The Thankful Mama

Make Your Own Magnets

I have been meaning to share this project for a while. I heard about a neat idea from my friend about a DIY travel size magnet board for car trips. It involved a trip to the dollar store, which immediately piqued my interest! The idea is to get a cookie sheet and a set of magnets and voila, you have instant fun for a little one on a car ride! I love this, and couldn’t wait to make it. I found a medium size cookie sheet pretty easy, but the magnets proved harder to find. I couldn’t seem to find a pack that weren’t too small, too big or too expensive. Well, why not make my own? Then I could customize them to all of my daughters favorite things! We are fortunate enough to have a laminate machine, but you could use self seal laminate pouches like these. I have found them in the office departments of many chain retail stores.

Using Google image search, I found various pictures of animals my daughter likes, and cropped them to a 2 inch square size, using Photoshop. I filled a standard 8×10 sheet with the images and printed them out in color. I think cut outs from magazines or books would also be a great alternative. Next, I laminated the sheet and cut out the images. I used a roll of self adhesive magnet, found at any craft or office supply. It can be cut to size, which is perfect for the individual pictures. I reinforced the magnets with rubber cement, to create more durability. These are for a busy one and half year old, after all!

The result? Instant hit! My daughter was really excited to discover she could move the magnets around and lift and place them over and over again. I keep it in the car, and it is always reached for first when we get in! I can highly recommend making your own custom magnets. They are a really inexpensive and easy to make craft that provide hours of enjoyment!

 

Supplies Needed:

Laminator and laminate pouches or self sealing pouches.

Roll of self adhesive magnets

Rubber cement or other strong craft glue

Scissors

Several color printed images of choice

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Valentine Gifts: Homemade Crayons

I have been trying to find a quick and easy craft to make for Valentine’s Day for little ones. I toyed with the idea of knitting something (of course) but couldn’t find anything that fit my need for quick, easy and suitable for a toddler. Then I came across making your own crayons. I’ve seen this craft before, although I never made any myself as a kid. It’s a great idea, especially if you have tons of broken bits of crayons everywhere, which I happen to know someone who does!

For this project, I wanted to give it a Valentine theme…heart shaped crayons. I unsuccessfully tried making a mold myself using cookie cutters and tin foil…yeah…big bust. My result was a nice thin spread of melty crayon on my cookie sheet.

Second try…success! I found a candy mold that makes six heart shapes at Wal*Mart for $3.50. This was a fantastic deal considering the equivalent sells around 10 bucks everywhere else. It’s also small and can easily be stored. I decided to use similar colors of pinks, purples and reds and a bit of white crayon mixed in. I broke the crayons into pieces and layered the colors. I filled each reservoir up completely and let them sit in the oven at about 250 degrees for around 15 to 20 minutes, until the crayons were liquid. I was so pleased with the results! The heart molds made a perfect and smooth sided shape and the crayons just popped right out of the mold. For packaging, I found an assortment of lovely little boxes at the Dollar Store. They are small and, with a little coordinating tissue paper, should be the perfect fit.

Ican’t wait to make another batch in boy colors for my nephew. I think he deserves a set of crayons since he ( and by he I mean his mom) donated so many to my crafting experiment

For more info, there is a beautifully created tutorial here!

Primary Colors for a Boy

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Artful Window Panes

I recently completed a craft project for my little girl’s room windows. This idea came from the creative site The Artful Parent. It is a great resource for fun and crafty things to do with your children. There are many projects I have been inspired by on this site and I love reading about all the fun and crafty things this mom does with her darling little girls.

I used her tutorial for Flower Petal Stained Glass Door and was so pleased with the results! There is a small, oddly shaped window in my baby’s room that I have struggled with decorating. It’s a great source of natural light in the room, but it would be nice to have some privacy, since it looks out onto the front porch. The “stained glass” solved the problem perfectly.

The finished project

 

The supplies needed couldn’t be simpler; clear contact paper, fresh flower petals and/or leaves from the garden and a pair of scissors. I measured out the spaces between the panes and cut my contact paper into easy to handle panels. I cut an assortment of flat leaves and flower petals from my yard and laid them out in a pattern I liked. Once the backing is removed, the contact paper lays flat, making the surface easy to arrange the flowers on. Then, up on the windows they go! It made a beautiful sight to look at while we played and changed diapers. My little girl noticed them right away! The flowers lasted about 5-7 days before getting wilted and brownish.

I am looking forward to do more ideas with the contact paper windows. It lends itself to so many artistic uses. I already have a project in mind for my 3 year old nephew to create that we can use in the room. Hopefully I’ll have something to share about that in another post! Thank you to Jean at the Artful Parent for sharing so many fun and easy ideas that get the creativity flowing!

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Kiddy Corner: Touch and Feel Books

I have a little girl and I am discovering a whole new world as a mommy. I have been on a learning adventure for everything from diapers to snacks to bath toys. And let me tell you, it’s a lot of fun and I love everything about it! I know there are some very experienced moms out there who’ve seen it all (my own mom included), but I’m sure there are some newbies, like me, who might enjoy some tips or tricks that I have come across. I would like to include a section on the blog for info like this, called Kiddy Corner. I hope to be able to provide some interesting ideas, reviews and whatnot.

For my first post I’d like to review something that I have found my little 10 month old girl loves…touch and feel books. I was given a few of these as gifts when she was born and they have sat patiently waiting on her bookshelf for little fingers to explore. She loves turning the pages and can spot the textured area in a snap! They are some of our favorite things to play with!

Now that she enjoys these I have gone out looking for more at yards sales and bookstores.Yard sales, by the way, are a great source for kids books. There are some touch and feel books that I have found are exceptional. “Touch and Feel” (appropriately named) from DK Publishing, is one of the better books I’ve come across. The pages are thick and easily turned by little hands. The photos are clear and full color and simple words describe each one. And, best of all, the areas of texture are large and easy to locate for the child. There are also many, many titles to choose from.

Another great set is the Little Hands Love and Little Feet Love from Piggy Toes Press. The layout of these is great. One side is a full page of just the item to touch and a nice large swatch too. The corresponding page is a picture of baby hands, (or feet depending on which book it is) touching the same thing your baby is feeling. The descriptive words are simple and minimal. It’s easy to say out loud the name of the picture before the page is quickly turned!

I hope these books make your little one happy to “read” as they do mine. We spend countless hours playing with them and they keep their interest. Happy reading!

Some other touch and feel titles:

Bright Baby

Pat the Bunny

Matthew Van Fleet

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