Archive for the ‘crafting with kids’ Category

Now that Victoria is getting older she is getting more interested in making things handmade for herself and her friends.  She loves making things for people she loves and then seeing their reaction to what she has done for them.  Its really quite adorable to me, and makes me happy that we have been able to pass on the love for handmade stuff to her.

I have tried to teach her how to crochet, but she is left handed and since I am right handed it makes it kinda hard to really show her what I am doing.  I am hoping once she is a little older it will make more sense to her when she sees me to it and she will be able to “flip” the motions in her head to suit her needs.

Over the summer we got her a kit with a few different looms in it for her to try out since crocheting was not working for her and she really wanted to do another yarn craft besides spool knitting.   I am so glad we got those for her because she loves working with them.  She made some things for her dolls and for herself to practice with and then this Christmas she worked hard to make many presents for people.

She made bracelets for family and friends, belts and headbands for family and friends as well as for her dolls {she said they needed holiday gifts as well 🙂 } and she made a wide bracelet/wristlet for me.  I love the wide one she did, she picked out one of my favorite shades out of my favorite organic yarn collection.  Its so soft!  I would love to have a whole sweater made out of that yarn. 🙂

Victoria picked out some vintage buttons out of my collection as well, she def. went all out to make this piece totally up my alley.  Its even more amazing since she made it all by herself. 🙂

If you have a little one or know a child who really wants to learn to crochet or knit and the motor skills just are not there yet, I highly recommend trying them out on a loom.  They are really easy to work with and there are some great beginner videos on youtube.  Victoria and I prefer the metal tools to pick up the yarn rather  than the plastic or wood ones, they just seem to work easier.  The easiest way I have found to end your piece is by using a crochet hook and then a yarn needle to weave in your ends.

Recently I have been finding Victoria working on her latest loom project when she has her TV time, she is making herself a pillow case.  For that project I am just going to wing it…..hopefully that will work lol  My plan is to have her do two rectangles that are the same size, and then I will just sew three sides together.  It seems simple, and hopefully its going to go as simple as I am seeing it in my head. 😉




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Most of us have a friend or two who love Star Wars….for me I have so many that I can’t even count them on both hands {including myself } lol

In our home we celebrate Christmas a little different than the mainstream.  We try and make most of our gifts handmade with the exception of books, some clothes, and other things that I have not figured out how to make yet 😉

My husband does many things throughout the year for me that are so sweet and awesome that when it comes to holidays we don’t usually do much for each other because we focus on giving all year long to each other and not just on one day.  But that’s a whole other story in itself. 🙂

If we do things for each other on a holiday,  its usually something handmade and fun and then we will all go out as a family and do something together.

Four our daughter, I would say 80% of her holiday gifts are handmade.   My husband and I have fun planning what we will make for her for the holidays in advance, its a fun bonding experience for us that usually ends up being filled with laughter and jokes……{smiling now from the memories this past fall in planning for Victoria…..good times}

So I was already going to take the composition notebooks that my husband uses every day at work and cover them in Yoda themed paper.  He is going to have the coolest comp. notebooks on the block! lol

But then I saw this post on Under the Sycamore and thought it would be a perfect thing to add in.

I love this blog and always find her posts to be so fun and full of raw emotion.  Her craft ideas are awesome and her style for decorating def. speaks to my heart….I wish I could clone a few things in her house and bring them to mine. lol

Check out her blog for photos of what these look like all done up.  She has some great adorable ones. 🙂

I printed the images onto card stock like Ashley advised so that they would hold up better with play.

I think this is going to be an awesome gift for my husband and my daughter too.  They will have a fun craft to do together and then can play with their new Star Wars guys and have a ball while I am making Christmas dinner.

I printed double of both so that they can have extras in case any break or get messed up in the construction process.  If all goes well, we will have two Yodas hanging out on Christmas Day. 🙂

Here are the direct links to these pages for download and printing  {they are free!!}

I am still on the look out for a Chewy……kinda vexed I can’t find one yet. :/
Now I have to get moving on finishing up the comp notebooks …..we have been so busy with school, dance, and PT that I am a little behind.
But I have all the materials so that counts for something right? lol

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This post and tutorial were inspired by a facebook convo late last night and I am really excited that my idea actually worked! 🙂

This tutorial is to make a basic leo for an American Girl Doll or similar in size 18 inch doll.  Now, I am going to be totally honest with you here….I am no seamstress.  My sewing skills are basic and would probably make most avid sewers gasp. lol  Also my sewing machine has been all over the country and I think its on its last leg….it tends to jam more frequently since our last move so that does not help too much. lol   But with that aside, this leo is super easy to make and its a project you can do with your little one as well.  🙂

What you will need:

A pair of old tights {I used a girls med. in pink, you can use any color.  If you have a little ballerina in your house, I am sure you will have a pair of tights that you can use because of a run or a snag. ;)}

thread  to match  the tights

sewing machine and bobbin

fabric scissors

goodies to decorate with such as lace, ribbon, ect.


Cut the top part of the tights off where the text says.  You will be left with three pieces.  Grab the leg piece that looks the best {if you are using old tights you want a leg that is clean and does not have noticeable wear}. Set the other two pieces aside.

Pull the leg of the tights onto your doll.  You want to pull it on with the toe part at the bottom and the widest part {the thigh area} at the top of the doll.

Make sure that the sides up top can touch when pulled up over the shoulders.  Make a mark where my pencil mark is.  Its right above the first Create in CreateBellaCreate.

Pull off the tights and cut where the pencil mark is.

Its going to look like this after you cut.  Keep the widest part as the top part.

Next you want to mark off a section that is about an inch wide in the middle of the bottom of the piece.  I just eyeballed it.  🙂

Sew where you marked off leaving a quarter inch hem.

Turn the piece right side out {so the hem is on the inside now} and try it on your doll to make sure its a good fit and easy to get off and on.  You don’t want the little one who is playing with this to have to struggle getting this off and on. 😉

Make sure the top sides can still meet when pulled up over the shoulders.

Take the leo off and turn it inside out again so that the seem is showing.

Lay flat.

Mark 1.5 inches from one side along the top.

Mark 1 inch from the 1.5 inch mark that you just did.

Sew from mark to mark with a quarter inch hem.

You have now created the arm hole.

The first one I did, I did two arm holes and really didn’t like the way it looked and the ease of use was not what I wanted.

Thinking about the cool leos I see at the ballet studio {and what I could actually pull off with my sewing skills lol} I decided on doing a diagonal cut with only one arm hole.

I just cut a diagonal line up top leaving a quarter inch from the cut to the top seam making the one shoulder strap.

I didn’t hem the cut edges yet….not sure if I want to just do a basic hem or if I should use a serger on it.  Going to call one of my sewing buddies {who actually has some mad sewing skills 🙂 } and see what she recommends.

I did what I set out to achieve though, I created a basic leo for an American Girl Doll in under 20 mins using a pair of tights that would have prob. ended up in the trash.  I love eco friendly crafts!

I wanted to spruce it up….but Victoria wanted to keep it basic so it would go with all the different tutus she has for her dolls.

If you are a sewer you could prob. glam this up with ruffles, ribbons, or trim but sadly I am not a very equipped sewer so I just stick with the basics.  Skirts, blankets, curtains, and basic stuff like that are my fav. to do 🙂

What matters most to me is that Victoria is over the moon happy with this leo.  The fact that it was quick and easy and no cost are just added bonuses for me. 🙂

If you make one, I would love to see a photo of it! I am hoping this basic leo will inspire something awesome to be made the eco friendly way 🙂

You can email photos to my email provided in the Bella tab up top.

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I made this super cute Christmas Wishes holder for Victoria last year.  I love that its something we can use each and every year.  I didn’t take photos of the making process but I will try and give you a summery of how to make one if you would like.  I have also done a Thankful one just like this but with different paper for Thanksgiving as well. 🙂

What you need:

A piece of wood cut to the size that you want and then sanded to take away rough edges.  I rounded the edges ever so slightly on ours.

Holiday themed scrap booking paper

6 magnet clips that have a flat back that will allow you to glue them to the wood.

Mod Podge

E6000 Glue


Brush to apply the mod podge

Clear coat sealer spray in a matte finish

Let’s get started!!

Trace the flat sides of your wood onto the paper of your choice.  Subtract about a quarter inch or so all the way around.  This will make it so some of the wood shows.  Cut out your paper for the flat side and then use mod podge to glue the paper down to one side.  Go slow and smooth it down to keep the bubbles at bay.  Let this dry all the way.  About an hour or so depending on the temp in your house.  I find that when its hot and humid it takes forever for mod podge to try in our home.

While this is drying you can do the magnets.  I just cut circles out that were smaller than the circles in the magnet clips.  Then I used mod podge to glue them down just like I did with the paper to the wood.  Let these dry all the way.  When they are dry go back with the mod podge and apply a thin top coat to seal the paper.

When you first side is dry for your wood you will do the other flat side the same way.  Let this dry all the way again.

Next on the two short sides you will trace them on your paper of choice.  I didn’t trim the sides by a quarter inch for this because I wanted the whole thing to be covered.  You will do one side, let it dry, and then do the other side.  You do this so you don’t accidentally put the wood down on a wet side and ruin your project.  I have done that before and its a very frustrating way to mess up your project.

When all four sides that you applied paper to are done you can move on.  This next step it totally optional.

I took a med. blend sandpaper and rounded the edges of the paper.  I just rubbed it in short bursts until I got the rounded semi distressed look I was looking for.  Totally optional, I just wanted to try it out and see what it looked like and I loved it after I did the first side.  I did it on all four corners on all four pieces of scrapbook paper that I applied with the mod podge.

Next I wrote cute little sayings on the long flat sides with a permanent marker.

When the ink was dry and set, I took the whole thing outside and sprayed it with a clear coat sealer in a matte finish.

Finally I glued on the magnet clips with E6000 glue…any extra strength glue should do the trick.

Let this dry overnight …in your garage because the glue smells horrid…at least I think so. lol

The next morning gather up your little ones and have them write some cute wishes, things they want from Santa, ect….

Its so cute to watch kids think about holiday wishes, and this could be the start of a new fun family tradition for you.  It def. was for us 🙂

Photos are from last year’s xmas…have yet to take photos of the cuteness Victoria came up with this year.

Last year she was trying hard to get over being afraid of the dark and spiders and since we moved she wanted to make some new friends in our new town.  It was really sweet to see her be so raw and open with her xmas wishes.  She was the same this year and I love that about her.  She is not afraid to speak her mind and discuss her emotions.  She is so much stronger than I was at her age! 🙂

Hoping dinner time rolls around quick….we have chili cooking and it smells AMAZING! 😀

PS: You can also use the same concept to make little photo holders.  There is a magnet clip on both sides and its done the same way as the Christmas wishes holder, just on a smaller scale. Makes great birthday gifts…mother’s day gifts…ect. 🙂

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Victoria loves to decorate for the holidays….but not with store bought crafts.  Each new season or holiday she spends time creating decorations for our house.  Its really adorable to watch her create stuff.  Some of the projects are ones that I have taught her, others are things she comes up with all on her own.  We try and make as much as we can using thing we would normally recycle.  So far for our winter/Christmas decorations she has made quite a few banners, a million  okay maybe like 60 snowflakes {she really wants to see snow this year}, jingle bells, and tons of art.  To me, the homemade kid made decorations are my favorite.  They are just so cute and unique and really fun to look at.

This tutorial is for a jingle bell craft inspired by a photo I found on Martha’s blog.  You can see the post for her version here:

We did ours a little differently and the way we did it, you get more jingle bells out of one carton of eggs.  It was Victoria’s idea to do it differently.  She wanted round jingle bells instead of the triangle like shape you get when following Martha’s instructions.  Since it was her craft, I let her be the leader. 🙂

For this project you will need:

1 cardboard egg carton

paints in various colors { we used a soy based paint}


a box cutter

paint brushes

cup for water to clean your brushes

12 jingle bells


yarn needle

1: Use a box cutter to cut down the middle of your egg carton {Adult Part}

2: How it will look once you cut it

3: Use a box cutter to cut off the side flap and place that small flap in the recycling. {Adult part}

Cut out the circles that your eggs would normally sit in.  The middle cone parts can be used for jingle bells as well but then you will need a few more bells.   Victoria really wanted round ones instead of the triangle cut of Martha’s so we went with that.  After cutting them out she said: ” You know what mom?  This was a better idea because we get more jingle bells out of the container.”  I like the way you think little one 😀  The cutting out of these should be done by an adult or an older child because it  can be a little tricky.  Round them out but cutting the edges off.

Paint your little jingle bells.  We did two coats of a base color and then let them dry all the way before adding some details to them.

After you add your details, let them dry all the way before moving on to the next steps.

Take a piece of yarn a couple feet long {really this all depends on how many jingle bells you want to put on them and how long you want it} and thread one end through the needle.  Take the needle and go through the loop on the jingle bell and pull it down till there is about two inches or so left on one side of the yarn.  Do a double knot so secure it in place.  Trim off the access yarn so there is just a short tail left.  Go up through the inside of the jingle bell cup that you made with the needle and pull the cup down so it sits on top of the jingle bell.  To put multiple ones on one piece of yarn you will just slide another jingle bell on, leaving a gap between it and the last one and do a double knot to secure.  Attach another cone the same way and slide it down to sit on top of the bell.   Victoria wanted three each so that is what we did. 🙂

She had so much fun making this craft, its really kid friendly and  they can do most of it by themselves with minimal adult prep work.   Once you have the amount of bells on that you like you will just tie the yarn in a double knot making a loop at the top.  We let Victoria do this part so she could figure out just how long she wanted  them to hang.  You could add a bow to it or another other kind of embellishment to make it more you or more festive.

The one Victoria made to hang on the door to her room.  She loves having this one on her door.  In fact this morning she was purposely opening and closing her door just to make it jingle, all the while giggling like crazy and singing ” I’ve got bells on my door! I’ve got bells on my door!”  It was def. one of those priceless mom feel good make you smile moments. 🙂

We also have them hanging on all our other doors …so now when you go in and out of our doors you here “jingle, jingle”.  🙂

In the picture to the right you can see one of the banners Victoria made to hang above our garage door.  She made it out of scrap paper from the printer {you know when you print a coupon out and  then you have like half a page left?  She used a bunch of those from the scrap bin we keep} and scrap scrap booking paper.  I will have to take a photo of all the snow flake banners she has hung in our kitchen, they are pretty cute if I do say so myself. 🙂

So there you have it, a fun semi recycled kids Christmas craft.  Oh and another great thing with your egg cartons.  Save them and use them to pour paint in if you have little ones who love to paint like I do.  If you use a paint that can be recycled then you can throw the whole thing in the recycle bin when you are done. 🙂  Just make sure there is no left over egg on them and wait till the paint is fully dry before tossing them in your recycle bin. Otherwise you will wind up with a paint splattered recycle bin…not like I know from experience or anything 😉

Tomorrow I am hoping I will get some time to do my tea cup pin cushion tutorial.  I have made two and have a few more to go for holiday gifts.  Loving how they are coming along.

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I love crafts that have some recycled parts to them.  Turning something that would have normally gone into the trash into something useful is not only fun but its also really rewarding to me.  We save a lot of things in our house.  Glass bottles from drinks that we have bought can be turned into vases or cups for everyday use.  Glass jars from jams and sauces are great for storing pens, pencils, crochet hooks, and many other things.  If they are taller you can also use them for vases as well.  Totally money and earth saver which is a double win in my book. 🙂

Victoria really wanted to make a vase with flowers for her school desk.  Now that fall is here and winter is fast approaching you don’t see all the beautiful flowers from the spring and summer too often.  We both love fresh flowers inside the house and outside in our backyard.  They just brighten all the spaces they are in. 🙂

So for this project you will need:

A plastic or glass bottle that is clean and dry

Tissue paper: blues and floral colors

Mod Podge


Pipe Cleaners

Step 1:

You will take the blue tissue paper and wrap it around your bottle so that you know how big of a piece to cut.  Cut out your tissue paper and then use mod podge to glue it down.  The best way to do that is to start it off for your child by putting a line of mod podge down and then gently pushing the tissue paper down.  Then your child can paint on some mod podge in small sections and then press the tissue paper down gently.  Repeat that all the way around the bottle until its evenly covered.  After it drys you will go back and put a thin layer of mod podge all over the tissue paper so that it is sealed.

So my daughter and I got so caught up in the fun of making the tissue flowers that I totally forgot to take photos of the steps for making those.  Good news though! Here is a link to a site that not only has step by step instructions but also a video as well.  I used two pipe cleaners for ours.  One cut in half to wrap around the tissue paper and then one full green one for the stem.

Victoria super proud and happy with her project we did. 🙂

Here is the finished project on her school desk.  She absolutely loves having the bright flowers on her desk.  She says that it makes her smile.  How cute is that? 🙂  Best part is, she made it and loves it and if it gets knocked over by the kitty monster no water to clean up!

Upcoming posts this week:

Thankful for project and the start of our Astronomy Unit post.

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I love the look of covered notebooks.  They make the classic composition notebooks look so much cooler. 🙂  We use composition notebooks in our house for schooling a lot…science, history, journals. ect.  Sometimes I will cover them in brown paper in the old textbook cover way so that my daughter can draw all over the front of it.  Today we decided to beautify our new science composition notebook with some pretty vintage inspired scrapbook paper.

For this project you will need:

A composition notebook or journal

mod podge or some good glue



hot glue gun and hot glue


 You will trace the front cover of your notebook onto the scrapbook paper of your choice and then cut it out.  I did another small piece and cut the end with scallop scissors just to give it a fun touch. 

Use mod podge or glue to glue your paper down, be sure to smooth it down nice and slow as you put the paper down to avoid air bubbles.  I like to put the mod podge all over the front cover and then lay my paper down nice and slow. 

We put a thin coat of mod podge over the paper once it dried.  You don’t have to do this but since I know it will get a lot of use I thought adding an extra sealer would be a good idea. 🙂  

Cut your ribbon to size, leaving an inch on each side to fold over to the inside of the notebook.  Hot glue the ribbon down and then turn your notebook over so you are looking at the inside.  Hot glue the little one inch tabs to the inside cover to secure your ribbon down. 

Victoria’s finished notebook! I didn’t like the way the photo came out inside …the lighting in my house drives me nuts! lol 

That’s better! Love the colors and the purple ribbon my daughter picked. 🙂

Showing off her new science notebook. 

Excited? Silly?  Not sure what, but its super cute. 🙂

She loves blank pages in a notebook….I think its the joy of filling them in. 

This project is super easy and fun to do.  It took my daughter and I about an hour to do it, including drying time.  I let her do a lot of the work.  She loves creating things and putting her own touch on things that she is going to use.  I think its really rewarding for her and I know its priceless for me to watch. 🙂

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