Also from Lisa Shah, at Fairlawn Parks, came this great idea: you use old greeting cards to make boxes to put gift cards in. An easy, fun, cute, “green” way to present gift cards. http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/gift-card-envelopes-673534/ One note: enlarge the pattern 110%.
Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category
This is very cute, and “green”, but can be tricky! Go here for instructions and video: http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/carton-wallet-675068/ I’m going to keep mine in my car for loose change for meters. Thanks to Lisa Shah, naturalist for Fairlawn Parks, for sharing this with me.
Last summer I blogged about the free workshops for kids at Lowe’s (2nd and 4th Saturday of the month at 10 a.m.) and Home Depot (first Saturday of the month at 9 a.m.). My kids always complain about going, but they are always glad we went. The main differences between the two, besides frequency and time, is that at Lowe’s you have to preregister online and at Home Depot you just show up; and Home Depot uses wood glue — which can be messy — and leaves the items unfinished so you need to paint them at home to get the full effect. My kids prefer Lowe’s projects, which don’t use wood glue, and once you put the enclosed stickers on, you’re good to go. My problem is that because we always end up with three of each project, I want the kids to give some of them as presents, but they resist because they want to keep them for themselves. Also, they never want to paint the Home Depot projects once we bring them home. I also am a bit frustrated because I think I have yet to complete one project correctly on my first try. I can’t follow directions or hammer in nails any better now than when we started doing these a couple years ago. I’m hopeless!
If your kids like to do art at home, here’s something I picked up at the Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh. Take a sheet of paper and lay plastic Scotch tape on it in a design. Then take watered down watercolors and brush them on the paper. The color will go around the tape, leaving the taped area white. In theory. I’ll have to try it at home or my studio when I have time. It’s interesting at least.
One of my daughters pulled out an unopened friendship bracelet kit that she had gotten as a gift and asked me to help her make one. The instruction book pictured 10 really cool patterns. I’ve never made a friendship bracelet before and I’m not very good at following directions so I was a bit worried. Needless to say, after several tries that night and the next day, all I had were some big knotty messes. Then this morning my daughter pulled out a friendship bracelet she had gotten as a giveaway from something. I looked at it and realized all that one was was a simple braid. Now that I could do, even though I hadn’t made a braid in 30 years. But if my daughters want one of those fancy ones, they’ll probably have to go to my nieces (who I’m sure have made dozens) or my husband (who is so good at following directions and is very precise and meticulous) for help.
I get so bad about taking care of real flowers on our deck in the summer, but I love the color they bring. Last year I tried to mix artificial flowers with real green plants. It looked okay, but I still had to take care of the real plants. So this year, I’m trying “recycled flowers”. I made them with old cassette tape holders, green bottle caps, CDs, and other miscellaneous items. I tied them to the railing with a thin wire. With the constant rain this week, I’ve had to try different strategies to make this work (it’s been a good test!). The biggest problem was that the glue I had used with a hot glue gun dissolved from the rain so I switched to the waterproof “Omnistick”. I know they’re kind of strange, but we like them anyway. If these two end up working out, I’ll make a few more and have my gardening done for the summer!
Last Saturday all our kids participated in the “Monster Truck” kids’ workshop at Lowe’s, our first. Every Lowe’s has these free building workshops twice a month, though you need to preregister online. When you arrive, you get an apron, safety goggles and a kit with everything you need but the hammer on the table. I helped my son while my husband helped my daughters and although I am pretty clueless when it comes to building things the directions were so clear that I could almost(!) follow them. We actually only had one mishap but thankfully we were able to get duplicate parts from another kit. When we finished, the kids received a certificate with their names on it, a patch they can sew on their apron and a free coupon for a small Frosty at Wendy’s, and of course, their handmade project! They can keep the apron and goggles to bring back next time. I was really impressed and already signed up for another. Next month we hope to try the one at Home Depot, too. Just think how handy I may get to be! (Okay, that’s doubtful.)
I’m almost out of the toddler/preschool “story time” phase with my kids. Through the years we’ve tried them at four libraries, three book stores, two botanical gardens and one craft store. The story times have varied in quality, length, activities (story? craft? snack? singing?) and personality of the storyteller. But hey, they’re free, so it’s been worth experimenting at different places. Last month I took my youngest daughter to the storytime at the Cleveland Botanical Garden (we got in free as members of Stan Hywet). It was a glorious day, and story hour was held outside at the bottom of the big treehouse in the Children’s Garden. For 50 minutes the kids sang, listened to stories and then made a flower bouquet to give to someone special. If the gardens weren’t an hour away, I’d go every week!
Free movies at Chapel Hill on Tuesday mornings: http://www.clevelandcinemas.com/cinemadrilldown.asp?intCin=2930 (bottom left of page)
Legend Lanes/North Lanes has penny-a-pin bowling every day all summer long
City of Fairlawn program book: http://cityoffairlawn.com/DocumentView.aspx?DID=96
CF Library programs: http://www.taylor.lib.oh.us/children/programs.php
Stow Library events: http://www.smfpl.org/calendar
City of CF events: http://cfo.cityofcf.com/content/parksandrec/FridgeFriend.pdf
Also, Pat Catan’s, Michaels, Lowe’s and Home Depot have kids crafts for free or a minimal charge. Check their Web sites; Lowe’s requires preregistration for their bi-weekly Saturday morning workshops as does Pat Catan’s for its weeklong craft camp.
Cities like Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn also offer tons of free concerts in the parks and whatnot.
And don’t forget the great playgrounds everywhere. Our favorite is the wooden one in Stow. When it’s raining, my kids love the three-story indoor playground at the McDonald’s in Montrose.
The parks, too — MetroParks and CVNP — offer special activities and programs like family campfires.
I’ve got the ideas … all I need is the energy and patience to take three kids along with me!!!
Three supplies needed: Permanent markers (like Sharpies), 91% rubbing alcohol, and something to decorate. Make a design with the markers, use an eye dropper or spritzer bottle to put a bit of alcohol over the marker (spaced out so the alcohol can spread), and voila, you have a tie-dyed look on shoes, canvas bags, T-shirts, foamies, etc. (use a piece of cardboard beneath the fabric when you’re working so your inks don’t get on the other side). The kids made these bags and foamie visors at the Pat Catans on West Market Street in Akron on Saturday morning for just $3, all supplies included. “Miss Karen” runs a craft mini-camp like this on the 2nd Saturday of every month; check the Pat Catan Web site’s event calendar to confirm. We also decorated flip flops for free. You can do this on Fridays and Saturdays — just buy the flip-flops there (for $1 or $2 a pair) and use their ribbons, flowers, fuzzy yarn, rhinestones, etc. to embellish. Fun!!