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Homemade Pomander Air Freshener – DIY Project

Pomander graphic blog

I’m always looking for natural ways to scent my home. I had automatic spraying air fresheners in every room of my home last year. At the time I didn’t realize how many bad chemicals are in them, I just loved my home smelling pretty and that was the easiest way to do it. But I was getting really bad headaches almost daily, and I didn’t know why. I was browsing some information online one day, and found that many people are intolerant to air fresheners. Headaches are not uncommon, which explained why I was getting them so frequently at home. Then I found that the chemicals in them are not good, and having mine spray all day long was definitely not a good idea. I removed them all and began researching homemade air fresheners and found a lot of good ideas!

When I first heard the word “pomander” I thought maybe it was a trouble fruit I hadn’t heard of. Turns out it’s a fun way to create a natural fragrance in your home. Pomanders are oranges with cloves pushed into their skin. That’s it! They create a nice spicy smell that is great for the fall and winter. You can put as many or as little cloves in your orange as you like. You can put them in a fun pattern or just randomly. You can hang them with ribbons for a fun decoration like in the picture below.

 

You’ll need oranges and/or lemons and whole cloves for this project, plus ribbon or any extra decorations you want for them. Make sure you get enough cloves for the design you want. And remember, the more cloves you add, the stronger the scent. This is something kids can make as well but they may not enjoy the smell. My daughter told me the cloves smelled too strong. Make sure that the scent is something you will all enjoy.

You can see how nice these can look in a bowl or hanging. Use your creativity to make these however you like! You can even experiment to see what different citrus fruits you enjoy the most. You can even add little bows and bells to make it festive for the winter holidays.

How do you enjoy giving your home a nice holiday scent naturally?

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Pumpkin Painting Fun – DIY Halloween Project

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Kids love to paint and make things. Kids love fun crafts. This works well for me because I love creating things too! I watch kids from home and one day of the week I have my daughter (7) and another older kiddo (9) who can handle messy projects without making a HUGE mess. We wanted something that would last longer than a carved pumpkin, plus it’s hard for young kids to carve them into something that resembles their original idea. Instead, we decided to paint ours pumpkins!

 

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First of all, you will need pumpkins to paint and paint in fun colors. Don’t forget paint brushes and a bowl of water to rinse them in. Make sure to lay down lots of newspaper or sale sheets to protect your floor. And keep a couple towels or rags handy to wipe brushes, paint on hands or clean up spills. My daughter loves to paint as a hobby so we have LOTS of acrylic paint on hand at all times. I pick up paint at Hobby Lobby with their 40% off coupon and sometimes they have clearance paint for $1 and change.

 

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These metallic paints are Kid Made Modern Shimmer Shine Paints from Target. They give a nice metallic color, though a few had to be mixed with solid colors to make them really show up on the orange pumpkins. This set of 8 paints was $8.99 + tax at Target. I loved the price and the quality! The kids enjoyed using them as well.

 

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I had a few left over plastic container lids that were just sitting on my shelf so we used them for our paints. It worked out really well because the raised edge kept paint from spilling or dripping off. I used a piece of cardboard from recycling because I am less likely to spill paint. 🙂 We used plastic bowls and cups with water in them to rinse our brushes. We keep a large set of brushes on hand as well for my little artist.

 

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We put down lots of sale sheets and even used an empty box to paint on. It was lots of messy fun! My daughter’s pumpkin is the top left, the other kiddo’s pumpkin is the top right, and mine is the bottom right. I loved seeing their creativity! They loved getting to paint, create their own unique pumpkin, and spend time together laughing and talking. It was a great way to bond with each other over something fun.

 

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These are our finished pumpkins! My daughter’s is on the left, mine is in the back middle and the other kiddo’s is on the right. 🙂 I love how they turned out! The acrylic leaves the paint looking shiny and wet even when it dries. The kids were thrilled with their pumpkins and were excited to display them. I enjoyed the project too, and my pumpkin came out exactly how I wanted.

How does your family enjoy decorating pumpkins?

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Weekly Links

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Fall Guess Bags: Focus on Touch
Pumpkin Pie Play Dough
A Birthday “Block” Party part 1
Outdoor play idea and a new post-Halloween tradition: smashing pumpkins
make your own positivity jar
Playful Learning Activity Sets
Exploring the seeds of fall in preschool
How to Draw a Jack O’Lantern
Pirate Treasure Nature Scavenger Hunt
My Weather Station – Printable Weather Activity
Kid Friendly Meal Using Pumpkin 3-Ways

Crock Pot Caramel Dip

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DIY Mummy Jar Lights – Halloween Craft

mummy jar lights logo

I saw a picture of this fun Halloween project on Facebook and decided to try it out. To start out you’ll need:

– Empty glass jars without lids (If you plan to use them later save the lids in a drawer)
– Rolled gauze (We used 1 roll for 2 jars. Walmart sells this pack of 5 for $5.77 with tax.)
– Electric tea lights ($1 for a pack of 2 at Dollar Tree)
– Googly eyes (You can find these at almost any store with craft/art supplies)
– Glue to put the eyes on (We used tacky glue because Elmers glue would not keep them on.)
– Scissors to cut the gauze into strips and small clear tape to tape on pieces of gauze

 

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First I cut off long strips of gauze from a roll. Then I cut the strips in half length wise. This gave then a more tattered look and gave us thinner pieces to work with. We used 1 roll of gauze for 2 big jars so plan accordingly. You could probably get 4 smaller glass jars with just one roll. I picked up rolled gauze in a 5 pack at Walmart for $5.77 with tax. The nice thing about having extra is that we can either make more jars, or save it for something else in the future.

 

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This is what our jar looked like during the wrapping process. You want to get all the glass wrapped without covering it too thickly. If it’s too thick, the light won’t shine through as well. You also want it to look a little uneven like creepy mummy bandages.

 

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When you are done wrapping your jar you’ll want to add eyes. Googly eyes work well and give it a cute and spooky look. We tried using regular kids glue first but the eyes just fell off. I keep tacky glue on hand for many projects so we used that instead. After putting glue on the eyes, I pressed them down onto the gauze for 30 seconds. I wanted to make sure our eyes didn’t fall off. 🙂

 

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These are my two completed mummy jars. I chose the big googly eyes because I liked the way they looked. They were pretty quick for me to make and I enjoyed the process.

 

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My daughter did 2 of the jars as well so this project is definitely kid approved! She enjoyed wrapping her jars and only needed a little help with a few pieces. Any time we can do a project together is great because we love to create together and we love the quality time together.

 

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My daughter chose smaller eyes for her 2 jars. These are her finished jars, ready for lights. It took her a little bit longer to complete but it wasn’t ever too hard or too frustrating for her. She really had fun with it.

 

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Here is a our finished mummies with their lights inside! 🙂 I think they turned out great! We set them in the window but only turn the little lights on at night when they can really be seen. Our electric tea lights were in a 2 pack for $1 at Dollar Tree and they say they last 120 hours. You can use regular tea light candles but please only have an adult actually light them and keep them away from anything flammable. You’ll need a long lighter that can reach the candle in the bottom of the jar.

Once the season is over, we will take off the gauze and the jars will go back to being used to store stuff. For this reason I didn’t glue the gauze on to the jars. The gauze stayed on just fine without the glue. We used clear tape to hold down a couple pieces when we first starting wrapping the jar,  but they ended up covered in gauze so you couldn’t see them.

If you give this project a try I’d love to see your results!

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More Handmade Legwarmers for Kids!

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My kiddo and I enjoyed our handmade leg warmers so much that I have been keeping an eye out for more long fuzzy socks every time we are at the store. Today while in the kids section I found two more cute pairs that were on sale for $2 each. The colors were fun so we got them!

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You start off the same way – take the pairs of long socks like this and cut the feet parts off either before the heel or in the middle of the heel. I cut in the middle of the heel to make it longer on one side to go over the top of the foot a bit more.

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You could probably make them out of any type of long socks but we really like the fuzzy ones. 🙂

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If you know what Lalaloopsy dolls, the rainbow color socks reminded me of them. My kiddo likes some of the Lalaloopsy stuff so these were a fun find. She calls them her Loopsy legwarmers.

These are so simple and quick to make. When you cut them you may shed some fuzzies but it didn’t bother us. The fuzzy legwarmers are very warm and great over leggings. They definitely make more fun colors for kids though! After winter is a great time to get them on sale so keep an eye out and stock up. 🙂

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Handmade Leg Warmers For Women and Girls

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I have been looking for fuzzy leg warmers for my little girl for a while. She’s 6 so usually we find baby and toddler ones but not any to fit her. We were at Target over the weekend and I found long fuzzy socks in their clearance area for $2.50 each. I thought they would be perfect to make into leg warmers! I got a gray pair for me and a red pair my kiddo picked out. The process was VERY simple – I just cut the feet part off of the socks, that’s it! All you need is the long socks and scissors.

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This what both pairs looked like after being cut. I left a little bit of the heel part on them to give them a cute angle over the feet when put on. When I cut them some extra fuzzy fluff came off but I just pulled off the loose pieces and then they were fine. If you wanted to get more creative you could sew the ends or put elastic.

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This is what mine look like on. They fit nicely and were super cozy. I really liked how they came out! These look great over skinny jeans. I have a pair of silver ballet flats that they will look great with. 🙂

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This is my kiddo wearing hers. Since these were adult sized we were able to scrunch them up some. She said they are very soft and very cozy. 🙂 She enjoys wearing them and they look cute over her leggings. These are great for cooler days!

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Handmade Hairbow Holder

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My little girl has a lot of hairbows. I’m sure many little girls do! I had seen plenty of handmade hairbow holders but the prices were ridiculous in my opinion, especially since I knew I could do it myself. I started off getting a cute wooden butterfly shape from Hobby Lobby. You could use foam or felt shapes as well. Just make sure it can handle bows hanging from it. You’ll also need pretty ribbon. My little girl *loves* cheetah print so that’s what I used. And you’ll need a hot glue gun, and a smaller ribbon to make a loop on top to hang the holder.

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Cut your ribbon the length you want. Our shape was big enough for two ribbons so I didn’t make them very long. I used wired ribbon but regular ribbon works just as well.

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Hot glue the ribbon to the back of your shape. Make sure you glue enough of it onto the back to make it sturdy enough to hold your bows. Then glue the smaller ribbon in a loop on the top of your shape to hang your bow holder from. I also folded over the ends of the ribbon at the bottom and hot glued it to keep it from fraying.

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Finished bow holder! 🙂 This took me about 5 minutes to make and it was super simple. It will be a big help in organizing my daughter’s bows!

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No Bake Felt Cookies for Kids!

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I love kids crafts, especially ones that are easy to make. I finished this project, posted it on my local homeschool group and am now posting it here all within an hour. This really is a simple one to make, it costs very little, and it’s fun for kids to play with! 🙂

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Step 1 – You’ll need a tan felt sheet and two other felt sheets in different colors. My kiddo picked out light pink for the icing and dark pink for the sprinkles, which is great if you make it a Valentine’s day project. She just likes pink. 🙂 You’ll also need scissors, a pen to trace the hearts, two different sized heart cookie cutters and a jar for your sprinkles.

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Step 2 – Cut all around the edges of your tan sheet of felt making it curved to look like cookie dough. Keep it pretty big because you’ll want to be able to cut out several cookies.

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Step 3 – Trace the larger sized heart cookie cutters on the tan fabric. Three or four will fit well without it being too crowded.

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Step 4 – Cut out all your hearts but you’ll need to keep both the sheet and the cookies so cut them out without cutting up the sheet. Three of four cookies will look good without being using up too much of the sheet.

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Step 5 – Trace the smaller heart cookie cutter on your second sheet of felt. Our smaller cookie cutter had wavy sides but I was still able to trace a heart shape and cut it out with straight sides. This will be your icing.

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Step 6 – Cut out enough icing for each cookie and place them on top of your cookies. Look yummy enough yet? 🙂

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Step 7 – Use your third sheet of felt to make sprinkles. You can make them whatever size you like, I made ours longer so they’d be easier to use and easier to clean up. I cut a strip off the sheet of felt so I could use the leftover felt for another project.

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Step 8 – Make enough sprinkles to top each cookie plus some extras, and put them in the jar for sprinkles. You can label the jar so kiddos know where to put their sprinkles away when they are done. 🙂

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Step 9 – Add a rolling pin and a cutting board and you have a full cooking making set! You’re done! 🙂  Now your kids can “make” their cookies by putting the cookies back on the sheet and “cut” them out with the cookie cutters. For extra fun you can make different colors for icing and sprinkles so they can mix it up each time!

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Homemade Felt Horse

My daughter loves all things horses. As I was going through old emails to clean out my newsletter folder (yikes!) I found an email showing an activity involving sewing buttons on a felt pillow for children to practice doing buttons. Now I feel it is very valuable for children to learn tasks like that, but I think it’s a bit silly to waste materials when you can just give them a button up shirt on a hanger and let them practice. My daughter learned how to use buttons by doing it herself on her clothing. She’s gotten faster at in in time and I saved on materials. I like some of the Montessori concepts, but some of them can be accomplished with items already in the home. For the green me that is super important because I don’t like to waste things. So I decided just to make her a felt animal, and horse was the first option that came to mind. I found a picture of a horse online with a good body shape for tracing, printed out the picture and then cut out the horse.

Start with a picture cut out to trace

Next up I asked my daughter what colors she wanted her horse. She chose pink for one side and yellow for the other. So I laid my horse paper on the pink felt and traced it with the head facing right (I took the picture above before switching it around), and then traced it on the yellow paper with the head facing left. This way I could put the sides with ink on them from tracing facing each other on the inside.

Pick your first color of felt to trace it on

After I had traced the horse on each piece of felt I cut them out. I put them together with the inked side facing in and trimmed any areas I needed to so they would match almost perfectly.

After tracing I cut out each piece

I picked out green and yellow thread, my daughter’s two favorite colors, and did a little of each while sewing the horse up. I didn’t do anything fancy, and I sewed it all by hand. I prefer to sew some of her projects that way because I enjoy sitting down and spending time relaxing while I sew. She sat next to me doing school work – domestic bliss!

For the second piece make sure to trace facing the opposite direction!

Since I didn’t have any fluff on hand for stuff the horse, I improvised. I took some old sock and cut them into strips and squares to use for stuffing. It didn’t really need to be super soft since she’s going to play pretend with it more that cuddle with it. I used two of the ankle socks for women. They worked out nicely and I love reusing things!

Begin sewing pieces together – I did it by hand

There were smaller areas such as the legs that were easier to stuff as I sewed, that way I wasn’t trying to fill them from one top opening. So I stuffed the legs and then sewed the tail, and I stuffed that as I sewed as well. And as I sewed up the back I stuffed the horses bottom and stomach. This just made it easier since I wasn’t using something like fluff, which is much more pliable.

Add stuffing as you go especially with smaller parts

This is the pink side of her horse, fully stuffed and all sewed up! She absolutely loved it! 🙂 I think my daughter prefers the toys I make her and her wooden toys over anything else. The yarn dolls I made for her get lots of use still.

Finished pink side 🙂

And this is the yellow side of the horse. I love how it turned out honestly, and it really wasn’t that hard. You just need two paper size pieces of felt, scissors, thread, a needle, stuffing and a print out of the animal shape you want to do. She’s already asked me to make her more animals so I’m looking forward to that! 🙂

Finished yellow side 🙂

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How To Make Yarn Dolls

Messy yarn dolls with hair
(picture from Google search)

Recently in one of my searches for fun homemade crafts to do with my daughter, I discovered a lovely pictures of yarn dolls. My daughter saw them and got so excited, asking me to please, please make her some 🙂 I looked online and found a lot of instructions for making them. I put together my own instructions with what I found, and I’m sharing it with you below.

Thick yarn doll
(picture from Google search)

To start with, you need any color of yarn, you can use different colors for different parts if you like, scissors, a piece of cardboard or a book. I used yarn that was a mixture of colors. The length of cardboard or book will the the length of your girl doll. With the boy doll you need something about 2 inches longer, because when you braid his legs you loose length. Here are some size guidelines: Large 16 1/2 inches, Medium 9 inches, Small 7 inches. Now for the yarn, I had no idea what kind of yarn to get. I ended up getting something thinner than usual so I had to wrap it a lot more times. I wrapped mine 100 times, and our dolls were good sized, but a little thin. With a thicker yarn you can wrap less or more, some instructions suggest wrapping it 200 times. This is up to you to decide how thick you want your dolls.

Put your string under the yarn to tie it off at the top
(picture from aokcorral.com)

You start by taking putting the cut side of the yarn at the top of your board/book. Wrap around it, so it is tucked under the pieces of yarn you are wrapping. Wrap the board as many times as you want for the thickness/thinness you want in your dolls. Once you are finished wrapping, cut the string and tuck it under the pieces you’ve wrapped, just like you did with the beginning piece. Cut another piece of yarn, about 10 inches long, and slide the piece under one side you have wrapped. Then pull the two ends together to tie a knot at the top of the board/book, holding all of the wrapped yarn. This will be the top bow for the girl doll, or you can make a loop to hang your dolls on, or just tie it off and cut it for the boy doll.

Remove yarn from board
(picture from littleaustinite.com)

And tie at neck to give doll a head
(picture from littleaustinite.com)

Carefully slip the yard off of the board/book. Cut another piece of yarn 10 inches long. This second piece will be used to make the head of the doll. You can make your doll’s head any size, most are usually 1-2 inches. You can make a head two ways: Just take the string, put it 1 inch below the tie on top, and tie it off to make the head. Or you can make a small ball of yarn to go in the middle of the area you are making for the head to give it more thickness and firmness. Once you’ve tied this knot, make it into another bow for the girl doll, or tie it off and cut it for the boy doll.

Take the cut piece and braid it
(picture from aokcorral.com)

Next you will make the arms. You can make your doll’s arms the same length as your doll or a little shorter. You want to wrap the board/book half the times you did for the body. This time tie the yarn off about 1 inch from the edge of the board. Cut about a half way from where you tied and the edge of the board. Remove the tied yarn. Divide the yarn into 3 sections and braid it to the bottom, tying it off about a 1/2 inch from the bottom. Now, if you want longer strands at the end, you can do so. Just tie the yarn on the board/book 1 inch above the edge, then cut at the edge, not above it, and when you are finished braiding it tie the end 1 inch from the bottom. The nice thing about these dolls is you can vary them however suits you! (With the girl doll, I cut the piece in half and tied off both ends to that I could use the other piece for the boy’s arms. This was much easier for me.)

Split the yarn loop in the middle and slide the arms in
(picture from aokcorral.com)

Once you have finished the braid and tied the end off, find the middle and tie it off 1/2 inch from the middle on each side. Then cut the braid in the middle, between the two ties. Now you have 2 sets of arms – one for each doll. I feel this is a better way to do it because it saves you yarn and time, you only have to braid arms once. Now open up your doll in the middle of the yarn loops under her neck tie. Put the arms in that opening and close the yarn over them. Lift the doll’s arms up so you can tie under the arms tight enough so the arms don’t come out. Take another 10 inch piece of yarn, and tie it as close under the body with the arms as you can. For the girl doll make another bow, for the boy doll tie it and cut it close.

My finished girl doll!

Next cut the loops at the bottom of the doll’s body. If this is a girl doll – you’re done! She’s adorable and ready to be loved and played with. If you think her arms might not stay in well, you can always sew them to the back of her yarn body a little, same with the boy doll. Now, if you are making a boy doll you aren’t done yet. You need to split the bottom part of the body you just cut, into 2 equal sections. Braid each section, making 2 braided legs. Tie off the legs 1/2 inch from the bottom. Now – you’re done! You have successfully made a boy girl and a girl doll! 🙂

My finished girl and boy dolls!

Do not worry if your dolls aren’t perfect! Mine sure weren’t! But my daughter didn’t care one bit, she took them and happily played with them. These make wonderful gifts, and I feel they mean so much more because they were handmade. I feel anything you make has more value because you put your time, energy and love into something for another person. 🙂

Finished thick yarn dolls with hair
(picture from aokcorral.com)

You can make varieties of these dolls, making a girl doll with braided legs if you’d like, adding yarn hair, adding embellishments to the body, etc. These are created by you so add to them what you like!

I made our girl doll first and my daughter was beyond thrilled! 🙂 She absolutely adored her. When I made the boy doll, she spent the evening playing with the both of them continually. She truly enjoyed the dolls and still does! This is an awesome and simple handmade gift that is extra special because YOU made it just for them!

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