Paper Countdown Chain to Christmas

5I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. I love looking for new recipes, sewing patterns, craft ideas, etc. Of course, everything I find on Pinterest is beautiful. Beautiful food. Beautiful sewing. Beautiful people. And in the interest of keeping it real, most of the stuff I create is not beautiful. Oh. Em. Gee. My food presentation always looks like a hot mess (tastes good though!), my home looks like a war zone, and for every awesome craft I do, there are several sitting at the bottom of the trash can, waiting to be chucked in a fit of rage.

Now that my son is two and a half (and is starting to understand presents and Santa and Christmas), I really wanted to embrace the holidays and find ways to get him super excited! I looked on Pinterest for countdown ideas, and most were just too fancy for us. I wanted something that I could create with my son. Something that was uniquely us. That is why I decided to kick it old school and have him help me make a paper countdown chain. Will this craft be wowing the multitudes of crafty moms out there? Nope. But it was really easy to do, fun to make, and will bring us joy for the next 26 days of chain ripping!

Supplies:

-Construction paper (cut into 3″ strips)

-Markers

-Stickers

-Tape

I’m sure most of you know how to make a paper countdown chain. You just decorate your strips of paper and then start looping them onto each other, securing each loop with tape. I thought it would be fun to decorate our loops with stickers. Of course I bought cheapie stickers that wouldn’t stick, so I had to tape each sticker down.

3My little dude, ruining the markers decorating with markers.

1Even my husband decided to get in on this action!

4Someone is such a showoff!!!

2

Looking good, paper chain. Looking good.

5I made the star in Microsoft Word. My star drawing and cutting skills are pretty pathetic.

6FINALLY time for the fun part! Dax gets to rip off the first loop of his paper countdown chain.

7

27 is gone. 26 more days til Christmas!  YAYAYAYAYAY! Thanks Dax. 🙂

So that’s it. A simple, fun, toddler friendly craft that will bring happiness for 26 more mornings… unless said toddler decides to rip it all down one day. Or if our cat gets to it. But I’m feeling positive.

Happy holidays, everyone!

~Christen


Advertisements

Duct Tape Bookmarks

photo 8Every summer, my library holds a six week summer reading program where kids read to earn prizes. One of my Grand Prizes for my teens is a “Create Your Own Library Program” package. The teen picks a theme, the food, and his or her friends, and I buy, plan, and create. This year’s winner asked for a Book Themed party with both a hot chocolate and ice cream bar. Dude! Yes, yes, and yes!

I tossed around a lot of ideas and finally decided to focus on the food, two crafts, and a free book for each of the hostess’ guests. We made Mod Podge notebooks with single subject notebooks and scrapbook paper (I should have snapped some pictures, because they were really cute) and Duct Tape Bookmarks. I’m especially proud of the bookmarks because they were easy, used supplies that I already had at the library, were fun to make, AND make excellent presents for tweens and teens on a budget! (I made sure to tell all 11 of the teens this while they were at the party. Tis the season to craft your gifts, people!)

photo 1

Supplies:

-Duct Tape

-Scissors

-Hole Punch

-Embroidery Floss

-Pony Beads

photo 2

1. Rip off a piece of Duct Tape and lay it down on the table sticky side up. Rip off a second (complimenting color) piece of Duct Tape, and lay it on top of the first piece of tape, sticky sides together.

photo 3

2. Trim up the Duct Tape. Trim the top to make it even and trim up the sides so that all exposed sticky tape is gone. (You don’t want Duct Tape sticking to the pages of your book.)

photo 4

{Two separate bookmarks. The left is the backside facing you. The right is the front side facing you.}

photo 5

3. Punch a small hole at the top of your bookmark with a hole punch. Choose three or four complimenting pieces of embroidery floss for your tassel.

photo 6

4. Attach the embroidery floss with a slip knot.

photo 7

5. Add a few pony beads to the floss and tie into place. Voila!

This is a super easy Duct Tape craft that is both fun and a great introduction to working with Duct Tape. Teens can make more detailed bookmarks (patch pieces together, round the edges, braid the floss, etc.) or keep it quick and simple for a drop in craft program.

I hope you all enjoyed this quick Duct Tape Bookmark tutorial. If you use it, let me know how it goes!

~Christen

 

 

 

My Huntress Vest

photo 1Okay. Before we even begin talking about my new homemade Katniss Everdeen Huntress Vest, can we just clear the air by saying that sometimes there isn’t a single filter on the planet that can make you look good in a picture. I think the little heart bokeh adds something magical though, wouldn’t you agree? I spend way too much some time on Pinterest and sewing blogs every day and am always really impressed with the pictures bloggers post showing off their finished projects. Obviously this is a skill I need to work on in the future.

Anywho. I used to crochet A LOT. I had my own Etsy shop and everything. However, there are only so many pairs of baby girl booties you can crochet before you realize if you crochet one more thing you are going to poke your eyes out with your hooks. So I took a looooooooooong crocheting break. A few weeks ago I started to get the itch to hook again and hit up Pinterest to see if anything popped out at me enough to inspire me to start crocheting again. That is when I came across this lovely pattern:

il_570xN.552949278_czu7

{source}

This chunky crochet/knit asymmetrical huntress vest HAD to be mine! I had visions of myself wearing it while frolicking through the woods outside of District 12 with my hot BFF Gale. {#nerdfantasies} Plus, this whole design works for me. I hate to wear coats because I can’t stand feeling constricted. Plusalso, I chase a two year old around all the time. This is light enough to not weigh me down on our outdoor autumn adventures, but still keep me warm. With my mind made up, I happily gave Two of Wands my $5 to own this pattern.

The pattern was a little confusing to read, but I was able to make it work. I already have some changes in mind if I decide to make myself another one. The biggest thing is that I don’t knit, so the triangle sleeve is a lot bulkier on my finished product because I crocheted that piece. But all in all, I’m really happy with my results.

photo 2

photo 3Bad ass heroines wear their vests over leather. Librarians wear their vests over cardigans.

katniss-catching-fire-2-537x402

Thanks for popping by…

~Christen


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloweenie 2014 from the DictionFairy! I wish I could say this brilliant idea was all mine, but alas, I stole it from Pinterest.  (Is anyone really surprised?)  Got to love a costume you can whip together in two hours with an old dictionary, some ribbon, and a lot of hot glue.

I wore my DictionFairy costume twice, and I must say it was much more of a hit at my Halloween Family Fun Night event at the library than it was when I went out trick or treating with my son last night. Go figure.

I thought we were pretty cute: The DictionFairy and the Engineer of the Hot Mess Express. 🙂

And just because you moseyed over here… how is this my baby’s third Halloween?!

Happy Halloween weekend, everyone. Enjoy the candy!

~Christen

Paint Sample Notebooks {Self Directed Programs}

I have posted before that I am the Queen of Self Directed Programs at my library. It’s hard to get teens to participate in a library program… but leave out a little craft to do and they are all on it! This past September I decided to bring back the DIY To Go, this time with Paint Sample Notebooks. They were fun and easy to make and all 30 of my kits were made in three weeks. SCORE!

6You’ll need:

  • Paint chip sample
  • Paper scraps
  • Stapler
  • Stickers (for embellishments)

***Quick note on paint chip samples. I had to go to several different stores before I found the paint chip samples I wanted. (Walmart still carries the long skinny samples.)  I know that these are used to sell a product so I only grabbed what I knew we would use. I work on a budget so I have to plan on a budget.***

Directions:

1

2

1. Choose your paint chip sample and then fold and crease one end up about a half an inch.

32. Take the top edge & catch it under that little flap on the bottom to form your little matchbook-style notebook.

4

53. Place the paper scraps inside of the folded paint chip sample. Staple the bottom flap to hold the paper into your mini notebook.

6

4. Decorate the paint chip with stickers or stamps!

DIY To Go

Like I said at the beginning of the post, I was using these specifically with my library teens, so I put everything out on a table and walked away. Everyone was very respectful of the project. I never saw a single wasted paint chip sample, plus they saved their instructions, baggies, and paper clips so I could reuse them. (I didn’t even think to ask them to save the baggies and instructions.)

This is a fun and easy craft that would be great for birthday parties or Ladies Craft Nights!

Have fun…

~Christen

 

Crafternoons {Duck Tape Key Chains}

Duck tape 10

Crafting with my teens at the library is kind of hit or miss.  Earlier this year I decided to make my monthly craft program, Crafternoons, drop in, meaning all the supplies are out and open for several hours to any teens that drop by our teen space. The only tricky part to anything “drop in” is that you never know how many kids to expect so I need to guesstimate my supplies. Oh. And the craft has to be boy/girl friendly. This month I decided to tackle Duck Tape key chains after coming across several pins on Pinterest. The project is fun, easy, and practical. I compiled a list of step by step instructions, but if I’m too hard to understand, check this video out here. (I would like to add, I am not as professional as this video. I don’t use Duck tape sheets and I don’t have a paper cutter.)

Let’s begin!

Duck tape 1

Supplies:

Duck Tape

Key ring

Velcro

Duck tape 2

Duck tape 3

Step 1: Cut a 14” piece of Duck tape. Begin by folding the tape into itself so that both sides meet in the middle.

Duck tape 4

Step 2: Once both sides are folded down you can trim the edges. (You should end up with a 12” or so piece.)

Duck tape 5

Duck tape 6

Step 3: Cut a thinner piece of Duck tape in a coordinating color. Place the Duck tape along the inside seam of your first piece.

Duck tape 7

Duck tape 8

Step 4: Place key ring at one end of the long piece of Duck tape. Fold the long Duck tape piece over and use the second color of Duck tape to tape the key ring into the loop.

Duck tape 9

Step 5: Trim the long piece of Duck tape to your desired length. Then, attach one side of Velcro to the top of the long piece and the other side of the Velcro to the bottom.

Duck tape 10

Step 6: And voila! Fold the Duck tape over to Velcro shut and enjoy!

Duck tape 11

I hope you all enjoyed this easy peasy Duck tape craft brought to you by Crafternoons at my library!  {Have a fun and gender neutral craft for teens? I would love to hear about it in the comments section!}

Best,

Christen


DIY Coffee (or Tea… or Hot Chocolate!) Mugs

DIY Coffee Mugs

Oh glorious DIY coffee mugs. How do I love thee? I love your simplicity… your effortless… your endless possibilities. I also love that you are teen program friendly. Today begins my first ever Crafternoons program at the library and I think my group is going to love this DIY activity.

Supplies:

  • Coffee mug (I bought white mugs for $.99 from Ikea)
  • Sharpies (I have been told that Oil-Based Straight Sharpie Paint Markers work best)
  • An oven

Instructions:

  1. Use your Sharpies to draw on your coffee mugs. (I searched Etsy for creative ideas!)
  2. Once you like the design on your mug, put it in the oven to set the ink.
  3. ***Place your mug in a cold oven. After the mug is in the oven, turn it onto Bake at 350 degrees. Wait until the oven is preheated and then turn your timer on for 30 minutes. After your timer goes off, turn off the stove and leave your mug in the oven until it is cool to touch. (I left mine in overnight.)
  4. Enjoy your mug!
  5. DO NOT PUT YOUR MUG IN THE DISHWASHER. YOU MUST WASH IT BY HAND!

I hope you all enjoy this super fun (and easy!) crafty idea. Now I need to make myself a cup o’ joe in my lovely new arrow mug.

Cheers!

~Christen

20130313-171238.jpg
{edited 3-13-13: Awesome mugs made by some of my awesome library teens!}

DIY Glitter Shoes

Glitter Shoes

We made DIY Glitter shoes at the library today!  I saw this pin a couple of months ago and knew that we would have to do some shoe upcycling this Winter.  After looking at all the different tutorials, I decided that I liked the one at We are Not Martha best.

To recreate these shoes, you will need:

• Mod Podge (about 2 ounces)
• Glitter (any color, about 2 ounces)
• Foam Brush
• Clear Glaze Spray ( a few sprays)
• Pair of plain flats (and color will do)

(Don’t have Mod Podge?  Here’s a recipe to make your own.)

Instructions:

1. Mix Mod Podge with LOTS of glitter.

2. Use the foam brush to apply glitter/Mod Podge mixture onto shoes.

3. Let Mod Podge dry.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 two more times.

4. Spray the clear glaze on the shoes and let dry.

5. Enjoy your awesome new glitter flats!

(Need pictures?  Check out the awesome tutorial at We are Not Martha!)

I hope you all enjoy your awesome new glitter shoes!

*~Cheers~*

Christen

No Sew Fabric and Duct Tape Purse

I love fabric and I love duct tape.  I especially love super easy, cost effective, crazily creative crafts for teen girls.  The No Sew Duct Tape and Fabric Purse was another of my recent library program successes.  I found my pinspiration here and cannot say better things about the directions found on Gem Fatale’s Style Blog.  My library tweens and teens loved this program and we plan to make more purses in the near future.  My only suggestion: when doing this project with a group of tween and teen girls have LOTS AND LOTS of duct tape on hand.  Oh. Em. Gee.  Six girls used up five rolls of duct tape!!!

{I love my key fabric!!!}

I hope you all enjoy this truly fantabulous no sew craft!

Happy pinning…

~Christen

No Sew Flower Headband

I think the thing I love most about Pinterest is that it’s brought my teen programs up to a whole new level.  I’ve been a Young Adult (or teen) librarian for four years now and as my kids have grown up and gone away to college, I’ve noticed my program attendance was starting to slip.  When the same old stuff wasn’t working, I knew it was time to try something new.  Obviously, I love crafting.  My last group of teens did not.  Wellllll… it turns out I suddenly have a group of tweens who LOVE to craft, just like me!  WOOT!  So now I scour Pinterest looking for the perfect teen crafts. 

This past summer we made No Sew Flower Headbands as inspired by this Pin.  It was a great success and I thought quite easy to make.  The only tricky thing was the hot glue gun for 12 year old hands.  We had LOTS of burns.  😦  Whoops.  But if you’re good with a hot glue gun, you should have no issues at all.  Check out Little Miss Momma’s blog for her very easy to follow tutorial.  This project is sure to please girls of all ages.

And an Instagram picture of moi rocking my new flower headband:

Love. Love. Love. ❤

Happy pinning…

~Christen