Arts and Crafts

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 20, 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.

Easy Halloween Craft Project: Spooky Skeletons

October 22, 2013

Skeleton craft projectThese spooky little skeletons make terrific Halloween decorations, and are easy enough for everyone in the family to make. You've probably got everything you need to make them lying around the house, too. Here's what you'll need to create your skeletons:

  • Black construction paper (8 1/2 x 11")
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch (optional)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cotton balls
  • White glue

Cut construction paper sheets in half. Near the top of a half sheet, glue a cotton ball for the skeleton's skull. Then take five swabs and arrange them to form the skeleton's body: one for the spine and two each for the arms and the legs. You can gently bend the swabs for the arms and legs to give them some shape.

Fall Fine Art Classes for Kids at Studio 4 Art in Novato

October 9, 2013

Studio 4 ArtStudio 4 Art in downtown Novato is a great place in Marin to get creative, and this week celebrated its sixth year of bringing great art classes, drop-in workshops, and birthday parties for kids of all ages. This fall, Studio 4 Art offers a wide variety of great classes for children ages 2 to 17.

Here are some highlights of Studio 4 Art's fun and educational offerings for fall. Most classes are ongoing, so you can sign up at any time, and a 10% sibling discount is offered for many programs.

Toddler Program: Toddlers (and a parent or helper) can explore, get a little messy, and learn to love art and creativity at four different stations. Meets once a week for 4 consecutive weeks, Monday–Friday (you choose the day), 10–10:40 am. $49.50 including materials.

Preschool Program: Kids will learn art fundamentals through instructor-led projects in media like clay, painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, sewing, and more. Meets once a week for 6 consecutive weeks, Monday, Thursday, or Friday (you choose the day), 11 am–noon. $120 including materials.

Easy Kids' Fall Craft: Make a Pine Cone Bird Feeder

September 28, 2013

Pine cone bird feederIt seems that on every hike or nature walk we go on, my kids pick up pine cones. They like to collect large or just nicely shaped pine cones, and we end up having a bunch of them scattered around the house most of the time.

This weekend we decided to put one of them to good use and make a pine cone bird feeder. It's a fun, inexpensive fall craft project that's easy enough for just about every child to make.

You also get the satisfaction of getting to watch wild birds eat your handiwork. We like to watch the different colorful birds in our yard (plus they also eat bugs that might go after our vegetable garden).

This project is an old favorite with many families, summer camps, and schools, and you may even remember making something similar back when you were a kid.

Here's what you'll need for the project:

Fall Textile Arts Classes for Kids at Mimi the Sardine

July 28, 2013

Mimi the Sardine classesMimi the Sardine, the Marin manufacturer of lunch bags, bibs, spillmats, tablecloths, and other eco-friendly and stylish Swedish textiles for kids and families, also offers a series of textile arts classes for kids this fall at their Corte Madera retail store and classroom.

Kids will find a creative classroom filled with colorful yarns, fabric, buttons, and more, and they'll learn to sew by hand and with sewing machines, embroider, and decorate textiles, and they'll create great projects like pillows, messenger bags, pajama pants, dolls, doll clothes and more. Kids will even learn applied math and language skills as they work, without even knowing it!

Mimi the Sardine owner Pia Andersson holds a MA in textile arts from the University of Gothenburg, and has decades of teaching experience both in Sweden and the United States.

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