view:  full / summary

Summer in the City Workshops

Posted on May 17, 2015 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

It's almost summer - are you staying in the city? Our fabulous Summer in the City workshops are coming soon. You can save and stretch your dollars by following along.

Watch this spot for upcycling demos and workshops, venues, and fees. 

6 Ways to Upcycle Your Easter Eggs

Posted on April 1, 2015 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Real or faux - you’ve dyed them, decoupaged a few, painted some, dipped even more so do you really want even more ideas for decorating Easter eggs? Well, I ask "Why not?" Scouring the internet I’ve found a few egg-citing (get it??) projects that tickled my fancy and might even tickle yours (fancy, that is).

Easter egg decorating is always a great way to entertain your little ones but these ideas might even be fun for older kids or teens who may be getting a tad old to be excited about this festive holiday.  So here we go.

1. Brownies in an (egg)shell

A delightful way to creating edible Easter eggs without the yolk (that's a joke!). The blog is in Spanish but a click on the English icon provides you with a good translation for these yummie treats. I will be making these using a favourite family brownie recipe.

2. What a clever disguise!

Cute as a button (or an egg), this is a very doable project. You can create your own little egg characters. I've made these as little witches on Halloween.

3. Help, there's a (gummy) bear in my egg!

Let your little ones think that all they're getting this Easter are hard-boiled eggs. I make these every Easter and each time I fill them with something a little different. This post (also in Spanish but with great photos to follow along), shows the eggs filled with confetti if you're not partial to sweets.

4. Emoji me!

Bright as can be. This post provides you with easy step by step instructions for drawing emoji images on your eggs. You really don't have to be a Picasso.

5. Grow your own

This blog post shows you how to grow wheatgrass in your emptied eggshells. TIP: Once the wheatgrass is ready for transplanting to larger pots, remember to gently squeeze the eggshells to crack the shells as this makes it easier for the roots to get out into new soil.

6. Hipsters

In this blog post, Autumn uses tattoo paper to transfer the image onto the egg. But my way may be simpler. I use regular clear packing tape. First print out your images on regular paper (don’t make them too big - they have to fit the egg), cut each image out leaving a bit of margin around each one, immerse each image in warm water and then, using a finger, gently rub the paper off. Let the transfer dry and them stick on to the eggshell.

So - Happy Easter to all and happy eating and playing. Don't forget to empty the eggshells before using!

St. Patrick's Day Project - Recycle Cardboard Rolls into Hats

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I almost forgot that St. Patrick's Day falls on March 17 just one day after the beginning of March Break (in Ottawa). I don't know how parents manage to keep all these holidays and breaks straight - must be difficult at times. Any road, here's an idea that was inspired by some St. Patrick Day hats I spotted for sale at our local dollar store. Why buy, when you can make, no? It's easy because I'm too discombobulated to do anything difficult. Last time I tried, I cut my finger with an Xacto knife!

How to Make a St. Patrick's Party Hat

What you will need

  • Cardboard roll (Toilet paper. gift wrap, or paper towel cardboard rolls - should be 4" tall)
  • Plate (4-1/2" inch diameter)
  • White craft glue
  • Cardboard (recycled from a food package, etc.)
  • Pencil and scissors
  • Green craft paint and brush
  • Bit of ribbon and shamrock (or make a ribbon and shamrock from paper) 
  • Elastic thread (recycled from a party hat)

What you need to do

  1. Take the plate and the cardboard roll and trace circles from both on the cardboard (see photo).
  2. Cut out the circles.
  3. Dribble some glue onto the plate and dip one end of the cardboard roll in the glue. 
  4. Press this end of the roll into the centre the larger circle and let dry.
  5. When dry, dip the other end of the roll in the glue and attach to the top of the toilet roll.
  6. Let dry. 
  7. Insert the elastic thread (I used an embroidery thread needle) on both sides of the hat where it is glued to the circle. Glue the ends to the hat so the elastic doesn't pop off.
  8. Paint the hat and when dry add the ribbon and shamrock.

NOTE: If you don't have green paint, use green construction paper, and glue on before joining the different bits of cardboard.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!


March Break - Inspiring Recycling Projects

Posted on March 11, 2015 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

March Break is next week here in Ottawa and I've put together links to my all-time favourite kids' projects which will appeal to both kids and parents (I hope). All of the sites shown here have tons of projects and enough ideas to keep you and the kids busy all week long and are worthwhile exploring. I haven't noted any age categories although some are easier to make than others. I think kids any age would enjoy these (even me!!). 

Most call for material that you no doubt already have around the house: i.e., newspapers, plain paper (if I run out, I use the plain side of gift wrap), clothespins, popsicle sticks, cardboard, etc.

For the Architect

Source: Paper Houses

Source: The link to this project seems to have been discontinued but it's easy enough to replicate. Waxed milk or juice cartons are difficult to paint over and need several coats. It's best to glue on plain paper over the carton and, when dry, kids can paint and decorate.

For the Airplane Pilot

Source: Come Fly With Me

For the Gardener

Source: Garden Plot

For the Musician

Source: Harmonica

Source: Drum

For the Mad Scientist

Source: Science Fun 

Source: Balloon Fun

For the Rocket Scientist

Source: Zoom, zoom 

NOTE: Both the above sites have projects that both girls and boys can enjoy. 

For the Structural Engineer

Source: Instructions for this bridge can be found at the following link:

For the Sailor

Source: A'sailing We Will Go

Source: Spanish Galleon

Glue Paint Idea

Posted on March 10, 2015 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The other day my friend Sean came round and showed me how to make a glue paint using just two ingredients that we all have: food colouring and craft glue. It's fun way to experiment to get different colour effects just by adding different amounts of food colouring to glue to create art with a 3D effect. It's also a good way to use up food colouring if you only have a drop or two left as it takes very little colouring to create shiny paint colours.

To make the glue, all you need to do is squirt a little blob of glue on plastic sheet (the plastic is to protect your table or work area from a food colouring stain which is permanent - we used a used plastic bag - cleaned out, of course!) and then add a drop or two of food colouring. Mix together using a tooth pick. Use a separate toothpick for each colour. 

Sean 'painted' the following image on parchment paper but you can use whatever paper you have and please note that it takes a few minutes to dry.

We made our paint in small batches. For more information how to make glue paint and use it, go here.

Recycling - Cardboard City Inspiraton

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

If you're gobsmacked by this little cardboard city as much as I am, I'm not surprised. It's the creation of Evgeny Kudryavtsev (aka Cardboard Dad) an architect and the father of a little girl, Ira, for whom he invent toys made from recycled cardboard and scrap materials. He crafted this mouse-sized cardboard city as part of a commission for German publisher Fordevind. The bright colours and graphic details that he added to his city makes it irresistable to any mouse or child (even a few adults). It just shows you what you can do with something as common as cardboard. 

Take a wander through his blog (it's in Russian) and you’ll be tempted to break out the cardboard and create a city with, and for, your little ones. To view Evgeny's blog and his mouse-sized city landscape, click here

Evgeny has an online shop selling his own designs. His current DIY kits include a cardboard house and a rocket, both customizable. To check out his wares, go here.