hook board


If ever Miss Mouse feels the need to tidy up, she now has her own special place to do so. If ever.


I drew and cut the shapes with Chick by my side. She kept me in check by telling me when my designs looked nothing like what they were supposed to look like. This was infinitely helpful since the backpack definitely looked like a rocket ship at one point.

The board was scrap wood from our shed. I used paint and Mod Podge from my studio's shelves, the hooks were around $1.80 each at the hardware store, and origami paper was kicking it in my paper drawer, so this was definitely a remake made on the cheap.

Happy Friday.

xo e

story theater: tutorial

Here is what I'm thinking about: long hot car rides, lazy afternoons on the porch, evenings in the backyard where dinner ends at 5:30 and the kids aren't ready for bed until 8. This is what I was dreaming about in the middle of February, and even now when I think about endless summer days I get all fluttery and excited. With all of these *long* summer days ahead of us, I feel the need to come up with projects and games that are equally as endless. Games that Chick can get lost in. Story telling that has variety and little boundaries, where the characters are practically begging for another twist in the plot. I'm thinking about games that could go on and on and on until bath time.


Story theater! You can make it out of popsicle sticks (although I think the wider, slimmer tongue depressors work better), an old cereal box, and stamps from your collection. I used my hand carved stamps because I am constantly searching for new applications for them, but you could use store bought, and you can also make a version with old magazines. The possibilities are really endless since in addition to the grassy hill, you could make other easy landscapes like the beach or outer space (think moon scape).


One of the best things about this project is how sturdy the puppets are. The little figures end up feeling like solid puzzle pieces and even make a little clinking sound in your hand when you hold them. They feel *so* good. Promise.

The other best thing about this project is that it travels! I'm thinking car trips, picnic play, and after dinner in the grass story telling.

Here is how I made mine:

You'll need:
an empty cereal box
pencil
paint
stamps
stamp pads (a few different colors)
kraft paper
Mod Podge
craft glue
tongue depressors (found in regular old craft stores)
ruler
X-Acto knife
old magazines (optional)

Step 1: Cut out the front and back panels from the cereal box. Do your best to cut straight lines. I used the folds as my guide.

Step 2: Using a pencil, draw a horizon line on the back of one of the cereal box panels. Once you are satisfied with the horizon line, paint the sky. Once the sky is dry, paint the grassy hill.





Step 3: Stamp images onto the piece of kraft paper. (I suppose you could stamp right onto the back of the other cereal panel, but I tend to like the kraft paper brown color a little more. It adds another step, but it felt worth it to me.) Use a variety of color inks for the different stamps. Let the ink dry. Once dry, cut out each stamped image. You may want to keep a series of images together. For example, I have a bunch of mushrooms and a mama bird with her babies.

Step 4: Coat the back of the other cereal box panel with a thin layer of Mod Podge. Place the cut-outs onto the panel and then coat with another layer of Mod Podge. Let dry.

Step 5: Once dry, cut out the images and glue them onto the tongue depressors. You may want to put some heavy books on the puppets so they dry flat. Here is a picture of me cutting a Mod Podge coated magazine rooster. It will have to do since I forgot to take a picture of me cutting the stamped images.

And, here are some dry puppets ready for action.



Step 6. Using a ruler, draw two straight lines on the back of the landscape panel. The idea is to make two slots where the puppets can poke through and move around a little. I suggest making one on the left part of the panel and another on the right. They should be about 3" long. You don't want them to be too long, but you do want to make them long enough for two puppets to fit into one slot. I think making one slot a little higher than the other is good for imaginative play; use a ruler and X-Acto knife to cut the slots.

Step 7: Once the puppets are dry, poke them through the slots and start tellin' stories.


Optional: Flip through some old magazines and cut out pictures of small animals, people, items that could be used for story telling. I used Chick's Highlights and Ladybug mags. Cut out the shapes and use them in the same way you used the stamped cut-outs.




xo e

chicken


A big thanks to those of you who have recently sent notes, pictures, and links because you tried one of my projects, felt inspired by one, or simply liked it and wanted to tell me. Each comment is a connect the dots moment which motivates me to set more time aside to craft and create. And, since I am crazy inspired by all of the mega talented peeps in blogland, when I see others interpreting my projects it makes me to the moon honored and happy. This big blogging community is super duper duper magnificent.

Another thanks to people who have sent emails, comments, and regular old mail in response to my previous post. I shared the support with Tom and we both really, really appreciated it.


I have been spending time during the past two weeks working on necklace stamp designs. I am still so captivated by the magic of stamp carving. I think part of the reason I am so caught up in carving is because I love how each stamp ends up having its own personality: geeky, excessively cute , awkward, earnest, painfully shy.


Chick has a yellow magic wand necklace that she loves and wants to wear almost every day. If you are local, just know that if you comment on her necklace, you are essentially asking for a tutorial with lots of side notes and by-the-ways.



I feel like I need to note that this pot design was fully inspired by Nanny's matzah ball soup.


xo e

remembering


Tom's grandfather passed away this evening. This post is in memory of an incredibly sweet man who never missed one of our girls' birthday parties.

vertical


A few days ago, my four year old got her craft on and made this vertical garland. She went digging in the recycle bin for materials (how proud am I?) and decided to use a paper towel tube. After tearing it up into a bunch of medium sized pieces, she decorated them with colored pencils and then stuck the pieces onto a long strip of apple green artist tape.


Her creation has polka dots and stripes, it dangles, and is all wispy and cute. Most important is her humongous, beaming smile when she came to introduce me to her "garland." Gah! I love her. There is just something so cool about knowing that she is inspired by her time spent crafting with me, and that she is motivated to develop a completely unique project of her own.


xo e

tissue paper candle holder : remake

Those dried flower candle holders from a few days ago really are beautiful when lit up at night, but they didn't satisfy my need for the candlelight and bright color combination I was originally aiming for. So, I tried it again, only this time I used Mod Podge with tissue paper and bits of paper from the recycle box. I worked with shapes and pattern while Chick went the more experimental route, and they both came out looking really vibrant and lovely .

The glue was still drying in the pictures below , but the light was so perfect, I had to take some pictures.




They are real pretty when all aglow.

xo e

School



Here are some shirts that I designed and printed for Chick's school auction.

dried flower candle holder: remake


Chick and I have been spending time during Miss Mouse's nap collecting flower petals, rocks, and other backyard treasures. The spring weather seems to be eliciting a new interest in building little homes, roads, baths, and rivers for tiny imaginary creatures (fairies, gnomes, etc.). I find her new play really exciting because it is exactly where my brain was when I was little, and, yet, parts of it make me laugh. Like, how today, in the midst of searching for a new mossy patch to build a home, her fairy happened to break her leg and needed to go to the doctor to get an x-ray. It kills me when the mythical meets the utterly mundane, and, truthfully, you can tell that Chick likes the mundane a little bit more.


Anyway, we picked flowers and pressed them a week ago, and then today I decided we should glue them to empty jars to make candle holders. I was thinking about flowers and mothers and pretty. In the process, I learned that Mod Podge makes pink flowers get kind of brown, but oddly enough, certain teeny tiny bright purple and white flowers hold their colors. The whole project felt kind of like a bust, and I was really close to tossing them in the recycle bin when I decided that I should just light them to see what they look like all aglow. And, I'm so glad I did because it is kind of magical how candle light made them totally beautiful. Beautiful in their own dried up, old flower sort of way.


We used an old baby food jar, a jelly jar, dried flowers, and Mod Podge.


Above is a picture of the jars with dried flowers and a fresh coat of Mod Podge. After the glue dries, it is best to give it one more coat. Below is Chick glopping it on. Boy, does she love to glop Mod Podge onto things.

Here it is, all aglow and floral.


xo e

hanging basket tutorial : remake

After staring at the most beautiful cluster of purple and white flowers that are blanketing our front lawn, I thought, "enough is enough," and I decided then and there that I needed a small place to hang them inside. After some rummaging through the recycle bin, cutting, gluing, tying, and stamping, this little squarish basket was born; it is perfect for putting spring clippings in and hanging on a wall or door knob. It is made out of paper, though, so fresh flowers need to be have a small dampened cloth wrapped around them and then some sort of tight plastic covering ( a small plastic bag) if they are to live. I'm planning on making one for Chick to use as a little gathering basket since she never knows where to put her extra acorns and bits of string.

This is a simple project. You'll need:
a paper box (Near East rice pilaf worked for me)
x-acto knife
glue stick
kraft paper (or any kind of decorative paper)
ruler
bone folder
hole puncher
sharpie
scissors
string
stamp
stamp pad

Step one: Measure how big you want the basket to be and draw an even line with the sharpie across both the back and front of the box. Be sure to measure with your ruler so that both the back and front will be the same size.

Step two: Using the x-acto knife, slowly cut along the lines that you drew.

Step three: Cut a piece of kraft paper to size and then use the glue stick to put glue all over the entire outside surface of the box.

Step four: Wrap the paper around the box and use the bone folder to smooth the sides.


Step five: Flip the box over so you are looking inside it, and snip the four corners in order to make flaps that you can push in and glue down. Be sure to put lots of glue on the inside of the flaps so that they adhere nicely inside the box.

Step six: Flip the box over so you are looking at the bottom. Put glue on the bottom and fold the paper as if you are wrapping a box. Use bone folder to press and seal.


Step seven: Use bone folder to smooth, press, and seal all of the paper onto the box.


Step eight: Punch a hole on each side, and use the holes to make a handle by tying on a piece of yarn.

Step nine: Decorate. I used a hand carved stamp and stamp pad to decorate. Kids could decorate this anyway they want to.


While the cutting should be done by a grown up, older kids can definitely take part in wrapping the box, and both little and big can certainly help decorate. Wouldn't this be a fun activity for a birthday party?

xo e

around





Dear spring,

Warm, sunny days and cool nights are the best.
You'll stay around for awhile, won't ya?

xo e