Tag Archives: ribbon

Themed Sticker Books

4 Aug

In the middle of Week One of my adventures as a working mom staying at home, I stood in the middle of our kitchen/family room scanning the busy counter spaces and heaving bookshelves, waiting for inspiration to pop out at me.  Luckily, it did.

“Let’s make a book!” I exclaimed to Jane, who was supposed to be sleeping but had decided to give up napping for my first week home.  She was keen and our project was on.

Here’s how you can make your own sticker book:

Materials

  • hole punch
  • cardstock
  • ribbon
  • stickers
  • markers or crayons

Step 1

Fold three sheets of cardstock in half cross-wise.

Step 2

Punch one hole in the fold at the top and the bottom of the crease line that forms the book’s “spine.”

Step 3

String the ribbon through the holes and tie a knot on the outer spine side.  You could staple the book together, but since Sam is still in the eat-everything-in-sight stage, I wanted to avoid retrieving swallowed staples from his stomach.

Step 4

Let your toddler decorate the pages of her new book and don’t forget to give your book a title on the front cover!

We chose puffy bug stickers and Jane enjoyed sticking and re-sticking the insects to different pages.  She decided this would be a “Bug Book” for Uncle B.

At this age (2.5), the fact that Jane made a book and the joy of peeling and placing the stickers was enough for her to feel satisfied with the activity.

For an older child, you might want to write the names of the various insects (or whatever theme you have chosen) underneath each sticker.  For an insect-themed book like ours, you could add fun facts about each bug and talk about what the bugs eat, where they live, and even go outside to look for one in your backyard!

LEARN!  Fine motor skills, concentration, manual dexterity, topical facts

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Twig and Ribbon Princess and Magic Wand

3 Jun

Jane loves sticks and stones.

When we took a pre-bedtime walk last night to meet Hubby at the train, she picked up a nice little collection of branches as usual.  Unfortunately, Hubby was delayed for two hours due to another poor soul’s unfortunate experience and we weren’t able to pick him up from the station.  Jane was thoroughly disappointed, so instead of making her throw out her twiggy treasure, I let her take them inside the house and suggested we come up with a project for them after I put Sam to bed.

My first thought was painting with them or on them, but nixed the idea after realizing it would involve another bath.  Making a 3-D structure like our toothpick-gumdrop tripods also seemed like a good idea, but I was too tired to do all the intricate tying that would be involved in making a house or boat out of string and twigs.  Luckily, I spotted some shiny silver ribbon on the counter and came up with the super fun idea of making a magic wand.

Jane was completely engrossed with the cutting process:

and had a great time pretending to spell out words like Princess Presto with the finished wand:

Here’s how you and your toddler can make this super simple wand:

Materials

  • a twig or slender branch (try to find a curved one)
  • ribbon (preferably shiny!)

Step 1

Have your toddler snip lengths of ribbon either with you holding the ribbon taut or on her own.

Step 2

Tie the ribbon pieces to the top portion of the stick and curl each piece with a scissor blade.

Presto!

Also very fun, according to Jane – trying to wrap yourself up as a present:

LEARN!  Fine motor skills, scissor cutting, pretend play

 

Confetti Cake Pops and Easy Ribbon Box

6 May

Since my first shot at the cake pop, I’ve been busy trying to perfect my technique.  I took my own advice on this attempt and chose white candy melts to make the spring confetti really pop.

The lifesaver this time around:  disposable candy melt bags.  I’m never making cake pops again without this handy dandy device!  You can melt and decorate so easily and with virtually no mess.  The double-boiler method would still probably give you the best results because it keeps the candy melts at an even temperature for a prolonged period of time, but my life is all about shortcuts these days.

For a fun spring birthday theme, I tried three different pastel confetti designs:

(1) all over confetti

(2) confetti dots

and (3) an ice cream look (covering only the top of the pop)

These were a birthday gift for a friend, so I needed a portable presentation.  A beribboned styrofoam block (using colored tacks) worked out perfectly.  A few tied ribbons on the cake pop sticks and a rectangular piece of cardstock used as a gift tag completed the present.

The Rise of Spring: Easter Craft & Baking Recap

28 Apr

I’ve always looked forward to back-to-school sales in early August, which mark the imminent start of the school year ahead.  New academic apparel means Halloween – the first official “holiday” of Fall – is around the corner, with Thanksgiving soon to follow, and Christmas rounding out the holiday season in early Winter.

This trio of festivities continually make Fall my favorite season with all the crafting, baking and planning involved for each occasion.

And of course, Fall wildly surpasses all other fashion seasons.  Autumn collections deliver, with bold classics for the serious fashionista.  Spring and Summer looks, on the other hand, tend to fall short.  They’re so full of – well – frivolous frippery, if you will.  Yes, platform sandals and gauzy blouses get my heart in a tizzy, but after the thrill of neon brights and florals wears off, you’re just left with a few flimsy pieces.

The same it was – I thought – for spring and summer crafting and baking.

I never thought I would say this, but I think Spring may be nudging out Fall as my favorite season.

Maybe having kids has gotten me all soft.  But it seems that my yearning for mellow autumn days of melancholy sunlight and the chill of winter solitude has been replaced by a fondness for chirpy chicks, fuzzy bunnies, bright pastels and the zippity-do-da of Spring.  Could it be that I’m ready to drop my teen angst at the ripe old age of 35?

With peppy springtime projects like candy-filled eggs, confetti cake pops, painted puppet boxes, sprinkled cookies and paper mache eggs, I just might be.

Candy-Filled Easter Eggs

All the cracking, bashing and crunching made these by far and away the most exciting springtime activity for the kids!  They also make a gorgeous hostess gift, too.

Materials:

  • eggs (white eggs will take color better than brown, but you can do a few uncolored, brown eggs for variety – I even did some white uncolored eggs)
  • vinegar
  • hot water
  • McCormick food and egg dye in the regular and neon colors (a fun – and much faster – alternative to dyeing the eggs is simply decorating with markers or stickers)
  • a non-metal container
  • mini cupcake paper/foil baking cups
  • glue

Instructions:

For detailed step-by-step instructions, see not martha‘s excellent tutorial for Easter Surprise Eggs here.

I followed the color recipe exactly because her eggs turned out so strikingly beautiful, but the only recipe that developed into a similar color to hers was the blue – and still it wasn’t quite as robin’s egg/turquoise in color.

The Outlaw Mom’s Tips:

  • If you agitate the eggs, you’ll get splotchy color, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, Hubby and Grandma’s favorite egg was the one that turned out the most speckly.

  • If you use just-boiled water and highly acidic vinegar (like I did), when you drop your egg into the coloring solution, it will spin and fizz like crazy on its own, which creates the speckled effect.
  • Although most blogs advise not to move your eggs around, I found that dipping the eggs once for an initial coat, and then dipping additional times to increase the color intensity worked better than when I tried the recommended method of letting the eggs sit in the solution and then rotating halfway during the coloring time.  Submerging the entire egg or leaving the egg floating on top of the solution didn’t seem to make a difference (except that if you leave the egg floating on top, you’ll have to rotate four times – quarter turns).

  • When taking the eggs out of the boiling water during sterilization or the just-boiled water for the solution, do not lift the egg out completely vertically so that the boiling hot water drips down on to your finger!  Try a more horizontal angle.
  • Try an eggs inside of eggs look.  I chose Cadbury Mini Eggs as the main candy,  Marich Mint Chip Maltballs to go along with the speckled theme, and Jelly Belly Ice Cream Parlor  jelly beans for more of the speckled egg look.  Sconza Dark Chocolate Raisins finished out the mix.

  • Use mini-cupcake baking cups to seal your eggs.  Stickers don’t fold around the jagged opening as well.  I used polka-dot mini-cupcake paper baking cups for all the colors except the blue eggs, which I sealed with silver foil cups.

  • Present the eggs in a clear tin for a pretty and practical way of transporting this gift.  Alternate the eggs with layers of paper Easter grass.

I think we’ll be making these for other occasions, too.  I see Fourth of July flag eggs, pumpkin eggs, Santa eggs . . . the cracking is irresistible fun!

Confetti Cake Pops & Ribbon Box

Since my first shot at the cake pop, I’ve been busy trying to perfect my technique.  I took my own advice on this attempt and chose white candy melts to make the spring confetti really pop.

The lifesaver this time around:  disposable candy melt bags.  I’m never making cake pops again without this handy dandy device!  You can melt and decorate so easily and with virtually no mess.  The double-boiler method would still probably give you the best results because it keeps the candy melts at an even temperature for a prolonged period of time, but my life is all about shortcuts these days.

For a fun spring birthday theme, I tried three different pastel confetti designs:

(1) all over confetti

(2) confetti dots

and (3) an ice cream look (covering only the top of the pop)

These were a birthday gift for a friend, so I needed a portable presentation.  A beribboned styrofoam block (using colored tacks) worked out perfectly.  A few tied ribbons on the cake pop sticks and a rectangular piece of cardstock used as a gift tag completed the present.

Wooden Spring/Easter Puppet Baskets

To make these springtime baskets – which make great children’s gifts – you’ll need:

  • wooden baskets (ours were $1 from Michael’s)
  • paint suitable for wood surfaces + a paintbrush
  • stickers
  • felt for the puppets (or buy pre-made felt puppets)
  • lollipop sticks (even a pencil will do – you just need something to prop up the puppet)

First, have your toddler paint the undecorated wooden baskets.  Let the paint dry overnight.

Then, decorate the painted boxes with stickers.

Finally, make your felt puppets or take your store bought ones and prop them up on a lollipop stick.  The easiest gift and super cute, too!

Easter Egg Sprinkle Cookies

These hard, cardboard-tasting “Ideal Sugar Cookies” were a total bust!  A little embarrassing because I gifted these to one of my friends, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?  And they’re oh-so-pretty to look at.

The recipe was fine, but I doubled the butter and then tried to correct it by adding more of all the other ingredients and it just didn’t work. Of course, I used my favorite buttercream frosting, so licking off the sprinkled frosting was delicious!

“Paper Mache” Plastic Eggs

This is one project I couldn’t finish in time for Easter, but now that we have literally dozens of plastic Easter eggs littering our living room floor, I’m going to continue with the project anyway.  I only got so far as one egg, but the results are very cool.  Check out Sweeter than Sweets’ Tissue Paper Easter Eggs tutorial here.

Happy Spring baking and crafting!

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