Rainy Day Craft: Paper Towel Roll and Foil Rocket

Luca brought this rocket home from school this week. You know something makes the cut when it shows up at the breakfast table, rides along in the car and sleeps on the pillow at night.He has not stopped playing with this since he brought it home.

I thought I’d share it since it’s an easy craft that you can make with items around your kitchen: a paper towel roll and a sheet of aluminum foil. A good activity to keep little hands busy on a rainy day.

Maybe we’ll take a trip to Jupiter to try some of their famous orange twiglets.

Here’s How To Make It:

  • Notch one end of the paper towel roll and shape it into a cone and secure it with tape. I like to use gummed paper tape since it’s sticks well to paper surfaces and you can draw, paint and glue on top of it. It’s a great addition to your craft supplies.
  • Paint on some school glue and then cover the whole thing with foil.
  • Add some stickers, paint or other decorations and you’re ready to blast off!
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Family Crafts: Fortune Cookies for the Lunar New Year (or Valentine’s Day)

Gung Hay Fat Choy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wanted to get a jump start on a Valentine’s Day craft that Luca could bring to his friends at school. We spotted this cute felt fortune cookie craft over on good old Martha Stewart’s website. Bingo! You could fill these with a couple pieces of candy, write up funny fortunes, or just tuck in some stickers or doo-dads from the dime store. A cute one for the Lunar New Year or Valentine’s Day, but a quick and fun craft project or party favor for anytime of the year, too!

Felt Fortune Cookie Craft (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Materials: felt, floral wire, sewing machine and thread (or hot glue).

  1. Cut some felt circles 4.5″ in diameter.
  2. With your leftover felt scraps, cut some pieces less than 4.5″ long (We did ours about 3.5 inches, you don’t have to be exact) and about 1/2″ wide.
  3. Cut some thin wire (floral wire will do) in pieces 6-7″ long (about twice as long as your felt scraps), bend them in half and twist the ends to secure. You can use some pliers to crimp pointy ends so they don’e poke through the felt.
  4. Place your wire across the center of your felt circle and place your felt scrap on top to cover the wire. We tacked ours down using a large zig zag stitch on the sewing machine, but you could use hot glue. If you use a sewing machine, it’s a good idea to back stitch both ends fairly well.
  5. Bend the circle into a fortune cookie shape. First, bend in half like a taco with the wire on the inside along the bottom edge. Then, bend the two wired ends towards each other and shape the felt until you like the shape.
  6. Tuck in your surprises and give to someone special.

 

Speaking of fortune cookies….. “Sparkletack”, a great podcast for anyone interested in San Francisco history, has an interesting episode on theΒ disputed origins of the Fortune Cookie. Check it out!

Holiday Wreath With Dried Citrus, Pepper Berries and Lavender

This year a big bag of clementines inspired me to try my hand at something new… a homemade holiday wreath. This project turned out to be much easier than I imagined and is a fun one to do with a friend or older kids. No floral arranging experience required!

With citrus as my inspiration, I started by drying thin citrus slices in a low oven (1/8″ slices, 170 degrees n a cookie sheet for 6-8 hours or until totally dry – or use a dehydrator is you have one). From there it was just a matter of gathering other festive looking materials (cedar boughs, pink pepper berries, dried lavender from my friend Rachel’s garden) and a few simple floral supplies (a wireframe wreath form and floral wire which you can find at any craft store). You’ll also need some gardening shears to trim the branches. You could easily assemble all the materials you need for $5-$10 dollars per wreath especially if you raid your kitchen pantry, garden and/or gift wrapping supplies — and you can keep reusing the wireframe form from season to season.

With materials assembled, the actual wreath-making was quite easy and only took an hour or two from start to finish which made it a fantastic project to do with a friend over a cup of coffee. No big secrets here:

  1. Trim heavier branches from your cedar boughs so you are left with thin to medium branches that are very pliable.
  2. Tuck the branches around the wireframe and secure them here and there with floral wire. My wiring was really clumsy. Luckily, the cedar branches do a fabulous job of hiding any ugly handiwork.
  3. Overlap the branches and keep adding more greenery until you have a nice, even wreath with the fullness that you prefer.
  4. I would suggest taking some time to experiment with the layout of your embellishments before diving in and attaching them to the wreath.
  5. Once you are happy with your design just attach your embellishments with floral wire. If needed, you can use hot glue for heavier or harder to secure items. Light items, like the lavender, didn’t require any wiring at all. We just left a 3-4 inch stem and tucked the flowers in.

Given our damp, costal air, this particular wreath is probably best suited for indoor display (besides which you’ll love the way it will make your house smell), but you could certainly choose more weather proof items (cinnamon sticks, holly, pine cones) if you are planning to make a wreath for your front door.

This craft is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, so pour some eggnog or mulled wine and have a wreath making party!