Arts and Crafts

Get Crafty and Create Your Own Holiday Cards With Buttons

December 16, 2014

Button holiday craft cardsMy kids have always loved to make their own cards for special occasions, and the holidays are no exception! This year, we made these cute cards using colored plastic buttons as decorations. Get different sizes of buttons and make Christmas trees, candy canes, snowmen, snowflakes, and any other design you can think of.

The results really are delightful, and they're easy enough for any child to make, with an adult's help, of course. Because you made the cards yourselves they are a neat keepsake craft, too.

To make these holiday cards, you'll need:

Rainy Day Holiday Fun: Easy Playdough Snowmen

December 11, 2014

Playdough snowmanKids love sculpting with Play-Doh, and it's easy to make at home for a fun rainy day activity. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!

We whipped up a batch of white "snow-dough" to make some cute holiday snowman decorations. It was an easy and fun craft for the kids to make. This recipe makes quite a bit of dough—equivalent to two large cans of Play-Doh. If you don't need that much, feel free to cut recipe in half.

To make your own snow-dough, you'll need:

Family Fun at the New Presidio Officers' Club in San Francisco

November 15, 2014

Presdio Officers' Club San FranciscoThe Presidio Officers' Club re-opened to the public back in October, and if you haven't had a chance to check it out yet you definitely should put it on your list of things to do with the family! This "new" destination is actually one of California's most historic buildings, with portions dating back over 200 years to when it was created as part of the Spanish colonial El Presidio in 1776.

Once a gathering spot for military officers and their families, the Presidio Officers' Club underwent a $30-million-dollar renovation and now serves as a public space offering fascinating exhibits, fun family activities and public programs, unique works of art, and more. Admission is free, too! We had a chance to visit last weekend, and it's a fantastic destination for families in the Bay Area.

Preserve Memories in Clay with Ceramic Hand and Foot Prints for Babies and Kids in Marin

September 23, 2014

Piggy Print ceramic handprintOne of my most cherished keepsakes is a ceramic oval embossed with the hand prints of my kids. We did it a few years ago with Shawna O'Conner and her wonderful Your Piggy Prints. It's beautiful, and I'm really happy that we made it. After all, the kids will never be that little again! (We profiled Shawna in an article here.)

With the holidays coming up, and since your kids aren't getting any younger, why not create one yourselves? Needless to say these ceramic hand and foot print pieces make fantastic gifts for moms, dads, and grandparents, so go make one now and avoid the holiday rush.

Here's where you can make this unique and priceless clay hand or foot print craft in Marin and southern Sonoma counties.

Your Piggy Prints

San Rafael 94903
(415) 595-8446
www.yourpiggyprints.com

Run by Marin mom Shawna O'Connor, Your Piggy Prints creates beautiful ceramic keepsakes. Contact Shawna at (415) 595-8446 or shawna@yourpiggyprints.com to make an appointment in her home studio in San Rafael. She also appears at events throughout Marin. Prices range from $25 for an ornament or magnet to $90 for a quad print of any four prints in one piece.

A Cool and Fun Mother's Day Craft

May 4, 2014

Mother's Day Brooch CraftMother’s Day is coming up, and one of my favorite gifts that I've received is this whimsical and beautiful heart brooch made from decorative buttons and gold paint. My son made one of these for me when he was in kindergarten, and I was amazed at how creative and sophisticated it looked. We even entered it in the kids’ jewelry design competition at the Marin County Fair where it won first place! Whenever I wear this brooch, I get compliments on it, and I’m sure most moms would love one of these for a Mother’s Day gift.

Fortunately, this craft is easy, fun, and inexpensive to make, so why not have the kids make one for Mom or Grandma this Mother's Day? All you need are a few supplies, many of which you may have on hand already, and otherwise can find at any craft or art supply store.

To make this craft, you’ll need:

Easy Craft Project: Adorable Egg Carton Lady Bugs

April 1, 2014

Get a jump on the spring season with this ladybug craft made from a recycled egg carton. These ladybugs are adorable, easy to make, and of course environmentally friendly. Use colorful paints to brighten and make these cool ladybugs standout. My daughter loves to make this craft with our old egg cartons and then use her ladybugs to decorate her bedroom windowsill. 

Supplies you'll need:

  • Empty egg carton
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Small or medium black pom poms
  • Small wiggle eyes
  • Crayola or other watercolor kids paints in black and other colors
  • Paintbrush
  • Small sharp knife

Tips for a Sensational Spa Birthday Party

February 24, 2014

Spa PartyMy daughter recently turned eight, and she decided on a spa theme for her birthday party. I wasn't sure where to begin, but we made a list together of things she wanted for her party, and with a little research and planning, it all came together. When the day of the party arrived we were both thrilled with the results, and her friends were, too! I forgot how much work it was to plan a party like this, but I wouldn't have done it any other way.

I thought I'd share a few or our tips and must-haves for a successful kids' spa-themed birthday party. Much of what we did was inexpensive and easy to put together, and everyone really had a good time.

A Book for Chinese New Year: Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts (Win a Copy!)

January 21, 2014

Lucky Bamboo Book of CraftsChinese New Year is coming up at the end of January, and it just so happens that we received a review copy of the fantastic Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts by author, illustrator, and teacher Jennifer DeCristoforo. This colorful, 136-page book is a perfect way for kids to learn about Chinese culture, and to have a lot of fun as they do it!

Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts is filled with over 100 fun projects that introduce children to Chinese culture and traditional fine arts. It includes projects relating to Chinese New Year and other festivals and holidays, Chinese folk toys and games, traditional performance and dance, and more. There are literally days' worth of projects in here to keep kids occupied, and activities range in skill level to fairly advanced (that is, Mom and Dad may have to lend a hand).

When our review copy showed up in the mail, my kids immediately claimed it and started looking through it to see what kinds of crafts they could create. They got out the scissors, stapler, glue, and construction paper and created the neat mini-lantern garland (on pages 98–99 in the book and pictured below) that we used to decorate the house.

Fall Classes at the Little Art Studio in Mill Valley

November 3, 2013

The Little Art Studio Mill ValleyIf you're a southern Marin parent looking for art and music classes for your children, check out the fall offerings at the Little Art Studio in Mill Valley. The Little Art Studio offers art and music classes designed for children ages 1 1/2 and up to explore art and music in an open, safe, and nurturing environment.

Current class offerings include Toddler Art, Afterschool Art, Music & Art, and Story & Art classes. The emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product, but the children always come away with incredible works of art! Small classes offer children a comfortable, age-appropriate atmosphere, while promoting cooperation and connections.

The Little Art Studio offers morning toddler classes and afterschool drop off classes on the weekdays. The studio is also available for art themed birthday parties and events on weekends!

Fall Session II runs from now through December 13, 2013. Classes run in six week sessions and flexible online scheduling is offered. All classes are $180 per session, $30 for drop-in.

Learn more and enroll online at www.thelittleartstudio.com. Drop-ins are welcome with 24-hour advance online registration, too. You can also call the studio at (415) 637-5340.

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