Saturday, May 26, 2012

Painted Pots

We used Decoart Patio Paints (I bought a sample pack on clearance in the flower section at our craft store.) on dollar ceramic pots to make pretty pots that can stay outside all summer and sit on our windowsills when winter comes. Supposedly with Patio Paints you don't need to seal the art once the pot is painted. If you can't find patio paints you can use acrylic craft paints, but you might want to put a coat of exterior varnish (such as Ceramcoat) on them. I was surprised at how long this project kept my 4 year old son entertained, and the 2 year old did a bang-up job (thankfully not literally!) too. They also really enjoyed picking out their own plants to put in and potting them.  I think I'm going to have the kids paint some of the rocks in my rock borders next to add more color to our yard.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Easy Pea-sy Garden Markers

It's planting season here in New England. Sometimes it's hard to remember where you planted what. We made these cute little garden markers to remind us using just a little patio paint (I bought a sampler pack on clearance in the flower pot section at our craft store) on some leftover shims (you can get a bunch at your local hardware store for a couple dollars.). Now, I do actually know what and where my strawberry plants are especially since they are actually growing actual berries (and poison ivy, too, color me upset!) but they were so much fun to make and came out so cute, I made a marker for them anyway. And my tomatoes too! If you know what grows in your grandparents' gardens, they'd make a great  Mother's Day or Father's Day gift too. Cheap, cute and easy peasy.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Paper Butterfly

With two sheets of construction paper and a pipe cleaner you can make a pretty butterfly to hang in your window or from your ceiling.

Things You Need:
  • 2 pieces of construction paper (or two magazine pages)
  • 1 pipe cleaner
  • 1 piece of string cut to about 30"
  • scotch tape (optional)

What You Do:
  1. Accordion fold one piece of paper every 1/2" or so lengthwise. (This means, fold and crease from one end half an inch, flip it over, fold it again a half an inch and so forth and so on until you get to the end of the page so that the paper is never closed in on itself and looks like an accordion.)
  2. Accordion fold the other piece every 1/2" or so width wise. 
  3. While still folded, fold each paper in half (as in fold the stack of folds you have to make like a "V" -so the two ends meet up and it kind of looks like a fan.)
  4. Now you have two pairs of wings, each set a different length.
  5. Fold the pipe cleaner in half and twist up two inches from the bent closed end, leaving the two ends free. (These will be the antennae.)
  6. Now place the wings in the pipe cleaner so the two loose ends of pipe cleaner sandwich the wings and the wings rest on the top of the twist, or butterfly body. (If you want, tape the wings together first around the middle bends.)
  7. Place the middle of the string here too. That will be your hanger.
  8. Twist the rest of the pipe cleaner up so the wings are set in place, making the top of the butterfly body.
  9. Separate the two "antennae" and twirl the ends.
  10. Tie the two ends of string together to make your loop from which to hang your butterfly.
         Trust me, this is all easier done than said.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Magnets for Mom (or Anybody!)

Mother's Day is right around the corner. So you know what that means. Us Moms wrack our brains for crafty, useful ideas that little hands can do to give to the OTHER Moms in our kids' lives. (If we're lucky, Dad will help them do something for us, right?!) This week my octupi and I crafted these nifty magnets. They were super easy and, I think, you can never have too many magnets. After all, you need SOMETHING to with which to hang all the other artwork the kids give you!

What You Need:
  • wooden plaques. I found a package of 6 business card sized ones in the wood crating aisle at Michael's.
  • primer (we do so much room-painting in this house I have a can in the basement almost always)
  • magnets. Self-adhesive ones are even better. Use hot glue if they aren't self-adhesive.
  • acrylic craft paints. Yes, it's messy, make sure you have smocks and paper lining your work surface.
  • water in a jar for rinsing
  • paper towels for drying rinsed brushes
  • paper plate for paints.
  • water-based polyurethane.
  • brushes for painting and brushes for sealing.

What You Do:
  1. A day ahead, prime the wood plaques on one side.
  2.  Next day, get your work surface ready for mischief by covering it with newspaper or brown paper. Drip some paint onto a paper plate palette.  Get out your jar of water, paper towels, brushes. Lay out your primed plaques.
  3.  Call in the beasts to paint. Let the artworks dry overnight (or for another day if you have a paint blobber like I do.)
  4.  Brush on two coats of poly, leaving them to dry in between coats.
  5.  When dry, stick magnets on the back. 
  6. Give away on Mother's Day. Or on ANY day. And maybe even keep one or two.