2014 CD Desk Calendar Printables

2014 Printable Calendar

Download all 12 months of our printable 2014 Monthly CD Desk Calendar…for free! Each month features a different, seasonal kiwi to brighten up your desk or kitchen table. Just print, cut out, and pop into a CD case for display.

These printables are designed to repurpose old CD cases you might have lying around, but we think they also look great on one of the easels from our Modern Art crate, if you happen to have one!

Download here:
2014 Printable CD Desk Calendar

6 Holiday Gift Tag Printables

6 Holiday Gift Tag Printables

 It’s finally December and the magic of the holidays is upon us!

To add a pop of extra fun to your holiday presents, we created these adorable printable gift tags! Convenient and inexpensive, they’re a great way to personalize your gifts. We printed them on thick paper and used a paper punch to make a hole along the edge.

Download the FREE printable here: Holiday Gift Tag Printables

Enjoy!

Snow Globes

I have always had a nostalgic fascination with snow globes, and my kids have recently become similarly enamored (I think it happened when my husband brought back a miniature one from a business trip to NYC with the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building in it.  Stay tuned for our own crazy combos in a minute…)  So when I saw an image on Pinterest of some beautiful globes, I knew we had to add it to our holiday activity list.

Now, I will be honest – snow globes rank rather low on the No Mess scale (there is glitter AND water involved, after all.)  And ours did not turn out quite as lovely as those you see at the mall or Martha Stewart.  But the kids and I had a grand time designing them, and they really were a great activity for a dreary December Sunday.  I think we’ve got a new tradition on our hands.

The Pinterest image didn’t have a source, so our approach is based on a hodge-podge of sources I found online / YouTube, plus a little trial & error.  Learn from my mistakes!

Materials list:

  • Glass jars – *important*: before you start, test and make sure the lids screw on securely & don’t leak (I didn’t do this, and discovered after all was said & done that my lids were a little leaky. Ugh.)  You’ll see a Mason jar in the picture below, but we decided that wasn’t the best because of the pattern on the side; smoother seemed better to us.

  • Small plastic figurines – I picked up a couple of the Toob containers at Michael’s (one of buildings and one of trees), and found some festive figurines on sale at Rite Aid.  You can totally go with stuff you have around the house, if like us, you have little fairies, pirates, animals, etc from various sets / birthday parties, etc.
  • Glitter – yep, you do need glitter.  I saw online you could use crushed white eggshells instead, but that seemed like more trouble than it’s worth.  We used white & silver glitter; you could use whatever you like.
  • Glycerin or baby oil – (available at any drug store); this adds some viscosity to the water so the glitter floats longer.  But we tested one jar without it, and it honestly didn’t seem to make a huge amount of difference.
  • Hot glue or super glue – to glue the figurines to the jar lid (this is obviously a grown-up step.)  Also, if you want to make sure the lids stay ON those jars of water & glitter despite any attempts by a curious kiddo to open them, you can glue them on at the end.

Next, have your kids select the figures they want to use and arrange them on the lids.  We thought this part was super fun… it’s like creating your own tiny mini-city. 

Two things to keep in mind before you glue the figures down: 1) make sure they’re not taller than your jar (we had to be sure to match the Empire State to the tall jar) and 2) be sure to leave enough space at the edges of the lid so you can screw them back onto the jar.

Once you all feel good about the arrangement of your scene, you can super glue the figurines to the lid.  (I just love the assemblages: Empire State Building+Eiffel Tower+Leaning Tower of Pisa, Santa+Taj Majal+Arc de Triomphe and Big Ben+Statue of Liberty!)

You’ll want to let them dry for long enough to be sure the glue will hold.  In the meantime, you can add water to the jars — fill them not quite to the threads to start (the figurines will take up space when you put them in.)

Then add the glycerin — about a half-teaspoon, and the glitter — about a teaspoon.  You’ll see we added quite a bit more than that — some of us MAY have gotten carried away when given free rein on the glitter.

Then carefully screw the lid back onto the jar.  You might want to do this over the sink in case there’s too much water in the jar when you put the figurine in.  You can also check to see if you need to add a bit more water.

Shake them up and watch it snow!

Note: I discovered my jar with Santa in it had a leaky fit after it was all complete.  To salvage it a bit, I rimmed the lid with hot glue.  It didn’t completely solve the problem, but made us able to shake the jar a bit and enjoy it.  But these are creations that stay on the kitchen windowsill, just to be on the safe side!  And I think they look lovely next to our Mod-podge Magazine Christmas Trees!

 

 

 

Two Ingredient Tuesday: Strawberries + Whipped Cream = Santa Claus!

If you’re looking for a holiday-themed dessert that will give your kids a chuckle, this is about as easy as it gets.  Pick yourself up a can of whipped cream and a pint of strawberries, and you’re good to go.  I know we are among the lucky ones in California because we can still get strawberries through the dead of winter (yes, they still call it winter here – though as my 4-year old likes to remind me, “it doesn’t snow in our land”.)  But it doesn’t really matter if your strawberries are not the tastiest ones — you’re topping them with whipped cream, after all.

 

 

All you do is cut off the stem end (toss that) and slice a little hat off the top (save that.)  Put a dollop of whipped cream on for a beard and another, smaller dollop on for the hat.
 

 

Adorable?  I think so.  I’m sharing my kinda sloppy Santas above (apologies for the poor lighting!  It’s winter after all, and practically dark at 4:30…argh.)  If you’re very gourmet and happen to have black sesame seeds in your pantry, you can add them for eyes (it does make him look a lot more like Santa) — and you’ll have something along the lines of my inspiration here:

 

In either case, I bet your kids will scarf them up, as mine did, and clamor for more.  Good news is that a can of whipped cream lasts for at least 2 pints of strawberries, plus a few mugs of hot cocoa, as a bonus.

 

Ho! Ho! Ho!
 

What are your (or your kids’) favorite holiday treats?

Two Ingredient Tuesday: Pine Cone & Pompom Christmas Trees

Guest post from Jen at paintcutpaste.com

This is an oldie but a goodie – making Christmas trees out of pine cones and pompoms.

 

 

My daughter was so excited when I presented her with a bag of sparkly red and white holiday pompoms that I picked up for $1 and a pine cone from the yard. (Hooray for the little things in life!)

 

Perhaps it was the way I placed the pine cone on her art table or she’d seen this before, but without any prompting, she said, “I’m going to decorate this as a Christmas tree!”

She got right to work, using dots of school glue on some of the pine cone’s scales to adhere the pompoms to the pine cone.

After creating the little red and white one, she dug into our craft supplies to (successfully) find more pom poms, and decided that the little tree needed a “rainbowy mommy tree”  — naturally!

Sometimes these classic crafts from our own childhoods have staying power with our little ones!

Pine Cone Fairy Family

My son H has been planning for weeks for his playdate today with two girls (!!) from his kindergarten class.  He informed me that they were “really into art, Mom”, so we should have some projects for them all to do (what? a playdate without Star Wars Legos?? what to do???).

I have to admit to you (since they’re in the picture below) that I had just BOUGHT pine cones at Michael’s (embarrassing b/c we are surrounded by pine trees, but we just spent a morning collecting pine cones, and they were all kind of falling apart. And HUGE. Not great for crafting. And the pine cones were only $1.50 at Michael’s for 15. But yes, I still feel somewhat sheepish for buying pine cones.)  And I had some supplies leftover from daughter S’s 4th birthday party where we did fairy crafts (more on that another day.)  So, we had the makings of something…

Supplies:
Pine cones
Felt — yes, those are little hats sewn from felt – leftover from the birthday party.  More on that in a minute.
Wooden doll heads (from craft-store; I used 25mm and the smaller size)
Pipe cleaners
Metallic wire ribbon (just something fun we had on hand)
Markers

…And it so happens I recently pinned this super cute image on Pinterest of what I imagined to be a beautiful woodland fairy family, which be great to decorate a holiday table (I ignored the fact that they were dressed for Valentine’s Day in the picture.)  So we set out to make our own Pine Cone Fairy Family.

We affixed the heads onto the pine cones first.  Some of us glued the head directly onto the pine cone; for others, the tip of the pine cone wasn’t a cooperative shape, so we needed to affix it better – so used a pipe cleaner poked through the top and wrapped around the pine cone.

The pipe cleaners created cute arms, so even if we didn’t need them to hold the head on, the kids wanted to wrap them around the pine cone for arms.

After getting the heads on, we moved on to decorating the rest of the fairies.  That included gluing on those cute little hats.  I know, you’re probably rolling yours eyes right now – “really??  You want me to SEW a fairy hat?!”  Yeah, I hear you.  That’s what my husband said when I stayed up til all hours sewing 30 of them for the birthday party (but those are the irrational things that mothers do for their children’s birthday parties).

Here’s the deal: they are super easy – you just cut a triangle out of felt and sew up one side with embroidery thread and a needle.  Here’s a basic tutorial.  But if you don’t have thread or a needle, I bet you could wing it with a stapler.  Or skip the hat and cover their noggins with just a piece of felt, or yarn, or a rolled up pipe cleaner, or just color / paint on some hair.  I’m sure your kids could come up with a million more creative ideas and would never miss the silly gnome hat.

I would, however, advise picking up some sparkly wire ribbon if you’re ever at a craft store.  It was very easy to manipulate for all of my 4-6 year old crew and quite a hit, especially when used as a crown… Meet our Fairy Queen below:

Then there was a clamor for “MARKERS!”  We brought out the special Sharpies, and the kids got to work on faces and hair.

I gave our gang free rein on all the finishing touches, so some decided to add wings (naturally – they’re fairies, after all) – so we cut out some wing shapes and tied them on with embroidery thread.  (Wire ribbon or pipe cleaner would also work instead.)

I just love the range of personalities in our little Pine Cone Fairy Family!  Two of them went home with their creators, and the other two are nestled in beside the gingerbread houses on our table.

Stay tuned for another pine cone activity to come next week!  What are your favorite pine cone projects?