Small-Space Solutions from our Kitchen Renovation!

Small-Space Solutions from our Kitchen Renovation!

My friend, Danny Seo (who many of you know from his fabulous show on NBC and gorgeous magazine, Naturally) came by a few months ago to shoot some photos of our recent kitchen and dining room renovations for a story in this month’s issue of Naturally. I’m super excited to share photos of some ideas and solutions that we came up with for improving our small and awkwardly laid-out kitchen!

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Back to School Crafts: Trick Out Your Supplies!

Back to School Crafts: Trick Out Your Supplies!

New school supplies always helped to soften my childhood back-to-school blues. I loved decorating my pristine new notebooks, binders, and folders with stickers, doodles, and tape. In that spirit, I created some back-to-school crafts for Parents magazine! In the photo above are some fruit-themed items: tape and marker-decorated folders, stamped pencil cases, and washi tape-covered pencils. Super easy!

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A Roundup of My Favorite DIY Valentines Cards and Gifts

A Roundup of My Favorite DIY Valentines Cards and Gifts

Valentines Day has always been a favorite crafting holiday. I’m just a sucker for pink, red, and hearts! I’ve gathered a few of my favorite projects from over the years, like these freezer paper stenciled muslin bags I made for Martha Stewart Living magazine a few years ago. Slip a love note, some candy, or even a gift of jewelry inside for your sweetheart. Click here for full instructions!
*By the way, freezer paper stenciling is one of my favorite techniques! You can find freezer paper at most supermarkets (or here). It is paper with a plastic coating on one side. After cutting a shape out (ie. a heart) you iron the paper onto your bag (shiny plastic side down) and you have an almost foolproof one-use stencil. If you use a craft punch to make your stencil shapes, as I did with the small hearts here, it is a breeze!

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Homemade Rainbow Soap: A Fun Winter Project!

Homemade Rainbow Soap: A Fun Winter Project!

Soapmaking is a simple, fun, and satisfying project; perfect for when winter weather keeps us indoors. There’s not much to it; you use a store-bought soap base, melt it, tint it with a colorant, and pour it in a mold. I have used clear glycerin soap base, such as here, but had never used an opaque soap base and I loved the bright colors that can be achieved! Once you get set up, it’s easy to crank out a bunch of soap bars. I made these for Bluprint and we shot a fun video to show how easy they are to make!

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Sweet Valentines Project to do With Your Kids: Cookie Houses!

Sweet Valentines Project to do With Your Kids: Cookie Houses!

Gingerbread houses are fun to bake and build, but these little Valentine cottages, from my book, Candy Aisle Crafts, are made from graham crackers, allowing you to skip the baking and get to the best part -- decorating! They make a pretty Valentine's centerpiece or mantle decoration, too. For a great playdate or snow-day activity, pre-make the house bases, one for each kid, and set out bowls of candy for decorations.

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Podcast: Getting Messy in the Kitchen with Kids

Podcast: Getting Messy in the Kitchen with Kids

Have you heard the fun new-ish podcast called “Didn’t I just Feed You”? Co-hosts Stacie Billis and Meghan Splawn “dig into everything from the high highs and low lows of meal planning to coping with picky eaters, the joys of dining out with kids to real-life wellness for families, all with a mission to make family meal time more fun and less stressful for busy parents”. They had me on recently to discuss getting messy in the kitchen…without losing our minds!

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Cupcakes For Your Animal-Loving Kid!

Cupcakes For Your Animal-Loving Kid!

I recently made some safari animal cupcakes for Thomas & Friends to promote their movie Big World! Big Adventures! . I used mostly easy-to-find supermarket ingredients like cookies, marshmallows and pretzels to make these along with candy melts...which you can find at craft and party stores nowadays! Start off with your favorite cupcake, homemade or store-bought. I love this recipe for One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes. If you prefer to buy them, you can call most supermarket bakeries and ask them to make you some unfrosted cupcakes (or frosted, in the color of your choice).

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Weekend Holiday Scrap Project: Woodland Creature Ornaments!

Weekend Holiday Scrap Project: Woodland Creature Ornaments!

Do you have some extra solid colored ornaments lying around the house? If so, you’re halfway to making these cute woodland creature ornaments I made for a fun video with Bluprint. It’s an easy weekend holiday project and you don’t need much in the way of crafts supplies: a few felt (or cardstock) scraps, a pipe cleaner (for the deer), and some paint and glue. Click over to Bluprint for the video so you can see how easy there are to make!

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Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas: Turn Your Favorite Book Into a Kit Gift!

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas: Turn Your Favorite Book Into a Kit Gift!

hristmas is approaching fast so I thought I’d share some last-minute gift ideas that are perfect if you want a special, not right-off-the-shelves gift but don't have time to hand-make something. I love giving (and getting) books, but to make them feel a little more custom and personal, I'll choose a great book and assemble a gift kit around it. I've gathered a few ideas here using a few cooking and craft books that I am loving right now! I did this post about this same idea a few years ago and it’s worth a look if you want a few more ideas!
The first book is Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects by Brittany Watson Jepsen, creator of the GORGEOUS blog The House That Lars Built. This book is total eye candy, beautifully styled, shot, and designed, but also full of doable pretty projects that you’ll want to try. I’ve packaged this book with some craft supplies into a tote bag. Brittany has included an amazing variety of project types, so you could give almost any craft item with this book: paint + paintbrushes, a hot glue gun, a multicolored pack of card stock, but these items are some great basics that would all fit in a tote bag with the book!

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Mini (Light-Up!) Christmas House Ornaments Made From Recycled Boxes

Mini (Light-Up!) Christmas House Ornaments Made From Recycled Boxes

I made some teeny Christmas-y house ornaments out of recycled boxes for Bluprint and we shot this fun video together! Recycled materials are my FAVORITE craft material for many reasons. Keeping things out of landfills is great, of course. But I also love when making stuff teaches kids to look at everything around them differently, to see all the possibilities of what boxes and bottle caps and newspaper can become! (Ps- Isn’t this little pink tinsel tree so cute?!)

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Cute and Creepy Halloween Cupcakes Galore!

Cute and Creepy Halloween Cupcakes Galore!

As the title of my blog exclaims, may favorite crafts (edible and not) are made from easy-to-find supermarket or recycled items. These creepy cupcakes are decorated with cookies, sprinkles and candy, most of which can be found at the supermarket!
Like the cotton candy monsters in my last post, these were tests for a story for a beloved magazine that, sadly, folded before these could run. Sigh... On a brighter note...Milano cookies! They make perfect ghosts and gravestones, after a quick dip in melted white chocolate.
ingredients

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Cotton Candy Monsters!

Cotton Candy Monsters!

Boo! These sweet cupcake toppers are easy to make and a fun project to do with your kids. They’re a prep-and-eat-soon kind of treat…especially if it’s humid! Dry conditions are optimal for cotton candy crafting! Simply pull off a wad and twist to make the nose or horns! This guy has nonpareil eyes and licorice shoestring mouth. They stick right on! By the way, I bought this purply cotton candy here!

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Kid-Friendly Casino Night Birthday Party!

Kid-Friendly Casino Night Birthday Party!

Birthday party ideas for older kids can be difficult to come up with, so when my younger son requested a casino night for his 11th birthday party, we were really excited! We love playing cards and thought a game night was a great idea, but at the same time had some reservations about introducing kids to the concept of gambling or glamorizing it. My husband, a psychologist and addiction specialist, decided he wanted to write up custom "cautionary tales" for each kid to put in their favor bag where the character had to overcome a difficult struggle with gambling after being lured by the rush of an early win. The kids played with chips but there was no prizes or money to be won. (Do we know how to party or what?)

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Fun-To-Make Balloon Birds!

Fun-To-Make Balloon Birds!

These little balloon birds are from our book, Paper Goods Projects, and are so much fun to make! Water balloons and cupcake papers are the main materials, so you may even have these on hand! (Tissue paper or another lightweight paper for the wings would work too if you don't have cupcake papers.) They're perfect for a birthday party or shower decoration. We hung them from helium balloon "clouds" with a little adhesive dot, so easy! 

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Recycled Cardboard Zoo Animals!

Recycled Cardboard Zoo Animals!

Oh, the many uses of cardboard! Thanks to online shopping, we often have several flattened boxes in our recycle bin. Sturdy corrugated cardboard it is one of my favorite materials! It can be turned into a box town, a lemonade stand sign, a candy ATM, or these colorful zoo animals that I made for Family Fun magazine. They're easy to make (using the templates, below) and fun to paint and play with!

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