Decorating Eggs

I have found memories of dying Easter eggs growing up.  Now that Maggie is 3, it was time to carry on the tradition with her.

SAMSUNGIn my family (and Kryz’s), we always drained the raw egg out of the shell rather than hard boiling it.  Using this method, we are able to keep the eggs from year to year.  My parents have eggs that my great grandmother made us when we were young.  I wanted to teach my daughter how to do it so that maybe one day she can show these eggs to her children!

SAMSUNGI was amazed at how different the dyes are today than when I was a kid.  I bought a $2 standard PAAS kit at the grocery store and used the vinegar method which is what we always did growing up.  Maggie loved having so many different choices of color.  She loved using the little egg wire that comes with the kit to stir each one.  But after less than a minute, she was ready to take them out!  I decided to let go of my need to make them look perfect and let her enjoy the process.  Her favorite activity was to take one egg and dip it in each color of dye.  Her fingers were dyed as much, if not more, than the eggs!

SAMSUNGIn the end, letting her take the reigns absolutely paid off.  The eggs have a gorgeous marbled effect, and even the ones that were in only a minute came out bright and saturated.  Later in the day, Kryz found some ribbons in my sewing area.  He and Maggie added the ribbons to a few of the eggs like he remembers doing as a kid.  I’m so happy that both of us were able to share some quality time and family traditions with her and that we will have these eggs to cherish for years to come.

Watercolor with Kids

Maggie loves to paint.  We started letting her paint with washable tempura paints when she was around 1.  We love to let her paint art canvases as they instantly look like professional modern art pieces.  About 6 months ago, when she was just over 2, I decided to try watercolors with her as well.

"It's a rocket!"

“It’s a rocket!”

Just like when I was a child, I gave her one of the little solid crayola watercolor sets and a cup of water.  But no matter how many times I showed her or explained it to her, the three step process of dripping the paint brush in water then rubbing it on the paint and then painting on the paper just wasn’t working for her.

watercolor 3

Liquid watercolors

We put it aside for awhile, assuming that it was too advanced and we would try it again when she was older.  A few weeks ago, while sorting thru art supplies, I discovered this set of liquid watercolors that I had in college.  I figured it was worth a shot to see if these would work any better for her, especially now that she is almost 3.

watercolor 2

“It’s a volcano”

This time she caught on very quickly.  I think the fact that you don’t have to rub the water in as much and you don’t need as much water really helped her get the concept.  Sometimes she does still just dip her brush in the water and paint with that.  But because the liquid watercolors are super concentrated, it evens out when she just dips in the paint and puts that on the paper.  I do have her paint on watercolor paper, however.  She uses a lot of water, so traditional art paper just wouldn’t hold up.

watercolor 1

“I made fireworks”

This is a great quiet time activity for her.  She will concentrate on it for up to an hour.  I let her choose the colors, but usually limit it to 1-2 new ones at a time.  This way she doesn’t get overwhelmed with choices.  I squeeze a small amount of color onto a palette and then let her do the rest.  I try to stay quiet and let her discover and make decisions, but I occasionally offer suggestions if I notice she is getting frustrated.

watercolor 7

Inspecting her masterpiece

I’m excited to expand our painting options and love seeing the works of art that she creates!

Pinspired: Baking Soda Beaded Ornaments

I have fond memories growing up of making Christmas ornaments each year.  Our Christmas tree never looked like something out of a magazine, but to me it was beautiful.  I love going to my parents house as an adult and seeing all the ornaments my sister and I made growing up.

This holiday tradition is one that I am excited to be passing down to my daughter.  Last year she was only 22 months, so I just bought some cardboard blank ornaments at Hobby Lobby and she painted them.  This year I wanted to something a little more “crafty”.

Originally I was thinking we would do salt dough ornaments, which I remember making as a child.  Then I saw this post for Baking Soda Clay Ornaments and thought we would give it a try.  SAMSUNGThis recipe for making clay with baking soda, corn starch and water was completely new to me.  I have made homemade play dough many times (I hope to someday share my mom’s recipe that she used when we were growing up and in her preschool).  I really like the consistency and the pure white color of this clay.

We pretty much followed the way Play at Home Mom did her ornaments.  We didn’t add any color to the dough though, which I think helps to make the shiny beads really stand out.  I’m not comfortable with Maggie using the stove, so made her some GOOP (just cornstarch & water) to play with while I cooked the dough.  She loved it, as you can see.

SAMSUNGAfter the dough cooled, I rolled out the dough.  Maggie wasn’t too into the rolling out part, but she did help me choose the cookie cutters and press them into the dough.  Once we had all of our shapes I gave her a bowl of beads that I got for $1 at Joann’s and let her loose with decorating them.  She loved this part and got really into it.  She was very focused on pressing in each bead and spent about an hour working on them.SAMSUNGAfter they were all beaded, I used a toothpick to make a hole in each one.  We then left them on the counter top to dry over night.  In the morning, I carefully flipped them over with a spatula to let the back dry out as well.  A few of the beads fell out when I did this.  So after they were dry, I hot glued the beads that fell out back in place.  I then put one coat of Modge Podge on the whole thing and let it dry.  I still need to put strings in them, but I think I’ll just use some leftover yarn.SAMSUNGI have a few pointers for those who might want to try this themselves.  First, the dough dries out pretty quickly.  I should have kept half the dough covered while we worked.  Some of the ornaments got a little dried out before Maggie had a chance to press the beads in.  Secondly, make sure your dough isn’t too thin when you roll it out.  The combination of having some ornaments too thin, and waiting too long to decorate them meant that about half of our ornaments ended up cracking while they dried.  I broke up the ones that cracked and took the beads out, so we can use them again on another project.SAMSUNG

Overall, I’m very pleased with the way these came out.  I think they will look great on the tree and Maggie had a blast doing them.  I didn’t have any cornstarch or baking soda on hand, but those only cost about $3, so this project was very inexpensive.  Since half of ours ended up breaking, I think we will probably end up doing this again sometime before the holidays.  If you’re looking for a cheap,easy and attractive way to make ornaments with your kids, I would absolutely recommend this method.  We’re looking forward to adding them to our tree!

Pinspired: Felt Christmas Tree

So far this Holiday season we have made 2 projects that I saw on Pinterest.  (By the way, you can find me here – Fleur d’Emily.  I love Pinterest, and spend way too much time on there.)

Anyway, this is the first project we did – a Felt Christmas Tree. I had all the supplies on hand – basically just felt.  It’s not super fancy or perfect, but I’m working on lowering my expectations of myself.  The truth is my daughter doesn’t care that every light is not the exact same size, or that the ornaments aren’t super detailed.  She just loves having her own tree to decorate, and undecorate, and decorate again.

I made it in about an hour while watching a movie with my husband after Magpie fell asleep (a rare occurrence as I am typically so exhausted after she falls asleep that staying up and doing anything is out of the question).  In very atypical fashion for me, I just grabbed a pair of scissors and started cutting.  No careful patterns to follow, no planning out my idea in advance.  And it worked just fine.  I used some tacky glue to glue some small gray rectangles on the top of circles to make ball ornaments.  I used a black sharpie to put faces and buttons on the gingerbread men.

One thing I tried that didn’t quite work out was the strings of lights.  I just cut some bulb shapes out of yellow felt and glued it onto some green yarn.  First of all, I should have threaded the bulbs on the yarn as a few have fallen off already.  Secondly, Magpie has a hard time sticking them up.  In order to get them to stick you have to press on at least 2-3 bulbs, which she just doesn’t get.  Maybe she will pick it up, but for now she asks for my help when she gets to the lights.

Another thing we are struggling with is hanging up the tree.  I attached it to the side of our pantry cabinet with some masking tape.  The tape sticks great to the cabinet, but the felt not so much.  The tree falls down if you leave it up for awhile, especially if it is fully decorated.  Magpie doesn’t seem too fazed by it though, she has turned it into part of the game.  After she has taken down all of her ornaments and put them back in the box, she insists on taking the tree off the wall as well.  Next year I might try a nail or thumb tacks in the wall?

Overall it was a quick and easy project, cost me nothing and Magpie loves it!  So a success all around!

A beginning……

I have a million blog posts in my head. Most days, when I am walking to the train from my creatively unstimulating job, I write posts in my head. About everything. About my life – my daughter, my sewing projects, my ideas, my gardening. But I never know where to start.


I keep thinking that there is this perfect post out there, something that will simmer down the complex person that is me into one neat little essay. But the truth is, that’s never going to happen. I just don’t have the time to do it. But I do have the time to write this. And other things. Things I want to share, even if only my mom and sister end up reading them.

…the first step…

So I’m starting. You see I have to start somewhere. And while I always want everything to be perfect, especially everything other people see, the truth is it never will be. And if I keep waiting for that perfect idea, that perfect moment, well it’s just never going to happen.

I told myself last New Year’s that I would start a blog. I love to create and I have lots of ideas I’d like to share. But now it’s December and I’ve made every excuse in the book for not sitting down and doing this.

made it

…made it!

So here it is. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. There are probably spelling and grammatical errors, which I hate. But it is something. And to take the next step, to start actually sharing things, I had to do this. So sorry if it’s rambling and boring. I have so much I want to share. Hopefully this is just the beginning ……