A campfire cake kids can make!

Hi friends! Today I have a baking tutorial but it’s not really about the baking. I, with the exception of bread, do not enjoy baking. Or cooking. Or sports. My kids however love to cook (and play every sport going I might add!) So even though I don’t enjoy those activities I want to encourage my kids to try them. I hear so many moms say “Oh, I wish I was crafty, my daughter wants to learn to make jewelry but I just don’t know where to start…” or “Mr son loves to use clay but I can’t deal with the mess…” or my favorite “My child loves art but I am afraid I will show him how to paint the wrong way.” So I say to you, listen, there is no wrong way to do art. If something falls apart they will learn more than if it turns out perfectly. Give kids a box of supplies and let them have at it. They will make a mess but remind them that clean up is part of the art process too. Furthermore if I can let my kids bake a cake YOU can let your kids make art. You do not need to be an artist to (or a good cook, athlete) to encourage your children. You just need to give them opportunities to try without worrying about failing. There is plenty of time for that when you are an adult but hopefully if they start young enough and build confidence they will not have those insecurities later on. Let them learn, let them make a mess (but make them clean up after themselves) and let’s bake a cake!

You may wonder why we used a cake mix. A couple of reasons: They could do it all themselves. they still got to pour and measure and results were nearly guaranteed. Also I rarely bake so my supplies go stale, sugar and baking powder go hard in the container and if you have ever bit into a hard clump of baking powder in a cake it makes your mouth afraid to take another bite. Don’t ask me how I know….

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This project costs about $10, here are the supplies you will need, you probably have them on hand already:

  • 2 boxes of cake mix in your favorite flavors
  • 1 can of vanilla frosting *get the kind with sprinkles!
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
  • 1/2 bag of chocolate candy melts (or you can met a couple of chocolate bars-optional)
  • Oreo cookies or graham crackers

*the cake mix will call for eggs and vegetable oil so make sure you have them on hand before you start!

Tools:

  • 2 large bowls
  • 9″x13″ baking dish (lasagna/casserole pan)
  • big top cupcake mold if you have one OR you can use a high walled Pyrex oven safe bowl, bunt cake mold or anything that will give you a similar shape and go in the oven. Use what you have!
  • Mixing spoons, glass measuring cup, straight or offset spatula (or whatever you like for applying icing) and a teaspoon.

Tip: To crush the Oreo cookies (or Graham crackers) to make the ash/dirt place them in a plastic Ziploc bag and roll over them with a rolling-pin.

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I think the cake turned out super cute and everyone said it was delicious (I don’t eat eggs so I can’t say) and the girls were so proud to have made it themselves! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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A Veterans Day Craft!

On  November 11th we honor those who served our country. This date commemorated the end of World War One and we share it with commonwealth countries in Europe as well. The symbol of this peace is the red poppy. This Veteran’s day (or Remembrance or Armistice Day) why not make a token of your appreciation. These lovely tag/bookmarks can be handed out to veterans in parades,veterans homes or nursing homes. There is room on the back to write a special message too. Boy and Girl Scouts might like to make some to hand out while walking in the Veterans Day Parade. You can even make up a bunch and give them to your local scout troop for this purpose!

I used stamps from Rubbernecker for the poppies and Hero Arts for the background.  You can use what you have though:) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

Paracord Possibilities!

Did you miss me yesterday? Well, I’m telling you the lazy days of summer are not LOL! OK, I have to be honest, they are a bit lazy because I have had time to whip up these beauties using my hubby’s stash of parachute cord:

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The best thing is that my kids love making these too! I’ll be showing you a paracord bracelet with a feminine twist later this week, maybe even tomorrow if I have my act together;) Paracord is very easy to work with, it is strong which means our paracord creations can be undone in a survival situation and you have several feet of rope at your disposal and the cord is durable, it won’t fray if you burn the ends and it has a bit of “slip” to it so it is great to learn knot tying and macrame techniques. It is also easier to handle then braiding cord for young jewelry makers. Also, it is rugged and manly, boys won’t mind a “survival” bracelet, key-chain or zipper pull! Now that I have sold you on the power or paracord here is a quick tutorial to show you how to make a paracord ball key-chain:

When you are buying paracord don’t go to the craft store unless you want to get ripped off.  Go to a military supply store where it is much cheaper (100 feet for about $7 vs. Joann 16 feet for $2.49) Joann also sells the little balls we just made for $3 each. Aren’t you glad you saw this before you bought one;)

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So if you want to make a necklace leave an 8″ tail when you make your ball. After the ball is made hold the cord around your neck to determine the length you want and cut both ends to length.  Burn one end (remember this is a adult only job and use the blue part of the lighter flame so you don’t discolor the cord) and quickly attach a small ribbon end. I am really excited because I have a use for all of the small ribbon ends I have leftover from the Blue Moon multipacks I buy, I always use up the larger ones but not the little ones, yay!

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Attaching the clasp is another adult job, not that is is dangerous but if you are anything like me you will be using language you do not want your children to hear when attaching the small barrel clasps and split rings. Why barrel clasps and split rings then, you ask? Here’s why, A split ring is like a jump ring on steroids, it has two wraps of wire (like a teeny key ring) so there is no open area or weak spot. If I used a jump ring on the ribbon end chances are the thin metal loop would wiggle it’s way through the split in the ring. Also where the split ring attaches to the swivel loop on the barrel clasp you want the thickness of the 2 wraps to keep that from slipping off as well. Why a barrel clasp? Well, honestly I don’t care for them very much but I always seem to have a ton of them, they come in jewelry grab bags and finding kits and I am pretty sure they breed and multiply in my storage box when I am not looking. Also the barrel clasp is very small, easy to close and plain so good for these unisex necklaces. I highly recommend investing in a pair of split ring pliers if you plan on using split rings very often, or if you need to open key rings a lot to save wear and tear on your fingernails. I bought mine at Joann with a coupon, it was the bead buddy brand and it was only $10 regular price. No need to spend a ton. They are worth their weight in rescued fingernails! 😀

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So here is the way I attached the clap to the necklace, sorry about the above tangent…

  1. Burn ends of cord and attach ribbon ends with nylon jaw pliers.
  2. Attach split rings to each ribbon end.
  3. Open loops on barrel clasp by twisting with small pliers (the same way you open a jumpring) and attach to the split ring, close the loops and make sure they are secure.

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I explain how to attach the ball to a key ring in the video. To finish the key ring trim the cord 1/4″ from knot, burn ends and press into knot to secure by melting. If you notice some of the white core of the cord showing you can touch it up with a permanent marker. Classy.

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I think I will get some white and dark green cord and make 2 toned necklaces in girl scout colors and school colors too. I love the look of the neon cord too, a very “in” trend in jewelry and fashion this year not to mention that nautical inspired jewelry is very hot right now, I think I need to find some anchor clasps and charms! Oh the possibilities of paracord!

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Let me know if you have any questions and til next time happy crafting!

Thinking Day: England Craft

My Twins’ Brownie Girl Scout Troop is participating in Thinking Day and they have chosen England. They have to make a swap, make English food, perform a skit and have a make-n-take craft at their booth. I volunteered to lead the craft and this is what I will show the girl scouts how to make: Rolled “English” roses:

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To save time I went through my paper scraps and punched a couple hundred scalloped circles.  For the project base I chose precut tags from Papermart. BTW Papermart is sponsoring a nice giveaway on the Ribbons.com blog so hop over there to enter! To hold the roses securely I used glue dots because one hundred girl scouts and a couple of hot glue guns seems like a risky idea 🙂 Watch the quick video to see how it is made:

Neat huh? And so easy! You can make these any size and you can even make them from felt! Home and party decor, wearables, the sky is the limit folks! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Have a Backyard Campout Party! {a cautionary tale}

Famous. Last. Words. Just kidding folks 🙂 My son wanted to have a sleepover for his 10th birthday (in October) but we live in a tiny house so I said maybe he could have it early (in the summer) and have a campout in the backyard. Boy, did he like THAT idea because A. it meant her would have his birthday early and B. camping out is his favorite thing. Add a bunch of 8-10 year old boys and it is a recipe for fun…or disaster…I’m not sure which LOL! So if you are reading this blog post hoping to see a professionally photographed party you can stop right now. It was such chaos that I didn’t even dare to stop supervising the madhouse to take a picture until 8:30! Luckily I took a photo of my lovely S’mores bouquet before the yahoos arrived:

 

My son said to me “Mom, I hope you aren’t going to put that out until it is time for s’mores, otherwise we’ll just hog down all of the candy” straight from the mouths of babes. The S’more fixin’s went out at 8:30, that’s when I spotted my camera and thought “Oh no! I have not taken one picture of the party!”

 

I only took 2 photos that night…and I left my camera out in the rain…

BTW I put the marshmallows on barbecue skewers, they look great but are a bit short for roasting marshmallows. On the upside they were too short for the kids to stick them into the flames and make dangerous marshmallow torches with. Small favors.

We also made doughboys (AKA donuts on a stick) at the party. I bought 6 dowels at the lumber yard (smartly I realized that I did not want more than 6 kids around the fire trying to cook at once) and some refrigerated biscuit dough. I bought Grands biscuits by Pillsbury but any brand will work. The original seems to work best. Cut the one biscuit in half and stretch it out and wrap it around the end of the dowel and cook it over the campfire. Keep it in the heat but out of the flame. It is done when it puffs up and it sounds hollow when you tap on it. The full size grand biscuit will not cook, just use a half. Then roll the doughboy in butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

 

I also came up with a Vegan/Kosher s’more. Roast a piece of banana over the fire and place it on a graham cracker that has been spread with peanut butter and chocolate chips. Top with another graham cracker.  

Another fun activity to keep the campers entertained were homemade marshmallow shooters:

 

The idea came from the blog Come Together Kids. I used 12″ balloons and large plastic cups. Buy an extra package of balloons so you can repair the shooter if need be. I put out a bag of mini marshmallows and that was plenty, I had the kids re-use the ammo so I would not have a yard full of marshmallows to pick up (or for my dog and chickens to get sick eating LOL!) Here is a quick video on how to make them:

If you are still reading, thanks! I originally thought I’d let the boys stay up until 10 and then have them settle into their tents to chit-chat and read. (I also thought that the boys would be sitting around the campfire singing folk songs but that didn’t happen either!) but by about 6pm I realized that these boys will be going into the tents at 9.  By the time the boys had all used the bathroom, brushed their teeth (hopefully?) and settled into their tents it was about 9:30. At 10 it started to rain…pour actually…and the tent was leaking! Camping in the rain, why that’s my specialty. I tarped the tents and got the boys settled, again.  All in all the boys were asleep around 1am.

 

My son and I silkscreened T-shirts for the guests. All the boys made it though the night and I did too! They all had a blast and they were all good kids but If I told you that having a campout party was a piece of cake I’d be lying. I’m keeping it real, folks.

 

Oh, I forgot to mention, the quest list was small compared to the other birthday parties. Jackson invited 9 boys in his grade. It being summer I was not sure if they would all make it to the party. I invited siblings to come over for a cookout supper and smore’s. I wanted to have a little party favor for them when they left and made these, I got the idea from girl scout swaps:

 

I made a wood grain stamp with my Stampmaker and used it to stamp on tags, then stamp a little tent and the word thanks. The flashlight pin was made from golf tees cut short and painted, then I glued on a gold pony bead (for the light) and scrap of funfoam for the switch and a pin back so it could be worn.

 So, if you are STILL reading you are probably thinking about throwing your own backyard campout. Here are some tips and friendly advice:

  • Keep the party small. 6 kids is a good amount. Put 3 each in a tent and they might get to sleep before midnight. Maybe.
  • If by some lapse of reason you decide to invite more kids enlist some other moms to help. Maybe have a few organized games to keep the kids from running wild.
  • Get emergency contact info from every parent before the day of the campout. Find out if anyone is on medication, needs an inhaler or has any food allergies.
  • Also I asked that pocket knives and video games be left at home.
  • Don’t forget the prefect invitation! I used free tourist maps to make envelopes and the printable Backyard Party Campout kit for the interactive invitation.

 

Well, that’s how you host a backyard campout sleepover. And I lived to tell about it…I think I should have made myself a T-shirt too, ha ha!  🙂 Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting! 

 

Let’s Have a Backyard Campout!

Nothing says summer like tenting out in the backyard. If you are hosting a camping themed birthday or just want a fun way to invite someone “uptacamp” check out these fun interactive invitations now available at Lindsay’s Stamp Stuff:

The kit also comes with a sheet of 5 water bottle wraps (you can print the campers name on them so they know what drink is theirs!) and a sheet of 4 treat bag toppers that would be super cute to package up a s’mores kit to go! Since it’s digital you can print as many as you need and use it over and over again…not bad for $3 eh?

I made the envelopes out of free maps I grabbed at the local tourist brochure rack, I got 5 from one map! The step by step instructions are also included in the kit!

I recommend printing the invites on plain cardstock. The folding of the tent flaps can crack the surface of photo paper:

Weather you are a mom looking for a fun birthday party theme or a scout leader getting the kids ready for camp the Campout Printable Party Kit is the perfect fit! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy camping…er, I mean happy crafting!

Backyard Campout Party Kit!

Craft like and Egyptian!

Girl Scouts Thinking Day is coming up in a couple of weeks and it is pretty cool. Each troop picks a country and then gives a presentation about it. Also they make swaps to trade with the other girls they meet. My daughters’ troop is doing Egypt so I came up with this easy (and practically FREE) craft for them to make and swap:

These cute hieroglyphic pendants are made from discontinued formica samples from the local hardware store. I got a few hundred of them last year! I love that I am upcycling something that had no use to anyone. You can snag these sample for free off the rack at any hardware store but I beg you to ask for discontinued ones so we can keep them out of the landfill!

Here is what you need to make these cool necklaces:

Formica Samples, acrylic paint in earth tones, paper to make the stencils with, natural sponges or kitchen sponges cut up into irregular shapes, stencil brushes or make-up wedges for stenciling, cording for the necklace-I used Incredible ribbon yarn (cheaper than ribbon and soft), metallic pony beads and a gold marker, stamps & ink, rhinestones. the last three items are optional but fun to add, feel free to substitute any of the item to use what you have on hand.

Here are the prep steps you need to do BEFORE the girls arrive:

  1. Lay out large sheets of waxed paper to protect your work surface. Wet your sponge and ring out the water. Squeeze dabs of light earth tone paint (I used a sage green, dusty rose and cream) on a piece of waxed paper and dip the sponge in the colors and dab on the back of your formica samples, let dry.
  2. Use a thick paper such as old file folders to cut simple stencils with an x-acto knife. Keep the inside piece too because you might want to use the inside as a mask, see the photo below, the tile with the person in it uses the stencil part and the other one uses a mask:

Here is where I will get the girls involved!

  1. Give each girl a sheet of waxed paper and 5 tiles and a few stencils. Squirt out a wee bit of black and brown paint on the waxed paper. Load a make up wedge or stencil brush with brown and pounce it on the wax paper to remove excess paint. Place the stencil over the prepared tile and pounce the brush up and down in the center of the stencil. Pick up some black paint and pounce it around the edge of the stencil for depth. repeat for each formica tile. Let dry.
  2. Use small letter stamps or postage style stamps to stamp “Egypt” on the tile.
  3. Add details with gold marker. This is optional but looks really great! Also you can brush on some metallic eyeshadow, glitter and add a rhinestone if desired!
  4. Cut a 30″ length of ribbon and thread it through the hole and slide on a pony bead (A Q-tip with the fluff removed can help push the ribbon through the hole in the bead) and tie the ends together. Viola! You have made a fabulous necklace!

Variations: This craft can be adapted for cross curriculum projects in the classrooms. You can imitate the Native American Art and French cave paintings or even Hawaiian art. The applications for geography, history and social studies classes are endless!

If you have any questions just leave a comment and I will answer you the best I can. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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