What is more fun than blowing bubbles? Making GIANT bubbles! Get the kids involved in making this bubble solution and then watch them spend hours playing with them!
What You Need:
6 cups water
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Cups Joy Dishwashing Liquid
Large bubble wands – I actually found some at the dollar store. Plus, I used a butterfly net that had a wire rim to it, and cut away the netting – this actually made the largest bubbles! You could also try creating a wand with a wire hanger. Always make sure young children have supervision when using these items!
A deep bucket to mix all the ingredients together so you can immerse the wands into it the mixture. I used a tin foil turkey roasting pan because of its deep sides and wide open space large enough to accommodate the bubble wands.
Outside, mix together the water and corn syrup in the bucket. Gently add the dishwashing liquid, being careful not to create bubbles (the bubbles will inhibit creating the large bubbles!).
Once thoroughly mixed, dip your bubble wands into the mixture. Now start making bubbles!
Many thanks to my favorite Bubble Experts: Nichole, Sadie and Josie! They were awesome assistants and were so much fun!
Mom loves gifts from the heart! Sometimes simple is better, and these simple crafts are perfect for mom and require very little time to do them!
Clothes Pin Planter/Candle Holder
This cute craft is just so easy, it is crazy! It reminds me of a picket fence!
What You Need:
Tuna fish can (or similar type of can), lid removed (and contents!) washed and dried thoroughly, label removed
Clothes Pins (I learned the hard way there are taller ones and shorter ones!)
Decorative washi tape or ribbons
Take clothes pins, and clip them onto the edge of the can, making sure they go all the way down to the bottom of can. Continue clipping until you have no more room.
Take a decorative ribbon or washi tape and tie/wrap it around the clothes pin-covered can. Use your imagination to make it special looking!
Place a small plant inside the center or glass votive candle holder. Voila!
Glass Bead Photo Magnets
Besides using photos, you can create small messages or words of love in colorful type on a computer and print them out to use in this project.
What You Need:
Glass Beads – I used large sized glass beads (with flat bottom) from the dollar store.
Mod Podge sealer and craft glue (available at all crafts stores)
Small magnets (also available at craft stores)
Hot glue gun
Various small sized photos (or words or phrases) printed out on printer paper. I used both printer paper and actual photos – I find the printer paper works best on this project!
Working on a clean, flat and protected work surface, cut the photos or words into circles slightly smaller that the glass beads. You can use a glass bead to trace a circle around the photo you are using, then just trim it to fit the back of bead.
Using the sponge applicator, spread a thin amount of Mod Podge on the back of the bead. Place the photo circle, face down on the bead, pressing to eliminate any air bubbles. Turn bead over an make sure the photo is centered the way you want. Allow to dry.
Once dry, take the hot glue gun and put a small dot of glue on the magnet. Place magnet on the back of the bead/photo (glue side down). Press to adhere to back of bead. Allow to cool/harden.
“I Love You” Photo Frame
Again, this one is so simple, but Mom will love it!! You can also create one for the “Pet Mom” in your life!
What You Need:
Photo Frame That has multiple openings – enough openings for each child, family member or pet
Photos of family, children or pets you plan to use (make sure they are the correct size for the frame) holding signs that send the message to Mom!
Not many instructions – Just insert the photos in the frame and give to Mom!
I chose to use black and white, but you can use color if you prefer!
Glass Bead Candle Holder
All elements of this, besides the Mod Podge and the glue, I got from the Dollar Store! Plan to make this at least 24 hours prior to when you want to give it – it takes 24 hours to dry completely!
What You Need:
Large Glass Votive
Small Glass Beads – I used clear, but you can use colored beads as well.
Aleene’s Glass & Bead Glue – You can get this from any crafts store.
Colored Tissue Paper
Place your votive on a clean, flat and protected work surface (& well ventilated!!). Using the glass glue, glue the beads onto the votive. Tip: I flip the votive upside down, so the lip is at the bottom, and started from the bottom up. This prevented beads from slipping down the votive!
Allow 24 hours to dry completely.
Optional: If you want to add color to your votive, affix colorful strips of tissue paper to the inside of the votive using the Mod Podge. Pick the colors that work for your room! Note:If you use the Mod Podge and tissue paper on the inside, please ONLY use a battery-powered tea light. A real candle may set it on fire.
With Easter and Passover fast approaching, we will have lots of family time – what can you do that’s fun with the kids and adults to keep everyone busy? Try some springtime crafts!
“Beach Glass” Vases
I love the look of beach glass. Muted hues of blues, greens and whites. You can make any glass item look like a piece of beach glass by just using special glass paint. I used Martha Stewart Crafts Frost Translucent Glass Paint — The effect is translucent, frost-like with a slight pebbly texture that resembles sea glass. Beautiful and easy!
What You Need:
Martha Stewart Crafts Frost Translucent Glass Paint (Available at most craft stores) I used colors of beach glass green, sea lavender and white. (Click Here To See Product And Color Selection Available)
Sponge applicators – I like to use sponge applicators because they leave a nice, pebbly texture behind in the paint.
Glass vase or other glass items – Check out the selection at dollar stores (love these stores!). You can find some great pieces that can be painted!
Rubbing Alcohol/cotton balls
Small paper plates or other item to squeeze paint on to
Find a clean, flat work surface and cover with old newspapers. Wipe down the glass vase surface to be painted with rubbing alcohol and allow it to dry.
Squeeze out a dab of glass paint onto paper plate. Using the sponge applicator, dip the applicator in the glass paint and dab the paint onto the glass surface. Cover the entire surface. Allow to dry for one hour.
The paint is permanent after it has dried for 21 days. You can speed the process along by curing the paint by baking it. Here are the instructions from Martha Stewart Crafts: Let project air dry 1 hour, place in cool oven. Set temperature to 350 degrees. Once oven reaches 350 degrees, bake for 30 minutes (glass must heat gradually). After 30 minutes, turn oven off. Let glass cool completely in oven. Wait 72 hours before using. **
**NOTE: If you use the white frosted paint, baking the project might slightly darken the paint. Mine turned from a pretty white to a creamy, slightly toasted color.
Spring “Impressionist” Glass Painted Votives
Spring brings beautiful colors and softness to our landscape. I always think of Monet paintings when I think of Spring. I love the slightly unfocused visual and blended soft colors. THis little project makes me think of Impressionist paintings. And best of all, with this project, you don’t have to be perfect! Just keep it simple!
What You Need:
Glass votives – Again, the dollar stores are a great source for these types of items!
Glass Paint – I used Folk Art Brand Multi Surface Acrylic Paints, because I can use the paints for many other projects in the future. I would use no more than 3 complimentary colors. (I chose 2 colors, plus white.) Click Here to see product and color selection.
Paper plate to squeeze paint on
Cup of Water
Rubbing Alcohol/cotton balls
Clean the inside of glass votive with rubbing alcohol and cotton balls. Alow them to dry.
There is no one method for this – just listen your inner artist!! The first one I did I was not thrilled with, but once I limited my colors to 2 colors plus white, I found the ideal combination for me!
My technique for 3 colors: Take your paintbrush and dip in the cup of water. Swirl brush into your 1st paint of choice and apply dabs to inside of the votive. Clean the brush and repeat the “swirl and dab” process above with second color. Using the same process, finish with the white, using it to blend and swirl the other colors inside the votive. You will be really surprised when you are done how nice it looks! Just don’t use too many colors or it will start to get “muddied”.
Allow to dry 21 days or cure the glass using the same instructions under the Beach Glass Vases above.
Edible Robin’s Egg Nest
I love making food related crafts with the kids! They love getting messy and they enjoy “cleaning” (read licking) their fingers when done. These little bird nests are adorable and pretty yummy. They are a twist on an old favorite I remember eating as a kid.
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz.)
1 bag butterscotch chips (11 oz)
10 oz. Crunchy Chow Mein Noodles
1 bag of bird egg shaped candies of your choice (I used Whoppers malted milk balls in the shape of bird eggs, but M&M’s or jelly beans would work, too.)
Parchment paper or wax paper
Combine and melt both bags of chips in a microwave safe bowl, on 50% power for 60 seconds. Stir. Repeat the process until all chips are melted. Gently stir in the chow mein noodles until well coated.
On a flat work surface, spread out parchment paper/wax paper. Using clean hands, take a small handful of the chocolate/chow mein mixture and put it in a shape of a small nest on the parchment paper. Repeat the process until you have used all the mixture. Take 3 “eggs” (egg-shaped candies) and arrange on each nest. Let harden or place in fridge to speed up the hardening process.
Ladybug Garden Décor
This is a cute little project kids of all ages will enjoy and it is very simple & inexpensive to do!!
What You Need:
Flat rocks of various sizes (I used river rocks I bought at the dollar store)
Assortment of acrylic paints, including black paint. I used Folk Art Multi Surface Acrylic paints.
“Wiggly” eyes for the ladybugs.
Clear Acrylic Sealing paint to seal the rocks once painted.
Paintbrush – I used a large one for the overall colors and a fine tipped one for the ladybug dots and wing line.
Wash and dry the rocks to be used.
On a flat, protected work surface, lay your rocks out and paint them the overall colors you want. Allow to dry for about ½ hour.
Now for the details! Taking the black color paint, paint the head of the ladybug. Draw a lie down the back of the lady bug using the black paint and the thin, small tipped brush. Add dots to the ladybug’s back. Allow to dry. Apply Clear Acrylic Sealing paint to the ladybugs and allow to dry.
Add 2 small dots of glue to the ladybug head. Place a wiggly eye on each dot and allow to dry.
Place in the garden, indoor planters, display on desk or table. They also make adorable paperweights!
This is a fun way to bring Easter to the table and let the kids get involved! I have seen it all over Pinterest and thought I needed to try making it – SUPER simple!
What You Need:
Two vases, one smaller that can fit into the larger vase, allowing for at least a ½ inch space between the two.
1 bag of jellybeans
1-2 packages of Peeps bunnies
Flowers of choice
Place smaller vase inside larger vase, making sure it is centered. Pour jelly beans into space between the two vases, making sure you make it as level as possible around the vase. Take Peep bunnies out of package and slide a row of them into the space between the two vases, letting them rest on the jellybeans. Repeat the process until the bunnies go all the way around the vase.
Trim your flowers to fit the inside vase. Pour water into the inside vase and arrange flowers. Voila! You have a beautiful centerpiece the kids helped with!
Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to talk about these fun craft projects!
Thursday, March 20 is the First Day Of Spring! I always get itchy to clean up my home around this time of year (yes, just slightly crazy, but true!). Here are some simple tips for tackling those spring cleaning projects in your home:
Think About Strategy:
Do you choose to clean a room or do a project? It really is a personal choice, because it comes down to your personal preferences. I love to attack projects, one at a time. When I step back and look at what I’ve done, I feel accomplished.
If You Pick A Room:
Think 360 Degrees
Pick a spot in the room and move left to right around (in a 360 degree circle) the room to clean. You know you’re finished when you reach the start location.
If You Pick A Project, Simple Things Make A Big Impact:
Turn To Professionals: Hire professionals to clean your carpet and most used upholstered chairs/couches. The professionals know what they are doing and the drying times are faster because they have the equipment that can really get the water out of carpets better than those rental units you can rent. Tip: Turn your air down in your home until carpets dry out; it creates lower humidity, making drying time faster.
Use the 3 Box Rule:
Declutter, one room at a time, using three boxes. If you don’t use an item, place it into the “toss it” bin, “donate it”, or if it is sentimental, place it into the “ sentimental bin”, where items in this box can be displayed on a rotation schedule. Rotating sentimental items for display quarterly or every six months lets you appreciate the items more.
Clean Out Your Closet: Having a clean closet sets the tone for everything else in your house. It makes you feel good. Tip: If you are a shoe lover, try using clear plastic shoe boxes to organize your shoes. They allow you to easily see the shoes, keep them neat and dust free. The Container Store offers a kit of 20 clear shoe boxes on sale for $33.80 (usually $37.80).
Organize Your Pantry: We all have items in the pantry we bought because we were going to use it for a recipe that never happened. It is time to clean those out! Look for items that have sat in pantry too long. Check expiration dates and toss; have too many of one thing that you will never use before expiration date? Donate it. One great way to manage your smaller pantry items so you can see them is by using an over the door shoe bag. Clear pockets allow you to see the little items that may get lost on your pantry shelves.
Reorganize Your Bookshelves:
A surefire way to make an impact in a room is to reorganize the bookshelves. Donate books you are not interested in anymore. Dust all remaining books, then sort by size and subject. Line books, some vertically, some horizontally to give some visual interest. Add some of those sentimental items, but not too many. For some great ideas on how to arrange your shelves, check out this wonderful pictorial from Real Simple Magazine.
Just to illustrate how great a bookshelf can look, check out these before and after shots of one bookshelf (photos from GothamOrganizers.com):
It is the peak of winter, but warm spring and summer days are just around the corner! Start making your skin smooth and soft with these great homemade sugar scrubs! Did you know exfoliating BEFORE shaving your legs will actually allow for a closer shave?
These scrubs are simple to do, cost very little to make, and are just delicious smelling!
The Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe
3 Cups white sugar
1 Cup (plus 2 Tablespoons) Extra Virgin Olive Oil – you can experiment with other oils, such as almond oil, coconut oil, etc.
10 drops favorite essential oils – this amount really depends on how strong you like the scent. Add more or less to suit your preference.
Jars for storing sugar scrubs (The Dollar Store is where I found mine!)
In a large bowl, mix sugar and olive oil well. Add essential oils and mix well. Store in jars or other oil-safe container. Use in shower to soften hands and/or body. Rinse well before drying. (Note: Shower Floor can be slippery after using sugar scrubs in shower. Use caution.)
Types of Essential Oil Combinations:
I found essential oils at my local health food store, and they offered a wonderful variety! Try one of these ideas, or get creative with your own!
Lavender and Tea Tree Oils
Orange Creamsicle – A mixture of Sweet Orange and Vanilla essential oils.
Brown Sugar Vanilla – Replace one of the cups of white sugar with Brown Sugar. Add Vanilla essential oil. (You will want to eat this one!)
If you want a rougher texture to your scrub, replace the white sugar with turbinado sugar. It changes the look AND the feel of the scrub!
Thank you to WTLV-TV’s First Coast Living for inviting me on to share this fun idea!
Right about this time of year (late January), I start imagining all the things I want to do in my garden. Lush plantings, beautiful and colorful flowers, clever statues or topiaries. Now mind you, most of those things never actually happen, but a girl can dream, right?!
So to satisfy my need for soil under my nails, I’m featuring a few, simple ways to bring the garden indoors, even in winter!
For The Cook: An Indoor Herb Garden
If you love to cook with fresh herbs and you have a room that has enough bright light, you can have a mini garden at your fingertips. I selected some healthy looking herbs that I use when cooking (oregano, peppermint and thyme), planted them in a beautiful pot, and added cute plant markers I made from leftover wine corks and long wooden skewers.
A decorative and useful planting that has a touch of whimsy!
For The Brown Thumb Gardener: A Colorful Cactus Garden
Cactus are easy, don’t require much, and if you choose the right ones, they can be very colorful! The key is to have a soil that supports the cactus’ needs – Think sandy! I mix together potting soil and simple play sand from the hardware store. Add a base layer at the bottom of the pot of pea stone to allow for good drainage. Once I have the stone, soil and cactus in place, I add a top layer of decorative stone (I used polished, black river rocks) to make it attractive and to help keep the soil in place. A little bit of water goes a long way to keep the cactus alive. A good, sunny spot in the house will help keep the cactus happy and healthy.
A burst of Spring in the middle of Winter – I love using fast growing bulbs and setting them up in shallow glass containers with river rocks and water. They grow so quickly and it is wonderfully satisfying to see them change from brown, ugly bulbs to fragrant, flowering plants in a matter of weeks! Paper Whites or Narcissus are terrific, and you can chose decorative stones to enhance the color of your flowers. Keep an eye on the water level – you want it to just touch the very bottom of your bulbs. It is also a fun project to do with kids – they can see the roots of the plants growing daily. A suggestion: Be sure to rotate your container so the plants don’t grow sideways.
Create A Simple Seed Starter Kit
All you need is a sunny window, potting soil, an old ice cube tray or empty egg carton, and your selection of seeds. Fill the ice cube tray’s reservoirs with potting soil, plant your seeds to the proper depth according to the back of the seed packet, water and place in a sunny window! Monitor the water, and you should see your plants growing within a week or two (depending on the types of seeds you selected). Another great project to do with the kids – select some veggie seeds and get your kids interested in growing their own veggies (if they grow them, they may eat them!).
Encourage Stealth Gardening With Seed Bombs
A great project to do with your kids! As I walk along the public sidewalks in my home town, I’m always impressed when I see wildflowers growing where nothing else grows. They are a beautiful pop of color. Try helping nature along by making your own Seed Bombs! In the Spring, you can do a little stealth gardening with the kids – plant or throw your seed bombs into open or bare areas around your neighborhood or town! The newspaper cocoon gives the seeds a medium in which to start growing, and once wildflowers get growing, WATCH OUT! Flowers everywhere!
4 Sheets of Newspaper, shredded into small pieces
A tall glass container (you will be mixing in this)
Warm Water (approximately 1 cup)
An Immersion Blender
Cheese cloth (or you can use an old, thin rag)
A selection of wildflower seeds or other hearty flower seeds (if in doubt, ask your garden center for recommendations).
Ice cube tray or other molds (I used ice cube tray and I experimented with small, decorative cookie cutters that worked out well)
Place shredded newspaper into the tall glass container and add warm water until the newspaper is covered. Using immersion blender, blend until the paper is completely shredded.
Add seeds and mix using hands so seeds are dispersed through the mixture. place cheese cloth into a strainer and pour mixture into the cheese cloth. wrap the cloth around the mixture and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
Take small balls of the mixture and press into the trays (or molds). Let dry overnight. Remove the seed bombs from the tray and let them continue to dry until there is no moisture left. (I actually had them sit on my dryer while a load was drying!)
Now you have a bunch of seed bombs you can use to share with the community!
Thank you to WTLV-TV for inviting me on to First Coast Living to speak on this topic!