I always feel like I'm behind the 8-ball when it comes to Valentine's Day. I guess I find myself in a craft coma post-holiday and Valentine's Day creeps up on me. So this year, I vow to plan ahead to share something sweet.
I love this free download from Sweet Muffin Suite because it suits boths kids and adults. For an added treat, you could switch out the pencil for a pixie stick.
One of the best gifts I ever gave my husband was custom-made match boxes. Here's a quick way to get a little flirty when you light candles for a romantic dinner. Download and print at Camille Styles.
The talented Corinne Gill made these snowflake valentines for my Parents mag Valentine story this year. Here's a video (of yours truly) of how to make them.
This origami XO garland pretty much blew my mind when I spotted it on How About Orange.
On the gift-giving spectrum of "easy-peasy" to "deep thinking", my husband leans heavily to the "deep thinking" side of the scale. Basically, this means that walking into a retail store is virtually impossible (unless it's Kiosk) when I need to get him a present.
This past Hanukkah, I had this amazing illustrated family portrait made by the uber-talented (old college friend of mine) Alessandra Olanow. I emailed her a bunch of photos of the four of us, and she interpreted them (with a few back and forth questions) into singular portraits. I absolutely love the way it came out!
(In case you are wondering, "watermelon" is something Michael and I used to say to each other in our early dating days. I wanted the drawing to feel like a gift from me to him, so I had Alessandra add the talk bubble.) Here is Alessandra's portfolio site in case you want to see more of her work.
Why do they have to be called Christmas lights? Tiny lights on a string are simply tiny lights on a string and can be used for countless projects, crafts, and decor ideas. Don't pack up your lights this year. Instead, try one of these great ideas!
Ok, I know everyone has seen this photo from the now defunct Blueprint magazine, but this idea is still a genius one. Poke holes in a canvas and push the small lights through to make a lovely, glowing piece of art. Probably best resting on a sideboard because the cords would make it hard to hang. Via Apartment Therapy.
We don't all have an abandonned boat sitting in our backyard, but if you do, this is an imaginiative way to give it a sail. Via Completely Coastal.
I love how the glow really illuminates the pattern on the origami paper. Thin paper is ideal for this so the light really shines through. Via Spoon & Tamago.
Extra boxes + twinkle lights = this amazing construction. The perfect post-holiday idea that uses two things that you have at your fingertips. Via Pinterest.
And there's nothing wrong with dolling up a blank wall with a little twinkle. It's warm and a lovely way to fill space inexpensively.
I know there are tons of recipes for homemade play-doh all over the Internet, but I feel I need to express how amazing it is. Ok, so maybe amazing is a little strong of a word, but it was super-fun to make with my son 2-year-old son Oliver. Plus, the immediacy of not having to go to the store was glorious on a Sunday morning. We used this very easy recipe from Modern Parents, Messy Kids.
You will need:
white flour – 1 cup
warm water – 1 cup
salt – 2 tbsp
cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Jello – 1 3oz pack
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small saucepan. Even
though it makes for a longer process and a lot more clean up, let the little
ones do the measuring and mixing. Keep mixing until most of the
lumps are gone.
Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until it thickens
into a ball of dough. This step does take a little while. Just keep
stirring, you’ll know it’s ready when won’t be able to stir anymore.
Once it has
finished cooking, place the dough onto a silpat mat or floured cutting board and wait for
it to cool.
Once it is cool (at least 20-30 minutes) let the little ones knead
it, adding in flour until it is no longer sticky (about 1/2 cup). At this
point, you can add in extra food coloring to make the colors more vibrant, or
even add glitter.
This recipe makes a lot of play dough. You could
easily half the recipe, and there would still be plenty to play with. When you
are finished playing, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
It will keep for at least a few weeks in the refrigerator, with daily use.
If at any time it starts to be a little sticky, just add more flour.
Here are photos of our fun morning in the kitchen!
I know it's December, and our heads are way into gingerbread and tinsel, not ghosts and goblins, but I really wanted to share photos of my daughter Sommer's homemade Halloween costume. At 7 months, it was obviously her first time celebrating October 31st, and she needed to come out with a bang. She was a vintage synchronized swimmer (is there really any other kind?).
The pilot's cap is from Hanna Andersson. I cut up a $1 lei from Party City and hot glued the flowers to cover the cap. Then, I glued tiny pom poms in the center of each flower. She wore tights, a tank top onesie (the closet thing to a bathing suit that fit her in her closet) with flowers glued around the neckline, and a cardigan (had to keep her warm).
Here is my favorite photo of her...coming up for air.
I've seen a lot of space-saving ideas over the years, but never have I seen a holiday one quite this ingenious. This Christmas tree fabric from Ikea is ideal for the city (or suburban) dweller with either little space, a distaste for the traditional artificial tree, or an intolerance for cleaning up pine needles.
A few other uses come to mind:
At $6.99 a yard, let the kids paint their ornaments onto it.
Poke holes and push LED xmas lights through for a lovely nightime effect.
At your holiday party, hang edible gingerbread men on it and let it serve as part of your dessert buffet.
And if you miss that seasonal smell of pine, just go out and buy Mrs. Meyer's Iowa Pine cleaning products. I swear to you it's the real deal.
This means that I am now working full-time on my book, but I have remained at Parents as a contributing editor, so you will likely still see my name (and doodles) on the pages of the best parenthood publication around (if you haven't seen it lately, pick up a copy...it looks better than ever!).
This also means that my blog will come back to life with new ideas, observations, and musings over crafting, motherhood, and any place where those two things mingle.
I'm happy to be back in action and hope that my readers will find their way back!
"This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest..."
- Bernard DeVoto "The Hour"