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Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Children, Crafts | 3 comments

Ladybug Walnuts

Ladybug Walnuts

This winter has been rough. Long, cold, snowy.

Sometimes, as a stay-at-home parent to three littles, you have to resort to some pretty imaginative stuff.

Last week, with the umpteenth cold virus or whatever overrunning our homestead, we had to do just that. Our fellow homeschooling friends gave us some walnuts last fall and we’ve been gnawing away at them steadily since but we have quite a few left. I racked my Mom-brain and got the idea to transform them into ladybugs. After seeing some flutter around the windows these last few days, we learned a bit about these delicate insects and took to the painting table.

LadybugWalnuts.overview

We read the book, “Bugs Are Insects” by Anne Rockwell, Illustrated by Steve Jenkins, from the “Let’s Read And Find Out Science” series. (We love this series of books!) As always, I prefer to use DecoArt Americana paints, so used Primary Red and Lamp (Ebony) Black for this simple project. One of the things I liked best was that this activity catered to all three ages of our children (5 1/2, 4, & 2). That is a rarity!

First, I shelled the walnuts carefully not to break the shell.

Second, I prepped the table & kids (acrylics are quite permanent once dry) & let them paint the red base coat onto the outer walnut shell. Let base coat dry.

LadybugWalnuts.marspaint

Third, they painted black dots over the dried red paint. They can be as creative as they would like. Perhaps some ladybugs have stripes?!

Finally, after allowing the paint to completely dry, we coated the ladybug walnuts with a layer of DecoArt DuraClear Satin Varnish, a polyurethane sealant that will protect the paint from chipping as well as finish the paint nicely.

LadybugWalnuts.final

The kids thought this process was really neat, especially our oldest daughter who is very much into learning how things work & categorizing creatures around us. The fact that ladybugs have an external skeleton made them perfect candidates to paint on walnuts! Our children were fascinated.

What’s your go-to craft with your kids?

For more snowed-in/rainy day ideas that aren’t mine, visit my Pinterest board “Kids Crafts“.

 

 

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Posted by on Jan 4, 2014 in Arts, Children, Crafts, Creative, Economical Activities, Homeschool, Kids Activities, Kindergarten, Preschool, Stay At Home Mom, Toddlers | 2 comments

C Is For Camel

C Is For Camel

We’re finding ourselves right down the middle of the line between structured schoolers and unschoolers. No rush, but the kids seem to desire some structure once in a while. This is such a learning experience for all of us!

Part of our latest homeschool curriculum is to choose a letter as well as take turns choosing an animal of the week.

I got the idea to do a letter of the week from Confessions Of A Honeschooler, one of my favorite homeschooling resources.

This week, it was Tavia’s turn to choose so she chose camel. Therefore, the letter of the week is C.

I love that she chose a camel! We learned a lot about camels. I always enjoy learning new things alongside them. Did you know dromedary camels can store up to 80 pounds of fat in their humps?! They can survive on that for a long time in the desert.

We watched a few videos, some educational and some just for fun. The kids got a kick out of Alice The Camel!

Some info came from National Geographic, some from other sources online & from our local library.

We also made some camels of our very own out of egg cartons, markers, glue, & pipe cleaners.

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Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Children, Christmas, Crafts, Creative, DIY, Economical Activities, Education, Gift Ideas, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Holiday Gift Ideas, Holidays, Homemade, Homeschool, Kids Activities, Kindergarten, Parenting, Preschool, Stay At Home Mom, This Is Homeschool, Toddlers | 0 comments

This Is Homeschool: Gingerbread Crayons

This Is Homeschool: Gingerbread Crayons

It’s snowy and cold. Winter is here, and so are the holidays…in full force!

As busy as I’ve been, I always try to make time to craft with the kids. For the past several years, we have collected broken crayons from our home, restaurants, etc. We just hold onto them to make our own crayons!

I found a fairly inexpensive gingerbread crayon mold at Hobby Lobby last week (it was 50% off) for a total of about $4.

The kids love to peel stuff (it’s a gene, I swear), so we got to work stripping the crayons. This takes a while, but with a little Christmas music & storytelling, we passed the time fairly easily.

Speaking of time, we’ve been learning about the passage of time – how long is a minute, an hour, a day. We guessed how long it would take to melt the crayons in the toaster oven. We didn’t get too scientific, rather we kept it simple. Each child guessed & Marsden came the closest! Then we did the same for guessing how long it would take for the crayons to cool. Tavia was closest this time.

A fun and pretty time consuming activity – with lots of play time in between!

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Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Arts, Baby, Children, Crafts, Creative, Decor, Etsy, Giveaways, Handmade Halloween, Handmade Holiday, Home Decor, infant, Lovey Letters By Leah, newborn, Nursery Decor, Product Review, Reviews, Shopping, Stay At Home Mom, Support Handmade, Wall Letters, Work From Home, Working Mom | 3 comments

Lovey Letters By Leah – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Lovey Letters By Leah – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

It’s that time again…time for a wonderful handmade giveaway! Woohoo!

Lovey Letters By Leah is owned by Lovely Leah herself, Leah Carroll. I met Leah (way) long ago, through a mutual friend when we were (much) younger. We always seemed to have a lot in common, our ginger locks being most important :).

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

Leah is the new-ish Mom to two beautiful toddlers – twins, in fact – who surely keep her days as a stay-at-home Mom quite busy. She must have them on perfect nap schedules because somehow she finds the time to create some really whimsical, fun wall letters! It all began in her quest to find the right décor for her boy/girl twins’ nursery. Leah had so much fun during the creation process that she decided she wanted more. She said when friends and family would visit, they would inquire about the letters and she began creating her unique, custom wall letters for more & more people, in turn, decided to bring them to the handmade marketplace and share them with the world.

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

Lovey Letters By Leah‘s shop is full of personalized art that would add that special touch to any nursery, child’s room, home office, or even a man cave! Lovey Letters has even created letters for pets, how fun?! Most of her clientele are parents decorating their children’s nurseries, but let’s face it, she’s capable of just about anything!

Letters For Your Pet, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013, Lovey Letters By Leah

copyright 2013, Lovey Letters By Leah

Burlap Letters, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

Burlap Letters, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

I asked Lovey Letters to create some wall art for sweet whimsy designs’ art shows and she came up with something that depicts swd so well! All I had to tell her was a little of what I wanted, something fun & whimsical, colorful, so this is what she came up with:

sweet whimsy designs, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

sweet whimsy designs, copyright 2013 Lovey Letters By Leah

I think they’re perfect, don’t you?!

Leah at Lovey Letters By Leah was not only easy to work with, but she produces these pieces of art quite quickly, and always with a smile (even through email!). It’s simple to see this handmade business soaring to new heights because Leah is right, this is what has been missing from the nursery décor world all this time.

What’s In It For You?

Lovey Letters By Leah is giving away TWO wonderful prizes: 11 x 14 Initial Wall Letters, one per winner!! (a $23 value per letter)

These letters are fully customizable & can be done with Leah’s painless process:

The order process:
1) You choose the size of letters you would like. Either initials or the spelling of a full name.
2) Tell Lovey Letters By Leah your colors, font type, and theme or any decals you’d like to add.
3) Lovey Letters By Leah will then provide a story board of the design ideas for your approval.
4) Once approved, Lovey Letters will start hand crafting your letters. Each frame is individually cut along with the letters just for you. LLbL will then add the paper designs of your choosing. Each frame is trimmed with ribbon of your choice. She can add a bow for hanging or a saw tooth hanger, whichever you prefer.
5) Once completed, LLbL will send you final photos for your approval before shipped.
6) Each letter is individually wrapped in cellophane with ribbon. They will arrive ready to be gifted or a special gift just for you!
Doesn’t that sound like FUN?! We think so!
Tell us what you want to do with your letter, should you win! Where will you hang it? What colors will you work with? What designs do you love and can’t live without?
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Two (2) winners will receive one (1) 11 x 14 Initial Wall Letter by Lovey Letters By Leah (a $23 value). Contest begins November 25, 2013 at 12:00am and ends December 2, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Monday, December 2, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. states after verification and creation process is complete. Entries will be verified.
.Full disclosure: Lovey Letters For Leah provided me with a set of wall letters to review to be able to write this post. I have not been compensated in any other way to feature Lovey Letters For Leah in this post. It was completely my own doing, simply a collaboration, and I hope you never thought otherwise, even for a second :).
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Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in Arts, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Carnival Party, Children, Christmas, Crafts, Creative, Etsy, felting, Friends, Gift Ideas, Giveaways, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Happy Birthday Banner, Holiday Gift Ideas, holiday shopping, Holidays, Homemade, Party, Product Review, Reviews, Second Seed In Stitches, Shopping, Stay At Home Mom, Support Handmade | 0 comments

Second Seed In Stitches – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Second Seed In Stitches – Review and GIVEAWAY! *CLOSED*

Becoming a handmade artisan is one of the neatest achievements I’ve made in my lifetime, probably because it has opened my life to other handmade artisans. Each show I attend, I meet an eclectic and superb batch of people who likely think outside the box and are generally lovely people all around.

Not too long ago, at a monthly Brainery Bazaar hosted by Rochester Brainery, I was showing my playable art alongside Nancy Topolski, owner and creator for Second Seed In Stitches. I was immediately blown away by Nancy’s colorful display – ranging from her oh-so-adorable “Foundlings” to the hand-knitted fingerless gloves and felted floral arrangements. I just knew we’d become friends.

We spent the entire day chatting, everything from schooling (and un-schooling) to how to succeed in the handmade craft business. You see, Nancy’s a pro. She’s been in the game for a while longer than myself. She is full of excellent advice and had a gentle approach in lending her ear to my newbie questions. I wanted to share Nancy and her work with the world, so I decided right here on The Whimsical Sweet would be a good place to start.

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches
Photo copyright Pamela M. Rayburn Photography 2013

Nancy created a one-of-a-kind birthday banner as part of The Big Carnival Bash. It was on display throughout the party, and it definitely added exactly what we were looking for. I don’t think the party would’ve been complete without the banner hanging proudly above the photo booth. I asked that she make one of her felted banners customized with red & white stripes and black lettering. She didn’t even have to ask any questions. She just got it. I love people that just get it.

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Banner by Second Seed In Stitches
Photography copyright Pamela M. Rayburn Photography 2013

Second Seed In Stitches is led by a strong and passionate woman who has a beautiful handle on her craft (or crafts, as the case may be). I have yet to see all of the varieties of art Nancy is capable of creating, but those I have seen, I have fallen in love with. Though she is no longer making the banners, her Foundlings are always available in her etsy shop & usually present at her shows. They are FANTASTIC! She gets down to creative business & repurposes/upcycles old wool sweaters into fantabulous, soft, furry creatures she calls Foundlings. Every child should have at least one, and grown-ups, two or more!

Nancy Topolski foundling

The good stuff? Second Seed In Stitches is giving away a super-fun, handcrafted felted “happy birthday” banner to one lucky reader! This fun & festive banner measures approximately 5 ft. with plenty of grosgrain ribbon for hanging.

Nancy Topolski banner

Everyone needs a family banner to celebrate birthdays year after year. It’s such a great addition to any celebration. We are looking forward to unpacking ours for each birthday for many years to come.

ENTER TO WIN!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS: One (1) winner will receive one (1) ‘Happy Birthday’ banner from Second Seed In Stitches (a $50 value). Contest begins November 9, 2013 at 12:00am and ends November 16, 2013 at 12:00am. Winner will be announced Saturday, November 16, 2013 via sweet whimsy designs’ Facebook page. Prize must be claimed within one week of winner announcement. Prize will be shipped to any of the 48 contingent U.S. states within one week of winner announcement. Entries will be verified.

Full disclosure: Second Seed In Stitches is providing the winner with the prize of a felted birthday banner. I was not compensated in any other way to feature this artist. All opinions are my own It was completely my own doing, simply a collaboration, and I hope you never thought otherwise, even for a second :). I support local, handmade art and you should, too. :)

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Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Arts, Autumn, Birthday Parties, Birthdays, Busy B Boutique, Carnival Party, Children, Crafts, Crafts, Creative, DD Lish, DecoArt, DIY, Economical Activities, Family, Featured, Friends, Giveaways, Handmade, Handmade Holiday, Happy Birthday Banner, Holiday Gift Ideas, holiday shopping, Homemade, Memories, painting, Pamela Rayburn Photography, Party, Photography, Precious Peanut Shop, Product Review, Reviews, Save money, Second Seed In Stitches, Shopping, Support Handmade, Tiny Chaos, Work From Home, Working Mom | 1 comment

THE BIG CARNIVAL BASH!

THE BIG CARNIVAL BASH!

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Our daughter recently turned the big FIVE years old. Since we haven’t really given her a big party (most birthdays have been celebrated with family), we decided to throw her a big carnival bash to celebrate her wonderful self. A carnival seemed fun, easy, and affordable. In reality, it was! My husband & I made most of the games with what we had around the house as well as some inexpensive shenanigans I found at craft stores and local shops. DecoArt sponsored some of the artwork which I used to create one of the games as well as the face paint pens (um, hello?! These were right up my alley!). It helped to have a handy hubby who cut wood & nailed things together for me ;). More on this coming soon…

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

In my quest to support handmade shops, I decided to incorporate different things into the party from both local and distant artisans. This is my new mission on this blog: To support handmade artisans.

Enter beautiful, amazing, wonderful people.

First, I found a phenomenal local photographer who was not only willing to come capture the party in all it’s glory, but she did so in such a swift and lovely fashion that we will likely have her photograph our family for years to come. Pamela Rayburn Photography is owned and operated by Pamela Rayburn herself. She is so kind and such fun to work with! But more on her later *hint, hint*. Just look at these gorgeous captures! (Locals, you should do yourselves a favor & look into booking her for your holiday photos!)

There were so many people involved in pulling this off properly (which happened just by the skin of our teeth!). My husband, as supportive as he is, allows me to get a little lot carried away. The kids were cooperative and had a ball dressing for the part on the day of the party and even lended a hand with decorations and games. My sister, Deidre of DD Lish yumminess, baked one heck of a cake that tasted even better than it looked, if that’s possible. My mom “voluntarily” was coaxed into cooking fresh, homemade tacos for everyone to enjoy (we did our best to serve healthy foods). My dad & best friend were roped into coloring in the signage I created that morning. My brother-in-law donated some grass seed bags from his company Crosman Seed Corp.

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Then there were the shop owners, artisans who donated their craft to put the icing on the cake!

Did you get a peek at the perfect dress & headband our little t was wearing? That was designed by me, and created in collaboration with Precious Peanut Shop. Julie was incredible to work with. But again, more on that later.

Dress and Headband by Precious Peanut Shop Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Dress and Headband by Precious Peanut Shop
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

In case you haven’t picked up on my *hints*, these beautiful shops and artisans will be featured throughout the next several months as part of our Fall Frenzy: Festive Fall Features. Stay tuned!

Then there’s the bowtie on our son & hairbow on our youngest daughter. Would you get a load of this?! Tiny Chaos made this set of bows to add to the festivities. She is amazing.

Bow by Tiny Chaos Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bow by Tiny Chaos
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bowtie by Tiny Chaos
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

We whipped up a photo booth with help from Busy B Boutique‘s Bethany Crocker and Nancy Topolski from Second Seed in Stitches. Bethany made some really fun photo props while Nancy crafted the “happy birthday” banner. Fantastic work-woman-ship from both ladies!! I can say it’s been so fun working with Bethany as we’re good friends as well as craft lovers. She even painted a few faces at the party. Talented Mama :)!

Face Paint Pens by DecoArt Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Face Paint Pens by DecoArt
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo props by Busy B Boutique Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Photo props by Busy B Boutique
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Banner by Second Seed In Stitches
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

I think those that attended would all agree that C&C Bouncers stole the show with their hoppity-hooping bounce house! Shari & Ted, owners of C&C, are working on opening a great place for fun in the Finger Lakes area so locals, get ready!

Bounce House courtesy of C&C Bouncers Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

Bounce House courtesy of C&C Bouncers
Photo copyright Pamela Rayburn Photography 2013

It was just SO MUCH FUN and rose beyond expectations of our little ones. They had smiles all day long, as did their friends and family. It is always so wonderful and almost dream-like to have so many loved ones all in one place celebrating alongside us! I think we’re locked into throwing a party like this for each of our children’s fifth birthdays, and we’re totally fine with that. We’ll have to do a little more ourselves next time, but live and learn, right?!

I’m looking forward to showcasing these wonderful shops and artisans, as I’m sure you will, too. Just wait to see what’s in store for you!!

From deep inside our hearts, THANK YOU to everyone who was a part of this awesome celebration. We all appreciate it so!!

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