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Friday, January 27, 2012

Flower Hands

*A Rose for Valentine's Day*

I love hand art, it's always a great little record of how small a kid's hands once were. This little art project gives another reason to trace those hands. It is pretty straight forward and not to complicated. It is a idea that turns out as individual as the little hands you are working with. The results can vary so easily to fit your holiday or reason for giving. From Valentine's an Mother's Day, to a Get Well or just something to welcome in spring.

*A Flower Bunch for Mother's Day*

Colors hone in on what flower you are attempting. Finger positioning helps even more. We personally like to do our roses or tulips by tracing a a tight finger hand. To give a all over petal look, spread those digits.

So pick out your colors, grab a pencil and get to tracing. Cut that out and don't forget to cut out some stems and lots of leaves. We did a variety of shapes and sizes. Water drop like and good long pointy leaves. Have fun gluing. What a lovely flower I'm sure you'll have. If you left stems as long as ours you also have lots of room to personalize a message to whoever is lucky enough to receive your bouquet. I always try to hide in the kid's name and year to, like I said it makes a good record of what once was.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Product Review: Babycakes Cake Pop Maker

As I may have mentioned before, I am all about the fastest, cheapest ways to do things. Shortcuts are my best friend, so when I was looking into joining the cake pop making trend I was excited and slightly frightened by the whole thing. It just seemed like a lot of steps, which meant lots of opportunities to completely mess them up. Well, before I could start going cake pop crazy my wonderful husband who was awesome enough to go above and beyond got me the Babycakes Cake Pop Maker. For those not familiar it's kind of like a Foreman Grill for Cake Pops. I was actually very surprised because I was at that moment eyeing the As Seen on TV Bake Pop. I have to say I am truly happy he got me this instead. 

Not gonna lie at first I was a little, ok still a lot worried about messing this up, but this Babycakes Cake Pop Maker is fantastic! There were a few things that did make me question if it was really that cool, but quickly I was devoted. The machine it's self is so small, but it makes 12 cake balls at a time. I wasn't to sure if that was gonna be a plus or a minus, would it get the job done fast enough? Well it was super fast! I wanna say less then five minutes between batches and the ready light was actually pretty accurate. Don't get me wrong it did take me a few tries to get it down but really the first batch was the only real mess up. The first batch had a bit of a overflow issue. I read the booklet and skipped their recommendation of using the plastic bag method and focused on how they said roughly a tablespoon of batter in each spot. That was a oops. It was more like less then a tablespoon so the first batch came out looking more like a German pancake's impression of bubble wrap. It was pretty funny...and still pretty yummy. Next go around we took the advice and did it the traditional cake icing way. We filled a plastic icing bag with batter. A ziploc bag with a corner cut off will work just fine, but we happened to have one of these on hand. Well we just eyed each fill and with every next batch we just got it that much closer to perfection. Even with the over flow issue when we were all done it was sooo easy to clean!

*We were able to salvage our balls & let the kids munch on the pancake leftover bits from the 1st batch.

Really I enjoyed cutting out the extra cooling and cake frosting parts. It just made the whole processes that much faster. I didn't have to worry about will this ball have enough frosting to stick or if it was over mushed. I also enjoyed that because they did not have all that extra frosting they were a lot lighter, fluffier in taste and feeling, not so dense and sugary. The cake mix, candy melts and sprinkles were more then enough sugar for me. I will give you this warning, because they feel lighter you will be tricked into "taste testing" more then normal, ya you will still pay for it. Hehe.

*Not bad for 1st attempt. ;)

Honestly, this maker is great for any person, especially for beginners like myself and anyone that every now and again just wants cake balls without all the hassle. The machine also came with a filling injector, a 2 prong fork that made it super easy to remove balls from maker, cake pop sticks and a stand for the pops. It also comes with recipes. I actually can't wait to try those out with the filling injector!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Recycled Birds

Here's a little project for you and your little birds! Not a totally hands off project, especially if with toddlers, but it is still really fun. Quick to, so no matter age they don't lose their patience before it's done. 

Such cute little pieces of art you end up with.

What you will need: Old Magazines, Glue Sticks, 1 Piece of Paper  for background (your/kid's choice, we went with construction paper), Scissors, and a Hole Puncher.

Go through your old magazines and pull out really colorful pages and pages that look like your idea branch/woody colors. Make a nice pile. You may want to use some white pages for the eyes later so pull like 1 of those pages to.

This part is fun, don't stress about the shape you are cutting out. We came up with roughly 3 different leaf like shapes. Just think little oval-ish with points. A lemon of sorts. Draw them just on a little scrap paper, to use like templates. Now use those to help cut the little bird bodies out. Use colorful patterns and a variety of colors you found. For the eyes just hole punch a bunch of white & darkish colors, don't want any red eyed birdies. LOL! Branches an feet, grab out your woody, dark papers. Rough long straight lines are great. Vary up your thickness. Feel creative add some point to a end. Remember not being perfect is what makes this super cute! For the legs just the same as branches but do little tiny strips and cut them short, no 2 anything should be the same.

Kid time! Let them pick their background paper or have it in their spot. Make piles of bird bodies, eyes (your hole punches), legs & branches. Try to get them to glue stick their branches first, then bird body. Last add on eyes and legs.

Here's a close up look at our little masterpieces:


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Monday, January 9, 2012

Make Your Own Piñata

Can't find the pinata to fit your party theme or don't wanna spend the money on something kids are just gonna beat up? Well here's a idea, make your own!

I'll be honest it's a little bit of a pain (I'll explain exactly how later), but it's really worth it when you see the birthday kid smile.

What you need:

A cardboard box, I prefer a old diaper box, but size is really up to you. Tape, now this is another choice. How hard do you need this thing to be? I used painters tape and it lasted 2 rounds with some softball kids. To be honest I think I only used the painters tape cause blue was a main color in my party theme. With the use of just painters tape the hanger gave out before the bindings did. If you have a older crowd and really want it to be a tough battle, go for duct tape. Your color choices of streamers. Dollar Store has many choices so don't start to worry that this will cost you much, just think at least $1 for every color you chose. I was only working with 2 colors I grabbed 2 of each. I think I only used a little more then 1 of each, so it left me plenty for the party. Scissors, a box cutter, craft glue and hot glue gun with plenty of glue sticks. 1 regular metal clothes hanger. Come party time don't forget the rope and bat. OPTIONAL- Printer & paper for character image and party hats. I used 2 hats, but this depends on what shape you are going for. You can go crazy an cover every flap side with a hat if you want.

Time to get down to work. So here's why I suggest a box instead of cardboard sheets, it makes it really easy to just cut & assemble. When cutting think how big you need it, do you prefer the longer sides or the shorter? Because that will determine the length of the box. The flaps will determine the width. Although they may look not so wide, trust me I was able to fit plenty of candy & toys in ours. You already know one side to the next is the same size. Now carefully bust out that box cutter. Slice off the top flaps, DO NOT THROW AWAY. You will need them. Continue slicing box apart down the seams, corners, however you need to think of the bends in the box. Just be careful to preserve the shape of each piece to the box. It helped me when I chopped off each piece to make a piles based on size. Later just makes it easier just to see. 

"Ok, I have my front and back plus 4 I can use for sides, 4 I can use for top and bottom." I chose to work with the longer sides, so the shorter were pushed aside. Lay your choice pieces down like you are about to put together a puzzle. I grabbed the longer of the flaps placed it right in between the sides. The shorter flaps I placed on the sides of 1 of the box side pieces. 

What it should look like is: (There should be extra flap so use your straightest less bent ones.) 

Now, let's get taping. Push each piece as close to each other as possible. There should not be any gaps. Tape each side to each other. For those pieces that don't have anything next to go ahead an add a strip of tape to the bottom flap and the right side. 

You are going to fold it all together so the sides are now opposite each other an 1 flap should be on each side. 1 long flap on top & bottom. 1 shorter flap on each side in between your big pieces. Basically flap should corresponded with main pieces height. Feel free to add more tape anywhere. Just remember more tape equals more strength, so think of those who will be taking a bat to it.

Now the fun part! Decorating! This step the glue you chose to use doesn't really mater. I used craft glue, if you do this it'll require a glue dry period. This is just your "base coat" of sorts. when I was making this I had decided that 2 colors red & blue would be the main. Blue would be the over all with red highlights, so I did my base coat of streamer strips in red. Go ahead an slice the top. This is where when dry and practically done you will push in a metal clothes hanger, make sure for now the hole is big enough to add the goodies. *TIP* You can precut the streamers to the length of each side for this next step. Extras will be used. So once you are done covering the whole box in streamer now to do the streamers that will mater. I used a glue gun for this. Didn't want my streamers ripping and no wetness. If you look closely at the image above you can see the the top of each strip is where the glue was applied. Work bottom to top. Layering the new unadhered half of the new strip over the top adhered half of the previous. The pain in the butt part I was referring to was that we chose to give it that fringe/shaggy look so each bottom half of strip was hand cut by scissors. Do not start "fringing" till all your strips are on or at least that side is done. Top & bottom of pinata don't require the seconded coat of new streamer color, but that is your call. I left those sections red and flat. In between steps or when I just needed a break I would stick a old baby clothes hanger an some teething rings to hold it & hang it. Go ahead an let it hang and dry while you work on this next optional step. 

This is where the party hats come in, if you are using them. As you can see I used 2, 1 on each side as my base for a cone shape. For these I preglued with regular craft glue an began to wrap each cone in streamer, a little hanging before the base of hat working up to point. Let it dry. Grab some extra precut streamers you have or cut some. Poke them through the top point of hat. On inside use your choice of a little tape or glue to hold those in. If you have any gaps in streamer from this process go ahead an fill in with more streamer. Let them dry.

If you decided to print out a image to tie in the party to pinata instead of just being a color theme, pull out your images. I had 2 8x10 print outs. Add glue to back of each image and place right in the middle of each side. I then used my tape as a kind of a frame to the images. Next glued strips of my highlight color, pieces of streamer cut to the right size. Place right on top of each strip of tape.

Here's where most of your extra percut or just extra streamer will be used. Hot glue streamers to bottom of pinata. In my case I did one blue and red. Folded a tiny section of strip (top corner) together and hot glued each couple. Go crazy! Do as much as you want, can't really go wrong.

Now let's add those side cones. Once again use your hot glue gun, it's stronger. Hot glue the base of each hat and press to the pinata where you want it. Leave the extra bit of streamer that was on the base sticking out. That part can be cut like fringe to cover where the hat was added. It really helps them blend right in.

Now add your candy and goodies in! Push through your metal hanger. Tape up hole. Cover with more glue and streamer. Dry. Done!

Feel free to comment or contact if you have any questions. If you have a question other's probably do to, so let me know so I can help you out.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012


I, like I'm sure many of you LOVE Etsy. In fact my best friend an I have a company on there, AlittlePaintYarn, though most of our stuff is currently just listed on our AlittlePaint&Yarn facebook. Oops, off topic, ok my point...sometimes I go on Etsy an think, "SERIOUSLY?! Really they are charging how much? For that? I can make that!" Well, this is one of those cases. We are currently redoing our daughter's room, so I came across this awesome little item: Set of 4 Princess Silhouettes. Don't get me wrong, not trying to take money out of this person's pocket, but for less then half of what they are charging I made the whole thing, frames and all, plus an extra. Sorry, but in this economy every penny counts.

Here's how I did it:

You'll need: Masking/Painter's Tape, easy to remove from paper without tearing. Pencil, eraser, scissors, art knife (exacto), cutting mat, and glue. I prefer a glue stick, no paper bubbles or ripples, plus dries perfectly clear. White paper, printer paper is more then fine, just make sure it's thin. Thin helps the monitor shine through and it's much much easier to trace.Your choice of card stock, backing paper, and frames. In my case we went for the Ikea NYTTJA line of frames. Very inexpensive, simple and more important to us because they will be in a child's room, VERY LIGHT! No glass, just plexi.

Just to help you when you get your colors in mind, just make sure to get at least 2 colors in mind, 1 for the silhouettes them self and one for the backing. make sure the back will allow the silhouettes to pop. You want every tiny details to shine. When choosing a color scheme, your card stock (scrapbook paper) for silhouettes they don't necessarily have to be solid. You can chose a pattern that will complement the character/object or the room you are working with. I went with straight bright pink an white, just because everything else in her room is a mix match of colors so this 1 solid would really stand out. It's also kind of why the Etsy idea popped out to me. I knew it would match perfectly, but for this demo I'll work with red.

Just like I did for the Nightmare Before Christmas Party silhouettes, did some searching for just the right images and did the tracing right off my computer monitor. In this case I had to make sure they were extremely strong imagery, cause princesses can easily be mistaken. I went for the most iconic interesting poses I could find. This idea also works for doing traditional face profile silhouettes, just use a photo you have taken of the person's profile.

Once that is done, size your image on your monitor so it will fit your frame (or so you know you can find a frame size for it). Custom size on zoom in/out really helps, because sometimes those even choices just aren't quite right. Now bust out that tape (masking/painter's) along with the white paper.

Trace just the outside of the character/object of your choice. Now make sure to trace any spot that the background needs to be removed. This is what gives your object more personality then just a blob. Some characters are really easy an have a straight forward image, like Ariel (Little Mermaid) but ones like Rapunzel (Tangled) need those extra cut outs. *NOTE* This is where a art knife comes in handy. Don't stress if your lines aren't to smooth or you accidently trace something of no importance. 1 that's what erasers are for an 2 it's the smoothness of your cuts that matter. You are just making the guide. I tend to leave the image up while cutting so I always have something to go back an refer to anyhow. If you are happy gently remove your paper from the monitor.

I just use the same tape from monitor and retape my trace to the card stock. Sometimes you need to reposition a few pieces or add a little more so it lays flat and tight together. Time to cut. Make sure when cutting you hold the guide tight/flat to the card stock. I use my scissors for most. The art knife is my friend when the spot is on the interior of image or to precise to rely on scissors. When those times come make sure you placed your cutting mat under.

Done cutting? If so remove carefully the tape an the pieces of paper apart. Glue stick the back of your silhouette. Don't stress if extra glue gets on front, that's why you used a clear dry stick. If you fear there's too much on front just carefully scrape excess off with scrap paper. Be careful an don't over do it. It will dry clear, so a tiny bit won't kill your project. Glue to chosen background paper. Rub carefully together. Give it time to dry nice an flat.

Place in frame and hang!

BTW, my kid TOTALLY LOVES THEM :) Score one for Mommy! ;)

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