Monday, May 30, 2011

* Easy Kid Craft: Homemade Magnets

"E" needed some magnets to go with her 
fancy fashion design magnetic display boards 
in her room so we decided to make some!

Tutorials for this project can be found 
EVERYwhere on the web!

First she looked through our scrapbook paper stash and picked out some favorite designs. 

Then, she traced flat glass beads from the Dollar Tree store with a pencil on each paper she liked. 
Carefully cut out the shape with scissors. 

We used Mod-Podge to stick each piece of paper to the back of each glass "stone"
(glue the paper to the flat backside)
Let it dry overnight.

It will start out white and cloudy then, dry clear.

We used a blob (super stinky!) E600 glue
to stick a magnet to the back of each
glass stone and magnet. 

She made some plain "blue" magnets with these blue glass stones
and below you'll see some more of her finished magnets. 

Perfectly easy, kid-friendly craft.
Useful too, she loves using them to hold up 
her art work in her room!

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Friday, May 27, 2011

* Magnetic Board Child's Room Display and DIY Fashion Design

My 8 year old daughter "E" is a prolific artist. 
She's been drawing since before her first birthday.
Her current passion is fashion sketching and designing. 

We got her some Project Runway fashion sketch paper for her birthday
and she sits at her desk daily and 
comes up with new "designs."

She's really good
or, I'm biased...
 But, I DO know I wasn't drawing this well when I was 8 years old!

Displaying children's art work 
is always a challenge
when you have a "prolific" artist in residence!

We needed a way for her to display her work in an organized way. 
Her other big thing is being "organized." 
She is constantly re-organizing her room and her things. 
(the apple does not fall far from this tree!)
I mounted two of these dry-erase, magnetic boards
on the wall in her room so she can display her sketches,
school projects, menus, etc. 

"E" loves them - almost as much as her 
Fashion Paper Pads!

Each design has a name too....

"Underwater Queen"

"Hot Summer Day"

"Summer Day" 

"Peace Out!"

"Comfortable and Cool"

She told me last night she has her 
"Spring Collection" up right now,
complete with handbags, shoes, and jewelry-- 
I should have taken more photos but I can't keep up with her. 

She's planning her "Summer Line" next!

Happy Organizing and Sketching!

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

* Toilet Paper Tube Craft: Target Practice!

The girls invited a neighborhood friend over for  an after-school play date this week. 
It was super hot outside so, after popsicles... 
we needed some water play!

I suggested that they make some "targets" 
for their water guns out of toilet paper tubes.

We got out our "water shooters" (Thank You dollar bin at Target),
buckets of water, and made targets
out of empty toilet paper tubes, 
colored masking tape
and Sharpie brand permanent markers!


The toilet paper tube targets worked like a charm. 
The girls made a score board chart (hello math!)  and kept track of their "HIT"s. 
I think they'd be fun to shoot with those Nerf foam guns too!

It was great hand-eye co-ordination practice and all three girls had a blast!

We'll be doing this a lot this summer!
pink and green mama

Friday, May 20, 2011

* Children's Backyard Fairy Garden

My girls love fairies and we have our share 
of Fairy Gardens and "lands" to play with.
I've gotten several emails lately 
asking for more details about our Fairy Gardens 
so I hope this post can answer some questions!

You'll need a container or a special secret corner 
of your yard/garden for your Fairy Garden.
If you're planning to plant one indoors, 
you can use a shallow dish/pan/flower pot. 
We've planted fairy gardens in our yard and indoors. 

Outdoor Fairy Gardens:

My dad built a fairy garden in 2009
in a large planter box on his deck for my girls. 
It is still going strong and a favorite play spot
at Grammy and Grandpa's house. 
I posted about it here if you want to go back and take a little tour! 

Our local plant nursery has a wonderful 
area devoted to fairy gardens, miniature plants, 
and tiny "steppable plants" 
Whenever we need to replace a tiny plant or tree,
we head over there for inspiration and supplies. 

We try to pay attention and pick plants 
that can handle the light and climate 
for wherever we're planting them. 

Tiny buildings, castles, and houses
can be found on line (search for Fairy Garden Supplies)
and in home decor discount stores like Home Goods or Marshalls. 
I also have had success finding cute bridges and mini pagodas
in the fish aisle at our local pet store. 

Rocks, pebbles, glass stones, and gravel 
work well for pathways, dry river beds, and add
interest to your garden. 

Mini benches can be found at Christmas time 
near those tiny seasonal villages. 
You can also make your own with twigs and glue. 

For the Fairy Container Garden pictured (above) 
and in my Backyard Makeover post
We used an outdoor wooden planter box
 (on locking wheels/casters)

My mom and dad planted it with the girls 
while my sweet hubby and I were on a trip last fall. 

They filled up the empty space in the bottom of the planter
with upside down (empty) plastic cat little buckets 
(with holes drilled for drainage)

Then, a piece of particle board was cut to size
to make a "floor" for the fairy garden box. 

They placed weed-block garden fabric
on top of the particle board base and filled it with potting soil mix. 

Smooth it all out then start to plant!

Thanks Grandpa! That was really fun : )

They still play in it daily with their tiny plastic 
Schleich Fairies and Animals.

We've also just painted little houses from the craft store
and set up mini-fairy lands in our backyard garden
with stone walkways and tiny washing lines. 

Indoor Fairy Gardens
We've also made our share of indoor fairy gardens...

Fairy Garden Bowls
As end of the year teacher gifts

Indoor Cat Fairy Garden
As mini-cat grass gardens (here's the post!)

Homemade Fabric Tree Stump House

Happy Fairy Land Making!

pink and green mama, MaryLea

I recommend:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

* Interview and "Puppet Play" Book Giveaway!

The girls and I loved Diana Schoenbrun's newest book, "Puppet Play"
and we couldn't wait to share it with all of you!
At the end of this post,  you'll have a chance to
  win your own copy of her "Puppet Play" book!

As you  may know from past posts, 

We love puppets - we've made sock puppets
pipe cleaner and paper "Oobi" puppets

and our own mini puppet theatre!

I was so excited to interview Diana and
 review our own copy of her adorable book.

Here's our conversation -- Enjoy!
Me: 1. My mom and Middle School Home Economics teacher taught me how to 
 sew. Who taught you how to sew?

 Diana: I had the same experience. My mom taught me around age 6 basic sewing. 
 She is quite skilled in hand sewing and does cross-stitching, 
 needlepoint, and crewel embroidery.  When I was in middle school I 
 learned how to use a sewing machine and I used patterns to create 
 clothing and pillows.

Me: 2. I used to cut up old socks into Barbie doll dresses as a child. 
 Did you make puppets or doll clothes as a child?

Diana:  I remember making small puppets out of felt and paper bags as a child. 
 I also liked making sculpted characters out of clay and then cutting and 
 sewing fabric to cover them with clothes. One project that sticks out in 
 my mind is a simple cornhusk doll I made.

Me: 3. Our sock puppets and (up-cycled sock/tights) stuffed animals live in 
 our playroom. Do you keep your puppets for yourself or give them away as 

 Diana: I have many of the original stuffed animals and puppets from my book 
 that I often bring to events. I do make extras and give them away as 
 gifts to family and friends. Sometimes I sell them at craft and holiday 

 Me: 4. A blogging friend (Filth Wizardry) up-cycled a wooden meat carving platter into a 
 play space ship and my own daughter up-cycled a back massager into a 
 moon buggy for one of her polly pocket dolls. What is one of the 
 strangest things you've ever up-cycled for one of your creative 

 Diana: As a child I was a big fan of cardboard boxes and made them into 
 trains,cars,and igloos. I would pretend to travel in them. I turned a 
 dollhouse into an actual bird feeder. In my Puppet Play and Beasties 
 book I up-cycled my clothes into many puppets and stuffed animals.

Me: 5. As an artist, I always have half a dozen different projects going at 
 once. Is there something new in the works that you're excited to be 
 working on that you would like to tell my readers about?

 Diana: Yes I have am working on a stop motion animation book trailer for 
 Beasties. Check back to my video page in June! There will be a zombie 
 and Chonchon featured in it. I am planning craft events in California  
 on June 2nd in San Francisco  at the Museum of Craft and Folk 
 Art( and another event at the Reading Bug book 
 store( on June 5th. I am also working on 
 illustrations for two picture book stories I wrote.

Thank you so much Diana, we adore 
all of the clever ways you 
re-purposed and up-cycled 
socks and lost gloves into friendly toys! 

For a chance to win your own copy of Diana's book,
"Puppet Play" leave a comment on this post
(make sure I have an email address for you!)
Winner will be selected by random number generator 
on Friday May 20th at 10am EST.

Comments are now closed.
Winner will be notified via email.

Pink and Green Mama,

Other destinations on Diana's Bloggy Book tour include:
May 2nd

May 3rd
Oh My! Handmade,

May 4th
Craft Sanity,>

May 5th
Sew Mama Sew,

May 6th
Little Birdie Secrets,

May 7th
This Mama Makes Stuff,

May 8th
Roots and Wings,

May 9th
Whip UP, <

May 10th

May 11th

May 12th
Prudent Baby

May 13th
Make + Do,

May 14th
Craft Test Dummies,

May 15th
Cute Everything,

May 17th
Progressive Pioneer,

May 19th
Arrow Cabinets,

May 20th
The Happy Honeybee,

May 21st
Craft Gossip,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

* Puppet Fun Preview!

a little sock puppet friend of ours wants to
 tell you a secret! 

We've got a fun giveaway and interview 
coming up tomorrow
that you won't want to miss!

pink and green mama

Friday, May 13, 2011

* Backyard Makeover: Kid Friendly Play Spaces

Today I'm giving you a tour of our recently 
re-made (spruced up) backyard. 

We love our backyard and spend as much time 
out here as possible...

That's "E" hanging out in our trees. 
See the little fence behind her? 
That borders our neighbor's yard and they have two dogs
who aren't very nice to the girls.

Every time we go out to our swing set, 
the dogs come running up to the (low) fence
baring their teeth, growling, and barking aggressively. 

The result: My kids are (were) afraid to go play
 in our own backyard and this mama 
bares her teeth and growls aggressively back at the dogs.

That's not cool. 

We saved up for two years and just put this fence in.
It's 7 feet tall and makes the yard feel like Fort Knox....
I mean, our own private oasis!

That's the old swing set. 
The one we bought when we moved in.
It was too small for growing girls and their friends.
 E's legs were too long for it. 

So.... we donated the set to Freecycle to a family with very young children
and inherited our next door neighbors' (not the dog people) swing set. 

Hubby and I replaced the top beam and hardware,
added our own swings and replaced the grass
with (free) county mulch.

That would be 7 pick-up truck loads of mulch
scooped and shoveled by yours truly. 

With some help from hubby...
but I did a lot of it while he was at work! 

We anchored the swing set with heavy duty wire
(can't remember what it's called) 
and twist into the ground (screw thingy) airplane anchors.

(My father in law is a pilot and got us these anchors for the swing set)

I tied on the ribbons so we (and the girls) see the lines 
and don't trip on them!

My view from my new hammock.
Yup, I got a hammock with a hammock stand as 
part of the new "backyard" makeover. 

It's great for Snuggling.
And.... Giggling little girls swinging. 

It also makes a good boat, pirate ship, space ship, etc.!

"E" climbing her favorite tree.

Cute-patootie yard flags and gazing balls 
made by my favorite little artists during my 

Obstacle course made from more 
stumps scavenged at the dump
and cinderblocks found in our yard (from the previous owners). 

Check out these monster tree stumps my hubby
and brother-in-law brought home from the dump.

They each weigh more than I do!
They make great "stages" for impromptu backyard performances. 

In the left corner you'll see our neighbor's 
homemade balance beam
they gave us with the swing set (score!)

See the circle of tree stumps....
This is the area the girls call 
"Nature School"

That's "Boulder" over on the left of the circle. 
We brought him/her with us from the old house. 
He'll be moving with us every time we move. 
And yes....our movers thought we were crazy -- whatever, he's our boulder. 

They love to play school, house, and all kinds of other 
fun, secret games. We've scavenged the tree stumps 
from the dump and neighbor's trash.

And yes...we play in our PJs in the backyard, don't you?

Just over "E"s shoulder (sitting you can see it on the tree stump behind her) 
is one of the other favorite backyard "toys": 
their Mortar and Pestle

I picked it up at a Homegoods store for less than $10.
(like Marshalls or any of those other discount home ware stores)

Worth. every. penny. 
(I think every kid should have a mortar and pestle.)

The girls use it for potions, 
grinding up flowers, leaves, 
making homemade nature paint, etc. 

This is our "Mud Pit"area of the yard.
Our red clay soil doesn't perk well 
and we're planning to do a dry river bed with
stone (someday...) but in the meantime, 
my girls love to put on their boots and make muddy messes!

(The girls were pretending to be witches making 
witch's brew and coffee.) : ) 

The girls also play with their Fairy Garden daily. 
They've done a great job maintaining it,
trimming bushes, picking mini weeds, etc.

(the tiny pagoda and bridge are from the fish decorations area at the pet store)

The girls made their Fairy Garden
with Grandpa last summer. 

Hope you enjoyed your mini tour of our yard,
let us know when you want to come play!

pink and green mama, MaryLea

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