Easter Piggy

Smaller holidays (or should I say, less promoted, marketed, or advertised than Christmas) have a way of creeping up on me in which I’m usually scrambling last minute to pull something together. As I was talking with Myla last week about Easter, she reminded me that the Easter Bunny leaves coins in the eggs at our house (instead of chocolate or toys). A few years ago, the Easter Bunny made a special Patchwork Piggy Bank for Myla when she was old enough to collect eggs - and understand that something was supposed to be in them. When she was Maddox’s age, we got away with just doing an empty egg hunt - just finding the eggs alone was joy enough for her. BUT, since Maddox will be able to collect eggs this year, I’m sure Myla will question why he doesn’t have a special piggy bank like hers to put his coins in. Alas, I realized I had a project on my hands despite how busy this coming week was going to be.

Therefore, starting this past Saturday I began working on Maddox’s special Piggy Bank. I’ll admit that I was in a rush and was thinking that maaaaaybe I should have come up with some cool design to paint on the pig - like make it into a racecar pig, a camo pig, an argyle pig, or an airplane pig. Instead, I went with what I already knew and did another patchwork type piggy bank. Luckily I still have a HUGE book of scrapbooking paper in all sorts of colors and interesting patterns. I chose the colors we are hoping to do his toddler room in - blue and orange - because seriously, the way this kid climbs, I’m sure he’s going to be out of his crib even sooner than Myla was and he’ll need a big boy bed all his own.  

Finished Piggy Bank

Back to the Pig… I used my paper cutter to cut one inch squares from 5 different blues, and 4 different orange/browns. I started by marking on the pig where the color would change and then began Mod Podging the orange and browns from the bottom. Since the legs make it a little difficult to work around, I didn’t try to keep the pieces in any specific pattern until I made the last row where the color changes to blue. Then I kept working all the way to the top and when finished made sure to give the entire pig another really good coat of Mod Podge. I cut some brown felt for the ears, eyes, and nose and glued those on with tacky glue. And finished it off with a piece of twine detail where the color changes. (Twine does seem more masculine than ribbon, right?) You can view the steps in pictures when I made Myla's Piggy Bank.

Back and Top Views

I’m so looking forward to Easter morning - not only is Maddox really into working his fine motor skills, so I know he’ll enjoy putting the coins into the bank, BUT Myla will be so excited to see that her little brother got his very own bank for all the Easter Egg coins that will arrive that morning. She's truly such a sweetheart who loves her brother immensely - it makes my heart smile.

Mother's Day Card & Keepsake

Maybe it’s the weather we’ve been having… the cold, dreary weather, but it’s May already. Although, it still feels like early April and Mother’s Day is this Sunday! I had hoped to post this little project sooner, but I’ve been working on a really big project that’s draining me and taking most of my time. So, hopefully if you’re still looking for an easy project to do with your little one, this can give you some inspiration.

When Myla was a little over 5 months old, I wanted to do my first craft project with her. Well, maybe not our first. We DID try one of those handprint Christmas ornament kits when she was a month old - sooo not successful. But the following year we DID find a fun way to create handprint ornaments that were MUCH more successful.

Anyways, I wanted to create Mother’s Day cards for each Grandmother with Myla’s very first finger painting (with Mommy’s help, of course) that would become a special keepsake.

I started by creating these cards using black construction paper, origami paper, ribbon, watercolor paper and paints, and my printer. Origami paper is one of my favorite fun craft  supplies to have on hand. They are the perfect little size, with fun colors and patterns, that make beautiful little backgrounds for homemade cards and gift tags. After assembling the cards, it was time to “paint” with Myla. I cut small squares of heavy card stock, dipped Myla’s tiny little fingers in some pink, pearly paint, and “painted” little hearts. What I love about this little painting, is seeing how tiny her finger tips were. I added a little tag reading “Painted with Love by Myla” and glued it on the back of the card. 

In order to make this homemade card and painting into a special keepsake, I searched high and low for the perfect size frame. After giving the cards to each grandmother, we gave them the frame so they could display Myla’s very first painting. Only thing I wish I did was make one for myself as a remembrance of my very first Mother’s Day. (So make sure you remember to do that for yourself.) 

Happy Mother’s Day to every Mom and Mom-to-be, every Step-Mom, Grandmother and Great Grandmother, to each Adoptive Mother, to the Mom who has lost, and those women who may not be mothers by blood or on paper, but are truly Moms in every sense of the word. Enjoy your special day - you deserve it as it’s you who have the biggest hearts and share the most amazing love. 

Patchwork Piggy Bank

I know, I know… I’m late sharing this post. And I know, I know, it really shouldn’t matter because this blog is about sharing my creative projects with you whenever that may be - with the hope of inspiring you to “create”. However, I really wanted to share this Easter Gift Idea well before Easter. But, I underestimated my free time and had to call in my mom, and my niece and nephew, to help entertain Myla yesterday while I finished up this project.

Making Myla a custom Piggy Bank has been on my to-do list for quite some time. I remember my own from childhood. A little white pig with a yellow bow and flower - It was a super special place where I stored all my special coins and two-dollar bills. Therefore, when I spotted a huge porcelain piggy bank, and had a 40% off coupon, I almost started jumping up and down. It was perfect! And even more perfect for only $5. 

I thought about materials I already had on hand including a book of scrapbooking paper in a ton of different colors - I just needed to buy some ModPodge - and I could cover the bank with bits of colorful paper. I was already loving the idea I had - but of course, most good ideas have already been thought of by someone else. Which is why I thought it was funny as I was walking around JoAnn’s and came across one of their project idea instruction sheets for a Piggy Bank similar to the one I wanted to create for Myla. Although mine is definitely better. (wink wink)

I began by pulling out all the materials I thought I might use including feathers, ribbons, flowers, paper, and felt. And I got to work.

I started by choosing paper in three similar colors for the bottom portion of the pig and three for the top. Then, I cut those into one inch squares. I marked off a two inch high line around the pig as a guide for placing the first row of paper squares. Using the ModPodge I worked the squares around the entire bottom portion of the pig in an irregular pattern after the first row. I noticed too that by rubbing the brush with glue a few extra times, that it gave the paper a slightly worn look which I just so happened to like. It almost made it look like worn leather. Then I began on the top section, but this time, I kept all the squares in the same pattern to make it look like patchwork.

Once finished, I covered the color split with ribbon. Then I cut out felt for the nose, ears and eyes - and made a little bow for the top with a few feathers tucked in.

Now for the Easter Gift part of this project… 

I wanted to try to avoid giving Myla candy, at least for another few years before she “expects” it. I thought about stickers or trinkets, but she already has plenty of those. So what’s something that is fun to receive that isn’t trash-worthy? Money!!! I don’t know about you, but we tend to throw all our coins into a jar that sits around with no purpose. Therefore, I decided to give those coins a purpose and stuff them into the 48 eggs Myla would go out hunting for. And the Piggy Bank was the perfect complementing present to put all that treasure. We actually did our egg hunt this morning and Myla loved opening all 48 eggs and popping the coins into her very own Piggy Bank. 

Easter Egg Carton Craft

There’s no better time to make egg carton crafts than at Easter. If you’re like me, (and the hubby insists there are going to be eggs in the house), I usually buy organic, certified humane, brown eggs - which always seem to come in clear plastic egg cartons - which aren’t very craft friendly. And since brown eggs aren’t as easy to dye for Easter, this is probably the only time of year that we would probably opt for the regular white eggs which usually come in the perfectly craft-able, cardboard egg carton.

I don’t know what it is about creating projects from recyclable materials like egg cartons and paper towel rolls that’s so much fun. Perhaps it’s just knowing the materials are laying around the house somewhere - as was all the other materials I used for this fun toddler craft with Myla. 

Some staple kid craft supplies I keep on hand (and suggest to others) are: googly eyes, pipe cleaners, beads, pom poms, feathers, construction paper, glue, popsicle sticks, and paints. So, I went into the craft cabinet and pulled out a few of those items. I most certainly didn’t want to go overboard with these and wanted to only use materials I already had. Plus, Myla’s attention span for crafts is still somewhere in the 10 minute range.

We did this project in different stages in order to hold her attention. Before we even got started and she was busy playing, I cut out the egg carton cups. Here is where I learned that not all egg cartons are created equal. They actually come in different shapes and usable cup depths. So, while the carton I had wasn’t the best, I was still determined to make it work. After all, I need to get over my perfectionism - this was just a toddler craft project and I’m sure Myla wasn’t going to notice the difference.

While I cut out all the little feet, wings, ears, teeth, and beaks, I let Myla chop away with her safety scissors at the same color construction paper I was working with. She got in some good scissor practice while also feeling like she was helping with those pieces. 

Then we took a break while I set up for the next step: painting! We worked with one color at a time and I made sure to find big brushes which would easily help her cover the entire cup. In the end, I still had to touch them up as her attention went from painting the cups to painting the large piece of cardboard we used as our work surface. I can’t blame her - just look at that big beautiful empty canvas. By the way, acrylic craft paint is non-toxic and pretty easy to clean up from hands and tables - so let them have fun!

We took another long break while we let those dry and played outside for a bit. During that time, Gramma decided to stop by for a visit and we reeled her into the assembly part.  We used a tiny strip of paper to connect the top and bottom by gluing it to the inside. Then we started by gluing on the feet, all the other paper pieces, pom poms, and finished up with the eyes. I love how by simply placing the eyes, beaks or teeth in slightly different positions, you get such funny expressions on each one.

Myla loved holding the “little chicks and bunnies” gently in her hands. She thinks they are super cute. Perhaps on Easter morning, I’ll fill them with white and yellow mini cadbury eggs and leave them out on the breakfast table as a little surprise as I don’t plan on putting any candy in her easter basket. I’m sure she’s going to get her fill from the grandparents in that department.

Easy Handprint Ornament

For Myla’s first Christmas in 2011 she was only 1 month old. We received one of those Handprint Kits with plaster and a mold. It seemed like a great idea and easy enough to do. Just take her hand and place it in the plaster, right? Wrong, so wrong. We tried quite a few times - having to tap the mold on the table to get the plaster to level out again and again, and clean off her hand again and again. Each time her hand hit the plaster, she curled her fingers grabbing a wad of plaster along the way. After several failed attempts, we decided to try her foot… since she couldn’t curl her foot quite like her hand, we got something that we felt was “good enough” after a few tries.

During that next year, we discovered Myla is a very sensory-seeking child. There is no way we could possibly try something like that again. Or… any of those ideas that included handprints with paint or plaster-type material. I know exactly where all the paint and plaster would end up… all over her and me and quite possibly the walls and dogs. (I’m not complaining… she’s just like me - I used to squish spaghetti through my hair at her age… so I get it - but I also didn't feel like trying to clean her and everything around her.) But alas, I had to come up with another idea as I really wanted to make a homemade ornament with her.

I still had some Model Magic Clay from the Clay Owls I created for the Baby Shower Centerpiece and figured I'd try that. What I thought was neat about this stuff, is that it’s lightweight. I don’t know about you, but heavy ornaments kind of annoy me. Even if they’re pretty, they pull the branches down so much that they can leave a bare space... and ultimately more work trying to figure out how to camouflage that area. Anyways, once I tested the clay and knew it would work, I decided to make an ornament for each set of grandparents. I used a mini quiche pan as a "cookie cutter" for a snowflake type shape. And, surprisingly, Myla was happy to have me squish her hand into the clay… and even REPEAT it three times. I made a hole for the silver ribbon which I knotted in back and covered with a heart-shaped piece of clay. After letting it sit out to dry for a few days, I used a Silver Sharpie marker to write her name and the year. Relatively quick and easy - and most definitely cute!

I ran out of white clay when it came to making our own, so I used some of the light brown clay and the remaining white clay to make little snowflakes which I cut out with an X-ACTO blade (a favorite tool of mine). I wrote with the Silver Sharpie on the back for ours and used red curling ribbon to hang it.