Category: DIY

How to learn origami? The ultimate resource

My daughter came home the other day asking to learn origami. Sadly, all I could remember from my youth was how to make a butterfly. And then I realized after about six tries that…um, I didn’t remember that either. After much searching, I’m so happy to have found Origami Club, or at least that’s what I think it’s called. If it looks intimidating, just skip right to the page called Easy Origami, and find a truly terrific resource for rainy-day craft projects with the kids. You’ll find tons of origami projects sorted by shape, style (like food, Christmas, or...

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Some walls like to be drawn on.

There’s something about wallpaper that feels like more of a commitment than paint. Maybe it’s the glue. Maybe it’s the hours of labor spent lining it up juuuust right. But I think I’ve found a cute wallpaper idea that might be worth the investment. The new i see you wallpaper from Cavern is covered in black googly eyes on white paper. That’s it. Sounds kind of weird, right? That’s just until your kids have at it with an array of rainbow-colored crayons. (Uh, just make sure they’re old enough to understand exactly which walls of the house they can draw on.)...

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What to do with Easter Peeps (besides eat them all)

Every year at this time, I get lured into buying way-too-many packages of those brightly colored Easter Peeps. And though I have no problem consuming sugar, even I can only eat a few of them before I get the jitters.  So, I’ve pulled together some adorable—and easy—Easter crafts that use Peeps for some sweet decorations this month.   This centerpiece idea from La Jolla Mom (above) just screams “Easter” and is so simple to create. I love how the yellow Peeps bunnies look with sunny chrysanthemums, though you could chose to do multi-colored bunnies around an assortment of flowers too.  ...

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Hop to it and get crafting for Easter!

Though Easter is coming up quickly, for my kids it feels like Peter Cottontail is taking his sweet old time getting here. While we wait, I’ve found a bunch of cool Easter crafts that will keep them busy…and not make you crazy with prep or clean up. –Christina With some strips of colorful paper and Minted’s Easter egg template, you and the kids can make a framable work of art for the hallway. Looks so neat with nice straight strips, though I’m sure my kids would create something nifty even if they didn’t follow the rules. Even if you’ve...

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9 ways kids can decorate Easter Eggs without dyeing them

Decorating Easter eggs is a tradition in our household, but after doing it the same way for over ten years, we’re thinking of changing things up. Instead of dropping white eggs into colored dye, I’ve rounded up a bunch of non-dye Easter egg decorating ideas that look fun (and pretty easy) to do with the kids. So grab your hardboiled eggs, your wooden crafting eggs, or even your vegan-friendly ceramic eggs from EggNots and get cracking. I mean, crafting. –Christina Grab a few rolls of colorful tape, and that’s all you’ll need to recreate Washi Tape Easter Eggs from...

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A Passover craft idea that you can eat when you’re done. How’s that for easy clean-up?

It’s just a few days until Passover, and this awesomely clever craft idea offers one fun way to get the kids excited. Besides promising them matzoh sandwiches in their lunch for a week.   We love this Passover Matzoh House found at Epicurious. A take on the non-denominational and universally beloved gingerbread house, it’s not all that hard, and Kosher as you want to be. You pretty much just need 5 sheets of matzoh (I’d say more because I tend to break them), peanut butter if that’s cool by your family, and those Kosher for Passover candies that kids have grown...

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We’re egg-static over these dyeable, reusable faux Easter eggs (ha)

I enjoy decorating Easter eggs with the kids so much, I don’t even mind the food-coloring-dyed fingers we all end up with by the end. But for kids with an egg allergy or who follow a vegan diet, this is one annual tradition that they’ve probably had to skip each year. So get ready to be eggs-cited (groan) with these faux, dyeable eggs that look so much like the real thing. EggNots are dyeable ceramic Easter eggs so realistic, you’d better make sure you warn your dinner guests before they try to crack them open. Packaged in a cardboard egg...

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5 easy St. Patrick’s Day craft ideas that don’t require the luck of the Irish to do

My idea of a St. Patrick’s Day craft is squirting green food coloring into anything edible and calling it a day. I love looking at all the amazing multi-layered rainbow treats and hand-felted shamrock garlands on Pinterest, personally, I prefer crafts for those of us who want something fun for the kids to make, but don’t need to spend 30 straight hours prepping for it. That’s just what you’ll find here: easy crafts. Promise. And don’t forget to grab some green food coloring too. –Christina     Using nothing more than a paper plate, some scissors and green markers...

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Grow your own vegetables with these cool new garden kits

I’ve been fortunate to have lots of neighbors with green thumbs, who generously offer me the extra spoils of their backyard gardens. But this year, mostly due to the begging of my children, I’ve decided to give gardening a try myself, and these kits might be the perfect place to start. The new Foodie Garden Kits at Cool Mom Picks fave Poketo give you everything you need to start a little home garden, including coco fiber wafers, seeds, and the very important instructions, all packed in convenient rectangular tin planter. You can group hot peppers, tomatoes, or what I...

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Born to craft: two amazing artists not yet old enough to drive

We love finding new crafters and artists, especially when they’re just getting started. And no one seems to define that better than two talents we’ve just found–especially considering they haven’t even hit their mid-teens yet. Yes, really.   Amelia (top left) is the 13 year-old daughter of Anna Fader of Mommy Poppins fame. Her Jumprings and Jellybeans blog features tutorials for many of the crafts (mostly jewelry but also some watercolor and paper crafts) that she’s making, all presented with such a charming, wry tone. A natural blogger! An excerpt for a make-your-own button tutorial intro: I keep seeing...

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How to decorate with washi tape, without the design degree

I’ve recently found myself in possession of some washi tape, thanks to a few leftover Martha Stewart craft supplies at our recent Sealed With Love Valentine’s party. Not being the crafty mama that a lot of you are (uh, decoupaging my Scotch tape dispenser is not quite high on my to-do list), I’m not exactly bursting with ideas for how to use them. And then I saw this. I love this simple, decorative way to put pretty tapes to non-permanent use: it’s as simple as creating some basic, angular little houses and taping them up over a child’s desk,...

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How to get creative, and get your kids creative too

I’ve been a long time fan of artist and designer Marisa Anne Cummings of Creative Thursday, who’s created some of the beautiful artwork, growth charts, and calendars seen on these here pages. So when I finally got my hands on her new book to help you get your creativity on too, it met every expectation. Boy, I love this book. The thing I love most about Creative Thursday: Everyday Inspiration to Grow Your Creative Practice is that it isn’t really just about illustrating or painting or for professionals or people who have their own “crafting rooms.” Really, it’s for...

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Celebrate Mardi Gras at home with these great DIY masks for kids

Happy Mardi Gras, mamas! Even if your kids won’t go near crawfish etouffee, or do anything with those shiny beads except put them in their mouths (don’t let them, by the way), you can have a fun Mardi Gras celebration at home tonight by making some colorful masks. Then, crank up some New Orleans-flavored tunes and have your own little parade around the living room. You can use blabla’s Mardi Gras Bird Mask template for a mask with lots of room for creative license. I like that the template prints out all on one page, though you could probably free-hand...

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15 of the best free printable Valentine’s cards for the classroom (no cheesy ones, promise)

With Valentine’s Day on Thursday, many of us will be getting our kids ready for the Annual Valentine’s Day Card Exchange, held in classrooms all over the country.  Get ready with this carefully curated list of attractive printable classroom cards. With just a color printer and some paper–and a few minutes of cutting time–voila! Your kids can all have beautifully designed, modern cards for their classmates. And they are all free! Isn’t it sweet that so many artists spread the love freely this time of year? -Christina and Liz   Book lovers will adore Positively Splendid’s Free Printable Valentine...

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What to do with your kids during a snowstorm

With the big snowstorm about to hit the Northeast, we’re gathering activities to keep our kids busy and happy while the snow falls outside. So make sure your fridge is stocked, grab some hot chocolate, and check out these helpful suggestions. Stay safe and warm, mamas! – Here’s a round-up of cool board games beyond Candy Land that even your littlest ones will enjoy. -We love this adorable paper craft tutorial that’s easy for kids of all ages. Just grab some paper, scissors, and a bit of glue and you’ll be ready to go. -Charge up your iPad or iPhone...

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Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas: 17 sweet gifts you can make yourself

Next in our series of Valentine’s gift ideas, ideas for gifts you can make yourself. It’s brought to you by the US Postal Service’s new limited-edition Sealed With Love Stamp–because what’s Valentine’s Day without Valentine’s cards in the mail? And isn’t the stamp just gorgeous? (We want it on all our letters, not just Valentine’s cards!) Whether you’re super crafty, a maestro with the convection oven, or just handy with construction paper and the kids’ leftover glue sticks, here’s a great array of 17 DIY Valentines Day gift ideas you can make yourself–with varying degrees of help. clockwise from top Cupid’s Arrow Cupcakes,...

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How do you spell “excitement” for tonight’s Downton Abbey? “B-I-N-G-O”

It’s Sunday which means another episode of Downton Abbey airs on PBS tonight, and you can bet that I’ll be on the couch, ready to see what happens next in the lives of the Crawley family and those around them. For those of you who gather around with friends to watch the show, you can make things even more exciting with Downton Abbey Bingo!  {Don’t miss these free printable bingo cards after the jump!} These four Downton Abbey Bingo cards from Paste Magazine with spaces like “Daisy Gets Jealous of the New Kitchen Maid” and “Thomas Checks Out The New Footman” are ready-made for...

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9 DIY Valentine card kits for crafty kids

Last week, we shared an adorable DIY Valentine Card Kit and–wow!–so many of you wanted to grab a set, the artist had to temporarily shutter the shop while she made more. Happily, there are now a few more kits back in stock, but we also decided to find some more awesome Valentine’s card kits that are high on fun, but low on mess and effort. No need to send us a love note in thanks. –Christina This Robot Valentine’s Card Kit from Etsy’s NickWillJack is such a nice break from all the frill and foo-foo out there. Designed by...

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Free printable paper dolls: the ultimate collection, from Betsy McCall and beyond

I’ve never let go of my love of paper dolls, ever since I played with them myself. (No, not last week with my kids; I mean a loooong time ago.) While our paper dolls apps on my iPhone get a ton of play, so do the regular old paper variety. A little more mess, but also a lot more creativity. It’s funny that recently the New York Times covered them like a new trend, even though we (and plenty of design blogs) have featured plenty of paper dolls over the years. In any case, nice to be validated! Since...

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DIY Valentine card kits for the semi-to-not-very crafty

I’m never going to be the mom who looks at the DIY Valentine’s craft project for kids on Pinterest–the one that requires a Cricut and a hot glue gun and six trips to the craft store–and says aha! That’s the one for us! But still, I’d like my kids to put a little bit of effort into their own Valentine’s cards for the class besides just handing out the store-bought ones. So I think I’ve found the perfect compromise in this cool Valentine’s kit on Etsy. The DIY Valentine Card Kit from Miki of Fresh Lemon Blossoms (love that name!) is...

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Free Valentines printables that beg the question: How much for a triple word score on VALENTINE?

You’ve officially got one month til Valentine’s Day. And the word nerd in your life is going to adore this free DIY Valentine’s Day message that takes a little bit of scrabbling to puzzle out. The clever folks at Oh Happy Day have a delightful little present for you: a free printable PDF to create Valentine’s Day Scrabble Grams. Simply download, cut along the lines, and slip the right squares into an envelope for a just-challenging-enough-to-be-cute message for your honey. You can go with their pre-made selections, which are refreshingly kid-safe, or combine the available letters for your own...

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Cool thank you cards from kids (that they’ll actually want to write)

One of my resolutions this year is to be a little more diligent about getting kids to write thank-you cards. So the first thing I did was order some that they got to pick out themselves. They were so thrilled to see them arrive that they jumped at the chance to start scribbling sweet notes of thanks. Here are the cards my girls picked out, along with some others that might strike a chord with your own kids; boys or girls, little ones to teens. The thing that matters most of course is that they love their thank-you notes....

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Merci pour les cadeaux

No sooner are the holidays over that I need to get on that thank-you note writing for all those generous gifts. And when I saw this stamp, I thought, ooh…that could help. A merci hand lettered rubber stamp would not only add elegance to the outside of your envelope, it can honestly turn any notecard into a thank-you note. Just stamp the outside of that floral card, plain stationery, or even a photo of the kids, and voila…instant gratitude in lovely paper form. You’re welcome. –LizFind thank you rubber stamps and more hand-lettered beautiful stationery supplies online at Etsy’s...

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If I could save time in a bottle: creating a family time capsule

I love the idea of using this first day of the year to reflect back on 2012 by creating a keepsake that we’ll be able to look back at someday. And when the idea is as easy as this one, I know I may even be able to handle pulling it all together even after staying up past midnight. This Time Capsule idea is so great because it uses an empty 2-liter bottle of soda (which we have plenty of after the holidays), a couple of free printables, and then whatever other little things you want to add to personalize your...

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13 fun holiday activities to keep the kids occupied all week long

If your kids are anything like mine, they’re dogging your heels and sneaking under the Christmas tree to peek at presents any chance that they can get. So I’m desperate to find anything to keep them occupied for the next 24 hours until Santa arrives–and frankly, through the rest of winter break. Here’s a handy round-up of some of the crafts, activities, fun apps, holiday movies, and other ideas we’ve featured that are sure to keep your kids entertained while you finish up your gift-wrapping, or start your own thank-you note writing. Which, by the way, is one of...

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9 free, fabulous printable gift tags to top off your Christmas gifts

It’s never too late for more awesome free printable gift tags. In fact, I’m pretty certain I will be in good company this weekend when I start–and finish–all my wrapping for Christmas. There’s still time to stock up on tape, double check the gift wrap supply, and print out some of these lovely (and free!) gift tags to top off those thoughtful gifts. –Christina I adore how these printable bauble gift tags from fellow fellow look like they were printed on kraft paper, but were really just printed on regular card stock. So festive and pretty in muted colors, plus...

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Sweet and safe: an allergy-free gingerbread house kit

Food-allergy suffers and vegan families, fret no more at Christmas! You, too, can experience the joy (and balancing act!) of gathering around the table to assemble a candy-covered gingerbread house. This year, an allergy-free bakery in Orange County, California, will save you the extensive labor and time of whipping up your own allergy-free, vegan gingerbread and icing. They’ll send you the pieces, and you and kiddo get to assemble the sweet abode, safely and simply. How cool is that? Sensitive Sweets Bakery is a dedicated gluten-free, nut-free bakery in Fountain Valley, California. Lucky for everyone not local to Sensitive Sweets, the...

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All-inclusive craft kits from Lullubee: just add fun

Both of my kids are craft junkies. Like, major craft crazies. They could create arts and crafts all day, every day. I’m constantly rummaging through drawers and closets, trying to figure out what I could I use to create a “handmade” craft. Which never really works out for me. And unless you are a craft queen, I’m guessing that you can probably relate. So you’ll be glad to know I’ve got some good news in this particular department Thankfully, sites like lullubee have done the dirty work for us! Lullubee craft kits are designed for basic to intermediate crafty levels....

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11 awesome handmade gifts you don’t need a design degree to create

After spending a few minutes on Pinterest at this time of the year, I start to feel seriously inadequate in the crafting arena. I don’t mind stretching a little bit to make something awesome, but I’d rather not lose my mind in the process.  If you too get the itch to go handmade for the holidays, but aren’t sure you have the time or energy to tackle something too over-the-top, we’ve got a bunch of ideas from which to choose. No design degree required. –Christina Christmas Olliblocks make an adorable toy to either toss in the stockings or wrap...

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Christmas gifts that kids can make themselves (really!)

It’s a tradition around our house that my kids give handmade gifts (made by their hands!) to their siblings and grandparents. But coming up with new ideas–especially ones that don’t require me to be the one doing all the work–can be a challenge. If you love giving handmade gifts as much as we do–or want to start a tradition like our family’s–then here’s a plethora of cool and crafty gifts that your kids really can make themselves. Pinky swear. For those of you with little artists, just imagine the possibilities with these DIY modern art plates. Perfect for young scribblers...

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