As the seasons turn from fall to winter, I love creating a warm environment inside my home by decorating for the holidays. Getting out the decorations acquired over the years brings back wonderful memories and creates excitement for what lies ahead this season. After the decorations are up, there always seems to be an empty space that needs something new. This gives me the perfect excuse to head to the craft store.
The first craft uses the same mason jars that were used for the Halloween decorations posted on QCMB in October. This craft can be done for very little time and money, and with reusing the mason jar, you save even more.
Cinnamon and Berry Jar
What you need:
Measure berry garland to fit around the rim of mason jar.
Cut to size with wire cutters.
Fill mason jar with cinnamon sticks.
Attach each edge of the garland to jar with tape.
The next project is easy, inexpensive and can be designed to coordinate with any decorations you already have. This project is great for the holidays or you can pick papers that work for any occasion.
Holiday Wood Letters
What you need:
Wood Letters (I used white letters I purchased at Michael’s. If you use plain wood letters, paint the sides of letters with spray or acrylic paint.)
Lay your letter face down on the back of the paper of your choice and trace.
Cut out the shape of the letter traced. *Save the excess paper for the gift wrapping idea below!
Place paper on top of the letter and make any adjustments necessary.
Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the wood letter.
Place paper on letter and smooth out any air bubbles with your fingers.
Allow glue to dry.
Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the surface to seal (optional).
While I just used paper for my letters, feel free to get creative with buttons, ribbon and stickers for extra embellishments.
Hang letters on a wall or prop on a shelf to create the perfect decoration for the room of your choice!
After you complete your crafts, be sure to keep any extra paper and berries to make your gifts a little extra special this year. You can use the extra paper scraps to cut out words or shapes and glue them to your packages to make your wrapping a little extra festive and personal. I used the extra paper from my Noel craft to add my son’s name to one of his wrapped packages. This is also a great way to use extra scraps of wrapping paper that are too small to use otherwise. Left over berries from the mason jar craft can be used to spruce up simple gift bags. I love the classic brown paper gift bags with berries wrapped around the handle. In the photo of the bag you can see I also added an ornament for decoration. Each year I hit the sales after the holidays to pick up ornaments on clearance for decorating gifts the following year. I usually spend anywhere from ten to fifty cents per ornament, so for very little money you can add a special decoration to a package that is also an extra little gift!
We have spent the majority of the summer outside but there are just those days that I need to stay inside in my sweats. Enter ramps. Ramp play is full of exploration, problem solving, cause and effect, concepts of gravity, motion, and physical science. And even better yet, ramps are one of my kids favorite things to do! What child doesn’t love playing with “grown up” things? I recently took a set of ramps to a Stroller Strides Playdate and all the kids were completely engaged (as you can see in the pictures)!
Side note – can you feel the change in season coming? Winter is just around the corner and ramps make a great indoor activity! They are inexpensive and easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need and some helpful tips while playing with them.
- 1 3/4 inch wide ‘cove molding’ cut into 1, 2, 3, and 4 foot pieces (can be found and cut at any lumber store).
- Different heights of blocks to change the slope of the ramp (you could also use a coffee table, couch, stool, etc). For younger children (2 and under), sponges can be used to create a smaller slope.
- Objects to roll in different sizes such as golf balls, wiffle balls, bouncy balls, marbles (make sure none are a choking hazard). Provide objects that don’t roll as well (small blocks or cars).
How to play:
- Put the ramp flat on the floor and ask, “how can you make this ball roll down the ramp?”
- Let the child discover the answers themselves. It’s hard for me to watch my children make mistakes but this is an important part of the learning process.
- Keep asking questions to help your child’s learning. “I see the block isn’t rolling down the ramp. Can you find something that does roll?”
*** In my experience, I can’t walk away from my children while they are exploring or ‘ramp play’ turns into ‘sword fight’.
I would love to hear about your favorite activities! I need to prepare for a long winter inside with a 4-year-old and 2-year-old!
This is my adorable niece showing off another DIY hairbow! I promise the next DIY will be gender neutral! I just can’t resist a cute new hairbow!
I used ¼” dowels that are 12’’ long. You can purchase dowels at a craft store. You will also need clothespins for holding the ribbon to the dowels. I used 3/8” ribbon. You can experiment with different styles and sizes of ribbon.
Start by placing your ribbon at the top of the dowel and securing it in place with a clothespin. Twist the ribbon down the dowel. When you get to the end, cut the ribbon and use another clothespin to secure the ribbon to the dowel.
Place your dowels on a cookie sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Cut your ribbon to the size and number you want.
I cut my ribbon into 3 inch strips and used 5 of each color for a total of 15 strips.
Thread a needle with a thread that matches your ribbon. Place the middle of the ribbons on the needle alternating directions. Do not thread it all the way down; you want it to still be on the needle. Hold your thumb at the bottom of the needle to prevent the ribbon from sliding down.
After all the ribbon are on the needle, hold the ribbon in place and thread the needle all the way through until the knot stops at the back.
Now take your needle back through the middle to make a stitch. Repeat this a few times to make the bow more secure.
On the center of the ribbon, make a line of hot glue over the stitch and place your clip of choice. Set aside to allow glue to set. Enjoy!