Thursday, July 30, 2009

Potato Aliens (and a Tissue-Box Rocket Ship)


After last week's potato penguins, Nora had the great idea to make potato aliens. The process was the same: we just painted raw potatoes green and then decorated them. Some fun potato-alien accessories:

--green Easter grass hair
--googly eyes of various sizes
--Q-tips (made great antennae)
--pipe cleaners (ditto)
--Sharpie for drawing mouths
--craft pasta wheels for Princess Leia-like buns (not shown, just an idea)
--Rice Krispies made great teeth

We used an old, washed egg carton to stand the potatoes up in while they were drying. Nora wanted to make them a rocket ship out of a Kleenex box. I know that one could make a really awesome, realistic-looking one (you could cover it with white paper, and write something like "Earth or Bust!" on the door, or -- whatever! But this was Nora's project, so I stayed out of it). She doodled on the box with a Sharpie, stuck on some sequins, and asked me to make a simple door out of a rectangle of white paper. She spent all morning putting her potato aliens in the box, flying them around, and collecting green foods from the play kitchen to "feed" them.


This one's my favorite
Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 24, 2009

Princess Castle

What princess wouldn't love making such a pretty castle? We made it entirely for free the other morning with stuff we had around the house. And it was so quick, my early riser Nora and I had it finished before her sleepyhead brother even woke up at 7:30! I found this craft on a delightful post called "What Can You Make from Cardboard Tubes?" on The Crafty Crow. Check out this link, too, if you want to see how a young knight made his castle. As for us, we went all girly.

One gal's toilet paper roll is another gal's treasure. To make this castle you'll need:
two paper towel rolls
three toilet paper rolls
a pipe cleaner
paint and glue and scissors

Step One: Cut the paper towel roll into three pieces: two pieces that are just slightly longer than the toilet paper rolls; and one short piece (about 2" high) for the door. (You'll see what I mean if you look at the top picture.) Cut the tops of the two long pieces to resemble turrets.

Two: Paint the cardboard tubes, if desired. (Or leave gray for a stone-castle-type look.)
Before the paint is dry, dip the edges of the tubes in glitter. Let dry.
Three: When tubes are dry, set them up the way you want them, and then glue along the points that touch. They'll be delicate until dry, but as long as they are touching while the glue is drying, they should hold up well when finished. Nora kept getting so excited to play with her castle that she'd pull it apart before it was fully dry, so we had to glue it a couple of times!

Four: Cut a small piece of construction paper into a half-oval for the door. We didn't have black paper, so we just colored a half-circle of white paper black with a pen. Allow your child to put the door on where she likes. Cut another piece of paper into a flag shape, and help your child affix it to the pipe cleaner (I folded it along the back and we taped it closed around the pipe cleaner). We used stamps to put Nora's name on the flag, but you can write whatever your child likes!

Five: Set up your castle and play. Nora played with her My Little Ponies all around it. It's still on our counter, looking good!
Posted by Picasa

Painted Stick Gardens, again

I love hearing that someone has tried one of our crafts!! Nancy at Kibbles 'N Knits shared this adorable picture of her son planting painted sticks in his garden:

So cool! It inspired us to move our sticks into our veggie garden. Here's Nora back in the spring when we made our stick garden. She looks so much smaller! Those jeans are like skintight capris on her now. Thanks for indulging my trip down memory lane, all via a stick garden.
Posted by Picasa

They Came from the Produce Section

Here's a weird little craft we can claim completely as our own. Can you tell?:

While grocery shopping the other evening, just the two of us (the boys were at home), I mused to Nora, "Wouldn't it be fun to paint potatoes to look like penguins?" Nora sighed, rolled her eyes heavenward slightly as if to say, Do you see what I have to live with?, and then said, "Sure, Mommy." So we picked up a couple of potatoes and made these little guys. Nora decided to make each member of our family: Daddy, Mommy, baby Soren, and herself. She is the one with three eyes, "because I want to look funny," she explained. This craft was a blast and she had fun playing with her potato penguins for days, until they (sans googly-eyes) went into the compost bin. (The new red potatoes were starting to ooze slightly. Their time had come.)

Want to make your own little family of penguins?

You'll need:

a couple of potatoes (as many as you want penguins) -- we used 2 russets and 2 new red potatoes
white and black non-toxic, washable paint
paint brushes
glue or glue stick
googly eyes
a piece of orange construction paper

Step One: Paint your penguins. I painted the white "bibs" first, and when these dried, taped over them so that Nora could paint the black part without stressing out about accidentally covering over the white. She enjoyed painting them once, and then I confess that I gave them another coat that evening after she went to bed, because I am a neurotic perfectionist when it comes to things like hand-painted root vegetables.
We used an empty egg carton to stand the potatoes in while they dried.

Step Two: Decorate. When the paint has dried, add googly eyes and a small triangle of orange construction paper for a beak.
Posted by Picasa
Nora loved arranging the penguins and making them "talk." She also loved to lay them down in their "snow" (white sugar) and "sunbathe."


Posted by Picasa
Nora even set the penguins by the window so that they could look out.

And when a neighbor dropped by, they both played with the penguins. Our neighbor was quite intrigued by what we'd been up to....
What, her mommy wasn't home, painting faces on the rutabagas?
Posted by Picasa

Handmade Shakers

Since Nancy tried out our Stick Garden craft, I felt inspired to try her homemade shakers craft. She has the great, step-by-step tutorial on her crafting blog.
All you need are toilet paper rolls, paint, some construction paper, tape, and something rattly to put in your shaker. It's good fun!

Posted by Picasa




Mommy, how did my hand get dirty??
Posted by Picasa

Soren got really into the filling-the-shaker part. He loved grabbing handfuls of pasta and dropping them into the tube.

And when your shakers are done -- DANCE!!
Posted by Picasa

Handprint Octopus


This was a fun, quick little craft for a rainy morning. I thought it would be the perfect level for both kids, but Soren (17 mos.) just wanted to eat paint that day. So I distracted him with cars while Nora finished her handprint octopus.

Basically, all you have to do is paint one of your child's hands orange -- except for the thumb. (Hark! Paint not the thumb!) Have her make a handprint on paper; then re-paint the hand and press another handprint right on top of the first, at a slight angle. There you have it -- an 8-legged octopus!

Nora painted a background sheet of blue paper with her famous glitter-water-glue concoction, and we learned that blops of glue, which dry clear, look awesomely like bubbles. That could come in handy for a future art project....
Posted by Picasa