through Sunday, October 14. Bonus coupons include 50% off one bakeware item, one candle, or one Martha Stewart craft item.

Print your coupons from the Michaels website. They also accept coupons on your smartphone.

Remember – Jo-Ann’s accepts competitor’s coupons!

September 12, 2012

60% off Recollections Scrapbook Albums at Michaels – TODAY only

Another good daily deal at Michaels! TODAY only, Michaels Craft Stores have Recollections Scrapbook Albums on sale for 60% off.

A coupon for 50% off any regular price item in the store is also available.

September 11, 2012

50% off rubber, clear, and cling craft stamps at Michaels – TODAY only

Michaels-daily-deal

TODAY only, Michaels Craft Stores have their entire stock of rubber, clear, and cling stamps on sale for 50% off. The sale excludes Martha Stewart Crafts.

This sale is one of the daily deals Michaels is offering this week. A coupon for 50% off any regular price item in the store is also available.

Do you make your own holiday cards?

June 24, 2012

Bored yet? Summer project – Make homemade play dough with Kool-aid or JELL-O

I originally shared this wonderful recipe last summer, but it’s time to make it again! It’s a fun project to do with the kids and a great indoor project on rainy days.

GUEST POST from my friend Zene (a preschool teacher). She makes the BEST play dough. It smells amazing. It’s the best texture. It’s easy to clean-up. And, it’s very FRUGAL and easy to make.

I had Zene write up a post for you so you could become a homemade play dough pro, too:
As a preschool teacher, I make a few batches of play dough each year. Last year I made nearly 25 for a preschool conference being held at our school. Being frugal with play dough will pay off. Not only will you be able to make more batches, but you will be able to experiment with different colors and smells! My son’s favorite is blue. We like to use the blue raspberry flavored Jell-O for blue play dough. My preschool kids like any color, especially if it smells yummy!

Add color, smell or pizzazz to your play dough – Kool aid is the most inexpensive way to color AND add scent to your play dough. I prefer two packets for the most vibrant color. For my preschool conference I wanted a large variety of scents and used a cheap mango flavored Tang mix from Grocery Outlet that our family never got around to drinking. It was great for the play dough and smelled yummy! If you have extra drink mixes laying around (think Crystal Light, single use water flavorings, etc.) use them for play dough. If you are the type that doesn’t normally buy gross dye and sugar laden drink mixes, not to fear, use baking extracts. Orange, almond, rum at Christmas, use your imagination. Another great add-in is glitter. We like to put glitter in our green play dough in December, and in our white play dough in January. It adds depth and pizazz.

Play dough toys, tools – Play dough toys are a must, but they certainly don’t have to be bought. Break out the cookie cutters, rolling pins, spoons, potato masher, cups, melon baller, corn cob skewers, tooth picks, small toys to bury, use a butter knife for chopping, etc. You will be jealous that your kids get to have all the fun. Just beware of containers with little openings, play dough is really tough to fish out.

Clean-up tips – If you are worried about the kitchen table use a plastic table cloth or cutting board, but play dough wipes off very easily. Does your child wander around the house with play dough or does he/she stick it in weird places? That’s okay! As a preschool teacher, I’ve seen it all! There is no need to worry about play dough on your carpet. 75% of my preschool room is covered in carpet and we have NO play dough on it currently. It ALL comes off the next time you vacuum. If you find play dough on your carpet, pick up any large pieces, let it dry and vacuum. If there are any pieces left over, pick at it a bit with your finger or a butter knife and it will come right off. Play dough eventually dries and shrivels, so if it gets stuck in the tub faucet, outlet, belly button, it will come out. I had a preschool student stick it in her nose once, luckily at her own home! Doctors orders were to just wait till the nose cleaned itself out. This play dough happened to be bright green 😉 and all of it did come out.

Play dough recipe

1 cup flour

1 cup water

2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola)

1/2 cup salt

1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Food coloring, Kool Aid, Jell-O or other colorful mix (prefer two packages of Kool-Aid for best color)

1 quart-sized Ziploc bag for storage

This is FAST and HOT so kids will not be able to help with this part. Mix ALL ingredients in a large pot stirring constantly over medium-high heat. You will need to keep the mixture moving so it doesn’t burn or cook unevenly. Stir until the dough pulls away from the sides. Turn off the heat and keep the pot ON the burner. Keep stirring the dough until it forms a ball. Remove dough from heat and let it cool to a comfortable touch. Don’t worry if there are small clumps of flour, they will knead out.

Zene blogs about her cloth diapering and frugal hippie adventures over at Giant Baby Adventures. She’s down to earth, smart, frugal and an amazing mom. 

Heather’s Note –
I grew up with my mother making our play dough, so I have a special place in my heart for it. I wanted to give this recipe a test run, so I made two batches yesterday (would have made more but ran out of salt!). My first batch I got distracted chatting with my sister on the phone and it got a little hot before I could stir it up – so I had more flour balls that needed to be worked in by hand. My second batch was at a lower heat with my undivided attention and it turned out PERFECT. I’m thinking it would be fun to make up a series of colors and wrap them up with some fun tools as a Christmas gift!

And just because I love sharing photos, here are some from when my son and I tested out the recipe. . .

If you have alphabet cookie cutters it can be a great way to have your kids practice their letters while also playing. But any kind of cookie cutters will do . . .

I’d love to hear from you if you make this recipe or you have other ideas for fun with play dough!

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