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Ringing in the spring with adorable crafts

Spring is here and what better way to ring in the new season then to make decorative themed crafts with the kids. While Spring is known for its dreary, rainy weather, it doesn’t mean the family can’t have fun. Spring-themed, DIY projects are trending across the internet, and Women’s Post has helped you sort through Pinterest. Here are five craft-ideas that are sure to keep your kids entertained, and dress up your house for the flower-season.

A Bird House

Building bird houses can be done in so many different ways, but using a hammer and nails is a fantastic opportunity to teach kids (and brush up on your skills) of rudimentary carpentry. Simply get six pieces of evenly squared ply-wood and ensure one side has a door. Then use the hammer and nails to create a box and voila! You will have a state-of-the-art bird box. Make sure to get paint that is made for wood surfaces so that you can decorate your bird feeder with vibrant colours.

If you are not comfortable allowing your kids (or yourself) to use a hammer, head to a nearby craft store and purchase a pre-made box to decorate. Don’t forget to pick up some seeds so that the birds are enticed to hang out in your backyard!


Homemade wind chimes
There are many ways to make a homemade wind chime, but one of the easiest versions uses materials found in your own backyard — a stick. Lay the stick flat and tie a series of strings around it with three quarters of the string hanging down. Thread beads, wooden toggles, and other noise-making materials from the strings. Make sure they are different colours and feel free to add a bell or two for that nice ringing sound. Tie up the ends of the string and make the pieces different lengths for more visual interest. Tie another string to the stick in order to hang the wind-chime. Be sure to put it outside or in a window so you can hear it clanging away.


Planters in jars 
If there are any glass jars left over from winter preservatives, a way to re-use and recycle is to use the old jars as planters. Simply buy a bag of soil and seeds that can grow in small planters indoors (herbs like basel, thyme, or lavender) and plant away. Try to find a variety of herbs or coloured indoor plants for a beautiful visual effect. Place the jars by a window in your kitchen or living room so they have access to sunlight. These planter jars can brighten any home and give your house a fresh spring look.

Painted rocks

Painting rocks is a simple and enjoyable family activity, and doesn’t require a lot of planning or materials. Simply go to a nearby beach and collect a series of rocks with a flat surface to paint. Use acrylics to paint the rock. There are several animal templates online to for cute rock animal, but be creative! These rocks can be used in the backyard as stepping stones or simple decoration when leaned against a wall.

Paper flowers

The classics! For paper flowers, gather a few different colours of tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Pile the tissue neatly one on top of the other and fold them together to make an accordion. Once the accordion is completely folded into one lengthwise fold, wrap pipe cleaners one third down the tissue to make three parts. Cut above the pipe cleaner. Fan out the tissue around the pipe cleaner and fluff the paper up to make a beautiful paper flower. Place it in a vase (no water) decorated with paint and paper.

 

What are your favourite spring crafts? Let us know in the comments below! 

How to teach kids to care for planet earth

The future of the earth ultimately lies in the hands of our children, which is why teaching them to love and respect nature is so critical.

This type of education helps foster a connection between our urban environment and the natural one that surrounds us. However, for a lot of young children, they just don’t want to hear it. Talking about nature can get boring pretty quickly. However, there are some fun and interactive ways to transform kids into little environmentalists.

First of all, take your kids out into nature. This isn’t something you can teach while indoors. Going outside for a nature walk or hike will show kids that the outdoors is beautiful and irreplaceable. Most Canadian cities are replete with natural destinations and parks (one of the best parts of living in the Great White North), and it is easy to include a walk in your weekend activities. Make sure to bring snacks and a re-usable bag to collect any nature items you may find. When you get home, make a collage with what you collected. To make the nature walk more exciting, turn it into a simple nature scavenger hunt. There are easy pdf print-offs or simply write a few items down for them to check off as you walk. Can your child spot a bird? How about a birch tree or a pinecone?

Another fun idea is to get kids to do a quick litter clean-up while doing a nature walk. Kids might not like this idea right away, but turning it into a game will make it fantastically fun. ‘Race to Recycle’ is a game where you separate kids into two groups and get them to race to see how many litter items they can collect on their nature walk. Whichever group has more pieces of recycling by the end of the walk wins. A picnic to celebrate is always an enjoyable past-time as well.

Environmental crafts are another teaching tool that can be used to help kids learn about the planet and how significant it is to care about green initiatives. An easy art project is to collect as many recyclables as possible and place them into a pile for kids to use for an art project of their choice. The kids could also work together and build a statue out of the recyclables to make something beautiful. After the project is complete, explain how up-cycling recycled items can create new and fun projects and it isn’t necessary to buy new things when you can re-use the old.

Don’t have access to a lot of recyclable materials? Try this simple project! Take a paper plate (made out of recyclables) and paint it blue. Glue pieces of green construction paper to it and make the planet earth. Get the kids to write their favourite things about nature along the edges of the paper plate, which will get the children talking about everything they love about the outdoors. Place the plates on the floor and get the children to take pieces of recycling and dump it on top of the ‘earth’ plates. Explain to the children that by covering the earth in garbage, it can ruin it. Then, take out labelled containers with cardboard-metals-plastics and get the kids to put their recycling into them. Now that their ‘earth’ plates are uncovered, get the kids to talk about how important recycling is to save the planet.

Lastly, gardening and composting with kids teaches them how to dig in the dirt and understand how special it feels when things grow. Throughout the wintertime, you can grow pea shoots and other easy-to-care-for plants in used orange juice cartons and then plant them outside in the spring. Starting a compost when the weather warms also helps create amazing soil quality and shows kids how food is not garbage and can also be re-used.

Making nature fun for kids will help them love it as they grow up. Some of the best memories children can make are outside hiking in the forest with their families or learning how to pull weeds in the garden. By using informative games to teach kids that they have the ability to change the world and care, it will help them go green and hopefully save the planet for future generations to come.

D.I.Y Craft Projects: How to glamorize your wardrobe on a budget

Do you have an old pair of jeans or a t-shirt that you love, but they are looking a bit plain or out-of-style? D.I.Y fashion projects are a great way to revitalize your wardrobe while saving money! It can also turn into a fun afternoon with friends.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few fun D.I.Y projects that will leave you walking away with some great new pieces for your closet:

http://luneblog.com/

Bleaching your shirt with a funky phrase: Bleach can be a pain to work with, but it also has serious craft potential. Transform a simple, plain t-shirt or tank top into an original one-of-a-kind piece of clothing by creating your own quote or phrase.

  1. Place a flat sheet of cardboard inside your shirt. This will provide an even surface for your design and will stop the bleach from bleeding through. With a piece of white chalk, sketch out your design. Don’t worry if you need to smudge out chalk lines. They wash out once your painting is done.
  1. Secure your shirt by folding the sides under the cardboard, using elastics or clips to keep it from slipping. Prepare a small bowl with non-diluted, fabric safe bleach. Have your towel on hand to wipe up any drips.
  1. It’s time to make your design permanent! Dip your brush in the bleach and drag it on the edge of the bowl to eliminate dripping. Use steady strokes to trace the chalk lines of your design. For an even bleach line, you will need to reload your brush every two inches. You will quickly see your design appear, like magic!
  1. Continue to trace your design until you reach the end. Take a break, and return in a few minutes once the bleach has had time to react with the fabric of your shirt. Are there un-even spots or light areas? No problem. Simply go back in with your bleach filled brush and even out the design.
  1. Once you’re pleased with how your shirt looks, let the piece sit in the sun for an hour or more. This will allow the bleach to process and lighten. Depending on the cotton content of your shirt, the color of your design will range from dark red, to orange, to pink, all the way to white. Rinse and hand wash your shirt, and hang to dry. Your design is now permanent, safe to wash with like colors, and ready to wear.

Adapted from http://luneblog.com/

 

DIY-2

Studded converse shoes: Converse are a pretty hip shoe, but their plain-Jane style can get a bit boring after awhile. Here is a way to glam up your shoes on a budget and also cover up any mud stains if you have a lighter colored shoe.

  1. You’ll need around 40 studs per shoe for a 7.5 size shoe and some E6000 glue. This strong glue will ensure those studs stay on despite the rain and much it may travel through.
  2. In a well-ventilated area glue your studs onto the outer edges of your shoe, working your way from the bottom to the top. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours before wearing them. Save a few extra studs in case you lose one at some point. If any are going to fall off they’ll probably go in the first day or two!

Adapted from http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/11/make-your-own-studded-converse.html

D.I.Y cut-up back: There is nothing sexier than a shirt that reveals a bit of your back. SweetCandyLine teaches D.I.Y lovers how to covert a regular tee into a masterpiece using a pair of scissors and a little bit of ingenuity. Watch the live video to learn how!

Posted by SweetCandyLine, adapted from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTO_Atwt8ThyDAvLrvAZ7kQ

DIY 3 headband12

Celtic headband made from old t-shirt: Here is a great D.I.Y that uses an old t-shirt to make a beautiful headband. It is a great way to recycle old clothing and create inexpensive accessories from your hair.

  1. Cut a strip from the t-shirt and stretch it until the material is thin.
  2. Cut the strip into two parts.
  3. Tie into Celtic knot (pictured above)
  4. Tie the headband together and as an extra option, cover with another piece of material to hide the tie.
  5. Enjoy your new hairpiece!

Adapted from http://www.jsonline.com/features/fashion/Old-T-shirt-becomes-DIY-headband-bracelet-230900631.html

 

Add-a-little-bling-to-your-collar

D.I.Y CD Bling Collar: CDs are becoming a thing of the past and this D.I.Y provides a creative, easy, and seriously fashionable way to re-use the groovy tunes.

  1. Place CDs in hot water for five minutes to remove plastic covering.
  2. Cut CD in half.
  3. Remove plastic coating on the CD.
  4. Cut up CD into pieces (be careful not to hurt yourself).
  5. Use crazy glue to stick the pieces onto a collared shirt (or make a shape on another shirt).
  6. Voila! Here is your new blinged up shirt!

Adapted From http://followfashion.nl/diy-fashion-report-pimp-je-kraag

 

 

5 Easter crafts made of recycled materials

Easter is a great time to make crafts and enjoy spring festivities. Many Easter crafts can be quite wasteful so why not enjoy the festivities by recycling products and having fun at the same time?

Here are great recycled Easter crafts for ages young and old.

Image credit: petiteplanet.blogspot.ca
Image credit: petiteplanet.blogspot.ca

Recycled Juice Carton Easter Basket

Have you polished off that OJ and are now left with an empty juice carton? Why not turn it into an Easter basket? Make sure the carton has been rinsed out and dried. Remove the spout from the carton and wrap it in colourful paper that is either glued or taped. Use another piece of paper and cut it into a strip and then attach it to the box. If desired, use extra decorations such as flowers or sparkles to make characterize the basket. This is a great option for children and is an opportunity to teach them about re-using items for craft projects.

Taken from http://planetforward.ca/blog/recycled-juice-carton-easter-basket-eco-friendly-craft-for-kids/

flowers-779317_1920

A Watering Can Centerpiece

Instead of buying fresh decorations for a weekend celebration, why not use items you already have to make your house more festive? Find an old watering can, preferably tin, and put in a variety of flowers and branches to celebrate the spring season. If you use sage and rosemary, it also adds a festive spring scent to the dinner table.

Inspired by http://www.commonground-do.com/2011/04/vintage-inspiration-friday-32-magazine.html

By Jodimichelle
By Jodimichelle

Egg carton flowers

Egg carton flowers are a great craft for kids and are a lot of fun to make. Cut up an egg carton into individual containers and paint each one any colour you prefer. Glue a pompom into the center to give it some texture. Next, poke a hole in the bottom of the carton piece and feed a green pipe cleaner through the hole. To add an additional flare, fan out the green pipe cleaners to make it look more like leaves.

Taken from http://www.skiptomylou.org/welcoming-spring-with-egg-carton-flowers/

chicksCardboard Tube Chicks

What to do with the dozens of toilet paper rolls you’re left with at the end of the week? Make little chicks of course! Take a toilet paper roll and cut it in half, then paint it yellow on the outside and inside. Take three yellow pipe cleaners and trim it to just over the size of the roll, and glue it in so it goes over the top edge of the roll to make three fuzzy hairs. Attach two orange pipe cleaners on the bottom for feet and two more orange cleaners in the sides for arms. Paint a face and a beak and enjoy your new recycled chick.

Taken from http://craftsbyamanda.com/cardboard-tube-chicks/

http://ittybittygreenie.com.au/
http://ittybittygreenie.com.au/

Easter Garland

A colourful and easy Easter garland can be created by cutting out paint swatches into egg shapes and attaching them in a chain using string or ribbon. They can then be hung to create a festive and fun Easter decoration that has no cost and re-uses the paint chips.

Taken from http://ittybittygreenie.com.au/blog/820/5-easy-eco-friendly-easter-crafts/

Do you have any favourite Easter crafts? Let us know in the comments below!

 

10 creative DIY advent calendars for the family

Kids — and let’s be honest, a few adults to — look forward to December 1st. Not only is it finally socially acceptable to play Christmas music in public, but it’s also the first day of the “Christmas countdown.” I’m talking about the advent calendar.

Personally, I love the chocolate advent calendars. My Christmas is not complete without one. However, there are quite a few creative options for those who want to think outside the box. Here are a few do-it-yourself calendars for those who want to make their countdown a bit more personal:

 

The clothespin advent calendar: This is an absolutely adorable way to count down the days to Christmas. Attach a small wrapped bag to a clothespin and let it hang using ribbon or colourful string. Not only is it visually appealing as a Christmas decoration, it’s also quite functional.

Picture found on pinterest
Picture found on pinterest

 

The surprise-in-a-box advent calendar: For those who don’t want to have 24 small bags lining their wall, this is another option. Wrap a few special prizes in paper and put it in a decorative box. Each day, your child can open the box and dig for their daily surprise.

pinterest
pinterest

The decorative advent calendar: It’s not always about the gifts. In this advent calendar, each day reveals a tree ornament that the family can then place on the tree. This particular one is made of felt, but it can be done using any material on hand.

http://katieemrich.blogspot.ca/
http://katieemrich.blogspot.ca/

The toilet roll advent calendar: Why waste some perfectly reusable toilet rolls? All you need for this DIY project is a glue gun and some extra cardboard for the roof. If you want to make this more interactive, make a box to slide the toilet rolls into, and then hang it up. You can even fill the toilet roll with a little surprise or note for your kids, and they can pull it out each day.

pinterest
pinterest

The card-stock advent calendar: Not every advent calendar has to be big and loud. This version is simple, understated, and beautiful. Write some specialized messages for your family and put them in a sleek envelope.

apartmenttherapy.com
apartmenttherapy.com

The towering advent calendar: This one is not for the faint of heart—expert crafters are required. This involves making small, but highly decorated, cardboard boxes and placing them strategically in a tree shape. I think it is absolutely gorgeous; but I’m not sure if I have the skills or patience to put it together.

adventcaldnar7
pinterest

The mason jar advent calendar: This one is more my craft-level. It’s brilliant in its simplicity. Wrap a few candies, stickers, and notes. Give them each a number. Stuff them all into a decorated mason jar. Done!

northstory.ca
northstory.ca

The good-things-come-in-small-packages advent calendar: This advent calendar is all about the decoration. Wrap 24 items in equal size boxes or bags, and then stick them onto a board using double sided tape. Make sure the treats aren’t heavy.

northstory.ca
northstory.ca

The ornament advent calendar: Do you have a small plant just sitting in the corner of your living room? Turn it into an advent tree by attaching small numbered bags to the branches or stems.

designmom.com
designmom.com

The “for the adults” advent calendar: This one is a party! Wrap 24 small bottles of alcohol in Christmas colours, making sure to label them clearly so there isn’t any confusion. Remember, you can only have one a day!

tpcraft.com
tpcraft.com

Note: If partaking in number 10, remember to advent responsibly!