Category: Crafts

Your fortune: A very sweet Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day creeps closer, I’ve been looking out for treats that don’t list corn syrup or “chocolate-y” filling among the ingredients. One ingredient I do like: Felt. And that’s pretty much all these adorable fortune cookies are made of. The Valentine’s Fortune Cookies from Helen of CMP favorite Curly Birds is ridiculously adorable. You can tuck your own fortune inside and send it off in your kid’s lunchbox on the 14th, leave one at each place setting at breakfast. The box of 3 cookies plus fortune slips is only $8, but Helen, being as awesome as she is,...

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12 festive holiday gift wrap ideas

If you’re like us, Christmas Eve day is going to be spent in a big gift wrap frenzy. As much as I love those brown paper packages tied up with string, I really love when the gifts I’m giving look as festive as the holidays themselves. Here, 12 of my favorite ideas for wrapping gifts that will make your packages stand out from the stacks covered in store-bought paper. They’ll almost be too nice to open, though my anxious kids will beg to differ. –Christina   This clever yarn-wrapped gift for kids comes with a little present on the...

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Kawaii Five-0

If you’re a go-getter sewing type who hasn’t quite go-gotten around to making all of your Christmas presents yet, you need to check out two adorable sewing books by Choly Knight. Sew Kawaii! and Sew Your Own Pet Pillows will have you practically delirious from all the cuteness. Seriously. I can hardly type this post because I’m overwhelmed by the all-out adorableness of the jellyfish purse in Sew Kawaii! I haven’t tried any of the projects, but most look doable by a novice like me – only a few are marked as intermediate level. So I love the approachability...

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Personalized stamps for the holidays? There’s still time!

Okay, Cool Mom Picks is a safe space where I feel like I can admit this freely: I’m starting to panic a little. The gift-purchasing isn’t going as planned. I keep seeing all these amazingly fabulous personalized gifts–that I should have purchased two weeks ago. Here’s one shop that can still help you out. Rock Paper Scissors offers a huge variety of personalized items. A lot of the designs are a little…cute. But if you poke around, there’s such a huge selection you may find something you love. One thing we could all use this season– the personalized self-inking...

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A step up from Hanukkah gelt and candy canes

Not to be dissing those chalk gold-wrapped coins with an actual chocolate content of about .03%, but if you’re going to treat your dreidel winners with sweets this Hanukkah, we’ve got a better idea. The Hanukkah chocolate disks from CMP fave Rogue Confections are just beautiful. There are two collections but I happen to love all these pretty menorahs. For 18 bucks you’ll get 6 gorgeous chocolate disks–your choice of dark, black or white–that make a fitting place setting treat at the table, or just a reward for the kids at the end of the party. These are not...

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Thanksgiving printables and craft ideas that are a lot easier than cooking a turkey

I consider myself fortunate that I do not have to cook Thanksgiving dinner—as does most of my extended family, as they will tell you. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t help all you hosts out with some great (and inexpensive) Thanksgiving craft ideas, to can help you dress up that Thanksgiving table with more than another side dish. –Christina Happy Thought’s colorful 3D turkeys would look so cheerful on each place setting. They come as a PDF, but you don’t have to tell anyone how easy they are to print and assemble.  From the cute coloring placemats for the...

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Simple, seasonal crafts for the not-so-crafty

Back before I had kids, I was actually pretty crafty. But add four bundles of joy and I’m struggling to think of something to make for dinner, let alone what to do with empty egg cartons. Well, thanks to this new book from one of our fave craft bloggers, Marie LeBaron, I can whip up seasonal activities in a matter of minutes, most of which don’t require me to spend a ton of money at the craft store. I’m already a huge fan of Marie LeBaron’s lovely blog Make and Takes so I’m not surprised that her new book...

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Because kids really do say the darndest things

Between a personal blog, a paper journal, Facebook and my memory, I have plenty of places to jot down those hilarious things my kids say. The problem is, I have too many places. But mama Alexandra of the creative Kinderpendent blog has designed a sweet little template that makes it so much easier to keep those quotes in one place. And other than your sweat equity and a few supplies, it’s totally free. Kinderpendent’s Quote Books Tutorial offers step-by-step instructions for making your own little booklet in which to record those statements you never want to forget, from earnest...

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Your kid: The next Paul Klee

I’ve tried to encourage my tween’s intense love of all things art since she was a wee thing. To fuel her fire, we have loads of art books from “open-ended” coloring books like Rosie Flo’s and those by Taro Gomi, to more academic tomes with pages of famous artwork from which she can draw (heh) inspiration. Our latest find brings together the free drawing she loves with the works of some of the world’s most famous artists, and it is the perfect addition to any young artist’s studio, even if that “studio” is also your dining room table. Let’s...

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Smencils: A no-sugar Halloween treat that is no trick

My kids are at the age where their Trick-or-Treat bags return home weighing almost as much as they do. At this rate they’ll be up to their knees in mini-treats until 2012. So I’m often looking out for other things to hand out at Halloween parties, or when the doorbell rings–but that are still cool enough to keep your house from getting egged. Well hooray for Smencils’ new Halloween packs! The new Spooky Smencils and Spooky Smens would definitely make my kids forget about another pack of Sweet Tarts. For years, my kids have been sniffing these yummy-scented pencils...

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Furniture even a kid can build

I love family projects that are truly intended for the whole family. You know, instead the kind where on parent works (and gets frustrated), the other parent helps (and offers constructive advice), and the kids sit waiting impatiently. Sprout, a US based modern furniture company now offers families the opportunity to do just, that with a crafty new line of convertible kids furniture. The concept is simple–great accent or playroom pieces made from recycled wood that your child can actually help put together with (ta-da!) not a single tool. Watch their video tutorials and you’ll see,  it’s almost like putting...

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McSweeney’s is turning little book lovers into book writers too

After our local Border’s bookstore closed, I became a bit “woe is me” about the future of books. I’m one of those people who just can’t imagine sitting down my kids for a bedtime story with my iPad in my lap. So, I’m rejoicing over this excellent “read it and then create your own” book bundle from Dave Egger’s own McSweeney’s Books, which is doing its part to keep the genre vibrant, exciting and, most importantly to me, paper. The McMullens Bundle includes three beautifully illustrated hardcover picture books, as well as The Author-Illustrator Starter Kit of blank books....

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Take my heart, please.

Some mornings, as I leave for work, my daughter says, “Mommy, give me something from your bag so I can remember you!” I reach in and pull out a business card, a pen…anything will do really. It’s become a sweet little tradition between us. But now I think I have a new thing with which to send her off to school that’s better than a dog-eared ATM receipt. The second I saw these first day of school felt hearts I was smitten. So basic, and yet so adorable. And the price is just right. Of course, the price can...

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Hide the good scissors!

Hide the good scissors isn’t just something you say because the kids will just ruin them cutting cardboard and digging holes in the dirt. It also happens to be the name of a super-sweet Etsy shop that we’re digging hardcore. The good news is they’ve got the freshest take on embroidery we’ve seen. The bad news is that they’re so adored that the shop is currently empty, although accepting orders by convo. Ping the artist, and hook yourself up with the beautifully hand-embroidered animals and plants that make our inner graphic designer swoon. These bad boys would be so...

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Pop art for tots

If you know kidrobot, then you know its team of artists create masterpieces of culture. Lots of words have been used to describe the appeal, and I love all of them: quirky, pop-art, Warholesque, cartoonish, comical….the list goes on. There are even a few of their toys on display at MOCA in NY. Well, now it’s your child’s turn. My kids dig Dunny, kidrobot’s creature (monster? robot? animal?) that absolutely takes on a life of its own once the artist gets her hands on it. Now there’s also Munny, Dunny’s friend with smaller ears. With some markers and a...

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A star spangled banner

Every year, my kids look forward to our neighborhood 4th of July party, where they gorge themselves on hot dogs and watermelon, and the adults take turns manning the margarita machine. But until the party starts later today, I figured it might be fun to keep the kids occupied by making this adorable banner. This Star Spangled banner is made from paint chips (so smart!) – 21 to be exact – and it’s just as simple as cutting out stars and sewing them together, either with a machine or by hand. My 7-year old happens to be pretty handy with the machine, so...

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Kickstart paper creativity, beautifully

Usually when I see a Kickstarter project, I think, “Huh. That’s kind of neat.” And then I see something shiny and move on with my day. But check this out: ReadyMade magazine’s founder, Grace Hawthorne, has created what just may be the perfect make-something-gorgeous-with-your-own-hands craft, and you can be one of the first to own it when you help fund her fantastic project. Make a donation to Paper Punk via Kickstarter, and you’re able to purchase her first three available kits. And trust me, you’ll want it. Watch the video on the site to get all the lowdown, but...

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Paperflavor – delicious!

What’s that delightful flavor? I mean, I know it’s paper. But there are essences of ballerina, candy, fruit, robot, and… do I detect the delightful aroma of ninja? It must be Paperflavor, the brand new site offering a truly creative range of invitations, stationery, and other beautiful paper goods that are just my cup of (flavored) tea. The stationery sets are unusually adorable–a great choice for a tween girl who likes that cute animé illustration style. And there’s a nice selection of baby shower invitations and photo baby announcements that are bright, colorful and modern. It’s a refreshing change...

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Gourmet popsicles in under 10 minutes

Around our house, homemade popsicles are the treat of the century–a huge score for mom since they’re a relatively healthy dessert. Well, now that I’ve found this amazing new gadget, they’re not just a treat for my kids. My husband and I are enjoying them too – and best of all, you only have to wait about 10 minutes until you can eat them. Meet my new buddy, Zoku, a brilliant popsicle maker which I’m probably insulting by calling a popsicle maker because holy cow you, should see the pops you can make with it. You start by freezing...

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Board game boredom no more

My kids are always coming up with some crazy games from our board game graveyard, and anything else they can find in my craft cabinet. So I figure, why not let them put their creativity into action by letting them invent their own board game? Rainy days, or around here, too-bloody-hot days, will be welcome with this awesome create-your-own board game set. Complete with six paintable wooden pieces and a foldable round board, plus blank cards, money, and a spinner all packed in a muslin bag, your creative kids will have a blast making their own game from scratch....

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Return address your letters with love. And someone else’s handwriting.

If I’m going to take the time to hand write a card, I’m picky about what I send. But now instead of topping off my gorgeous cards with my chicken scratch return address, I can have someone else do it for me. Well, it’s clear that mom Gina Sekelsky got an A in penmanship, and you can reap the benefits with her amazing handlettered address stamps. Choose from a plethora of cool “fonts” with your own address lettered on a self-inking stamp or wooden stamp. Whichever you choose, they’d make a lovely housewarming or hostess gift, or in my...

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The anti-photo mug for grandma

Finding a non-cheesy Mother’s Day gift for grandma is no easy feat. There aren’t many obvious options, besides the expected grandchildren paraphernalia (ie anything that bears a photo of said grand-spawn). Not that we don’t love giving grandmas something with your kids’ actual mug on it, but an alternative is an actual mug–if it’s as cool as this one. The Postcup allows you to write a sweet message for grandma to see every time she goes to have a sip of her morning coffee or tea. Making the gift is half the fun. Create a fun message with your...

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Mother’s Day gift for newly divorced mom – Reader Q&A

Do you have any advice for Mother’s Day gifts for divorced mothers? My partner has two young children with his ex-wife. . .and this is their first Mother’s Day being really split up. She’s a wonderful woman and a wonderful mother. But, seeing as how I am something of an outsider in this, I don’t want to overstep my bounds. What sort of Mother’s Day gift is appropriate? – Alexandra Hi Alexandra, what a thoughtful question! We think that a personal Mother’s Day gift from the kids would be a lovely gesture. We’ve looked through our Mother’s Day Gift Guide...

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4 ways to turn your kids’ art into Mother’s Day gifts

If you’ve got a prolific little artist in your house like me, then you’ve probably exhausted all the creative ways to turn their artwork into gifts for the grandparents. Or maybe you’re looking to start? I’m so excited about these discoveries that I’m sure will make any grandmother swoon this Mother’s Day. I’m already in love with artist Andie Marie’s embroidered hand prints that are featured in our Mother’s Day Gift Guide, but this talented mama of 3 will also take your kids art and turn it into a needlework masterpiece (above; unfortunately no longer available). What a lovely...

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Keep your bunnies busy with this great Easter craft

My kids love Easter, but the hours leading up to festivities can get a little hairy with me trying to get ready for the holiday and them trying to “help”. There just isn’t enough of me to keep three kids happily occupied while I make sure the colored eggs/baskets/food/cleaning routine gets done. So when I saw this amazingly cool Easter project that my craft-loving kids would adore, I threw my figurative Easter bonnet in the air. Hello Clementine’s rabbit garland printables would make the coolest Easter decor in our home with a quartet of hip bunnies that prefer you...

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The single coolest Haggadah for kids, ever

Of all the Jewish holidays, I’d imagine Passover is the one many kids love best. If you’re my kids, then it’s like having crackers and grape juice for dinner. Dream holiday! I always love finding fun ways to get them involved, and have recently found a Haggadah made just for kids that does that very thing. The My Haggadah Made it Myself is a brilliant little self-published book from Francine Hermelin Levite, and if a publisher is smart, they’ll snap it up stat. It’s an interactive journey through the story of Passover, with stickers, imaginative writing and drawing prompts,...

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Easter egg dyes as natural as the eggs themselves

Now I don’t have to wonder what I’m using to turn my eggs all shades of the rainbow, thanks to a super-easy-to-use natural Easter egg dying kit whose ingredients are just as natural as the eggs. For years, I have dyed my Easter eggs in whatever is conveniently sold from my supermarket shelves, doing that whole rationalizing thing: It’s only for one day! They eat two pounds of jelly beans, what’s a little dye? I just don’t have time to mash berries for color!” But now, the smart and creative minds at eco-kids, whose eco-dough and eco-paint are among...

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The paper crown princess

If I had a dollar for every princess themed birthday party I’ve been to, including my daughter’s birthday party…well, I’d be able to pay for our next goodie bags. If you get suckered into hosting one with the ever-so-popular theme, I love these paper crowns which are so charming and special. They help me envision a new take on the princess party with a more classic than Disney vibe. The paper crowns (update: now available at Present and Correct) actually happen to be cards that fold up nicely and come with a matching envelope, all with a cool retro style. With the...

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Turn those kiddos into busy bees

Spring break is on its way, and I’m making plans. But my spring break plans don’t involve beaches, bikinis, or beer. Instead, I’m looking for ways to keep my kids busy. (Besides cleaning the bathroom, my standard fallback response to the cry of boredom.) If you’re in my same boat, crafty DIY site WhipUp.net has a cool solution. The inaugural issue of the Action Pack Mini-Mag is all about paper and beeswax, with instructions for making origami boats (dipped in beeswax so they really float), beeswax candles and lip balm with printable labels, plus how-to steps for drawing bees,...

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Etsy invites you to get crafty, make birthday cards, and fight cancer

Never underestimate the power of craftiness. Etsy doesn’t. In fact, they’re banking on it in order to support More Birthdays, the American Cancer Society initiative. (Who also happens to be one of our favorite sponsors.) If you’re in NYC, head to the Etsy Labs Craft Night from 4-8 p.m. on March 7  in Brooklyn. Your mission: to create celebratory cards with help from the fabulously crafty Craft It Forward, then give them to someone you know who’s survived cancer–or donate to one of the 30 American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges, homes-away-from-homes that offer lodging to patients and their families while...

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