Leaf “Glitter” Art

As the girls and I were crunching our way through leaves this week, this leaf “glitter” project came to mind. The leaves in our neighborhood are changing yet again…this time from their vibrant reds and oranges to dried-up, crunchy browns. No fear though, we can get one more craft out them!

Materials Needed:

  • crunchy leaves
  • paper (look in the recycling basket first!)
  • white glue
  • a small container or bowl

First, crumble the leaves into the tiniest pieces possible and collect them in a small dish.

Next, draw a Fall picture on the paper with the white glue. Feel free to draw some for your little ones, but let them scribble a glue picture too!


Now, as you would do with glitter, sprinkle the leaf dust all over the glue. This was definitely L’s favorite part.




Once the glue is all covered, gently shake the excess leaf “glitter” off and reveal your masterpiece!




Pumpkin Seed Necklaces

There’s a lot of pumpkin carving going on this week, so I thought I’d hurry and get this one out there! Have you ever turned your pumpkin seeds into jewelry? The key to stringing pumpkin seeds with ease is to make sure that they’re fresh…no baked or thoroughly dried pumpkin seeds here! This year we tried dying some seeds before stringing them too. This craft is super easy and so much fun!

Materials needed:

  • fresh pumpkin seeds
  • dental floss, embroidery floss, or thread
  • sewing needle

For colored seeds you’ll also need:

  • food coloring
  • vinegar
  • boiling water

As you carve your jack-o-lanterns, separate the pumpkin seeds from the pulp. Rinse the seeds in some water to get any excess pumpkin guts off.



If you’d like some colored seeds, boil a cup of water. Add 1-2 tsp of vinegar and lots of food coloring. (I basically followed the directions for dying eggs on the food coloring box, adjusting it a little bit.) Let the water mixture boil for 5 minutes.

Turn the stove off and add your pumpkin seeds. Let them sit for 15-20 minutes, stirring the seeds a couple times, until you achieve the color you like.

Pour your seeds into a colander to drain them and run some cold water over the seeds briefly. Spread the seeds out on some cardboard to dry a bit. You can pat them dry with a paper towel too if needed.

Now, time to make some necklaces! Using the needle and thread (or dental floss), string the seeds on one at a time. If the seeds are a little tough, you can lay them flat on cardboard and push the needle through.


This is a great time to talk to your kids about patterns! Have your little ones pick out seeds and lay them in order to help you string. When you’re finished threading seeds, tie the ends in a knot or two to complete! Enjoy!



Some early morning necklace-making in our pajamas in Our Beautifully Messy House…



Pine Cone Flowers

Have I mentioned before how much I love Fall?! So many things to find and create with…like these mini-pine cones! I’ve been thinking of making “pine cone flowers” for months now, and when L and I found these miniature ones it was a done deal.

Materials needed:

  • miniature pine cones
  • twigs (the more lil knobs and branches the better)
  • acrylic paints
  • hot glue gun and glue

First, choose what colors you’d like your “flowers” to be…we choose multi-colored! Paint each little pine cone as you like. Set aside to dry.



Next, paint your twigs a mixture of dark and light greens. Allow to dry.


Once everything is dry, you can assemble your pine cone flowers. Using a hot glue gun, put a little dab of glue on the tip of a twig. Quickly press and hold a pine cone in place. Repeat until all your pine cones are used up.





So cute, huh!? Arranged in a little, antique bottle they make a sweet gift for a child or an adult.

Water Lens

I don’t know a kid (or an adult) who doesn’t love playing with a magnifying glass. They’re just mesmerizing! The “water lens” experiment is such a fun activity that allows kids to not only play with a magnifying glass, but it shows kids how to make one too. So much discovering going on here!

Materials needed:

  • a plastic bucket (we used a large coffee container)
  • marker
  • knife and/or scissors
  • clear, plastic material (a dry-cleaners bag is best, but plastic wrap would work too!)
  • large rubber band
  • water
  • small objects

First, draw three large circles on your bucket or plastic container. They need to be big enough to get one’s hand in-and-out easily. Our coffee container had a funky handle part, so we just drew and cut a rectangle shape around it. Modify your circles however you need to to make it work!


Using your knife and/or scissors, cut the circles out. Try making smooth edges so no little hands get cut going in-and-out.

Next, lay the plastic material loosely over the bucket and secure it with the large rubber band. If you don’t have a rubber band big enough, you could always cut and tie a couple together to make it work.


Since water is involved, it’s best to do this activity outside, in the bath tub or in a water-safe area. We put a beach towel down on our kitchen floor and put our water lens inside a baking pan to catch any splashes…worked great!

Pour warm water onto the plastic material…as much as will fit without spilling over. And now your water lens is ready for play!

Have your kids take turns holding various objects underneath the “magnifying glass.” They can experiment by moving their hands up and down, and by adjusting the amount of water in the lens. So simple to make, but so much fun!





Make sure the water you use is warm…if you use cold water the lens will fog up quickly! We made that mistake for you! Ha!

L had a ball with this one today! Tomorrow morning we plan to venture outside and collect more flowers, sticks, snail shells, leaves, etc. to examine up close with our homemade magnifying glass! Where will this discovering activity take you? Enjoy!!!

Leaf Prints…Pillowcases and T-Shirts

Ever since we put up L’s “big girl bed” a couple months ago I’ve been looking for the perfect pillow sham. I finally decided, “Why not just make one!?” And that’s exactly what we did today! I love the outcome…it turned out even better than I imagined it would! The pillow cover will last for years and we can always look back on this perfect Autumn day. We followed it up by making some matching Fall shirts for the girls as well!


Pillow Cover

Materials needed:

  • pillowcase, ironed if needed
  • a few scraps of cardboard
  • paper towels
  • acrylic paints
  • brushes and palettes (we use old, plastic lids)
  • leaves


Before you start painting, prepare your area. You’ll need a piece of cardboard to paint the leaves on top of and a piece of cardboard to slide into the middle of the pillowcase, so no paint seeps through. If the cardboard inside the pillowcase is ridged, you may want to add an old, silicone cutting board or piece of card stock underneath as well. You wouldn’t want the ridges to effect the leaf prints.

Starting with the larger of your leaves, paint the underside of the leaf and then carefully press it onto the pillowcase. Repeat with different colors, different shades and different sizes until you’re happy with your final project. We started with various shades of orange and then added a few reds, yellows and greens. Likewise, we started with large leaves and ended with a few tiny ones.






Materials needed:

  • t-shirts, ironed if needed
  • a few scraps of cardboard
  • paper towels
  • acrylic paints
  • brushes and palettes (we use old, plastic lids)
  • leaves

You will basically make leaf prints onto your t-shirt in a similar manner as with the pillowcase above. The only difference is that you’ll want smaller cardboard pieces to slide into the shirt and one really narrow piece to slide into the sleeve. As you can see, after printing leaves on the center of the shirt I added one tiny, falling leaf to the sleeve.






Cute, huh!? And easy! What else will you make leaf prints on? I think an Autumn table runner would be beautiful as well! There are so many possibilities! Enjoy!

DIY Mason Jar Lid Pumpkins

This pumpkin craft is one of the simplest and sweetest of the season.  It’s not only cute for Halloween, but you can keep it up all the way through to Thanksgiving. The “mason-jar-lid pumpkin” could even be used to brighten up your Thanksgiving table centerpiece…your guests will adore it!


Materials needed:

  • about 20 mason jar lids (found in the grocery store)
  • glitter spray paint (orange, gold, silver)
  • cord or string
  • scissors
  • cinnamon sticks
  • decorative, floral wire (optional)

Outside or in a well-ventilated area, lay all the lids out on a flat surface. Spray half the lids with the orange spray paint, a quarter of them gold and the last quarter silver. (You can always change up your colors and do something different than what I did…all orange, all gold, no paint…it’s up to you!)


Let the lids dry overnight. Next, cut a piece of string about 2-3 feet long. Thread all your lids on the string, making sure they all face the same direction.


Pull the string tight and then tie a double-knot to secure the mason jar lids.

Move the lids around, arranging them into a pumpkin shape. Place 6 or 7 cinnamon sticks in the center for the pumpkin stem and (optional) add a curlicue of florist wire.



How cute is that!? And easy too! Now that I’ve made one for our house, I’ll be making a few more this week to give away as gifts. Enjoy!

Have you seen our DIY Witch Legs??? That’s another one you’ll be sure to love!!!

Glue Ghosts

Did you ever make these “glue ghosts” when you were a kid? They were always one of my favorites! This must be one of the simplest Halloween crafts out there! L and I made extras this year so we’d have plenty to make a ghost garland decoration and to make ghost necklaces.

Materials needed:

  • wax paper
  • Elmer’s glue
  • googlie eyes (or permanent markers)
  • paperclips (optional)
  • needle and thread, string or dental floss

First, spread out a piece of wax paper over your working surface. You may want to do this on a silicone cutting board or a tray so it can be moved. (I had no idea that wax paper was slightly porous…when we did this craft the glue seeped through the wax paper a bit and stuck to our kitchen counter. It was no problem, cause Elmer’s glue washes off easily, but the project was stuck to our counter for a few days while we waited for the ghosts to dry. Ha! Just another beautiful mess!)

Next, have your little one squeeze out blobs of glue into ghost shapes.


Wait a few hours for the glue to dry a bit and then gently press in some googlie eyes. If you don’t have googlie eyes, don’t worry…you can always draw a face on the ghosts after they dry with a permanent marker.


At this point, you can also cut a paperclip and press the wire into the ghosts to make hooks. We experimented with this and I personally like the ghosts better without the paperclip-hooks. Instead, you can just use a needle to poke a hole through the ghosts after they’re dried. It’s up to you though..both methods work great!


Now for the waiting-game…wait 2 or 3 days for the ghosts to dry completely before gently peeling them off the wax paper. If you didn’t use paperclip-hooks, now is the time to use a sewing needle to thread some string or floss through your ghosts.



All done! Super easy, huh? Will you wear your “glue ghosts” on a necklace or hang them up in a doorway this Halloween? Enjoy!!!




DIY Story Stones

This is one of my favorite “games” that I’ve made for our girls, as well as one of my favorite gifts to make for other children. It’s such a versatile, quirky activity for kids (or adults) of any age and the possibilities of play are endless. We take them on long car trips, pull them out when friends are over, and use them during quiet-time when WB is sleeping.


I’ve read before that “story stones” come from the Waldorf school of thought, believing that it is far more important to teach children how to creatively weave a story at a young age than it is to teach them how to read and write. After the directions for making story stones, read on for various ways of how to play with them!


Materials needed:

  • colored pencils and paper
  • sticker book (optional)
  • old workbooks with lots of little pictures (optional)
  • scissors
  • smooth stones (found at the dollar store)
  • Mod Podge and sponge-brush

First, spend some time doodling little pictures on white paper. Think about what pictures would make up a good story…include people and animals, active words, weather, vehicles, houses, etc. Try to keep some of your pictures a little bit vague. For instance, instead of drawing a plate of spaghetti you could draw a fork, knife and spoon and the child playing could imagine any kind of meal. A picture of a foot could lead to putting on socks and shoes or it could be used for walking/running. A swirly doodle could be used for wind, but it could also be used for music, dancing, painting, water, etc.

Next, cut out each of your little doodles. If you don’t want to draw your pictures, or you’d like to use various mediums as I do, you can also cut pictures out of old workbooks or children’s dictionaries, or use a sticker book. I tend to look for such books whenever I’m browsing a flea market, antique store, or the dollar store.

After the pictures are cut out and ready, go ahead and wash and dry your rocks. Working one stone at a time, apply a little bit of Mod Podge to the smoothest surface of the rock then lay a picture in place. Apply more Mod Podge over top of the picture, making sure you smooth down all edges and avoid any wrinkles in the paper. Mod Podge dries pretty quickly. After the stones are all dry, I like to go over them all with another thin layer of Mod Podge to give them an even smoother look.


Once the stones are all dry, you’re ready to play!


(In case you want story stones the really easy way and you live in the Winchester area, Steamy’s Cafe on Piccadilly St currently sells story stones…1 for $1 and 20 for $15! They make great gifts!)

Ideas for Play:

SOLO STORY-BUILDING: Take turns building your own stories.

DICTATING STORIES: This is a good one especially with young children…take turns telling a story, while the other person finds the stones and puts them in order.

PARTNER OR GROUP STORIES: Take turns, picking stones and adding to the story.

RANDOM SELECTION – MYSTERY STORY: Turn all the stones over and take turns randomly selecting a stone to build a story.

ONE STONE STORY: Select only one stone at random and make up a whole story revolving around the stone. Or tell a silly sentence using the stone in the sentence.

CLASSIFYING: Put the stones into groups based on theme, color, likes and dislikes, etc.

EXPLORING: Let your child use the stones while playing with blocks or trucks or coloring or playing house. The stones can become pets, cars, food, etc. If the children are having fun imagining, just let them go with it!

What other ways have you found to play with your story stones? Please share with us in the comments below!

The Buckeye Zoo (and Other Fall Seed Creations)

I just love this time of year! One of my favorite things to do since I was a kid and now with my own kids is collecting the Fall leaves, nuts, and seeds. L says she likes to be a “thing finder” like Pippi Longstocking on our nature walks. This year, as we’ve been foraging, we’ve also begun gluing some of our buckeyes and other nuts and seeds together into animals.

Materials needed:

  • buckeyes
  • acorns
  • helicopter seeds
  • whatever other nuts and seeds you can find
  • feathers
  • twigs
  • glue (I used a hot glue gun, but let L use wood glue.)
  • acrylic paint
  • sealant

Before you start gluing, it’s important to make sure that all your findings are bug-free and that they’re dry. Put a layer of tinfoil on a baking sheet or pan and spread your nuts and seeds out on top. With your oven set to 200 degrees, bake your acorns, walnuts and buckeyes for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Turn the seeds over about every half an hour to prevent burning. With some of the spiky or more delicate seeds, bake them at a lower temperature…around 180 degrees…for an hour or so.

After the seeds are baked and cooled, you can start gluing together your creatures. I prefer using a hot glue gun…it’s quick and holds the buckeyes and other seeds together nicely. I let L glue some of her own with some standard “wood glue” though. It takes longer to dry, but it’s much safer for a 2 year old to use on her own!



The elephant was the first member of our Buckeye Zoo…definitely L’s idea! She looooves elephants!


Here’s a little bunny rabbit…I think tomorrow I’ll make some flop-eared bunnies for a dear friend of mine. So simple, but so cute!


I thought this one was gonna be a porcupine or hedgehog, but L said it looked most like a sheep. I agree!

And I just love this bird. We’ll be making him/her a nest by gluing together twigs later this week.


While most of our creatures were complete after gluing, we chose to paint others…like L’s caterpillar and the turtle and dragonfly we made together.



What Buckeye creatures will you and your kids make this year? We’d love to see your creations shared here in the comment section…there are so many possibilities! Have fun collecting and creating!!!