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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Homemade Christmas Reveal #2: The Winter Sensory Box



Here is the long awaited, much anticipated Winter Sensory Box in all of it's glory.

Well... the fake snow lasted about 20 minutes before I kicked both girls out of the box and got out my mini dust buster and sucked up the fake glitter that was taking over the kitchen. I replaced all of the fake snow with uncooked white rice and it has been much better since. The snow was pretty but with the 23 month old it was traveling near and far. I tried to not be too Mommy Dearest as I threw away the snow and explained why rice was even cooler than fluff.

Monday, December 29, 2008

* So Much Cooler Than Pixie Hollow: DIY Homemade Fairy House

Home Made Christmas Reveal #1: Home Grown Pixie Hollow.
Eat your heart out Tinkerbell.
We've got the coolest fairy house on the block.
Built by yours truly and my darling husband as one of this year's coolest Christmas gifts.

This year my sweet hubby helped me with some of my crazy home made Christmas crafting and this was one of my favorite creations by far. We built a fairy house for our girls to play with. I've seen similar ones on-line and in catalogs but I did not have $300 lying around to drop on one and decided we could meet the challenge and make our own. My parents watched the girls for a Saturday afternoon so we could be busy little elves and get the thing built without an audience. It was quite a little engineering project but it turned out well and is very sturdy.



Materials: We ordered irregular tree "rounds" from Walnut Hollow
(3 circles cost me under $7.00!) to make the floors.

If you have a chain saw and fire wood you could do this for less but it was worth every penny in my book.

Then I ordered the smaller circles to build the stair cases from Discount School Supply (They're called Wood Craft Rounds -- bag of 50 pieces for $11).

The base was an unfinished pine table top from Lowes. The rest was found and recycled stuff from our garage. The columns were cut from a branch the girls and I found on a nature walk this fall and our re-cycled outdoor umbrella post (the top half of this same umbrella became a trellis for my morning glory vines last summer)

The furniture was made by my very patient, artsy, and sweet father with twigs, wood glue, and some unfinished wood boxes from the craft store. I also found a little set of fairy furniture at Five Below for $5 - (SCORE! A complete bargain!) Dad made the wishing well (lined with aqua colored fish gravel), both beds, the tables and chairs, a bench, a rabbit hutch, and a fire pit (with faux red cellophane fire). I sewed mini mattresses and will be making tiny silk flower quilts later. I got the fairy dolls (on sale plus a coupon) at the Disney Store in November.

We've been having a great time with our tiny fairy family
Our silk scarves have been great ponds, waterfalls, snow, and fields!
I'll post the Winter Box next.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This is the Gingerbread House the Frog Princess Built


The artist working at her kitchen table studio....

The finished buildings proudly on display.

The awesome rainbow roof.
Her father is a homebuilder and mom is a mixed media artist so it really shouldn't surprise me that this is the kind of gingerbread house she comes up with. The Frog Princess (age 5 and half!) created these gingerbread buildings last week. The small out building ("the art studio" as she calls it) and the ice cream cone tree were made at school. The big house came from a pre-baked (read: so easy) Walmart kit. I love the rainbow (of course!) roof that she made and the lollipop trees and gumdrop side lights. We wanted to add a Sweedish Fish coy pond but there wasn't enough room. Our leftover halloween candy served us well!


Happy Holidays !

Wishing you all a very
Merry Christmas
Happy Chanukah
Happy Kwanza
and a healthy, joyous, crafty, and green New Year!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

* Do You Have a Fairy In the House? Custom Spice Jar Labels To Make Mealtime Fun for Kids



The Frog Princess made this adorable label with self adhesive white office label paper to convert one of my half empty cinnamon spice bottles into a new and improved Fairy Dust bottle. It contains a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and has made breakfast time a bit more exciting in a "fancy nancy" way. I got this fabulous idea from Megan's Blog Plum Pudding. She made a whole set of these "Sprinkle Jars" with her kids to spice up their mealtimes and I think it's a fantastic idea. Go check out her post and see her kid's adorable artwork on their labels.

What a fun way to get your kids to try new foods. She has much healthier things like wheat germ, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pepper, nutmeg, etc. A harmless way to give them a little more control at meal time and anything that prevents a battle is something I'll add to my playbook any day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Mini Muffin Tin Lunch


My kids are sick of soup and Mini Saurus won't eat Mac and Cheese (I know! What's up with that?) I needed to find an easy lunch time meal solution that made the girls happy and works for mama too.

Solution: Mini Muffin Pan lunches.

I've seen these on several other blog sites and I had to see what all of the fuss was about. Well ladies, I am converted. The girls loved eating their "poo-poo platters" as the Frog Princess calls them out of the mini muffin tins. They fit beautifully in my dishwasher for easy clean up.
I can fill the cups with bits of leftovers from the fridge to make a fairly balanced meal (and yes, organic cheese puffs are part of the dairy group!) The girls happily munch their way through leftover green beans, leftover corn, diced grapes/raisins, turkey pepperoni, white american cheese, and a little something sweet (like mini marshmallows, jelly beans, chocolate chips, etc.)

So simple but so fun. This would be fantastic for our family movie night when we all eat dinner in the family room and watch a dvd. We might manage to spill less for the ants.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bloggy Christmas Ornament Exchange


Three gorgeous ornaments we've received so far....

Quality Control:
Here are our scrapbook paper ornaments being inspected by Mini-Saurus
before we mailed them.

(We made mini versions to go on the girl's christmas trees.)

The Frog Princess and I participated in a wonderful Kid's Christmas Ornament exchange through Cami's Blog at Full Circle. Our theme was "Winter Wonderland" and we were to create home-made ornaments with our children. The Frog Princess is the glitter glue queen. She rocked adding ornaments and garland to our scrapbook paper trees.

120 families are participating this year (WOW!) and we each make 7 ornaments to send to 7 other bloggy families and will get 7 ornaments in return. How cool is that?! I'm super excited to see my new ornaments and to make new bloggy friends. Crafts, Christmas, Family, and Blogging, Four of my favorite things!

It has been so fun going to the mail box each day to see if we've gotten a new ornament. Three have arrived so far (see the photo above) and by the Frog Princess' reaction to each of them you would think that Santa himself arrived in each of those envelopes. Thank you ladies for such a fun new tradition!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

* Holiday Scented Glitter Play Dough




So I put the Frog Princess to work with me this week and we made our own home-made holiday scented glitter play dough in the kitchen. It was fun! We combined science, cooking, and arts and crafts into one big messy adventure. I'm planning to have some available to buy at my craft fair booth. Fun, organic stocking stuffers!

We made a batch of Peppermint Green (with glitter), Cinnamon Red, and Sparkly Vanilla White.Our batch of Little Gingerbread Boy Brown smelled good enough to eat with allspice, cinnamon and ginger. It was like making cookies with less post holiday saddle bag damage!

We plan to make future custom color and scent combinations as birthday gifts for the Frog Princess' little friends. I see visions of rainbow colored glitter dough in themes like Fairy Forrest Friends and Alien Army.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Felt Flower Barrettes: Everything's Coming Up Daisies



Here are my flower power girl power hair accessories I made for the craft show this weekend. I also have head bands and pins with these little felt flowers on them. I love the different color combinations. This was one of my favorite crafts to make because of the fun materials. I have a hard time explaining how happy a stack of felt (in rainbow order of course) and a big jar of buttons makes me. You'll see me at the bus stop sporting some of these with my girls. I plan to make more for various friends and their little girls as birthday gifts.

Wouldn't these make cute little stocking stuffers? I think the ponytail holders would be adorable napkin rings for your cloth napkins green mamas!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In My Studio....Homemade Christmas Gifts - Ocean In A Box


Update: These little clothespin mermaids were so popular that Disney bought 
the rights to the craft from me to use in their Family Fun Magazine
and their Spoonful and Family Fun Princess Crafts website! Yay!

** If you want to make your own clothespin mermaid, check out my 

They are easy to make, directions and printable templates can be found in my 


The post below is really old and from my pre-watermarking days, 
please give proper credit to my ideas and images and do not steal! 


My Ocean In a Box Sensory Box


My homemade clothespin mermaids. 


Just got home from a Daisy scout cookie exchange and sing along. Now I'm catching up on my blogging instead of finishing a twenty million little projects waiting for me in my studio. So here is today's post...gifts you can make at home for your kids.

This weekend,  I'm setting up a little table, my own booth, per se at a local craft show with my favorite fellow artist, my mom. We're planning to hawk our wares and see if we can raise a little Christmas cash. That is if we can off-set the cost of our booth rental, our materials, and the time we've spent making our stuff. Mom will be selling her gorgeous hand-painted cards and ornaments. I will be taking the kiddy route and selling gifts for the under 4 feet tall crowd and their keepers. If nothing sells I figure I've got my first batch for my Etsy shop or I can beg all of you to take mercy on me and relieve me of a years worth of birthday party gifts for little girls ages 4-6. I'm going to post some of my creations this week so you can see how I've been spending Mini-Saurus' nap time and my evening hours for the past few weeks.

First up...my little mermaid boxes. These are small versions of my Ocean in a Box that I will be selling with home-made sea weed and mermaids. We'll see if anyone likes them or not. My studio table was a very happy place today with 20 mini mermaids covering it.

Update -- these little clothespin mermaids were so cute and popular Family Fun Magazine actually bought the rights to use them in their own books and magazines! Woot! : )

Coming up next....What's that sound? Is there a jungle near by?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fun Gifts You Can Make for Your Kids - Garden In A Box


In continuation with our box themes we now have a "Garden Box" sensory box.
This is like the Ocean Box
Winter Wonderland Box (photos and post coming this month) 

This could be a "Fairy Garden", a "Bug Habitat" or even a "Jungle"

 I used shredded green paper from Easter time 
(you could also just run some green scraps through a document shredder) 
silk flowers, a small watering can (no water of course!) 
assorted plastic bugs and frogs, a small pail and some mini gardening tools.

The girls have been having a blast "planting" and "picking" flowers.

The polly pockets and fairies have been traipsing around in the wilderness and have been on the lookout for camouflaged giant lizards!

Happy Spring! 

Warmly,
MaryLea

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