Washi Tape Art

Washi Tape Art

This idea comes from Rubyellen (mom to four!) of CAKIES. It’s such a simple and fun idea…all you need is tape and paper.

Rubyellen’s tape is from Kid Made Modern at Target. I like the use of solid tape for this project. It lends itself better to interpreting ideas than patterned tape would, especially for smaller children. But I think my older girls (9 & 12) will try it with our collection of patterned washi tape!

Check out CAKIES blog for more beautiful photos of this project!


Making Journals

Making Journals

Ok, I will admit that this doesn’t look quick and easy. But it is!

As you may remember, I’ve confessed to being inept at time management. It was the day (eve) before our Disney trip, and I forgot to buy the kids journals. This wouldn’t be a big deal if we were at home, but since we are in a rental for the summer, I brought very little with us and I didn’t have one notebook or pad or anything. What I did have was some nice, thick vellum. (An artist always has a stash of nice paper!)

I decided to quickly bind together some pages. I had my daughter cut the paper into quarters, (10 sheets per journal would suffice). I spent a few minutes on the internet looking up book binding. There are umpteen ways to make journals, so I chose something that looked the least complicated. Janis from Pinecone Camp (via Poppytalk) created a wonderful post (and a far prettier journal than mine) on a simple way to bind pages together.

I did not have an awl, so I used a hammer and nail. I happened to have a large needle and I used some twine. I just weaved in and out of the holes until it seemed sturdy and looked even.

Each of my three kids used a different medium to decorate their cover (minimizing the inevitable “She’s copying me!”). I grabbed them each a black fine tip sharpie, some markers, and a few of our favorite le pens. We put them in ziploc baggies with a roll of wash tape, and that was it!

Each night, they took out their journals and wrote about their day. They rated the rides (Splash Mountain got an A++) and taped in stuff collected along the way. Their grandparents loved reading them!

Here is our Disney movie, it was quite an experience for us first-timers!


Pujaki: Paper Chandelier

Pujaki: Paper Chandelier

I’ve become a little obsessed with making a Pujaki. The word Pujaki is polish and translated it means “spiders of straw”. There is a strong folk arts & crafts tradition in Poland. In the winter, when much of the outdoor activities were suspended, Polish peasant families would spend their time preparing for on of their biggest holidays – Christmas. Made from colored paper and straw, the Pujaki would hang over the Christmas table and stay there through New Year’s when it was carried on visit’s to friends’ houses. It was a symbol of good luck for the coming year! I read about these on design sponge and also on decor8.

You can buy them online, like the one above, at the Polish Art Center. Or try your hand at making one, like Lena Corwin or The Small Object did here below.


I think I will put this on my summer list! Although traditionally made from straw, I think I might try making mine from pipe cleaners. I’ll let you know how it goes!


Recycled Postcard Banner

Recycled Postcard Banner

My sweet neighbor, Georgy, turned 103 last week. Yep! She was born in 1909. We visited her in her house that she built with her husband in 1939. She lives alone, but is loved and taken care of by many. She still cleans her own house and takes walks up the street on nice days. She goes to bed at 5pm and reads, listens to the news and does crossword puzzles until 9 o’clock. She is not only wise and beautiful and inspiring…she is a legend.

We wanted to bring her something homemade. She didn’t want a fancy party or any “fuss”. The kids made her a pumpkin bread, and I thought I’d make her a colorful, happy banner. I decided to use my old holiday postcards. The idea was to use the colorful backside of the postcards for the front of the banner with the letters. And then, as a bonus, the back of the banner (which would have been the front of the postcards) would have the kids’ faces. A reversible banner!

Because I am an awful planner, I usually think of an idea the day of the event. I am then forced to use what I have, as I don’t have time to shop for any supplies. The upside to my disorganization is that most things that I make use materials that I have lying around. I do love the recycled aspect of crafts! Here’s how I made this banner:

Recycled Postcard Banner:

Recycled cards
Paper of some sort to cut out letters
Exacto knife
Tape or glue
Hole punch

Start by cutting out triangles for the flags. Make one triangle, then use that as a template.

Next, cut out letters. I drew mine freehand, but you can use stencils. You’ll have to use an exacto knife to cut out the insides of the letters.

Arrange the flags in a nice, colorful pattern. Tape or glue on the letters. Punch holes in the corners.

When stringing the flags, I went back through the holes twice. This is not necessary, but it does give it extra stability.

Voila! Not hard to make, it took me about 90 minutes.

Flubber Recipe

Flubber Recipe

This past weekend was my son’s birthday. He turned six! We broke our own rules of 1) having birthday parties at home and 2) inviting no more than 10 guests. This year he wanted to invite all of the kids in Kindergarten (oy!), no one was to be left out. With so many invitees, we had to come up with a new plan. We decided to rent out the local movie theatre, and make a homemade party favor that wouldn’t cost too much. After some investigation, and many lengthy discussions, we decided to make flubber!

I researched and tried several variations on the recipe. We made 10 batches, each batch filling 4 containers. That’s 40 party favors! I designed a little label which I had printed on sticker paper at my local print shop, color coordinated, of course, and we were done. Moms were happy there was no candy, and my son was happy that he could share something he made himself.

Here is the simple recipe we used:


Mixture 1:

~ 1 1/2 cups very warm water

~ 2 cups white school glue (I used Elmer’s)

~ Food coloring

Combine in a small to medium bowl and stir with a clean spoon.

Mixture 2:

~ 3 teaspoons Borax (you can buy it on Amazon or at the grocery store)

~ 1 cup very warm water

Combine in a large bowl, stir until dissolved (or almost dissolved) with a clean spoon.

Pour mixture 1 into mixture 2. Because of the science behind this recipe, the borax combines with the PVA in the glue and makes a polymer. You could do nothing at this point and it would turn to flubber after a while. But what fun would that be? Your kids will want to stick their hands in immediately and start mixing. It will take about 10 minutes, but eventually all of the water will be absorbed, and you will have flubber!

Since I am an eco-mom, I did some research on Borax. (I had read on a few blogs that it was toxic which freaked me out). Borax (sodium borate) is a mined substance, just like salt is mined, and occurs naturally in the Mojave Desert, Chile and Tibet. Borax is only slightly more toxic than salt, and in some countries it is used as a salt substitute. Caffeine is 14 times more toxic than Borax! Flouride is more toxic, too. Breathing Borax powder is not a good idea, so don’t let your kids handle the powder. But once it is in it’s polymer form, it is completely safe.

Remind your kids that flubber is not a food! Also, just to be safe, have them wash their hands after playing with their flubber.

Tip: Keep your flubber in an airtight container, or a ziploc baggie. it’s shelf life is about 3 weeks. When throwing out your flubber, use the garbage not the sink.