recycled paper sunburst wheel

written by tammy

This project was inspired by a recent trip to the American Folk Art Museum (gift shop) in New York City. This simple-looking project is not as easy as it appears. Sure, it’s just folded paper with a little glue, but there are actually more steps and time involved than you might assume.

1. Begin by pulling a magazine out of the recycle bin. I wanted a very large paper wheel so I used a W magazine. Rip off the front cover of the magazine and then carefully peel out a few pages. Trim the rippled gluey edge so the pages are straight.

2. Fold the page lengthwise in a back and forth pattern, like an accordion. My folds were about 1/2 inch thick, and, to make the creases crisp, I ran a credit card over the seam of each fold.

3. Fold each accordion folded magazine sheet in half as seen in the picture above. For my circle I used 18 pages.

4. Apply a sparse dab of glue along the seam of the fold, and nest another piece inside of it. Repeat with one more piece (so that three pieces are nested together) and then clip with a paper clip while the glue dries.

Tip: Do the gluing work on top of a sheet of wax or parchment paper to avoid the glue sticking to surfaces while it dries.

5. When glue is fully dry, remove paper clips and assemble into a large circle with all tips coming together in the center. Squeeze some glue into the center of the circle, allow to dry and then flip it over and do the same on the other side.

6. After the center glue has dried join the separate side pieces together with glue. If you would like to hang your circle you can glue a piece of string into one of the side seams, or use a hole puncher to pop a hole for hanging when the project has dried completely.


button bouquet

written by tammy

Visiting relatives, I spied this darling button bouquet and snapped a few shots. The project is simple and great for kids.

You will need:
- an assortment of buttons
- green floral tape
- green floral wire
- an empty jar or vase

Cut the wire to desired length, 8 to 10 inches. Fold the wire in half to find the middle and then open up again. String one or two buttons to the center of the wire, fold, twist the wire down to form a stem and lock the button flowers in place. Wrap the wire with green floral tape. Make bunches of them!!

Arrange your creations in an empty jar or small glass vase and share with someone you love.

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key to my heart: linocut prints

written by tammy

linocut heart print card

This may come as a surprise since I don’t post a lot about either.. but two of my favorite mediums to dabble in are linocut printing and india ink. Here’s a quickie run-through of my latest project:

(click on the pics for more detail)

Please keep in mind that this is only an overview of linocut printing, and that any time you plan on using a sharp tool, it is important to observe proper safety precautions. The instructables website has a nice piece on linocut printing and safety here.

And for further reading and inspiration be sure to check out this impressive online exhibit of Picasso’s prints by MOMA. As usual, they have outdone themselves with another amazing interactive web presentation!! Love. Love.


makeshift shelves

written by tammy

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...


Pick a color and paint the boards.


Measure the height and width of the paint cans.


Measure and cut decorative paper to wrap around the cans.


Wrap the paint cans with paper and fasten with tape.


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


pom-pom wall hanging

written 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


baby glove bunny

written by tammy

baby glove bunny

With winter in full swing, there’s sure to be a glove or two that goes astray. What to do with its lonely only other half… Glove Bunny!!

This Baby Glove Bunny only takes one glove to make. A chop-chop here and a stitch stitch there, here a stuff, there a stuff and there you have it.

glove bunny back

I have included a visual layout of how to transform your stray glove into a precious little softie, below. The dashed lines need to be cut with sharp scissors and then sewed together

baby glove bunny pattern

The two middle fingers are turned into the bunny arms, the legs are cut up from the wrist and sewed apart. The face details can either be stitched on, or adorned with buttons and trim. Be creative… this is only a jumping point!!

For recycled stuffing ideas see my post on Stray Sock Stuffing.

And for the mama of all glove bunnies… see my newest post, Coco: the glove bunny!!


salt dough

written by tammy

The fun of holiday baking doesn’t have to end just yet… just don’t eat these cookies!!

It was a chilly cold weekend, so we stayed in and made salt dough cutouts. This is a fun, squishy, messy, crafty activity that children of all ages can enjoy.

fun with salt dough

** To make the dough add 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and about 3/4 of a cup of water to a large mixing bowl, roll up your sleeves, and squish together until it forms a moldable mass. (this is the fun part!!) Should it be too stiff, add more water a tiny bit at a time.  For more fun, food coloring can be added to the mix. **

After the dough was done, we rolled it out and started cutting shapes with play dough toys. Meanwhile, I started warming the oven to 350, so we could bake the shapes to crispy perfection. (about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cutouts)

A few story books later, we painted the cooled cooked shapes with tempura paints and played with the fun little character pieces.

Check out another fun salt dough project here.

paint the pretty pieces


chains of love

written by tammy


While boot chains may be the latest runway runoff, this project is more like the poor girls solution to the glitzy holiday party. New boots were not on this year’s priority spending list, so instead I bought two new things for my holiday getup.. bright teal tights and a $20 necklace overflowing with chains. (If you could imagine, the necklace pictured above is actually what was leftover AFTER making boot chains, so I got 2 new boot chains and a necklace all for twenty bucks!)

All you really need to make DIY shoe jewelry is an amply overflowing necklace, some old shoes and needle-nose pliers (pictured on top). Every girl should have a pair of these in the house, both for crafty projects and DIY jewelry fixes.. they have a pointy tip for squeezing tiny pieces and a cutting mechanism near the axis.

how to make shoe jewlery

Pull apart the circle links holding the necklace to the clasp and save them for reattaching. Wrap the chains around your boots to determine the length needed to create your jewelry, and then cut the chain at the appropriate place with the cutting part of the pliers.

Now, reattach the chains in the form you want by inserting the circular link between the two ends of your cut chain, and then squeezing the circle back into shape. I did a wrap-around anklet with dangling ends…

boot chains

While writing up this how-to post Refinery29 conveniently dropped this link in my inbox, check it out for some more great ideas… and then make your own!


add-on houses

written by tammy

With the holidays approaching you’ll soon find yourself knee deep in packaging waste. This is the perfect time to add another type of recycle bin to the home. A projects bin, like this one, can be used to collect empty packaging and other discarded items that have art-project potential. Everything, from the plastic and twist ties holding dolly in place to empty candy containers and wrapping paper, can be re-imagined into something useful.

add-on houses

This project takes a simple idea, and multiplies the fun!

You start with a shoe box, or a box of similar size, and create a room for your toys to dwell. The best thing about this project is not only do you get to do it over and over, at different times, with different friends, etc., but you get to take them all home, and assemble each piece into a grand mansion.

The bedroom, for instance, could have been made at a cousin’s house over Thanksgiving, the kitchen, at a sleepover and the playroom on a rainy afternoon. Creating add-on houses is great for holidays, sick days, vacation days and sleepovers.

The examples below are from one of ingenious kids I spend time with. She used wallpaper and wrapping paper scraps to adorn the walls. Altoids tins became closets and beds. Popsicle sticks are now hardwood floors and stamps transformed into artwork.

Click on the pictures below to get a closer look at the creative uses for everyday trash.

(You MUST click on the pictures to see the incredible detail!)


kinesis = kinetic sculpture

written by tammy

Set a child in motion and there’s no turning back.

Meet Eliza.

Eliza and I have been doing art together since she was 3 years old. In the beginning, whenever she got her hands sticky with glue or she was splotched with paint, all artistic activity came to a halt. After many, many baby wipes and much positive reassurance, a few key ideas became ingrained… Art is Messy, and (much to Nana’s chagrin) That’s why they make washing machines!!

By the time she was four, she was doing art projects independently as ‘surprises’ for the people she loved; drawings, collages, mixed-media works on paper. Lately, she’s been exploring her inner Jackson Pollock. So it came as no surprise, that after a week in the country… and a little help from the Grandparents… she returned with a kinetic sculpture any Alexander Calder fan would envy.

(did I mention he’s one of my favorite artists?!)

As I helped her reassemble the sculpture in the garden, she filled me in on the creative process:

The goal was to make a gift for her father’s birthday, so she applied the disciplinary planning techniques she acquired in art class last year and started with some sketches. After showing them to her Grandparents, they brainstormed about materials, then got to work.

meet the artist

The base was removed from a fallen tree in the yard, and shallow holes were drilled into the top. (Yes, adult help!!) Then came the first tedious part for her: rubbing oil into the wood. She emphasized how many applications it took to get a smooth sheen and bring out the rings. Afterward, she carved her name into the stump with a pointy object with a handle… sounds like an awl to me!

sign & date

Next, she straightened the galvanized steel wire by banging it with a mallet. Another difficult step, she said. Then the wire was cut into six pieces, about 3ft each in length, bent by hand into a hook shape, and inserted into the holes in the stump.

The colorful moving shapes were cut from plastic school folders. She made a paper template for each shape, traced and cut them out, then popped a hole in the top with a hole puncher.

kinetic sculpture

I helped her attach the shapes to the wire. We decided on thread, since it ties tight and is practically invisible (besides we didn’t have any fishing wire)!

The end result was exactly what she wanted.. a stunning sculpture that moves naturally.

it's all in the details

Keep moving and check out these links..

Some Calder pieces: Spider, Lobster Trap and Fish Tail, Untitled 1939

Kinetic Art – on Wiki

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