Printable Portrait Frame

Max came home from school the other week with a cute little project that I thought I would adapt & share.  It’s easy and versatile- I basically just scanned a fancy picture frame that can be printed out & filled in by little (or big) budding Picasso’s and Kahlo’s:

 

Or, if you prefer, some oval fussiness:

You can either print them out onto white paper, then let your little (or big) person draw their masterpiece within the frame, or, go a little further and print it on a color paper of your choice, cut out the middle, & frame around an existing drawing. 

Just click on the above images to open them in a new window & print- I tried to get them the right size for printing, but you may have to resize beforehand- I would recommend doing a “print preview” to see if it needs adjusting, which you should be able to do from the preview screen.  Let me know if you need help, & I’ll give it my best college try.  Feel free to make several copies to give art projects a little added flair.   This is Max’s self-portrait:

I was also thinking these frames might be cute for other paper projects, such as collages, silhouettes, etc.  Have fun.

*** Update ***

You’ll have to resize the images from your print preview screen to at least 150%, but no larger than 167% for the rectangle, or 187% for the oval to get the most out of your 8½” x 11″ sheet of paper.  Sorry for the confusion!

Snow Day ~ Giant Cookies

Like most of those on the NE Corridor, we are  in the midst of  snownami 2010, which equates to very excited little boys bouncing off the walls at 6 o’clock in the morning.  Good thing I’m a morning person!Anyway, in addition to the digging out and snow play that will be happening, one of my favorite things to do on a cold, blustery, wet, or otherwise nasty day outside is to bake.  It’s something that the kids enjoy doing with me, and, * BONUS *, you’re left with something yummy when all’s said & done.  Since I volunteered to bring something in for Wyatt’s pre-school Valentine’s party tomorrow, I was already prepared for some time in the kitchen. 

When  Jackson turned one last month, his birthday fell on a Wednesday.  To make it easier on everyone, we decided to have a brunch on the Sunday before to celebrate, complete with cake, ice cream, singing, etc.  That left us with the question of what to do on his actual birthday.  I didn’t want to do a whole other cake, but I also wanted to celebrate in some small way, too.  At some point I thought it would be fun to try making one of those giant cookies that you get at the mall.  It couldn’t be that difficult, right?  And my favorite go-to website for all things recipe-related, All Recipes, just happened to deliver on my search request of “giant cookie”

So, check out the link for the recipe, I won’t bother to re-post it here.  Be sure to check out the reviews for alternate ideas/tips.  I did take one person’s suggestion of baking it in a cake pan to achieve perfect roundness and even baking, but this does make it turn out more like a bar cookie than, well, a cookie-cookie.  Today, we are going to try out a heart-shaped variation, with my cool new heart-shaped silicon bake pan alá Targét.  I’ll try to post pictures when we’re done.  For now, here’s the Jackson version:

I have to say, it was super easy, and SO delicious!  I used a recipe I had on hand to make the icing, and pulled out my Wilton pastry tips, but honestly, store-bought frosting works just as well, if not better.  I tinted mine with some food coloring & piped it through a freezer bag with the pastry tip on the end. 

One more thing: you don’t need the icing, or an event for that matter, to enjoy these cookies!  If anyone tries them, I’d love to hear how they turn out.

******** Updated 2/14/10 *******  Here is our Valentine’s cookie:

We used candy hearts and “glued” them on with icing globs.  Too bad Wyatt’s party was cancelled due to the snow storm…. it totally sucked that we had to eat it ourselves…

Crafting with Kids: Easy Stenciled Valentines

Don’t let the title fool you, this project is for us old folks, too.  It’s just so easy that I labelled it as a kids’ project.  For some reason, this year, I’ve had Valentine’s Day on the brain much more so than in the past.   I guess that’s why I managed to get this little tutorial put together in time to actually use it.  Honestly, it’s a cute project that has many uses, not just Valentine’s Day, so go ahead and let your imagination run wild.

First, this is what you’ll need:

  1. Construction paper
  2. Scissors
  3. Paints (we used cheap craft paints)
  4. Cups, plates, etc. for mixing & thinning paints, as needed
  5. Freezer paper (NOT waxed paper)
  6. Iron & ironing surface
  7. Various items for applying paint.  We used sponges, brushes, string, and old toothbrushes

Step 1:

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT-  if you are doing this with smaller children, and would like to get started in a timely manner & not go completely INSANE, then I would suggest you assemble all of your materials BEFORE you tell the kids what you’re up to.  Otherwise, you may just have to hear the phrase, “Please, can we start painting, please, please, PLEASE?????” only about 56,802 times.  Additionally, if your kids are too small to cut out shapes or handle a hot iron themselves, then I would also suggest doing the next step before you clue them in, as that, too, can make their waiting more unbearable.  Since I did neither of the above, I decided to keep my design pretty simple.

Step 2:

Cut your shapes out of the freezer paper and arrange them on your folded construction paper (if you’re making a folded card) shiney side down.  We chose different sized hearts, but you can do just about anything.  The nice thing about freezer paper is it can be used like tracing paper, so go nuts with those royalty-free printouts:

 

Step 3:

** Disclaimer-  this seems obvious, but irons are hot!  Please use your judgement and closely supervise the little people during this step **

With your iron on a medium heat setting, and your card on an ironing board or other protected surface, press down on each piece of freezer paper for a few seconds, until all pieces are securely adhered. 

 You should be left with something like this:

(please ignore that hideous dark blotch across this photo- it wasn’t on my card, and I’m too lazy to Photoshop it out right now).

Step 4:

Now you’re ready to paint!  Gather your paints and other accoutrements and work some magic all over the surface of the card.  Be sure to cover over all of the freezer paper edges with paint to achieve the nicest images.  I personally was quite fond of the sponge technique:

Step 5:

Once the paint is dry, it’s time to peel off the freezer paper pieces.  This  can be tricky, as they tend to disappear a little under all that paint.  Once you get the edge started, though, they peel right off:

And you should be left with something like this:

From here, you can either be done, or continue to decorate them with stamps, glitter glue, etc.  and of course include your personal message.

Freezer paper is a very versatile material, and it’s something that I use all the time in my sewing projects.  The above technique can also be used to paint on t-shirts, pillows, etc. as a “poor man’s silkscreen”. Maybe we’ll cover that project next time.  Until then, have fun, & catch ya on the flip side.

Mmm… Mmm… Mmmmmmm

After some screaming and tears this morning, we managed to get out the door in time to get Wyatt to his first Pre-School Halloween parade.  I have always been a fan of the homemade costume, but this year I decided I was going to give myself a break and not stress out over making costumes on top of all the craft show stuff I’ve got going on.   That is, until Wyatt told me he wanted to be a mummy….

Sounds fairly simple, just rip up some old sheets and wrap him up in it.  I won’t go into details, but it was NOT that simple!  I was able to put something together last night, and wouldn’t you know it, this morning he refused to wear it!  Once I convinced him to try on the pants, he was more willing to put on the rest, and all was right in our spooky little world again.

My House is Full of Sevens…

Oh, there’s the doorbell
Let’s see who’s out there

seven at the door

Oh, it’s a seven
Hello, seven
Won’t you come in, Seven?
Make yourself at home.

Hey, who’s that other guy?
Is that your friend there?

seven at the door 2

“Oh, that’s just Seven”
Another seven
Hello, Seven
Won’t you come in as well?
Now who would like some cake?
(“I would like some cake.”)
(“Me too!”)

What’s that at window?

sevens at the window

A whole bunch of sevens
They’re coming in now
And there’s a lot of them
And down the chimney too
(“Hey guys, come on in!”)
I bet they want some cake
“We want cake! Where’s our cake?”

cake

My house is full of sevens
They’re filling up the living room
Sliding down the banister
Talking on the telephone
Inviting over more sevens
(“It’s a green house at the end of the block”)
I’m running out of cake.
“We want cake! Where’s our cake?”

My house is full of sevens
“We want cake! Where’s our cake?”
Lots and lots of sevens
“We want cake! Where’s our cake?”
Many more are stopping by
Sevens add and multiply
There’s only way to subtract them:
Let them eat up all the cake

A fun morning was inspired by this song and spawned by my husband. Seriously, if you don’t already have this album, I highly recommend it, whether you have kids or not… I do find myself listening to it even when the kids are napping… but it has inspired many a silly moment while they are awake, too!

Three is the Luckiest Number

Most Prized Possession

Bill gave this photo to me for my birthday.  I love it, and I’m impressed that he was actually able to get them to all sit still together for more than 2 seconds…