Search Results for: label/friday craft day

friday craft day: pretty patterned hearts

It was feeling like forever since the kids and I had done something crafty and as luck would have it, on my last trip to our storage unit, I stumbled upon some of our old art supplies! I brought them home with the intent to create something pink and valentines-y with the kids ASAP and when the weather got just a little to cold for us to handle this last week, we seized the opportunity to work on a simple little valentines project inside where its warm. :)
Nothing fancy happening here. Just some paper, a few water-colour paints and a pair of scissors are needed.  The kids set to work filling sheets of paper with patterns in reds and pinks for valentines day. I loved seeing all the fun patterns they came up with. After their papers had dried we cut hearts out of the patterned paper and this is what we were left with…
I love the way they look hanging in the window with the light shining through them, but there are so many ways you could display these cute hearts around the house. Just a super simple project {that’s how we like to do things around here} but the kids had fun with this for over an hour and I can totally see us doing it again sometime with different holiday shapes and colors! 

Have a great weekend ya’ll! 

I’ll be back on Sunday for the simple things
We’ll see you then!

friday craft day: edible chinese folk art

It’s friday craft day again and I’m so excited to have Margie guest posting today!
Follow along as she shares some crafty fun and a little bit of chinese culture with us!
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Make your own contemporary chinese folk art and eat it too

My name is Margie and I am a Californian who has been living in Beijing, China with my husband and three boys for the past three years. When I’m not exploring the city or volunteering at one of Beijing’s orphanages, I spend my time decorating cupcakes, dabbling in photography, scrapbooking and making things with my kids. I’m visiting today from my blog that I started the same time I moved to Beijing.

The crazy streets of Beijing - is it a street; is it a sidewalk
I’m excited to be here for Friday Craft Day and share with you a little bit of traditional Chinese culture.
One of my favorite things about living abroad (I’ve lived in four different countries but only one state) is learning about and immersing myself in the local culture. So much of a culture can be experienced by participating in holidays and their related traditions!
Last April during the ancient Qing Ming Festival holiday, I signed my family up for a Qing Ming Festival pastry class at a neighborhood cooking school called The Fig Tree. I wanted to learn more about this holiday and its traditions and what better way than through food?
The pastries or breads we made were shaped into animals and then twice cooked; steamed first and then baked. Between these two steps, the creations were painted with food coloring, making simple Chinese folk art. To see that process in detail and learn more about the Qing Ming Festival holiday, please visit my post all about it.
  Qing Ming Festival Folk Art Pastries
I wanted to figure out a way to share this fun activity with friends outside of China. So this meant finding a bread-like recipe that used something other than rice flour as its base and a twice cooked bread that didn’t include steaming as one of its steps. Afterall, how many of us outside of Asia have bamboo steamers in our homes? Or keep a ready supply of rice flour? That’s what I thought!
So instead of using the Chinese recipe for Qing Ming pastries, I turned to a pretzel recipe I found in my son’s Williams-Sonoma Kids Baking book.
This ‘craft’ idea is a little more involved so it is great for keeping the interest of older kids. For younger ones, an adult or older sibling can handle the prep work and the more complicated steps.

Since our craft involved making food,
FIRST: we washed our hands
Washing Hands to make Qing Ming Pretzels
SECOND: we mixed the flour, sugar, salt and yeast
Mixing flour for Qing Ming Pretzels
THIRD: we added the water making sure it was the exact right temperature so that it wouldn’t ‘kill’ the yeast if it were too hot
  Checking the water temperture for Qing Ming Pretzels
FOURTH: we kneaded the dough
Kneading Pretzel Dough for Qing Ming Pretzels
FIFTH: we let the dough raise in a warm place in our kitchen until it doubled in size (about 45 min)
SIXTH: we shaped our dough into animals and other shapes, sometimes using very simple cooking cutters. We placed each shape on an oiled cookie sheet to rise for another 20 minutes
Shaping Qing Ming Pretzels
Qing Ming Pretzel Shapes
SEVENTH: we added baking soda to a large pot of boiling water and boiled each shape for 30 seconds on each side using a mesh spoon (or slotted spoon works too) and returned them back to the cookie sheet
WARNING: this step is not for young children! It should be done by an adult or under very close adult supervision. Please use caution when allowing a minor to give this step a try.
Boiling Qing Ming Pretzels
Nicholas was hoping to make bagels so he shaped his pretzel into a bagel!
EIGHTH: we painted each shape with liquid food coloring
Food Coloring to paint Qing Ming Pretzels
Painting Qing Ming Pretzels
Painting Qing Ming Pretzels 2
We used a variety of standard paint brushes I bought at Ikea strictly for this purpose.
Paint brushes to paint Qing Ming pretzels
TIP: Using less food coloring on your brush is better so that the colors don’t run or bleed when painting your pretzel. If using more than one color, wait a few minutes between colors to let the first color set. This way the two colors are less likely to run together.
Qing Ming Pretzels ready to bake
NINTH: after sprinkling each shape with a pinch of salt, we baked the decorated shapes at 425 F degrees F for 10 minutes. The recipe calls for 15 minutes, but since I didn’t want my shapes to turn golden brown, I shortened the cooking time.
TIP: We found it easiest to make our basic shapes with very simple cookie cutters. All the shapes on the cookie sheet above were made using cookie cutters except the snake.
TENTH: we took our pretzels out of the oven, let them cool and then ate our creations! 
Contemporary Chinese Qing Ming Folk Art Pretzels 
One bonus of using the pretzel recipe over the traditional Qing Ming recipe is flavor! The Qing Ming pastries are meant to last for up to six months and are even hung in the house as decoration. My kids gave theirs a try after a few weeks and although they were edible, they were quite dry and tasteless. I have both of my Qing Ming pastries still hanging in my house to add a touch of Chinese folk art to our decor.
We plan to eat all of our pretzels within the next few days because they are DELICIOUS!
Our next adventure into ‘Contemporary Chinese Crafty Food’ will likely be the mooncake, eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival earlier this month. We went to the local market, found our selves some mooncake molds like these and now we want to get creative.
Mooncake Molds
photo By OggiG on Flickr
We are thinking about using pie crust and chocolate filling or I’d like to take my favorite mooncake style, Wuren (from Beijing), and alter the recipe to perfectly fit my taste.
I hope you had as much fun as we did experimenting with Contemporary Chinese Qing Ming Pretzels! Please let me know if you have any questions.
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Thank you so much for sharing this fun craft with us Margie and for giving us a small glimpse at life in Bejing! To see more beautiful images from Bejing, China and learn more about Margie and her family’s adventures be sure to visit her blog here!

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friday craft day: pumpkin whirligigs

whirl·i·gig Noun(h)wərlē, gig 1. A toy that spins around, for example a top or windmill. 2. A thing regarded as hectic or constantly changing.
We made little pumpkin whirligigs for craft day this week {which we did yesterday because we haven’t been to the beach all week and the kids are dying to go today!} and they were a hit! :)
How to make your own pumpkin whirligig:
1.  Make yourself a template and cut out 5 pumpkins from some sturdy paper you have on hand. I used patterned paper and for the kids we used construction paper – I think the heavier weight paper works better. Mine was more spinny. ;)
2. Using a template will help make sure all your pumpkins are the same size. It’s also important that your pumpkins are symmetrical. If you fold your paper in half, trace half your pumpkin template on the fold and then cut out, when you unfold it you should have symmetrical little pumpkins.
3. Once you have your 5 pumpkins cut out {you can do more than 5 if you want, totally up to you} grab yourself some string and a gluestick or two and you’re ready to put your whirligig together.
4. If you made your pumpkins using the method described above {cutting them on the fold} your pumpkins should be folded in half already. If not, go ahead and fold them all in half. Start by glueing half of one pumpkin to half of the next pumpkin.
5. Continue attaching one half of each pumpkin to the next. Before attaching your final pumpkin, place a length of string in the center. This is how you’ll hang your whirligig when you’re finished. Now glue that last pumpkin to the first one. Make sure all the surfaces are attached really well and that the string is glued securely in the center and you’re done.
Hang your cute pumpkin whirligigs up somewhere where you can enjoy watching them spin!
I didn’t get any images of the kids finished pumpkins, but they drew jack ‘o lantern faces on theirs and they loved that part! Like I mentioned, the thicker weight paper worked better than the construction paper we used for theirs. Theirs just flapped wildly in the wind and I couln’t get a good shot of them.
Have a great weekend everyone!
See you back here for Simple Things Sunday!
PS. Don’t forget to enter the darling Coco Prints giveaway going on right now!
PSS. I’m looking for guest posters to share some friday craft day fun with us!
If you’re interested, shoot me an email with the subject “friday craft day” and include a link to one of your past projects along with a brief introduction and you could be featured on Simple as That! 

I’m linking up with these fabulous blogs:

friday craft day {photo love}

It’s been another one of those weeks – you know the kind…a million things to do, not enough time to do them?? Friday craft day around here has been seriously lacking, but I’m hoping to get back on track once the kids get out of school at the end of June. :)
For now I thought I’d share a few photo-themed kids craft + activity ideas I’ve been collecting.
cute cardboard camera via {our big earth}
child's photo diary
love the idea of this kids photo project from {red ted art}. How perfect for summer!

in love with this adorable camera created by {jessica wilson} via

some fun photography ideas for kids via {photojojo}
Toy Camera craft
tissue box toy camera via {kids games and}
use family photos for this personalized guess who game via {obSEUSSed}
Enjoy and have a great weekend!!

friday craft day : kleenex box cars

Hello Simple As That readers! I’m honored to be able to share one of our favorite crafts with you today. My name is Brooke Leigh – I’m the mother of a spastic two year old boy & a sassy two month old baby girl. You can find me (and my crazy, loving family of course!) over at First Avenue.

During this time of year everyone seems to go through a lot of these! I’m a firm believer in trying to reuse as many things as we possibly can, so why throw those old Kleenex boxes away when you can recycle them?
My son is HUGE into cars right now (seriously, we have an overwhelming amount here, I step on them constantly.) So, we turn these old Kleenex boxes into cars. You heard me right, cars! He’ll push these around on the floor as if they were an actual toy car, & shove his matchbox cars in them. We even gave one away as a present box when we went to his friend’s birthday party, & for a three year old boy – receiving a car shaped gift box filled with small goodies was like me opening a box from Kay Jewelers. Oh goodness, I got away with my rambling – I should get on with the project!

If you have an older kid, you can have them do the “prep” work with you. Since my son is so young, I have everything set and ready to go for him before bringing him over to the table. Each Kleenex box is wrapped in scrapbook paper – you can do a solid color or multi color – whatever your child’s preference is. The wheels are circles cut out of thick foam. (You can purchase this at any craft store for about $1.50 a sheet. We use the bottom of an average size coffee mug to trace our circles – you can get about 16 wheels out of one sheet if you do it this way.) It’s rather hard to cut a perfect circle out of foam, but since we don’t mind imperfection here, it’s okay their rough around the edges!

You can decorate the covered Kleenex boxes with a variety of things; stickers, markers, crayons, colored cotton balls, honestly pretty much anything you have laying around the house! I just recommend picking up some large googley eyes to give the car some attitude! However, you can just draw them on to save costs. My son LOVES making the eyes move. So, that’s not an option at my house. (Oh, how wonderful it would be to be amused by such simple things!)

Oh! If your family is anything like mine – innocent crafting can turn into a fight if you don’t keep nearby to be the referee! What one cousin has – the other surely will want!

Here is our finished products after we had glued on the wheels & googley eyes! Adorable, right?! They are ready to be played with, or even turned back into a Kleenex box if you want to add a little decor to your little ones bedroom. (just tuck those tissues back in & place on the nightstand!)

I hope we inspired everyone today! If anyone decides to make a Kleenex box car – send me a picture! I’d love to see how yours turned out! Thank you, Rebecca for allowing us to take part in your Friday craft series.

It sure was a blast!
- Brooke Leigh
Thank YOU Brooke for this adorable idea, I can’t wait to make some of these kleenex box cars with my kids! 
What kind of crafty fun have you been having with your kids this week? Link up below and share your ideas with us! Don’t forget to grab a button (copy and paste the html code) and include it in your blog post.
Happy Crafting everyone!

PS. I will be sharing more fun and simple children’s craft ideas each Thursday and would love to feature some of the crafty things YOU like to do with your kids! If you’re interested in guest posting here on simple as that, email me with your fun and simple friday craft day idea & you could be featured!


friday craft day {nature art}

This past Friday we gathered up a few of the treasures we’ve been collecting and headed to the beach. We used our treasures to create some art in the sand. The girls enjoyed it but Carson was busy playing with friends so wasn’t as interested. Of my two big girls, ages 8 and 3, Addie (3) enjoyed it the most. 
We created a heart out of seashells and other art out of some old pieces of pottery & the pretty round sea urchin skeletons you can see in the photos.
(Is there an official name for these, I looked it up online but couldn’t find one??)
You can have lots of fun creating all kinds of nature art!
Is it snowy where you are? Bundle up & head outside and use the snow as your canvas to create artwork with rocks, branches or even leaves.
Go on a snowscape stomp.
Or give these snow trees a try. They look like fun!
Snow Tree
I think these nature collages are so pretty!
Here’s a great collection of Nature Crafts for Kids at
What kind of crafty things have you been doing with your kids this week?
Grab a button & link up below to share your fun ideas with us!

Happy Crafting everyone!
PS. I will be posting our previous friday’s craft or other idea each Thursday and would love to feature some of the crafty things YOU like to do with your kids! If you’re interested in guest posting here on simple as that, email me with your fun and simple friday craft day idea & you could be featured!

friday craft day {fun with crayons}

Friday Craft Day
After being inspired by my friend Elizabeth Dillow’s idea to do a weekly craft with her girls on friday’s we started this weekly tradition in our family too. We’ve been doing this for a couple years now & the kids still look forward to craft day each week. Sometimes our craft days are simpler than others – from coloring to creating our own sailboats from recycled material to making these cute little snowmen…anything goes really. The fun is in gathering at the kitchen table and creating something together!
Last Friday we pulled out the crayons and had a fun & super simple craft day. Who knew how fun taping a few crayons together could be (the original idea can be found at! The kids colored for longer that I thought they would, making rainbows, designs and word art with these little bundles of crayons. (I even had the kids pick their own “one little word” for 2011 which we wrote together with our crayon bundles & then hung in their rooms above their beds.)
Looking for more fun you can have with crayons?
Check out Martha Stewarts crazy crayons tutorial.
Learn about how crayons are made!
Go on a texture treasure hunt & create crayons rubbings.
Try your hand at these stained glass valentine’s hearts!
Lot’s more crayon fun can be found at!
Happy crafting everyone!

PS. I’m hoping to make friday craft day a regular feature here on simple as that (I’ll be posting our previous friday’s craft or other idea each Thursday ) and would love to feature some of the crafty things YOU like to do with your kids! If you’re interested in guest posting here on simple as that, email me with your fun and simple friday craft day idea & you could be featured!

printable bookmarks

Just popping in to share these fun little bookmarks to coordinate with my
back to school reading log. I just love that quote from Dr. Seuss don’t you!?
You can download the printable bookmarks here.
For those of you who are new around here, each Friday at our house is craft day and I usually share our past weeks project on the blog on Fridays. Well. Summer was summer and schedules went out the window, so I haven’t shared a Friday Craft Day post in ages. The kids and I are both looking forward to getting back into the routine next week. Can’t wait to share more of our crafty fun with you!
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I’d love to have you join us this Sunday in the Simple Things Challenge!
If you have a photo to share be sure to stop by and join in the fun. We’d sure love to have you!
If you haven’t already, be sure to get your name in the draw for a beautiful camera strap cover from
Polka Dot Bungalow. Scroll down to enter. 
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Have a great weekend everyone!

I’m linking up with these fabulous blogs:

thanks for stopping by

For those of you who are new to simple as that (which in the past few months has been A LOT of you!! super exciting, thanks for stopping by you guys!) I wanted to give you a little bit of background about the craft projects, photos, etc. that you’ll find here on my blog.
My little family and I, we live on the island of Statia in the Dutch Caribbean…and because we’re originally from Canada, the novelty of the beach and all this warm weather has not worn off yet! I don’t know if it ever will!? So that’s what’s up with all the warm weather & beach photos…I just can’t get enough of this beautiful island. I must photograph everything I see!
We’re enjoying our time here while my husband, who was a Chiropractor, is back in school pursuing an international medical degree. Adapting to life on the island hasn’t been without its challenges, in fact, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were days I felt like packing up and heading home in search of a tall, cold glass of normal milk. The powdered stuff just doesn’t cut it sometimes! ;)
 One of the challenges I’ve found is meeting my desire to be creative with a very limited amount of crafting resources available to me (there’s no Michael’s here folks!). I wasn’t able to bring much with me – and as an avid scrapbooker let me tell you, that was hard! My mom and Dad (bless their hearts) brought a few sheets of cardstock + pattern paper along with some stickers + embellishments with them when they visited recently but the rest of the items I use to create my simple crafts are things I reuse from around the house or have hunted around the island for. 
(Can’t wait to share more about this project soon!)
 The funny thing is, in simplifying our lives so drastically when we made this move to the island, selling off some of our personal belongings, packing away the rest of what we owned and bringing with us only the bare essentials, I thought it would limit my creativity but it hasn’t at all. In fact, the challenge to reuse, conserve and think outside the box has brought me out of a very deep creative rut & I’ve been loving it so much.

My philosophy has always been to try and keep things simple, but I’ve been forced to practise what I preach over the past six months and its been surprisingly enjoyable! I absolutely LOVE that you’re joining me in this quest to keep things simple – in crafting, life and photography! I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you stop by, leave a comment or two…maybe even send an email my way! I appreciate the kind words and hope you’ll continue to visit often. You can even join in the simple conversation on twitter & facebook anytime!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you back here tomorrow with a FABulous guestpost for Friday Craft Day!

Valentine’s Fun

A couple of fun things we did for Valentine’s Day last year…
The kids gave out these cute heart suckers to their friends
 & they were a such a hit.
You can find the tutorial for the candycane hearts here
+ download the super cute tags here.
We made these cute heart leis for a Friday Craft Day. The kids LOVED them & they were super easy to make!
I’m linking up here.
PS. Please join me in welcoming simple as that‘s newest sponsor
 Poppy Row. You can find out more about their vintage inspired, baby & adult headbands, romantic ruffled scarves and hand rolled natural beeswax candles by visiting their darling shop.