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Posted by on Aug 19, 2014 | 0 comments

Curating Your Kids’ Artwork with Pegboards and Portfolios

Curating Your Kids’ Artwork with Pegboards and Portfolios

If you have preschool and elementary school-aged children, you know how hard it is to recycle any of their artwork. And you also know how much comes home during the school year. Piles and piles. My friend Rachel has developed an ingenious, efficient, space-saving way of both displaying her kids’ artwork and storing everything for easy access and viewing in years to come. She’s used this system for a few school years already, so she knows it works well. First, I’ll mention that Rachel does frame some of the artwork and has it hung in various places around her home. But, for an ongoing display and “art curation,” here’s what she does: She installed two big pegboards in one of the bedrooms and uses big clips and s-hooks to hang a variety of artwork made by her three elementary school-aged children. The clips allow her to hang 3-D artwork as well. When the board gets too crowded, Rachel pulls every piece off one by one. She then takes a...

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Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 | 1 comment

Afternoon Crafting: Quick and Easy Beaded Jewelry

Afternoon Crafting: Quick and Easy Beaded Jewelry

Visiting our out-of-town friends and their kids this weekend, we spent an afternoon creating beaded jewelry. I was pleased for the quick primer from Rachel on the tools of the trade – crimps, clasps, cord, and needle-nose pliers – usually feeling overwhelmed by all the choices at the craft store. The prep was simple: Rachel brought out various collections of beads and notions to the front lawn. And we got to work… Rachel likes to arrange the beads and other supplies in a muffin tin for easy viewing and access. Using a thin cord, lately she has been making double-stranded bracelets using long, narrow beads all in a row. Here is Nadja showing her version in the works. To secure the ends, Rachel taught us how to use crimps and flat-nose pliers. She crosses the ends of the cord through one of the crimps… And then pinches the crimp flat with the pliers. We also used some shells we collected at the beach to make chokers with hemp twine. After...

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Posted by on Aug 5, 2014 | 0 comments

DIY Kids: Refreshing Icy Milk Watermelon Granitas

DIY Kids: Refreshing Icy Milk Watermelon Granitas

Not only are granitas a delicious, refreshing treat in the summer, but they’re so easy to make. My daughter Ana (age 10) and her cousin (age 11) made watermelon granitas the other day. The granita hails from Sicily, is a cross between a sno-cone and sorbet, and can be chunky or smooth in texture. Often granitas are sweetened with sugar, but the girls followed a recipe online that called for condensed milk as the sweetener. They started with a watermelon (with seeds) that we received in our Green Grocer farm share box. I don’t think the girls had ever seen a watermelon with seeds in their young lives. After picking out the seeds and chopping up the fruit, they saved a few juicy morsels for themselves. Then, they put 6 cups of watermelon chunks into a blender, along with 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/3 of a cup of condensed milk. Once blended, they poured the mixture into a glass pan. It doesn’t matter so much the...

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Posted by on Jul 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Kids Travel Activity: Finger Knitting

Kids Travel Activity: Finger Knitting

I already had a few “boredom busters” for traveling with kids up my sleeve before we embarked on a two-week trip overseas recently. I brought along some projects for my girls to do during downtime and in restaurants, like paper dolls, sketch paper and stencils, camera time, and scrapbooking. This year, I had one more idea in mind: finger knitting. It proved to be the perfect craft for my younger daughter, Nadja, age 6. She learned the technique very quickly. With finger knitting, you work with the fingers on one hand while using the other hand to weave the yarn and make the loops. To learn how to start out, I’d recommend watching a few YouTube videos that illustrate the basic steps or read blog post patterns like this one that results in a rainbow scarf. 1. Weave a strand of yarn that’s still attached to the ball or skein from between your thumb and index finger. 2. Bring it across your palm and then over and under your...

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Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 | 1 comment

Hot Hula: An Evening Lesson with Fire and Lights

Hot Hula: An Evening Lesson with Fire and Lights

After missing out twice on the hula hooping workshop for beginners at our local yoga studio, it occurred to me to see if our former nanny, Madison, a professional hula hooping performer, might teach me and some friends how to hoop in a private lesson. She said she’d love to and so we planned an evening lesson taught by Madison (below right) and her hooping partner Carla (below left) followed by a highly anticipated LED and fire performance in the dark. Madison and Carla strolled up carrying dozens of their own custom-made hoops, in all sizes. They answered many questions comparing the chintzy discount store-variety of hoop with the heavier, more evenly balanced custom hoop. They encouraged us to try different diameters of hoop to see which ones felt better. As beginners, you’d think we’d catch on more quickly with a smaller hoop, but we actually had an easier time with the larger hoops. To begin, Madison and Carla said to keep our feet close together and to move...

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