DIY Dyed Beach Sand

A couple of weeks ago we made our first beach day trip of the season! We got together with a few friends, took PTO, and spent a pleasant day in sand and sun. Of course, the kids were ecstatic. Just a few days prior, my son started making comments about wanting to go to the beach. His timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I think I surprised him quite a bit when I responded with “okay, let’s go in a few days!”.

While body riding waves is something spectacular, a child’s true enjoyment is in the sand. It keeps them entertained literally all day long, and while I do keep a watchful eye over them as they play, the endless supply of sand offers me an opportunity to relax a bit.  Everyone is happy. My daughter was particularly in love with the gritty mess. So much so, she basically bathed in it…

On the other hand, taking my family to the beach doesn’t necessarily mean I check out for the entire time. On top of making sure we pack enough sunscreen, food, and novels, I also like to plan unique activities. This time around, I discovered a craft using the resources around us!

This was an especially easy activity, and even though it may have gotten messy at certain moments, a quick rinse in the sea took care of that hassle.

All you need is food coloring, ziplock bags, and if you’re wanting to take your craft home a bottle of some sort, as well as a funnel. I found plastic and glass tubes on sale at Joann Fabrics. I believe they were something along the lines of “glitter mixing tubes”.  They were the bare minimum of what I needed for this activity because I wanted to get enough supplies for the adults to participate too (I know my friends pretty well). However, if I do this again and I’m looking to do no more than one or two bottles, there were also larger decorative bottles with corks.

The other tool you might need is something thin and pointy to make designs with your sand. A wooden dowel rod works fine, especially if it has a pointed end. Usually, you can find these in the cake decorating section of Walmart or craft stores.

The activity itself is simple. Fill a ziplock bag with sand, drop food coloring in, and start shaking. If you want to fill bottles, snip the corner of a bag, fit the funnel over the bottle’s mouth, and fill the bottle with your choice of alternating colors until the bottle is packed full. For a really cool effect, stick a rod down the sides of the bottle to make funky designs with the alternating color layers.

On the other hand…this activity does not need to be a craft that you take home! If you’re looking for some colorful beach fun that doesn’t come back with you (because let’s be honest, enough sand will follow you home without you trying), simply drop food coloring onto the ground and mix it in with a pile of sand. The result is vibrant beach sand to make unique and creative sandcastles.

This was truly an awesome beginning to our summer season, and I cannot wait to see what other activities we’ll discover in the next couple of months. At the very least, I’m going to pack food coloring for our next beach trip!

DIY Mickey Ears

WE. ARE. GOING. TO. DISNEY. WORLD

I am the quintessential fan that finds Disney World to be one of the best places on Earth. As soon as plans are finalized I set a countdown app on my phone, start organizing fast-pass schedules, research menu updates, rewatch the classic movies I grew up with (as well as the newer Disney films that have sucked me in as an adult), and poke around Youtube for travel videos that help fuel the anticipation.

Disney World is an escape from real life. As soon as you enter the park, you’re in an entirely different world filled with happiness and magic. Matching t-shirts and funky Mickey ears are not just the oddities of being a tourist…they are a way of life.

This will be our second time visiting Disney World as a family. Unfortunately, our first trip took an interesting turn of events when 3 out of the 4 of us caught a stomach bug. Thankfully we were still able to enjoy every park we intended to visit due to the timing of the symptoms, but we were pushing through our days and it certainly put a damper on the entire trip.

This year is our do-over, and with a new Disney trip comes new Mickey ears!

Cardboard, hot glue, and some fabric made last years Mickey ears possible

Last year I made adorable no-sew ears, all of them coordinating with a certain theme (such as the Beauty and the Beast ears we wore in Epcot). This year I wanted to put in more of an effort in giving them a professional look and skip matching themes in favor of reflecting our individual personalities. Using the sewing machine was the best option for the effect I wanted, and a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric helped me find material that suited each member of the family.

It is the dream of every millennial fangirl to own a pair of rose gold Mickey ears, and I can’t say I’m an exception. I struck gold (no pun intended) when I found adorable sequined rose gold material on sale!

My daughter’s first experience with fandom is happening within the world of Frozen, or as she calls it, “Let It Go“.  In fact, we scheduled our fast passes such that the very first thing we do on our very first day at the park is the Frozen Ever After ride.  There was just no other choice than to give the girl a Frozen themed set of mouse ears…complete with a snowflake.

For the boys, I decided hats were the preferred option. It would be more comfortable for my son, and my husband would probably wear a hat anyway if I didn’t give him Mickey ears instead.  Being a good sport about my insistence that we go full Disney, I didn’t fancy up his participation more than necessary. He’s getting regular black ears attached to a plain black hat. My son, on the other hand, has a bit more fun of a pattern. There were so many adorable Disney prints to choose from, but in the end, I decided on simple Mickey faces on a red background.

I’m excited to wear these awesome homemade ears. I’m excited for Disney World!

What You Need

Fabric (1/4 of a yard is more than plenty)
Foam board
Pieces of felt
Polyester fiber-fill
Rotary cutter and scissors
Hot glue
Sewing machine and threat
A hat or headband
Any embellishments you would like to decorate with.

Directions

To begin, outline the shape of the ears on a foam board, one for each ear. Make sure they are the same size. My ears measured a little over three inches both horizontally and vertically. Don’t forget to give the bottom part of the ear an arch.

 

Cut out the ears. A rotary cutter is going to give you the cleanest cut. Scissors are difficult to maneuver through the hard foam, but it’s not impossible.

It’s okay if the edging isn’t smooth.

Trace your foam cutouts four times so that you have four ear-shaped felt pieces the same size as your two foam pieces. I didn’t care what color felt I used since my material wasn’t transparent, with the exception of the Frozen themed ears. That, however, was taken care of simply by adding an extra layer of scrap blue fabric. Just keep in mind what might show through the material.

Hot glue a piece of felt to each side of the foam ears.

Then, hot glue along the top and side edges of the ears and attach pieces of the polyester filling. This will give the ears better form and a cleaner look.

On the back of the fabric, draw four mouse ear shapes. They should be about an inch bigger than the foam pieces. Using a rotary cutter, cut the pieces out.

Pin together two pieces of the ear-shaped fabric, pinning them “right” sides together with the “wrong” sides facing out. Do the same for the other two fabric earpieces.

Now it is time to sew! Sew along the side, top, and down the other side of each ear, leaving the bottom arch open.

Once removed from the sewing machine, reach into the bottom opening and pull the fabric so that the ears are now right side out. 

The foam piece is now ready to be inserted. In order to fit the foam into the fabric, bend the foam piece in half. It will feel like the foam might snap, but just keep bending until it folds “hot dog style”. 

Push the foam into the fabric, allowing it to unfold once it is covered. Adjust the fabric around the foam so there are no wrinkles.

Rather than trying to maneuver the bottom piece back into the sewing machine so as to close the bottom of the ears, hot glue at this point is secure enough. Simply fold down the access fabric on the bottom of the ears and glue it in place. 

To finish, attach the ears using hot glue to a headband or hat. For extra character, add an embellishment. I included a couple of plastic flowers in my rose gold ears, and to really capture the Frozen theme I attached a felt snowflake ornament to the middle of my daughter’s ears.

 

Hanukkah “Stained Glass” Suncatchers

Happy Hanukkah everyone!

It’s a season of light and brightness, and a time to make memories with kids!

This week as we celebrate G-d’s protection over Israel and the spread of His light, we are taking the week off of school to fully enjoy a relaxed holiday. My 5-year-old has been begging for more Hanukkah crafts after creating an aluminum foil menorah (in all it’s fire hazard glory), and with a little more time on our hands thanks to the lack of school work, I had a little more time to deliver a fun creative activity.

It doesn’t take much to nudge a child’s creativity. Put paint and a blank piece of paper in front of them and they’ll be satisfied. However, after seeing a friend put together these adorable foam menorahs for a Hanukkah party activity, we got into a conversation about how this was the time to instill memories in our children and make these holidays interactive. Although it can be cumbersome, putting in the effort to set up little crafts, especially crafts that invite parent involvement, help create the warm nostalgia our kids will become fond of. Especially if they are crafts you can keep.

The craft I choose to introduce this week not only satisfied my son’s request for a Hanukkah related art, but it also created beautiful decorations I will carefully store away for years to come.

These suncatchers ended up with a lovely “stained glass” effect that is now beautifying our foyer, and simple snowflakes have joined the collection of past popsicle stick creations hanging from our banister.

What actually worked surprisingly great was the fact that there were many steps involved. This meant my son was able to sit down for a task and then get up to pursue whatever distraction caught his attention. When he wanted to sit back down for another round of crafting, the glue or paint was dry enough for the next step.

Although we used the Magen David and dreidle as our shapes for the suncatchers (and snowflakes for the ornaments hanging off of the banister),  you can incorporate whatever ideas you discover or come up with. Chances are, I’m probably going to find other designs for other seasons.

What you will need:

Popsicle Sticks
School Glue
Paint
Tissue Paper
Twine, Ribbon, or Wire
Glitter for the snowflakes (if you so choose)

Directions:

The first step is to assemble the shapes of the suncatchers or ornaments.
To create the Magen David shape, simply create two triangles using six popsicle sticks, and placing the triangles on top of one another with one triangle upside down.

The dreidel design requires six popsicle sticks. Two sticks are placed parallel from one another, with one stick connecting them at the top. Two sticks are glued to the bottom of the design, coming together diagonally from the two parallel sticks. At the top add one stick to create the handle.

The snowflakes are the easiest design, with two Xs or Ts on top of each other using four popsicle sticks.

Once the designs are glued and dried, it’s time to paint them! The dreidels and stars were painted variations of dark blue, white, and gold. The snowflakes were painted white, followed by a sprinkling of glitter…because I’m brave like that.

(But actually…the baby got into the glitter, later on, making my choices a little more regrettable)

 

 

 

 

At this point, the snowflakes are done as soon as they are dried!

 

When the paint is dry, tie to the top of the ornament whatever you are using to hang your design.

And then it is time to add the tissue paper. Choose what colors to include, and cut the paper into small pieces. It doesn’t matter if they are all uniform.

On the BACK of the popsicle stick designs, lay the tissue paper across the sticks. It’s okay if there are pieces sticking out where you don’t want them showing. You can cut trim them up later. Make sure the entire design is covered.

Take a paintbrush (we used a foam brush) and dip it into a mixture that is one part water and one part white glue (fun fact: this is often a good substitute for modge podge).

Dab the tissue paper with the glue mix until the entire design is covered.

 

Leave them to dry completely (ours took overnight). I recommend propping them up on something if you use newspaper to catch drips since the newspaper will end up sticking to the tissue paper.

Cut off any access tissue paper that sticks out along the sides, and you’re ready to hang them in a window!

Whatever holiday you are celebrating this season…may this time find you happy, healthy, and filled with Shalom!

 

Blogging For Books: Everything Beautiful

My most recent Blogging for Books order was a little different this time around. Rather than my typical novel or cookbook, I went with a new adult coloring book titled Everything Beautiful, by Waterbrook.

There is nothing that makes this one stand out from others, however, I found that it provided a relaxing form of entertainment most people expect from an adult coloring book.

The artwork is beautiful, and coloring the simple yet detailed pages helped me decompress from built up stress I had harbored from a long day. The messages formed into the pictures were encouraging, and overall I felt good after spending even just a few moments coloring a page.

Again, Everything Beautiful is not especially unique. It is yet another adult coloring books you find in, say, the book aisle of a grocery store. However, it serves it’s purpose and would make a beautiful gift for someone you love.