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Posted by on Apr 9, 2012 | 0 comments

Alphabetizing and Sorting: Chores Kids Will Seriously Love

Alphabetizing and Sorting: Chores Kids Will Seriously Love

I had a brilliant brainstorm during spring break. While Katie’s son Jack was spending a few afternoons with Ana, I thought of an extra credit chore they could do together: alphabetize the spice rack! Katie loved the idea and came up with one too: sort the loose hardware into baby food jars! And wouldn’t you know it, Ana and Jack were psyched! It wasn’t even about the lure of earning $2 each for each chore. They really enjoyed being in the moment. Alphabetizing the Spices They debated whether Ground Pepper went with the Ps or the Gs, and if Red Pepper should go with the Rs or the Ps.  They mispronounced Oregano as Or-ray-gone-noh. They giggled over alphabetizing the sprinkles. Ana reached high to put the jars back in the rack while Jack shuttled them to her in batches. Sorting the Loose Hardware They got right down to work and gave the job their undivided attention. Even after their diligent sorting, they wanted to do more: Can we make...

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Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 | 0 comments

Make a Picture of Spring Using Flower Petal Dyes

Make a Picture of Spring Using Flower Petal Dyes

This is an activity that you can do with your kids with the seasonal flowers you find around the neighborhood. I came across the idea for flower pounding from a book at the library on using natural plant dyes. Of course, when gathering flowers, you want to be discrete and follow the “forager’s law:” When you find your plant, don’t pick from it. Instead, pick from the third plant that you find. When you pick from a wild plant, try and ensure that it looks the same as when you first saw it. Just pick a few petals from the bottom of the flower and ones that look a bit worn. The color will still be rich enough for the dye to come through the fabric. If you think something is rare, don’t pick it; there are laws against picking rare plants. Nadja looks mischievous but I swear we followed the forager’s law to the letter. For this project, you really only need 10-15 petals in a range of colors,...

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Posted by on Mar 16, 2012 | 0 comments

Children’s Artwork: What to Keep and Where to Keep It

Children’s Artwork: What to Keep and Where to Keep It

DIY Del Ray welcomes Laine Hardman, owner of Tidy Up, Professional Organization, as a special guest blogger. Laine will be writing a series of posts about storage and organization, something we struggle with every day in our small homes. In this first post, Laine has some really creative ideas for displaying, storing, and preserving kids’ artwork. We all love our kids’ artwork. The tiny handprints, the sun with the face, the macaroni skeleton. But saving it all is impractical. As a professional organizer, I am constantly being asked: With all these piles of masterpieces, how do we decide what to keep and how do we store it? Here are some ideas to help you and your child proudly display, sort, and store those works of art. Display It Designate one high-traffic area where you can display the newest, favorite works immediately. A clothesline can be strung high on a wall with clothespins to hold the art or clips can hang from the ceiling. (See this previous post from DIY Del...

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Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 | 0 comments

Field Trip: American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore

Field Trip: American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore

If you’re the slightest bit into DIY, upcycling, and wacky art of any kind or you have kids, you’ll love the American Visionary Art Museum near the waterfront in Baltimore. The museum features self-taught, outsider artists who make art for the love of art. It’s an easy 1-hour drive from DC and well worth the admission charge. I swear, after visiting this museum, I’m never throwing away anything that could be made into a mosaic or sculpture of some sort! After exiting I-95 to Key Highway, after about .5 mile, the first thing you see when you approach the museum, is the glittering exterior, like a brilliant, giant disco ball. (Thank you to George Krauss for letting us use this photo.) I can’t begin to describe each of the exhibitions, permanent and temporary. I encourage you to go and see for yourself. Some of the pieces I marveled at were: The giant bra ball (like a rubberband ball but made from bras and probably 4 feet in diameter) The...

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Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 | 2 comments

One-Hour Project: Child-Sized Blanket Roll

One-Hour Project: Child-Sized Blanket Roll

I have fond memories from childhood lying on the living room floor watching movies while snuggled up in my 1970s vintage Scooby Doo sleeping bag. And ever since my oldest son Jack started asking for a family movie night, I’ve been thinking about sleeping bags. Jack has a sleeping bag, but little Calvin doesn’t, so this was the perfect time to make one. I looked online for instructions, materials, and was a little dismayed by the cost and the complexity of a true sleeping bag. Calvin doesn’t really like to get under blankets (at age 3 he is totally fine keeping himself warm in the fetal position with his stuffed animals around him), so I decided I would go super basic and make a blanket roll using supplies on hand. In a couple more years, he’ll get the deluxe model with the zipper, built-in pillow, and who knows what other accoutrements. The blanket roll is really easy. All you need is a sewing machine, 2 pieces of fabric, quilt batting,...

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