Skip to content

FitsMyBudget

Shopping, Crafts, and Recipes on a Budget

Archive

Category: Crafts

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 http://www.beautifulcreations.ca/ProjectIdeas/FreeProjectsForChildren.htm 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 http://www.beautifulcreations.ca/Crafts/CraftKits.htm 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 GreatDad.com. 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 http://www.mycraftebooks.com 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

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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 http://www.theGardenPages.com with plant profiles, growing tips about succulents and native plants. She also cooks up http://www.MomsRetro.com 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.

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 http://www.mycraftebooks.com. 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.

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!

Origami
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!

Silhouettes
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 ehow.com). 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 http://www.WeAreGoodkin.com a website that focuses on the lifestyle and trends of non-traditional families, where she is currently Editor In-Chief.

http://wearegoodkin.com/article/6-kids-crafts-youll-love

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.

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 http://www.akidplace.com 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 http://www.kraftykid.com/category/free-craft-ideas/art-medium/make-your-own-recipes

Written by Pam Laughlin from http://www.Kraftykid.com

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.

Are you interested in baby food jar crafts? There are many ideas for recycling those baby food jars. This would have to be my all time favourite use of those baby food jars. I have shared this idea with many of my friends and they have also said it was a complete hit with their baby. It is so simple.

  • Simply collect every lid off every jar whether it is a baby food jar or the pasta sauce jar lid.
  • Put them into the dishwasher and sterilize them.
  • Then fill a big plastic jar with those lids. I buy my rice in a large plastic jar and this is perfect for collecting lids.

 

When my baby was less than 7 months old he loved to hold the lids and bang them together. He found out that they rolled and then he began to stack them. They were perfect for his wee hand grip.

At around 7 months he began to put them one at a time back into the plastic jar.

At around 11 months he loved to tip the plastic jar over and try and tip all the lids out and then of course put them back in.

When he was about 14 months he started using the lids to cook with.

Now at 21 months he is still playing with baby food jar lids.

We once borrowed a toy from a friend as Jamie loved playing with it so much at her house. When I asked her if there was a toy Jamie had that she wanted to borrow she said ‘Actually could I have some of your baby food jar lids’.

The most fun toys are usually free and in our house all along.

To learn more about baby food jar craft ideas and many other baby craft ideas try Baby Books Guide the ultimate resource site for parents. It is where you can find books both for your baby and about your baby.

 

Crafts have always been a great way to spend some time with your kids and others. If you teach a Sunday school class, or a 4H group, you’re constantly on the lookout for fun and easy crafts. No matter the ages of the children you’re working with, this is a great time to teaching sharing, tolerance, encouragement, appreciation of others work, pride in your own work and much more. Use the time to enjoy each other. Don’t expect perfection. Stress enjoyment and putting forth your best effort. When you’re done, share your crafts with others.

Kiss me, Blarney Stone Critter

3-6 inch long smooth stone (washed)

Green paint

Assorted other colors of paint

Glitter, eyes, scraps of lace, pipe cleaners etc.

Glue

Newspaper

Place newspaper on table. I use old adult t-shirts as cover-ups for the kids. Paint stones green. Allow to dry. Decorate with paints and assorted scraps of lace, fabric, glitter and whatever else your imagination dreams up. This allows a lot of room for different ages, abilities and creative styles. Now you have crafted your own personal Blarney Stone.

Easy Shamrock Necklace Craft

Heart cookie cutter (or plastic glass to trace)

Heavy poster board in green or white

Yarn or heavy string

Glue

Scissors

Pencils

Glitter, paint, markers etc. for decorating

Use the cookie cutter to make a pattern for your shamrock. Make sure you overlap the ends of each leaf, not leaving the center of the shamrock too thin. Don’t forget to add the stem, making it thick also. For young children, it helps to make a ‘template’ they can trace and cut out. Some children can make the shamrock design themselves. If you’re working with very young children, it helps to have the shamrocks already cut out. Next, punch a hole in the top of the shamrock. Now use glitter, paint, markers and whatever else you have available to decorate your necklace. If you’ve used glue, allow time for them to dry. Finally cut yarn (or string) and pull through hole in top. Tie and slip your shamrock necklace on.

Extra: If your children are older, you can use your shamrock template to make cutout cookies. Trace around the template with a knife. Add green sprinkles and bake according to the recipe. Now share your shamrock cookies.

St Patrick’s Day Puzzle

Picture with Irish theme

Poster Board

Glue (or spray glue)

Scissors

Pen or marker

Glue picture to poster board. Take care to smooth out all air bubbles, and to have the whole picture glued down. Allow glue to dry. Use the marker to make lines for the puzzle pieces on the back of the poster board. Carefully cut out on the lines. For younger children make fewer pieces. For older children make smaller pieces. For extra fun, have the children make each others puzzles.

Variation: Have the children drawn their own picture to use for the puzzle, or color a picture from a coloring book. Remember, St Patrick is said to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland. Snakes, people in long capes, wooden staffs. What could be more fun for kids to draw?

Lori Bedard has been sewing, and crafting since she was 5 years old. Her first love was making doll clothes for her favorite dolls. Since then she has been a mother of two, a Sunday School teacher and a 4-H leader. She has recently begun a website, http://www.easycraftsonline.com where she hopes to feature new crafts every month.

MAKE A MASK

Children will love this Mardi Gras project – who does not love masquerading around with a mask, pretending that they are somebody else? Of course, first, they have to make the mask. There are many different ways to go about making a mask – what you choose depends completely on what you and your students or children want to make. To make a mask, you will need cardboard to keep it from bending (a cereal box will work). You can either create a template, or have your students come up with their own mask designs. Draw this onto the cardboard and cut it out (cardboard is difficult to cut through – make sure that you help any children that need it).

Now, you can take crepe paper or tissue paper (in green, purple, and yellow, of course) or construction paper. You can cut it up and glue it to your mask (or Modge Podge it to it) in what ever design you want. You can even make your mask look like a butterfly. Add glitter and feathers and sequins. Make sure that you have 2 holes cut out for the eyes (help with this). Now you just need to tape to the side of the mask a stick (made from a stick, sturdy straws, a wooden spoon, or whatever) so that your students can hold it up. Voila.

Mardi Gras projects and activities – MAKE A KINGS CROWN

Treat your students like royalty, and let them create their own kings crowns. You just need some construction paper, scissors, and tape or a stapler. Have your kids cut a piece of paper lengthwise with jagged pointed edges. Now they can decorate it (with crayons, glitter, sequins, feathers, etc.). Then simply curve the paper around, decorations on the outside, and staple it together. For a more sturdy crown, glue the construction paper to a long and thing piece of cardboard paper right at the base.

Mardi Gras projects and activities – MAKE MARDI GRAS BEADS

Alright, we have saved the best of the Mardi Gras projects and activities for last. Who doesn’t love Mardi Gras beads? First of all, you are going to need to make “clay beads.” Here is an easy recipe.

· 2 cups flour

· 1 cup salt

· 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

· ¾-1 cup water

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix the 2 cups of flour with the salt and then add the oil and slowly add the water. Stir this concoction until you have a good clay consistency. Now make the clay into the desired shapes that you want. Do not forget to poke a big hole through your clay beads so that you will be able to string them later – you can use a straw or a toothpick). Cook the beads for about one hour (the time varies depending on how thick your beads are. Do not make them too thick, because then they will crack while baking).

Once your beads have cooled down, paint your beads green, purple, and gold (or yellow). Once they dry, string them up onto some yarn or string. Now was not that an awesomely fun Mardi Gras project?

Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles on arts and crafts, please visit Homeroom Teacher.

A few months from now, we will be celebrating Easter. Easter is a Christian celebration where Christianity commemorates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is considered as one of the oldest and most important Christian Holiday. For Catholics, it marks the end of the Holy Week, which is celebrated yearly. A week of Christian rumination, reflection and fasting while committing to recall how Christ died to deliver mankind, Easter signifies hope and new life.

Planning your Easter celebration

Kids happily awaits Easter just like Christmas. Having party for Easter is like having a Christmas party during spring. The weather is just right with gentle breeze while golden sun rays and lush greens accentuate the scenery which is always a perfect time for family gatherings.

Before choosing a theme for your party, set your goals and objectives. For example, if you wish to incorporate more Christian values to your children, why not have a biblical themed Easter party? Plan carefully the program, food and budget. Having to camp out on a hot spring for Easter is a good idea but is it wallet friendly? Why not have backyard picnics instead? Better yet, have a grand family reunion to downsize your budget but will definitely up-size the fun. To personalize the celebration, you can create your own decorations, include the children, assuredly they would love to help out!

Easter crafts for kids

When you have planned out your entire Easter festivity, don’t forget to involve your children to this special festivity. Decorate your venue for the event and make Easter crafts done by your kids as a set up design to your event. Through this, your children will learn the value of hard work and provides them an opportunity to be creative. Remember to always have an adult or guardian to assist your children while making these top 5 surefire Easter crafts for your children to work on to:

* Easter egg painting – painting the egg shells with non-toxic paints, you can use this as center pieces on your table or hang them with a thread over tree branches.
* Bunny ears – have an adult (such as your daughter) assist your children make bunny ears. Think outside the box, don’t be too conventional, color the bunny ears with exciting colors to make it more personalized and exciting.
* Giant Easter mosaic – have a free wall for your kids where they can draw, paint or paste pictures of anything Easter related then use this as a photo backdrop where you can take pictures of your guests as souvenirs.
* Easter bag – this is very simple indeed. Using paper bags gather all the candies and small toys and other freebies that you can think of and put them all inside the bag, add tags to make it more attractive. Your children can tie the ribbons; add other designs such as flowers, mini toys, handmade cards or paper dolls and voila! You have your Easter souvenir with a personal touch!
* Paper Easter bunny – buy “ready – made” jiggly eyes in your local bookstores. You can paste them in paper plates after having your children color, draw or paint the paper plates whichever they want. They can use art papers, cut pictures from magazines. Assist the children to ensure you are getting the “bunny look” correctly.

Easter (aside from Christmas) is distinctly a good way to spend more time with the family and share the teachings of Christ to your children. Easter is a festive celebration that is widely celebrated and anticipated by all Christians around the world – especially children. Easter doesn’t have to be grandiose and expensive – just remember the three F’s and you’ll surely have a wonderful party. What’s the 3 F’s? Food, Fun and of course, Faith.

Find exciting ideas to celebrate Easter 2011. Visit the link to learn more.

Handmade card ideas can start from pretty paper prints, beautiful stickers or even a favorite tool like a craft punch. Making greeting cards can be fun but sometimes frustrating when you are just staring at a blank card.

There are so many tools and embellishments available these days that coming up with card making ideas seem endless. You can create beautiful, handmade birthday, thank you, Valentines, Christmas and get well cards using a plethora of materials.

One popular tool is craft punches. I love using craft punches because my cutting skills aren’t so refined. Since the cut is pretty precise, using craft punches give your card a professional, polished appearance.

One of my favorites is the 1/2″ corner punch. You can round off one, two or all four corners of your card. Rounded corners help soften the look of a card.

  • TIP #1: Cut two or three different sizes of rectangles or squares in different colors that coordinate with your card, each 1/8″ smaller than the other, and round off the corners. Then layer them about 1/8″ apart to give a dimensional effect.
  • TIP #2: To give depth to a card, cut out a rectangle or square shape, round off all four corners using a corner punch and then adhere foam tape on the back. Put your sentiment, sticker or other embellishment onto the rectangle or square shape.
  • TIP #3: You can also use a corner craft punch on your photos. Cut a shape from cardstock, 1/8″ larger than your photo and round off the corners with a corner punch. Round off corners of your photo as well and then place your photo over the larger shape which will create a frame for your photo.

 

A ¼” corner punch is great for making tags as well as rounding off corners from square or rectangle shapes. Apply chalk paint to soften and highlight the edges.
 
Decorative corner punches are pretty and delicate. I like to use it on solid color paper or paper that isn’t so busy because you lose the fine detail of the punch design.

My other favorite craft punch is border punches. As of this article, I only have one design but it has been so versatile, I’ve utilized it on many cards. You can include a punched border on the sides, middle and bottom of your card.

  • TIP #4: Cut strips of paper using different colors that coordinate with your card. Punch out one side of the edge of each strip and layer by overlapping the strips. Circle punches are great for adding a sentiment or featuring an embellishment.
  • TIP #5: Using a graphic software program, create a dotted circle large enough that it fits just inside the circle, close to the edge of the punch. You can also include a sentiment or personalized message. Print it out on light cardstock paper. Center and punch out the dotted circle or sentiment with your circle punch. Punch a tiny hole just close to the top and use it as a tag.

 

If you can find two circle punches, one about 1/8″ smaller circumference than the other, the larger circle creates a nice frame and is just another idea to include in your card making techniques.
 
I think craft punches are a great addition to your card making supplies because they are so versatile and you can reuse it over and over again.

My name is Chloe, a card making enthusiast, and I love to share my ideas with those of you that have the same passion for card making.

Find these tips, examples and instructions of how punches are used at http://card-making-corner.com/handmade-card-ideas.html

 

One of the easiest and most common ways to make herbal soap is to use the Melt and Pour Method. To make an herbal soap this way, soak the herbs you wish to use in boiling water for 15 minutes. While the herbs are boiling, take plain, unscented soap, which you can easily buy from a grocery store or arts and crafts store, and place it in a pot on the stove. Turn the heat to low and slowly melt the soap.

After the soap is melted, drain the herbs that were soaking in the boiling water into a colander and then dump them into the melted soap. Stir well, remove the mixture from the heat, place it in a mold, and allow it to cool. If you allow the soap to cool in the pot before placing it in the mold, the soap may harden in the pot. You will then have to re-melt the soap and quickly place it in its mold if this happens. Once the soap is cool, it is ready to use!

The Melt and Pour Method is recommended for first time soap makers because of its simplicity. It has the advantage that it is easy and can be finished in only 1-2 hours and that the bars of soap can be used immediately. However, since you are using a commercial soap for your base, you will still end up with some artificial chemicals in your soap, which can cause drying and irritation. Many of the moisturizing skin care benefits may be lost also, depending on which commercial base is used.

However, all the benefits that the herbs provide will still be available to you. After you have made a few batches of soap using this method, you may want to move on to the more advanced methods of soap making, such as the Cold Process.

Charles is a herbal soap enthusiast and is interested in the health benefits they provide. To read more about herbal soaps, please visit:

http://eherbalsoap.com

http://eherbalsoap.com/herbal-soap/herbal-soap-better-than-commercial

In an age when both the economy and the environment are compromised, learning how to reuse, repurpose, and recycle common objects is important. It can help save time, money, space, and even the world. Here are some fun paper bag craft ideas for kids.

Grocery bag gift totes:
You’ll need:
Grocery bags
primer
oil paint
furniture wax
scissors
hole punch

Start by cutting off the top of the bag to make a new edge and get rid of the handles, if it has any. Prime inside and out in a thin layer and let dry. Mix furniture polish with a little bit of oil paint and, using a rag, paint the entire surface of the bag with this mixture. Let dry. Apply several layers until the bag has a texture and look you like. Decorate with paint. Punch holes in the top of the bag and thread through with yarn, raffia, or ribbon to make a decorative closure. This makes a gift bag suitable for any gift recipient. To make a child’s gift bag, use a grocery-sized or lunch bag-sized bag in the same way, but skip primer and furniture polish. Just paint and decorate the outside.

Grocery bag vest:
You’ll need:
Grocery bags
Scissors
crayons or paint
glue
construction paper

Cut arm holes and a head hole into a grocery bag so that it can be worn with the head through the bottom of the bag. Cut a line up the center of the bag until it meets the head hole. Trim up the top of the vest until it looks the way you want it to. Remove vest and decorate with crayon, paint, or cut-out shapes. This is a great craft for a rainy day and can result in a costume of any kind for restless kids. It could be a space suit, police vest, fairy princess costume, and anything else your kids can imagine.

Lunch bag puppet:
You’ll need:
paper lunch bags
scissors
glue
paint
yarn
felt

Lay the paper bag flat so that the bottom of the bag is facing you, flattened against one side. This should make a little flap. Decorate the bottom of the bag with paint or felt cutouts to make the top of a face. Create the mouth inside the flap so that you can see inside the mouth when the flap is lifted. You’ll want to leave a little lip or tongue peeking out from under the flap even when it is not lifted. Add yarn “hair” and dress the body of the bag with felt or painted clothing. When it is dry, place your hand into the bag so that your fingers are over the flap and your thumb is beneath it. Make your puppet talk by moving your hand and opening and closing the flap.

Paper bags can also be decorated or used as: Santa’s toy bag, mail carrier bags, pillows, televisions, cat toys (just place open, on its side, and watch the cat attack), and anything else. The only limits lie in your imagination. If you can’t think of anything, hand a bag to your child and see what they come up with.

Misha Anatolia writes about many topics including arts and crafts, events, and bridal showers. To see some fun ideas for bridal shower arts and crafts or for more bridal shower information, go to bridal-showers.org.

Note: You have permission to use this article freely in any publication as long as the resource box and byline are included as-is and any links are do follow when published.

Most parents have an annual hunt for good Christmas craft ideas, so to help you out, I have listed out my top three favorites.

1. Paper stars. These are really fund to make and also strangely simple. I actually use these for three different purposes. I make them small and colored for the and then use a sewing cotton thread to create a tie to hold them onto the Christmas tree. Then I make quite a few of these in different colors and sizes, and use them to make indoor wreaths. This is really simple to do. Firstly find a metal coat hanger and pull it out into a circular wreath shape. Then you will need to cover the metal. To cover the metal you can use either crepe ribbon or material ribbon; tissue paper is not really strong enough for the job. Then you need to simply arrange all your stars onto your circle and attach them. The best way to attach them is with strong tape at the back. To make the wreath look really good you need to make sure that it is jammed packed with stars, do not leave any spaces. To finish off the wreath simply add a large fabric bow at the top, then bend to coat hanger hook and hang it up. The final use for paper stars is as gift decorations. If you are making the Froebel stars then you can form half of the star and stick the easily to the presents.

2. Snow flakes. These are the easiest and probably the most commonly found of Christmas craft ideas. Some people then to think of these are rather basic. However, that does not need to be the case. By putting multiple snow flakes together in different colors and either overlaying them or interweaving them some truly amazing effects can be created. This is also a great way to get the kids involved as even the youngest children can make basic snow flakes.

3. Marzipan fruits. The only problem with these is not eating them as you make them. As a child I used to make these with my grand father and it is a memory I will always cherish. We divided the marzipan into parts and colored each one separately; red, yellow, green, brown, orange. The brown only needs to be a small amount. Then we would make strawberries, bananas, apples and oranges and each one would have it relevant stalks and stems. To create the texture for the strawberries and oranges we would roll them on a cheese grater.

Personally I find that Christmas can be a fairly stressful time, but the time we spend as a family together discovering new Christmas craft ideas and making old ideas more spectacular than the year before, is time I hope my kids will never forget.

These are the moments which form happy memories and can often last longer than receiving any gift from Father Christmas.

Discover more great Christmas craft ideas and other hints and tips to ensure that you have wonderful and memorable Christmas at http://greatchristmastime.com

Making soap at home has been popular hobby and or business for many years. In the last few years with the economy being in the shape that it is. It is less expensive option. There are also many reasons that have nothing to do with economics. Many people have sensitive skin that is aggravated by the harsh chemicals in ordinary commercial soap. One such chemical is sodium silicate which can cause burns and eye irritation, and possibly toxic when ingested. There are more chemicals such as

1) Sodium Lauyl Sulfate or SLS for short. Cant be digested and will negatively affect the liver.

2) Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Both of these ingredients are related to sulfuric acid and are used to make many soaps, detergents, shampoos and even tooth pastes it is used to make soaps foam up. Although SLES is somewhat less irritating than Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, it cannot be digested by the body and liver can affect the liver and its functions. That’s why making soap at home is more desirable than ever. You control what touches your skin.

It must be stated that ingredients in soap or any other product list is generally listed in the order of greatest quantity to the least common ingredients. Ivory soap has about the best ingredients for commercial soap but still is only about 56% pure. that’s pretty good for one of the BIG guys. The only way to get 100% pure soap is to make it yourself or to by natural soap. The only harmful ingredient in the grand scheme of Ivory soap is sodi among the ivory soap ingredients list is sodium silicate which can cause burns and eye irritation, and possibly toxic when ingested. However, the amount used in ivory soap ingredients is in minute amount to be a cause for concern. There’s just one ingredient missing in my opinion which is glycerin. This ingredient is all natural and is a ingredient that has natural moisturizing characteristics.

The only thing left to do is to give it your signature. you can add your favorite fragrance and color to match any room in the house. With a few touches you can be on your way making gift baskets or selling then online. People are going back to all natural soap. They might as well buy it from you.

That’ is why making soap at home is the best of both worlds. It gives you control over what goes on your body and you know for sure if that it is 100% natural. Naturally made soap, is the best for your skin with out a doubt. Visit my blog if you want to make your skin softer and more young looking.

Lots of kids love to watch Rolie Polie Olie on Disney. He is a fun robot that knows how to play and have a good time. Why not let them do a fun and easy craft to make their own Rolie Polie Olie? They will have lots of fun and can get creative.

Here are the materials you will need for the Rolie Polie Olie craft.

Construction Paper

Crayons or markers

Black string/licorice or anything else that you want to use for the arms, legs and antennae

Glue or tape

Template of Rolie Polie Olie

The first thing that you want to do is to print out a template or draw your own for Rolie Polie Olie. You will need to have the clothes and shoes too. You or the kids can cut out the templates depending on how old the kids are.

Now have them glue the body together. They can use tape to attach the arms, legs, hands, antenna on the top of the head and feet. Once that is done, all that is left is to put the face on him, which they can do by drawing it. Then they can get creative and decorate Rolie Polie Olie any way that they want to. This will let each child have their own kind of robot.

Now they can take him home and hang Rolie Polie Olie in their room or just play with him. This makes a great craft for kids to do and they will have hours of fun making it and playing with it.

Mrs. Party… Gail Leino takes a common sense approach to planning and organizing events, celebrations and holiday parties with unique ideas for birthday party supplies and fun 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 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.

So you have decided to promote your business doing craft shows but now you are wondering “how do I make the most out of my precious 10 X 10 area?” The key to this is to attract attention and bring those customers into your booth!

Planning out your booth before hand is a key factor to the successful layout of your booth. Using items found at home is an inexpensive method. Look for unique pieces to incorporate into your display; furniture pieces, shelving, Items with visual interest. Layers and stacking product keep interest high and makes everything easier to see.

Color plays a big factor as well. What decorations are you using? Is it holiday themed? Tie decorations around that. Harvest time? Easter, Valentines, Bridal? All of these have certain colors associated with them. Of course you do not have to go that route. Complete opposite decorations are attractive as well. Shocking pink or bright yellow would definitely set you apart from the crowd. Make sure that you incorporate your products however and pick up color schemes from them.

Interesting fabrics are a great tool to use as well. Be careful of clashing prints though. You do not want any busy displays. If it is hard for people to focus on any one thing and the table ends up looking junky, they will walk away.

The flow of traffic in and out of your booth is important. You don’t want it to seem crowded but you do want to utilize your space completely. You want to be able to have someone come in and talk with you, see your merchandise easily, fill out information sheets. Comfortable and inviting is the ambience that you are striving for.

Your mix of product is equally important as all of the above. You do not have to bring your whole inventory, just a representation of your line or the products geared to the event theme. Taking orders is definitely ok to do at these shows. Don’t feel you have to bring everything. That will be too much work for you and you will be less inclined to want to continue these types of shows. Try bringing a photo album or book with you to display your other items available.

Keeping your event set up simple yet attractive will ensure interest from your potential customers. Being a unique vendor in set up and display will encourage a great shopping experience for them as well. Above all, have fun!

Copyright Chris Carroll All Rights Reserved

Chris Carroll is a sales professional that has made direct sales her business of choice and enjoys sharing with others. Blogger, product reviewer, article writer and ghostwriter round out her profession. Find her at http://www.DirectSalesTalk.com and http://www.TwoClassyChics.com

Making soap at home can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Once you’ve learned the basics, there are lots of experiments you can do with scents and other things. But it’s important, first, to understand the basic steps of how to make soap at home. After all, soap making has become a lost home craft because there can be difficulties and dangers involved. But when you’ve created something useful from scratch, the work can be well worth the effort.

The main ingredients you’ll need for homemade soap are water, lye, and some kind of oil-even lard can be used, like your great-grandmother probably did. Lye is a caustic material so you’ll want to handle it carefully. Don’t get it on your skin and make sure you wear eye goggles and work in a well-ventilated area. You might even want to use a respirator. You’ll also need a couple of containers in which to heat the ingredients-glass or plastic for the lye and a metal pot for the oil. Plus you’ll need a mold into which you’ll pour your soap for cooling and shaping.

A wax paper-lined cake pan will do the job, but you’ll have to cut the soap after it hardens. That means you’ll need a large, very sharp knife, or you might be more comfortable rigging a soap slicer out of fishing line. If you’d rather not mess with cutting then smaller, soap bar-size molds work better, like muffin tins or a similar-sized container. Inexpensive cooking thermometers are needed so that you’ll know exactly how hot your lye and oils get. Finally, you’ll need measuring cups and stirring implements, preferably wooden ones. Whatever materials you use when you are learning how to make soap at home, make sure it’s dedicated to soap making. Don’t plan on using any of it for cooking food.

There are plenty of soap recipes available, but basically you’ll heat the lye with the water-a chemical reaction causes the mixture to heat as the lye dissolves. Once that is done, let it cool to 110 degrees. At the same time, heat your chosen oil-coconut, olive, lard, or other-to the same temperature. When they are both 110 degrees, slowly pour the lye mixture into the container with the oils. Mix everything carefully with your stirring implement, using gentle but constant strokes. You can use a stick blender if you like, but many people prefer wood.

When the soap begins to thicken, start paying really close attention to avoid losing control. Lift your stirring implement and allow a little bit of the mixture to drizzle back into the rest. If the soap maintains its shape before sinking, then it’s ready. If you wait too long, you might not be able to get all of the soap mixture out of the container. That’s an important less in how to make soap at home-if not done properly you’ll ruin your container for future attempts.

Carefully pour the thickened soap into the mold. Then wrap it with a towel and put it aside for 24 hours. This gives the ingredients time to meld properly and for the soap to “set”. Once that is done, the soap can be turned out of the mold and cut into the desired size. Then you should store it on brown paper in a cool area of the house. Turn each bar after it has set for two weeks then allow it to set for another two or three weeks. Basically it is ready to use after one month.

For more details and some great recipes that include various scents and other techniques on how to make soap at home, visit http://www.soap-making-tips.info, or click here!

St. Patrick’s day is a great day for kid’s crafts. It is a wonderful day to get out the paint, glue sticks, and crafting materials to create something to celebrate the holiday. The following are three great craft ideas of kids.

Blarney Stone:

A blarney stone comes from old Irish folklore. In southwestern Ireland, there is a very famous stone called the Blarney Stone. If you kiss the stone, you are said to be given the gift of eloquence. It is a big part of Irish tradition.

So, make your own Blarney stones at home as part of your St. Patty’s Day crafts. To do this you need river stones, green paint, some googly eyes, and a black paint pen.

Start by painting the rocks green. You will have to wait for a while for them to dry, so it is best to do this in advance, and have an adult do it. Then, once the rock is painted, let your kids use the googly eyes, paint pen etc. to put a face on their very own Blarney stone.

You can use glitter, fabric, feathers, etc. to add a mouth, hair, and other accessories. Just don’t forget to give it a smooch so that you can be eloquent.

Heart Shamrocks:

Shamrocks are a big deal in Irish culture as they are a symbol of luck. Any craft you make with shamrocks is a fun way to celebrate the holiday. A fun one for kids is to make a heart shamrock.

You need green construction paper, yellow construction paper, black crayons or markers, glue, scissors.

To make a heart shamrock you use the green construction paper and cut out three hearts. Arrange them into a shamrock shape, and cut out a stem. Use glue to attach them to the yellow construction paper. Then using the black crayons or markers, write out your felicitations of luck, such as “luck be with you” and then use it as a gift, card, etc.

Leprechaun Luck:

Leprechauns are mythic in Ireland, and are a great part of the St. Patrick’s Day tradition. There are all sorts of lore surrounding leprechauns. So, one fun craft is to create a necklace using this lore.

To do this print out the following poem:

I keep three wishes handy,
In case I chance to meet
Any day a Leprechaun
Coming down the street.

Then create a shamrock, and write one wish on each leaf of the shamrock. Punch a hole in the top. Glue the poem to the side the wishes are not on, and string yarn through it to create a wish necklace. This can be worn during the day, to provide you with your green so that you do not get pinched, and is a fun way to grab hold of some Irish tradition.

Art and Craft Ideas for Kids are great ways to help them learn how to become creative in their thinking. In addition to being a great way to enhance their creative talents, it is also proven to be a good way for you to bond with your children while participating in projects together. There are untold thousands of different types of Art and Craft Ideas for Kids for every taste and preference and while they are really fun for most kids, fun is only one aspect of it.

Besides the fun aspect of creating crafts, you must remember that this type of activity is very educational as well. Participating in arts and crafts has been proven to develop many aspects of the thinking, reasoning and learning parts of the brain as well is improving many judgment skills. Art and Craft Ideas for Kids are also an exceptional way to occupy your kids when the weather outside is not good for outside activities such as rainy or snowy days.

Everyone loves holiday crafts and a great way to keep your children busy and engaged is to start them on a holiday craft. You, as well as your children, will enjoy this interactive time. Age is not a factor when it comes to crafts as there are projects for every age, toddler to teen. Kids of all ages enjoy Art and Craft Ideas for Kids. Let’s take a look at two examples of ideas for kids.

First, lets look at Paper Snowflakes. The only tools you need for this fun activity is white paper and a pair of scissors. Take the paper and fold it in half, then you fold it in half again until you have formed a triangle. Next, you will cut a series of small shapes out of the paper, now if you carefully unfold the piece pf paper, you will have a beautiful, totally unique snowflake! For a fancier, flashier look to your snowflakes, have your kids use glue and glitter on them.

Next, let’s take a look at the project of Recycled Cards. This simple craft involves having your kids cut the message part out of a used card and gluing them to the front of your choice of folded construction paper or lightweight card stock. They can do this to make their own, unique cards to send to family or friends. This Art and Craft Ideas for Kids is not only fun but also good for the environment via recycling!

Looking for the Best Homemade Craft Ideas?

Ever wanted to learn How to Make Duct Tape Wallets or are you looking for Craft Ideas to Sell?