"Stranger Things"-Themed Halloween Party

"Stranger Things"-Themed Halloween Party

If your family, like mine, are big Stranger Things fans, channel the creepiness to inspire your Halloween party! I worked with Family Circle to create ST-themed crafts and decorations like the Upside Down portal (below), '80s photo wall and an Eggo buffet (essential)! Click here for the buffet details and here for the string lights wall.

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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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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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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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Veggies Taste Even Better When They Look Like Trains!

Veggies Taste Even Better When They Look Like Trains!

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. 

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Yummy (and Gluten-Free) Petit Four Treats for your Valentine

Yummy (and Gluten-Free) Petit Four Treats for your Valentine

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.

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Fun Gingerbread House Kit Hack Videos!

Fun Gingerbread House Kit Hack Videos!

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!

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Halloween Cookie Houses

Halloween Cookie Houses

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.

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DIY Farm Animal Cupcake Video for Fisher-Price

DIY Farm Animal Cupcake Video for Fisher-Price

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!

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Sweet Easter Peeps Treats to Craft With Your Kids

Sweet Easter Peeps Treats to Craft With Your Kids

In this month's Parents magazine, I shared a few Easter treat ideas using Peeps, a candy that I have long loved for their bright sugar coating and chubby cuteness....perfect for decorating desserts! These little Peep chicks are in nests made from chow mein noodles in a marshmallow mixture. (click here for directions and a recipe).

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Valentine Portrait Pops!

Valentine Portrait Pops!

These portrait lollipops I made for my husband are inspired by the Funny Face Pops in our book, Candy Aisle Crafts. Making them was some of the most fun that I had working on the book!  I was creating all different shapes of lollipops for our hard candy chapter and Amy and I talked about including a page of people portrait lollipops. When she suggested that I try making Bert and Ernie–like faces, I was inspired! Make some for your Valentine...or your favorite couple!

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Easy DIY Heart Lollipops Made From Supermarket Candies

Easy DIY Heart Lollipops Made From Supermarket Candies

These pops, made by melting supermarket candies, are perfect party favors or school Valentines! You can even use up any leftover peppermints swirl candies you may have from Christmas!

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More Wintry Candy Crafts To Try With Your Kids!

More Wintry Candy Crafts To Try With Your Kids!

This little seal is a favorite from our book, Candy Aisle Crafts. That sweet face! In this shot, he is sliding around on some (aluminum foil) ice surrounded by sugar "snow". You can see him here atop a delicious chocolate cake along with some other arctic friends, along with the penguins below.

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Cute Marshmallow Arctic Animals for a Winter Birthday Cake

Cute Marshmallow Arctic Animals for a Winter Birthday Cake

When Amy and I were working on our book, Candy Aisle Crafts, her nephew was celebrating his first birthday with an arctic-themed party. We made him a cake topped with a marshmallow polar bears and penguin mommas and babies, and a couple of marshmallow seals. The cake itself is chocolate and we used this recipe, a longtime favorite!

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Something to Make, Something to Bring, Something to Give...on Dinner: A Love Story

Something to Make, Something to Bring, Something to Give...on Dinner: A Love Story

I am thrilled to have contributed a few crafty holiday food ideas to one of my favorite blogs, Jenny Rosenstratch's Dinner: A Love Story ! I'm a longtime fan of both her blog and books. Have you seen her newest, How to Celebrate Everything? If I hadn't bought it the minute it came out it would be at the top of my holiday wish list! Anyway, these marshmallow tree-topped cupcakes, above, are "something to bring to a holiday party" and you can find instructions for them on DALS here.

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Gumdrop Nutcracker Ladies to Top Your Cupcakes

Gumdrop Nutcracker Ladies to Top Your Cupcakes

These fancy lady cupcakes from our book, Candy Aisle Crafts, would be perfect for a Nutcracker party! I dip-dyed white cupcake papers into food coloring for skirts, but any solid or patterned cupcake paper would work (gold would be pretty too). There are so many fun prints available now online and in party stores—and yes, even at supermarkets!

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