Saturday, November 22, 2014

Easy Push Pin Styrofoam Ball Ornament

We recently went to a friends school gathering where they had all of us decorate ornaments using sequin pins, sequins, ribbons, pipe cleaners and pom poms. We arrived a bit late and the only supplies left on my table were the sequins and push pins. So I got to work and came up with the following. Fairly simple to make. I imagine hot gluing the sequins on would be quicker.

You can come up with different layouts and color combinations. I wanted to create a blue and silver combination, but there weren't enough colors, so I decided to just do a multi color one.

We only had an hour to make the ornaments and the school was going to use our ornaments to decorate a tree at our local zoo. So I was short on time and took some photos of a few different combos I came up with. I will definitely be buying some styrofoam balls today!

The rougher textured styrofoam balls almost have a blingy look to them which work well if you want to create a design on the ball and have some negative space like the one below.

For your convenience, I've added a few Amazon Product Links to the supplies you will need to create your very own ornament. (This post contains Affiliate Links in which I will receive a small commission if you decide to make a purchase)

I think the smoother variety Styrofoam balls are best if you plan on covering the entire ball. The smoother variety are actually called Polystyrene Balls. They also seem to hold the pins in better. But the rougher texture has a nice finished effect, even if you have some of the white showing.
Here's the rougher texture variety Styrofoam Ball

Here's the Smoother Polystyrene texture variety Floracraft Styrofoam Balls

We used similar Sequin Pins 500/Pkg-#8 - .5" Silver. You will definitely be using a lot if you plan on covering the whole ball.You may also hot glue the Sequin onto the ball or use glue if you'll be working on the ornaments with children. If you plan on giving as gifts, I recommend using E6000® Craft Adhesive, Clear, 2 oz

The school supplied us with a mixed variety like the one below. The kids get a kick out of the different shapes. However, I picked out the round ones like the one to the right.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How I Use Scholastic Teacher Express in Our Homeschool Studies

(This post contains affiliate links)

As you may already know, Scholastic Teacher Express Dollar Deals
is one of my favorite homeschooling tools!

Scholastic Teacher Express is having their Dollar Deals again! In the past I have purchased and downloaded several educational ebooks on Scholastic Teacher Express. I'm able to view these ebooks on my iPad or even print out the worksheets I need at a moments notice. There are ebooks on every subject imagineable for each grade level.

This Dollar Deals event ends soon and it's the LAST CHANCE this school year! Join their mailing list to receive notification of their sales.
USE COUPON CODE TEAPOL5 for an additional $5 off your purchase of $10 or more. I just purchased 10 ebooks for $5!!! I'm going to look through and get some more for some summer learning.


Remember to use Notability has to save on ink and paper.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reading Eggs Sale!

There are currently two Reading Eggs sales going on and one of them ends today!

Save a MASSIVE 50% when you purchase a 12 month subscription of Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress! Normally $69, you pay only $34.50! This sale ends today!

1. Click on ‘Redeem Promo Code’ on the right hand side and enter APR465 in the box that appears, press ‘Apply’ - then follow the prompts.

Bonus 50% Family Discount – Save 50% off the full price, paying only $34.50, when you purchase any extra 12 month Reading Eggs subscriptions for each additional child in one transaction.

If you absolutely can't purchase today, they're having an Easter Special where you receive a free Mathseeds subscription when you purchase a Reading Eggs 12 month subscription!

1.Log in to Reading Eggs
2.Select a Reading Eggs 12 month subscription.
3.Click on ‘Redeem Promo Code’ on the right hand side and enter EST345 in the box that appears, press ‘Apply’ - then follow the prompts.

PS if you have more than one child you can purchase any extra 12 month Reading Eggs subscriptions at the same price – 50% off!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Using Scholastic Teacher Express Ebooks for Homeschooling

Scholastic Teacher Express Dollar Deals is one of my favorite homeschooling tools!

Scholastic Teacher Express is having their Dollar Deals again! In the past I have purchased and downloaded several educational ebooks on Scholastic Teacher Express. I'm able to view these ebooks on my iPad or even print out the worksheets I need at a moments notice. There are ebooks on every subject imagineable for each grade level.
To save on printing, there are those worksheets that are multiple choice and I can't see printing out and wasting the ink. So I found the solution in the App store!

Notability has been a life saver. I purchased some inexpensive pack of 6 stylus pens
from Amazon and downloaded the Dollar Deals ebooks onto my ipad. Then I open them using Notability.  With the stylus pens, my kids are able to write in their answers and draw right on top of the ebook page. I save on paper and ink!
The Dollar Deals Sale ends on April 30th, 2014. But no worries, they have them a few times a year. Just make sure you join their mailing list to receive notification of their sales.
You can also receive $5 off your order of $25 or more at Scholastic Teacher Express. I'm pretty sure you can even use it during the Dollar Deals sale.  Use code 5off251plus1 to get $5.00 off of orders $25 and over

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Repurposed Cardboard Box Kitchen

My 4 year old has been all about felt food since this past Christmas. I made her tons of felt food for her Christmas gift, but where was she going to bake her felt food? So she saw a cute mini kitchen from Plan Toys, and begged me to buy it for her. Although it was cute and we'll made, I decided to make one myself. 

I started out with a plain cardboard box. The size all depends on how big you want the kitchen. I started out with one the size of a large square box of diapers. It's best to look for one with all four flaps so that you can reinforce certain areas with the extra cardboard pieces.
Then I used modge lodge matte finish to glue on a layer of small pieces of tissue paper in different shades of blue and green. I applied several layers, making sure to let the layers dry in between applications.
Once dry, I traced a small shallow bowl on the right side of the top surface of my kitchen and used a box cutter to cut about an 1/8 of an inch inside of the traced circle. I applied a thin bead of hot glue around the rim of bowl and set it on top of the hole.
Using the Hip In a Hurry 3D Decor Cut Outs- Ladybug & Dragonfly, I applied them on the top surface of the kitchen to act as the stove burners, and around the knobs for the stove and oven.

For the faucet handles, I hot glued wooden beads.

For the oven door, I made sure to tape down one of the flaps of the box before applying the tissue paper. Then the remaining flap was the one to be used as an oven door. To keep the oven door from falling open, I hot glued a bead to the bottom flap (oven door) with a short elastic string that was strung through the bead. Then I hot glued another bead directly above on the stationary flap. The elastic can be brought over the top bead to keep the oven door closed. 

This was a quick attempt at making a mini kitchen. My daughter loved it and loved it even more when I told her I made it! :) 

Limbourg Brothers Book of Days Art Project

The kids and I try to include at least one art lesson a week. Some of our lessons require more than one day to complete. We plan on going to the Art Institute soon and my husband and I want the kids to be familiar with some of the paintings we might see.

So we've been using the book Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters. So far we love it, and it has so many hands-on activities to explore the styles and techniques of the world's greatest artists. They also break up the sections by style/date.

This week, we learned about Early Renaissance painters, The Limbourg Brothers. If you're not familiar with the Limbourg Brothers, they are three artist brothers who painted very detailed paintings using thin paintbrushes and magnifying glasses. They created a book with a calendar and pictures of the seasons.

The art activity we followed asked to create our own Book of Days. I created a template and had the kids pick a favorite thing about each season and each month in theat season. The drawings are meant to be very detailed... the kids didn't get to use magnifying glasses this time around to add more detail, but I think they still had a good time creating the first page for their book of days. They each have to create the remaining seasons for their books.

The template I designed was meant to add detail, especially where the calendar section is. I purposely designed it so that it prints light, that way your child can add their own detail and darken the outlines on their own if they wish. (If it's too light, please let me know and I can make adjustments for you. There are 4 rows of 8, which will give plenty of room for all the days in each month. This is also a great activity to learn the months, seasons, and the days in each month.

Print 4 for all the seasons!

Friday, February 14, 2014

How to make a crochet cabbage patch hat/wig

I absolutely want to make this for my daughters. I have daughters who are 8, 4 and 9 months old, and I believe they can all wear one. I wish there was some way to make the hats smell like cabbage patch dolls. :) This pattern sells for $5.50 on Craftsy. Sizing is from infant to 12 years of age!

How to Sew Custom Designer Jeans

I thought this was the coolest! Ever since I started shopping for my own jeans, I could never find a good pair of jeans. My little chicken legs were abnormally skinny near the knee and I had wide hips and a small butt. LOL. Thankfully I've rounded out a bit in some areas, but I still have skinny legs near my knees which  makes it nearly impossible to find a good pair of nice fitting jeans.
I've always been skinny and was always made fun of growing up, so looking fuller was always important when I shopped for clothes. So when I FINALLY found some jeans that fit me perfectly, I was beyond ecstatic. I do still have the jeans, but I was never able to find similar fitting jeans after that.
I recently came across this tutorial on sale for half off a few weeks ago. Every now and then they do have a 50% off sale, but for their regular price, which is also the price of jeans, you can learn how to properly duplicate or custom make a new pair of jeans to fit your body.
Sewing Designer Jeans
Unfortunately, I missed the sale and have yet to purchase. However when I do and I complete my first pair of jeans, I plan to share my review. :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Miniature Clay Spaghetti for American Girl Doll

This last Christmas, my 7 year old daughter received an American Girl doll. She is obsessed with her and carries her EVERYWHERE! I admit, a little of the AG Doll Craze has rubbed off on me... I've made her doll some cute crochet booties, crochet hat, and now some play food.

Here's my first attempt in making Spaghetti for an AG Doll. 

I started off by evenly rolling out some polymer clay for the bottom of a plate. I used Sculpey III Polymer Clay. If you're lucky enough to buy some clay cutting tools, I highly recommend them. I don't have any, so I used the rim of a small plastic cup to cut out a perfect circle. Then I rolled about a 1/4" circumference coil long enough to place on top of the outer edge of the circle. To adhere the coil to the circle shape, I used the end of a small brush to push some of the clay together.

Then I smoothed it out and flattened the edge of the plate. I also flared the edge of the plate out to make it look a little more realistic.

For the pasta, my daughter helped me by mixing white with some yellow and a little bit of brown to come up with the color of pasta. I rolled it up into a smooth ball and placed it in a garlic presser. I highly recommend purchasing one at the dollar store as it's pretty tough cleaning the clay out. You can also purchase a clay extruder set that has all sorts of cool shapes. It's made specifically for polymer clay and you don't have to sacrifice your cooking tools. I like the Walnut Hollow Clay Extruder Set.

Then the fun part was squeezing the clay out to make perfect sized spaghetti noodles for an AG doll.

I mixed some red with some brown to get a nice meaty pasta sauce.

Then made a few meatballs using a mixture of red, brown a bit of black. Remember to work in small amounts when you're mixing... You don't want to end up with a color you're unable to use.

We also added texture to the meatballs using crumpled up aluminum foil.

Then we added the elements to the plate. I worked the pasta sauce with my fingers until it was very soft. I used the tip of a brush handle and the tip of a pencil to spread the sauce onto the pasta. I also used those tools to lightly press the bottom layers of the pasta onto the plate to adhere them together.

Soft chalk pastels work wonders in adding more accent colors to your clay pieces. I shaved off some black pastels onto a plate and brushed some onto the meatballs. This gave it more of a browned look. I went in and used aluminum foil to texturize the meatballs a little more. 

It was my daughters idea to have that extra meatball rolling away. 

I didn't have adhering medium or clay glue to glue the food to the plate, so I etched in some texture that way the food could grab onto the plate a bit better. It's probably best to buy the bakeable polymer clay glue.

My daughter then made a bunch of baby carrots and I etched the bottom of the carrots as well.

Then we placed themon the plate. I used the tip of a pencil to push the clay down a bit to adhere it to the plate. This photo shows me molding the pea shape as I am also pushing it down a bit into the clay plate. 

Again, this is my first attempt in working with polymer clay in this way. It's been a few days since we made this and so far the food is still on the plate. :)

Very cool, not entirely necessary tools. If you plan on selling your creations,
I highly recommend the following for a more professional look.