I wrote about Wonder Box in my GeekMom review of subscription boxes for kids:
I discovered Wonder Box when I was looking for a birthday gift for my three-year-old godchild, the brilliant daughter of my fellow GeekMom, Kristen Rutherford. When it comes to presents, I’m usually sort of a one-note giver — books, books, and more books — but this time, I wanted to give something different, something Kristen and Vivi could do together. Something hands-on, creative, and fun. The second I saw Wonder Box, an assortment of crafts and activities aimed at kids ages 3-6, I knew I’d hit a bullseye. You can order Wonder Box as a one-time gift, or sign up for a monthly subscription.
More details in the post. They’re now offering a $5 discount on orders through Jan. 13—use code HOLIDAY5-03 at checkout.
With all our snow last week outside we were inspired for an indoor snow craft...
- A strong, waterproof glue to create the inside/base of your snow globe (we used E6000 and let it dry overnight)
- A glass jar with a tight fitting lid
- Sparkles or glitter + spoon to stir
- Liquid Glycerin
- Hot glue and glue gun - or caulking would work to seal the globe and prevent leaking
DAY 1: The first thing to do to make a snow globe is decide on what should go inside. Play around with different figures, toys, ornaments, mini trees or whatever. The ones that turned out to be my favourites were the least conventional. You will want to create a bit of a raised base for any figurines you use so they will be visible inside the glass, You can use anything that is not water soluble - pebbles, glass marbles, etc. Flip the lid over and glue items to the underside of the lid, checking as you glue that the lid will still screw onto the jar. Definitely use your strongest glue to position the items. You can also glue something directly to the inside of the clean, dry jar if you would like it a bit more suspended. (Below we did this with the little girl on the horse ornament to give more of an appearance of flying.) Allow the glue to dry overnight.
DAY 2: Next you want to mix water + glitter (not too much or the glitter clumps together) + a tablespoon of liquid glycerin. Stir together.
Take your figurines and dunk them upside down and screw the lid on. Turn upside down and see how you like the results. If there is any changes to make there is still time...when you are sure its good, seal it shut with hot glue.
Today's post is short and sweet and links to some great gift ideas for everyone.
Writers on the Move (WOTM) has a number of amazing author members and as a feature for our readers (offering great gift ideas) and a promotional strategy for our members (since we're a marketing group), as of this year we'll be having a Writer's on the Move: Books as Gifts for the Holiday Season post and hopefully next year we'll make a free downloadable e-book, rather than a post.
The post is up at the WOTM site, but since there are a number of links involved, I'll simply link to it:http://www.writersonthemove.com/2011/11/writers-on-moves-authors-books-for.htmlPlease be sure to check it out! Until next time,Karen
Books really do make the best gifts, for everyone on your list (and especially kids). Here are just a few reasons why:
* Books are evergreen – they keep on giving, well beyond the day they are received. They give with each read, and if they are subsequently shared or passed down, they keep on giving. They are like presents that can be opened over and over again.
* Books send a message to the recipient beyond that of the book itself. They tell the reader, “I care about you. I think of you as this sort of person, and therefore I think you would enjoy this book.”
* Books educate, inform and inspire. They broaden consciousness and perspective. They also cultivate curiosity, nurture the imagination, and promote a sense of wonder.
* Books provide outstanding long-term value for a relatively low cost.
* Giving young people books as gifts subliminally underscores the connection between reading and the joy of receiving, thus strengthening the association between books and pleasure.
* There are countless types, genres, styles, subjects and authors to choose from, maximizing your opportunity to find something uniquely suited to each recipient.
* If you are overwhelmed by options, or not sure where to begin to find the right book for a loved one, there are myriad resources to help. Your local bookseller is trained to help match the right book to the right person. You can also explore Amazon.com’s “listmania” lists and “Customers who bought this book also explored…” feature. You can pick up a copy of the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, American Libraries magazine or any number of other publications dedicated to reviewing books. There are even websites geared to helping people find books they love – one to explore is www.goodreads.com.
Plus, I’ll be posting next on great books to buy (or give) about reading and writing.
So give the best gift of all this year. Give books!
Fans of YA, you've got to check out these awesome gift ideas for Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Vampire Academy, Mortal Instruments, Maximum Ride, Uglies, and Shiver.
My favorite has to be the Robward jewelry box. Ha! What's yours?
And don't miss these awesome YA Lit shirts for Twilight and Hunger Games fans. (Click on the shirt to see more sizes, colors and styles.)
If vampires and werewolves can get along, why can't everyone? Hilarious!
District 12 tees - Real or not real? I love these!
Know someone under the weather?
I love potato stamping. Here is a cute, easy get well card idea. It also helps to add some other things with card when dropping it at a friends. Home made soup is great, but I didn't get that far.
Do you find yourself rushing around right before your child attends a birthday party looking for a card, gift wrap, etc? Oh and then go out a buy and expensive card at the store. That was me until last year. For the first time we made a batch for the year. Last year we did pop-up cards from a kit and their group of friends started to look forward to them, that was kind of fun.
The boys decided that not all their little girl friends and cousins would like a lizard, so we did some butterflies too. To make things easier (since my boys hate cutting and would rather writhe on the floor in agony about it than do it - hey I pick my battles). I cut out all the shapes from Larissa's templates for the lizard and made my own for the butterfly (If you want it shoot me an email I have no idea how to link it here).
All the boys had to do was paint and glue on tongues. (She does have cool eyes and dots to punch from paper with her tutorial.) Fun and a bit stress reliving after school activity.
The butterflies we did a press and paint - where you paint one side (add quite a bit of paint), fold it over on itself and then open the butterfly for a symmetrical pattern.
This year I also scored a giant shoebox full of maps at a garage sale, so that's our wrapping paper. E has been known to doodle on the map too, adding cars, restaurants, tents, houses etc, which makes it extra fun and more personal. Oh! Let your paint dry overnight before folding as she suggests - the 3-D detail makes it super cool! (You can fold the butterfly up the middle, then horizontal between the top and bottom wings and diagonal through the wings).
Happy Birthday Party-ing!
This is my "manly" version of a waist apron...simple straight lines, sporty belt tie, functional, sturdy, strong fabric with masculine stripes...
I left a loop in the belt for a dish towel.
I used d-rings to fasten the waist belt rather than a bow to make it more masculine.
Happy Birthday Benson!
For a little teacher gift we made pencils - ok, they do have giant erasers, but the candy coating is the best part. They are long pretzels dipped in candy (found usually with the cake decorating stuff). For more details see our other dipped pretzel project here
. I wrapped a little dented tin foil around them to look more pencil-y.
Joe's cousin Connor's high school graduation party is next weekend, and we thought it would be fun to give him a "College Freshman Survival" kit as a figt. You know, get him one of those shower buckets everyone who lives in a dorm needs and fill it with inexpensive goodies like a mini first aid kit, microwave popcorn, and highlighters. So now I turn to you and ask: what are some of the essentials you wish someone had sent you off to college with? The key word here is "inexpensive," because as much as I'd love to be able to outfit Connor with mini-fridge, it's simply not in our budget.
My wife often complains that I am impossible to shop for. One reason is that I am a cheapskate who would rather have 20 bucks in the bank than a DVD of Batman Begins. Another reason is that I am an adult, and when there is something that I want, I can buy it for myself.
So, I already have everything I want, and don’t want what I don’t need. What is a wife to do? This article will attempt to give you some food for thought when you are shopping for your man.
1) Food: Guys love food. Two of the gifts that I have most enthusiastically accepted were a can of cashews and a giant Snickers bar. An upscale alternative would be a Meat-of-the-Month Club subscription (not kidding, btw), or some kind of grilling accessory that will make his meatcraft more exact.
2) Hobby Enhancers: While each man has his own interests, one thing is the certain; someone has devised a way to make it even more awesome. Whether it is a rumbling seat for his racing videogame, increased peripheral vision paintball goggles, a 10x zoom nature photography lens, or a simple book light, there is a gift to make his hobby experience even better. This will also provide the secondary benefit of signaling that you support rather than resent his “man time” (whether that is true or not).
3) Intangibles/Service: I don’t mean coupons for sex (we know that “certain restrictions apply”). If your man says that he doesn’t want anything, that means he doesn’t want any “thing”. He would probably still appreciate someone else cleaning the basement, his favorite meal (back to gift idea #1), or a day to devote entirely to enjoying his gift from idea #2. For example, when my wife gave me the final Harry Potter book, she also gave me the entire day (chore and cooking free) to read it.
4) Make his life easier: Similar to Hobby Enhancement, this category seeks to make his daily grind easier. Does he have a long commute? Maybe an MP3 player could make it seem shorter. Maybe it could even BE shorter with a GPS. Does the dog make messes, run away, etc… how about obedience school? Is his computer agonizingly slow? Try a RAM upgrade. Maybe you can give him the best gift, more time for himself and you.
5) A Personalized Children’s Book: No man’s library is complete without one.
I don't think I'm the only one that has extra envelopes from the stack of greeting cards I sent? These could also be made from received envelopes.
1. Trim off one end of the sealed envelope.
2. Create a fold crease (both forward and back) and the uncut end of the envelop
3. Open envelop from cut end.
4. Fold corners into envelop seam.
5. Use double-sided tape to secure corners to base of the new "bag".
6. Stand and fill.
7. Decorate (this is a lesson learned - easier to decorate before assembling)
8. I sealed the top of the envelop with double-sided tape.
For another way to make a gift bag from an envelop to create a more square shaped bag - see the great tutorial on How About Orange
These are great for small gifts like the little items I'm taking to a "Favourite Things" party tonight...should be fun.
I used 1/2 yard of fleece for this project, a gift for our 5-year old neighbour.
1. cut 3 equal layers, lay flat on top of each other
2. Sew a seam up the middle (two seams next to each other if you like), leave 4-6inches at the top and bottom to fringe.
3. Cut fringe all around the scarf, through all 3 layers of fabric.
Dress up is always a hit at our house. We have a basic batman and superman t-shirt that we use for Pajamas. This is an easy, no-hem cape.
It is lightweight, thin cotton fabric and easily removable from a sleeping child so they don't get tangled up in it.
Pink the edges of what you will use for a cape. I measured the shoulders and then cut to the bottom at the wideth of the fabric, in a triangle, with a slightly curved bottom cut. If you fold your fabric in half lengthwise to cut it at least both sides will be the same...
Sew Velcro (prickly side on the cape) on each top corner.
Sew velcro (soft side on the pajamas) on the top of each shoulder right across the seam.
I saw this great idea and tutorial on Once Upon a Holiday. Surprise balls! My mom, sisters and I made these for a Christmas Eve surprise, but they would be fun for a New Year's tradition or birthday or just a rainy/snow day.
Click the link above for the great tutorial. I found it was great to start with something larger, I used the fake ice cube with the bug in it. Then you have something to build your ball around. My mum found some crepe paper streamers already in rainbows of colour which was fun to unwrap.
It was so fun to see the joy of discovery at each prize.
For my boy's friend's birthdays I love to be able to give something personal and handmade if I have my act together. The boys get excited about it and help a lot with design ideas. This last weekend we had 2 birthday parties to attend. Our first friend needed a super hero outfit...
The cape is actually cut from the bottom piece of the Emmeline apron pattern, it has just the right shoulder size, cape angle and nicely curved bottom. I roll-hemmed around the sides, using a lightweight cotton and lightweight iron-on webbing to add the appliqué pieces then stitched around each shape. I added a wide grosgrain ribbon to the top for a tie-on.
There is a great tutorial on bow-making at How About Orange.
These, like hers, are made from magazine pages. I had a little fun with this earlier this week. I don't know when I'm going to need these, but I'm ready!
So with two boys birthdays coming up (and my darling Mum's). I've been thinking a lot about presents and wrappings, Here is an easy recycled gift box - you could paint/stamp/sticker/decorate the outside or use some pretty ribbon. Basically you are turning a box inside-out.
1. Cut off top to size you need. try to open the box at the adhesive to keep the flaps rather than tearing it or cutting it.
Cut new closing flaps at the end of the box you had to cut and angle corners in slights. Mirror the flaps on the bottom of the box.
Fold inward, it is helpful to crease the fold with a bone folder but not completely necessary. Tape up the sides.
Add gift and seal top shut.
A birthday/princess crown for a little friend. A tip - sew embellishments on the first layer of felt (the jewel is also a hair barrette). Buttons make great embellishments and felt pieces can be changed out, this crown has flowers and hearts. I cased the elastic in ribbon to make it a little prettier and more comfortable on the hair.
The Enchanted Dolls' House Paper Doll: Lucinda; The Enchanted Dolls' House Paper Doll: Hattie. Five Mile Press, 2007 (1-74178-189-2; 1-74178-188-4) $7.95
Okay, I know I hate book-related gimmicks but... but... these are paper dolls! And they have really pretty clothes! The little girl in me is squealing.
Based on characters from The Enchanted Dolls' House and The Enchanted Dolls' House Wedding, about dolls who live in doll houses from different historical periods, these quality paper dolls feature elaborate period outfits: Hattie has three colorful gowns from the Late-Victorian era, and Lucinda is fantasy incarnate with three frothy wedding outfits from a variety of periods. Underwear, hats, veils, wigs and other accessories are also included. To make these really stand out in the paper doll crowd, each outfit is double-sided, showing both the front and back. (The dolls are both posed in exactly the same position, so they can share costumes if you have both sets--but since they look almost identical anyway, the point is somewhat moot.) Each set also comes with a pretty ribbon-tied storage envelope.
The outfits are press-out, so no cutting is required, and the double-sided clothes slip over the dolls' heads, so no gluing is needed either. (Unlike reproductions of authentic period double-sided paper dolls I remember with some horror from my all-thumbs childhood.) This makes them reasonably easy for young children to handle--but let's face it, you'll want to keep these for yourself. You know the kids won't enjoy them on as many levels as you will. (6 & up)