Tag Archives: creative

Back to school mantle

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Back to school mantle

Often I make our fireplace mantle change for the season or holiday but I never blog about it. I’m going to change that and start sharing my mantle creations on here maybe to inspire others or if nothing else to share the fun I have creating my mantle master pieces.

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The school year is approaching fast and before the holiday’s catch up with us I wanted to pump up the kids for the new school year. We now have a middle schooler and a kinder kid in the house and those are two big transformations that they will have to get use to.

I went to Michaels to get loom for the crayon wreath, I needed two different size embroidery hoops that I hot glued together (the top thick wood parts with the screws) and bought two packs of 120 crayola crayons to ensure I had enough crayons for the wreath. At my discretion I spaced them out in the correct color spectrum. I ended up only getting to red, orange, yellow and green not even using blue, indigo or violet.

snap chatting my project

snap chatting my project. Hot glued the crayons to the hoops. I found it easier to place the crayon quickly on the hoop where I wanted it and then place to dots and glue it down.

Originally I had planned to add cute cut outs with my Cricut machine, but once the wreath was done I loved it the way it was.

Hung with a measuring ribbon and the rest hangs down in a bow.

Hung with a measuring ribbon and the rest hangs down in a bow.

I had an idea of how I wanted the mantle to turn out, I just needed to find a few accessories at the stores if I could. To my surprise I didn’t find what I needed at Michaels, and now that I think about it I might have been too early in the season for back to school supplies who knows. Next door I made a Target run and “glanced” in the dollar aisle (its my weakness), to my absolute surprise and utter joy Target had a few great back to school decorating items. I’m sure I looked like a kid in a candy store with a million dollars to spend. Each find made me happier than the next. My at home ideas went out the door and my cart was full of new ideas.

The kids and I grabbed a world map and I used this as an opportunity to illustrate the path that their Dad traveled while he was in the Navy on his deployments.

Dad has been around the world twice.

Dad has been around the world twice.

The glass jars were filled with stamps and scissors and the book ends held some children books, while on the other end an apple chalk board counts the days until school starts.

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And last but not least the garland has a positive message for the kids to read daily and absorb before the school year begins.

Stay focus!

Stay focused!

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Carlos’ Dinosaur birthday

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Halloween 2014

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Halloween for us started in early September, the house was all decorated inside and ready for the season before the weather even changed. The outfit planning started a few months before that in summer. I guess you could say, Halloween is kinda a big deal here.
We went through several costume ideas before sticking with the final one. My heart was set on Carlos being Nacho Libre,  but as time went on more ideas came to mind. The tough thing about toddlers and Halloween, is that there’s so many great ideas and it makes it hard to choose! The kids have been in themed costumes that past few years, so want to keep the tradition going while they’re still little and don’t want to be two completely different things.
Since Emery is older I was willing to work around what she wanted. It changed a few times, first she wanted to be Olaf with blood on the side of her mouth (her idea not mine). Then she wanted to be The Mad Hatter from Alice In Wonderland. Of course no where in the known universe of 1 million costume shops did I find a pre made outfit, that began my frantic pinning. If Emery was going to be the Mad Hatter Carlos would be The March Hare. It looked like I would be making two costume outfits.
Luckily Emery decided to be Alice and that moved Carlos up to The Mad Hatter. I only had to make one outfit! I don’t like doing things last-minute so I started everything in September, besides I needed the costume done and bought before our Apple Hill trip in early October.

Before I even got started I was nervous of the task ahead of me. This would be my first time making an outfit. I’ve made a doll outfit before, a few pillows but that was the extent of it. Now I was taking on pants, a vest and a jacket! I figured if it didn’t pan out and worst came to worst Carlos would be in the dark and it was only for one day.

As crazy as that was, my sewing machine wasn’t even working! A month before I tried fixing it with my grandma while watching YouTube videos to no success. My husband (Mr. Fix it via YouTube) tried it and it worked! I had my machine, my cloth, my ideas, now time to try to figure it all out.

 

Those are the hands of man who can google & figure out anything on the web.

Those are the hands of man who can Google & figure out anything on the web.

This is the only photo I have of me making the outfit. I dont know why I didnt take any to blog. Also you may notice I'm bald. I shaved my head and donated it to Locks Of Love. You can check out that video on YouTube @ Valsays [[Antiques & Bald chicks]]

This is the only photo I have of me making the outfit. Unfortunately I didn’t record the process for the blog. Also you may notice I’m bald. I shaved my head and donated it to Locks Of Love. You can check out that video on YouTube @ Valsays [[Antiques & Bald chicks]]

I also had to make the tights the colors I needed  for The Mad Hatter outfit. With this I bought white cotton tights and several Kool-Aid packets.

I used 3 Kool-Aid purples with one different packet

I used 3 Kool-Aid purples with one different packet

& three green apple packets. This was the only green I could find. I dont know why anyone would want to drink this flavor but to each their own.

& three green apple packets. This was the only green I could find. I don’t know why anyone would want to drink this flavor but to each their own.

STEP 1. I put three of the purple packets in a steady boil.

STEP 2. Since I needed each leg a different color I held the other white leg in my hand so that it wouldn’t stain. TIP: turn the tights inside out because in step 4 your tights will lose that color you loved.

STEP 3. Constantly move the tight around so all the color can be even.

STEP 4. When you reach the desired color take out and rinse in cool water and wring it lightly. You don’t want to get all the color out so be careful, it doesn’t have to be in the water that long, maybe 30 seconds at max.

STEP 5. Because we are doing different color legs repeat the from step 1. TIP: I had to get another pot because the color really stuck, so be prepared or save yourself the hassle and just use another pot.

First leg

First leg

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STEP 6. Have a hanger ready to hang your end result. Leave it inside out until it is fully dry. I had mine dry over night and I think they were still a tad damp in the morning.

 

Now lets fast forward about a week of staying up at 3 a.m. every night (because my children are crazy and go to bed at 11) to get the clothes ready and here are the end results.

I'm still in awe that I made this outfit

I’m still in awe that I made this outfit

Mini costume Alice In Wonderland photo shoot at a local pumpkin patch

Mini costume Alice In Wonderland photo shoot at a local pumpkin patch

In these picture you can’t really see the colors on Carlos’ tights, that because I didn’t realize they were so much brighter on the inside until I took them off.
I also made Carlos’ Mad Hatter hat with the help of my husband. I researched on Pinterest how to make the hat and which I would like best. No pictures were taken of that either. If you decide to take on the task of making your own hat, make sure you have plenty of hot glue, some help and plenty of fabric to cover your hat! A staple gun might work better and be faster. Carlos never actually wore his hat, the hat is way too heavy for him and by the time we put all the cardboard in the rim it didn’t fit his head. It’s really nice so we are keeping it for a possible Alice In Wonderland party or a Halloween decoration for next year.

Here are the tights inside out and the hat! As you can see it's pretty big.

Here are the tights inside out and the hat! As you can see it’s pretty big.

 

Emery is really into YouTube tutorials on costume make up, the day before Halloween I was watching one with her and got inspired to be the white rabbit. I didn’t really want to dress up because I didn’t feel like making myself anything but I actually had everything I needed to become the white rabbit, all I needed was white eye liner, to make the ears, foam board and a chain that were at Michael’s (my favorite store ever).

Mom as the White Rabbit

Mom as the White Rabbit

The whole Alice In Wonderland clan!

The whole Alice In Wonderland clan!

Just when we were done taking pictures in the front yard a black car pulled up. Emery thought trick – or – treaters were here. I said, “no trick – or – treaters don’t come in cars”. A few seconds later Nina Valerie came out! I have bad eyesight so I didn’t even know who it was! Not to mention she had just got a new car so I didn’t put two and two together! Val and Vic had planned the surprise a day before and I was totally clueless. I guess I got both tricked and a treat!

My trick & treat!

My trick & treat!

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving crafts

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Another Holiday is here! The house is filled with Fall and Thanksgiving decorations. The mantel is done up, the outside of our home has our dried up corn stocks from the summer garden and pumpkins next to them. The children have been colored Thanksgiving coloring pages, made felt hand turkeys and we made one giant turkey with all of the kids hands.

I printed coloring pages off the internet from my Pinterest board. It’s not hard to find a site that has Thanksgiving drawings (or any Holiday or theme) for your children to do. A simple Google search can lead you to a million photos and Thanksgiving games such as word search or connect the dots. Last year you may remember from my blog, I printed out lots of different coloring sheets for the kids to color before the food was ready. It’s a fun little project to have them do all together before the bird is done.

Coloring Thanksgiving pages and activities

Coloring Thanksgiving pages and activities

I’m starting a simple Holiday tradition with the children. Every Holiday I want to trace their hands and save it into our Holiday box, so I can watch their little hands grow year by year. It started with the Halloween spiders, and continuing with the Thanksgiving turkey hands.

Turkey hands

Turkey hands.

You can also use puff paint and give your turkeys eyes or have the kids designs on the wings with different colors. Just like the Halloween spiders, you can also punch a hole up top and add string and place your turkeys on your mantel or anywhere else you would like to show them off at in your home.

The backs of the turkey to mark who's hand is who's when they get older

The backs of the turkey to mark whose hand is who’s when they get older

I thought what if it was cute to trace the children’s hands and make one big turkey. I used the babies little foot for the turkeys body. Tracing a baby’s hand is pretty impossible, let alone trying to hold their foot still and having to trace it or have someone else trace it. I discovered flour! I rubbed flour on the bottom of his foot and put his little foot on the felt. It left a nice a little imprint of his foot for me to trace. It made things so much more easy and less of a traumatic experience.

Flour on the foot. I will never struggle tracing another child's hand or foot again!

Flour on the foot. I will never struggle tracing another child’s hand or foot again!

All of the kids hands into one big turkey! From oldest to youngest making the turkeys wings

All of the kids hands into one big turkey! From oldest to youngest making the turkeys wings

After they had their individual hand I used that one cut out as a template to make all their other hands for the turkey’s wings. You can get more creative and save it in a frame.

Enjoy some Thanksgiving activities with the kids before the Holiday is over, and don’t forget to follow my Pinterest for some good ideas on family fun & follow us on Instagram at gypsywidow!

Halloween crafts

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To keep up with the spirit of Halloween, I’ve been playing family Halloween music on Pandora for the past week and doing activities with the kids, Some nights I’ve printed out Halloween coloring pages I’ve found online. One night I printed a dozen different Halloween scenes out and brought them over to my family’s house and had the kids sit around the table with a bucket or crayons. Later when we got home their coloring pages went up on the kitchen cabinets. Pinterest  has given me several new suggestions to spice up my Halloween game, and with 118 plus things pinned in my board, I have no shortage of ideas.
A few days ago we made a family trip to Michaels. This happens to be my favorite store. Just walking in and smelling that familiar cinnamon scent that welcomes me as soon as the doors open, always puts me in a creative state. We got some stiff black felt and googly eyes for “hand” spiders, we were going to make with the kids.

This is what you will need :

1. A hot glue gun, glue sticks & paper plate or something to catch the hot glue dripping down 2. A blue or white color pencil so you can see your tracing  3. Scissors for cutting out the hand you have traced 4. White yarn for the spiders web string 5. A hole puncher to tie the yarn through  6. & googly eyes 7. Not pictured here but you can use puff paint to write the name of the child the hand spider belongs to and the year.

1. A hot glue gun, glue sticks & paper plate or something to catch the hot glue dripping down
2. A blue or white color pencil so you can see your tracing
3. Scissors for cutting out the hand you have traced
4. White yarn for the spider’s web string
5. A hole puncher to tie the yarn through
6. & googly eyes
7. Not pictured here but you can use puff paint to write the name of the child the hand spider belongs to and the year.

It’s pretty basic, get some black stiff felt (it’s a few cents more than the standard flimsy felt), put your child’s hand on in and trace around with a pencil. Cut out the tracing and put a hole punch at the top of the palm so that the fingers are dangling down like legs. If you don’t have a hole puncher done worry! You can bend the top of the palm cut out slightly and make a hole with the scissors. Warm up the glue gun, this will take a minute or two then add the googly eyes. We only used two but feel free to be creative and have a spider with three or more eyes. Add the string, cut to your own desired length and if you like use puff paint (I used white) to add the child’s name and the year.
This was such a cute idea we decided every year to have a hand or foot cut out to see how much the child has grown and as a little family memento.

Our hand spiders! Happy Halloween!

Our hand spiders!
Happy Halloween!

Good eats

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Somewhere in my parent reading I came across an article that said, having snacks for kids in the car could be a bad thing. Every time the child gets in the car they’ll expect food, not necessarily fast food but even just a cup of goldfish or something. This is personally true for me, as a child I knew if I went on a car ride I was guaranteed a fast food meal. I don’t want my daughter to grow up with a bad habit like that. Which brings me to this Friday’s blog, Good eats!

Sometimes I find it hard to have a healthy snack for my daughter, I run out of ideas on what to serve her. Really I have a heard time feeding myself! Let alone another person everyday. During the holidays & every changing season,  magazines come out with creative little snacks for kids to eat.  Now with other sites like Pinterest looking up new cool food ideas is helpful! I’m not a creative person when it comes to cooking, the only holiday snacking I participate in is Halloween. I like to make “mummy hot dog wraps” and whatever else I find that’s easy to whip up. A friend of mine recently posted a picture on her Facebook with a cute little “Octopus'” she made for her niece and nephews. This is definitely something my daughter would love! She loves pasta and hotdogs! Just cut the hotdogs to size, stick  uncooked spaghetti in the hotdog and boil together! If you don’t give your child hotdogs but love the idea, a tufu dog would work just as good! I know I didn’t want Emery eating hotdogs until she was two but when summer came around that idea went right out the window.

My favorite snack to give Emery is cucumber slices. She loves cucumber, its something I know she will eat for sure, even when she’s going through a stage where she’s not eating at all. Usually I’ll cut off the skin or cut it so every other space is cucumber and skin so she wont choke, and I don’t add salt or anything else to it. This is  good everyday snack food for us. Black olives is another little finger food she loves. She puts them on her fingers and eats them off. I don’t give her those often because they are salty but its a nice little treat when she does get them.

During summer theres berries & melons added to the mix. My grandma laughs at me because I always take off Emery’s shirt before she eats a messy food like strawberries. Shes young enough where I don’t think its weird for her to have her shirt off and it saves it from stains. It may be crazy but I have thrown away lots of clothes due to stains. Her and I can’t keep a shirt clean for anything!
Last year, right before her first birthday we found out she was a little anemic, possibly from the breast milk or just not enough iron in her diet. The Dr. suggested onions. I thought what baby is going to want an onion? It’s kinda pungent in taste, this coming from a person who loves onions. But I did it, I gave her an onion and she ate it! Shes been an onion lover ever since! Luckily for me Emery will at least try everything once. Her anemia went away and I still give her onions with her food and as a snack. Shes little and doesn’t know any better, and how people often don’t like onions. I don’t want someone elses influence on not liking onions to affect her thoughts on it. It’s bound to happen because kids and adults often give a sour face when they see her chowing down on it like an apple. Anything that comes from the ground, tree or vine is healthy for the body and has some kind of power in them. Raisens is another food high in iron, along with other minerals and vitamins.

It may take up to 10 times befor a child likes a food so keep trying and get a positive environment around them! Praise them for trying new foods and even if its something you don’t like let your child try it out. Just don’t give them a new food before bed incase there’s some sort of allergic reaction. Good luck with your picky eaters and Good eats!