Tag Archives: craft

How-To’s Day: Chocolate-dipped Father’s Day treats

This was a perfect activity for a too-hot day when we all felt trapped inside with nothing to do. I just happened to have an enormous chocolate bar laying around (courtesy of my awesome husband) and a really, really lot of sprinkles. This activity went over quite well with the knee-high crowd, plus one friend, and would be a great homemade treat for Dad on his special day.

You will need:
4-5 ounces of chocolate
Animal crackers (or whatever the dad in question has a taste for)
A double boiler (or a metal bowl over a pot)
Wax paper
Napkins and baby wipes

Step 1: Lay out wax paper and hold the curly edges down with matchbox cars. Or not… but my kids seemed to feel it was necessary.

Step2: Place crackers or whatever you are dipping, sprinkles and napkins out on your workspace so you will be ready to go when the chocolate is melted.

Step 3: Chop chocolate into smaller pieces and then melt in your double boiler or in the microwave. Remove from heat before chocolate is fully melted and continue stirring until smooth. If you are using the microwave or a make-shift double boiler, be careful not to over-melt the chocolate or it will start to re-solidify real funky-like. (Yeah, I’ve been down that road before.)

Step 4: Allow children to dip crackers into the chocolate,  lay them out on the wax paper and add sprinkles to their little hearts’ content.

Step 5: Let set and then put them in a tin or a jar for Dad to take to work. Happy Father’s Day!


How To’s Day: Create a custom clipboard

My sister and I were born seventeen years apart. I got to be there the day she entered the world and from that day on I spoiled her like crazy. I bounced her to sleep on my back on the trampoline, I got her “water and ice” when she asked for it, I took her to preschool and sent her off to her first day of kindergarten with tears in my eyes.

Those first couple years of her life my friends and I got a kick out of carting her around with us and how people assumed she was my child. I took pictures of everything she did and endured countless hours of Teletubbies, Barney and Mr. Rogers.

But as my kids have grown in number and age and as the geographical distance continues to grow between my sister and I we don’t get to spend anywhere near enough time together. So, imagine my delight when she agreed to spend some time with me this last weekend working on this week’s How To’s Day craft.

The plan: To cute-ify the clipboard that hangs in Allie’s room displaying a few of her treasures. The outcome: Pure awesomeness (displayed above and to the right).

Roll of wrapping paper (the thicker/heavier the paper, the better)
Cutting mat
X-Acto knife
Spray adhesive
Mod Podge (or watered down Elmer’s glue)- optional
Small foam paint brush- optional
An extra pair of hands

Step 1: Roll your wrapping paper out across the cutting mat and place your clipboard flat on top. Cut around the clipboard leaving an extra inch or so of paper around the edges to wrap around the back.

Step 2: Lay some newspaper, ads or something to protect your workspace and place the clipboard on top. Place your pretty paper over the clipboard just where you want it and then lift up the paper covering the area below the clip. Spray adhesive on the board and then smooth the paper down.

Step 3: This is where another set of hands is helpful. Have someone hold the clip open while you work around it cutting the paper with the X-Acto knife.

Step 4: Lift the upper section of paper and spray adhesive (this is tricky). Smooth the paper down around the clip.

Step 5: Turn your clipboard over and cut out the corners of your overlapping page as shown to the right above. This will help it fold down uniformly. Paint paste onto the top and bottom strips of your paper and fold it onto the back side of the board. (I would recommend Mod Podge or watered down Elmer’s. We used spray adhesive but at this point it was a gobby, gooey mess. ) Do the same with the long side strips.

Step 6: If you want to, give the whole thing a coat of Mod Podge for durability and shine.

Add your calendar, grocery list, pictures or whatever you fancy and hang your clipboard on the wall!

How To’s-Day: Washer necklaces

I’ve been planning this post for weeks. But sometimes when I make plans I forget that I’m a mom. And I forget that cars can die, that kids get sick, that friends will need last minute help, that stores don’t like to carry exactly what I need or they purposely make it very hard to find, that family events tend to take all day… for three days in a row, and that my kids need to see my face from time to time.

So here it is but not without the help of three people who love me enough to dig me out of the hole I buried myself in this week: my awesome husband and my good friends Lanae Shrope and Stephanie Shumway. (And thanks to Lori Nielsen for the loan of her alphabet stamps!) Lanae is responsible for the chains and cords on the necklaces along with some of the work that went into making them. Stephanie cleaned my house and modeled for us. And my husband wound up doing the majority of the grunt work. You might be asking yourself what exactly I was doing. I’m still trying to figure that out.

And without any further ado, my make-your-own Mother’s Day washer necklace tutorial:

Washers (zinc plated)- Found at the hardware store. Buy a few extra for practice!
A heavy hammer- We used a 3 pound sledge
Alphabet metal punches- Found at Harbor Frieght
A cutting mat (optional)
A sharpie
Baby wipes
A magic eraser

Step 1: Place a practice washer on a concrete or tile surface. Use the cutting mat to protect the surface if necessary.

Step 2: Choose a letter and position it on the washer. Lift your hammer about a foot above the stamp and let it fall using only a touch of force. It will take a practice washer or two to get the hang of this. I ended up having my husband help with this.

Step 3: Personalize your washers with your desired message. We used a #2 Phillips screwdriver as a spacer. You can use a nail setter if you would rather a dot than a little star.

Step 4: Color in your letters with black Sharpie and then hairspray it quickly. Wipe off the excess with a baby wipe or a magic eraser. This takes quite a bit of elbow grease!

Step 5: Add the chain, cord or ribbon of your choice. We tried a few different options here.

In a matter of a couple of hours we knocked out six necklaces and a keychain for my dad’s birthday. And we had a blast! We have already come up with a list of different occasions to make these necklaces for. I ended up with one for myself and Stephanie and Lanae both went home with one.

We bought our washers at Home Depot for pennies a piece. The large one is a 5/8″ x 1 1/4″ zinc-plated fender washer and the smaller one is a 1/2″ cut zinc-plated washer. There are many different sizes and thicknesses to choose from and a couple of different finishes. If you want to get a little crazy, this blog post has lots of great ideas for different types of washer necklaces.

Have a very happy Mother’s Day!

How To’s Day: Sweet thank you’s

For times when you need just more than a thank-you card and don’t have time to bake a plate of cookies, these sweet thank you’s are just the thing!

You will need:
Patterned cardstock (found in the scrapbook paper section of your favorite craft store)
Flower brads or some kind of accent (also in the scrapbook section)
jewelery baggies (craft store, jewelery section)
handwritten or printed tags
a stapler

Step 1: Fill bags not quite to the top with a candy of your choice.

Step 2: Cut cardstock into strips just barely wider than the jewelery bags and then bend the strips over the bag to judge length and then cut.

Step 3: Punch brads or buttons through the cardstock and then bend it over the bags. Add accents, labels… whatever your heart desires.

I have done these as Easter gifts for the kids’ friends with jellybeans and pastel paper. We have also filled them with candy corns at Halloween, used a fun, ghostly paper and tacked on Halloween buttons. Get creative. Let your kids choose candy and paper for a teacher’s gift or grandparent surprise. Have fun!