April 2016 archive

Penguin Book End

| Everyday Crafts, Upcycled

penguin book end craft eco recycle

It’s Earth Day and now, more than ever, we really need to sit up and pay attention. So after you reuse your Ziploc bags, turn off unnecessary lights, and vote the right people into office, I say take a break and craft.

This year, celebrate Earth Day with your kids by making a cute, and also useful craft project. This penguin book end reuses a drink bottle, a lone baby sock, and a Tyvek shipping envelope. This one comes from my first book, Project Kid.

What you’ll need:

• One 17-ounce plastic drink bottle

• 2 to 3 cups of sand

• Funnel

• 1 baby sock

• 4 to 5 cotton balls

• White and yellow felt

• Scissors

• 2 tiny black pompoms (available at Michaels Stores)

• Tacky glue

• One 2.-inch piece of wire

• One 2 cm felt bead (available from TadaaStudio.com)

• 1 Tyvek envelope

• Washi tape

• 2 colors of yarn

Make it:

  1. Clean out the bottle and remove all labels. Fill it with sand and replace the cap.
  2. To make the penguin’s head, stuff the baby sock with cotton balls and slip it over the top of the bottle.
  3. To make the eyes, cut two circles about the size of a plain M&M from white felt. Glue a tiny black pom-pom to each. Glue the circles onto the sock.
  4. To make the beak, fold a piece of yellow felt and cut a 1⁄4-inch triangle on the crease. Glue the crease onto the sock about 1⁄2 inch below the eyes.
  5. To make the earmuffs, bend the wire into a headband shape. Cut the felt bead in half and glue a piece to each end of the wire, rounded side facing out. Slip the earmuffs onto the penguin’s head and glue to secure.
  6. Cut two wing shapes (pointed at one end, cut straight across on the other) from the Tyvek envelope, about two-thirds the height of your bottle and about 3 inches across at the widest point. Cover the wings with strips of washi tape and glue the top, straight edge of each wing around the neck of the bottle.
  7. To give the penguin a scarf, braid three 20-inch strands of yarn (the finished scarf will be about 16 inches long). If the yarn is thin, you may want to double or triple it  to give it some thickness.
  8. Finally, to make the feet, fold a 3-inch square of yellow felt in half and cut a 2-inch-tall half heart shape on the crease. Glue it to the bottom of the bottle, rounded points facing out.


0 comment

Oversized Food Crafts

| Decor, DIY Home, Everyday Crafts, Food

oversized pasta pieces diy

Playing with scale can make even the most mundane object exciting. An elephant that you can fit in the palm of your hand, a slice of cardboard pizza the size of your front door, or an itty bitty plate of pancakes that can fit in your dollhouse—they all make you smile no matter what.

Check out these three ginormous food crafts that would make any kid swoon. Perfect for parties for just for silly playroom decor, they are easy to make and darling to look at. Too bad they don’t taste as good as they look!

giant pasta handmade charlotte diy craft


How flippin’ cute is this painted pasta party decoration from Handmade Charlotte? Wagon wheels, penne, bowties, ravioli…I thought I had seen it all until this appeared! So cute and simple.

honeycomb paper fruit

paper fruit decor diy


I would surround myself with honeycomb paper decorations all day long if I could. They have such a nostalgic yet modern feel. And they naturally lend themselves to transforming in to fruit like these beauties from The House That Lars Built.

oversized lollipops


Willie Wonka’s got nothing on these pops from Oh Happy Day. Made from styrofoam disks and dowels, they are so easy to make. Perfect for a Candyland Birthday party!

donut balloon craft party


If you’ve ever visited Studio DIY, you’d know she has a thing with donuts. And these donut balloons are just asking to be iced and sprinkled! Who knew these existed?

ice cream social party decor


Back in my days at Parents magazine, i worked on this adorable Ice Cream Social party. These decorations were made with styrofoam balls, tissue paper, and cardboard cones.

0 comment

Modern Wall Hanging

| DIY Home, Everyday Crafts

nursery wall art etsy tree craft

When it comes to decorating a nursery, it’s easy to focus on the big statement-makers: Wallpaperdecals, or even a hand-painted mural are great for setting the tone, fast. But don’t overlook the small, sweet design details — like kid-friendly art or a modern weaving — that you’ll find your eyes traveling to again and again during all those middle-of-the-night feedings and lullabies before bed. This playful, Matisse-inspired take on a diorama is just the kind of DIY that will delight in baby’s room — and might even migrate beyond the nursery walls in years to come. The best part? You can customize it in any color combination you like.

Let’s get started.


You will need:


Step 1: Use a pencil to draw leaf shapes on the balsa wood. My leaves ranged in size from 3 to 5 inches tall. (Remember that the more complicated the shape, the trickier the turns you’ll have to make with your utility knife.)


Step 2: Working over a cutting mat, cut out the leaves with the utility knife. Don’t try to go all the way through the wood on the first cut. It’s better to score it with a shallow cut and then go back over each line 2 or 3 times to make it all the way through.


Step 3: Once the leaves are cut, use the emery board to sand down the edges.


Step 4: Paint each leaf and a coffee stirrer to match. (Since balsa wood is so porous and absorbent, it’s best not to use paint that is too watery, as it can warp the wood.) Set these aside to try.


Step 5: Trace the bottom fifth of the hoop onto a sheet of balsa wood and cut out a 2-inch tall wedge with a wavy top edge. Once cut, trace that shape and cut another identical piece.


Step 6: Paint the hoop and the two wedge pieces one color. Let dry.


Step 7: Hot glue the wedges to the front and back of the hoop’s bottom edge.


Step 8: Hot glue the matching painted coffee stirrers to the backs of the leaves.


Step 9: Trim coffee stirrers with scissors to create varying heights. Hot glue the sticks to the inside edges of the wedges, gluing some inside the front and some inside the back to create depth.

Optional: Spray with a gloss varnish to seal.


0 comment

Collectively Talks to PK

| Everyday Crafts, Uncategorized

amanda kingloff portrait In January 2016, I got to return to Alt Summit, the most fantastic conference for design and lifestyle bloggers. It was my second time, both as a speaker and an attendee—and I can’t tell you how much I learn about blogging and the business behind being an influencer in those three days. It’s such a warm, open community of mostly women wanting to see each other succeed.

I was lucky enough to join a dinner with the folks at Collectively Inc, an influencer marketing agency that helps brands connect with bloggers, Instagrammers, and the like reach new audiences. At dinner, I sat near Anna, the community manager for Collectively, and learned that she lives not far from me in Brooklyn. We had coffee a few weeks after Alt and she asked if our conversation could be featured in their Coffee With Collaborators column on their blog. Yes, obviously.

We talked about everything from my current work, to my books, to the fact that my kids think I play with arts and crafts all day. You can read the full interview here!



0 comment

Rainbow Science Birthday Party

| Parties

rainbow science party activity tableWhen my almost 4-year-old daughter Sommer requested a science party for her birthday, I did a little silent cheer. This meant I didn’t have to do the princess thing (not that there’s anything wrong with it), Dora (not that there’s anything wrong with it), or a Frozen (not that there’s anything wrong with it) birthday party. And then she threw in the rainbow element which meant we could have great party programming plus great decor!


My challenge became…what kind of science can I do with 20 preschoolers? So I decided to keep it pretty simple and I stuck to a few activities…scientist apron decorating, name badge decorating, Magic Grow capsules, walking water, elephant toothpaste, and pass the parcel. (Now that I’m reading this list, it doesn’t seem so “simple” after all!)

rainbow science party decor

For decorations, I covered our big cabinet with these colorful pinwheels. The lighter ones are from Shop Sweet Lulu and the brighter ones were from my local party store. We also downloaded some science lab symbols and printed them on bright paper to add the science element to the rainbow. I also bought 2 of these tassel garlands from Michaels (they have rainbow colors in store), bright balloons, and I created her name in rainbow scrapbooking paper which was hanging over the television.

rainbow science party apron decorating

When the kids came in, they each got an apron and fabric markers, both super-affordable from OrientalTrading.com. We weren’t doing anything super messy, but I thought it would get them into the science lab spirit.

rainbow science party lab table

Then we headed over to Sommer’s Science Lab, and the kids put on their special scientist glasses. We talked about science and what their definitions of science were.

rainbow science party activities

In front of each kid, was a paper cafeteria tray (one of my favorite items to use at any craft event) filled with goodies: glasses, scientist name tags with stickers to decorate, a test tube, and a Magic Grow Capsule with a cup for water. The kids dropped in the capsules to see what they became. Some got vehicles, some got bugs, and some got dinosaurs. They take a little time to open up, so we talked about how all living things grow and transform and that that’s a part of science.



walking water rainbow science party experiment

Then we moved to the floor to do a few experiments. The first was called Walking Water. Just fill a few jars with different colored water (I used food coloring and created a rainbow since the party was rainbow science). Fold a paper towel into thin strips, dipping the ends into the adjacent jars. The kids talked about color mixing…how green, orange, and purple are made.

rainbow science party elephant toothpaste

For our second experiment, we made elephant toothpaste. Here is the recipe I used from PBS. For the best results, you definitely want to get the 6% hydrogen peroxide. We used the 3% because we had it, but I think the results of the stronger will get more oohs and ahhs. The kids loved it nonetheless and had a great time talking about what kind of toothpaste elephants would use.

What you need:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (see note above)
  • Plastic bottle
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Dry active yeast
  • Food coloring
  • A funnel
  1. Using the funnel, pour 4 oz of hydrogen peroxide and 2 oz of dish soap into the bottle.
  2. Add food coloring. (We probably added about 12 drops of purple.)
  3. In a separate container, mix dry yeast with warm water. And let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the yeast/water to the bottle and watch it bubble! (With the stronger peroxide it shoots ups a bit more. Next time!)

We ended the party with a round of pass the parcel (a great way to hand out party favors!) and bite-size cupcakes by Baked by Melissa.

A great time was had by all!

rainbow science scientist party activities

rainbow science party sign

rainbow science party


Special thanks to Oriental Trading and Shop Sweet Lulu (my fave party shop on the web) for some of the goodies provided for the festivities! 

0 comment