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Shopping, Crafts, and Recipes on a Budget


Archive for February, 2011

Buy Streetwise 600k 3 In 1 Flashlght Alarm Stun Gun Rechargeable Security Guard SW3N1

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Most kids love crafts because they are fun and artistic. Many crafts are also educational and can be used to teach children of all ages about numbers, letters, animals, shapes, themes, science, and even stories about history or legends. The great thing about crafts is any kid can participate, and their finished product doesn’t have to be “perfect.”

Crafts are available for all ages and learning levels. There are fun activities for daycare and preschool kids, families, and even grandparents to enjoy with their grandchildren. There are also educational crafts for every season so there’s never a boring moment year round!

For younger kids, there are crafts using paper, crayons, soaps, putty, play dough, stickers, photos, toys, etc. For children ages 7-9, crafts are often a little more challenging and may involve watercolors or finger paints, beads, photo albums, scrapbooks, tie-dye materials, book covers, lunch boxes, dolls, and many other items. For older girls, there are some excellent quilting books for kids with a variety of patterns and colors. Older boys enjoy sports-related crafts or even scientific experiments!

Educate with Play Dough Crafts for Kids

Whether you’re a parent wanting to spend quality time with your child, or a daycare or preschool teacher, play dough provides a fun, clean activity to create animals, numbers, and even words. With play dough, kids can use their imagination (and their hands) to mold all sorts of shapes. Challenge them to mold certain characters or animals they see in a book. Or, get several kids together with play dough to create an entire village. Obtain a book of play dough recipes to help the kids sculpt their favorite animal or character. You can find play dough recipes for flowers such as daffodils and roses, snowmen, pigs, snails, cats, turtles, faces, fruit, butterflies, frogs, buildings, furniture, foods, and many other examples.

Puppet Shows

For older children, teach them to create their own puppets and put on a puppet show. The show doesn’t have to be elaborate… but it should definitely be fun for the kids! Choose a theme or story for the play from a book or play script, and provide photos or drawings of the characters so the kids can get an idea of how to create their puppets. Provide materials and instructions for creating puppets. Help with those parts that are difficult, but allow the children to use their creativity.

Use Crafts to Teach Gardening Techniques

Kids enjoy watching things grow, especially plants or foods they planted on their own. There are many educational crafts for kids centered on gardening. You can teach them to make their own flowerpots or garden bins. Have them decorate planters using their own method and materials, and then plant flowers, fruit, or vegetables. You can even make funny cup characters from foam cups by planting grass as the hair! Just draw a funny face on the cup, add rich soil, sprinkle some grass seeds on top, and add a little water every couple of days.

Cooking Crafts

Baking is another fun activity to go along with crafts. Have your kids make their own cookie jars and then bake some cookies to place in the jars. Or, bake a cake and teach them to decorate it with frosting, sprinkles, and other cake ornaments. Buy various shapes of pans and cutters for making cupcakes, cookies, and bread. Also, make creative popcorn treats for a movie night.

Other Educational Craft Themes

Some other themes that are both fun and educational include holiday crafts, toilet roll crafts, bible crafts, egg crate creations, sewing or quilting, beading, face painting, and flip flop crafts. Whatever theme you want to try, be sure to find an age-appropriate book with craft ideas. Craft books can show you how to create crafts for kids from start to finish and which materials and supplies are needed. For young quilters, quilting books offer detailed instructions on their level.

Crafts for kids give you a wonderful opportunity to teach your children about all aspects of life. Check out the many craft resources online today for more fantastic ideas!

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web.

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As a grandmother to a precious little girl, I am always thinking up of ways to make new craft items by re-using her outgrown baby socks. As a mother or grandmother, I am sure you know that they outgrow those socks before they even begin to wear them out!

Since I am a ‘green’ grandmother, I have been re-purposing those socks into new items that she can play with. One of the things I came up with is this cute dress that be used with 11 1/2″ fashion dolls. Here is how you can make one too but it does require a little bit of crocheting.

To Make The 1 piece Fashion Doll Dress: You will need one baby sock, in this case, I used a light purple one. These are the classic stretch knit ones. I cut the heal and toe section off so that the tube remaining measures 4 3/4″ long. The top opening of the sock will be the top of the dress, the raw edge (the cut edge) will be the bottom. You will want to fold under 1/8″ of the raw edge so that its hidden inside the dress. Using bedspread weight cotton and a size 4 crochet hook, you will want to do a picot stitch trim around the hemline of the dress working through both layers so that the raw edge will be inside.

Picot Trim: Attach by single crocheting, chain 2, single crochet in second chain from hook, insert hook through both layers about 1/8″ away from your last stitch and single crochet, chain 2, single crochet in second chain from hook, insert hook through both layers about 1/8″ away from your last stitch…go around the entire bottom edge of the dress in this manner and then finish up by slant stitching in your first single crochet, fasten off and weave in your ends.

To Make The 2 Piece Fashion Doll Dress: You will need to use 2 baby knit socks to make this outfit.

To Make The Top: I cut the heal and toe area off of the sock. It now measures 2 3/4: long. The opening will be the top of the shirt and the portion of the sock that you cut off will be the bottom. Using some sewing thread and a needle, fold 1/8″ of the cut edge up and on the inside so that the raw edge is underneath your top. Use 2-4 stitches just to tack it up (these will be removed later).

Using a size 2 crochet hook, poke it through both layers of your raw edge end and attach cotton thread (bedspread weight crochet thread) with a single crochet. Now you want to do the edging which is: chain 2, single crochet in second stitch from your hook, poke your crochet needle through both layers about 1/8″ away from your first single crochet and single crochet in that spot, chain 2, single crochet in second chain from hook, poke your crochet needle through both layers 1/8″ away from your previous single crochet and keep going around the circumference of your sock. Once around, join with a slant stitch in first single crochet, Fasten off and weave in ends. Remove the tack stitches and your top is now done.

To Make The Skirt: The skirt is made just like the top except I used a white sock for this skirt and I also made it 1/2″ longer in the length than what I did for the top.

As you can see, this is a really quick and easy project that will help you to recycle those outgrown baby socks into new items for your little girl to play with. Happy Crafting!

Shelly Hill is a mother and grandmother living in Pennsylvania who enjoys making a variety of crafts. You can visit Shelly’s online craft blog called Passionate About Crafting for free project ideas and craft tips at You can find a photo of the completed project on her blog at

Soapmaking beginners often wonder how to make glycerin soap, but for a beginner, trying to make glycerin soap from scratch can be a tricky business. Many soapers get round this by using a glycerin soap base, which can either be bought from soap making suppliers. Glycerin is produced during the saponification process in soap making, giving the soap its conditioning feeling. Most commercial soaps have had the glycerin removed, which is then used separately for other products.

It is of course possible to make clear (glycerin) soap from scratch, and more experienced soapers enjoy the challenge of learning how to make glycerin soap. The method of making glyerin soap begins with the same techniques as cold process soap making, using a lye and water mixture, with fats and oils. To make glycerin soap, the addition of alcohol and sugar is required. The alcohol needs to have a very high proof, so while some soap crafters use rubbing oil, many prefer the drinking type, namely vodka, as it usually has a higher alcohol concentration.

When reading instructions on how to make glycerin soap, less knowledgeable soapmakers might find it slightly confusing. This is because the glycerin soap does not have to come from the cold process, but can actually be made using soap scraps or shavings. For those who already make their own soap, previous recipe attempts may have gone wrong or the right balance of ingredients hadn’t been achieved, and so these soaps can be melted and used to make glycerin soap. This basically cuts out the first stage of the soap making process, and jumps straight into the more difficult task of mixing the melted substance with the alcohol, glycerin and sugar solution.

Another way of using glycerin soap is the melt and pour method, where a pure glycerin soap base is used to create all kinds of interesting shapes and sizes. Even children can have fun with this method, under supervision, learning how to make glycerin soap products for craft projects or gifts for family or friends. For those who enjoy handcrafting, finding out how to make glycerin soap together with their other soap making skills, can help them produce attractive soap bars, for instance a stained glass or frosted glass effect.

Starting with a glycerin soap base can also be an easy way of creating sweet smelling aromatherapy soap bars. By experimenting with different essential oils and fragrance oils, soapers can learn how to make glycerin soap into a beautiful, natural alternative to store-bought soaps.

Marie Ackland – Soap making was originally a hobby of mine that gave me great pleasure, theres something quite satisfying about creating from scratch a beautifully scented bar of soap.

It then turned into a full time passion, creating wonderful soap for family and friends to enjoy. When a friend surgested I take some along to a local craft fair, which I did and from that day on I never looked back. I now have a great soap business which makes a healthy profit and gives me great satisfaction.

So now 20 years on from my first batch I love to teach the art of soap making. It can be frustrating at first but if you learn the fundamentals and put into practice my methods you WILL have great soap every time.

Learn To Make The Most Amazing Soap Today – Step By Step Guide

Everybody loves a snickerdoodle from time to time right! Well how about if you could take the best snickerdoodle recipes and recreate one of them in the comfort of your own home. These are sure to wow your family and friends and once you have made them they will definitely become a firm family favorite. So with this in mind where did they originate from?

Snickerdoodles have been around since the late 1800′s and are said to have been brought over by Dutch or German colonialists who had settled in the New England area. There are many suggestions as to where the name comes from. Some say that it comes from the German for “snail noodles” although there is nothing to suggest that this is truly the case. Other people say that it comes from the Dutch word “Snekrad” which implies a snail shape. However for most part it is widely believed that it is just a whimsical name made up at the time. So if you are not of American Origin or have been living under a rock for the past 200 years then what exactly is a snickerdoodle?

In essence, a snickerdoodle is similar to the taste and style of a plain sugared cookie, except that instead it is rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. What you are looking for in the perfect snickerdoodle is one that has a nice crisp exterior with a soft “melt in the mouth” interior. So with this in mind… how do you recreate the perfect recipe?

Here are several tips that you should know before you go ahead…..

1.It’s all about the rising agent – The key to a perfectly cooked snickerdoodle is the leavening agent. In older times they used cream of tartar and baking soda. But for best results try substituting with baking powder. This gives you a much more even risen bake.

2.Dough refrigeration – You also need to refrigerate the dough until the balls are just firm enough. Too little refrigeration and they will be all sloppy, too much and they simply won’t puff up. So the timing is crucial

3.Watch the baking times – The main secret however is to never over bake them. If you do this they will be all tough and inedible. The secret is to take them out when they are slightly under done. What happens then is that they will carry on cooking when they are out of the oven and they will harden up just enough so that you have that firm texture on top and a soft chewy center.

As you can see, when it comes to cooking the best snickerdoodles attention to timing is everything. As a rule of thumb, 7-8 minutes in a medium heat oven (around 400 degrees F) will give you the perfect cookie. So in order to recreate the best snickerdoodle recipes in your kitchen, follow this guideline and you won’t go far wrong.

To learn more about snickerdoodle recipes, download my 10 day e-learning course about: “Popular Restaurant Recipes”

Patrick Edwards is the owner of where he provides premium Restaurant recipes and tips.

This article may be freely reprinted or distributed in its entirety in any e-zine, newsletter, blog, or website. The author’s name, bio and website links must remain intact and be included with every reproduction.

Now that the weekend is here, the kids need something to do.  So, why not create your own weekend camp for your kids?  The best part of camp is doing great craft projects that get the imagination going.  Therefore, step number one in starting your own weekend camp is to set up projects that they can do on their own or with just a little bit of supervision from you.  Here are some crafty projects that you can set up quickly and easily.

One project is to fill empty bottles with coloured sand.  All you need is an empty bottle (with lid), sand (from either the beach or the store), coloured chalk, wax paper and a funnel.  Start by putting a small bit of sand on the wax paper.  Then roll the chalk in the sand until the sand changes colour.  Next, use the funnel to fill the bottle with the coloured sand.  Finally, repeat these steps using different coloured chalk until the bottle is completely filled.  Put the lid on the bottle.  If you like, you can create a label for the bottle putting the year or the name of the beach the sand came from.

Another project is to make your own pinwheels.  Start by cutting out 4 squares from construction paper.  On each square, cut a line from each corner to almost the middle of the square.  Then take one corner and fold it over to the center.  Glue the corner to the center.  Repeat this process of folding each corner to the center and gluing it in place.  Hold the paper together until the glue has dried.  Then use a stick pin to attach the center of the pinwheel to the eraser part of a pencil.  Give the pinwheel a gentle tug to see if it will spin easily.  Once you are happy with the way the pinwheel spins, then use stickers or glitter glue to decorate the pinwheel.  Finally, take it outside and let the wind spin the pinwheel around and around.

A third project kids can make is to decorate their very own hat.  This way they’ll want to wear their hat more and that will help protect them from the sun.  Buy a variety of craft jewels and fabric paint and let your child decorate the hat anyway that they want.  Tip:  If you buy jewels, you can attach them to the hat with permanent fabric glue.  Don’t use white craft glue or a hot glue gun, as this will not stick to the fabric.  

A fourth project you can do is to have the kids make their own clay beads for necklaces and bracelets.  Simply take some no-bake modeling clay (choose a variety of colours) and take a few pinches from two colours or more.  Roll the clay together until it forms a small ball – either round or oval.  If you are using more than one colour, you’ll end up with a marble effect with all the colours mixed together.  Once you have rolled the clay into a small ball, then stick the ball on a wooden skewer.  Remember to keep the balls from touching one another and let the clay balls dry for 3-4 hours.  Once they are dry, take them off the skewers and they’re ready to make them into necklaces and bracelets.

Another project idea for kids is to create their own pet rocks or pet seashells.  Start by gathering some rocks and seashells from the beach.  Then put some newspaper on the table and put out a variety of supplies like paint, rolly eyes, miniature doll clothes, beads or anything else you want.  Then let your kids go wild and create their own pets by gluing them together, painting them and gluing on eyes or whatever else they want.  They’re cute and a great way to keep the kids busy.

Looking for some more projects for your kids to do? Then check out Beautiful Creations at for great crafty ideas for kids that will get their imagination going. Still, looking for more ways to inspire your kids to be crafty and creative? Then visit to see tons of crafty kits just for kids!

A country western party is all the rage amongst your guests. However, before you get down with that boot scootin’ boogie, you’ll have to get the guests into making their own rain sticks! These are fun, Native American themed crafts that introduce the kids to the other cultures of the western United States.

Rain Stick!

For this country western party craft you’ll need the following items; Paper towel tube or other long cardboard tube, Aluminum foil, Small dried beans, unpopped popcorn, dry rice, or tiny pasta, Brown grocery bag paper, Glue, Scissors, and Crayons or markers.

You’ll begin your country western rainstick by tracing around the end of your paper tube onto a piece of brown paper. Draw a slightly bigger circle around the circle you traced and then draw a lot of spokes connecting the two circles.

Cut out the larger outer circle and then snip the brown paper along the spokes. You’ll make two of these and then glue them onto the ends of your paper tubes. However, for now, only glue one on. Let dry.

Meanwhile, cut a piece of aluminum foil that is about one and half times the length of your tube and about 6 inches wide. This will help create a unique sound for your country western rainstick. Crunch the aluminum foil into two long, thin, snake-like shapes. Twist each of the foil rolls one into a spring shape. Place both of the aluminum foil springs into your tube.

Next, you’ll pour some dry beans, dry rice, or unpopped popcorn into your tube. Only place a good handful of the items into your country western craft item. It only takes a little bit to create lots of sound.

Glue the other brown paper cap on the open end of your rainstick. Let it dry. Wrap your rainstick in brown paper and glue. Let dry. Now you can decorate your rainstick anyway you wish with the crayons and markers.

Whenever you hit a dry spell, your guests can take their country western rainsticks outside and shake them in order to call the rain!

Mrs. Party… Gail Leino takes a common sense approach to planning and organizing events, celebrations and holiday parties with unique ideas for country western party supplies and fun country western party games She explains proper etiquette and living a healthy life while also teaching organizational skills and fun facts. The Party Supplies Hut has lots of party ideas with hundreds of free holiday printable games and free birthday party activities. Over 100 adorable Themes including country western Party Supplies to fit your birthday celebration, holiday event, or “just because” parties. Party themes include cartoon characters, sports, movie, TV shows, luau, western, holidays, and unique crazy fun theme ideas.

A small gift, a favor, an out-of-your-way effort-there are many ways to express your heart on Valentine day. Hand-made crafts are an instant hit when it comes to gifts-they not only are beautiful but also appreciated more because of the effort put into creating them.

Introduce Valentine’s Day craft ideas in your family and convert your home into an activity center–the kids will love making these interesting crafts and giving them to people who mean a lot to them. Here are some Valentine’s Day craft ideas listed below:

* Wrap a Styrofoam wreath with red ribbon. Glue candy all around and make them overlap each other. Attach a small ribbon loop at on one end so you can hang the wreath. The sweetheart candy wreath is ready.

* Cut two similar-sized hearts from a grocery bag and paste the edges together. Fill the heart with cotton and close the hole. Paint the heart red and spray pink paint over it after the red paint dries. Write a message across the heart with a dark-colored marker. Use buttons, ribbons, etc. to add a few more effects to the heart. Make a loop at one end with a ribbon so the recipient can hang it up.

* This Valentine’s Day craft idea is very easy. Take some Styrofoam cups, paint them red and add glitter. Then, write a message on the cup. Fill your Valentine vase with lots of lollipops or flowers, depending on who you want to give it to.

* Take a small mirror and attach it on the inside of a card decorated with cut-outs of flowers and leaves. Make a crown or tiara with silver or golden paper and place it at the top of the mirror. On the outside, write a message complimenting the person who will open the card to see her own reflection wearing the tiara.

* Cut out a heart from a thick cardboard sheet and cut it into pieces so they can be easily rearranged like a jigsaw puzzle. Decorate the pieces and attach messages to some of them.

Valentine Day Poems are usually based on the theme of love and beauty. This Valentine’s Day, pen your innermost thoughts; weave it into a touching poem which will bring a smile on your Valentine’s face.

Paul Banas is a founder of As a dad, you want to make sure you do everything to make Valentines Day a memorable day to your kids and family.

Have you noticed the high prices of craft supplies? Me too!

To find cheaper crafting materials, crafters often visit flea markets, garage sales, and consignment stores. These are all wonderful sources for less expensive craft supplies, but there’s one place even cheaper – and everyone has access to it.

The outdoors. Mother Nature has a spectacular array of materials useful for craft projects, and it’s free.

For free craft supplies, try looking in your own yard, open spaces and trails, friends’ yards, city parks, or even next to roadways. Be aware that removing items from some areas, such as national parks, is illegal.

I’ve used several natural items in my craft projects. Here is a short list to help you with ideas:

  • Pine cones
  • Rocks big and small
  • Bark
  • Sticks, twigs and branches
  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Sea shells
  • Sand
  • Abandoned bird nests
  • Feathers


Natural materials often need some type of treatment to be usable. Pine cones, for example, have sap and bugs and so should be heated in an oven before using in your craft projects.

Flowers and leaves will need to be dried for use in certain projects, like collage or card making. You can press between newspaper and heavy books, or even make your own flower press to accomplish this. Look for instructions online.

Rocks, sea shells, sticks, and bird nests need to be cleaned prior to use. Sand can be sterilized by heating in an oven.

Take a step outside. It’s amazing what you can find in nature to use in your craft projects. And best of all, nature’s craft supplies are free.

For more ideas on how to craft on a budget, read Melody Jones’ “The Craft Lover’s Success Guide: Simple Ways to Nurture Your Creativity and Actually Finish Your Projects” available at Melody Jones is a freelance writer, blogger, and expert crafter.


Milk is the primary source of nutrient for children. But at the same time milk can be used also as a gentle skin exfoliant. It is important to have healthy skin and using a milk soap recipe to gently exfoliate the skin is the best. Exfoliation is the process of scrubbing off skin by using a grainy material to remove the dead surface layer.

Milk contains many nutrients as well as vitamins A and D which are excellent in acquiring supple, smooth and healthy skin. The same nutrients and vitamins are also available in goat milk which is a very popular ingredient in making milk soap. Goat milk promises to give the skin a natural gleam by keeping the skin moisturized and hydrated.

Strawberries and Cream Soap Recipe


1 bar castile soap or any unscented white soap (Ivory or White Dove)
1/4 cup purified water (mineral water will do)
1/4 cup powdered milk (full cream milk)
1 tablespoon almond oil
1/8 teaspoon strawberry fragrance oil
1 drop red food coloring


1. Grate the castile soap using a cheese grater. Set aside.
2. In a heavy pot, bring the purified water to a boil over low heat.
3. Before the water starts to boil, stir in the grated castile soap until the mixture thickens.
4. When the mixture forms a gum like mass, remove the pot from the heat.
5. Add the 1/4 cup powdered milk, 1 tbsp almond oil, the 1/8 tsp strawberry fragrance and the red food coloring.
6. Stir the mixture until it is well blended.
7. Pour the mixture into a mold.
8. Set aside for 3 to 4 hours or until the soap is hard enough.

Coffee and Cream Soap Recipe


1 bar of glycerin soap
1 tsp finely ground espresso
1 tsp powdered milk
1/8 tsp coffee fragrance oil


1. Place the glycerin soap in a saucepan. Melt the soap over low heat until it is liquefied.
2. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Mix in the espresso, powdered milk and the fragrance oil.
3. Pour the mixture into a mold.
4. Set aside for 3 to 4 hours and until the soap hardens.

The two recipes above are easy and simple to make because their ingredients are readily available and making these milk soaps are not labor intensive. You can also make your own recipe by changing the fragrance oil and/or food color and, at the same time, retaining the basic ingredients to make your own soap.

Do want to look fresher and younger everyday? You can make your own milk soap recipe that will keep your skin soft and supple. Get the best milk soap recipes by clicking on these links.

It’s time for all of the fathers out there to be let in on a little secret that will help to melt their special someone’s heart on their birthday, anniversary or even Mother’s Day. By combining a few things that your wife likes, namely jewelry and home made projects she receives from kids, you are sure to score many bonus points when the gift is presented.

The idea of arts and crafts with the kids may not be number one on your fun “to do” list, but the pay off at the end from your wife, and even more importantly your child or children will make the project seem very worthwhile at the end. Here is a look at some easy projects that can be done with most materials that are found around the house to give your wife, girlfriend or mother a very special jewelry box.

Stick Jewelry Box

Make a jewelry box out of Popsicle sticks or craft sticks. Place eight to ten sticks flat on a sheet of paper. Take two more sticks and glue them at each end across them, so it looks almost like a raft. Continue alternating gluing two sticks at the end so they overlap and form the sides. Depending on how high you want the box to go will determine how many sticks you use. So if you make the sides 10 sticks high, you will need a total of 20 sticks because there are two sticks for each row after the base. The lid is then made in the same way that the base was.

Once that is done, the fun part begins for the kinds. Using crayons, markers or paint, the children can now decorate the box anyway they see fit in order to make it special for the person you will be gifting the box to. Make sure to write your child’s name on the bottom of the box along with the date.

Egg Carton Jewelry Box

This box is popular with many fathers because there is no construction needed, the box is already in place. You just need to make sure the inside of the box is washed, cleaned and dried before it is used. The only work that needs to be done is from a decoration aspect, in terms of paint, glitter, beads, fabrics, etc.

Candy or Cookie Tin Jewelry Box

Once your family is done eating all of the candy or cookies, using a leftover tine serves as a great template for making a jewelry box. This gives dads the chance to break out the spray paint can and color up the outside of the tin. On the inside of the tin, you are going to want to use a felt or some other type of material to line the inside metal of the tin so it is nice and soft. You can use glue to attach the material to the tin. Your child can then decorate the tin anyway they want on the outside to personalize it in their own special way.

Jewelry boxes serve as a great gift idea and they can be made relatively easy at home. They serve as great gifts and are at the top of the list when it comes to home made ideas. If you are looking to buy something for jewelry storage, then a jewelry armoire is definitely worth looking into to.

These craft show ideas focus on things you can do to enhance your customers’ shopping experience with you. One of the main reasons why people like to shop from a handmade business is the unique, customized products and services. Make your crafty business known for your phenomenal customer care and personal touches like these that keep customers coming back for more.

Enhance visitors’ shopping experience with these craft show ideas:

1) Useful product packaging:

When deciding how to package your handmade wares, consider providing interesting, re-usable containers with your business name and contact info on them.

There are all kinds of environmentally friendly boxes, bags, and other containers that your customers can use for other purposes after they get your handmade product home. And they’ll be reminded of your business each time they use them!

Many successful artists put as much creativity into their product packaging as they put into the rest of their craft show ideas.

I package many of my jewelry items in velvet jewelry pouches. My clients often use them as travel jewelry pouches – so they recall my jewelry business (where they got the lovely free pouch) every time they travel.

2) Unexpected gift:

This is one of the most fun craft show ideas. Have an assortment of unusual free goodies right at your checkout station, so you can put one in with each customer’s purchase. It’s a fun little surprise for them to discover when they get home.

Good choices for this include any small treasures from your particular art form, small crystals or polished stones, business-size cards printed with empowering sayings or haiku poetry, etc.

3) Keeping your customers’ kids occupied:

Come up with a few craft show ideas for keeping kids busy (and out of your display) while their parents shop in your booth.

Provide something unusual and entertaining that children can play with safely at your booth, enabling their adults to have the lovely opportunity to shop without interruption. For instance, you might have some enticing containers filled with scraps and odds and ends of your supplies. Or have some type of hands-on creative toy.

In my booth I provide a fascinating-looking “treasure chest” filled with a variety of tumbled gemstones, plus a couple of sturdy plastic cups. I tell older children they have to find the prettiest rock in the treasure chest – which means they usually take a good long time sorting through the entire of the contents of the chest! Then I let them keep the stone they chose as prettiest – which always results in delighted smiles.

Younger children can stay busy for ages filling the plastic cups to the brim with the tumbled stones, and pouring them back out into the chest.

And the grownups focus on browsing through my booth at their leisure, while their young folks are kept quietly occupied!

4) Encourage shoppers to customize their purchases:

People are increasingly interested in customizing the items they buy, to suit their purchases to their own style or needs.

Come up with some craft show ideas that provide a few simple options your customers can choose from – colors, sizes, shapes, materials, etc. For instance, my customers love to “build their own necklace” by selecting their choice of pendant, and the type of cord or chain they prefer to hang it on.

And don’t forget that people love to have items personalized for them! Consider how you might include options for shoppers to have their name, initials, monogram, meaningful personal imagery, etc. inscribed on your items, for an additional fee.

These craft show ideas are easy to tie into nearly any booth theme or handmade product line. Enjoy using them to enhance your customers’ shopping experience!

See more creative craft show ideas, strategies, and clever craft show tips to get the most out of your events.

Many home plant pest problems can be easily solved by using a little insecticidal soap. It is easy and inexpensive to mix up your own organic insect killer at home. You will be saving money on pesticides and won’t have to worry about dangerous chemicals on your food.

This recipe works best on soft-bodied pests like aphids, thrips, white flies and spider mites. These are among the most common garden pests. Insecticidal soaps kill insects by entering the pest’s respiratory system and breaking down internal cell membranes. It is only effective when it is wet, so aim well. After it is dry it will not harm your beneficial insects. For heavy insect infestations, it is best to spray your plants again in a few days.

Here’s a really simple recipe for insecticidal soap.

1 tablespoon of soap

2 cups water 

Mix thoroughly and add to spray bottle. Spray directly onto the insects on your plants. 

Be sure to check the label on your soap first. The key to this recipe is to use regular dish soap, not detergent or anything anti-bacterial. You can also use pure liquid castile soap. 

You can super-charge your organic insecticidal soap to make it stick to hard-bodied pests like fleas. It also damages the protective waxy coating on insects. Add either one tablespoon of mineral oil or a vegetable oil to your mixture. Sunflower or olive oil will work well, any vegetable-based oil will break down faster in your soil. Oil will help the mixture stay on these pests so the soap has a chance to begin working. But it will also stick to your ladybug beetles so be careful where you are aiming. 

Some plants (especially ferns) are sensitive to soaps. Do not use a soap mixture on ferns. New growth on plants may be too tender for soap, so apply sparingly art first. Plants under stress may have a bad reaction to any insecticide. Plants that are under stress from drought should be soaked with water the day before you treat them. You should always test your mixture first on just one leaf on your plant. If it is fine the next day, your solution should be OK to use. It is better not to spray your plants in the middle of the day. Full sun (especially on hairy plants) can turn the water droplets into little magnifying glasses which can burn the leaves.  

Many garden pests like to hide underneath the leaves of plants. For best results aim upwards and get under that foliage. Aim directly at those bugs. You may need to spray your organic pesticide again in a few days if you have a heavy infestation of pests.

Making your own insecticidal soap is a great way to save money on your landscaping budget and keep your vegetable garden organic at the same time. 

Laura Zinkan is a writer in California. She cultivates a gardening site at with plant profiles, growing tips about succulents and native plants. She also cooks up where you can find retro art and kitchen tips for busy cooks. 2009 by Laura Zinkan. Article may be reprinted if author credit is given with a website link. All rights reserved.

The next best thing to chicken soup is a bowl of hot potato soup, especially during the cold weather. It does not take a genius or a really good chef to prepare this soup and the ingredients are so basic and can be easily found in your fridge and pantry. Nothing is as good as homemade food.

As long as you have potatoes, onions, and milk, you can easily whip up a delicious potato soup because those are the basic ingredients. But just like your mom’s good old chicken soup, the secret is going beyond the basic. That is why the recipe below is beyond the basic potato soup. We are going to give you the steps and procedures on how to make a Potato Chowder. It isn’t the most basic potato soup recipe, but still very easy to prepare.

The ingredients are as follows:

5 medium potatoes

1 medium onion

1 medium carrot

1 Tbsp butter

1/4 Cup Parsley – chopped

1/2 Cup Celery – minced

Salt and pepper

2 Cups Grated cheese – cheddar or mozzarella

2 Cups Milk

5 Strips Bacon

3 Tbsp Canola oil

Any leftover ham, meat or chicken can be used


Wash and peel the potatoes and carrots. Slice the potatoes into small chunks or cubes. Potatoes oxidize and change their color once peeled. In order to prevent this, place them in a bowl of water and put them in the fridge or just set them aside. Drain them when ready to be cooked. Alternatively, you may start boiling the potatoes while you prepare the other ingredients to save time.

Peel the carrots and slice them into small chunks or cubes just like the potatoes. But for variety, you can cut them up into thin strips instead.

Mince the celeries and fine chop the parsley.

Cut up the bacon into small tidbits and fry them until crisp and golden brown. Set aside.

If there is any leftover ham, slice it into small pieces or if chicken, make sure to remove the bones and shred the chicken meat.

Steps in Cooking:

If you have boiled the potatoes while preparing the other ingredients, drain then once their soft and tender, but save the soup stock.

In a separate pan, heat 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp canola oil. Cooking oil is usually combined with butter to prevent it from getting burned.

Sauté the leftover ham or shredded chicken in garlic and onion.

Pour in the soup stock then bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in milk and cheese and stir occasionally to prevent lumps from forming. Once the cheese has melted, add in the celery and simmer for another 3 to five minutes.

Season with salt and pepper as necessary.


Put the chowder in small bowls or soup bowls. Just before serving, top them with bacon tidbits and parsley.

Potatoes are not just good sources of carbohydrates, but also some vitamins and minerals. They contain potassium which helps eliminate excess salt and helps protect you from heart disease. It is also essential for muscular and skeletal functions.

Eating potatoes may help in healthy and proper brain function with the Vitamin B6 it contains. Vitamin B6 is a substance needed for cellular renewal and promotes healthy brain cell activity. It also helps maintain clear skin, but make sure not to cook you potatoes with too much oil. Its Vitamin A content is for good eyesight and helps strengthen the immune system. Since potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, it is easy to burn and digest, plus potatoes also have other dietary fibers that aid in digestion.

There are several nutritional benefits from eating potatoes, but remember that too much or too little of anything is still bad for the body so remember to eat potatoes in the right amount and in the healthy way of cooking and preparing.

Try some of these other potato soup recipes, or put those potatoes into a nice stew recipe instead?

Spring has finally arrived.

I, for one, am overjoyed. Warm weather, spending time out of doors without a snow shovel or layers of excess clothing, backyard gatherings, and barbeques .. all of the things that make life great. About the only thing I do not look forward to is the inevitable yard work but the way I figure it that is where the industrious young enterprenuers in my neighborhood come in. I am all for helping a young business person especially if it gets me out of cutting the grass.

And .. on top of everything else .. Easter is just around the corner. Sunday, April 8. The day that the Easter Bunny makes his rounds and brings all of those wonderful, sweet treats to all of the good little boys and girls regardless of their age.

Easter is probably my favorite Spring day. It is a family day with great fun, great food, and some very colorful, very sweet treats. You have jelly beans, Peeps (gotta have my Peeps), Marshmallow eggs, malted milk balls, Chocolate Easter Bunnies (I, for one, will be very disappointed if I do not get a Chocolate Easter Bunny. The ears are such a delicacy.), and .. to top off the list .. Colorful, hand decorated Easter Eggs.

Easter Eggs go back a lot further than the Easter celebration. Decorated Eggs have been used in many societies and religions for centuries, usually in springtime rites or at the celebration of a new year. In all cases it seems they are used as a symbol of resurrection and new life. You can find a lot more information, history, and alternative decorating techniques by going to Wikipedia and searching for Easter Eggs.

What I want to do now is tell you how to cook the eggs to make a perfect Easter Egg.

As I am sure that you are aware, when you buy eggs at the grocery store they are super fresh. That is a wonderful thing most of the time, but, too-fresh eggs are extremely hard to peel when they are hard cooked. I am sure most of you have had the experience where the white of the eggs sticks to the shell or the egg just kind of falls apart when you try to peel it. I suggest that you let the eggs sit out and come to room temperature for a minimum of 24 hours. 48 hours would be even better. Then, place them in a sauce pan or stock pot [] depending on how many eggs you are cooking. Cover with cold water and bring to a gentle boil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Chill them completely before coloring and peeling.

Now that you know how to make easy-to-peel hard cooked eggs let tell you about a special treat called Crown Jewel Eggs. This is something that I found over twenty years ago in a recipe card index for international food and drinks that I got from Random House ( I think ) when I was very young and just starting out. I like to think of them as Easter Eggs for Adults because they are very colorful and make a great and tasty appetizer at those Family Easter gatherings. ( note: It is also pretty good for those summertime back yard BBQ’s. ) It is a very simple-to-prepare variation of Deviled Eggs. Even if you have never had caviar give these a try. The blended flavors of the caviar and eggs with the spice and herbs is truly an amazing treat.

Crown Jewel Eggs

  • 6 hard cooked eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika .. Hungarian paprika is best. it has a little more flavor for my taste.
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • one 2 oz. jar of black caviar ( whitefish or lumpfish )
  • one 2 oz. jar of red caviar (salmon roe ) *note: You do not need expensive caviar for this. Obviously, better caviar would be great but there is inexpensive caviar available in most most grocery stores that are quite excellent. A brand called “Romanoff” comes to mind.
  • fresh parsley sprigs
  • lemon slices


Peel the eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and put into a mixing bowl. Add sour cream, onion, paprika, and lemon juice. Use a fork and blend completely into a paste.

Spoon the mixture into the eggs halves. Top six halves with black caviar and 6 with red caviar. Arrange them on a serving plate and garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Enjoy!

Now, I want to submit to you a Passover treat but, first, allow me to qualify this. While I am not of the Jewish faith and I do not celebrate passover except to the extent that I have a few friends that are and do. I have spent time with them during this celebration and have been served this dish and I think it is absolutely fantastic. I do not know if it is traditional but I do know what I like. This is both a tasty and easy to prepare appetizer.

Salmon Balls

  • one 16 oz.can salmon
  • one teaspoons. horse radish
  • one tablespoon lemon juice
  • 8 oz. cream cheese – softened
  • one small onion – minced


Blend all ingredients and shape into small balls. Place on snack cracker and garnish with parsley flakes and lemon pepper if desired. It is actually very good with the lemon pepper.

To all of you from me and my Family .. Have a Happy Easter and a great Passover celebration.

Cookware for Home Cooking


It’s that time of year again when children throughout the country are getting more and more excited about the impending arrival of Santa Claus. Schools, too, are busy creating masses of Christmas decorations, and taking part in the festive season activities such as nativity plays and carol services. Creating decorations that can be used at school, or at home, is very easy too. You can encourage the children to make paper chains, sparkly tinsel fairies, homemade advent calendars, or even pine cones angels. There are simply hundreds of great Christmas craft ideas to use at home and in schools.

Teaching resources for Christmas crafts are readily available for teachers to find on the internet, although some are better than others. It’s worth keeping some tried and tested traditional Xmas decoration ideas at hand to help get the creative juices flowing.

Children can enjoy creating bright red cardboard Santa’s to hang up like mobiles using cotton wool glued on for his furry boots, beard and hat. Include some cut-out reindeer, a few tree baubles and you’ll have a fantastic mobile to hang up in the classroom

Snowmen made from paper mache using fluffy white cotton wool to turn them onto snowy-looking balls are quite easy to make. Simply use some blown up balloons for the paper mache moulds then continue adding the soaked newspaper to shape it, and to stick the head onto the body. Paint it white with poster paint, and wait for it to dry before decorating the main shape with cotton wool, glitter and drawing on eyes, nose and the mouth. An old woolen scarf and hat can be added for that authentic look.

Paper snowflakes created by folding and cutting white, or silver paper are a classic Christmas decoration. You can literally end up with hundreds to stick on to the windows of your school assembly hall, or classrooms. Each child could fold and cut a particular pattern that’s been pre-planned, or you can simply leave them to their own devices and creativity, as long as they have safety scissors to cut with.

Gathering a big bunch of holly, with red berries, from your local hedgerows may not go down very well with the landowners, or council, but a few small sprigs can be added to a huge mural for your classroom walls. Using gold and silver spray paint can transform a sprig of holly and pine cones into amazing table settings, or to use in Christmas wreaths too.

Create your own Christmas cards and wrapping paper by recycling the front of last year’s cards and sticking them onto plain coloured card. Then let the children go crazy with glitter pens, silver and gold paint or even sponge stamps in Christmassy shapes. Buying a stock of plain brown paper for them to enjoy decorating with their own ideas is the best way to customise your gifts and save money at the same time.

Every child loves using glitter in their creative work, so making Christmas tree baubles from colourful cardboard, stickers and glitter are a very easy way to produce delightful decorations. Simply tape a ribbon, or some string onto the top to allow it to be hung on the branches when dry.

For more spectacular ideas for making children’s Christmas crafts at school take a look at the Christmas assemblies and lesson plans available here.

The fall season brings cool nights and warm days, crunchy leaves, warm autumn colors, and spiced apple cider. It’s a time to enjoy the changing of the season and snuggle into a crafting routine. Start by making a fall flower centerpiece craft project that brings autumn warmth indoors.

This fall craft project is versatile. You can use several different types of silk flowers and colors, making it easy to change your decor on a whim. Consider making several flower balls for different seasons and have lovely color all year long.

For any craft project, follow common sense guidelines. Keep newspaper handy to protect work surfaces, and a roll of paper towels to quickly mop up spills or dry hands. Read package directions first for craft products you are unfamiliar with. Gather all the craft supplies you will need beforehand so you can spend your time doing the fun stuff.

Fall Flower Centerpiece

Craft supplies needed

  • Several bunches silk flowers such as mums (medium to small blooms work best)
  • Styrofoam balls in a size of your choice
  • Glue gun with low heat setting
  • Glue sticks for glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters
  • Bowl, basket, or other container to display flowers


Crafting Instructions

  1. First, firmly press a Styrofoam ball on table to create a flattened end. Be careful not to press too hard or you may damage Styrofoam. This makes the ball more stable so it is easier to glue flowers and leaves. It will also make the ball easier to display.
  2. Cut several silk flowers from bunch. Cut as close to each flower as possible without cutting off so much stem that the flower easily falls off. Some flowers will have wire stems, requiring wire cutters to remove. Others can be cut with scissors.
  3. Beginning at top of Styrofoam ball, glue one flower using a glue gun on the low heat setting. Continue gluing flowers around ball, placing them so that no Styrofoam is visible. Leave the flattened end bare.
  4. Remove several leaves from remaining flower stems. Position them on flattened end of ball until satisfied with coverage. Glue leaves to ball using glue gun.
  5. Make several fall flower balls in complementary colors. Display by assembling the balls in a container of some type and placing on a table. Your fall flower centerpiece can be easily rearranged as needed.


More ideas for embellishing your fall flower centerpiece

  • Paint Styrofoam balls before gluing flowers and leaves.
  • Instead of gluing leaves to bottom, just glue more flowers.
  • Experiment with different flower patterns.
  • Make each ball using only one color flower.
  • Add ribbon, lace, or strings of small plastic pearls to flower balls.
  • Decorate display container with complementary flowers, ribbon, or lace.
  • Paint display container before adding flower balls.
  • Add designs to container using stencils or decoupage.
  • Glue painted wooden shapes to container.
  • Use different sizes of Styrofoam balls and display together.
  • Change seasons and use spring blooms or Christmas colors on Styrofoam balls.


Be creative with this versatile fall flower centerpiece. Make enough flower balls to warm every room in the house.

Copyright 2010 Melody Jones

If you love to make crafts, but can’t seem to find time, find your craft supplies, find your budget, or find your way to crafty fulfillment, read Melody Jones’ “The Craft Lover’s Success Guide: Simple Ways to Nurture Your Creativity and Actually Finish Your Projects” available at All customer receive a free bonus ebook “Simple Craft Projects to Get Your Started”.

Not only will you learn key steps for finding time, you’ll also learn how to organize your craft supplies and stay organized even if you are a pack rat, how to craft on a budget, ways to find new craft project ideas and inspiration, and resources and ideas for learning new crafts.


You can learn how to make natural soap with minimal instruction. Adding lye to water and mixing it in oils is not that hard. After all, that is essentially all that soap really is, it’s a mixture of lye and oils. The process gets complicated by many attempts to explain it in confusing detail with often conflicting ideas. Here are a few tips to remember to get off to a good start with soap making.

It does not take lots of odd components to make fine soap. Look for recipes to get started that contain just a few simple ingredients. It’s difficult to best a mix that just includes coconut, palm and olive oils, along with the right proportions of lye and water too. What’s more, wholesale soap supply outlets make it simple to get your hands on these. With just those simple parts, you can build soap that looks and feels like the most luxurious of soaps and all for not a lot of money or trouble either for that matter.

No exotic ingredients are required to make fabulous soap products. If the basics don’t work then something is badly wrong and more work needs to be done on the process of making soap or the recipe is flawed.

One key factor in soap recipes is the percentage of lye. It’s included in the term lye discount. Basically that means using less lye than would be required to turn all your oils to soap. And you really probably don’t want to turn all the oils to soap. You likely want a tiny bit of oil still unreacted to impart that luxury feel. Getting the lye amount right is simple to do once you know how but it must be just right and not too high or too low either. Then there is the smell factor.

Many soap recipes when made into soap will be unscented even though you put exactly what was called for in the recipe you have. You put in the amount specified in the recipe and still get little or no smell. A shame, since that means you wasted the cost of the scent and still got nothing to show for it.

For essential oils in cold process soap, you’ll need about 0.7 ounces of essential oil per pound of soap. That will be less for mint and spice oils and more for citrus oils. And most citrus oils won’t work very well anyway. You can try citrus oil scents but only a few will endure the soap making process.

Use too much scent oil and it will remain free in the soap. Too little won’t smell at all.

It is quite simple to learn how to make natural soap from soap making books and trial and error. Really the basics are quite simple. Moving beyond the basics to build soap to market through a soap business or to experience spa quality soap means more study and experience.

Getting the volume of sales depends on how well you market which we cover in our material about starting a soap business.

Get the scoop about it soap making business.

While most Americans probably aren’t familiar with this dish, it is something that most any Brit is well familiar with. Traditionally a desert recipe, I could see having something like this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Joking aside, this dish is rich and resembles french toast. If you are intrigued, give it a try.


  • 10-15 pieces of bread
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of superfine sugar
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter (melted)
  • 8 ounces of dark chocolate (chopped)



  1. Remove the crust from the pieces of bread.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Then put it to the side.
  3. Pour the milk, cream and vanilla into a pan. Warm it on low heat.
  4. Once warm, slowly whisk the mixture into the eggs and sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture and let it cool.
  6. Spread butter on the slices of bread and set them on a baking dish.
  7. Over the top of the bread, sprinkle the chopped chocolate.
  8. Follow this with another layer of bread and another layer of chocolate.
  9. Drizzle the mixture from earlier on top of the slices.
  10. Let the bread soak in the milk mix for about 30 minutes.
  11. In a preheated oven, bake for about 45 minutes @ 275°F.
  12. After removing from oven, refrigerate the pudding.


Quick Notes

This is best served warm and sprinkled with a little confectioner’s sugar.

Cooking time (duration): 90 Minutes

Number of servings (yield): 6 People

Jake Anders is a world-renowned chef and restaurant reviewer. He owns a network of cooking websites and likes to spend his spare time traveling the world. You should check out his website if you’re looking for the best bread and butter pudding recipe. This easy bread pudding recipe is also pretty darn good if you are short on time.

Cooking for Passover can be a tough and exhausting task. There are so many extra restrictions to worry about, the Kosher for Passover food can be expensive, and you may be worried that no one will like the food. However, it doesn’t necessarily need to be so stressful. If you keep these tips in mind, you can ensure that your Passover cooking experience is smooth and enjoyable.

1. Plan ahead

This is especially important if you are worried about the cost of Kosher for Passover food. You might want to begin buying the right kinds of food several weeks in advance so that you will have all the items you need when the big day arrives. On Passover, you’ll be busy enough taking care of the kids and running errands, so the last thing you need is an unfamiliar grocery list to worry about.

2. Forget about the substitutes

Passover puts a lot more restrictions on what we are allowed to eat. One of the most popular foods that people love to complain about is cereal. Yes, cereal is great, but you can live one day without it. Don’t bother with the Kosher for Passover cereal which uses flour substitutes. It doesn’t taste as good, and no one will want to eat it after the big day. This is especially true for other non-essential items like cookies. They usually don’t taste that good, and you’ll probably have to throw them away because no one will want them after Passover.

3. Focus on what you can have, not on what you can’t

Rather than trying to focus on what you can’t have, like cookies and cereal, why not focus on what you can have? Every single type of fruit under the sun is Kosher for Passover, so why not serve that for breakfast instead of cereal? It’s healthier anyways. Most vegetables are kosher, including carrots, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. However, not all vegetables are allowed, so make sure you carefully check beforehand.

There are many available options for Passover meals such as:

Steak and Potatoes
Beef Stew
Pot Roast
Meatballs or Meatloaf
Beef Brisket
Roasted Chicken or Turkey

Who wouldn’t enjoy eating these foods on any other day of the year? There’s no reason to focus on what you can’t have when there are so many things you can have.

4. Check labels carefully

Although the above foods are okay, some of our normal food dressings aren’t. For example, regular gravy isn’t allowed on the chicken or turkey. If you live in an area with a large Jewish population, it’s extremely likely that your grocery store will have an aisle dedicated to kosher foods. For Passover, you will want to make sure that the label is marked KP or KFP (Kosher for Passover). Even if the food item is in the KFP aisle, make sure you check every single package. Sometimes they are placed in the wrong spot!

Cooking for Passover doesn’t need to be as daunting of a task as we make it out to be. There are so many healthy and delicious foods to choose from. If you plan ahead, focus on what you can eat, and research all your foods carefully, you can create a wonderful meal that your family won’t be able to stop talking about. If you buy the substitutes, make sure you have some GE trash compactor bags and a solid 13 gallon trash can on hand to properly dispose of the leftovers.

Any loving parent enjoys seeing the fruits of their child’s creative endeavors. From painting, to collages, to sculpture, we all want to see kids experience as many art forms and creative outlets as they can. If you sometimes feel overwhelmed with the amount of artwork your kid produces (and sometimes feel guilty when you worry whether it’ll go with your existing decor scheme), we’ve rounded up six fun arts and crafts projects that you and your children can do together and that you’ll not only want to display proudly in any room, it’ll have guests asking where you got the new art!

Why stick to only two-dimensional art? Origami, that ancient Japanese art of folding paper, is a fun, educational and relatively mess-free activity for both grown-ups and kids of many ages. Tons of books on the subject are available for purchase, as well as available through your public library, and don’t forget about online sources (we like Origami Resource Center and Origami Fun). So what can you do with these origami masterpieces once they’ve been created? Clear off a tabletop, mantle or windowsill and create a fun and colorful arrangement. Add string and hang a bunch of origami pieces from the ceiling for an impromptu mobile and art installation. Even promote recycling with your kids by using old paper for the project!

A most traditional and darling craft, this is a fun way to show off all the members of your family without just using photos. We love how customizable this idea is: there are several different methods of creating the silhouettes (like cutting out photos or tracing shadows) but you can also use all sorts of different materials (fabric, cardboard, construction paper, wrapping paper, old magazines) to feature any pattern, color or texture you want! Check out this Apartment Therapy post for a good how-to. Framing your silhouettes in vintage frames makes for the perfect wall composition in a family room, entryway, staircase and more.

Nature print paper
In what is perhaps the easiest craft to do, just purchase a package of this neat Nature Print Paper and watch while the magic of the sun helps create gorgeous nature-inspired art! Go out in your backyard, or plan a trip to a park or beach to gather “art supplies” with your child (just remember to only gather from areas that aren’t environmentally sensitive!). Leaves, feathers, rocks, stones, anything can become a part of this art composition. Once completed, these prints would look practically professional matted, framed and hung on a wall in a composition. Do this a few times a year and have a rotating gallery as the seasons change!

Abstract canvas art
Do you remember that episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8 where she took the kids to an arts education center to create large-scale abstract canvas art pieces? Kate was able to pick out colors of acrylic paint that went with her home’s color scheme, and the kids were given a whole manner of instruments of which to use the paint with, from brushes, to tin foil, to sponges, to tissue paper and more. Only your imagination is your limit- let the kids go crazy and you’ll have abstract art in your home’s colors that would rival those of a modern art museum! Tip: the larger the canvas, the more like a real piece of art it will feel! Though the canvases will be your largest investment, keep your eye out for sales, and start collecting the painting implements now! Or look for similar organizations that run programs like the one in the episode and have them clean up the mess! Along with local art stores, there are places online to find deals on art supplies (we like Utrecht Art Supplies).

Fabric embroidery hoops
As the kids get older, they may grow out of their old tee-shirts, pajamas and other clothes. While most will either go to thrift stores or younger siblings, there may be a few that are too damaged or too beloved to part with. Rather than take up a space in a drawer, grab a bunch of embroidery hoops from your local craft store in a number of sizes, and create fun and colorful fabric circles! Great for highlighting color and pattern, these fabric circles could be hung in a kid’s room, but they’re hip enough to create a graphic and “pop art” statement. Let the kids get in on the decisions of what articles of clothing to choose, what graphics/designs to frame and how to arrange them on the wall!

Graphic prints
All the rage for modern decor lovers, why spend tons of money on them when you and your kids can produce them for fun? Creating stamps is a time-honored kids craft project, and there’s no reason why this art form can’t be transformed into a hip project that you’ll love to see on your walls. There are tons of different and easy ways to make your own stamps (we love the sophisticated ideas in this Apartment Therapy post and the classic potato stamp idea on Let kids choose the colors and placements for art that’s fun, and feel free to suggest a few compositional changes for art that will look like a professional print by a graphic designer.

Jennifer Gruskoff is a screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles. Earlier this year she launched a company called Goodkin a website that focuses on the lifestyle and trends of non-traditional families, where she is currently Editor In-Chief.

The first steps to amazing fresh soap that smells wonderful

For the first step of the process you are going to need to get some soap making lye to start with. This should be measured exactly to prevent any problems with your soap. Always pour lye into water, and make sure it is distilled water in a heat resistant container for the utmost safety. Be sure to have good air circulation around you to vent fumes that may build up in your work area. When mixing your lye, be sure that all of it gets dissolved so you don’t have problems. You need to heat your lye mix up to recommended temperatures for your particular soap making needs. It is going to get very hot, so make sure you have some heat resistant and chemical gloves on.

Mixing your lye and oils for unique soaps that will make people’s mouths drop

Then you are going to cool your lye in some very cold water. A hundred degrees is usually when it is proper for most recipes. This takes some time, and while this is going on, you can prepare your other ingredients. Make sure to have a good thermometer to test the temperatures of all your ingredients all the time. These are the ingredients that are going to give your skin an brilliant beauty. Store bought industrial soap will never have any prayers of doing anything moisturizing for your skin.

Some of the most moisturizing ingredients are organic olive oil, shea butter, and other fine oils and butters. Scenting soaps is something that is very important to a lot of people. This can be accomplished with various essential oils and dried products, such as oatmeal. You will then take all your ingredients and get them ready to mix with the lye. If you heat your base oils, you should get them to around one hundreds degrees as well. You want to mix the lye water with the fragrant base oils and products. The lye goes into the oil base. If you have very strong essential oils, or whole food products like oatmeal or some dried flowers, you want to mix these in after the lye and whole oils are already mixed. This makes for a better end product.

Final step to get your masterpiece in square cut forms-So you can see all those nourishing ingredients you put in

The next step is of course getting ready to pour your mix into a mold. These can be homemade out of wood, or a store bought product. Lining the molds with some type of wax paper is a must to ensure that all the soap can be easily removed from the mold. You let the soap set for one whole day, and then you will remove the wax paper or other paper out of the mold. People usually make a large batch at once, so they have plenty for themselves and maybe some to share with family and friends, or even sell for profit. Large square blocks are the best to make, because you want to be able to cut it with a large knife easily and have lots of soap.

Selling high quality soap is easy and very profitable-Make a couple thousand a month

There has never been a better time to sell your soap than now. The green movement has people questioning all personal care products. And soap is the most sacred of all products that goes on the body. People are throwing their old soap out in droves. The organic soap that most wealthy people buy is very expensive. We are talking about products that cost up to ten dollars for one bar or thirty for three at the high end stores. If you have a lot of friends, or know how to network with people on the Internet, you could make a lot of spending money with your homemade, custom blends. People referring others to the fact that you make soap will keep you in spending money. When you make your soap in bulk, it makes it makes it perfect to sell your products at a profit.

Watch these soap making videos to get making cold process soap fast. Trying to learn everything by reading is very difficult. Videos are the fastest way to learn and not waste your time.


  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 egg (beaten) 1 cup of cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1 pound of dry taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of onion (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 green or red pepper (sliced into rings)
  • 2 cups of Mexican corn bread mix
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 jar of thick and chunky salsa (16 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 cup of milk
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)



  1. To begin on your ground beef casserole recipe, first heat the oven to 425°F. Heat the oil in a large heavy 10 inch iron skillet over medium heat.
  2. Next, add the beef, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Allow this mixture to cook over medium heat until the beef is well browned. You may then add the taco seasoning mix and any other seasonings that you enjoy. Add water to this mixture while ensuring that you follow the directions on the package. Turn off the heat once the beef is done.
  3. At the bottom of the skillet, place some sliced pepper rings. Spoon the ground beef mixture over these pepper rings and then spread the corn bread mixture evenly over the beef. Bake for about 40-45 minutes at 425°F. I normally confirm to check that the cornbread is golden brown before I turn off the heat.
  4. My tip for serving the casserole is to place your serving plate over the skillet and then carefully invert it and remove the skillet. You may then cut it out into wedges and serve hot. I’ve made this dish several times and my entire family really enjoys it.


Cooking time (duration): 70 Minutes

Number of servings (yield): 4 People

Jake has been inspired by food since he was a child, growing up as the child of a prominent chef. He has carried on the tradition and loves sharing his recipe creations with all. For great ground beef recipes visit his website where you can also find other ground beef casserole recipes.

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When you think of Mardi Gras, you automatically imagine fun, revelry, parties, beads, costumes, and masks. Of all the images, the carnival mask predominates. In fact, Venetian masks are often used to symbolize the festival.

The history of their use at Carnival celebrations is centuries old as Mardi Gras masks were originally worn to conceal a person’s identity and social class during costume parties. Accented with feathers, sequins and ribbons, these decorative masks come in an array of bright, regal colors including green, purple and gold.

During Mardi Gras, every member of your family, including your pets, should have an authentic, uniquely crafted mask.

Making a Mardi Gras mask is simple. The process can be used as a fun, family activity to enjoy with the kids, and it only takes a few inexpensive, items to make one: cardboard, craft foam, large craft stick, faux jewels, feathers, foil wrapping paper or paint, glitter, glue, glue gun, protective cloth or paper, ribbon, scissors, sequins, hole-punch, and scissors or utility knife.

1. Before you begin, place the protective cloth or paper on your table or work station.
2. Allow the glue gun to heat for at least 10 minutes before using it.
3. Choose a design for your mask. You may refer to either a picture or you can use a mask template. Many free templates are available online.
4. Trace or draw the shape of the mask on tracing paper. Transfer the drawing or template onto either the cardboard or lightweight craft foam.
5. To keep the template secure, use the heated glue gun to place a small drop of glue at the top of the backside of the mask. Allow the template to adhere to the cardboard or craft foam.
6. Cut the mask with a pair of scissors or utility knife.
7. Put a drop of glue on the craft stick.
8. Too add color, cover your mask with foil wrapping paper or paint it.
9. Decorate the stick with glitter, ribbon or sequins.
10. Be creative- add feathers, sequins, jewels, and ribbon to decorate the rim of the mask.
11. Allow the decorations to completely dry before wearing your mask.

Learn more about Mardi Gras masks and other industry specific topics by visiting the company website.

With the back-to-school rush over and daily routines back to normal, kids of all ages start to look forward to the next big holiday – Halloween. Spooky decorations are appearing on front lawns, and even the smallest children begin to get excited about trick-or-treating. To keep your little ghosts and goblins busy as this favorite holiday approaches, why not try some of these fun craft ideas?

Pumpkin Seed Necklaces

This is a great activity that can be adapted to different ages – for younger kids, paint the seeds ahead of time, and for older kids, let them color their own. Paint roasted pumpkin seeds in “Halloween” colors (black, orange, green, purple) and using a sturdy needle (supervise young kids for this step) string them on heavy black thread cut long enough to make a necklace.

Handprint Ghosts

Using non-toxic white paint, cover the surface of your hand; with fingers held together, press your hand down to make a handprint on black paper. Cut around the handprint, leaving a bit of black around the edges. Paint black “holes” for the eyes and mouth. These can be strung up to make cute Halloween decorations.

Paper Plate Spiders

These silly, spooky spiders make a great activity for younger kids. Paint the surface of a paper plate black and allow it to dry. Pleat a sheet of black construction paper, then cut lengthwise into eight strips. Glue one end of each strip onto the plate to make the spider’s legs. Glue on a pair of googly eyes, or use cut circles of white paper with a black dot in the center.

Cereal Box Haunted House

This spooky house project is ideal for older children. Open the top flaps of an empty cereal box and tape the edges together to form a peaked roof shape. Cut out holes for windows and doors, and then paint the outside of the box black. Glue or tape yellow or white tissue paper in the “windows” from the inside of the box. Using construction paper, glue, white chalk and other decorative craft items, decorate the outside of the haunted house, making it as creepy as possible. Place a small flashlight inside the box and turn it on to light up the windows.

There is no end to the fun you can have creating fun Halloween crafts with your kids. With a good supply of craft materials and a little imagination, you can come up with all kinds of fun, scary decorations.

Bonnie Lim owns and operates the company “A Kid Place” which specializes in children’s high-quality toys and furniture. Feel free to visit at to view all this great company has to offer and learn more about the Arts & Crafts they carry.

Have you ever started to make a craft project and found that you didn’t have the necessary supplies on hand? Here are some art and crafts supplies you can make at home with these easy to follow recipes. Not only will you save money but it will give your children a chance to be even more creative. Kids are so proud of their artistic endeavors when they make their own supplies to use in their craft projects.

Here are some of our favorites to make at home:

Play dough - There are lots of play dough recipes online but ones that don’t require baking are much easier to make and the results are great. Here’s one that fits the bill: Mix 3 cups of flour and 1/3 cup of salt with 2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable or olive oil work well.) Add approximately 7 drops of food coloring to 1 cup of water and mix together. Add the water to the flour/salt/oil mixture slowly – about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix with a spoon. Knead the dough with your hands until it is entirely mixed. For added benefit, add essential oils, like lavender, lemon, and orange and encourage children to smell the fragrant play clays. Store in zip lock bags to keep moist.

Milk Paint - This recipe creates a nice batch of very bright, shiny paint and works well with lots of different craft projects. Mix one cup of condensed milk with a few drops of food coloring. This makes a very bright, glossy colored paint and can be used in a variety of unique craft projects.

Chalk - Mix 1 cup of plaster of Paris with 2 -3 tablespoons of tempera paint. Add ½ cup of water and mix well. Pour into candy or candle molds and let dry for 24 hours. You can also use muffin tins, plastic tubs, food containers, or other empty containers you have on hand.

Crayons - Do you have broken crayons around the house? Don’t throw them out. Instead, teach your children how to make crayons. This also makes a great recycling project. Peel off the paper from the broken crayons and dump the broken crayons into a foil lined muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until crayons are completely melted into a solid, rainbow block. Let the melted crayons cool and remove from liners.

Finger Paints – All children love to finger paint. Here’s an easy to make finger paint recipe. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/3 cup of cornstarch together. Slowly add 2 cups of cold water. Cook over low heat until the mixture looks like a gel (this is a step for parents.) Let cool and then stir in ¼ cup of clear liquid soap. Add food coloring for specific colors.

For more DIY craft supply ideas, go to

Written by Pam Laughlin from

Kraftykid offers children’s 3, 6, 9, and 12 month subscriptions to craft of the month clubs. Fun and educational craft kits delivered directly to the lucky child’s home each month. Fun facts sheets and kid-tested instructions included.

During the week of Passover, I tend to make several kugels. They are great as a side dish for dinner. They are easy to pack for lunches and often you don’t even need to heat up the leftovers.

I’d like to share a few different fruity kugels you can make during Passover. This first one uses pineapple for a really sweet and fruity taste.

3 cups matzah farfel
1 can crushed pineapple
2 cups applesauce
1 stick of butter or margarine
5 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Wet three cups of matzah farfel. Separate the five eggs. You’ll use both the yolks and the whites, but you’ll use them separately. Melt the butter.

In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks, salt, sugar and butter. Pour this into the bowl with the matzah farfel. Add in the applesauce, cinnamon and pineapple.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Add them into the remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for forty minutes.

If you don’t have applesauce, you can chop up apples. It will provide the same flavor. Use two or three apples depending on size. Peel and chop.

This next recipe also has pineapple in it, but then you additionally add in other fruits:

¾ cup matzah meal
1 can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
3 apples
½ cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
8 eggs
1 pound of prunes
½ pound of apricots

Chop up the prunes and apricots, set aside. Peel and grate the apples, set aside. In a bowl, combine the eggs, oil and sugar, set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the pineapple, apples and matzah meal. Now combine the matzah meal mixture and the egg mixture. Mix thoroughly. Finally, fold in the prunes and apricots. Pour into casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for forty five minutes.

This recipe does not call for cinnamon. If you like the added taste of cinnamon in your kugels, add in one teaspoon. Add it into your egg mixture bowl.

I’ve also seen this recipe using raisins and peaches, in place of the prunes and apricots.

I also have seen a recipe where you wet matzah sheets and use them as a base on the bottom of a casserole dish. You then make the filling with your fruits and eggs.

These kugels are both very sweet. If you find they are sweeter than you enjoy, cut out a bit of the added sugar. The fruits have their own natural sugars in them already.

Whatever combinations you choose to use, you almost never go wrong with a good kugel.

Audrey’s mom always entertained when she was growing up. Audrey learned to prepare for large groups and has often entertained 15-30 people in her home at a time. You can find more great recipes at

Use your heart-shaped cookie cutter to make Shamrock Cookies for St. Patrick’s Day.

Time needed from start to finish, including time to put icing on the cookies, 2 to 2.5 hours.

Yield: 2 dozen large shamrock cookies

Shamrock Cookie Recipe

* 1/2 cup shortening

* 1/2 cup butter or margarine

* 2 cups sugar

* 3 eggs

* 1/4 cup milk

* 1 teaspoon vanilla

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 5 cups flour

Cream shortening and sugar together. Beat in eggs. Stir in milk, vanilla and salt. Mix in flour. Work the dough with your hands for a minute before rolling out.

Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick. Use flour as needed to roll out the cookies.

For each shamrock, you will need 3 heart-shaped cookies. Place one heart on an ungreased cookie sheet, then put one heart on each side at a 90-degree angle so the tips at the bottom are overlapping. Gently press the cookies together where they overlap.

Take a lump of dough the size of a small walnut. Roll into a rope. Press one inch of the rope onto the bottom of the shamrock. Shape the remaining rope into a stem and flatten gently. (Four or five shamrocks will fit on each cookie sheet.)

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Immediately remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and allow to cool.
When the cookies are cooled thoroughly, frost with shamrock icing. For added decoration, use cookie sprinkles, if desired.

Shamrock Icing

(makes enough to frost 2 dozen shamrock cookies)

* 3 cups of powdered sugar

* 1/4 cup soft butter or margarine

* 5 or 6 tablespoons milk

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

* 10 drops green food coloring

Measure the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Work the butter/margarine into the dry powdered sugar with a mixing spoon. Add salt and vanilla. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. When the icing is finished, add the food coloring and mix thoroughly.

Here are some pictures of Shamrock Cookies =>[]

©2007 LeAnn R. Ralph

LeAnn R. Ralph is the author of books about growing up on a small family dairy farm 40 years ago. The Midwest Book Review calls this series of books “Highly recommended reading!” You are invited to sign up for the twice-monthly newsletter from Rural Route 2