Thursday, November 20, 2014

Grandkids Measuring Stick #projectcrafthappy

Here's a quick post for a quick idea for the grandparents on your gift list- Grandkids Measuring stick! Dave's dad, "Pop" (as the grandkids all call him) has a thing for measurements and likes to keep a record of things. He's always curious about how tall each kid is. In fact, I can't even take credit for this crafty idea because this is actually something Pop implemented when Dave and his sister were young. Pop doesn't like marked up dirty walls, so he fashioned a tall stick into a measuring stick to record their heights as they grew up. He still brings that same stick out every once in a while (maybe to see if anyone has started shrinking yet- haha). So really all I did here was take his original idea and gift it back to him.

You'll just need a tall, flat piece of wood- they'll even cut it down for you at any big hardware store. It needs to be about 6' tall because you never know if someone is going to have a crazy growth spurt when they turn 16! You can get really creative and paint it up all fancy. However,  I intentionally left this very simple and marked it with permanent marker because Pop likes things nice and simple. I marked the heights for all 3 grandkids at birth and then at each birthday.

This is something he will keep forever and it's a great tradition. Pop even brought it out at Red's 5th birthday! The added bonus is that if a grandparent ever moves, they can take this with them, unlike a marked up wall.

If you enjoyed this craft, you can follow me here on the blog by entering your email address in the box at the top right hand corner.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @momheartspinot and search #projectcrafthappy for other great ideas!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Felt Busy Bags #projectcrafthappy


Today I'm sharing another crafty kid gift in the #projectcrafthappy series. My cousin recently had her second baby, so I knew this simple Busy Bag project would be ideal for her older daughter's 5th birthday because she can play with these on her own without any help while mom is occupied with new little sis. Busy Bags are awesome! They are bags that contain all the materials for one project. It can be a craft, a toy, a game, an educational project--- the possibilities are endless.

I happen to have a ton of felt leftover from another project, so I put together 4 Felt Busy Bags- Pizza, Flower Garden, Christmas Tree, and- my favorite- Monster Face! This project requires a lot of busy work (busy busy!), but it's not difficult. All you need is a good pair of scissors and your imagination!

All the fixin's for a tasty pizza!

How does your garden grow?

Festive fun!

How does your monster feel today?
Kids can play over and over with these Felt Busy Bags! Red loves them and will sit for a good 20 minutes while I cook dinner or fold laundry creating and recreating her masterpieces.

If you really want to put together a bunch of Busy Bags to have on hand for your kiddos, you can host a Busy Bag Exchange! Each mom (or dad) creates several of the same bag, buying all their materials in bulk. You'll want to make 1 bag for every family participating in the exchange. Then everyone gets together and shares their Busy Bags, and you'll each take home a variety of activities! There are tons of Busy Bag ideas on Pinterest, and I've created a board on my own Pinterest page if you'd like to follow along for ideas! 

If you enjoyed this craft, you can follow me here on the blog by entering your email address in the box at the top right hand corner.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @momheartspinot and search #projectcrafthappy for other great ideas!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kindness Elves with FREE PRINTABLES!

Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving? I was completely in denial that it was even Autumn up until tonight when it started SNOWING!

I figure I should get my act together over here and get organized for the holidays. I've planned out our holiday greeting card, bought some gifts already, and I'm even getting prepped for this year's Kindness Elves! I posted about these little guys on Instagram all last December- they are the super cute alternative to that friggin' Elf on a Shelf. I can't take credit for the Kindness Elves- this was a fantastic idea concocted by Anna over at The Imagination Tree, a blog that I've completely fallen in love with (check it out- soooo many great ideas to pin!).

The idea is that it's just like Elf on a Shelf, only instead of making little messes every night and reporting back to Santa if you've been naughty, the Kindness Elves present the kids with fun ideas and activities all month long that get them into the true spirit of Christmas! It's more work on the part of the parent, but I was totally pleased by how effective it was last year with Red! Plus, some of the activities kept her busy in the morning while I got work done around the house.

You can use your creepy Elf on a Shelf doll for this project if you already have one. Or you can pick up small dolls or doll and elf-life ornaments at any store with holiday decor. Target has a great selection! 

 Some of our projects were more complex than others, and some mornings she woke up to simple ideas on how to be kind. I also utilized our own calendar for ideas- for example, Red's preschool does a toy drive, so the elves incorporated that activity for the day.

If I caught her being kind the day before, the elves put out an extra little treat and let her know they noticed it. We had days where we were extra kind to our dog, our neighbors, our siblings, and so on.

Sometimes the elves were sneaky and left little surprises--- if I was up to the challenge!

We had a blast last year with our little elves, but I was definitely flying by the seat of my pants and throwing together many ideas at the last minute. This year, I decided to plan it all out ahead of time and type up the notes. Plus, I think she might be on to us (the other day she told me that Rudolph isn't real.... I'm not sure where that line of thinking is going.... she's only 5!), so I can't use my own handwriting for these elves. Since I typed up all my little elf notes, I thought I'd save you all the trouble and include FREE KINDNESS ELF PRINTABLES in this post!


There are a few more than 24 notes, so you can use whichever ones you like! 

A few notes---
  • I do the cookie baking one early on and make a full day of it, baking several batches and freezing them. That way I have all the cookies ready to go for the subsequent cookie delivery type messages.
  • I used Curlz font, so if you want to make variations I believe most computers have that font.
  • I've included two versions of the final note- one where the elves leave and go back to wherever they came from until next December, and another where the elves stay and become toys. Red got pretty attached to her elves last year and became emotional when I told her they'd have to go back to the North Pole. In the end, her elves stayed as toys, and I had to pick up new elves at Target for this year. I imagine they'll become toys as well.

The new guys
If you enjoyed these ideas, you can follow me here on the blog by entering your email address in the box at the top right hand corner.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @momheartspinot for other awesome posts!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mailer Tube Ball Party! #projectcrafthappy

If there's one thing I've learned about gifts for very small children, it's the age old notion that they often love the packaging more than the actual gift. The Meatball spends a lot of play time dumping things out of their containers and then filling the container back up again. This gave me the idea for a very simple homemade gift for my friend's one year old daughter- Mailer Tube Ball Party!

All you need is an old mail tube. If you're a crazy container hoarder like me, you should have a few of these laying around. Glue a large piece of felt around the tube. Then glue some shapes and fun ribbon to make it interesting. To seal the edges and prevent the kid from peeling the felt off the tube, I wrapped colored duct tape around the tube at the top and bottom, which also adds another interesting texture. In hindsight, I probably should have used a fabric glue because the glue lines show through the lighter pieces of felt. But it works just fine for a one year old!

Finally, add some balls to the tube! Small children will have lots of fun just dumping out the balls and putting them back in again! This is a great sensory toy, plus a good "heavy work" game for kids because of all the running around to catch rolling balls.

Plus, the tube is the perfect size for little hands to carry around. Here's the sweet little lady enjoying her new toy!

If you enjoyed this craft, you can follow me here on the blog by entering your email address in the box at the top right hand corner.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @momheartspinot and search #projectcrafthappy for other great ideas!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dino-Land #projectcrafthappy

I received a lot of positive responses to my last post, Little Beach, in the Project Craft Happy Series. So today I'm going to tell you about another gift I recently made that is similar to the Little Beach, but less messy to play with. 


Start with a cardboard box. Any box will do, but I love using the kind of boxes with the lids already attached because kids lose box lids! The hubs gets random computer equipment mailed to him for his work, and I'm constantly squirreling away the mailing boxes.

Decorate the outside with whatever medium you prefer. I went with felt because I couldn't pull the mailing stickers off without damaging the box. Then open it up and decorate the inside as a dinosaur landscape!

I had so much fun with this project! When I was little, I went through a dinosaur phase. I was totally obsessed with anything dinosaur! My mom even handmade me a dinosaur costume one year for Halloween. Creating this tiny landscape was like taking a trip back to that age again. I glued down rocks from our own backyard and a plastic plant. At first I used hot glue, but then I supplemented with a fabric glue because the felt was not adhering as well as I liked. Of course, you don't have to glue anything down and leave everything loose for more imaginative play.

I happened to have a piece of tye dye felt which worked fantastically for the sky backdrop and the water in the little lake!

Then, I just added some small plastic dinosaurs to play with! I glued two magnets at the places where the box closes to keep dinos from getting loose when not in play. And, of course, I put the kiddo's name on the top of the box because they love seeing their names on things!

If you enjoyed this craft, you can follow me here on the blog by entering your email address in the box at the top right hand corner.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @momheartspinot and search #projectcrafthappy for other great ideas!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Little Beach #projectcrafthappy

I can't believe it's not summer anymore.  Seriously! I'm still in denial over here! The weather in my area is supposed to be nearly 80 degrees today, and that feels normal right now. I'm not sure why this autumn has been particularly difficult for me to adjust to, but I feel like I'm just hurtling through time these days; like it was August, and I blinked and had to turn the calender to October. Summer days were definitely on my mind when I created this latest gift in my Project Craft Happy series! 

Kinetic Sand is all the rage these days, and I've been wanting to pick up a box for a while now, but every time I see the price tag, I flinch. I get it- it's supposed to be awesome stuff. But I'm cheap and there are a 100 recipes on Pinterest for similar products---- which I've been pinning---- but never get around to making. One of the the Meatball's therapists told me about a knock-off version at 5 Below called Sands Alive! So I grabbed a box figuring that it was worth the gamble for $5.  You guys? This stuff is sooooo cool!  Not only do my kids love it, but I could seriously play with it for hours. It has the consistency of wet sand, but the feel of flour. It's as messy as play dough, but not nearly as messy as sand.

We had 3 little girl birthdays coming up, so I came up with a cute gift using the Sands Alive. I bought some air tight Gladware, some small dolls, and tiny beach chairs from the wood section at AC Moore (only $1!).

I dumped the Sands Alive into the container and threw in some seashells, and it makes the perfect little beach!

Just for fun, I personalized each container for the girls using paint pens. Kids love seeing their names on stuff!

I cut out the care instructions for the Sands Alive and taped it to the bottom of the container, then packaged them all together. It made for a really cute presentation!

Of course, Red wanted in on the action, so I gave her a little beach chair to use with her own Sands Alive and dolls. She played for nearly an hour! One of her favorite things was the sea shells! There are tons of options for imaginative play, and it's an awesome sensory activity. This gift would also pair nicely with dinosaurs- "Tommy's Dino Land"!

My nephew turned 16, and his dad gave him his old car to fix up, so I wanted to give money as his gift. But I also wanted to give him a little something handmade. I personalized a Rubbermaid container and plopped some Sands Alive inside and Boom! Super easy gift!

High school is stressful, so I thought this would be perfect to play around with during study breaks. Sure enough, he and a few of his friends were mesmerized by it- I wish I had thought to take a picture! A couple of high school boys remembering what it was like to chill out and play with something like play dough! We all need to be reminded of this- sometimes it's really relaxing to just zone out and color with with crayons with Red or smush some play dough. This would be a great gift for someone to keep at their desk at work! It's not messy and so far ours hasn't dried out.

If you enjoyed this craft, you can follow me here on the blog by entering your email address in the box at the top right hand corner.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @momheartspinot and search #projectcrafthappy for other great ideas!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Little Chef #projectcrafthappy

Hello MHP fans!

I decided to take a writing hiatus over the summer to focus on my family. It was sort of unexpected as the Meatball's Early Intervention was amped up a bit plus the hubs had a huge cluster of work travel thrown into the mix. But it's great to be back on track! I'm happy to report that I've stuck with my 2014 goal to hand make all my gifts, and I've been collecting pictures along the way so I can share these great ideas with you!

Red was invited to a super cute cooking party at our local Giant Foodstores. The kids each made their own pizzas and worked together to mix up a batch of cookies with the store chef- very fun! I was stumped on a gift idea, so I asked Red for help.

"What does Maci like to do?"

"COOK! She's having a COOKING party!"

"Yea, she is having a cooking party, but what other things does Maci like? What toys does she play with at school?"

"COOKING! She LOVES cooking!"

I don't know if Maci really does play with the kitchen set at school all day or if Red was just so focused on the fact that Maci was having a cooking party therefore cooking must be her most favorite thing ever---- either way, I got an idea!

The craft stores sell plain aprons, so I bought one and painted "Chef Maci" on the front using regular fabric paint.

Red loved it! You can't go wrong with hearts and bubble letters! But I thought it needed something more, so I hit up the Dollar Tree to finish off the gift.

Our Dollar Tree actually has Betty Crocker brand cooking utensils! I grabbed a mixing bowl, spatula and whisk, wrapped them all up together, and it really made for a cute gift! Plus, it went with the theme of the party, so that's an added bonus!

You could throw in some cupcake liners, box cake mix, sprinkles and other candy cupcake toppers. Or if you want to spend even more, I've seen various wooden play cake and cupcake sets, or play food. There are many great add on ideas! If you're intimidated by the fabric painting, don't be! It's a lot easier than you think- plus, kids are impressed by very simple artwork, so it doesn't have to be a picasso. 

If you enjoyed this craft, you can follow me here on the blog by entering your email address in the box at the top right hand corner.  You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @momheartspinot and search #projectcrafthappy for other great ideas!