Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Newspaper Beads

Let me tell you the reasons I love this project:
1.  It was something my son and I did together, and we both had fun.  2.  It was a great way to recycle some old newspapers.  3.  It makes a really cute gift for your little one to give to Grandma for Easter.  And my favorite reason, 4. My heart melted when my son told me he wanted me to have it because it would look so pretty on my wrist. xoxoxo

The only bad part about this project:  It takes a few days to complete it because you have lots of drying time.....

Mommy & Kid Part:  Start of by taking a newspaper and tearing it into small pieces.  You can also use the old sales ads that come in your paper.  My pieces ended up being anywhere from quarter sized to candy bar sized.  The smaller the better.  Ya know, I'm amazed at how much kids love to tear up newspaper :) 

Here is an adult part:  Take your cut-up newspaper, and put it in a large pot.  Boil some water and pour it over the newspaper.  You'll want enough to cover the paper.  Then, put the lid on the pot and leave it sitting for an hour or a little more.  You'll want to stir it every now and then.  The goal is to have the paper break up into a nice mush.

Once you get this beautiful mush, you want to drain out the water.  You can do this using a collander if you want, however, I found it was easier to take handfuls, squeeze the water out, and then put it in another bowl.  When the excess water is out, mix in some Elmer's glue to help hold the paper together.  Just guess on the amount.  I used about 8 pages of paper and maybe 1/4 bottle of Elmers.  There is really no exact science to this part.  Heres my warning:  Your hands are going to be black when you are done!!  Don't worry though, it washes off, but be careful not to get it on your clothes.  I also suggest washing your pot as soon as you are finished because the inside will be covered in black also (don't worry, it washes out).

Alrighty, next is another Mommy & kid part:  Its time to form the beads.  Take out small amounts of your mush and roll it into balls.  Try to squeeze out any extra water as you go.  My son didn't get the "squeeze the water out" concept, and his turned out fine, so don't worry about it too much.  I will say, shaping the balls is a little harder than I expected.  You can't really roll it out because it breaks apart a little.  It just takes lots of squeezing and hand-shaping.  Have fun with it!!  Make some squares, balls, flat round discs... whatever your little hearts desire.
Here is the rough part:  Once you get your beads all shaped, put them on a piece of aluminum foil or wax paper and wait for them to dry.  Its gonna take two to three days for them to dry out completely.  I hate waiting, but ya gotta do it.  When they have completely dried out, it will be pretty obvious cause they will be super light.

Now that the beads are dry, drill a hole thru each bead.  Then you can either paint them as they are, or you can sand them down a little with sandpaper or an emory board.  The will not be pefectly smooth; they actually have a natural rock kinda look.  They would probably look pretty cool painted to look like turquoise or something.  But my kids just went crazy painting all different colors :)  Hint:  You may want to put wire thru the beads before you paint them or you may paint the holes shut.  Not a big deal, just makes it a little harder to find the holes when you string them. 

After the paint has dried, spray them with a gloss finish, string them, add a hook, and wear them!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Breathe New Life into Unwanted Clothes

Living in a town with no fabric stores has taught me to get creative when looking for material.  I don't always feel like driving 35 minutes to get to a fabric store, so I found a new way to find what I need:  thrift stores and yardsales. 

Yes, I know they don't typically sell material, or do they?  As I walk thru the store looking up and down the racks, I switch my brain over from thinking "Wow thats an ugly dress" to "Wow thats some nice material in that dress".  Its amazing how different things look when you look at it thru different eyes.

Example:  I was at a yardsale this summer and the clothing was fill-a-bag for $1.  The clothes were pretty old or just not my size or style.  However, they had some great prints in them.  So, I filled a bag with a bunch of stuff, and in the end, I paid about $.10 per piece.   Here is the first adult sized (not my size) skirt I bought:

I cut it into pieces and added hems.  The top piece I cut and sewed to where the zipper could still be used.  The second, I just added elastic to the top for a waistband.

Here is the second skirt I came home with:

This skirt had an awesome waistband that I thought would work perfect for a dress top.  So, I measured the length & top, marked it, cut, and sewed a seam down the side.  I used the left-over bottom piece to make two straps and attached them to the top.  Here is how it turned out:

Next time you're at a yardsale and nothing is your size, flip your brain to fabric mode, and take another look around!! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Because I Had to Use the Leftover Paint Swatch Pieces.....

After we made the Paint Swatch Monster Valentines, we had a bunch of little pieces of paper paint swatches left (these were the little pieces that we cut off after the cards were glued together that contained the names of the paint colors).  My son looked at them and said, "Now what are we going to make with these?"  I'm thinking he's been around me too long.  He kept arranging the tiny pieces next to each other, making pictures, and I realized that they looked like little mosaic pieces.  I dug thru the closet where I keep all the just-in-case-I-need-it stuff and found a clay flower pot!

Sooooooo..... Here is what we did!  I poured a bowl of decoupage glue, gave my son a paint brush, and let him glue the pieces to the pot.  I showed him how to take the smaller pieces and fill in the empty spots, and he did awesome!  After he was finished, we painted a coat of decoupage sealer over the entire pot to waterproof it and give it a glossy finish.......   LOVE IT!

Paint Swatch Valentine Card Monsters....

Happy Valentine's Day!!  Today we made Valentine's for my son's preschool class, and I have to say, I think they turned out super cute.  I wanted bright, fun cards, and I think we accomplished that.

For the card, I gathered up a bunch of paper paint swatches that I had been collecting each time we repaint a room (because of coarse I didn't throw them away when I was done).  I took two cards and glued them together, pretty sides out.  I started using hot glue, but found that spray adhesive worked better.  It gave a smoother finish.  And since it drys slower than hot glue, it gave me a chance to move the cards around until the were lined up correctly.

After they dried, I put them on the cutting board and cut off the part of the card that told what color the swatch was. That left me with a double-sided color card with nothing on either side. I then took my permanent marker and wrote Valentine greetings on one side, signed my sons name, and left the other side for monster-making.

So, next I gathered up some sticky-backed googly eyes and stickers.  For the mouth, I found some sticky-backed red craft foam and cut mouths of all shapes and sizes.  I put all the different supplies in piles on the table and let my son go crazy decorating the cards.  He got soo into making these monsters!

Once he was finished, we cut some yarn and glued it to the monster heads.  And of coarse, we made some with mustaches.  To attach the yarn, I used a decoupage glue so that my son could put the yarn on without burning himself.
And there ya go!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Juicy Bird Feeder

With all the snow we've had lately, we've spent a lot of time staring out the living room window.  There have been soo many birds on our porch swing chains lately that my son decided we need to make a bird feeder.   After being snowed in for days on end, the craft supplies started running low (which is good because now I get to restock), so we hit up the recycling bin.... again.  We found an orange juice carton that was just perfect for our project. 

So, I started by drawing a square on each side of the carton where we would cut the holes for the birds to eat out of.  I started the hole, then gave my son the safety scissors and let him cut them open. 

Next, let your kid go paint crazy :)  Just a hint, paint the carton with a coat of white or other solid color and wait for it to dry before doing the other colors.  The words on the carton are hard to cover, especially if you let your little one use washable paint.

Once its dry, find a nice stick to use for a perch.  To attach it, put a hole just under the window on each side, and stick the stick straight thru.  Now, put two small holes in the top so you can run a string thru for hanging.

And now hang your bird feeder, and wait for the birds to come!  I really wanted to wait for a bird to land on it for the final picture, but I'm impatient; I'll just add that picture later :)