Fall Leaf Mason Jar Lanterns

I don’t ever seem to get enough of mason jar crafts…whether it’s a fairy house, a pumpkin lantern, or this week’s project…these festive FALL MASON JAR LANTERNS! The great thing about this project is that it’s very hard to mess the jars up and there are a few variations to try. I made these this morning with a group of ladies at L’s new school…each lady’s lantern was unique and beautiful. One lady mixed gold paint with every color, some overlapped the leaf prints, while others put just a couple prints on each jar. There’s plenty of creative freedom with this project! The jars shine brilliantly as lanterns, but you could also use them as a vessel for your No-Bake Acorn Treats or even arrange an Autumn flower bouquet in one, using it as a vase.

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Materials needed:

  • jars
  • acrylic paints and brushes
  • small-med fall leaves
  • tea light
  • dried rice, beans, corn, coffee beans

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First, prep your work space with cardboard, wax paper, or old newspapers.

Next, paint the underside of a leaf with a fall color or combination of 2 or 3. (Red, orange, yellow, green, brown, gold)

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Carefully press the painted leaf onto the surface of the jar and smooth down all the edges.

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Peel the leaf off gently to reveal your painted-leaf print. If your first print doesn’t look exactly as you thought it would, no worries…as you add more prints, any blips or irregularities will be hidden.

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A variation to this, is doing quite the opposite. Hold a clean leaf on the surface of the jar and paint around the edges. You can then paint the entire jar, leaving a little leaf window for the light to shine out. I originally thought this would look great with a solid color of gold…didn’t turn out as I planned, so I ended up dabbing all the fall colors all over the jar and it turned out beautifully! A beautiful oops! If something doesn’t turn out how you imagined, try something new and you may be surprised what you come up with!

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Arranged on a tabletop with mini-pumpkins, gourds, leaves, acorns, or flower petals, you’ll have a festive centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal! Instead of just placing a tea light in each jar, first add small layer of dried beans, rice, corn, or coffee beans. This will bring the light up to the little “window” you have created in the jar and make it look more complete. Enjoy!

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Milk Carton Fairy Houses

Who knew milk cartons had so much potential??? They are perfect for making fairy houses and gnome homes! First off, a milk carton is just the right size for fairies…all it needs is a door and a few windows to make it feel like home. Milk cartons are also water-proof, providing adequate housing for both indoor and outdoor use. WB and L like to play with their fairy houses during the day and, at night, we tuck a little tea light inside to turn them into night lights! So sweet!

 

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Materials needed:

  • milk cartons
  • white primer spray paint
  • exacto knife
  • acrylic paints
  • hot glue gun
  • sticks, bark, moss, acorns, etc.
  • battery-operated tea lights

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First, spray your milk cartons with some primer. The surface of milk cartons is usually waxy and paint will have a hard time sticking. A coat or two of primer should do the trick!

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Next, using an exacto knife, carefully cut a door and windows into the house. And do not worry…the windows don’t need to be perfect! Fairy houses’ never are!

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Now the fun part for the kids, have your little ones paint and decorate the houses. Start with a solid color or two underneath.

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Then add details like polka-dot doors and Fall pumpkins. For our pumpkins, the kids used a wine cork as a stamp!

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While the paint dries, send the kids outside to collect nature materials to use for a roof.

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Before assembling the roof, you can easily flip the screw-top opening inwards. Just push it in with your fingers…it’s easier than you think!

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Glue twigs or bark over the opening, and then add all sorts of nature findings. Each house will be unique!

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To light your fairy houses up at night, place battery-operated tea lights inside. You could also use a string of lights in and around the houses for a magical display!

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“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl

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Tin Can Telephone

Now I know this craft, toy, activity is as old as they come, but how many of you have actually made a TIN CAN TELEPHONE for your kids yet!?! L has been begging for weeks for us to make one and today was the day! It was so quick and easy to put together and the kids played with it all afternoon. L already has plans for tomorrow and how we’ll make a longer TIN CAN TELEPHONE that will stretch to the neighbor’s porch. And yes…if you’re wondering…yes, it does work!!! As you probably remember, the key is making sure the string is pulled taut when you’re talking to each other, and try not to rest the can against your face as well. Enjoy!

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Materials needed:

  • 2 tin cans, clean and lids removed
  • Sharpie markers (optional)
  • awl or nail
  • scissors
  • string
  • tape (fabric, duct, or gaffer)

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First, color the cans with Sharpie markers. Of course you could always paint the cans, glue paper to the cans, or leave them plain as well.

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Next, put tape on the cans to protect your kids from any sharp edges. To do this, measure the tape, to get the length right.

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Carefully roll the can over the tape, wrapping the tape around the can, and leaving about half an inch of the tape hanging off the edge.

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Next, use scissors to cut the tape as pictured. Then, fold all the flaps down over the can’s edge. No fear of little hands getting cut now!

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Using an awl or a nail, poke a hole in the bottom of each can.

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Cut a piece of string and thread it through the hole in the bottom of a can. Double or triple knot the string. Repeat on the other side of the string with the second can.

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If the holes seems to be a bit sharp on the inside, and you have especially little hands that you’re afraid may explore the inside of the cans, you can put a piece of tape over the knots and holes of the cans.

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Now, time to play! Your little ones can experiment talking across a room, through fort walls, up and down stairs, from one bedroom to another…the possibilities are endless.

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Such simple, wonderful, old school fun!!!

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DIY Ragtag Fairy Skirts (No Sew!!!)

These Ragtag Fairy Skirts are so easy to make, I almost feel silly writing a post on them. They are so cute though!!! I figured if you didn’t know how to make them already, you need to learn! Like all my projects that involve fabric, my suggestion to you is to check out the secondhand stores in your area first. We have an old antique/junk store in town that has a huge selection of funky fabrics from the 80s and 90s…they’re just perfect for crafts like this. And they only cost $1-$3 for pieces 3-6 yards long! If you already have a nice pile of fabric scraps, you’re all set…it doesn’t take much!

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Materials needed:

  • fabric
  • elastic
  • scissors

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First cut the fabric into strips, about 1-2 inches wide and 12-20 inches long. Varying lengths make the skirt fun…it definitely doesn’t have to be perfect!

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Next, cut a piece of elastic long enough to go around your child’s waist, with enough left over for a bow or knot. Tie on each piece of fabric as pictured. First, fold the fabric in half. Then, put the folded loop under the elastic. Flip the ends of the fabric up and over the elastic and through the loop of folded fabric. Pull gently to tighten and secure.

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Repeat this process until the skirt is full. Although the lengths of the fabric can vary (makes the skirt more fun and free), I would try to make each “knot” face the same direction.

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Once all the fabric strips are secure, simply tie the skirt in a bow around your child’s waist. So easy and too cute!!!

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Rain Boot Wreath

I’ve seen old rain boots up-cycled into flower planters before, so I thought, “Why not use them for a Spring wreath!?” This RAIN BOOT WREATH was so quick and easy to put together and the outcome is adorable…perfect for Spring!

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I could’ve gone out and bought some new boots that weren’t dirty, worn, and broken in spots, but that required me to take the kids shopping and more money spent…not my idea of fun! I ended up making these with things we already had: L’s old rain boots and flowers we had leftover from other projects. Every time we walk in through the front door, the rain boots make me think of the many rainy, muddy adventures L went on during the first three years of her life. So much love!

Materials needed:

  • rain boots (kids’, adults’, old or new)
  • artificial flowers
  • rope and/or ribbon
  • scissors

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First, if your boots are dirty, clean and dry them.

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Next, lay out your flowers and decide how you’re going to split them up. When you arrange your flowers, start with the taller and/or leafy flowers first. Put the single, shorter, and more prominent flowers in last. Originally I thought I’d use wire cutters to trim my flowers, but I ended up just bending the wired stems in half, depending on the height I was looking for. This helped them take up room and stay put in each boot!

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Once your boots are filled and arranged the way you like them, tie a rope or ribbon securely to each boot.

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Now, take the boots to your door and see how they will hang. I ended up tying a knot in the rope down low, tying both halves together so the boots didn’t lean out too far from the door. I also shortened the rope a bit by wrapping and tying it around the wreath hanger.

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To finish your fun and funky Spring wreath, tie a pretty ribbon in a simple bow around the top and you’re done! So easy, cute and fun!

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Happy Spring!!!

Shoebox-Marble Game

Not only is the SHOEBOX-MARBLE GAME super-easy and simple to make, it’s also a challenging game for anyone to play! For younger children, they can try to catch the marbles on any holes; for adults and older kids, they may try to catch the marbles on specific colors or to make patterns with the marbles. Sounds pretty easy, but it’s not! L and I had lots of fun this afternoon taking turns, playing the Shoebox-Marble Game. Our shoebox was big enough, we were even able to play together with all hands on the box, tipping and tilting it until all the marbles were caught!

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Materials needed:

  • shoebox
  • awl (or sharp tool)
  • markers
  • marbles

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First, color a fun picture or design inside your shoebox.

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Using your awl, poke holes through the bottom. I like to do this by placing the box on a doormat, then poking the holes from the inside of the box – out. If the game is too hard, you may want to go back and make some larger.

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Now it’s time to play! Put some marbles in your box and see who can catch the most on the holes! The more you practice, the better you’ll get. For younger children, it helps to have them balance the box on a flat surface.

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Enjoy!!!

DIY Bird Nesting Kit

The “DIY Bird Nesting Kit” is the perfect project for little hands and little helpers! L and I made three kits this week: two gifts and one to hang in our own backyard, next to our DIY Tin Can Bird Feeder. It took less than a day for our feathered-friends to find it and start picking away, flying bits of string home to cozy-up their nests! The DIY Bird Nesting Kit costs only $2.50 to make (I’m not kidding!) and it’s a wonderful project to help teach kids about giving, sharing, and caring for the world around us….aaand about birds and the various types of nests they make of course!

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Before making our Bird Nesting Kits, the girls and I read “Mama Built a Little Nest” by Jennifer Ward and Steven Jenkins. It is fascinating book with beautiful, collage-like illustrations, depicting all kinds of birds, their families, and the homes they build. (It’s best to read in a pile of beach towels, swirled around on the floor into your own nest.) I highly recommend it!

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Materials needed:

  • Wired bird suet holder
  • yarn scraps
  • scissors
  • ruler (optional)

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First, have your little one cut the yarn scraps up into pieces about 3-5 inches long. You don’t have to measure them, but your little one might want to with the ruler!

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After you have a nice pile of yarn pieces, it’s time to stuff them into the suet holder. Then, close the suet holder up and it’s all done. It’s that easy!

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Now, time to find the perfect place outside to hang your Bird Nesting Kit…someplace where the birds will find it and you can spy them doing so is best!

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If you’re giving your Bird Nesting Kit away as a gift, you may want to include a little card inside explaining what it is. Your friends will be sure to love such a colorful, quirky, and fun gift! Enjoy!!!

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Cardboard Heart Stamps

How cute are these HEART STAMPS L and I made last week? Nobody would know by looking at the girls’ outfits that the hearts were made with a cardboard tube, but they were! This is such a simple craft, little hands can do the stamping all by themselves. Any imperfections make the final product even sweeter…that’s the sign that they were made with love. : ) After making Valentine’s outfits for the girls, we went on to stamp a pillowcase for L’s bed and some tea towel-dishcloths to give away as gifts. As I often say, the possibilities are endless!

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Materials needed:

  • cardboard tubes
  • acrylic paints
  • old lids or plates
  • rubberband
  • placemats or thin cardboard (to protect surfaces)
  • shirts, leggings, tea towels, pillowcase, tablecloth, etc

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To make your heart stamps, simply squash a cardboard tube in half gently. Then, push one crease inwards to create a heart shape. You can roll a rubber band over the tube to help hold the shape.

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Next, test your stamp out and have your little one practice a bit on paper. Just put the tube end into a little paint, and then, press down on a flat surface.

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Make sure whatever you are stamping is nice and flat. Run an iron over any clothes or towels. When stamping shirts or pillowcases, it’s a good idea to put a thin piece of cardboard in-between the clothing’s layers too. That way the paint won’t seep through the cloth and onto the other side.

Finally, stamp away!

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We used red paint, glitter paint, and some white paint to make our hearts. Really though, you could use any colors and they’d be just as precious!

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I love the little sideways, topsy-turvy hearts…simply “falling” in love.

Happy Valentine’s crafting!!!

Pumpkin Suncatchers

How sweet are these PUMPKIN SUNCATCHERS? They brighten up our kitchen windows and, hung beside some glue ghosts, they’ve quickly become my favorite Halloween decoration in the house!

 

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This project evolved while L and I were making it. (I love when that happens!) Originally we were just going to paint some mason jar lids, tie a ribbon on and call them “pumpkins.” Once I realized they’d be hanging in the kitchen window, I had a eureka moment…I knew that turning our pumpkins into suncatchers would be too easy and too perfect! I just love the bright and sunny colors!

 

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Materials needed:

  • mason jar lids
  • orange acrylic paint
  • plastic container (berry containers work great!)
  • Sharpie markers
  • green ribbon
  • green pipe cleaners
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun

*Notice the plastic container, hot glue gun, and markers are not pictured here…they surprised us in becoming “needed materials” half-way through the project!

 

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First, have your little ones paint the mason jar lids orange.

 

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After the lids have dried, tie a ribbon in a double-knot around the lid.

 

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Next, cut a pipe cleaner in half. Wrap it around a thin marker or pen to make a curlicue.

 

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Gently wrap the pipe cleaner curlicue around the knot at the base of the ribbon.

 

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Now for the suncatcher part! Cut the lid off your plastic container and remove the label if there is one.

 

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Have your little one color the plastic lid with Sharpie markers. L did some in solely “pumpkin colors” while the others she colored freely, using every color of the rainbow. (It’s important to use permanent markers, washable will rub right off and won’t work!)

 

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Use the center part of a jar lid to trace rounds on the colored-plastic. Cut the rounds out and make sure they fit into the pumpkin lids. You may have to trim the sides a bit and cut a piece out where the ribbon will lie.

 

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Next, with just a few dabs of hot glue, glue the colored-plastic in place. All done!

 

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Hang your PUMPKIN SUNCATCHERS up in a bright and sunny window where everyone can enjoy them! Adorable!!!

 

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Pumpkin Jar Craft

I am so excited that October is finally here and we can start doing some Halloween crafts around our house! This PUMPKIN JAR CRAFT was inspired by the Jam Jar Fairy Houses we made last Spring. It’s a very similar concept! While many people think hot glue guns are just for gluing things together, we like to use them to add texture to our crafts as well. The hot glue gives our pumpkin jars a true, warty pumpkin appearance! I love the way they look with and without jack-o-lantern faces, in the day and at night! Too cute!!!

 

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Materials needed:

  • jars, various sizes
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • acrylic paint
  • green, glitter spray paint
  • battery-operated tea lights

 

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First, decide whether or not you’d like jack-o-lantern faces on your jars. I really liked our mixed…two with, one without. If you’re putting a face on your jar, carefully do that first with the hot glue gun. One great thing about hot glue gun glue: if you make a mistake, simply let the glue cool completely, then peel it off and start again!

 

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Next, fill in the spaces and go around the jar with long, vertical stripes of hot glue. It certainly doesn’t need to be perfect…no two pumpkins are ever alike!

 

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After the glue has cooled completely, paint the inside of the jar yellow, where the face shines through.

 

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Now, paint the exterior of the jar orange. We painted ours with a mix of yellow and orange to give the pumpkins varying hues. Be careful around the face!

 

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The pumpkins without jack-o-lantern faces are perfect for your littles to paint!

 

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As the jars dry, spray your lids with glittery, green spray paint. Do this outside or in a well-ventilated area. If you don’t have spray paint, green acrylics would work fine too!

 

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After the lids have dried, screw them on top your jars and your pumpkin jars are complete! Now for the fun part…find a place to display your pumpkins for everyone to enjoy! At nighttime, place a battery-operated tea light inside each jar to bring your pumpkins to life!

 

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Are they cute or what? Enjoy!!!