November 2016 archive

Unplugged Staycation Fun

| Christmas, DIY Home, Everyday Crafts, Games & Activities, Holidays, Organization, Styling

Winter break staycations are long stretches of down time, and without travel, school, or planned activities, kids (and adults!) have a magnetic pull to devices (it’s not just my kids, right?). You don’t have to jam-pack your days with 9-to-5 programming, but steal a few of these ideas to get your kids moving, creating, and inventing!

Backwards Day

A classic, hilarious day that will keep your kids giggling and gasping at every turn. Here are some favorite ways to play.

backwards day eat under the table with kids

•Mealtime Madness: Eat breakfast or lunch under the table like this idea from Real Simple. Consider the crazy idea of eating dinner for breakfast or dessert before the meal.

•Wacky Wardrobe: Wear pajamas during the day or tie a sock around your head as a headband. My kids crack up every time they turn their t-shirts into head scarves!

•Backwards Books: Read a bedtime story from end to the beginning. Choose a book that your kids know well and ask for their help. Cue the giggles!


Time Travel

It’s a good time of year to talk about the passage of time, how grown-up your kids have gotten, and how families change every year. Travel back in time (and into the future) with these bonding activities.

easy family tree craft for kids

•Time capsule: Package up a box with elements of here and now. Include things like newspaper articles, a photo of you and your kids taken that exact day, a ticket stub from a recent movie, or a list of the top ten songs of the year. Make sure to plug the date into the calendar a year, two years, or five years in the future so you don’t forget to dig it up!

•Family Tree: Teach your kids about lineage and how even their grandparents had parents who told them to brush their teeth and go to bed! Create a simple family tree like this one from my first book Project Kid, using Play-doh lids and branches from the backyard.

•Fast Forward: Kids love imagining what their futures hold, and role playing it with them is a great way to have them think about what it would mean to have that dream job, family, house, etc. Plan a family “dinner party” where everyone comes to the table as who they imagine they’ll be in the future. Dress the part and ask questions to get to know each other’s future selves.


Invention Day

Inventions don’t have to be mechanical gadgets and gizmos that require rocket science degrees to figure out. Explain to your kids that artists, authors, and chefs are all inventors in one way or another. Give your kids an opportunity to reinvent and reimagine something that they’re familiar with.

cook with your kids

•Happy Endings: Spend a moment thinking about your kids’ favorite book or movie and consider what would have happened if things had gone a different way. What if Dorothy had taken the other yellow brick road? What if Elsa had never accidentally zapped Anna with magic frozen powers? Write down the way the story would have gone, invent new characters if needed, and make drawings to go with the major plot twists.

•Get Cooking!: It’s proven that when kids get involved in the kitchen, they are more likely to try new foods and flavors. Talk about what you want to make together and find a recipe that works for you. Check out the book Cooking Class by Deanna Cook which gives you great tips and tricks for getting your kids involved.

•Bits and Bots: One of my favorite crafts to do with kids is robot crafting. The reason I like it so much is because there is no right or wrong. If you want to add a red on/off switch, go for it. If your robot has an extra arm just for holding a bucket of Legos, why not? Start with a base like this one, scour your house for materials, and let your imagination take off!


Home Sweet Home

As the New Year approaches, start by making some changes to the space in which you live. Nothing inspires a fresh start like a little home environment editing.

refresh your home rearrange wall art

•Clean and Lean: There’s literally no better time to edit down what you have than the fresh start of a New Year. As gifts are coming in, think, out with the old, in with the new. Challenge the kids to pick one item from every year of their age to donate (so a 5-year-old would choose 5 things). Clothes, toys, books, magazines…all fair game!

•Change It Up: Even if it’s not time for a new sofa or you can’t quite rationalize spending the cash on a new rug, you can give your home a refresh with what you already have. Rearrange the art on your walls, color-code your bookshelf, move a lamp to a new corner, and let the kids figure out how to make simple changes in their bedrooms. A casual wall display like this one from Design Sponge shows you that things don’t have to feel too precious.

•Adorn a Door: People are often afraid of bold wall paint, but it can do wonders for adding a pop when you need it. Here’s the quickest, easies, and most affordable tip: just paint a door. We painted the inside of our front door a sunshine yellow, and it made a small but impactful difference.

0 comment

DIY Trinket Dish

| Christmas, Decor, DIY Home, Everyday Crafts, Gifts, Hanukkah, Holidays, Organization

Are you the type that likes the idea of making holiday gifts more than the time and effort it takes to actually do it? It can be super stressful when you want to DIY a bunch of gifts, especially when all of your friends have such different tastes that one idea does not fit all. Here’s an easy, crafty gift that really can suit everyone on your list.

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-9-19-51-pmGot a Francophile in your life? An animal lover? A holiday fanatic? Visit to find trinkets and tart tins that fit perfectly together to make this personalized holiday gift. And also, visit for the instructions!

french eiffel tower diy jewelry dis

nutcracker diy candy dish animal trinket diy dish


0 comment

DIY Fruit Wagon Craft

| Everyday Crafts, Toys, Upcycled, Vehicles, Wood

I was so excited this week to see that Design Mom, one of my favorite blogs since the beginning of the blogosphere, posted a project from my recent book, Project Kid: Crafts that Go!

If you don’t know this blog and you have kids, you should start paying attention. She has six kids (aka major street cred in the genre of parenting), has great taste, and reports on current events and trends, beyond just kids and design. (But if you are into design, you should also check out her book—we share the same publisher!)

Visit Design Mom to get the full set of instructions, with pics!

Excerpted from Project Kid: Crafts that Go! by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.

0 comment

10 Holiday Place Cards

| Decor, Holidays, Parties, Thanksgiving

Every year when the holiday season is approaching, I can’t wait to see what Pinterest has in store when I search Thanksgiving place cards. There’s nothing wrong with some store bought tent cards and a nice pen, but it’s fun to play with nontraditional materials to add an unexpected design element to the table.  We’ve collected ten ideas below that will keep your table feeling fresh and festive this year, without too much effort!


1. A placemat that doubles as a place card is not only an elegant time saver, it’s also a space saver, leaving more room on the table for Thanksgiving goodies. This version from Country Living couldn’t be easier to make.

honeycomb turkey place card thanksgiving

2. Show me anything made from honeycomb paper and you are guaranteed two thumbs up! These turkey place cards from Say Yes are so simple and cute. You can attach a little paper flag if you want to add names.

pin thanksgiving place cards

3. These painted wood slice place cards from FamilyFun also double as a sweet take-home favor with a pin on the back. Mix up full names and initials for a playful display.


4. How cute are these emoji acorn place cards? These silly place cards from Bustle are sure to be a crowd pleaser with both the youngest and oldest Thanksgiving guests. Plus, your kids will love the assignment of making these while you’re getting the rest of the meal prepared.


5. Before pine wreaths start popping up everywhere, these tiny rosemary wreaths hint at what’s to come while still fitting in perfectly with your Thanksgiving spread. Wreaths via Camille Styles .

dip-dyed-pumpkins7. I love the simplicity of these pumpkin shapes from Oh Happy Day, and the ombre coloring is a modern alternative to a fully orange gourd.

rock place card thanksgiving

8. These Plymouth Rocks (hehe!) from Parents are super simple…have the kids find rocks in the backyard, paint them, then glue on alphabet pasta letters to make cute place cards. Guests can take them home to reuse as paper weights!


9. These elaborate looking egg dioramas aren’t actually as tricky as they look. They guarantee plenty of oohs and ahhs, plus they can transform into ornaments for Christmas. (via Oh Happy Day)


10. This place card idea is cute enough to eat – and luckily you can! You can start using your leftovers before Thanksgiving day is even over. You Are My Fave uses pie dough scraps and alphabet cookie cutters to create these sweet letters.


0 comment

Thanksgiving Kids’ Table

| Animals, Everyday Crafts, Fall, Holidays, Paper, Parties, Thanksgiving, Yarn & Fabric

Don’t get me wrong, I love love love a sophisticated Thanksgiving tablescape, set with pumpkins, leaves, candles, and gorgeous autumnal tones. But my favorite table to set on this holiday (and let’s face it, every holiday) is the kids’ table. There, I can play with color and the place settings in a more lively, whimsical way.

You have a lot to do, I know, so don’t go TOO nutso. I think if you can tackle these three parts of the table, you’ll have it made: the centerpiece, placemats or a tablecloth, and, obviously you can’t have a Thanksgiving table without place cards. (I say that because place cards are in my top five favorite things in the world to craft.)

So here’s how my kids’ table is going to look this year, and believe it or not, I did all my craft shopping at Paper Mart. Beyond bags, boxes, and bows, they have an awesome selection of craft supplies (Did you know that?).



What you need:

Mini Plastic Trays

—Acrylic Paint


—Black Construction Paper

—White Paint Pen

—Glue Dot

Make It!

1. Paint as many trays as you have little guests and let them dry.

2. Cut black construction paper to fit inside tray, and write names with a white paint pen.

3. Once the trays are dry, attach name card to the center of the tray with a glue dot.

chalkboard place card thanksgiving crafts for kids



What You Need:

Colored Corrugated Paper Sheets

Circles Felt Trim

—Bamboo cutlery

—Hot-Glue Gun



Make It!

1. Cut the paper into 13-inch by 18-inch rectangles.

2. Cut two pieces of 13-inch trim and two pieces of 18-inch trim per placemat. 

3. Attach trim to the edges with glue gun. (Your kids can definitely make these, just use white glue instead of a hot-glue gun.)

4. Cut three circles of trim and attach to the end of each utensil with hot glue. (You can substitute glue dots or white glue here so the kids can get involved.)



What you Need:

—Two balls of yarn in contrasting colors

—Two small white pom poms & two smaller black pom poms

—Scraps of orange and yellow felt

—Acrylic Paint


9-inch Metallic Cake Circle (Or just buy this set. It’s way more affordable and you get bonus goodies!)

—Exacto Knife



—Hot-Glue Gun


How to Make It:

1. Draw three even pie-shaped sections on the cake circle and cut them with an exacto knife

2. Use two paint colors in the same family to cover the cardboard side of two sections, then paint vertical orange stripes that line up with the scallops on the third piece.

3. While the paint is drying, create two pom-poms of contrasting colors for the head and body. To Make Pom-Poms: Wrap yarn around four fingers, for the head wrap around two – the more you wrap the fuller the pom pom. Once the bundle is about an inch thick on either side of your hand, slide the yarn off your fingers and tie a tight knot around the center with a separate piece of yarn. Use scissors to cut through the loops on each side and fluff it out – trim the edges until it looks round.

4. Glue little black pom-poms onto white pom-poms to create eyes, then glue them on the head pom-pom. Glue on a small triangle of yellow felt for a beak and attach a bright orange or red tear drop shape on the side for a waddle. (We used pieces of the circles felt trim for the beak and waddle!) Hot-glue the head to the body.

5. Once dry, glue the three painted cake circle pieces together so that they overlap slightly with the striped piece in the middle. Finally, cut off the point on the bottom piece (to help it stand) and hot glue the body in the center.

Want my advice? Kill two birds with one stone…visit Paper Mart to stock up on your holiday wrapping supplies now (you’ll thank me in 4 weeks!) and while you’re there, grab a few extra items to add some pop and play to your kids’ Thanksgiving table.


Photography and creative direction by Amanda Kingloff. Craft assistance by Clare Yaghjian.

This post is in partnership with Paper Mart, where you can shop for wrapping supplies, craft goodies, and cardboard turkey feathers. 

0 comment

Glove Monster Crafts

| Animals, Everyday Crafts, Upcycled, Winter

Before you know it, it’s going to be glove season, and if you’re like me, you dig and you dig and you dig to find a matching set from years’ past, only to come up one glove short.

Don’t throw the glove away…no, no no. It’s the perfect base for many-a-craft. Think turkey for Thanksgiving, 5-legged octopus, or a monster puppet like these—obviously.

Here are the instructions for the Daring Dragon, and you can head over to Ebay to find the how-to’s for the other two! (Or just invent your own!)

monster glove puppet craft


What you’ll need:


Knit Gloves


  • Buttons
  • Rhinestones
  • Beads
  • Ribbons
  • Trims
  • Googly Eyes
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Tacky Glue
  • Cotton Batting
  • Dowels
  • Scissors

1. Cut a pipe cleaner in half and put one half in the thumb and the other half in the index finger.

2. Except for the pinky finger, stuff the rest of the glove, including the thumb and index finger.

3. Fold and glue the pinky to the back, then glue five pointy beads onto the index finger and thumb as the teeth.

4. Cut pink yarn and glue in front of the teeth as the lips.

5. Glue on small gems and a white and black pompom eye.

6. Cut a paper straw into 1-inch segment at an angle.

7. Glue the angled edges together to create spikes. Then glue them to the “back” of the dragon.

8. Stick dowel up into the batting and glue to seal.

0 comment

Clothespin Angel Craft

| Christmas, Decor, Early Elementary, Grown-Up, Holidays, Older Elementary

I could live with these sweet angels on my mantle all year round.

You can also use different color boas and felt to make these into sweet fairies, sans halo of course!

What you’ll need:

  • •Clothespin
  • •Black and red markers
  • •White yarn
  • •White boa
  • •White pipe cleaners
  • •Scissors
  • •White felt
  • •1” wood doll head/knob
  • •Tacky glue

Make It!

  1. 1. Paint hair onto the wooden doll head and let dry.
  2. 2. Color the bottom 1/2-inch of the clothespin black to make the feet.
  3. 3. Wrap the clothespin with white yarn to make the body. Tie a knot in the back.
  4. 4.  and glue a short piece of the boa around to make the angel’s tutu.
  5. 5. Fold felt in half and cut a 1”-wide half-heart shape; when it’s unfolded it will look like wings. Glue a half of the pipe cleaner in between the back of the clothespin and the heart.
  6. 6. Draw eyes and mouth on, then push head onto the closed end of the clothespin.
  7. 7. Make a little loop with the other half of the pipe cleaner, bend the straight end down, and glue to the back of the head as a halo.

0 comment

Embroidery Projects for Kids

| Everyday Crafts, Gifts, Wall Decor, Yarn & Fabric

I was born into a family of stitchers, on both sides. My father’s mother was an extremely skilled needle pointer, my mother’s mother excelled in knitting, but also did embroidery and crewel work, and my mom knit through most of my childhood but has now perfected her needlepointing skills. She is so good that even the backs of her canvases could be framed!

When Family Fun magazine asked me to develop a three-tiered embroidery craft, I got so excited to see if the skill trickled down to my generation. The verdict is still out…I may still be at level 2, but I had so much fun with these! If you’re looking for a satisfying and easy craft for kids, this is it!

embroidery projects for kids beginner

0 comment

Leaf Crafts We Love

| Animals, Decor, DIY Home, Everyday Crafts, Fall, Holidays, Nature, Thanksgiving, Toddler, Wall Decor

This weekend I am heading upstate for a little R&R, some marshmallow roasting, and, of course, leaf peeping! Every year that we attempt to peep we miss it by a few weeks, but I think, judging by the leaves in our neighborhood, we might hit it right on those nose.

I wanted to get right down into the crafts on the spot, so I combed the web for inspiration…and why not share it with you? (Featured image via.) 

leaf alphabet

1. I love the idea of hunting for leaves that can be collaged into little pictures. Natacha Birds created the full alphabet in leaf pictures and they are so beyond gorgeous. And they are in French which adds to the beauty!

leaf fall vehicles

2. How simple and amazing are these leaf vehicles by The Art Room Plant? These are so special I would press them behind glass and save them! (If your kid is into vehicles, you should check out my new book, Project Kid: Crafts that Go!)

painted leaf fall mobile

3. How lovely are these dangling beauties from Hello Wonderful? I love the watercolor effect on them. She painted the fronts and backs and strung them up into a lovely mobile.

fall leaf craft hedgehog

4. Have you ever seen anything as darling as this cute little leaf and woodgrain hedgehog? Image via.

diy clay imprint leaf dish

5. You can use the leaf shape for to create these lovely catchalls from DesignSponge. (Great DIY holiday gift!)

animal painted leaves

6. Put eyes on them, and leaves can turn into vibrant bugs and critters! Image via My Owl Barn.

leaf collages

7. These whimsical leaf vignettes, paired with black cut-out silhouettes, had me at hello. Found via.

0 comment

1 2