Give the Gift of Creativity with Craftsy (and FREE CLASSES)!

If you have a hard to shop for person on your gift-giving list this holiday season, I recommend the gift of creativity!

Craftsy has some amazing deals this Cyber Week!

All Classes and DVDs are 75% off with coupon code CYBER75 at checkout.

 

If you are new to Craftsy and want to check it out, they also offer a lot of free classes. Here are just a few that I love:

 

Fun & Crafts for the Whole Family: Shrink Plastic Crafts!

Most of us Gen X kids remember shrinky dinks. They’re still around. You can buy craft kits at Dollar Tree, Five Below, local craft stores, or on Amazon.

Recently I found LOL Surprise shrink plastic kits at dollar tree and I picked a couple up.

We were also recently given shrinkable plastic by the sheet. And this is great because you can draw your own designs, cut them out, hole punch them, shrink them in the oven, and end up with all sorts of cool stuff.

If you’re not familiar with Shrink Plastic, it is super fun and simple craft with anyone who can color can do. However, it does require adult supervision at some point during the craft, cause you have to use the oven.

To do this craft you will need the following items:

Before…
After…

You are looking to make a specific design, you will need to print that image out onto a piece of white paper. And then you will trace it onto the shrinkable plastic using a pencil. Word of advice: most shrinkable plastic shrinks significantly if you start with an image that is the size of a silver dollar, it will come out about the size of a dime.

Also important to note, punch a hole if desired, in the plastic before you shrink it. Once it has shrunk and is hard, it is almost impossible to put a hole in it. Especially without damaging the plastic.

Once your design is traced/drawn onto the plastic, color it with permanent markers. I like these markers.

Once your design is colored, punch a hole in it as desired/needed. Then cut your image/design out of the sheet, trim up any sharp/pokey edges. Use a nail file if needed. You can also file the plastic after it has been baked/shrunk and cooled down.

Most shrinkable plastic sheets will come with the heating/baking directions for the plastic, but it’s usually less than 10 minutes. And you will need to keep an eye on it. That is the step where you do not want small children around.

In the past, I’ve made wine charms, this year I made all kinds of cool stuff, including zipper pulls for the kids’ backpacks, I made keychains, I drew our family’s SCA heraldry/devices. I also made some little charms for a charm bracelet for my daughter.

Next up I will be drawing food and making little toy food for my son’s Playmobil characters to eat. While some of his sets have come with food, he is missing things like french fries, hamburgers, pizza. All things that the Playmobil guys in his adventures want to eat.

Gallery glass DIY: easy faux stained glass window clings!

About 10 years ago I was gifted a beautiful set of glass dishes from a friend. They were painted with my SCA device/badge (they are blue and white with blue and white Fleur de Lis). I still have them, what I love about them is they look like they were made from stained glass.

The person who gave them to me used Gallery Glass, which is a glass paint that looks like stained glass once it dries.

I have played around with this medium myself over the past few years, and recently I wanted to decorate the kid’s windows, a mirror, and make some window clings/fake stain glass for some friends.

Before we start this DIY, all of the items that you need to make these projects, as well as some more kid-friendly sun catchers can be found here in my Amazon storefront.

I do earn a small commission when you purchase items through my Amazon links, Think about it as buying me a cup of coffee, or a taco.

Using Gallery Glass is very simple. If you have ever used puffy paint or fabric paint, you can use gallery glass. You can paint on glass, you can paint on mirrors, or any sort of clear glass dish/cup/bowl, or you can make window clings like I will be showing you below.

For the window clings, I start with a high-quality heavy-duty page protector.

Find an image that you wish to make into a window cling. I’ve done Celtic Knot Bears, prehistoric fish, unicorns, mandalas. Whatever speaks to you!

Slip the printout/drawing of what you want to make into the page protector. You’re going to use the faux leading (if you run out of this and can’t find more in town, sometimes in a pinch I will use black fabric/puffy paint). If your image is all straight lines, you can use the peel and stick leading (found here).

For this project, I used white puffy paint on a glass picture frame. The black leading wouldn’t have “popped” as much, and the white gave me the detail I wanted.

You will outline your image with the faux leading, and allow it to dry. Depending on the weather/humidity it can be as little as a few hours, or it can take overnight to dry properly.

Finished project- Gift for my dad

Once the leading has dried, select your colors of gallery glass and fill in the leaded “panes“ and allow your creation to dry. I usually let them sit for 24 to 48 hours to dry all the way, and cure a little bit so they’re not tacky. Once that time has elapsed you can make it a permanent window cling by gently peeling your creation off of the page protector and applying it to the window/glass as needed.

If you want something you can move around, then you will remove the paper from the inside of the page protector, and cut the image out of the page protector. And then place the creation on the window. The side with the page protector adhered to it will be facing outwards/not against the glass.

If you were looking for ideas for different art styles or creations for your stained glass/window cling project, check out my Pinterest board here. This is a project that anyone can do. It is a fun project, it is not necessarily good for small children, but I would say anyone probably ages 10 and up can handle it. It does take a lot of patience. And a fairly steady hand. This is why I tend to get Suncatcher painting kits for the little kid to do while I work on these. She can sit and do her “Stainglass“ craft while I do mine. These make great gifts. And they are absolutely beautiful.

The supplies can be a little expensive, but once you have them, a bottle of gallery glass will last you between 5 to 10 projects, depending on what size, and how many other colors you’re using in your project. Some local craft stores sell gallery glass products in their stores, so before you buy them on Amazon, you might try your local craft store.

My next big project is a Pride Flag for my nibling. I’ll be using a piece of clear acrylic (18×24) and the peel and stick leading, since it’s all straight lines.

Tryazon: Jewelry Making Night with Liquid Sculpey

I am super excited about this Tryazon Event. I have already applied! We’ve been participating in Tryazon events for three+ years. We’ve gotten to try all sorts of fun toys, games, and food.  You can learn more about Tryazon here.

Gather your friends together for an earring jewelry-making night with this Tryazon Featured Party opportunity, from Sculpey. Liquid Sculpey is an innovative crafting clay that can be used in oven-safe silicone molds, window clings and so much more! It’s simple to use and perfect for beginners and fun for the experienced crafter. When baked, the liquid polymer clay turns strong, flexible, and lightweight making it perfect for jewelry!

Tryazon has 100 hosting spots open for this opportunity! Those selected get to receive a party pack with a variety of Liquid Sculpey to create earrings with friends and family! Learn more and apply here: https://www.tryazon.com/liquid-sculpey-party

Have Your Hot Girl Summer on a Budget

I’m sure by now everyone has heard the phrase “Hot Girl Summer”, but do you know what it means? The phrase can be traced back to a Megan Thee Stallion song a few years ago.

On Twitter, she explained: “Being a Hot Girl is about being unapologetically YOU, having fun, being confident, living YOUR truth, being the life of the party, etc.”

A couple of my friends have embraced it, and I think that it’s a pretty amazing outlook to have, especially since last summer was, well, Sad Trombone Noise? I know the kids are looking forward to having fun, more adventures, and getting out of the house. Here are a couple ways I’m bringing Hot Girl Summer (and sharing it with the fam).

New Bathing Suits. Kids grow, but what about me? Well after having the same swimsuits for 3 years, it’s time. Especially since we swim daily.  I bought a few new suits from Amazon. Since I’m fair-skinned I picked up one with long sleeves, the kids tease me about working at SeaWorld. This is just one of the many suits I’ve got. It’s perfect for prime sun time.

 

New Pool Bag and New Pool Toys. Every Summer it seems, we need new pool toys and a new pool bag. The Chlorine wrecks our bag (which is mesh- this helps the pool toys dry quickly), and daily use of toys leaves them.. wrecked. Dollar Tree has a great selection of sturdy pool toys, including inflatables for kids (We have a cool cookie ring that has a “bite” taken out of it). For me, I picked up a sweet inflatable float pool chair. 

Plans to meet up with friends. Now that most people have access to the vaccine, getting together with friends is a lot more feasible. We are still limiting ourselves and staying away from large gatherings where we don’t know everyone, but dinner and drinks with friends sound amazing. I’m hosting dinners a couple times a month over the summer for a few reasons: 1. To keep all of our costs down (Dinner out with drinks costs $$$ these days), and honestly, I don’t feel super safe going out for dinner all that often, especially now that there are no mask regulations in our state. And I’m having a weekend getaway with some girlfriends in a few weeks. I am really looking forward to a weekend away in a vacation rental doing a whole lot of nothing!

Take Advantage of the season: What does that mean? Summer has all sorts of fun advantages: Long days, Amazing fruit and veggies are in season, nice weather. Spend time outside (poolside, at the beach, exploring nature), enjoy a big bowl of fruit salad, make a huge salad! Community events are starting to come back (with limited event sizes), and there are lots of free events throughout the summer. EventBrite is a great place to find community events.

Make Time for You: I know… So many blogs and social media tell you to get self-care time and spend time doing things that you love, but as a parent, it can be hard without staying up late or waking up before dawn. Finding a sitter can be tough too. It’s ok to lean on family and friends. The past year has been exponentially tough on parents, and you need time to yourself. Swap child care with friends, or if you want to have a night out, split the cost of a sitter. Your kids can hang out together, while you and your friends get some time away.

Take Care of Yourself: And I don’t mean the stereotypical self-care of putting on a mud mask and drinking water with lemon slices. That’s fun, but I mean the simple acts that we often overlook as caregivers.

  • Sunscreen for your face and any exposed areas when you’ll be outside for more than 10 minutes during peak sun hours (usually 10am-4pm). Don’t forget the tops of your ears. Being super fair-skinned I also wear a sun hat too. Not super sexy, but I don’t want skin cancer.
  • Take something to drink with you. I know most of you pack snacks for your kids when you leave home, but take a few extra minutes to make yourself something that you like (bonus if it’s a snack that your kids do not like- No sharing!), and fill your water bottle. This is the water bottle I use. If you like fruit-infused water, bottles like this are great.  You can also opt for an infuser to go into your favorite bottle or insulated cup.
  • Find Something to Keep You Occupied.  Besides your kids. Pick up a book, grab a craft kit (I like embroidery- it’s easy and portable), Craftsy has some cool online classes to get you started.

I’d love to hear about how you are bringing Hot Girl Summer. Leave a comment below!

 

 

 

Drowning in Kids Artwork? Check out Artkive!

This is a long-running dilemma in the life of every parent. What to do with all of the art projects the kids make at school, camp, or even at home? If you save them all, you’ll have a Hoarders-esque situation in a few years, especially if you have multiple kids.

I learned about Artkive last night and I had to share. I know there are many of you in this spot, And Artkive looks like a great solution.

Preserve your kids’ artwork with Artkive. Fill the Artkive box with your kids artwork and receive high quality, hardcover, keepsake books. I think these books would make great gifts for relatives that don’t live close by.

I will be going through my literal BOXES of each kids art over the next few weeks and finding art to send to Artkive.

  • Send us your Kids’ Art – Fill the box we send you with art and return it to us using the prepaid UPS label provided. A second payment will be due based on how much art you send back in your Artkive Box.
  • View your Art everywhere – Artkive professionally photograph your artwork and upload it to your account. View and share your pictures on any device and edit/approve your custom proofs online.
  • Receive your book – receive a high-quality, 8.5×11 inch hardcover book.
  • Get your shipping kit for just $39.

Summer Fun and Learning with Green Kid Crafts!

Yesterday I posted about all the fun toys from Dollar Tree, today we are turning to some fun educational toys.

My kids love doing science experiments, playing, and learning. We’ve got Green Kid Crafts boxes in the past and they are a huge hit.

Green Kid Crafts has recently restocked some of their best-selling kits. I’ll be picking up a few and stashing them in the hall closet to keep us entertained during the “I’M BORED!!!!” moments that will be coming up over the summer.

A broad range of box themes, all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) focused.  Explore Ecosystems like Rainforests, Oceans, and Desert Science. Learn about Endangered Animals, Volcanoes, and Rocket Science. And teach your kids to be environmentalists with Alternative Energy, Save the Oceans, and Climate Change! 

One of the things I like about Green Kid Crafts is that you can opt into a subscription where the boxes come each month, or you can purchase specific kits. Here are a few of the kits that I know my kids would LOVE.


Backyard Science Box

Backyard Science Kit

 

 

Color Science Box

 

 

 

Mad Science Box

 

 

 

Nocturnal Animals Activities Box

 

 

 

Down on the Farm Box

 

 

 

Reptiles Box

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Science Box

 

 

 

Endangered Animals Box

 

 

 

And if you have littler kids, there are options for them too! Ultimate STEAM 5-Pack Junior Ages 2-5

With a mission to raise the next generation of environmental leaders, Green Kid Crafts leads by example.

  • Through a partnership with One Tree Planted, Green Kid Crafts plants one tree for every order placed.
  • As a member of 1% for the Planet, we donate up to 1% of sales to environmental nonprofits.
  • Together with the Carbon Fund, we offset 100% of carbon dioxide emissions produced by our business.
  • Eco-friendly practices are used as much possible to produce Green Kid Crafts boxes.

Today is National Beer Day!

Today is National Beer Day! What better way to celebrate an awesome day than with my favorite beer-related recipes, crafts, and DIY fun?

  1. Beer Bread. Seriously- It’ll change your life. It’s quick, easy, versatile.
  2. Ever buy a six-pack and realize after a beer or two that it isn’t your cup of tea? Beer makes great snail and slug bait. Pour one out into a shallow pan (like a disposable pie tin) and set it in your garden. Turbo and his buddies will be drawn to the smell and fall in. No poison, no gross traps to deal with, and if the neighborhood squirrels or gophers find it, they will just get a little drunk.
  3. If you don’t have a garden but have an unwanted beer, take it into the shower with you! Because most beer has an average pH of 4 (acidic), it makes a great clarifier for hair that gets a lot of styling products in it daily. Wash with your regular shampoo, rinse with water, apply beer and allow to sit in your hair for a few minutes, rinse out and follow up with your conditioner. If that’s not your bag, Amazon sells a lot of beer-based shampoo and conditioner. 
  4. More than ever, beer bottles are being painted or printed on instead of a glued-on label. Some bottles have cool art. Instead of saving the bottles to gather dust on a shelf, why not use a glass cutting kit like this one, and make cool glasses or a vase?  I have a friend who does this, and she has a collection of incredible beer glasses.
  5. All this talk of beer got you thirsty? My favorite beer cocktail is a shandy. Depending on where you are from a shandy is either beer and lemonade or beer and lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. It’s delicious.  A lager or pilsner are the best choices for beer. Something light (in color). Its 1/2 beer and half lemonade/lemon-lime soda/ginger ale.

Dollar Tree Deals for Easter!

**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases.

Hippity Hoppity, Easter’s on it’s wayyyyyy!!! Ok, so now that I’m done singing, it’s time for me to tell you all about some of the sweet stuff that’s going on down at Dollar Tree.

I live next door to a shopping center/strip mall that has a Dollar Tree, so I’ve seen all these goodies in the flesh.

First off: Crafts! Dollar Tree has some super cool craft kits for Easter. Perfect for Easter baskets, or if you are looking for something to keep your kids occupied during Spring Break. Not all of them are egg/bunny related. Lots of fun spring crafts, including their collection of fun wooden paintable items, canvases, and stickers. Our craft cupboard is full of paintables, canvases, stickers, and misc. craft kits from Dollar Tree. I spend about $20/month there just for craft supplies. The paintables and canvases make great gifts for family (grandparents especially).

Next up, dishes. If you are hosting an Easter/Spring/Equinox dinner, Dollar Tree has you hooked up with great table settings (both durable and disposable), table decor, and even leftover containers for your guests to take home leftovers- I can’t be the only one who does that?

Ok, and Finally: Spring Cleaning. UGH. But it’s gotta be done. Dollar Tree to the rescue with buckets and household cleaners (I’m a big fan of Formula 409 myself, Goo Gone, and the drop-in tank toilet bowl cleaners). For those of you who are on the more natural path, Dollar Tree has you covered! Vinegar, scrub brushes, baking soda and more natural choices too. If part of your Spring Cleaning includes reorganizing, Dollar Tree has lots of storage solutions too!

Love Crafting? Dollar Tree’s Crafter’s Square is Bigger & Better than Ever!

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

All Dollar Tree locations now sport an expanded craft section!

Some of my favorite items include acrylic paint, staple-backed canvases, paintbrushes, pallets, watercolors, art paper, yarn, wood crafts, scrapbooking stickers, and more!

And if you need some inspiration, check out some of these great ideas:

Get Inspiration from Dollar Tree’s Crafts & Décor Blog!
Shop Holiday Craft Supplies!
Get Creative with Wood Crafts!
Reveal a World of Color with Dollar Tree’s affordable Paint Supplies!
Get Ready for Spring with Floral Crafts!

Just an example of the crafts we’ve made from Dollar Tree

When you shop online, you can take advantage of FREE shipping when you choose to have your order shipped to your local Dollar Tree store for pickup! It’s easy, convenient, and saves you money on shipping costs. You can learn more about In-Store Pickup here!

We shop weekly at Dollar Tree, and a trip is never complete without cruising the craft section and picking up a few goodies!