makeshift shelves

by tammy
shelves1

I found these boards in the trash the other day and thought they would be the perfect way to turn these unsightly paint cans into something useful...

shelves2

Pick a color and paint the boards.

shelves3

Measure the height and width of the paint cans.

shelves4

Measure and cut decorative paper to wrap around the cans.

shelves5

Wrap the paint cans with paper and fasten with tape.

shelves6

Layer the boards on top of the cans for makeshift shelves. Much prettier!!

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bottle fizzzz play fun

by tammy

fizz ingredients

While fizzing up a bottle may seem elementary…  to a little kid, it’s a blast!!

Simple household ingredients can turn recyclable bottles into fizzing fun for young and old alike. The mixture is simple, baking soda plus vinegar equals a bubbly reaction. Anyone who made it through grade school science probably learned how to make a ‘volcano’ explode in a similar manner.

We realized we were out of baking soda but guess what… baking powder also did the trick.

pour the vinegar

Just fill an empty plastic of glass bottle with a few spoonfuls of powder, add vinegar and watch the kids faces light up with excitement. Yes, bringing joy to a child really is THAT EASY.

fizzy fun

PS.. let the kids scoop, let the kids pour, and let the kids help clean up! My four year old helper was just as capable as her big sister.

PPS..do I really have to say, DON’T DRINK.

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terrarium *update* new babies

by tammy

Last summer I started a succulent terrarium and taught you how to do the same.  (see the instructions here)  This summer,  I took some clippings and started a tiny new terrarium.

Most succulents propagate quite easily.  Many websites list long and complicated rooting rituals which include special serums and  plastic enclosures , but I’ve found that snipping off a piece and placing it cut side down in moist soil will often times do the trick.

*** click on the pictures to see details in full size ***

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t-shirt cutting series: a little racier

by tammy

Now that you’ve learned the simple-cut you’re ready to get a little more daring with the shears (and your shirts).

Click on the picture to see full-size details!

Tips:

1. Make sure you use super sharp scissors. Sharp scissors make smooth effortless cuts.

2. Once you try on the shirt, you can make adjustments to the style and fit. For instance, if one section droops more than others, you can cut the knot and then retie it into a better shape.

3. The first few ties closest to the neck of the shirt usually need to be tighter, or closer together, than the middle and bottom sections of the t-shirt.

4. Cutting and retying your t-shirt with this style is a great way of making a huge shirt more slim fitting. To do this, just make wider lines across the back and tie the strands closer together.

5. To make a tight shirt looser, tie the strands together near the tips of the fabric, leaving less excess to cut off.

Have fun and play around with different different sized shirts and vary the width and length of the strips to create an effect all your own.

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watercolor & crayons

by tammy

watercolor crayonsSummer projects are the best because making a mess outdoors always seems like less of a mess!!

Make a splash this year with watercolors and crayons. This simple project is one of the few ways that kids can get a great picture with cheap watercolor paints. First, draw a picture on the back of a piece of paper (from the recycling bin) with bright bold crayons. Then paint all over it with washable watercolor paints. When the picture is dry, cut it out into fun shapes.

We had a group of kids in the yard for this project, so we went with an underwater theme. They really got into it!!

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t-shirt chop shop

by tammy

Last summer, when I was putting together a box of clothes to donate to the homeless shelter, I picked up a few ill-fitting T-shirts and got happy with the scissors. This summer, I’m bringing it to the blog.

Redesigning an old shirt with a few snips and knots is a great no-sew way to make the old new again. This project works best with over sized, frumpy, tight-necked, concert and even giveaway shirts (you know the ones you get for free from events that come in the one-size-fits-all poorly variety). It’s also a great way to jazz up your kids summer camp T’s.

I am going to start the post-series with a simple cut and work my way up to more intricate designs in the following lessons. This simple cut is also the starting point for other designs. So pay attention!!

Check out the images below for instructions, and please…

** click on the image to see full-size!! the thumbnails crop out details **

Once you’re done, try on your new creation to see how it looks!! You may decide to make a larger scoop of the neck for a little off-the-shoulder action, or you might grab another T and get snippin’… just remember to save some shirts for the next tutorial.

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table time (thebabysitter flies)

by tammy

When I walk in to work, there is one question that I am frequently asked, “Can we do an art project… pleeeeease?”

On occasion, I’ll walk into a very specific request, like earlier in the week when I was asked to help make Palpatine’s house from Star Wars (still thinking that one through), sometimes I will have a project planned, but most of the time I just wing it.

pom pom family

It was already after dinner and bedtime was lingering in the air like sweet reprieve, when the begging began. “Pleeeeease can we do an art project… puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeease?”

Not wanting to disappoint my pint-sized admirers, I dug around in the art bin and brought out a few goods to play around with while we downed desert. What we came up with was simple, a pom-pom family, assembled quite quickly with colorful pom-poms, self adhesive stickers and magic marker faces.

pom pom family detail

We spent a few minutes fiddling around, giving them names and places in the the family lineup… mother, brother, sister, baby, neighbor… babysitter!! And then they went to bed.

Projects don’t always have to be complicated, messy or involved. Sometimes the point of a project is spending quality time together!

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beverage jars

by tammy

iced espresso jar

It’s getting hot again, so I’m saving my leftover espresso for icy drinks. Instead of using a plastic pitcher, which not only has the danger of off-gassing, but also holds on to strong scents & colors, I used an old jar.

Pickle jars and tomato sauce jars are the perfect size for summer beverage containers. Store anything from iced coffee to margaritas or lemonade in an empty, sterilized glass jar.

Using a Sharpie, label your brew on small strip of masking tape and affix to the jar.  Stay hydrated!!

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pom-pom wall hanging

by tammy

Finally, a beautiful and simple project for colorful pom-poms.

If you’ve crafted with kids, the one thing you know is that pom-poms never stay put. Glue them to paper, they pop off. Glue eyes on them, they pop off. Nine times out of ten pom-pom projects don’t last. And kids LOVE THEM!!

pom-pom full image

Scanning through the project bin, we realized there was a giant bag of brightly colored balls of fuzz, so we came up with a plan: needle, thread, pom-poms and pipe cleaners.

First, we twisted together 3 pipe cleaners to form one long line. Then, we found the perfect empty space, and twisted the ends of the pipe cleaner around a couple push pins to create the base (see image below).
pom-pom wall hanging detail

Next, we threaded pom-poms onto multi colored thread with a needle. We tied the bottom one on for security, but left the others loose, so they were easier to space out and rearrange later.

After each strand was complete, we tied it to the pipe cleaner at even intervals. Once we felt there were enough strands, we perfected the piece by sliding the pom-poms up and down the thread until they were well spaced… then we stood back to admire our new masterpiece!!

pom-pom wall hanging

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tomato can herb garden

by tammy

tomato can herb garden

Empty tomato cans make the perfect pot for a seasonal Italian herb garden.   See my old post for easy instructions on growing green at home.  Bon Appetit!

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