Saturday, April 18, 2009

MSCE April and Kids Craft Week: Yum, Monkey Bread!

O.K so baking might not be everyone's idea of a craft, but it's creative, and kids love to do it. And for me baking is a crafty endeavor. Kids of any age can help make this recipe and people of all ages will love to eat it (We had it after dinner tonight, yum.)

You'll need:

A container of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
About 3 tablespoons of cinnamon
About 3 tablespoons of sugar
About 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1/4 cup of butter

First pre-heat the oven to 350 (or whatever the directions for the rolls say). Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. 

Open the tube of biscuits- if your using the regular small size biscuits cut them into 4 pieces- if your store, like mine, seems to be out of the regular size and you are forced to use the grand sized just cut them into 6 pieces instead.

Then roll the pieces of biscuit into the spice mixture and place each one onto a greased baking sheet (or shallow baking dish). You want them to touch and start to make a pile 2-3 pieces high but don't squish the rolls together too much, and don't pile them to high you want it to cook all the way through.

Once you have all of the biscuit pieces coated in the spice mixture and on the baking sheet you should have some sugar and spice mix left, if not add about 1/2 a tablespoon of each into the bowl.

Melt the butter- add it and the brown sugar to the spice mixture and stir together to make a glaze. If its too thick you can add more butter, if it to thin add some more brown sugar. You want it to be the consistency of warm icing.

Drizzle this over the top of the monkey bread. Then put he bread into the oven and bake about 20-25 min. or until the rolls in the middle are cooked through.

Enjoy- I know we did! 

I l-o-v-e cinnamon and sugar! YUM.

Friday, April 17, 2009

MSCE April and Kids Craft Week: Paper Plate Sea Creatures

Today's kids project is good old fashion paper plate craft. I made sea creatures, a fish, turtle, and crab. For all of these I stapled (or glued) two paper plates back to back to make a "shell"

On the fish I used a third paper plate to make a fin for each side, a tail and a fin for the top.

Then I used markers to color it. Last but not least I mod podged on paper napkins and tin foil to make the rest of the scales.

The turtle is my favorite- 

First I cut up the leftover paper plates that the tye-dye coffee filters dried on (I told you the plates would make an appearance) for the head, feet and tail. I liked the look of it so much I decided to do the same thing for the shell. I made the tye-dye filters like I usually do except I painted it on over turned plates instead of the right side up plates.

Then there's this guy-

 I painted him red with acrylic craft paint, used pipe cleaners for the legs and paper for the claws.

I know paper plate crafts are a classic- but I hope I gave them a new twist.
P.S. I photographed them on my outdoor table because the rippled glass always reminds me of water! And stay tuned this weekend for the last two days of kids craft week! 

If you missed an of it here are the rest of the posts from this week.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

MSCE April and Kids Craft Week: Botanical Prints

I know I've either seen someone do this type of print before or read a post about it. But I don't know where I saw it- so if I should be linking to give you the bloggy-credit you deserve please let me know!

The weather is finally getting nice and I'm loving all the green and spring colors that are starting to show up! I have some flowers coming up in the garden, sprigs of grass (and weeds) showing up in the front yard, and the first potted plant of the year on the step. Every chance I get I want to be outside enjoying and watching nature wake-up. 

Today's fun kids craft is all about what you can do with little bits of plants collected from being outside. It's fun and easy to make these pretty botanical prints.

Aside from the bits of plants that you collect for this project you'll also need: 
  • wax paper (or a plastic paper like the backing of contact paper or a sticker sheet) 
  • a sheet of heavy wt. paper 
  • And a popsicle stick

I took and an almost spent flower off the plant on the step, picked a few blades of grass and some dandelion leaves (saves me some weeding later- bonus).

I plucked the back off the flower (so it would lay flat) and placed the petals onto the paper. (A side note about the paper used for the print - it should be what I think of as a porus paper- something not glossy or really smooth.)

I covered the flower petals with the leftover backing from contact paper that I used for another project 

and rubbed it with a popsicle stick for about 15-30 seconds.

This was the first print.

Here are the second and third prints I made from the same flower. (I love how this looks like it was done with colored pencils or pastels.)

Then I tried some leaves-

and the grass-

The second time I printed the grass it actually came out better than the first. The first over printed- which makes sense it has so much water and pigment, we all know how easily grass can stain clothes and this is pretty much the same thing.

You could stop here, and have a really nice print to frame or hang on the fridge but I decided to cut mine up and make a card. 

Moms and Grandmas-  wouldn't you just love to get a pretty handmade botanical card for mother's day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MSCE April and Kids Craft Week: Make a Kaleidoscope!

It's smack in the middle of both April and my Kids Craft Week. Today I did a project that I've always wanted to do... making a Kaleidoscope.

It was a really fun and quick project- I've never made one before but I was able to work out the details and have the actual kaleidoscope made all before work this morning. This project would be suitable for older kids (with adult supervision). If you wanted to make this with a younger child they could choose the beads that go inside and decorate the outside tube. While I was making this it seemed like it would be a fun thing to do at a kids party.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • One mailing tube with plastic caps for the ends (it should be slightly smaller or about the same size as a TP tube).
  • One toilet paper tube
  • Three mirrors or an already assembled prism toy that is smaller than your tp tube.
  • Clear Duct Tape
  • A handful of beads, bits, and cool things.
  • One small clear container- the kind that little beads and grommets from the craft store are packaged in. (You can also buy these small containers. I found mine at a dollar store)
  • One sheet of white cardstock
  • One sheet of decorative paper or stickers, and markers.
  • A scrap of vellum (big enough to cut out a circle the size of your mailing tube).
  • Optional- Glue that can be used on plastic.
  • You'll also need a craft knife, scissors, paper glue, and a pencil

Here We Go:

To start you'll need a prism-

I didn't make mine I purchased it ( they sell them as toys) and took the decorative paper wrapper off (mostly since I was taking pictures of it) but you could make your own easily. You would need three mirrors about 1/2 inch wide x 3 inches long, taped together to make a triangle.

Once you have the prism you need to cut your tp tube up the side and roll it into a smaller sized tube so that the prism will fit snugly inside. Then tape it so it stays that size. (I taped the edge with regular duct tape but later used the clear tape- either is fine.)

Then I rolled the tp tube in cardstock until it was thick enough to fit snugly into the mailing tube without jiggling around.

Once I had this done I traced the bottom of the clear container on the vellum and cut out a circle.

Then I filled the container with beads, bits of paper, and even some scraps of soda bottle plastic from Monday's project.

I noticed that the mailing tube seemed long- I lined up the tp tube, the bead container, and the plastic cap to estimate the length I needed. I made a pencil mark all the way around and used a craft knife to cut the mailing tube down to about half the length.

I put the tp tube into the mailing tube and stuck the plastic container on the other end. It was at this point that I realized that the lid on the container could easily come off and spill beads everywhere (ask me how I found that out, it may have had something to do with beads flying all over the studio... maybe). So I took the container back out of the tube (picked up all the beads I could find) and decided to tape the edges closed (you could use plastic glue here too).

Then put it back into the end of the mailing tube and taped the vellum onto the top (you could also glue this- it would look neater- but the tape worked fine).

Last- but a very important part of construction for the finished kaleidoscope is to make the eyepiece. I used one of the plastic caps that came with the mailing tube.

With a craft knife I made a hole, then used the end of a paper craft tool to smooth it down a bit.

I put the cap into the other end of the tube. (Now I had a tube with the vellum then the plastic container on one end- the TP/prism tube in the middle and the eye piece at the other end.)

To finish I covered the outside with decorative paper. You could also cover it with white paper and use markers, stickers, and paper punches to decorate.

It works great, and was so much fun that I kind of want to make a few more! It's also got me thinking how neat it would be to make some holiday specific kaleidoscopes.

And If you missed it, here's Tuesdays project: tye-dye coffee filter spring critters

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

MSCE April and Kids Craft Week: Use Tie-Dye Coffee Filters and make critters, flowers, or whatever you like!

It's Day two in my Kids Craft Week and today I have one of those truly amazing projects that is fun for any age. I have done projects using this technique with pre-schoolers all the way up to high school kids and they've all had fun. I'm going to show you a simple, simple, simple, technique then a few things I've made with it.

It's a two part project- the first step has to dry- so it's a great to do in the morning and then again in the afternoon or the following day.

The stars are coffee filters and markers- Thats it. Add whatever other stuff you have laying around (pipe cleaners, sequence, clothes pins) to make whatever you want once you've done part 1.

You'll also need a paint brush and a container of water and a paper plate or heavy piece of paper (you all have those laying around I'm sure).

Use a paper plate or a heavy piece of paper and flatten out your coffee filter on top of it. (kids always love to do this part so adults, no need to prep here!)

Now use the markers to color whatever you want- seriously no rules, you don't even have to be neat about it. This is why it works for any age.

Dip your brush in the water and paint your coffee filter.

Once the whole thing is wet the markers start bleed together and make a great tie-dye effect.

The more you soak the filter the more the colors will bleed and blend.

When the filters dry you get a lovely tie-dye work of art. Aren't they pretty!

You can stop here or use the filters to make other projects-

Here I've added clothes pins, sequence, and pipe cleaners to make a dragon fly.

It's done by stacking two filters on top of each other and twisting them together with a pipe cleaner.

The entire thing is glued to the wooden peg style clothes pin.

I've also made a butterfly

Again this is two filters. The neat thing about this one is that it uses a spring loaded clothes pin so you can attach your butterfly to things.

Last but not least I made a little flower

This is two filters scrunched together (one inside the other) and tied with a pipe cleaner at the base to make the stem.

Oh and don't throw away the card stock or paper plates that were under your filters. The marker bleeds out of the filter when it's wet and creates lovely patterns on those too. You can save them for other projects (hint: maybe even another project this week!)

The projects shown here are obviously for younger kids- but older kids can dye the filters and use them for more complex art and craft projects. What I've found is that everyone loves to make the filters (even adults, I love making these!) and then what you do with them after depends on the age of the kids.

And bonus- coffee filters are cheap, cheap, cheap. I found a big pack of them in the dollar store.
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