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?)Read More
We're finally feeling spring here in NY with trees flowering and daffodils everywhere...yay! To celebrate, I'm sharing a candy flower cupcake-topper video I created with Fisher-Price. They would be perfect for a Mother's Day dessert or tea party!Read More
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!Read More
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!Read More
A few months ago I made some veggie trains for a video for Thomas & Friends! They're fun for any occasion, whether it's a train-themed birthday party treat to a playdate craft activity or an afterschool snack. As I usually work with candy it was so nice to have some healthy "craft materials" to share with my boys when they poked their heads into the kitchen to see what I was doing!
*IMPORTANT* In these photos I attached the wheels with toothpicks but in the video, I "glued" them on with cream cheese. Toothpicks are fine if the trains are for decorations only but if you're giving them to a child to eat, leave off the toothpicks.
Rice Krispie Treats are not only yummy but a good option for a dessert to serve to gluten-free friends. Making them into mini "cakes" is such a fun crafty food project! You can use square and round cookie cutters or hand-cut them. They work well if you cut into with a pretty thin layer, around 1", so spread them a little thinner than you usually do. (You might need to spread it into two baking dishes.) I use the classic recipe right off the box.Read More
Cupcake papers, which come in fun colors and patterns, make for a fun collage material. These little Valentines, party invites, and tags take advantage of their ruffled texture. After baking, I always seem to have a few stray cupcake papers left over from various packs, and this is a nice use for them!Read More
I recently had the pleasure of working with the super talented photographer, Lucy Schaeffer. We were shooting a craft story for Family Fun magazine involving large cardboard boxes (which I am excited to share as soon as it comes out!). Lucy told me about the candy ATM (Yes, a candy ATM!) that she and her two daughters made together using a giant cardboard box.
(All photos by Lucy)
Elf is one of my family's favorite movies. We could watch it all the time, but, for the last few years, we established a policy to do so only once a year, with cousins, right before Christmas. When we finally do get to watch it, it feels really special event! Last year, a few nights before Christmas, we had an Elf Night with our extended family. My younger son and I made these cardstock invites together during a sick day.Read More
I recently worked with Bed, Bath & Beyond to make a series of gingerbread house kit hacks. We had so much fun coming up with different themes using the candy decorations from the kit and some easy-to-find extras like candy canes, pretzel rods, and marshmallows. I will update this post soon with the third video, a snowy palace!Read More
I've compiled a list of gift ideas for the creative kids on your holiday shopping list. The ideas may seem basic, but when paired with one or two other things, become a simple (but fun!) craft or activity kit!Read More
I love to have a little side Christmas tree for my kids to decorate with their own ornaments...the ones that don't really match with what I had in mind for our big tree. :) Sometimes they'll keep it in their room or we'll have it on a side table in the living room. This little Tinker Toy tree is easy and fun to make, never drops needles, and turns back into a toy after the holiday!Read More
Christmas is quickly approaching! What a better way to celebrate each day of Advent than with a fun handmade countdown. These paper bags double as cute decor and a functional Advent calendar. You could fill them with treats, small toys, or slips of paper with quotes, or fun family activity ideas!Read More
Thanksgiving is coming! I always want to use fall leaves for my decorations, but I find that they are usually dried up by the time the holiday comes around. This is a fun way to get fresh-looking leaves that don't crinkle or crumble and it gets your kids involved in decorating!Read More
Gingerbread houses are fun to bake and build, but these little Halloween haunted houses, a variation of the 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 spooky Halloween centerpiece or mantle decoration, too. For a great playdate or fall afternoon activity, premake the house bases, one for each kid, and set out bowls of candy for decorations.Read More
I am so happy to have recently contributed some ideas to Etsy Studio, Etsy's new-ish craft supply market where makers can find unique (and basic) materials as well as project ideas and inspiration. My first post is all about making homemade dessert stands, like this multi-tiered castle stand! I was so inspired by Etsy's wide selection of unfinished wooden blocks and shapes!Read More
Fisher-Price's Little People Farm was one of my most-loved toys when I was a kid and was a favorite of our boys when they were little too so I was thrilled when they asked me to come up with cupcakes inspired by their farm animals. Check out the video we made and you'll see that the cupcakes are super easy to make. Snip some supermarket candy, no piping or cake-decorating skills required! Your kids can help make them and they're great for a barnyard-themed or piggy party, Easter, or even just a rainy day!Read More
My friend, Margaret, and I like to work on craft projects together. (She's a brilliant illustrator and surface designer, by the way. Check out her website!) We've gotten together the last couple of years to decorate Easter eggs, like these neon highlighter eggs, inspired by a series of highlighter pen drawings she made.Read More